Many of the tools I suggest have been practiced by me for more years than the age of the young man submitting his story to me. I read an article about Chris Degenaars a 19 year old in the June issue of Success magazine.
He gives me hope that living a life of abundance is possible for anyone that is willing to put into practice positive tools for success.
The 2 Things That Changed My Life
by Christopher Degenaars
From suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts to being genuinely happy with my life.
More and more I have found comfort in talking about what I have gone through mentally for a long time. It has become a big part in who I am now and also in how I have been able to talk with friends who suffer from similar situations. It hasn't been an easy path to this genuine happiness, but I don't think anything worthwhile is "easy" and it shouldn't be. I have had my setbacks and struggles, but the fact I don't fear waking up to the reality I am living is well worth the trip.
There were two main things that allowed me to open up and let myself actually be happy. Self-Awareness and practicing Mindfulness It started with being aware of who I am, what I can do, and what I can't. Something like a self-audit almost, realizing what I was good at and what I wasn't, and being able to accept that. I always loved writing and always loved helping others, combining these 2 things have allowed me to connect better with people and grow a better relationship with them.
I also had to realize in this process of being more self-aware that I cannot rely on other people to make me happy nor can I worry about making them happy. The only way for me to be happy and to make other people happy, was to focus on making myself genuinely happy. Which is a process that was and is scary, because it means focusing on you and not spending so much time on everyone else? For me, that was hard, because I was used to always helping other people.
When I was able to truly understand myself, I was able to be mindful of my situations.
I do a lot of meditating to help practice mindfulness, sometimes up to 3 times per day when stress and anxiety are overtaking me. This has allowed me to better connect to myself and also to better understand my circumstances. I was no longer letting little things bother me, because I understood that there was a bigger meaning behind it all.
All things are connected. When we realize that we are not just a person, but the physical being of something much larger that connects with all things in life, we think very differently.
When you realize and truly believe that your thoughts today will directly impact the circumstances in your life forever, you are willing to make a point to be a better person.
I was very lucky to have the mindset to adapt to these things easily, I know how hard it can be feeling like there is no hope. That is just an endless dark hole that you are just trying not to open your eyes in, and wishing you would just hit the bottom. I was able to take these mindset shifts into my life easily and make a full 360 to how I thought which allowed me to actually go out and live my life.
Until you are willing to find the thing in your life that is holding you back from actually living - then acting to change it, you will never be happy. You have two options in life: to run your life or let your life runs you. The choice is yours.
Social Media & Content Marketing
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
― Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose
During my career in marketing I would have never survived doing the same thing every day. I thrived on goals and expectations but I had to have the freedom to think outside the box to produce results.
That is how I developed a program that I titled Creative Marketing. My objective was to create a different approach to marketing. However along the way I still needed the encouragement and signs that my efforts were making a positive difference for my company.
Now, ten years after retirement I continue to seek ways to think outside the box to live life to the fullest. But once again I need signs that I am moving in the right direction. As I have mentioned several times in my blog one of my daily practices is to start my day writing in my grateful journal. It helps me to stay focused and provides me a great “lift off” to open myself to greater possibilities in whatever direction my thoughts may lead me. This morning after writing in my journal I read Fr. Rohr's daily meditation. The title is "Practice: Begin with Gratitude." Those words gave me the confirmation I am always seeking.
Not only is the title a sign to me, the content of the message in the daily meditation is supported by scripture. Quoting Fr. Rohr "Paul goes on to suggest that we fill our minds ‘with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good, everything that we love and honor, everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8). Paul also says that you should ‘Pray with gratitude, and the peace of God which is beyond all knowledge, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:6-7).’ ”
Fr. Richard Rohr also mentions the very first book I read when I entered my career in marketing “The Power of Positive Thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale. To again quote Fr. Rohr “I call it ‘replacement therapy.’ If we don't choose love and compassion, the human mind naturally goes in the other direction, and we risk joining a vast majority of people who live their later years trapped in a sense of victimhood, entitlement, and bitterness.”
One entry I write daily in my grateful journal is I am grateful for all the positive people in my life who live life with enthusiasm and passion and dream of unlimited possibilities.
“But the more you make the choice to live above your feelings, to trust God instead of what you may feel like doing, the stronger your faith becomes. It’s not about being perfect. We will always be on a journey of growing closer to God.”
― Tim Tebow,
In today's world it is very easy to get overwhelmed by the demands of life. This high stress now starts at a very young age. To succeed in this competitive environment children in the first grade start learning second grade material in the second half of the year. This pattern continues through life. For many when they reach retirement age they are ready to escape life. This is often when there is much more free time to look, listen and talk about negative news from around the world.
