“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don't.”
It has always amazed me that some people will eagerly embrace new ideas to live a life of abundance. Whereas others will repeat the same patterns and continue to complain about how bad things are in the world. The world cannot change if we do not change OUR WORLD which must start in our own environment. Everything I share in my posts comes from what I have personally experienced and have had success in implementing in my life. I also eagerly seek insights from professionals who teach these principles who have witnessed their effectiveness time and again. It is very encouraging too when friends share ideas that are working for them.
Presently we have a huge number of people participating in making positive changes because of the Lent/Spring season. It is a season that encourages us to do something in our lives that will help us live life fully and experience more joy and abundance.
I want to share what a friend decided to do for Lent and then I will share an idea from the book in my tool box that supports what they are doing. A couple in our senior social group decided they would do something positive for Lent this season. Instead of “giving up something” they focused on positive action. Every day for 40 days they are going through their closets, attic and house seeking something they are no longer using. They then bring these items to a charity to be distributed to those in need.
I know they are doing this as a spiritual practice, but it is backed up with support that clearing clutter has life changing benefits. In the book that I have referenced in previous postings Feng Shui Your Life comes the following information:
“Clearing clutter and cleaning space are the first steps in creating awesome energy within yourself and your surroundings. If you start with a clean slate, your dreams and goals will manifest much faster and easier.”
On my dream board I have a picture of a chair for our living room I wanted to replace a chair that no longer fit after we purchased new living room furniture. It was still in great shape and had rarely been sat upon. We held on to this chair waiting until we found another that we liked. We could not find the perfect chair, so we finally decided to give away that chair to a local charity. Last week we decided to just browse around furniture stores with no pressure for an immediate purchase. As we were exiting the last store we intended to visit, we found the exact chair we wanted. Once the space was open, we found exactly what we wanted.
Whenever we make a positive change it is not easy when we are doing it alone and do not have support. Now is a great time to make a positive change by implementing a new practice because we do have the support. A large group of people are doing Spring Cleaning, and many are embracing “positive action” for Lent.
You may want to share your success story in the comment section. How is your Lenten options/Spring Cleaning progressing?
“The way we experience the world around us is a
direct reflection of the world within us.”
Today Lent is a much-anticipated day for those of us who live in New Orleans. As soon as the fireworks and New Year’s parties are over, we get ready for endless partying until midnight of Fat Tuesday. This year I participated in many of these activities. Some of the partying became public when a video was posted on Facebook of me line dancing on the street while waiting for a parade. I did have a great time!
I am excited about the upcoming 40 days because these six weeks offer me a quiet reflective time to select one or two things from my tool box to seriously practice daily. This discipline can assist me in making a major positive change in my life.
In the past I have written about a tool I use daily, writing and saying affirmations. Some people have said to me that this sounds like a New Age practice.
It may be that for some but for me it creates trust and faith that what I want to attract in my life will manifest if I truly believe it will happen. One of my favorites affirmations is “I accept good graciously into my life. All of my needs are met abundantly for me now and always.”
I feel encouraged about the message I am sharing with others when I receive confirmation from people I hold in high regard. A few days ago in Fr. Richard Rohr’s daily reflection he talked about the importance of affirmations.
“We have been conditioned to focus on the negative in ourselves and others. Think of a negative phrase you have said aloud or thought to yourself that stems from a sense of shame rather than your inherent dignity. Turn it upside down and say, in the first person, present tense, an affirmation of your God-given value. For example:
I don’t have enough....I have everything I need.
I am alone....I am indwelled by God’s presence.
I am worthless...I am precious in God’s eyes, I am honored, and God loves me.
Repeat the positive statement aloud, slowly, with intention and trust, several times. Then rest silently in the awareness that you are already and forever, without any effort or achievement on your part, a beloved child of God.”
I believe the practice of daily affirmations during the 40 days of Lent can create unlimited possibilities and perhaps even create a habit that can certainly enrich your life.
“No person was ever honored for what he received, but for what he gave.”
A few days ago I listed a few tools that may be of benefit to you during this upcoming season of Spring and Lent. One of the ideas was, “Pay it Forward.” I gave a suggestion of telling the cashier in the fast food line to apply your change to the next person’s bill.
