Leap Frog Your Life


Deutsch: Bremerhaven: Thieles Garten, Skulptur...
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Ever play leap frog as a kid?  Scrunching down on the ground, making yourself as small as possible, as your friends jumped over you.  Then bursting up and leaping over them?  I quickly discovered that leaping big and high was much more fun than being small.  When I refused to scrunch down, my friends decided that it was not such a fun game after all.

Life is like that – don’t you feel sometimes that you have to take cover and hide, or else your big, bad fears will get the best of you.  It is just like a child who hides under a blanket during a thunderstorm, somehow believing she is safe.  It really was not the noise that she was hiding from…it was her fear about the noise that drove her under the blanket.

Listening to your fears never makes you big – it always reduces you to the smallest common deminator.  You lose your power to grow and learn, because fear always immobilizes instead of liberates.  When you look behind the fear, you will discover that it was just an illusion, masqarading as reality.

“Fear” stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.

Look behind your fear to identify the root of the conflict.  Then lovingly accept that part of you that feels insecure, anxious, afraid or unsure.  Treat it like a child that needs comforting and love.  Then decide how you are going to leap frog over your fear and use it to grow to the next level.

Leap Frog your life and you will discover very quickly that your fear can be turned into motivation for positive action and growth.

 

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Check out My 40 Day Journey


I have not posted in awhile, because my thoughts have been recorded on a companion blog called “Walk With the Master.wordpress.com.”  I felt compelled to begin a new project — read a short Bible passage then write about it during the 40 days of Lent.

So forgive my decreased attention to this space…it is still in my heart to share with you ways to “dream big and live large.”  It is only for a short while.  Thank you, my friends, for staying with me.

May God’s blessings rain down upon you… and may you accept them!

 

Who Do You Appreciate?


Remember being in high school and sitting at a football game.  The cheerleaders would try to get the crowd excited and hungry for a victory.  A line from one of the cheers went something like this:

Five, Six, Seven, Eight…Who do we appreciate?

I suspect that the word “appreciate” was used because it rhymes with “eight,” but this line is a great reminder on how to live a joyful life.  Because the one person you should be appreciated the most is…YOU.

Have you ever noticed that you have to perceive something first, before you can notice it in the world?  Before you can emotionally resonate with another person or thing, you have to have seen it in yourself.  It is your decision about yourself that determines your world.

For example, if you wake up and immediately think of the millions of tasks you have to accomplish, and wonder how you are ever going to get them done, don’t you feel a sense of anxiety – even dread? If you see yourself as a “person-who-has-too-much-to-do-and-how-in-the-world-am-I-going-to-get-it-all-done” then that is how you will be in that moment.  If you hold onto that thought, there is no doubt that you will “be-come” that thought as you move about your day.

Who wants to live in a state of anxiety or dread?  Certainly not me…or you either, or else you would not be spending precious time reading these words.  Since you stopped by and you reached this far, stay for a bit longer, O.K.?

Let me ask you a question: How do you see yourself in this moment? Who are you in this drop of time as we share our thoughts?  Has your opinion about yourself colored how you perceive and interpret the meaning of these words? (O.K., that was three questions…)  Some people may doubt these words, others will embrace them.  Whatever your reaction, you can trace it back to how you perceive your place in the world.

If you see yourself as a seeker of truth and an adventurer in this game of life, you will read this article much differently than someone who feels that life is a struggle and asks, “Why is it so hard?”  Either way, the filter of your self-perception determines your world.

Remember, the first relationship you ever have is with yourself.  Love yourself and you will see love in your world.  Hate yourself and you will see…well, you get the idea.

So the first step in changing your world is to first identify how you see yourself in it.  Write down your thoughts about yourself for a day and you will have taken a momumental step towards a better life.  For once you identify how you define yourself, you can take steps to change that definition.  Be on the lookout for judgments you make about yourself.  Write those down too, because they cement your ideas about yourself.

After one day of recording your thoughts about yourself, look on what you have written as if it came from your best friend.  Treat yourself with compassion and love.  You do not need to judge what you have written (which also contains judgments!)  Your answer is your answer. There is no right or wrong.  You own your perception of yourself. You created it and you “be-come” it as you move about in the world.  And here is the secret to a happy life:

No one can change it but you.

But remember this…your answer is your answer.  It will determine how you see the world.  For what you see in yourself, you see in the world.

