Articles Written For
The Magic Happens Magazine
The Existence of Nothing
In the beginning, there was nothing. No light did shine in the darkness that was not. No void could fill space for there was no space, no time, no matter and no being. Only nothingness was.
Nothingness was formless and timeless. It was never born and yet could not perish. It could not be, for it was nothing more than itself and yet it was not.
Was nothingness created? What could nothingness have come from? How could nothingness be?
In order for nothingness to be, it would have to have been created, but created from what or whom? How can it be that something could have arisen from nothing if there was nothing to create something from?
It must stand to reason that something was before nothing. Something must have spoken nothing into existence. Was it a command from something that simply uttered the word Exist?
Of course, if words existed then language would have existed as well and if language existed then mind and cognition had come into being. Who would have taught something the workings of the mind? Perhaps something was already all-knowing.
Was this something a being and was it of mind alone? Was it spirit and did it move and have its being within and without the universe it had apparently constructed? I would wonder if this master architect morphed itself into the very fabric of the universe and all that is.
One could refer to something as creator, beingness, pure awareness. Awareness must have expanded to the far reaches of the known and the unknown transforming itself into something more. This pureness of being seemed to have an affinity for the light it scattered across the realms of what is. Although it firmly established much darkness, the light penetrated the dark and awakened the entire universe.
The universe blazed with the glory and splendor of color and warmth. Expansion and development continued its momentum until the wonder of Earth manifested.
The creator was pleased.
Bathed in the light of the universe, the Earth became home for the creator and its most treasured creations. Each creation that emanated from the creator was as a hologram unto itself. There was no separation from the creator and the created, only oneness.
the light shall be
and the dark shadows that fall upon the earth
shall be dispelled from the light
and the world and the darkness thereof
shall see the dawn of a new light
and this source shall be among the people
and this source shall be
and the calling of those sharing the light
shall be of the one
and this one shall make itself known
and the known shall be
and the wonder of the stars and heavens will shine
and in peace shall be
and time shall be no more in them
and the universe shall be
and the one who is creator shall create
and in creation shall be
and the emptiness of nothing shall expand
and fill the ones that be
and in the light shall find their way home
and the light shall be
Most people would like to spare the change in their lives. Change can come with a hefty price tag at times and this can scare an individual who is not prepared for change. A heart attack, death of a friend or relative, job loss, auto accident or the end of a relationship can shake a person to the core.
Most of us do not understand the full scope of how change can affect our lives. There are so many levels of spiritual, mental and emotional being that we may overlook the subtle indications of an event and focus on what we feel is the obvious meaning. One person views the loss of a job as a personal failure while another may see this as the greatest opportunity of their life.
Change is abundant, constant and ever revealing of the paths we choose to walk. The universe is in perpetual motion, expanding and moving to the rhythm of its own music. Each of us may move in synchronicity with the universe or ignore the calling and rationalize our experiences with decisions that may not be conducive to our highest being.
Once a decision is made regarding an event that has changed our current direction, our minds will go about seeking ways to understand or rationalize this new situation. If our decisions are based in fear then our outlook may become negative and a diminished sense of control may begin to lead the way bringing us more of the same.
Our outlook in life depends on the way we view the changes and events we experience. Allowing change to hold us in its grips and wrestling with the notions of why and how these things could happen to us only exacerbates the emotional stress we may have incurred.
Allowing changes to occur in their own timing without judging the events creates an easier life. Our judgments affect the intensity and duration of changes. When we label an event as horrific or negative, our body responds with a whiplash of emotions creating turmoil and weakness. The label we provide an event determines the impact it will have on our lives.
When we allow circumstances to exist without judgment the sting is eliminated and we will be far more receptive to the leading of the Master within. When the mind is relaxed and free of judgment, a clear path to adjusting or aligning with the change is realized. Opportunities for advancement along one’s path in a positive direction become clear as the focus is directed toward allowing circumstances to unfold as they will.
