My Quarterly Booklist

O The Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss, 1990

GO-GIVER, Bob Burg and John David Mann, 2007

The Nine Rooms of Happiness, Lucy Danziger and Catherine Birndorf, 2010

52 Ways to Build Your Self-Esteem and Confidence, C. E. Rollins, 1992

Maximum Achievement, Brian Tracy, 1993

More Money Than God, Steven Z. Leder, 2003

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CD-Meditation: 4 Steps to Calmness and Clarity, Ed and Deb Shapiro, music by Tim Wheater

Conscious Creation Key #1: Forgiveness

I FORGIVE

 

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizelan says, “Forgiveness does not overlook the deed. It rises above it. This is what it means to be human, [because] it says I cannot and will not return to the evil you inflicted on me. And that is the victim’s triumph.”

I watched with amazed horror when I recently witnessed someone mal-treat another person for harm done nearly thirty years ago. She played the “victim” pompously by refusing to acknowledge the other person with pride. It appeared to me, a voyeur at best, who was privy to the incident three decades ago that she is destined for emotional destruction. She wanted to return the evil inflicted upon her and did it publicly and sadly she thought she was right. It did not matter what I said about giving up the past, she’d release  her supposedly righteous venom and spit it out as a viper snake whenever that person came around. It was sad to see others supporting her. Knowing the futility to trying to intervene, I made my mind up to shield myself and stay away.

Forgiveness – the elixir for happiness – means never having to say I am a perpetual victim.  It means in a healthy way that you recognize that what was done was wrong but you refuse to be manipulated or emotionally tethered to someone’s past wrongs.  It means you have a happy life to live. It means you are healed and have moved on to brighter experiences.

The vise grip of “payback” issues a scar that only love and grace can soften.  Holding malice in one’s heart hurts the holder – YOU! You suffer the consequences of un-forgiveness. Health wise, researchers have connected disease, including hypertension and cancer to a malice-minded state of mind.  Emotional “payback” can lead to depression, despair, suicide, eating disorders, diabetes or auto-immune body conditions which can indicate an inability to forgive.

Serendipity guided me to The Wisdom of No Escape: The Path of Loving Kindness by Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun.  In the first chapter (titled Loving Kindness) of the book, she introduces me to the state of maitri-loving kindnessChodron makes the point to weave loving self-care and meditation. She says,

“To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life that that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is….The ground is ourselves; we’re here to study ourselves and to get to know ourselves now, not later.”       

How do I get there? How can I consciously create forgiveness and loving kindness? How can I forgive?

  1. Start with yourself. Seriously, start as Chodron says, within you.  Say out loud to yourself – I forgive me. Let that one statement, “I forgive me” settle into your soul and witness the inner peace and calm that comes from allowing this first step to begin within you. Then, forgive others, forgive past hurts.

Be willing to let go and be open to the inflow of peaceful happiness.  Letting go does not mean that you deny the incident. It may not mean that you forget the incident, often you cannot forget. That’s all right; but be open to not allowing yourself to be wrapped in the foil of destructive emotion.

Release pain, gain what is sane. Keep your mental self whole and happy.  This may mean that you also talk with the person and share what you are feeling about the event. You may write a letter of explanation to get the situation off your heart. Do what keeps you whole, release the pain. Consciously create your peace and happiness right now in spite of what happened.

  1. Acknowledge the anger, pain, disappointment, fear, rejection, hurt, dishonor (and anything else) you felt. It’s okay and even appropriate to feel these emotions. You are not to deny any feeling. There is no way for you to release a faceted entangled emotion unless you accept that it is there. Feel the emotion and consciously make the choice to release the stories of the past and create unlimited happiness.

Dee Wallace, actress and healer, has written Conscious Creation. In it she advocates forgiveness for unlimited happiness.  Love yourself enough to allow others to be whoever they are without judgment so that your life, founded on the energy of forgiveness, wholeness, happiness and love, will create a choice consciousness of present joy.

  1. Make the change. It may be hard at first to forgive the “offender” so practice with others. Show loving kindness to the waiter, with a complainer, when you are stuck in traffic.  Smile, whistle and go on about your happy, healthy day. Remind yourself daily that you are a joyful and happy being (Baha’i prayer).  Make a conscious change!

Start paying attention to the good you do and to the “healing” vibrations you project. We’ve all been wronged, so set up a new behavior response that disallows negative-charged emotions.  Forgive, pluck the ego of sanctimoniousness from your inner character and outer display of emotions.