However, our retirement is quite different. Our grandchildren live close enough for us to be really involved in their lives. And fortunately my wife and I have been blessed to be involved with a group of retired couples who share interests in our church community, travel, social activities.
I still need to work on skills to connect with my inner guidance to live each day to the fullest. When things don't work out the way I think they should I want to blindly get in the driver’s seat and take control as I frantically attempt to resolve any problems or issues. Then I get discouraged because nothing seems to flow. That is what happened last week when I could not think of any topic to write about for my blog posting.
This morning I received all the answers I was seeking to move forward by using the resources I tap into daily.
The message for today in Daily Word is:
“Let Go, Let God
I allow the flow of Spirit to carry me.”
The message from A Spring Within Us
By Fr. Richard Rohr:
“The topic of today's reading is Letting Go into God.”
The Guides Cards message:
The interpretation: “Weight lifted. All is clear. The sky is the limit.”
I highly recommend having a source of tools available for use daily. Choose your sources carefully. Choose sources that help you
discern the guidance you seek to live life to the fullest. Your living that life encourages others to move forward when they feel discouraged.
“I truly believe the intention of creating positive change is so important to the collective consciousness. When you have a group of people that have the intention and the capacity, talent, and intelligence to actualize those intentions, then you have something really powerful.”
The key thing for me is to bring that experience into my daily life. I realize I have to take precautions in all areas of my life because of the world we are currently living in. I also know that the same collective energy that is created at the Jazz Fest can be
created in our home environment and then brought into everything we do and everyone we touch.
That is why I subscribe to multiple newsletters many with daily messages dispelling the focus on fear by offering positive possibilities. The following from Jennifer Hoffman’s newsletter has been modified to briefly give you her basic message. Jennifer is an international renowned intuitive, Energy Master and popular radio host whose broadcast reaches a global audience.
Here’s my paraphrase "The power of our shared intentions carries a lot of power so rather than allow the doom and gloom prophecies scare you (which is why I never make them) we can set a positive intention for us to see things as a blessing, not a curse, and whatever happens will be OK.."
I am not advocating taking foolish risks. I do however suggest that we need to be cautious of allowing our lives to be controlled by the fears and negative opinions of others. The key way I do this is to surround myself with people who are focused on positive possibilities and can see the potential for good in so many people and circumstances.
“There is no exercise better for the heart
than reaching down and lifting people up.”
As a young person I often heard the words “Choose your friends wisely because they will be a reflection of you and who you will become.” It is a message that still influences me and today I am blessed to be surrounded by generous service-minded friends.
It is easy to lose hope and trust in others by focusing on the news that continually highlights troubling local and world events. At times I find myself thinking somebody in power should do something about that and at least give equal time to great things that are happening. Of course that thought releases me of any responsibility. For years I have been working on what I can do to make me a better person so that I can have something to offer those seeking change. By doing this I have attracted likeminded people into my life who are making a difference.
My wife and I are firm believers in tithing. It has been one of the safest investments we have made and the return of those investments has always paid huge dividends. When we were raising our family a major part of the tithing was in being of service to others. That was when we did marriage preparation programs for engaged couples, taught a marriage course in high school and worked on a team giving Marriage Encounter weekends.
Recently my wife and I have been blessed to work with a team of four couples who are tithing their time by devoting many hours to prepare a liturgical and dinner celebration for a group of couples celebrating 2200 years of marriage. This is an event Jeanne and I dreamed of for the year of our 50th Wedding Anniversary. It is truly a phenomenal sign for us that what you give out comes back. Our efforts to elevate the Sacrament of Marriage 45 years ago are coming back to us a hundredfold. This event could not have been possible to achieve alone. It is taking a team effort to pull it together.
Another tithing gift that has come back a hundredfold is my “habit” of giving books that inspired me to family and friends. Some of these books have been on finances, others on personal and spiritual enrichment and wellness.
Over the years I have received several calls letting me know these books inspired them and initiated positive changes to create the life of abundance they seek. A recent call I received was from a 50-year-old man who implemented an investment and budget plan I suggested to him 30 years ago. He also read several of the books I gave him and implemented many of the ideas he received. He said last week he was told by his financial advisor that if he continued his present contributions he would far surpass his million dollar goal by retirement.
Tithing is a gift that can be used in several different ways and at all ages and regardless of financial means. Our grandchildren are doing this by service hours they give as a requirement of their school curriculum. Senior citizens are doing this by sharing their expertise of their lifetime career.