It is in allowing that we find our true freedom. Allowing sets the pace for a life fulfilled. Allowing empowers us and offers us the chance to move in the direction of our innermost desires. It is the catalyst for embracing the changes that naturally occur in our day to day experience.
Instead of asking why a change has interrupted our flow or how an event could happen to us, we may ask alternative questions that will empower us. What can I learn from this event? How can I align myself with this change and use it to benefit me and those around me? What can I do to allow this event to make me a better or stronger person? How can I use this change to be of greater service to myself, my family and my fellow man?
Make change your ally. Allow change to enrich your experience of life. Change is the norm and it will guide us toward the values and experiences we seek in life. It is in change that we discover the truest sense of who we are and why we are here.
Develop and Grow
Is it important that humanity develop into its fullest potential? Are we not here to mature, develop and grow into the greatest expression of creative Source?
One could argue that each of us is here merely to enjoy the lives we have created in whatever ways we desire. Why should we feel the need to strive for greatness when we can choose to enjoy living comfortably in mediocrity?
Everyone cannot be an astronaut, an Olympic athlete or the CEO of a fortune 500 company. Many people have no goals at all and are quite content with whatever life presents them. However, those of us who are goal-setters usually aspire for more and work diligently towards achieving those goals.
It seems that the 80/20 rule applies here. About twenty percent of the people are responsible for eighty percent of the advancements in our world. Science, technology, and spirituality are lead by the few and benefited by the many.
Why should this matter? Even if the percentage ratio was ninety-nine to one, that one percent would still be making a substantial difference. Every new scientific or technological discovery aids in the evolvement of our entire planet. Positive spiritual development advances the whole of mankind in ways which may not be immediately realized.
Humans are born to succeed and to evolve into the highest form possible. We strive for more because we understand that we are capable of attaining almost anything we can imagine. The human spirit of potential is shared by the lame, the lazy and the uninspired as well as the fit, motivated and prosperous.
While the uninspired are sitting back waiting for others to make change happen, the prosperous are creating and transforming our world for the advantage of everyone. While individuals develop themselves into the best they can be, it undoubtedly has an impact on others around them.
We respect and honor the movers and shakers of the world. We recognize and reward the highest achievers. We acknowledge and support the endeavors of those who came before us and those who now stand with us.
It is for the good of all that each of us develops and grow into the very best that we can be. The very survival of the planet depends on those who dream and make dreams come true. Who knows what we will ultimately be capable of achieving?
The Magic of Hope
Most live in a world of uncertainty and chaos. Times are challenging and fearful for millions of weary people around the world. Incorrigible terrorists create havoc in our cities and incite desperate souls to commit violence and murder. They manipulate those who have no regard for their own lives or the lives of others.
Keeping up with dreadful daily news may not be the best way to experience peace and harmony in our lives. It brings into focus the worst of society and cultures around the globe. It can be a constant reminder of how a few twisted minds and corrupted governments continually undermine the genuine love and compassion the vast majority of the world embraces.
Choosing to screen out most of the negative news stories and place our attention on articles that display kindness and generosity of caring people will engender positive emotional feelings. Watching videos of people doing kind things for others, being loving parents and friends, and helping needy people all over the planet attracts feelings of joy and peace.
When we look for the good in others and expect kind things from them, we are more likely to draw these people, along with good experiences, into our lives. Expectations are powerful and can morph our very existence into that of our desires. Hope is the elixir that transforms a world of chaos into a life of peace, melding and mending the mind and the body.
Hope gives life to the lifeless. Hope enables the disabled. Hope liberates the captive.
A Mindful Way of Being
Mindfulness Meditation, also known as Vipassana or Insight Meditation, is based on a twenty-five-hundred-year-old tradition that is non-sectarian and non-religious. It is one of the most popular styles of meditation in the world. This path is of self-transformation through self-observation and focuses on the deep interconnection between the mind and the body.
Cultivating mindfulness in our everyday experience of life is paramount in overcoming suffering and pain. Mindfulness is nurtured through the daily practice of meditation which may be performed via formal sitting, relaxed walking or lying down, eating or with any activity, be it personal or business.
