75 Questions: Day 34

(Prize alert)

There are 75 days before the glorious start of a new Gregorian calendar year. So, for the next 41 days (Monday – Sunday) the blog postings will ask you one question. That question may inspire you, it may perplex you, it may anger you, or it may tickle you.  It’s about the real in you. The intent of the 75 questions is to probe, to prompt a reaction, to get you to stretch, to press beyond tradition or boundaries, to think broader, to give, and then give a thoughtful answer to the question.

The overall intent of the 75 questions is to capture change. The questions are to be a catalyst for inner change that leaves you feeling more, dynamic, powerful, intrigued, and authentic. When these emotions are opened up within you (they already exist), you change and your world changes and the whole world changes with you.

Post your answers, you will get a response to your replies and we will use these 75 questions to lift life as the year 2017 begins. My gift to one reader who posts a response today is an autographed copy of my book Climb Every Obstacle: Eliminate Your Limits!

Question 34: What will you give today?

Fantastic Friday

Life is precious and wonderful. You, and what you do for others, make it fantastic!

The Habeeb’u’llah family in South Dekalb county Georgia is fantastic. For the past 18 years this Mother, Father and son have operated “Umoja Souljahs and Project Aza Nia, free of charge and without government funding, at the Baha’i Unity Center, for youth – male and female – all around the community.  Let me share a piece of their story:

Vernada Habeeb’u’llah and her husband, Nasif, and their son Anthony saw a need right where they live – they saw a desperate segment of society lacking solutions to teen drop-out rates, increased teen pregnancies, teen violence, teen suicide, and overall despair almost at their doorstep.  They responded to the urgency by creating this youth program to counter the injuries of hopelessness. The core of the program is two fold: 1.) teach these kids, regardless of race, history as African American males and females to let them know they are descendents of kings and queens and 2.) to develop virtuous character within each child.

The impact was immediate. Grades and deportment drastically improved because every Friday they huddle in a circle and talk about grades and situations in their home and at school.  If there were incidents, they sit together in counsel and come to solutions. Soon each child would keep each other in check so that the bond of respect was tight. Max and his wife, Nadia, joined in as adult leaders. Not one girl in the group became pregnant over the years and not one boy was arrested – that’s fantastic. Each child has graduated high school and college and those still in elementary or middle or high school are model students.

We can make a difference in the world, right where we are.

 

Favorite Friday

Each Friday this post will include something favorite. It may be an inspiring story about a hero, like today, or a favorite poem or joke. The main theme is to inspire happiness, to honor kindness, to solicit a heart response, or fuel a spark of inspiration.

CNN Hero Narayanan Krishman:

He was set for wealth, free from hunger and poverty as an award-winning chef with a five-star hotel group. But, according to CNN, a quick family visit home before heading to Europe changed everything.

“I saw a very old man eating his own human waste for food,” Krishnan said. “It really hurt me so much.  After that, I started feeding that man and decided this is what I should do the rest of my lifetime.”

Krishnan was visiting a temple in the south Indian city of Madurai in 2002 when he saw the man under a bridge. Haunted by the image, Krishnan quit his job within the week and returned home for good, convinced of his new destiny.

“That spark and that inspiration is a driving force still inside me as a flame — to serve all the mentally ill destitutes and people who cannot take care of themselves,” Krishnan said.

Krishnan founded his nonprofit Akshaya Trust in 2003. Now 29, he has served more than 1.2 million meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner — to India’s homeless and destitute, mostly elderly people abandoned by their families and often abused.

 

52 Ways to BOSS It or TOSS It

 52 Ways to BOSS It or TOSS It©

 (A once a week (or daily) method to live your best life.) You can add enriching control in your life, do it NOW!