The next morning in the newspaper the headlines were that Tom and Gayle Benson’s charitable foundation gave $5 million dollars to a local high school.
My immediate thought was I am telling my readers that passing on change from a $20 bill will make a difference in someone’s life and the Bensons just gave away millions. A few days later I received a confirmation that small acts of “paying it forward” do matter. Regardless of the dollar amount people appreciate the generosity.
Every year during the Mardi Gras season we support a local school’s annual fund raiser that is on the parade route. We purchase a package from them that includes parking, grandstand viewing and food. When we entered the parking lot the organizer of the event thanked me for supporting them and said they were especially grateful for my additional donation. My wife looked at me and said how much extra money did we give because they seem to be so grateful. I told her when checking out as I registered on line, a pop-up appeared and asked if I would consider making a $20 additional donation. I checked “yes,” not giving much thought to such a minimal amount. It was very surprising to me that my small gift was even recognized.
One day we may all be in the financial position to make large charitable contributions. In the meantime this recognition of a small donation supports the benefit of giving from your substance because it does make a difference.
You may want to share with the readers any situation you experienced when “Paying it Forward” made a difference.
“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.”.
---Sarah Ban Breathnach
A powerful energy will soon be upon us to give us a second chance of achieving our new year’s goals. As I mentioned in previous postings statistics are not in our favor because 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. We can reverse those statistics and greatly increase our odds for success in achieving our goals by getting a jump start in preparing for the upcoming wave of support.
I just read an article by Savannah Marie on The History of Spring Cleaning and why it is important. The following is paraphrased from that article: “Spring cleaning is not unique in the U.S. it’s actually practiced all over the world in one variation or another. Spring is the most popular time, which seems to have roots in religion. Part of why it’s so popular to go through spring cleaning is that it makes us feel better. Having a clean space is good for you It reduces stress, increases productivity, and helps promote gratefulness.”
My wife is a pro when it comes to removing clutter to allow a constant flow of new energy to enter into our house. She keeps a shopping bag in the corner of our office in which she puts household items we are not using or clothing we no longer wear. Every month we stop by the Habit for Humanity bin to recycle those items that are no longer of use to us.
In the Christian tradition we have two opportunities to assist us in making positive changes to achieve our goals in life. The first is March 6, the first day of Lent, and the second is March 20, the first day of Spring.
Everyone has their unique tools to help them achieve their goals in life. I personally have more success in taking positive action during the Lenten season instead of focusing on giving up something. Often the positive action I take becomes a normal practice that offers long term life changing benefits.
Take advantage of the Lenten and Spring seasons to renew the commitments you made in the beginning of the year to achieve your goals. It is a great time to commit to taking action by using the tools that work for you and help you make a positive change in your life.
Below is a recap of a few of the tools I have talked about that may be of benefit to you during this wonderful season of Spring and the Lenten season.
Spring is the season of rebirth and renewal. Make the most of it!
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times,
always with the same person.”
There are so many electives offered in high school and college curriculums today to help young people become successful in their careers. However, few if any, are offered on living a lifetime commitment in a relationship. When we were involved in the Marriage Encounter movement in our early years of marriage, we were invited to teach a course on communication in relationships at a local high school. When we stated that Love is a Decision and not a feeling it created quite a stir and tremendous discussion. Anyone who has remained married for over 50 years as we have can share many stories of the often times they have had to practice
“Love is a Decision.”
Valentine’s Day should be a national holiday because so many young married couples need a day just to focus on rekindling their romance. When you consider the fast pace of society, both spouses working, carpooling kids to school and nonstop after school activities filling every hour of the day, there just isn’t much time to focus on romance.
All relationships, including those in professional and social groups, go through three phases: romance, disillusionment and true joy.
In early marriage if romance is not evident the relationship typically heads for disaster very quickly. This is certainly evident by the high rate of divorce. It takes time and work to come up with creative ideas to spice up romance regardless of how short or long we have been married. One of our most memorable occasions was when I rented a room at a downtown hotel and checked in. I had brought Jeanne’s clothes and makeup to the room earlier. I told her our company was having a small gathering with the Vice President at a suite in the hotel.