Mindfulness is not directed toward changing the way we are, but more about helping us become aware of what is already true and real about ourselves. It teaches us to be unconditionally present, accepting and non-judgmental with whatever life is offering us at the time.
Each of us is endowed with mindfulness and this quality can be cultivated through meditation. Mindfulness is not thinking, but an awareness of thinking and an awareness of how we experience our internal and external sensory worlds.
Mindfulness invites whatever arises in our awareness and is open-hearted and non-judgmental. It seeks to make us more aware of our moment-to-moment attention and asks us to be more present in our lives.
With continuing practice, life will become characterized by increased peaceful awareness and an elevated sense of allowing along with a confident feeling of self-control. Positive results will appear gradually as one progresses on the path.
Mindfulness can bring an entirely new level of beingness into focus so we can allow the mind and the body to relax into a place of peace and yet effective existence.
Learning to cope with daily stress can be disconcerting to many people. Most of us did not learn how to effectively handle life’s problems and difficulties at early ages. We were not taught these things growing up because our parents did not know how to deal with these issues either.
Now that mindfulness meditation and other stress-reducing techniques have come into mainstream medicine and society, it is easy to adapt and learn new ways of coping with or eliminating stress and stress-induced illnesses.
Mindfulness is a way of being. We can learn to be mindful in everything we do. Being mindful produces extraordinary results and can lead us into a more fun-filled, fulfilled life.
(Excerpted from The Mindfulness Approach)
Are Affirmations a Waste of Time?
Can affirmations interfere with our goals and intentions? If we put too much faith in our affirmations, they may actually have a negative impact. How is this possible?
An affirmation is a statement confirming something we declare as truth. It’s a decision we make that confirms the way we want to experience a state of being or an event we have in mind to complete as a goal.
When we rely on affirmations to move us toward our goals, we may be relieving ourselves of responsibilities and actions we should be taking to achieve our goals. If a person puts goals into place, writes affirmations relating to these intentions and reads them every day, it may not move them in the slightest way toward their goals.
I am not condemning affirmations by any means. I love them and have used them for almost thirty years. However, I don’t feel that they worked well for me most of the time because I did not know how to utilize them properly.
If you want to achieve a specific goal, you must have a plan and you must follow through by taking action. Setting a goal by writing it down along with an affirmation is not enough to move you toward completion. It is a good start though. Action moves you forward, affirmations assist the momentum.
Affirmations by themselves are generally ineffective. Let’s say you create the affirmation “I am healthy and at my ideal weight of 160 pounds.” On the surface, it sounds good to you and makes you feel like that is where you want to be. Below the surface, your subconscious mind responds to your newly created affirmation with “LIAR, you are forty pounds overweight at an unhealthy 200 pounds and that is not your ideal.”
So, every time you repeat your affirmation, you are getting resistance from within and may not even be aware of it. This will not move you toward your goal. By taking an alternate approach, you may be able to experience a far greater shift in the way you feel consciously and the way your mind responds subconsciously.
Now, you create the affirmation “I am becoming healthier and feeling better by moving toward my ideal weight of 160 pounds.” Even if you are moving toward your goal in minuscule ways each day or week, this statement will still sound true in your mind. Moving toward your goal can happen by thinking about it. Just the fact that your mind is now accepting your affirmation as truth will make all the difference you need to establish your intention into a reality.
Of course, you must have a step by step plan in combination with your affirmation and then take the necessary actions to bring you success.
I will point out that, especially for the Law of Attraction fans, there is another step for taking full advantage of affirmations. Just repeating proper affirmations at times during your day can be effective, however, taking a deeper, more meaningful approach will have a much greater impact.
When we are in a quiet, meditative state of relaxation, we can more easily fool the mind into believing that what we visualize is the same as our desired reality. The mind cannot tell the difference between what is vividly imagined and actual reality. If we meditate or quietly relax while visualizing our desired outcome with as much detail as possible to make it as real as we can, then our mind will believe that it has already happened…for the moment.
