“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
― Helen Keller, The Open Door
In my youth I was able to take a lot of risk to achieve my goals. I knew if I failed I had time on my side to recover from any mistakes I made. Regardless of how outlandish my dreams may have been I moved forward to achieve them with an inner trust knowing they were right for me. When I was a sophomore in high school my parents had limited income and were not in the position to give me extra spending money. I always had a passion to live life to the fullest so I got a part time job that provided me spending and some extra to save.
Once I started earning more money than I needed for entertainment I got the bright idea at the age of 16 that I wanted to purchase a piece a land for an investment. That Sunday in the real estate section of the newspaper I saw a full page add about undeveloped property for sale that would be developed in the future. The property was zoned to build doubles so I saw this as a great investment opportunity. I convinced my dad to consign the loan and I purchased the property.
Youth and success were on my side and I continued to take risks and achieve my goals. In this stage of the journey, being on a fixed income in retirement puts a different perspective on many aspects of our lives. It most definitely challenges my beliefs in taking risks. However my many years of approaching any challenge with a positive outlook is my saving grace.
Many people get paralyzed with fear when crises happen like the real estate market collapses, the stock market crashes, or the costs of raising and educating a family escalates. They totally shut down, are blind to any help, and certainly see any resolution as a risk. In many cases they connect with likeminded fear based people and lose the trust they had in themselves that anything is possible if you focus on a positive outcome and have a plan to make it happen.
That is when a renewed trust is much needed. Connecting with positive people, reading inspirational books and going to your personal tool box to draw on resources are all important. The risk is not necessarily financial. It can be a risk to make changes to be more positive so that you can be open to new and different solutions.
As I often mention, the tool I use daily is writing in my grateful journal. Following my writing I write one or two words to get guidance for the day. Yesterday my word was “trust.” Everything I picked up to read that day had something to do with trusting in yourself in making decisions and trusting in the advice received from friends. Needless to say I followed through with that message with a high level of confidence. It turned out to be a wonderful day. That sign renewed my inner spirit to trust in myself and to continue to take risks.
This week you may want to think about what positive changes you would like to make in yourself so that you can be a positive influence on those around you. Doing this is a major risk because it requires trust. Change always does. This can start with something simple like having a positive message on your voicemail for incoming missed calls. My message has caused people to call me and ask that I not answer the next call because they have people they want to hear the message. That is a tremendous sign that people want to hear more positive things in their lives.
Nothing is predestined: The obstacles of your past can
become the gateways that lead to new beginnings.
I'm presently reading "What the Mystics Know: Seven Pathways to Your Deeper Self" by Richard Rohr and wanted to share this quote with you.
"SPIRITUALLY STARVING IN THE MIDST OF PLENTY”
“A wall-eyed pike is put into an aquarium. He is fed for some days with little minnows. Then, in the middle of the experiment, a glass partition is placed down the middle of the aquarium so that the pike is now confined to one side. Then the researchers drop the minnows on the other side. Immediately, the pike goes for the minnows, but he hits himself against the glass. He circles and hits it again. He tries a third time, but he is now hitting the glass a little less hard. After a few more times, he’s just sort of nosing up against the glass. He has a feeling he’s not going to get those minnows. Pretty soon, he just swims around in circles and ignores the minnows on the other side. At that point, those doing the experiment take out the glass. The minnows come right up against the gills of the pike and he doesn’t even try to eat them. The experiment ends when the wall-eyed pike starves to death. He’s convinced he’s not going to get those minnows, so there’s no point in wasting his time or hurting his nose again.
That is the best image of cultural blindness I have heard. I wanted to weep when I first heard it, but I realized that the experiment is about human beings, not about fish. That’s much of the human story.”
This story is very revealing for those of us who are working on living a life of abundance in all areas of our lives. One of the practices I was taught at a very young age in my first selling newspaper and magazine subscriptions was to never get discouraged when someone wasn’t interested in what you were trying to sell them. There were many more houses in the subdivision and the law of averages increased if you knocked on every one of them. It worked and I always had a great daily average of subscriptions sold.
Once I have a clear vision of what I want to achieve and have established a plan of action to make it happen I never lose my focus on the goal. To achieve that success I use many of the tools that I have I have shared with you in my blog postings.
We just returned home from a three week dream trip to Europe to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary. The cost of this trip far exceeded our typical yearly travel budget. I posted pictures of the trip on my Dream Board, worked out a plan in our Prosperity Budget. Yes I ran into several glass partitions as the pike did in the aquarium but the tools I had to fall back on got me to the other side and I was able to achieve my goal.
You may have faced many obstacles in achieving your dream of living a life of abundance and have given up because of obstacles that blocked your vision of success. Now is the time to once again establish a success plan and work with the tools that will support you in overcoming those obstacles.
"Here's the problem. Most people are thinking about what they don't want, and they're wondering why it shows up over and over again".