Of course when we knocked on the door to enter there was no one there. Jeanne thought we were in the wrong location! I then said, “Let’s go downstairs to have dinner and then come back to our room.”
On the Marriage Encounter weekend we taught the value of each spouse writing a daily love letter for 10 minutes while apart and their sharing those letters with one another before going to bed. Fr. Chuck Gallagher was insistent that all team couples had to participate in that practice daily or they could not give weekends. Instead of searching for a Valentine card that has the right message it may be a good way to spark the flame of romance by getting a $1 notebook and spending 10 minutes writing what you truly appreciate about your spouse and why you would not want to go on living without them.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
“The happiest people in the world are those who feel absolutely terrific about themselves, and this is the natural outgrowth of accepting total responsibility for every part of their life.”
The gift of curiosity coupled with an urgency to take immediate action to seek new discoveries afford me many blessings in my life. A particular incident in my career comes to mind now. I developed my own creative marketing approach in my field. It was innovative, yet uncomplicated. I thought this tool would be of value worldwide. I was on cloud nine when I received an invitation to go to Switzerland to talk about this approach at an international marketing conference. It was disappointing to say the least when two European representatives expressed their lack of interest remarking that they already had their market share and there was no reason for them to put out such additional effort.
However it continued to prove beneficial to me and I continued to use that approach until I retired.
For some time I have been sharing through my postings some of the tools and ideas I have been implementing to facilitate a life of abundance. I realize many people have successfully used their own tried-and-true approach. My disappointment comes when I am approached by those who express a desire to make positive changes, but they do not take move to the next step, the action, to implement any of the ideas.
The following three areas that created both excitement and resistance to change have surfaced this year by my readers:
For many it seems easier not to deal with the consequences of debt, overspending retirement savings, and paying ridiculous interest rates on credit card debt. One thing I am proud about with managing our budget is I have never paid interest on any credit card charges. In fact I benefit from charging everything possible because I receive 1:5% rebate on all charges and I pay the balance in full every month. Some years this rebate will pay for a mini vacation that is listed on my Dream Board.
A few weeks ago I received a letter from the author of the book Feng Shui Your Life. She appreciated my passing on her website when I quoted from her book the tremendous success people are having with this tool of a Dream Board to create a life of abundance. On the same day I received a reply from one of my readers saying they still have not found the time put together their Dream Board. As I review mine right now on my office wall, I see two on the postings we have on our board that we have already manifested.
To think positive in a world that is focused on negativity offers a challenge for those who want to turn around their negative thinking. If you listen to conversations with family and friends, you can sometimes hear their predictions of a negative outcome long before it becomes a reality. They have become so accustomed to talking that way they are not even aware they are setting themselves up for failure.
The following information is paraphrased from the book I read Happiness Gene by James Baird, PhD with Laurie Nader PhD. http://www.drjamesdbaird.com/
It’s a leap of the mind to think that because a handful of scientific experiments have shown a direct cause and effect between positive emotional states and genetic changes that can change the course of human evolution by becoming a happier person. But really what do you have to lose? Anxiety, depression, Low self-esteem, destructive patterns of behavior?
And what do you have to gain? A positive outlook on life, consistent optimism, resilience in face of adversity, the ability to perceive opportunities instead of feeling overwhelmed by obstacles?
This book along with many others that I have in my tool box helps me when I begin to question myself if all this positivity can work for everyone.
Prayer is not about changing God,
but being willing to let God change us.
Often, I hear people comment “My prayers were not answered.” The two miracles for a major medical healing I have recently experiences came from a community praying together for a person present and one in another state. The first person of our prayers intentions successfully recovered from a both a heart and a kidney transplant and the second is thriving after a kidney transplant. Both of them personally took positive action to increase the odds of answered prayers. The road to these miracles was not easy for either recipient. They both endured very long and arduous months of ups and downs. But they kept “keeping on” towards their goals.”