Naturally, the more times we use this process, the stronger the effect will be and the more likely we will experience positive results. Combine this with a powerful intention (goal) along with the correctly worded affirmation and we will have given ourselves the best chance for making our dreams come true.
I like using the following formula for success. As in the example above, you would write your goal to lose weight with a completion date as “I attain my ideal weight of 160 pounds by December 31st, 2015 by eliminating excess sweets (or whatever diet/exercise plan you are using) and exercising a minimum of x times per week. I feel physically and mentally refreshed being healthier and I enjoy life more than ever.”
It is imperative that a completion date is initiated in order to effect a mechanism of time reference. You will want to have a date positioned so you can pace yourself in the time allowed to achieve your goal. This will keep you on course and motivate you to move in the direction of your intention.
I think it is important that you write out how achieving this goal will make you feel during the process and at completion. When you feel good, you will always perform better and enjoy life more. It is equally important to read this goal daily and take time to meditate on it, even if it is only a few minutes.
Then, you would write your affirmation similar to as written above, “I am becoming healthier and feeling better by moving toward my ideal weight of 160 pounds.” I know you will feel good just moving toward this goal and that feeling will place you on the fast track to your satisfaction of attainment.
It only takes a slight shift in the way you manage your goal-setting techniques to put you firmly in the driver’s seat. Affirmations are a wonderful way of keeping you on pace while providing a sense of satisfaction and excitement.
Devise detailed, worthwhile goals that are meaningful to you, take actions that move you forward, repeat often the affirmations that make you feel good, and you will create the life you desire.
Living An Enchanted Life
Wouldn't it be nice to live an enchanted life? What would living a magical life be like? Is that even possible?
We have magical experiences in our dreams at times, at least I do. I travel this world, and other-worldly places, in an instant seeing things, people and beings that are strangely or wonderfully unusual. I have bounced around the outside of buildings and trees sparring with ninja instructors in mid-air and, like most times, just floated over the ground peacefully, while gliding along and maneuvering through forests, over glassy lakes or through bustling metropolitan areas.
Flying without any devices, just my body is my favorite experience in the dream state. These flying or floating dreams occur often for me and are the most incredibly fulfilling experiences. Each time I wake up after the dream, I feel as though it really happened in my waking reality. It is a real and vivid memory that I feel distinctly in my mind and body as if it truly happened.
Though these are only dreams, I know exactly what it feels like to float and soar above the earth. It is so real to me that I would probably fail a polygraph test when asked if I had ever actually floated around. Even if my answer is no, the test would more than likely show that I am lying because I remember too clearly my dreamed flights.
These enchanting experiences are just a snippet of what we may discover in our day to day lives... yes, even in our waking moments! We can find magic in everything we see and do. There are so many opportunities to see the wonder and beauty of the enchanted that spills into our lives each day.
When we look at a colorful sunset, we see the magic of the sun and earth. When we look at the stars in a clear night sky, we see the magic of our universe. When we look into the eyes of other human beings, we see the magic of our souls.
These enchanting/magical experiences are our creations. They may be consciously or subconsciously created. Either way, they can be very powerful and moving. Opening our minds and hearts to these experiences is paramount. Once we are able to allow magic into our lives by casting aside old notions of how reality should be experienced or what possibilities are able to be achieved, then we can receive enchanted moments on an ongoing basis.
Life is filled with wonder when we allow our imaginations to influence the way we experience daily events. For instance, when looking at a tree, we can imagine the tree interacting with us in a personal way. The tree essentially supplies us with life-giving oxygen. Its shade provides us with a retreat from the blistering sun or pouring rain. The sound of the wind blowing through the leaves soothes and uplifts us. Beauty is displayed by the leaves glistening as they reflect the sun’s rays. Trees shelter animals and other creatures. Their virtues are countless.