When the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne was published in 2006 it stirred interest around the world. It immediately became a best seller with 20 million copies sold in 50 languages. "As you learn The Secret, you will come to know how you can have, be, or do anything you want. You will come to know who you really are. You will come to know the true magnificence that awaits your life." -from the Introduction
Implementing the principles taught in this book is very simple:
Step 1. Ask
"What do you really want? Sit down and write it out on paper. Write it down in the present tense. I am happy and grateful now....and then explain how you want your life to be in every way." I am a visual person so I take this practice to the next level by posting pictures of what I want to bring into my life on my Dream Board. The most current manifestations were two major dreams coming true, a Marriage Celebration with 50 couples celebrating 2,393 years of marriage, and a second honeymoon to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in Europe for 21 days.
Step 2. Believe
"Believe that it's already yours. Have faith, what I love to call unwavering faith. Believe in the unseen." This practice has helped me fulfill my passion for traveling around the world. I once wrote “I plan on presenting a marketing idea to management at the corporate office in Switzerland.” That Fall I received a call with an invitation for my wife and I to travel First Class to Switzerland where I would present my idea at an International Marketing Conference. Another time I wrote “I would like to take a surprise trip to Europe and travel to Lourdes once again.” A person in our sharing group came over with an envelope as a gift with enough $100 bills to pay for the trip.
Step 3. Receive
"Begin to feel wonderful about it. Feel the way you will feel once it arrives. Feel it now." When I am landscaping my garden I visualize the plants I want to place in the gardens. I feel great about the beauty they will bring. Sometimes it may take a few months to get them in the ground but I enjoy thinking about how they will look. This spring when a friend who is a landscape architect came over and wanted to know who designed my gardens. I felt great to tell him I had done them myself.
The Secret has been in my tool box of resource books for years. I was drawn to go back and read it after reading from my book of daily meditations A Spring within Us by Father Richard Rohr. Today's topic is “Your Response Is Your Reality. What you see is what you get. ‘What you seek is also what you get’.” Matthew 7:7-8
Father Rohr goes on to say “We mend and renew the world by strengthening inside ourselves that which we seek outside ourselves, and not by demanding it of others or trying to force it on others. This truth may sound like the Law of Attraction that is so widely discussed today, and often called The Secret, but there is one major difference. Drawing good things toward you, such as love, a successful relationship, some kind of reward, is fine and good--as far as it goes. But it is all about you! The Secret seems to be saying that your mind fully creates reality, which is only partly true. You do create your response to reality, and that response, for all practical purpose, is your reality."
This insight is great for me because as I have said many times I am motivated by success. When I implement a new practice into my life to assist me in living a life of abundance I want to see results. It is the response I have that has to change to the often times reality that at this time in my life what I seek is not yet in my best interest. I find my response to disappointment has evolved by my daily journaling expressing gratitude for the day and all it may bring to me.
You may want to start practicing the principles of the Secret today.
You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.
I have spent three quarters of a century searching for answers to how to live a life of abundance. Throughout my younger years my motivation was to have financial success. In the retirement years now my ambition is to live a purpose driven life. Because I have spent so much time searching I have acquired wonderful resources in my tool box to share with others.
Success for me is not equated merely by reaching my personal goals. The crowning achievement is my success in providing resources that others can draw on to achieve their self-defined successes to achieve a life of abundance for themselves.
A friend told me recently that her son had called my financial planner to schedule an appointment to discuss their planning to create a life of abundance. I am a strong believer in seeking professional advice for assistance in achieving my goals. Anything I have accomplished has been done with a roadmap to get me to my destination.
Recently we were at the reception following the Mass of Celebration of Marriage that my wife Jeanne and I planned with a team of couples. A friend said he was buying me a glass of wine because he and his wife were touched very deeply by this experience. When they got married they had only 25 or so people in attendance, with no professional photographer. Yesterday there was a photographer that captured pictures of both the Church ceremony and the reception which included individual pictures of every couple in attendance.
Realizing that this event touched the lives of those attending was a blessing. The success and large attendance were only possible by setting goals and having a strong support team to make it a reality. That is how this event developed into a large celebration of 2,393 years of marriage. Anything in life is possible to achieve if you set a goal and have good resources to guide and support your efforts.
One of the many comments I received from my posting on attracting positive people in my life was "I am trying. How do you find them?"
Whenever we give someone an inspirational book, CD, or invite them to come along to hear an inspiration speaker it gives us something in common to talk about. Many have become our network of positive people in our life.
Everyone has gifts and talents to share with others to help them live life to the fullest. This week you may want to spend some time helping one other person benefit from one thing you are doing to live a life of abundance. So many people send group emails on negative events happening in the world. It would be an easy start to forward only send positive information. Who knows how many lives will be touched!
Silence is the foundation of truth. Words are most meaningful when they emerge from silence and when they are received by a quiet mind.
