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Archive for January, 2009

When we were kids, running around in circles was something fun to do. We would run and run until we got so dizzy we would fall down. And sometimes we would just run for no reason at all, just because we could. I often think about the simplicity of youth, when I see a child running and smiling and laughing, or I see them playing army or cops and robbers, or any simple game like that. Games that took no real thought, games that just happened or just are. The laughter fills the air and the joy and simplicity of youth come flooding back to me, they fill my being with a longing to once again enjoy a simpler time.

I remember playing a game when I was a youth, my friend and I would pretend that when we climbed the fence in my back yard we were transported in to a different time, the past. Our youthful eyes would see things not as they were, but as they should have been. The vividness of it was real, the imagination took over and our city block was no longer in 1970’s but was transported back to the old west, or even to pre-historic times. We would crawl through the jungles and run from the bad guys and when we had finished our mission, or need to use the bathroom, we would jump the fence to be transported back to our time, knowing that at anytime we could reenter our own little world by simple jumping the fence in my back yard. I can still see us playing this game, can still feel the summer sun on my face and smell the smells of the city. It was a magical time; it was a time of wonder and amazement. It was our time.

So what brings up the trip down memory lane, why do I bother you with images from my youth? Basically to illustrate one simple point, as we grow we seem to lose the ability to allow ourselves the freedom to enjoy life. We place demands on ourselves, we allow society to dictate our actions. The simplicity of youth is lost on the complexity of adulthood. How sad!

I attended a seminar on stress, the speaker had written a book that basically said laugh it off, a thought process I agree with 100%. But one of the things the truly got my attention was how she dealt with rush hour traffic. Her ride home would sometimes take 2 hours, she lived in California, so the drive was long and the heat could get to you. Her way of dealing with the honking of horns, was to take out a bottle of bubbles, and blow bubbles out her window. Imagine seeing a 40 year old woman blowing bubbles out her car window. I can hear the comments now, “Look at the grown woman” “How childish” “What the @#$%@” and so on.

But that was the point, what good does it do her to honk her horn, cuss others out or get all frustrated and mad, why not blow bubbles, it does as much good as anything else. And besides, it made some of the other drives smile a little, and maybe transported them back to their childhood, if only for a moment. I was amazed and loved the idea, now in truth I have never done that, but living in the Detroit area, I have no need to, horns are not honked here too often and I am never in a traffic jam for 2 hours. But I still love the idea, and it makes me smile when I remember it.

I think we all need to learn how to transport ourselves back to the simplicity of our youth, we need to remember that life can be simple, and that sometimes we just need to run for the simple reason that we can.

As for me, I think I will head out to my back yard and jump the fence to be transported back the my youth for a little time, don’t worry, I won’t stay long, I am sure I will need a restroom break and will have to jump back before long.

Paul

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How to live a positive life:

The first place to begin is with journaling. Buy a 99 cent notebook and start journaling about what was great the day before. Write one or two wonderful things from yesterday – even if it is that you walked your dog! It must be something that made you feel good and the bigger your sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, the better. Do this daily starting today

The idea behind this is to make you aware of the positive aspects of the previous day, and to start your day off on a positive note. It is important that you do this in the morning, before you start your day. positive Wake up 5 minutes earlier, sit in a quiet place, have a nice cup of coffee or tea and write down all the positive things that has happened to you the day before.

You can make list, or just free form write, it can be in a poem or story, whatever way it works best for you. The key to the whole exercise is to write down positive events from the previous day.

We all too often look to the negative in life, and in the current economic conditions, seeing positive is a hard thing to do. But if we truly look, we can find positive in almost every situation.

As an example, my sister was been out of work for the past 5 months, in the beginning she was able to see the positive in this, she is a single mother, and her daughter just had hip surgery and she needed to be home to take care of her, if she was still employed she would have to have taken unpaid leave of absence.  But being out of work, she got unemployment benefits. As time went on, the idea of no work started to wear on her, but she tried to keep an upbeat outlook, knowing something will happen, and knowing that I, her brother would help out anyway I could. But the stress finally took its toll, and her outlook really started to do down. I kept reminding her, much to her displeasure, that it will all be ok; to look at the positive side of what was happening.  She asked what positive is there, and so I would list a few that I saw:

1.       You always wanted to be a stay at home mom

2.       You can look in to going back to school to learn a skill you want to do

3.       You do not have to worried about or stress about whether you will have a job tomorrow,

4.       You’re out of an industry that is changing and down sizing.

The list can go on, but you get the idea, look for the positive, and find it somewhere. Sure my sister also gave me a list of negatives, and yes they are valid, but my response to her was always the same, what good does it do to dwell on the negative. Yes, you have to face them, but would it not be easier to face them with a positive outlook?

Our outlook on life plays a large part in how we live our life, so if we start to teach ourselves to look for the positive, then we will start to see it in all kinds of places. Mother Theresa could not have done what she did, if she was not able to see the positive in her daily work. She saw Christ in all she met, that is a very positive outlook.