  1. Plan ahead.  Keep pantry staples list, keep gas tank at least ½ full, make copies of keys. Check it off.
  2. Say NO!  Don’t over schedule your time with extra events, projects, or invitations.
  3. Get up fifteen minutes earlier and/or go to bed fifteen minutes earlier.  Give yourself a big hug.
  4. Don’t procrastinate.  Do it NOW! Schedule projects, events, vacations, or even dinners ahead of time.
  5. Prepare for the morning the night before.  Plan the first hour or two of the next day.
  6. Write it down!  Don’t rely on your memory.  Write each appointment on a calendar on in your PDA.
  7. Learn.  Take a magazine, inspirational book or tapes/CDs with you while you wait.
  8. Add $8.80. Buy an extra book of postage stamps.  Then your mail/bills won’t be delayed.
  9. Get a good night’s sleep or take a short power nap on the weekend.  20 minutes of real rest is divine.
  10. Ring, ring. Let the answering machine/message service take the call.  But promptly retrieve messages.
  11. Slow down!  It is permissible to stop and smell the roses, swing in the park, swim or relax.
  12. Simplify!  Enlarge your file 13 (garbage box) so that you keep the things that you only need.
  13. Give gifts.  Give away good items that you no longer need or want.  Someone else may treasure it.
  14.  Make personal or family time a priority.  Build in some “me or us” time every day.
  15.  Make one night a week family fun.  Do something exciting with a member of your family.
  16. Turn off the television/video games.  Tune into yourself and each other for real conversation.
  17. Adopt a hobby.  Paint, build, exercise, practice an instrument, or make crafts together.
  18. Schedule household assignments.  Create a simple reward system.  Create a checklist.
  19. Volunteer!  Research and commit to a volunteer project.
  20. Laugh, laugh, laugh!  Keep a jokes file or watch a funny movie.  Laughter is medicine for the soul.
  21. Stretch.  Take mini stretch breaks after long meetings or sits.  Stretch and breathe deep.
  22. Write weekly goals.  Look for gaps and over commitment.  Eliminate tension builders.
  23. Use email or voice mail reminders to yourself and others to cut out any stress.
  24. Enjoy a good meal or dessert or snack.  Don’t just rush.  Savor each flavor.
  25. Take breaks.  Do NOT work through lunch.  It is important to leave your desk.
  26. Look at your color choices.  If you see that your predominant color is neutral or black, add color!
  27. Delegate.  Choose responsible people, designate specific tasks, and let it go.  Don’t micro-manage.
  28. Journal.  Keep a journal.  You will be amazed at how much you achieved in a year.
  29. Be a friend.  Care about others and lean on them for comfort too.  Confidential sharing relieves stress.
  30. Vacation.  Plan relaxation days (bookend to a weekend) or plan a longer vacation to rest, relax, restore.
  31. Visualize.  See your success in exact, vivid detail.  Plan what success is and looks like ahead of time.
  32. Avoid negativity.  Negative people or situations should be avoided.  Maintain optimism.
  33. Worry less.  Don’t deny your concerns, but spend minimal time worrying.  Decide what must be done.
  34. Change.  If your routine is reflexive, you do the same things.  Change where you go or what you do.    
  35. Be private.  Allow time every day for privacy, quite time or solitude to reflect on what’s important.
  36. Do the hardest first!  Get it out of the way so that you can pleasantly, leisurely enjoy the rest.
  37. Count.  Count to fifty (50) before you speak.  Pausing a few minutes before an outburst saves anxiety.
  38. Forgive.  Standardize your expectations of yourself and others.  Expecting perfection is stressful.
  39. Smile.  Be optimistic and project joy.  You will feel good and so will others around you.
  40. Gather loose change.  Count all of your coins and give yourself a treat.
  41. Say Thank You!  Express gratitude.  Appreciate and recognize the goodness in others.
  42. Make something.  Try origami; build a kite, ceramics, pottery.  Find a creative outlet.
  43. Dance.  Turn on the music.  Dance, step lively for a few minutes a day.
  44. Talk positive.  When your words are positive and encouraging others respond in kind. 
  45. Sing.  Let the melody flow.  Even if it is only in the shower, add vocal rhythm to your day.
  46. Meditate.  Be still.  Listen to earth sounds, hear the birds chipper, connect with nature.
  47. Cry.  Release tension with a good cry.  Let it all out and let it go.
  48. Try something new.  Candy-making, belly dancing, sign-language, fitness, weights, bike riding, skating. 
  49. Take a bath.  Fill the tub with warm, soothing water and chill. Maybe add candles or aromatherapy. 
  50. Redlight.  While stopped at a red light, say to yourself, “I am happy” or “I am an achiever.”
  51. Take a class.  If you are challenged in the kitchen, take a class.
  52. Renew every day.  BOSS or TOSS something in your life everyday and live anew.    

Life is But a Dream

“Row row row your boat
gently down the stream…”

and then downsizing happens, pain, divorce, trauma, death, recession, weight gain, defeat illusions crop up everywhere.

Forget merrily, forget joy, forget prosperity. Forget living.

You are bigger than pain. You are stronger than defeat be it downsizing, divorce, death, weight…whatever your obstacle—you are stronger. You are stronger.

Here is what I want you to do: GO BACK TO YOUR PAIN

  • First, embrace your pain. Really lovingly let your pain in.
  • Second, feel the pain in its most raw, eviscerating state.
  • Third, look at the pain.
  • Fourth, speak to the pain. But, this time don’t run away nor deny your pain. Instead have an honest talk with your pain point and clearly state your feelings. Clearly see yourself in the light of total control and peace.
  • Fifth, feel yourself who you are in front of the pain. Use “I” statements such as “I” am an achiever. “I” am a dancer. “I” am powerful. “I” am love.

Speak out loud exactly who you are and what you thought your self-inflicted, self-loathing pain was blocking you from. Now, erase the pain. Bask in the freedom of being a dancer. Excel as an achiever. Empower yourself with your power.

Zen master Shunrya Suzuki Roshi says enlightenment comes when you follow one thing all the way to the end. Follow your pain, grief, defeat or whatever has imprisoned you until now and then follow your dreams to the end.

Life is but a dream when you wake up from the illusory control of pain. Recognize that you have the power and strength to embrace, see and talk to any of your pain points and follow them to the end so that you find enlightenment.

Pain can never destroy an enlightened person. You are strong. You are no longer a prisoner to pain. No more lies, excuses, denial, shibboleths. No more excuses; excuses be gone!

You don’t need pain. You don’t have to be broken.

You are strong. You are powerful. You are in control.

You can row your boat in a stream, in a torrent, in a storm without fear of losing your way to enlightenment.

Row your boat, be merry, and live the life of your dreams.