Our friends are doing this in many ways but one that has involved our social group is the adoption of a family in need every year at Christmas. The generosity of the group has touched many lives.
Each couple/person puts their cash contributions in a sealed envelope. The group is told the total amount collected and it is then given to the person or family in need.
Several years ago we attended a workshop by Dr Wayne Dyer on his then newly released book “Manifest Your Destiny.” He said the following “Giving and receiving are a natural function of life. The natural flow of giving and receiving can be stopped by stinginess and hoarding. The process works in the same way on a spiritual level. You send out love and kindness and it returns to you tenfold. The old saying, ‘What goes around comes around,” is much more than a pithy homily. It is a fact of the universe at all levels of awareness. In fact it is what this whole business of manifesting is all about.”
A dream which is not interpreted is like a letter which is not read.
When you go public with your beliefs it is risky. That is why I spend time seeking signs to support what I am doing and to discern the topics of my blog postings.
The signs I receive through the response of my readership are obvious. The subtle signs that I sometimes miss are the ones that are most important.
I wrote the following in my journal before interpreting the dream I had the next night. "I am grateful to release my ego, my control and let God and the angels direct me with my writings for my blog."
Initially I did not pay any attention to the dream. But I did write it down as I always do. I read it for a second time and decided to put some effort into interpreting it. In this dream I was outside with others and a man suggested I put saline solution in my nose to help me breathe better. He had a syringe with him and he proceeded to put in the solution in my nose. He then told me that my hearing would improve by putting the same solution in my ears.
I had no idea what the message was so I looked up the symbols in my dream book and also on dreambible.com. The first thing I do in interpreting any dream is to write down the key symbols. http://www.dreambible.com/
The following symbols were significant in this dream:
Man - My aggressive, practical, assertive side of self
Nose - Your intuitive sense, listening to your gut instincts,
or ability to feel a situation out
Ear - Being open to guidance for new ideas
Nose Spray - A high level of ease to alter a situation to
The message I got from this dream answered what I wrote in my grateful journal seeking guidance. Here’s the message I discerned. “I am aggressive and assertive about anything I believe in and want to share with others. I need to let go of control, flow with ease, listen to my gut instincts and be open to guidance for new ideas.”
Being the personality that likes recognition and appreciation sometimes keeps me from writing about topics. My last posting “Wellness is Abundance” was one of those topics I realized would not give readers warm feelings. It was challenging but it was a message I felt compelled to share. The dream confirmed that I have to always go with my gut instinct by listening to the guidance I receive.
Writing down the key words from our dreams offers a great opportunity to get powerful messages and guidance in our quest to create a life of abundance. To start this practice it is suggested that there always be a pen and notebook on your nightstand. It is so important to immediately write the symbols down upon awakening. Our dreams fade away very quickly once we start our daily routines.
To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise
we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
A major block to creating the life of abundance we seek is not investing the time and energy into wellness, both mental and physical. We take better care of our cars than we do our bodies. I have never missed a timely oil change or run out of gas in my car.
There are many obvious ways to nourish our bodies with healthy foods and nutrients that give us physical energy and mental alertness. What I hear from many of my readers raises a red flag. By making a few changes they could easily create the abundance they are seeking.
A few years ago my blood pressure went out of control. I was also carrying around an extra 14 lbs. of body weight. The desire to get control of the situation forced me to make some changes. I seriously re-evaluated my diet and physical exercise. I looked long and hard at the stresses in my life, many of which could be made less impactful once recognized. My action plan worked and I was able to reduce my medications, achieve ideal body weight, and regain my high level of energy.
The following are the things I am still doing to keep stress manageable, sustain energy, and maintain clarity in my thinking, all of which enables me to live an abundant life.
With my first cup of coffee in the morning I write in my grateful journal. When I first started doing this I wrote a few sentences but now the words seem to flow and it is a full page. Being grateful sets the tone for the day. I then read a few pages from spiritual and uplifting sources. Meditation is the final part of my daily ritual.
Many people will say they do not have the luxury of time to incorporate these practices into their daily routine. The same principle works for Healthy Living that I used in saving small sums of money to create a retirement nest egg.
First things first: Set the alarm to wake up 10 minutes earlier and use that time to start one practices. You may be drawn to quiet reflection of the many blessings in your life. You may be drawn to reading something inspirational. You may be drawn to a specific prayer.
Many people are so rushed in the morning they skip breakfast. They manage to get a cup of coffee down and have a slice of toast. They miss the opportunity to provide the fuel of a quality protein which their body needs to start their day. For the past 35 years I have consistently drank a protein drink with fresh fruit after my cup of coffee. A good protein source in the morning is key to maintaining a high level of energy throughout the day.