A positive outlook is considered one of the most important aspects of healing. The health care industry has spent millions of dollars on research to study the effects of a positive outlook, and has found that a positive outlook is one of the most important aspects of a speedy recovery. Employers have found the same results for keeping employees and hiring new ones. Not only is the outlook of the individual important, but also the corporate outlook.

We also see this playing a role in our spiritual life, we all too often look at the negative aspect of our spiritual journey, and downplay the positive. If we truly look at our life situation, I think we will see that the positive outweighs the negative; the key is to look for it, and not to allow the negative to control out outlook.

So pick up that journal today, and tomorrow morning, first thing, write down at least 3 positive things from the day before, and allow the positive energy to guide your day.

Paul

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Spring Fever

Spring fever has set in, I am truly done with winter and the snow and the cold. It can all end now! I want to open my windows up in my house, air it out. I want to sit outside and enjoy my fish pond. I am sick of sitting inside, of felling cold, and sick of my skin being so ruff.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love all the sessions in Michigan, but I must admit the winter seems a tad too long. In my opinion winter can end December 26th.

So what is all this about, what does my issues with the weather have to do with changing in to a new you. I think the feeling I have concerning the weather is the same feeling we have with the whole process of change. We start out enjoying the process, its fun, it’s refreshing and it’s new. But after a little bit of time, it all starts to wear on you.

That’s how I feel now with the snow and the cold, it is starting to wear on me.  I am ready for the sun and warmth. The same can be said for the process of change, I am ready for the comfort of the new me. But like the changing of the sessions, we too will continually changing. And like cabin fever we will have moments of frustration and times that we just want to give in. But like winter, the times will change and we will be in to our spring time of change. A time of new growth and days of sun shine.

I know that this is a long cold hard winter, and for many it may be one filled with storms raging daily, but always be reminded that Spring is on its way, and the lazy days of summer will soon follow. And in your life you will soon know peace.

Paul

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One of my favorite things to do is to read, I love to read. I read books for enrichment, for pleasure and for spiritual growth. And I love to read several books at one time. I have been known to have five books going at one time. At the moment I have 6 books in process, but am actively reading 3. The books rang from Steven King to St. Francis; I read different styles for different reasons. I allow my mood and my needs drive what book I pick up, so some books I may read in a day or two, and others, it may take me a year or more to read. I allow the moment to take me away and allow my mind to drift in to the world of the author. And at times I am sure the Holy Spirit guides me to read certain books. But in the end, I just love to read.

Reading is an escape for me, no matter the subject, be it deep with theology or shallow with the super natural. In truth, I try to learn something from everything I read, I look for that little knowledge that the author wants to share. I dig deeper in to novels than most would, so event the basic Stephen King book turns in to a search for some truth, and truth be told, I almost always find some nugget of truth.

I love to read, it’s my escape, others paint, some play games and others work out or play sports. We all have that one thing that we find the most relaxing, the most energizing. For me it’s reading, now truth be told, I really could use some exercising in my life, but I just find it hard to allow the power of the action to outweigh the action itself. Now I could read about it, and find some joy in that, but the results would not be the same. But that’s for a different blog, this one is about finding that one activity that gives you joy.

For me it’s reading, and I try to read every day, even if it’s for only 15 minutes. Some days I can spend hours reading, and other days, I get no time, but I average at least 30 minutes per day enjoying a good book or two.
Everyone needs to find the one thing that fills them with contentment, you need to find the one joy in this world that allows you to recharge and relax. Now comes the hard part, not only do you have to find it, but now you must make time to spend on it, daily! Five minutes, 30 minutes, in truth the time don’t matter, it’s the fact that you are giving yourself a break.

For me it’s reading, so I always have a book in my car, and several at home, and at work, I usually have something to read, if time permits. If yours is sports you may not be able to play a game of basketball at lunchtime, but you can read up on your favorite teams, or look for places to play after work. There is always a way to fill your day with the one joy you have.

I am sure many of you have more than one thing that relaxes and energizes you, as do I, but I chose the one activity that seems to be the most consistent. Like I said, some days I don’t read at all, I find it’s just too much work, if its summer time, I would work outside on my fish pond, if its winter, as it is now, I find myself watching old movies or working on new ideas for faith formation for my company STATIC Solutions (www.staticplace.com). And sometimes I just need to do something new, something different, but all in all reading is my one joy.

Paul

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Sometimes you have to let go to move on. It seems People like to hold on to issues and things in life. This past summer my sister and friend and I had to close down the store we opened up only 18 months before, in doing so we had lots of left over merchandise so we decided to have a garage sale. This provided us with the opportunity to unload “stuff” we have collected over the years along with the left over’s from the store. It truly was a blessing for me, I was able to go through all the memories and junk I was keeping in my home, some of it had lots of meaning to me, in the past, and some of it I am not sure why I kept it, but I did. I had books I had already read; my grand plan was to build a library to display all the books. I was an avid Beatle collector in my youth, but all my prized possessions where stored in boxes in the basement where know one, including me, could enjoy them. I collected things for this reason and that, but none of it was displayed, it was all packed away in a wet basement. So out it went, and priced to go. My theory was “Let someone else enjoy them”. Many told me to hold off, place it on eBay and make some real money off it. And with some I could have, with others not. But truthfully I knew that if I didn’t sell it than it would still be in my basement collecting dust, and no one enjoying it.

