There is a subtle yet vast difference between being content with who you are, knowing that there is so much more that you can be, and being dissatisfied with what you have and never being enough. The difference is in the balance of being aware of your strengths and weaknesses and being able to go beyond yourself with each milestone you reach – whether it be for the stars or a personal limitation, what are your motives? Is it ego-driven or for the highest good? A healthy ego will comprise a balance of courage, confidence and a benevolent desire to do good, with the satisfaction in accomplishing the end result. Contentment in the knowledge that you’ve arrived here and now, and there is so much more to go.
Diet and exercise – such a cliché; brings to mind such a struggle for weight-loss and the misery of having to avoid the foods you love, yet so important in maintaining health and well-being. You have to be motivated to exercise and wade through the sea of confusion of these new healthy and boring foods you’re supposed to eat! But wait – we’re told that exercising creates endorphins and other good neuro-transmitters, and learning about the properties of everyday whole foods in their natural state can promote all sorts of better health conditions.
So really, have we just been understanding the concept incorrectly, perversely and erroneously? How is it that in the past and I’m sure presently for so many people, most diets are a success for awhile and then became a total failure after? And now, whether because of a fad or just feeling fabulous, we have come to incorporate it much more smoothly into our lives. How is it we used to toil with having to expend a few calories, treading with feet of clay on the treadmill or the track? And now we enjoy the processes that allow us to feel good.
Yes, we have changed our outlook on this old cliché; we have redirected our attitude and learnt more about what our minds and bodies require. There are still many who regrettably, associate with this in the old way – and yes, it is a mental association. Many wait in dis-ease until symptoms manifest into diseases like diabetes, hypertension and various forms of heart disease, muscle atrophy and bone and joint difficulties before reluctantly having to make major life-style changes. But then, it is just that mental switch that needs turning on that will change everything.
So, I started thinking… diet in the way we generally understand it doesn’t really exist, and exercise isn’t really an arduous task of huffing and puffing without the pleasurable senses of delight and exhilaration. Healing your body by giving it what it requires (and often times having to painfully ask for) is really giving it the right foods in the right proportions, so it can do its job properly, and is well – our responsibility for having one. That also includes being able to have all the foods we love – just knowing when and how much to have. Participating in activity, getting our organs and muscles, our nervous systems, our endocrine and adrenal systems going—that helps our brains make good chemistry, and is well—how we keep happy and relevant to ourselves.
So now how about taking that old Diet & Exercise aversion syndrome and looking at it this way… Old Diet & Exercise = New Healing your Body & Making Good Chemistry = keeping you feeling Full-Filled! Have fun with it. Let your mind lead you through pleasant pathways and your body will follow. Cheers to your good health! A votre santé! Alla vostra salute! A tu salud! L’Chaim!
Have you ever read or heard the kind of dismissal responses from a prospective employer or client, typically “…unfortunately we have decided to go with another company.” or “…unfortunately we have decided to offer the position to another candidate.” Have you ever been the one on the receiving end? Or the person making that statement so automatically because it’s a professional-sounding, business formatted response?
When I read or hear that I can’t help but go “wait…what??” So, why is that unfortunate and to whom? If you are the company or person who has decided to go with a certain thing then what is the unfortunate part about? “Unfortunately, we have decided to go with…” I mean isn’t it a good instance when you have made a decision? Is it unfortunate that you chose that thing, unfortunate for the one that was chosen or unfortunate for the one who wasn’t? After all the sentiment doesn’t really apply to the entire scenario, only to one party – if at all. It is a definite fallacy on the part of the one who has made the choice, because obviously they are certain that they have made a good choice, or they wouldn’t have, right? And why rub salt into the wound of the rejected? Perhaps they really did them a favor. Or maybe it just wasn’t the right fit. And shouldn’t we all be committed to the right fit? Like I said – a fallacy.
So why do we choose the words that don’t truthfully or accurately indicate the sentiment of the situation? I really do take issue with the misuse of automatic language – unthinking, without linking to the actual feeling, meaning or maybe even consequences – to stretch it even further. When clichés are used without even noticing their inherent meaning, they become worthless. Even though clichés do have hypnotic effects and suggestiveness on us, when it becomes too common as in we’ve heard them too often, we may go into brain-lock momentarily and their intended aim will fail in its efficacy.