  1. Forgive and move on! I don’t mean surface ok-I forgive. NO, make your forgiveness deep, eternal. Live NOW, be present now where there is no history or past.  Then you won’t be haunted by the past pain or offenders nor reminded of damaging emotions when inevitable future incidents may trigger a hurtful response.

Give unto yourself, this day, forgiveness.

You Didn’t Say That!

You Didn’t Say That-no you didn’t!

We are bombarded with a minimum of 70,000 thoughts day and night. New science suggests that the number of thoughts that we process through our mind now reaches over a million given the frenetic, over stimulated environment we now live in. And, researchers add that almost 70% of those 1.2 million thoughts are negative. It causes one to wonder why there is so much stress, anger, and worry in the world.

Negative thoughts are learned. They come from previous messages that we have internalized, as early as childhood, which we have personalized and adopted as truth. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You are not those negative messages.

You were created with an inner happiness thermometer that should be blasting with joy, tranquility, understanding, love and compassion.  Happiness is natural to our being.

Thoughts become things, varied behaviorist, including those featured in The Secret: The Movie, validate this point.  When your life expressions are sourced from inner happiness you rise to your innate nobility and you walk and talk with an irresistible confidence that magnetizes and magnifies what you want and who you are. You begin to discover a vast unlimited power within yourself that frees you from fear and outer manipulation.

This is exactly why I opened my book, Climb Every Obstacle: Eliminate Your Limits, with a chapter that teaches you how to release your fear.  Fears become obstacles, fear destroys inner happiness. In the book you learn how to change 101 obstacles into opportunities- true opportunities for living well and happy.

You tap into your inner happiness with a powerful self belief that you are happy and deserve to be happy. Then we become beacons, we experience abundance and experience exhilarating tranquility.

Inner happiness already exists within all of us, no exception.  But because of our programming, it is clouded or covered over with mundane distractions and distortions.  You are whole and happy NOW!

Negative chatter is known to contribute to suicide, depression, obesity, bulimia, anorexia, fear, doubt, cancer, high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, stroke, heart attacks, infertility, impotence, loneliness, bullying, criticism, anger and a host of other physical, social and mental ills that stem from that 70% negative dialogue that goes on in our heads. Think about how we are bombarded and over stimulated day and night with images that do not feed our happiness. Yet, we thirst for release.

There is a reason why the new television show Secret Millionaire is a blockbuster hit. In fact the last show with millionaire Jerry Farber closes with this remark from him “if you want inner happiness do something for somebody else.” We all want to feel good even if it is vicariously.

In fact studies have shown that our mood is elevated just by the act of watching someone else do an act of kindness. Remember thoughts become things and the thing that we all want is happiness. It is just that basic.

Let us suppose our life is a tree. The laws of nature prove that if we water the tree with nourishment it will grow green and produce fruit. The same is true with our inner dialogue. If we water our minds with nourishing, positive inner happiness messages our tree will bear sweet, succulent fruit otherwise we will cultivate bitter, sour fruit and eventually our tree will become diseased and die.   One happy inner thought bears more fruit and life energy than ten sour thoughts.

Consciously change. Wipe your inner slate clean—like a tabla rosa.  Let me start by giving everyone this exercise:

For the next 21 days, the amount of time for your brain to create new pathways and habits, I want you to repeat to yourself ONLY positive words. Stand in front of a mirror with your hand over your heart and repeat something like this: In my world nothing ever goes wrong, or I am me and I love me and my world, or I am a happy and joyful being and then touch your head. Repeat these mantras declarations often every day for 21 days with a gorgeous smile and I guarantee you will feel a transformation and shift to a restful pace of inner happiness. Repetition and emotion are the most powerful way to change mind responses.

Next, I want you to pay attention to the mental pollution that goes on in your mind and then diffuse the negativity by following these ABCD steps:.

Ask yourself – is this true? One of the best ways to recognize these automatic negative feelings is to be still, meditate, pause and slow down and listen to the sickening inner dialogue.  Then, question the validity of the thought and immediately take the second step which is to brand a new belief.

Brand into your mind that you are wonderful, exciting, lovable, valuable. Go back to your 21 day exercise if you need too and use those positive words to create your inner happiness.

Combat and challenge negative self-talk. That’s what I had to do. Call it out, fight for your inner happiness. Say out loud, You DIDN’T say that, get an attitude about it, be emphatic- your happiness depends on it.