Sometimes people get discouraged when prayers aren’t answered in the way they expected. I can relate to this in a very personal way. Eight years ago my wife, Jeanne, had a minor case of the shingles, but it immediately caused major non-reversible nerve damage. For many people dealing with constant pain for such a long time, they may have turned sour on life and cut themselves off from everything including preparation for family events and holidays, and all social activities. The persistent pain could have even affected their faith or belief in the power of prayer. Jeanne amazes me with her attitude. We are sensitive to her situation but have basically continued to celebrate life and enjoy our family and friends.
What I have experienced from this unforeseen challenge in our senior years has amazed me. It has helped bring out the best in those who have been praying for her. It has also made Jeanne relatable to those who are experiencing lifelong pain. It has influenced many, many people get the shingles vaccine.
What does this have to do with my tool box of resources that can help in creating a life of abundance? Having resources available can prepare you to make the best of life’s experiences, the good and the unfortunate. Both offer unlimited opportunities. Since I am a person who has an insatiable curiosity about new experiences, I have many resources I use to pray and nurture my spirituality. There are many free inspirational prayer publications that I receive daily by email. In addition to those resources, nature can offer an amazingly prayerful environment. I have a passion for working in the garden and that often provides my most prayerful time of the week. My daily grateful journaling helps me keep a positive expectation of life.
Prayer is the key that has helped me change my mindset even when it seems the prayers are not being answered, at least in the way I expect. It has taught me to accept the challenge and courage to keep moving forward. It saddens me when I hear words spoken by others that God must be punishing me, or God is angry with me because of these challenges in my life.
Several years ago I attended a workshop given by a friend Mary Jo McCabe, a spiritual intuitive, and these were just a few words she said at this event on prayer. https://www.maryjomccabe.com/
“God is energy, God is love. The life force within you is God and through prayer, you touch God by blending with this life force. It is necessary for you to recharge, to come together with this energy, in order to feel a true connection to life. Through prayer, you learn how to fly again.”
Prayer is essential and action has to be taken to assist in the manifestation of our dreams that we pray about. That is the reason we get a high level of success with our Dream Board postings. Remember Dream Board postings do not have to be focused primarily on material manifestations. It is just as important to post ambitions to make a positive influence in the world. On January 1, 2019, I posted that my blog would achieve a far-reaching goal of 3,000 weekly visitors. Today my visitors increased from 2,500 to 3,082. I am pleased to be reaching so many readers. Thanks to so many of you for sharing my blog with others.
“The simplest definition of a budget is
"telling your money where to go.”
― ---Tsh Oxenreider
I realized after taking with someone about their finances and giving them recommendations that at sometimes it can be a major challenge to implement. The lifestyles we are accustomed to living become routine. What works for me when I implement any new discipline is to focus on the small success. This celebration of any positive movement also works for me in the areas of finances, prayer, personal and spiritual growth, and relationships. That list seems to encompass all areas of my life!
When I retired my wife and I had worked with our financial planner for years to achieve our goal. I can remember at my retirement dinner telling everyone with enthusiasm, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” because I had achieved my lifelong goal. We were also eagerly anticipating several major trips planned the year of retiring.
Retirement was everything I dreamed it would be. Then a year later our country experienced the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. That event greatly impacted our investments. At the same time our rental property needed major repairs and we had just purchased a new car. Because of the lifelong discipline of working with a budget, I could more readily adjust and balance the income and expenses to accommodate the unexpected turn of events.
That is why I encourage people of all ages to establish a realistic budget. It is also important to celebrate each success, each accomplishment, otherwise it is not a rewarding discipline.
When I made the adjustments in our fixed and flexible income and expenses, I created additional money to pay off the loan on the improvements to the rental house and the car. I made a weekly payment instead of monthly and that accelerated the payoff of the loan. The lady at the bank commented, “You are really serious about paying off this loan!” I told her I have a plan and I enjoy seeing it work because once this loan is paid off this money is going back into our travel budget. I always kept the end results in mind and the opportunities that would open up once I accomplished my goal.