~ Kenneth Cohen
My wife and I made a decision not to look at any news program on television for a week. The results of this experience have been amazing. Thoughts of positive possibilities have not being influenced or discouraged by a barrage of fear based negative news reports. I realize I cannot live in a bubble and it is reality that there are many horrendous happenings in the world today. But there comes a time when I need to separate myself from that in order to create a plan to make a positive difference in my world of family and friends.
We may not be able to change the world but we can change our world. For me the change has to come from within me first. Retirement offers me more control of my time. But I remember the days when the pressure of my job was unrelenting. Finances and family demands didn't allow much time for silence or meditation. This is when it is critically important to make a plan and schedule that time every day.
In our early years of marriage we opened our home to a family member going through a challenging time in her life. At a young age of 17 my wife's niece got pregnant and moved in with us during her pregnancy. Her troubling situation and her interactions with our three children created some very difficult situations. I can recall capturing a few minutes of silence by going in the closet to get a few moments of silence to regroup.
In today's world with information coming to us as soon as we awaken on our telephones, computers and early morning news shows, it can be very difficult to find time for reflective silence. At times there may be extenuating circumstances but truth of the matter is it is often just the day-in and day-out crazy pace of our lives. To make a positive change it will require pre-planning because the outside distractions will quickly discourage you from implementing a new practice.
When I wake up I immediately turn on the coffee maker to brew my first cup of coffee. Right next to my chair I have several inspirational daily meditation books from which I choose short reflective messages to read. This one practice has opened the doors for me to allow a flow of creative ideas to come into my mind.
We can make a positive influence in changing the impact of negative news. It all begins with the decision to start the day with a few silent moments, allowing our minds to open to peaceful and positive input.
It has taken me a long time to appreciate what a nun in grammar school would repeat every day, "Silence is Golden."
A man is but the product of his thoughts;
what he thinks, he becomes”.
The photo is from my daily affirmation calendar, www.hayhouse.com
It just happened to be relative to the message I had just written about before seeing it.
I enjoy being with people who want to experience life to the fullest. Their passion for life that makes a positive difference in the world invigorates me. I realize that one of my issues is I am passionate about so many things I sometimes overwhelm people. I am learning to accept people who do not have the same level of enthusiasm as I do.
The more I invest in a project that I think will make a difference in the world the more vulnerable I am to disappointment. Not everyone has the same passion for a goal as I do. I continually strive to realistically face the disappointment yet not allow it to halt my dreams and ambitions.
For many years before retirement from my full time jobs I volunteered to be the as Promotion Director for the Concrete Association. I would go to their office once a week and make suggestions for promotion ideas for the industry. Driving home I would often come up with additional ideas and then relate them to the secretary. She once told me “You have given me enough work for a week. Please stop thinking just listen to the radio!”
When I tell people I can visualize the roses in the non-blooming rose bush they may tell me they can only see the thorns and yellow leaves. I know I have to accept this there will always be those skeptics. But I also have to be exposed to supporters who can at least believe the bush will bloom!
I have been blessed being married to a wonderful woman for 50 years. Granted, she does not always see the roses but always supports me in my vision. It is that support and encouragement I seek in all my relationships.
I have also been blessed to connect with a circle of friends who are assisting me in cultivating my rose bush. I know I would never have seen blooms if it were not for their support and belief that anything is possible when you focus on positive possibilities.
In a few weeks a group of friend will be joining together to celebrate 2393 years of marriage. This would not have been possible without the support of friends who invested a lot of time to make it happen. The small group that first listened to the idea only had a total of 650 years of marriage to celebrate. But they connected to my vision of the blooming rose bush and quadrupled the numbers to make it a huge celebration.
You may want to spend some time visualizing the full blooms on your rose bush. Write down the names of a few friends who can join you and support that vision. Our world will become a better place in which to live when more positive possibilities come to fruition and indeed make a difference.
."When the well is dry we know the value of water”
What happens when the well seems to have run dry? This is what I have been experiencing during the last few weeks. I cannot write about experiences I am having that help me to live a life of abundance if I am not having anything fresh and new happening.
What I am learning from this experience is to sit back and allow life to unfold at its own pace. Being success driven and not being in control of that success is a major learning for me.
My experience at this time can offer hope for my readers. Knowing that even positive thinking people reach a roadblock at which time they too have to trust that a breakthrough will happen.
I continue to journal every morning by writing everything I am grateful for in my life. I am spending more time listening to CDs by Fr Richard Rohr. I connect with his nonjudgmental approach to spirituality and his positive approach he gives in living life to the fullest.
Writing this post has been a lesson within itself. Regardless of what blocks come into my path I will keep moving forward. If I don't experience the lesson I will not have anything in the future to share. Also I never stop pursuing my dreams even in times when nothing seems to be happening.
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.