DO your bucket list now. By this I mean that inner happiness requires that you start doing the fun and exciting things that you enjoy now rather than wait until you can wear purple – build inner happiness in the present without doubt or fear.

Remember thoughts become things and the thing that you deserve is happiness. This is your birthright – nobility and happiness.

What is Love?

Woody Allen makes a point here:

“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But then, one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be happy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness.”

Whether you think Woody Allen’s comment is funny or not does not matter (I think it is privately humorous), the question here is what is love?

American relationship/marriage statistics are alarming (if you choose to focus on the divorce probability) unless you counterbalance those data numbers with heart memories. This is one reason I often refer to a book written by Julie Rainbow, Standing the Test of Time, that debunks the myth of divorced, dysfunctional Black families as she tells the story of Black couples who have been married fifty years or more and are still standing together.

I have other reasons for my knowing about love, my parents. My parents were married 53 years (until my Dad’s death in 2008) and his last words on this earth were to my Mom, saying “I love you.” Their eternal bond taught me something.

Adding another personal note, now that I have eulogized two brothers, one my twin, but both whom I loved deeply, I had to ask myself what am I learning about life through this experience?  I have been taught that love is a jewel that sparkles as brightly as you do. Well, I want to dazzle because that is the type of love that I want before I leave this earthly plane!

I have learned that “love” endures pain. It is an unquestioned face that relationships that mark years of longevity face pain. Even so, the pain of infidelity, disaster, trauma, or other disruptive issues do not destroy the core of love between two people who are devoted to each other.

I have learned that “love” smells different. Sometimes love stinks. But, like you learn to love your baby’s poop, love is the reason. Other times love smells like a fragrant rose, scented by time and passion. Love among two people may smell different from time to time, but each smell you learn to love.

I have learned that “love” ages. The longer you bottle love the more of an aged bouquet it has. Time and stillness together can create a bonus of a barrel of savory love.

What love is is individual. My impression of love is distinct from yours and you can bet yours is distinct from mine. When I was younger I equated love with lust, thus a divorce as soon as the hots cooled off. Now after taking years of celibacy instruction to heart, I have learned that even though love may lead to suffering, I’ll suffer any day for the aged, sweetness of love.

12 Days of Joy

Let there be joy on earth and let it begin with me. Joy is an ever present emotion even though most adults have learned, all too well, to control, negate, or pace their joy so that it emerges a little peek at a time. Dr. T. Byram Karasu, in his book The Art of Serenity: The Path to a Joyful Life in the Best and Worst of Times, says that “in your quest for joyful serenity, there is no  single spot where you can start. Where you are right now is the best place to begin.”

JOY Day 1 – Be in-joy. Tap into your inner joy. Radiate happiness. Be you!  Accent your many positive traits and feel good about it. Smile and spread your inner joy. Soar in your soul.  Find peace and practice gratitude this day.  Make it a new earth by being a new, joyful you.  BOOK: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s PurposeEckhart Tolle

JOY Day 2 – Create something.  Shake it up a bit.  Decide to change an old pattern, even one that is working for you. Learn a new dance, listen to alternative music, cook or eat a dish using different spices, paint, knit, crochet. Stretch yourself, be creative.  You will love the discovery of something new. BOOK: The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron

JOY Day 3 – Write worthy words. Sit down and compose; write something. Poetry, song, short-story, prose, debate, article – these are all ways to express yourself in words.  You may even discover that this writing exercise stimulates untapped joy. Write  your words with style, they are automatically worthy.    BOOK:  The Elements of Style – William Strunk and E. B. White

JOY Day 4 – Live Love. Joy is love and you are joy so live love. It is easy to live love, just remember who you are and the what experiences that run counter to feelings of joy will transmute into opportunities of design.   BOOK: The Spontaneous Fulfillment of DesireDeepak Chopra

JOY Day 5 – Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, the joy juice of physical exertion.  Yoga, tai chi, walking, dance, jogging, pumping iron, zumba, capoeira. Get up and move!  BOOK: A Morning Cup of Strengthening – Beth Pierpoint

JOY Day 6 – Eat for Health. Consider portion size and the health value of what you consume. A lethargic body does not awaken joy, make your body the  throne of the inner temple. Eat slowly,  heighten the sense of each healthy enjoyable delectable bite. Eat well, savor the joy.  BOOK: A Course in Weight Loss Marianne Williamson

JOY Day 7 – Make Memories. Create a scrapbook, start a new tradition, organize your photos in an album – make new memories. Memories are your personal record of joy. Start today, make lasting memories. Share them for a memory made will never fade. BOOK: The Book of Myself: A Do-It-Yourself  Autobiography in 201 Questions – Carl Marshall and David Marshall