When my blood pressure was out of control one of the first questions my cardiologist asked me was did I cut my own grass or did I hire someone else to do it. I told him I did it myself. He said that was great!
He also encouraged me to incorporate both cardio and weight barring exercises into my routine three times a week. He said nautilus equipment was not just for young people wanting to increase muscles mass, but also for seniors who wanted to keep healthy bones. That is why anyone with osteoporosis is encouraged to use weight bearing exercises.
He suggested it would also be better to eat a substantial lunch and a very light dinner before 6 p.m. After 2 p.m. the body goes into a rest cycle and it’s more difficult to digest heavier meals. A habit that truly does affect our digestion is watching the news. We should never engage in this activity while eating!
BUT watching the late night news can have horrendous effects on our overall health. The overwhelming negativity can create anxiety, and cause interrupted sleep patterns.
Many of our choices make a major difference in living a healthy life of abundance.
“It’s not what happens but what you do that makes a difference.”
A few days ago I wrote about the slump I was experiencing. It was time to put into practice what I teach our grandchildren. Life was indeed serving me lemons. I shortly realized that it was time to make lemonade. Then the most amazing things started happening.
Our State tax refund that was randomly pulled for review and would possibly be delayed for 90 days was released and deposited in my checking account.
My stats of my weekly blog posting surpassed all previous weeks. On my Vision Board I had posted my dream was having 2000 viewers weekly. Last week 2212 people checked out my blog.
I received a letter from someone to whom I had written a letter of appreciation.
The following was helpful for me in moving forward:
I looked back to my resource material on the Enneagram to get a better understanding of myself and how I react to life's challenges. Once I understood what causes me to both thrive and survive I was able to “Let Go and Let God.” For those interested in learning more about the Enneagram I recommend this basic book to start, The Enneagram Made Easy by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele.
I reviewed my resources of affirmations I use to help me change my thinking especially when I am not in control of what is happening in my life. Here are a few of those affirmations:
I am enthusiastic and I have an excitement for life.
I am creative and a great problem solver.
I am enjoying a life of spiritual and financial abundance.
My boss before retirement taught me a great lesson. He always caught me doing something right and broadcasted that to upper management. This caused me to get international recognition for my Creative Marketing program.
I decided to focus away from myself. I did what I was taught by catching someone doing something right and letting them know about it. I wrote a letter to the person who motivated me last week with his inspirational talk. I let him know how much his words meant to me and how he lifted my spirits. He wrote back and said he was in a challenging time in his career and my words of appreciation were appreciated by him
Lessons I learned:
Do not give up on your dream of living and creating a life of abundance.
Regardless of surprised curve balls in life, keep expanding the tools in your resource library. Quick accessibility to the adequate tools can expedite recovery.
When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.”
― Benjamin Franklin
What to do when the well runs dry? This is a difficult challenge for a Three personality on the Enneagram. There are times in life when everything seems to be at a standstill and the tools to create a life of abundance are not working. Being success driven person with a lifetime of sales experience this stagnation gives me a double blow.
I am currently reading a daily meditation from Fr. Rohr's book A Spring Within Us.. Coincidentally his writings are now focused on the Enneagram and the today’s reflection was on the Type Three: The Need to Succeed. To order Spring Within US click below:
Threes are the most disconnected from their own feelings and the most in tune to the feelings of a group or audience. Threes have a strong need to succeed, and they often do. They thrive on praise, recognition, and admiration. Mature Threes are able to use their tremendous gifts and energy to help other people competently and effectively, and to motivate them to discover their own potential.
Reading this about my personality lifted my spirits. I have often reflected on this but needed to once again instill this information in my mind and heart. It helped me to connect with my feelings that surfaced when the following events happened. Once I recognized the suppressed feelings I was able to move forward in spite of the challenges.
The following were the events that happened that put a dark cloud over my energy level:
Last month we were surprised when our CPA called and said we were getting nice refunds on our federal and state taxes. The Federal tax refund was deposited and within days we learned our car needed major repairs. The next thing was scheduling an appointment for major dental work. The combination of the two used up the entire federal refund with some expenses not covered. The next day I received a letter from the State informing me our tax refund would be delayed 90 days because our taxes were randomly pulled for review. This seemed ridiculous to me. Nothing in my income stream has changed since my retirement 10 years ago!
A few days later I cashed in a year’s savings of loose coins. That night our technical service man came to connect a new device to our universal remote. He informed me our remote was obsolete and we needed to replace it. The cost of the new remote and the two-hour service call depleted the money from cashing in the coins.