I receive a welcomed encouragement from what I call “my fan club of readers” of my postings. I realize I am preaching to the choir because many already practice what I share. If you are a reader that is already having success with any discipline, especially the area of finances, I would appreciate your sharing this posting with those who may benefit by implementing this tool for living a life of abundance. I will be glad to email anyone interested in the excel format I use for my budget.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and starting on the first one.”
Over the years I have encouraged those interested in reducing the financial stress caused by credit card debt to establish a prosperity budget to manage their finances. The first month of a new year offers the best time to start this practice. Many people who have contacted me for guidance in establishing this practice but unfortunately allowed the necessary discipline to discourage them. Others who have implemented the practice are free of the financial stress that many are experiencing after the spending frenzy of holiday shopping.
The yearend statistics have been released showing the average spending for Christmas last year was $1,000 per family. Many charged these purchases and it will take five months to pay off the credit card. Christmas for the both of us has always been our favorite holiday celebration. From the very beginning of our marriage we started a Christmas savings so that we could fully participate in the spirit of the season debt free. Included in that savings was money to reach out to a family that was less fortunate as part of our overall tithing.
The way I set up our budget is to put all expenses into two categories: the first includes fixed expenses, house note, insurance, taxes, utilities, etc.; the second category accommodates flexible expenses i.e. entertainment, travel, monthly personal allowances, Christmas savings. This process has worked for us throughout our 51 years of marriage and has made it possible in retirement years to enjoy life on a fixed income.
For those who have charged on credit cards during the holiday season now is the time for affirmative action. This will help you pay off debt faster and prepare a 2019 Christmas savings budget. The first month of every year I review our budget and evaluate possible changes to best meet current needs and goals. If you are currently addressing Christmas expenses, the amount initially used to pay off credit card debt could, upon completion of payment of charges, become your monthly “payment” to create your 2019 Christmas budget.
For many of you this may seem to be a complicated and overwhelming challenge. Just break it down to a weekly goal and it becomes attainable. If you are in the national average category of spending for the holidays, just reduce current expenses by $20 a week and you will have a year-end Christmas budget of $1040. If you think this is an unrealistic goal just drive by and observe the long lines at the drive-up windows of Starbucks or Chic-fil-A. If everyone in those lines would change those habits just two days a week, they would create their $20-a-week savings.
If you know someone that is interested in having a debt free Christmas, you may want to share this blog posting.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things,
because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
I recognize I have been blessed with the gift of curiosity. That gift has opened many doors for me. It was very beneficial in my marketing career because I would learn about upcoming projects before my competition. If I were driving in my territory and saw trees being removed, I would stop and ask questions about the proposed project. Twelve years into retirement I am still curious about what is going to be built on a site under development.
This intense curiosity extends to all areas of my life. When something peaks my interest and I assess it to be beneficial to me I take immediate action to implement it into my life. I am often amazed that practices that have been part of my life for years are unheard of by people to whom I happen to mention them.
This became evident to me yesterday when a tax preparer called me to get the telephone number of a friend who is of Chinese heritage. She said she really needed more clients coming from the Chinese community and thought he may be helpful. I asked her if she had thought of posting the number of clients she planned to attract to her business on her Dream Board. Her response was “What is a Dream Board?” I realized once again that my intense curiosity has propelled me to explore and implement many things to assist me to live a life of abundance that many people have not been curious to explore.
Since I was speaking with a professional, I wanted to make certain I gave her factual resources to understand how powerful the Dream Board can be to help focus our efforts in achieving our goals in life. I directed her to a book I read Feng ShuiYourLife JaymeBarrett. http://jaymebarrett.com/losangelesfengshui/index.html.
On page 125 of the book it covers Manifestation Techniques and discusses the Manifestation (Dream) Board. “Each Dream Board is a visual representation, a blueprint for the success you want life to emulate. As you look at it every day, the images become imprinted consciously and subconsciously. You become what you focus on.”
You may be reading this and thinking you really do not need to do this because you are satisfied with your life. I firmly believe that as long as we’re breathing, we need to keep dreaming. A Dream Board can encompass all areas of your life. You may want to post creating time in your week to help others or increase quality family time. You may have a special talent that you would like to spend more time developing. Our dreams nurture our spirit and make life exciting. Dreamers impact our world!