While words may only affect us according to the value we give them ourselves, they nevertheless have lasting impact on all of us. Mindful use of language is powerful, just as words are creative, as in the artful juxtaposition of the sentences we craft in our daily dialogues with others and to ourselves. One of the rules I have always emphasized is on the quantum level, the creative power of the words I AM. How many of us are mindful and pay attention to the words that follow? Even the famous biblical words in Genesis that we are all familiar with – I AM that I AM – indicates that we are whatever follows I AM. Yes, words are that powerful… but wait… only with utmost belief in their intrinsic value, often on an other-than-conscious level, and often on deep value levels. Sometimes the value lies in who is uttering them or who they mean to us.
The old saying, think before you speak is sage advice. In my youth I used to pride myself on a business course I had taken with one of the classes being English for Commerce. Really what we learnt was how to craft professional form business correspondence. These language skills were versatile enough to be applied to a variety of situations. The prerequisite was an already good command of the language. Looking back, I apply to this day, much of what I learnt in that class and I also realize that unless you are mindful and knowledgeable enough to custom craft a correspondence or a good conversation, like anything else will fall prey to becoming a trite, meaningless regurgitation of words.
So, if you haven’t been already, start to listen to yourself – to the words formulating inside your head and then to what’s coming out. There’s always opportunity to become better, to craft and speak words with meaning, significance and depth and really affect others in a profound way.
The Cosmic Page-Turner
What is it about unforeseen circumstances that seem to unapologetically pull the rug from under us, leaving us stunned and sometimes even paralyzed to even fathom that such events could even have the audacity to occur? Whether it is the loss of a job or status, having to give up a residence or relocate comfortable surroundings, the physical death of a loved one, or a life-changing illness – these are all life-altering events – many traumatic, that each of us have gone through in some form at some point in our lives, propelling us towards the “new normal”.
Inversely, there are countless happy life-changing events that occur daily that go unrecognized, the constant magical moments in our days that offer us the opportunity to exceed our expectations, stay fulfilled in a continuity of balance, weighing the positive and the negative within our life cycles. Yet so many choose to focus on what we perceive as the ‘bad’ and become miserably attached to and defined by – bad things that happen. As in everything, and sometimes we may only witness it later, there is also good within the bad, otherwise known as learning experiences.
“I never lose. Either I win or I learn.” – Nelson Mandela
I as one of many, who have experienced in my life what would be considered the incomprehensible, am surely able to turn around and look at the events that have transpired since, to see the path of my journey. While there are many paths from which we can choose, whether or not we believe there are choices, when we make the best decision in the given moment as a step towards the answer to “what is the Universe telling me?”; we seek to answer the burning questions, what are we supposed to be doing in this life we have been given? What are the messages we are sent? What part does each person play in our lives?
The truth is every significant event is an opportunity for growth. Every game-changer teaches us and propels us forward – if we choose to take it as such. Each time the incomprehensible – at least in that moment—happens, marks a new chapter we are to embark on in our lives. They are not just things that happen randomly. Yes, our actions are the cause and effect. Yes, oftentimes we ourselves seek the changes that become the catalyst for greater change in our lives, and as we breathe through it all, the highs and lows, the joyous and the more ominous ones, all the while curiously asking the question, what’s next… what do I do with this? The answer invariably presents itself. Sometimes not the one we thought, or were even hoping for, sometimes the appropriate one or the one that gives us further insight to what is right. Mixed in with a bit of our passions, and connected to each of our individuality, and linked to our core, we are given surprising guided direction and confirmation within appropriate timing.
In hindsight, when I think of how far the distances I have traveled at different phases of my life to embark on new chapters, uprooting, each time leaving behind loved ones, and welcoming new ones, where my life has taken me, the most amazing relationships I have made and unequivocally kept, the impact of each person—even the ones with whom I have lost touch, but never forgotten, the things I have learnt and grown from, my evolution—I would be hard pressed to say that each of these momentous life landmarks have not been the Cosmic hand turning the pages to new chapters.
So, when in the past swimming through the seas of the unexpected, attempting to clumsily adapt to our “new normal”, how about to now gracefully journey through the new chapters of our lives, periodically checking in with our cosmic partners and appropriately repositioning our internal life GPS? Embrace the page turners, boldly navigate your new new chapters – at the end of it all it will be a sensational story and really good reading on the way!