This almost seemed comical!
Thankfully within the following week I started getting signs from the tools I use from my toolbox that the storm had passed and better days were on the way.
This morning I read about the universal energy during the past week in one of my resource newsletters. Jennifer Hoffman said" if you had a tough time this last week all of humanity got squeezed through an energy portal that stripped a lot of old energy from our energy field. April should be a better month energetically." Jennifer has a blog “Enlightened Life” and conducts workshops worldwide.
The message from the Daily Word was Divine Ideas:
“ I open my mind to divine ideas. My way is made clear. Be still, and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:10
The final inspiration came this morning from the principal of the school two of our grandchildren are attending. His personal story and the beautiful way he supported, encouraged, and complimented the children brought me to tears. He highlighted their many successes and affirmed their abilities to create an amazing future.
His words truly touched my soul!
I have often heard comments from my readers that facing the challenges of life is easier for me because I am always positive. But the fact is there are many times I have to choose to patiently turn negative experiences into Positive Possibilities.
e to edit.
Inside every human being there are treasures to unlock.
This week a friend passed on to eternal life. We spent five years working with Larry and his wife offering Marriage Encounter weekends to couples in Louisiana and other states. We also assisted in establishing small communities for couples to meet weekly to strengthen their marriage by discussing concepts they learned on their Marriage Encounter weekend. Larry and Yvonne would have celebrated their 58th Anniversary on May 28. On that date a Memorial Service celebrating Larry’s life will now be held.
Larry's daughter called in deep grief wanting to know if we had anything that her dad had written to or for us. She said she would greatly treasure having a copy of it to remember her dad. Larry was an eloquent writer and was gifted in the way he could express his appreciation of a friendship as he described the unique qualities of his friend in his written words. I remembered for my 40th birthday he had presented “a roast” of sorts at the surprise party my wife had planned for me. It was a hidden treasure I had filed away 36 years ago. I read it yesterday. My wife who is the number one member of my Positive Pops fan club said that Larry’s words written that many years ago describe perfectly the person I am to this day. I am sharing what he wrote with you in memory of a friend who lifted me up yesterday and whose words once again impact my life in a powerful way.
The “roast” is several pages long but I am only sharing a portion so you can get the message of the impact these words had on my life at 40 and once again today. I am somewhat reluctant to share this because he said so many positive things to say about me. Truly it is more about the character and goodness of my friend whose thoughtful words still impact me today.
Life is indeed short. You may want to write a letter to your spouse or friend and let them know what you see in them and appreciate about them. It may open a window into their soul. It may allow them to appreciate qualities in themselves they have perhaps overlooked. Larry left me a treasure, a perception from a very dear friend of a much younger me. It is so heartwarming to me to rekindle my memory of those wonderful years of such a unique friendship. It is also self -assuring to know that I am still that same person, a little older and wiser but basically the same.
Tribute to Jesse at his 40th Birthday Party 1981
by Larry Guidry
John Kennedy’s remarks about some men dream dreams and “wonder why” and others dream dreams and ask “why not,” is perhaps a fitting opening to this profile of a very dear friend. Each of us has witnessed Jesse’s dreaming and his “why not” attitude.
It is indeed further appropriate that Jesse’s birthday and the celebration of Columbus Day coincide. Columbus was a Fifteenth Century dreamed who dared to challenge the conventions of the medieval world. Setting out to find a passage to the East, he discovered a new world without falling off its edge. However, unlike Columbus who steered west to find the east, Jesse takes a more direct route and shoots for the moon, and only rarely falls on his ass.
Legend has it that Jesse came from another planet and possesses supernatural powers and that is why he sets his sights so high and sometimes appears to be flying in and out of the house. But more informed sources relate that he was a normal child, born of earthly parents, and it was the ravages of puberty that left him with indomitable optimism and stupendous energy.
Jeanne’s mother said he was shy and looked like a high school kid. He appeared to be walking on eggs, not water…or maybe he was hovering. (Evidently she had not heard the rumors about his super powers. Lutcher was a town of great skeptics in those days.)
Needless to say, the team of Jesse and God managed to sell Jeanne on Jesse. Jeanne of course, vowed never to reveal the source of Jesse’s power.
(Be it human or supernatural) under pain of becoming an energetic optimist herself. And so it was that they set up their own “little church,” to coin a phrase from one of their friends, and began to create a haven in a heartless world.
My own observations about Jesse are both humorous and heartwarming. He is a Quixote-like person, often jostling with windmills, but very often I discover that it wasn’t his mania but my own lack of perception that created the illusion.