Sometimes you have to let go to move on…

A new chapter was started that day in my life, I have decided to continue the process of cleaning out my house, I will go through every closet and drawer, look in every corner to discover what is hidden and then clean it out! It truly is a refreshing feeling to know that you have less in your life of more.

Some people seem to have a difficult time with that, they never want to let go, to clean out the hidden spot with in their home. They hold on to it, and just pile more on top. Then they wonder why they have no room for the new, why nothing seems to be fitting as they planned, life is a lot like that.

We do the same with our lives, we never let go, and we just keep adding on top and then cannot figure out why we cannot change, why it seems to be always the same.

Recently my Brother lost his 23 year old son to in an auto accident, it was, as you would expect, a tragic time in our families lives. But from that tragedy came a revelation on my part. A revelation that I thought I had learned before. “Life is to short” prior to the death of my nephew my brother and I were not on very good terms, I was holding on to the old, and packing new on top of it. It was a very unhealthy way of life. But I have learned a lesson, much like cleaning out my house; I need to clean out my life. The process has started, and like my house, it will be an ongoing process, one that will take time. But I will clean it out, I will remove all that holds me down, keeps me from become all I can and I will open up the closets of my soul and allow the sunlight of forgiveness and kindness in. Very poetic words, but of little value if I do nothing with them, much like people telling to hold on to my collectables and sell them on eBay. I knew then that if I held on to them I would never let them go. The same with my life, if I continue to hold on to the bad, to wait until the perfect time comes to let them go, I will never do it.

Sometimes you have to let go to move on…

Paul

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Change can happen when just seem to happen when you least expect it to, you just seem to walk in to it. One moment you are you, than BAM you are someone new. Funny how that works, we can spend a life time trying to make a better us, and it seems that overnight it just happens. Like the overnight stars we read about, one day they are nothing the next they are super stars. What we don’t read about are all the long nights they practiced or all the failures they had. As a people we like stories that seem supernatural, we like the underdogs. This is one of the reasons “American Idol” is so popular, an unknown becomes known, worldwide. And it seems like it was over night, it just happened. Sure sometimes you hear a true story of a person just sitting in a coffee shop, and the next moment they are big movie stars, a producer found them, never acted before, had no interest in it, and BAM a star is born. But they are rare, most of us struggle to make it in whatever we are doing. We fail, pick ourselves up and try again. It’s how life is. Change takes work, each and every step, forward or backwards is a step in our change process. We never truly move backwards, setbacks and failures are all part of the process. I have set up several companies in my past, and each has “failed” according the conventional wisdom, but to me each has moved me a step closer the “overnight success” I am waiting for. Each has been part of the process. Each offers a lesson learned. So the success of any of my endeavors is on the back of my “failures”, the same can be said for the change that takes place in me, the new me is always on the back of the old. Reinventing myself is not possible, I am already invented, but I can polish and fix it myself up a bit, but trust me, it will not be an overnight change, but rather one of a life time of changes, and becomings. Paul

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time travel by one sick boy.

Life can seem somewhat hectic at times. It seems that life can out run you, even when you think it’s all under control. I call that “Life Happening” not a new concept, I am sure most of you say that all the time “Life Happens”. It’s our way of saying that things come up, deal with it, move on and start another adventure.

Well life just happened again, I am off on a trip for two weeks for work, Koln Germany and Pone India. It should be an adventure, but truly the timing is bad. Seems to always work out that way, but as I say “Life Happens!”

It’s how we choose to deal with it all. Not only is the timing bad for this trip, the planning of it was a mess. I truly didn’t know when my flight was to leave until 11am New Years eve. Talk about waiting until the last minute! I had plans to make and people to inform and things to do. But “Life Happens” and I dealt with it the best I could.

“Life Happens” is a life lesson we keep learning over and over again. Once we think we have life where we want it, BAM “Life Happens” all over again. Now I could let this upset my life, I could turn it in to a major crisis, or I could just deal with it. I choose the latter of the two, I chose to just deal with it. I understand that really it’s no one’s fault that it took so long to get all the details worked out; I mean it was the Holiday season and all. People have time off, and things shut down. I understand the need for my company to look for the lowest fare possible, but man that can really make things difficult when dealing with another country. What they see as the lowest fair may not be what our travel agent sees. But such is life.

Today I leave for 2 weeks of “Life Happening”, in truth I am not sure what to expect when I arrive in Koln, I have a basic idea, but as always “Life Happens” and the best laid plans change. As for India, with all the news stories about violence, I am not too sure what to expect, but that’s life.  I will make the best of it all and do what I need to do to return home safe and sound. As long as “Life Don’t Happen” … But I know it will, it always does.

Paul

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