“Today I choose to be the grandest version of the greatest vision of who I am.” – Neal Donald Walsh
Today I saw on Facebook a video posting on what someone considered a sad state of humanity where an animated character marches through life using and destroying all of nature in his path as he leads a life of inconsiderate convenience, luxury and technology. The video, which I might add is very clever and creative, was captioned Humans Don’t Deserve Earth. So, it got me thinking as I frequently do about most things. This talented person who clearly took the time, effort and creativity to make this video while perceiving life on an unrealistic macro scale, obviously believes that all humans do this thing. That we go through life abusing all our natural resources, all of nature and have no compassion for anything within our ecosystem. Don’t we? Before we all get emotionally swept away in self-righteous indignation from a freeze-frame snapshot of one aspect of humanity perhaps it would be in good counsel to look at all aspects down to some of the finer details.
Firstly, I am annoyed. Yes, annoyed by small-mindedness, tunnelled vision, ignorance, and people who are offended. Is that somewhat of a paradox? Those who take the view of the video creator, how do they view our ecosystem? Our free will? Our individual feelings of accountability? Responsibility? Charity? Our sacrifices? How we interact within nature? At the top of the predatorial food chain, humans as homosapien apex predators have it a bit more complex in our overall abilities, capabilities and expectations than our fellow members below in the chain. In that we all have our roles to play to exist and to live. We all make sacrifices from the littlest member to the largest, from the ones that act purely on instinct to the ones that must make difficult decisions throughout the day. Cause and effect is how we live in our environment – one with nature or separate, one with humanity or separate. We cannot possibly simplistically equate lives within our system. We have beliefs and feelings and we act on them, sometimes – or we sacrifice our feelings for what we believe to be for the highest good, sometimes. We have principles. We battle between chaos and order, harmony and dissonance.
In Judaism, the Torah teaches in Genesis that the first thing the Creator had Adam do was to name every creature from every species on land, ocean and air. The names Adam gave to each creature in Hebrew till today, is the meaning of the essence of each being. Adam first had to have an understanding of each individual creature’s essence to accurately name it. What does that tell you of the essence of the human? The mental, spiritual and emotional faculties we were given above all else to resonate with nature. And yet… we must eat, we must hunt, we must clothe ourselves, we must have shelter, we must commune, we must interact, we must communicate, we must understand – and sometimes – because we may not always be able to achieve these things, we must fight, we must survive, we must advance, we must win in order to do so – and sometimes – we will lose, but we must also learn – all the time, every time. Even to love, respect and honor. Even amongst ourselves, we must be the better man – or woman, not only to be better than the other, but also better than we were yesterday, a moment ago. We make choices, we make sacrifices, we are human – for all intents and purposes. We evolve.
So, you think it’s a sad state that the proverbial human marches through life abusing and destroying everything?? Look again into the finer details. Gain a vaster perspective. It’s a bit more complex than what you once thought.
Memories: Those Were the Days…
A phrase I like saying less these days. Mostly because of what it suggests in its usage. Those were the days… as if the present isn’t full of wonderful memory-making opportunities. I look at old pictures – be it on print, digital or in my mind and I think what great times…all part of a spectacular tapestry of events imprinted within – time, space, us…within each. While completely taking in the present moments creating a thread of many more wonderful pictures and events even still to be created. Yes- those were the days, and these are the days. So, enjoy your present, for when you think back you can be surprised by all the wonderful gifts you unpack.
“No memory is ever alone; it’s at the end of a trail of memories, a dozen trails that each have their own associations.”
– Louis L’Amour – American novelist (1908 – 1988)
The Journey We Call Life
I may have glimpsed an understanding of the meaning of life. That it’s this amazing thing we’re given – and you just do it! Through all the highs and lows, ups and downs, good and bad, joy and sadness, fear and courage, losses and gains, confusion and clarity, sickness and health, the calm and the stress, it still remains constantly this magically amazing gift. We breathe it in and we breathe it out. And we’re meant to live it, go through it and embrace it – every moment no matter what happens. Unwrap each moment like opening a present. It may not always be what we want at that particular moment, but there’s a gift for us to use at some point. Keep in mind, look inside, ahead to what’s next!
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. “
– Joseph Campbell