When feeling stressed at work, I take a few seconds to glance at the stand of trees outside my window. I imagine my connection with the trees and express my appreciation for them. I enjoy the beauty and wonder of this creation. Each time I have this enchanting encounter, I feel more relaxed and clear.
We can discover enchantment in our daily lives by looking for it. It takes slowing down a little here and there. Instead of just saying good morning to that coworker as you walk by their office, try taking a few seconds to pause and look into their eyes while you are speaking. Connect with them, engage their spirit, give them a chance to engage your spirit, and feel the magic of the human experience.
So often, we cruise through the day on autopilot while missing chances to be present in the moment with our environment and those around us. Ask your Higher Self, the God of your heart, or the Universe to present you with opportunities for magical moments each day so you can begin living an enchanted life.
Public Health Alert: Kindness is Contagious
My friends, along with myself, consider me somewhat of a germophobe. I don’t feel that I am not too obsessed with it, but I am extremely careful about touching handles and doorknobs, especially when cold and flu viruses are in full force.
My reluctance to shake hands with people or share food and drinks may come across to others as unfriendly gestures, but for me, it is just my way of being careful. Most contagions are spread by touching something an infected person has touched and then placing your finger around your eyes, nose or mouth. My wife thinks I am being paranoid at times, however, I rarely become ill.
One contagion I would prefer to be exposed to is Kindness. I would love to catch this on a regular basis and infect others with it as well. Kindness is very contagious and can spread quickly and easily when we allow ourselves to become exposed, willing vessels.
When one becomes infected with kindness, they feel symptoms of love, empathy, concern, benevolence, appreciation, and gratitude. They experience an uncontrollable desire to spread their infectious condition to others. They are profoundly aware of how the spread of this condition can improve the wellbeing of those touched by it.
An act of kindness can be transmitted from one person to another rapidly, with little or no effort. In fact, a kind thought alone can be healing and comforting. When our minds contract a case of kindness, it can spread to areas of our physical and spiritual being too. It can overcome our entire mind and body and cause a state of blissful wellbeing.
Kindness is a catalyst for change. It is a stimulus for wholeness and connectedness with the world. The spread of this condition is imminent and the consequences of contracting this contagion can bring about a worldwide epidemic of love, peace, and tranquility.
If you would like more information about the effects of this condition and the possibility of becoming infected, just initiate a kind act toward someone…anyone. Speak a kind word, behave in a kind manner or do something kind for another human being or even an animal.
You will receive all the information you need just by being kind and listening with your heart for more guidance. One kind deed leads to another, and another, and another. If everyone that comes in contact with kindness spreads it to just one other person each day and that person spreads it to another, there will be an epidemic of unprecedented proportions of kindness throughout the world.
Think kind thoughts. Behave kindly. Perform kind deeds. Be kindness!
What the Flow?
What is “Flow” or the “Zone?” How do you know when you are in the Zone? Athletes know when they are in the Zone and can express easily what it feels like. Many athletes say they feel unstoppable, incapable of error, invincible, totally focused and aware. When they are in the Zone, everything seems effortless and completely natural.
This natural state of Flow is experienced by people in all walks of life. Doctors, Chefs, Professional Speakers, Salespeople, Homemakers and Writers all know what being in the Zone or Flow feels like. In fact, anyone can experience this lofty state of being at any given moment.
Flow is about focus. Being completely absorbed and fully immersed in the activity at hand. When we are performing at our optimum level of energized focus, we can harness our highest potential and align ourselves with the creative force of the Universe.
When in this state, we are able to screen out distractions, engage our unlimited potential, and perform the miraculous. Our emotions are in our complete control and our body transitions into a harmonious rhythm with the desired outcome. Every movement seems to encapsulate the essence of perfection.
Why then, don’t we operate in the Zone more often? Why do these fleeting moments of God-like perfection appear to be reserved for the few “special” people in life?
Maybe it’s because no one ever taught us how to achieve this state. Some think it is not something that can be taught. They believe only certain individuals can access the Zone.