Joy Day 8 – Give Generously. Make some joy by giving. Time, money, kindness, service, empathy, listening. Let others experience your joyous generosity by the acts of caring that you do. Give until you feel great, then internalize the joy of giving. BOOK: The Generosity Factor Ken Blanchard and S. Truett Cathy

Joy Day 9 – Simply Simplify. Make it easy to feel joy. Simple acts of kindness, cleanliness, simplicity give rest to the mind and soul.  Make it sweet and simple-live joy simply as you are.  BOOK: Life is Too Short to Wear Tight Shoes – Barbara Faison

Joy Day 10 – Anchor Ancestory. Find you and those who compose you. Look up your ancestors, you will find joy in learning about your history. Record your history, make an oral record of your past.When you know your ancestors-history you can tell a new story about your being. BOOK: The Official Guide to Ancestry.com – Matthew Rayback and George C. Morton or http://www.storycorps.org

Joy Day 11 – Laugh out Loud. Joy breeds happiness. Find humor, look for the funny and celebrate those moments that make you laugh. Lighten up, loosen your tie, take off the tightness in your life. Laugh, be joyous. BOOK: Finding the Funny – Al Wiseman

Joy Day 12 – Spread Joy. Brighten the corner where you are. Where these is pain, spread hope. Where there is despair, give hope. Where there is conflict, be an instrument of peace. Give your joy away multiple times each and every day and watch the return dividends fill your bank of inner joy. BOOK: The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More FunGretchen Rubin

Be in JOY!

Whether you decide to take each JOY day sequentially or make each JOY day a month long project, you have active steps and reading material to make JOY happen in your life.

I wish you JOY!

Brighten the Corner Where YOU Are

What is life all about anyway? Some say it is to build success, some argue it is to do good and spread goodwill, others pose that life is a self discovery journey that encompasses feeling good and doing good, a personal measurement of success and finding your “zen” passion points.

All true, no debate from me. But let me add that I think life is to be lived from one happy moment to the next. It is not that we don’t meet challenges or obstacles, I acknowledge that in my book Climb Every Obstacle: Eliminate Your Limits!

Of course we do face unsettling events, death, trauma, fear, or other mixtures of emotions that can of course blend into a simmering pot of caution. The message here is to find the bright side.

Brighten the corner where you are; in the present, right now. Once you learn how to ferret out even a second of bright clarity, you can begin to build an automatic gush of understanding and happiness. Something life changing actually happens when you STOP fighting with the way things are and live brightly in the present.

Right now I am reading, Women, Food and God. Gennen Roth,the author, has taken me to to my mythical core where I now see that the learned stories and past histories I have learned primarily from my Mom who does not accept or embrace her body as a prized sanctuary of grace, even though ironically her name is Grace, has shadowed my feelings about my own body and it outer worth.

My Mom is incredible. She is beautiful, intelligent, accomplished and a woman of worth. But, the way she shies away from her body shows a disconnect from the good God placed in her.

As her only daughter child, I am only now beginning to accept my body – no more abusive diets, no more starvation, no more over extension, no more people pleasing, no more avoidance, no more!

I know how to cast light, I really do. If there is one characteristic that I have inculcated it is my ability to let others shine and to find their brightness. I don’t need the limelight. But there is a hidden dagger with this last statement…no I don’t need the limelight, but I should too let my whole life, including my body, shine.

As late as last month if someone called me sexy, especially a man, I would cringe thinking I have been too forward or worse cast my femininity too far. Ridiculous!

Geneen Roth has helped me drill down into where those un-true stories I tell myself about being sexy came from. I had to scope my whole being, expose my lunacy, feel the heat, describe what I saw, listen to what I heard to find the controlling lies to re-write my truth and find the real joy of inner brightness.

The core answer to brightness in any corner where is are is LOVE; it’s the alpha and the omega. Only LOVE emits brightness. Geneen says when you are in a space of love “it feels like relief. It feels like infinite goodness… It feels like the essence of tenderness, compassion, joy, peace. Life LOVE itself.”

Learn this lesson well.

Whatever your inner issue is – food, addiction, money, loneliness, family, spirit, friends, sabotage, body image, sexiness – you can move beyond what dims your true light to a bright eminence that eclipses the light of sunshine.

You deserve lovely sunshine each and every day and so do the people who are in your bright corner.