I believe anyone can access this elusive Flow.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the author of Finding Flow, says “Flow tends to occur when a person faces a clear set of goals that require appropriate responses.” “Almost any activity can produce Flow provided the relevant elements are present, so it is possible to improve the quality of life by making sure that the conditions of Flow are a constant part of everyday life.”
When we find ourselves fully engaged in the process of achieving a worthwhile goal, we can more easily enter the gates of the Zone. When our actions are in alignment with our goals and intentions, and our focus is laser guided, then we may be granted access to this higher state of performance.
Our minds must be clear of clutter and distractions so there are no interruptions to this process. Once our attention is solidly on task and our awareness is open and free, then the mind will guide our body toward completion in the most efficient manner possible.
We can learn to control our attention with this simple exercise.
Find an object, a book, a bottle of wine or soda, a picture, a plant or vase, a cell phone, a piece of fruit or vegetable, or whatever appeals to you that is convenient.
Examine the item for two minutes and notice everything you can about it. Use every ounce of your will to hold your attention on this object. Notice every detail about it and describe it verbally, out loud, until about two minutes has elapsed.
Then release your attention from it and observe your surrounding area for a moment. Place your attention back on the object for another two minutes and continue describing it paying closer attention to more details. Repeat this process several times until you feel that there is nothing left to describe or that you have satisfactorily reclaimed total control of your attention.
You may feel that there is nothing left to describe during your first minute of the first pass but, I assure you, there are many details that will unfold as you continue to focus more and more intently on the item.
You will begin to notice things that you have never seen before as you focus, without distractions, intensely on the object. Your awareness will expand and your mind will pick up on things you would have never noticed before.
The first time I completed this exercise was with a box of tissue. After several rounds of intense focus, I was amazed at the details that were surfacing. I noticed how the box was folded and glued, the curved and straight edges, the size, the colors, the patterns of design, the two plies of the tissues, the small particles within the tissues, the dot matrix of the paint, the plastic holding the tissues in place for dispensing, the space between the solid color of the box and the design printed over it. I began to see the tiniest of details along with dust particles and creases in the box, small scratches, and marks. There were minute frays on the edges of the cardboard folds. I examined where the smooth, painted surfaces met the cardboard base. The more I focused, the more I discovered.
I found myself floating in a sea of Flow. All distractions had ceased and my mind was quiet but, extremely alert and energized. I realized how much of life I was missing by not giving my full attention to my activities and projects.
My goals began to display deeper meaning and I discovered that by just shifting and sharpening my focus, I could reach new heights in achievement. The Flow was now within my grasp and I could use it at will to complete my intentions.
Mystics refer to this Flow as “ecstasy” or “bliss.” Find your bliss by engaging your focus on a regular basis in whatever activity you desire.
What is it that drives us in life? What is the impetus behind our dreams? Why do some of us feel compelled to become the very best of who we are and others have no interest in improving themselves mentally, spiritually or emotionally?
When I was twenty-seven years of age, a friend turned me on to “The Psychology of Winning” audio program by Denis Waitley, Behavior Psychologist, author, and speaker. This program inspired my quest for self-analysis and self-improvement. For the next three decades, I would find myself immersed in self-improvement books, audio and visual programs, seminars and lectures.
My devotion to improving life for myself originated from my childhood horror of witnessing my father’s suicide. In the early years of my studies, I was desperately seeking a means of coping with my childhood emotions and memories. Ridden with guilt, shame, anger, frustration and depression, I knew the possibility of following the same path as my father was lurking in the future.
Fortunately, I had married the perfect woman for me. Paula was incredibly instrumental in helping me turn my life into one of my dreams. She assisted in opening my mind to experience life outside the confinement of my religious indoctrination and limited belief system.
A world of unlimited possibilities was in my own hands.
Many people have experienced far greater tragedies than I and my guess is that many of these individuals have been drawn into similar quests for wellbeing as a result. What about those who have easy lives and have never experienced major traumatic events?
Many are those who enjoy life as it is and have no interest in growing mentally or spiritually. They live each day as it comes and give little or no thought to aspirations of becoming the best person they can be. This is the way of life they have chosen and that is perfectly fine.
Then, there are those who are unhappy with their jobs, relationships and personal status. Even in the midst of discontent, they give no regard to learning ways of enhancing their lives. They wish things were better for themselves but, they will not put forth any effort in finding ways to improve their lives.
Maybe some feel helpless or they do not think anything will work for them and their particular circumstances. They settle in for the long, difficult ride hoping that something will miraculously change along the way.
The miracle is us! We can create the change at any moment during our lives. When we aspire for positive change, opportunities for change will present themselves. The more we open our minds and hearts, the more attainable our aspirations become. The more attainable our aspirations become, the more our aspirations will materialize. Finally, as aspirations materialize, we find ourselves living with an elevated sense of being and fulfillment.
Whether you are driven to success or content with life as is, there are advantages to making room for improvement in some area of life. I do not believe there are many people who are totally and completely satisfied with every area of their lives. Even if you do not think you “need” to change, there are still areas that can be improved upon.
For the highly driven person, a new level of success or achievement is always beckoning them forward. The fastest runners in the world have their records broken on a regular basis. They even break their own records. Of course, they aspired to do this.
Before we can improve the world we live in, we must change the world within. As we change, our world changes. As we improve, our world improves.
As Edward Bok, (creator of Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida) was quoted “Make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.”
Slow Down, Curves Ahead!
You may be thinking that the title of this article is directed toward a man who is being told by his woman to slow down during foreplay. I have been urged to slow down in that setting before, however, my wife has also told me, more times than I can count, to slow down, period! Meaning, slow my life’s pace down.
My tendency has always been to move and walk fast, perform duties fast and think fast. That last one gets me into more trouble than the others. When I think too fast and react instead of respond, then my decisions usually become less than desirable.
At this moment, while writing this article, I am recovering from hiatal hernia surgery. The procedure is named Nissen fundoplication and involves wrapping the upper portion of the stomach around the esophagus and attaching it to the diaphragm. Besides accessing the surgical point through my throat and down my esophagus, six incisions were made in my abdomen.
The surgery went well and only required one night in the hospital. I will be on a liquid diet for a couple of weeks and that is really not so bad.
What I am leading to is the fact that I have been forced to slow down this week. I cannot move or walk fast. It hurts! My body is telling me to move slow or else. It’s very much like participating in a sustained walking meditation. Every movement and step is done deliberately with mindfulness.
Even though it seems that I have wasted so much of my “vacation week” in recovery, not being able to get out of the house and enjoy my time off as I would have wanted, it has been a time to reflect and practice present moment awareness on a scale that I have not taken the opportunity to do before.
I am grateful for the chance to slow down and take a fresh, different perspective on my situation. The surgery has given me cause to experience life in a contrasting manner. I understand more fully the benefit of slowing down and viewing life in a mindful, deliberate way.
There may be curves ahead that slow us down on our path but, we should welcome them with open arms. Sometimes, the events we consider as negative, ultimately have the most positive outcomes. Every day is a learning experience. I love life!
Who’s the Boss Now?
Let’s say you work for a large company and they have hired a new general manager. This GM is obnoxious, crude, demeaning, and a bigot, but he has vast experience with running big companies and making them profitable most of the time.
You've never worked for a tyrant and you are petrified. Your biggest fears are that he will make many changes with the positions, schedules, pay plans and business operations as he has threatened to do before he was hired.
You and your coworkers are emotionally upset and concede to panic. You excitedly talk with each other and consider a demonstration outside the company’s entrance. You find yourself among about half the employees that are rebelling against the new GM.
Some of the employees have experienced working for such an individual in the past and are still hurting and emotionally distraught by the behavior of a similar supervisor. You commiserate constantly with them and complain vehemently without regard to the employees who are trying to make the adjustment in a positive manner.
The other half of the employees are trying to be supportive and give the new GM a chance to prove himself and to see exactly what will transpire as the transition takes place. They realize there is nothing they can do about his appointment to the position and decide to approach the situation cautiously, but with a positive attitude.
You are so charged with emotion and fear of an outcome that may never materialize, that you fail to be open to ways of making the most of your situation. You seem to be obsessed with resisting the change and begin to make choices that are counterproductive to forward progress.
Although all of the employees are concerned about the past behavior of the GM, and rightly so, half of the employees have made the choice to give the new GM the benefit of doubt. If things do not go well once he is in control, they are aware of other avenues they can take. At any time, they can decide to write the board of directors, who oversees the GM’s responsibilities, with their concerns. They can form focus groups to make suggestions and petition the board or the GM. They can approach the issues at hand with an attitude of making the best of an undesirable situation while coming up with ideas and suggestions that benefit everyone.
Unfortunately, both halves of the employees have taken sides and are unwilling to work with each other to resolve the issues. No one wants to feel helpless and left out. No one wants to be disappointed. No one wants to be disparaged.
How can this situation be resolved without making either side feel that they have lost or have been misrepresented?
There may not be an easy answer to this. However, there is hope! If each side can calm their emotions and think things through rationally and open-mindedly, they may be able to come to an agreement to work together and make the very most of their circumstances.
Sometimes we have to move beyond our hurt feelings and past experiences to find solutions that we may not have realized existed. However, it is easier for some than others to do this. If those who can find a way to do this can help those who cannot change, then more employees will feel empowered and hopeful.
The quest for positive change lies in the hands of each of us. It is up to those who CAN make changes to help those who cannot. We need to listen to each other intently and find empathy to support each other. We should comfort, advise and encourage each other into peaceful, meaningful dialog while utilizing every effort to come together in unity as employees and people of this great nation.
Clouds in the sky have always fascinated me. When I was about 4 or 5 years of age, I remember playing on the sidewalk with my older brother and other friends in front of our home in Miami, Florida.
It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon in the area of Little Havana, where we lived. My attention became fixated on the clouds. I had never noticed how the clouds moved across the sky. For some reason, I thought they floated in the same space every day…silly child!
When I began observing the cloud’s movements, I became excited and started screaming to everyone around me, “the clouds are moving, the clouds are moving!” Of course, everyone ran over to me to see what I was yelling about while pointing the sky.
They were scanning the sky looking for clowns. They were frantically looking around and asking me “what clowns?” and “where are they?”
“No, no, the clouds,” I replied insistently. They began laughing at me, calling me names and wondering how I could not know that clouds moved across the sky. It was my first great moment of intense realization of something. It was now known to me in a profound way. It was a thrilling recognition of an unprecedented event for me.
How could this incredible moment of wonder and elation turn into one of embarrassment and humiliation within seconds? The meaning I gave this event shaped my life in a negative way for many years to come.
I believed that due to my voicing aloud my discovery of the movement of clouds, I put myself in a vulnerable place and I was ridiculed for it as a result. I created a belief about speaking up in front of others that was detrimental to my social interactions. I now believed that speaking out would bring embarrassment and humiliation.
As a result of this new belief and other similar beliefs attached to it, I became shy and introverted. I would not speak up in school during class for fear of being harassed for speaking out loud the wrong answers. I was afraid to be made fun of for speaking my truth and so I clammed up and kept things to myself.
One small event can change an entire life. Just a few words from other children helped form my behavior and the way I viewed life. As adults, is it possible that we can have the same impact on children or even other adults?
No doubt! We can also impact other’s lives with positive words. We can use words of encouragement and give thoughtful advice instead of criticism and belittlement. We can also discover childhood events that may have led us to create negative beliefs and we can render these negative beliefs powerless and create new beliefs to move us forward.
Each of us possesses enough power to alter the course of another individual’s life. All it may take is one comment, one criticism, one condemnation to affect the life of another human being. Let us use our power to help others who may be easily influenced, especially children. Let us be selective with our choice of words. Let us make positive change easier for those who surround us.