Which brings us back around to the high school cheer.  Who do YOU appreciate?  If your answer is not YOU, then you will not see your place in the world as secure, joyous and loving.  Instead, you will see fear, lack and competition.  If there is lack of appreciation of yourself, you will see lack in your world.  Think about it, and then change how you think.

Now…stand up and say it with me…One, two three, four — Who are you fighting for?  Five, six, seven, eight – Who do you appreciate?

YOU!

Appreciate the Gratitude


So many times, I hear someone say, “I am so grateful that…” I have said that phrase myself, but it always leaves me with a twinge of incompleteness. We are taught to be grateful and count our blessings, but why does that process sometimes make me feel alone?

The answer is simple, but the path to the answer was more complicated. Through a series of seemingly non-connected events, I discovered the difference between appreciation and gratitude.

Gratitude offers thanksgiving for what has happened. Sometimes, it seems to be given when you are relieved that you avoided some calamity or misfortune. Gratitude is a beautiful emotion and certainly appropriate, but it is the only way to give thanks?

This question was answered for me one day while I was reading a magazine article about home decor (I know…boring, but I was in the midst of remodeling our bathroom and needed ideas). The author used the words “gratitude” and “appreciate” in the same paragraph, intending to say the same thing with different nuances. But an idea hit me over the head — those two words are not synonymous and each holds a meaning that is important.

Gratitude expresses gratefulness. Gratefulness implies that things have happened or circumstances have changed, bringing you to this place. Appreciation, on the other hand, is offering thanks for “what is.” It does not seek to change anything or anyone…it is an acknowledgment of seeing good in the present moment. When you appreciate someone or something, you are aware of their goodness, strength, courage (whatever attribute you want to subscribe).

Gratitude embraces lack and says “I am so glad I made it through that.”
Appreciation looks at what is and loves it completely.

Try it yourself and see the difference. Look for the positive attributes in someone or something and just bask in appreciation. (Hint – when you do this with your spouse, child or best friend on a consistent basis, watch for their reaction and behavior to change to become more like what you appreciate about them).

The world may need your gratitude — but you are the only one to appreciate what is.  Look with appreciation on everything and let me know what a difference it makes in your mood, your thoughts and your life.

Your perspective will shift to love and acceptance, which = PEACE.

The Burr in God’s Hand


Have you ever stopped to consider the perfection of a snowflake?  Or the artfulness of a sunrise or sunset? What about why a burr sticks to fur?

At first glance these experiences do not seem to share anything.  What does design perfection and magnificent color have to share with a common burr that only irritates?

Nothing from our point of view.  Everything from God‘s.

This point was brought home to me yesterday, when I came across a wonderful blog by Maggie LR (maggiephotography.wordpress.com)  She took a macro lens and photographed a burr.  The image is so clear that you can see what makes a burr stick — it actually has hooks on the end of each slender leaf!  Take a minute and click over to her blog, but don’t forget to come back here!

Are you back?  Wasn’t that amazing?  There are so many different ways I could write this article, just based on those images.  For now, I will just point out that God’s hand is in the profound and the mundane.  Ask for awareness to see the details and your appreciation of the whole will explode.

If something irritates you (like a burr) take a moment to consider how God’s hand is at work.  The rain that you complain about may be just the moisture a farmer needs to grow his crops.  The slow clerk in the checkout line may be just the pause you need in a busy day to step back into awareness of Self.  When you step back from the situation and look within, you will be amazed at the change in your thoughts and emotions.

Irritation can become a sign post – to stop and step out of the situation for a moment.

When you realize that part of the burr’s function is to hook onto whatever moves past it, so it can be spread to another area, the irritation you might feel when you find one clinging to your clothes can turn into appreciation for God’s handiwork.  Your perspective can change in an instant, but only you can make it shift to a happier and more joyous space.  Change irritation to joy and your life will never be the same.

Always remember, you are safe in God’s hand (just don’t step on the burrs).

Your Thoughts Create Your World


     I am a card-carrying member of the Eternal Optimist Club (there is no such organization as far as I know, but someone should start one). I know that the sun always shines whether we can see it or not, the earth continues to turn no matter who sits in the Oval Office and the river of life flows on. Even though a boulder or two may drop in my path, or a sudden, unexpected storm may darken my day, I usually find something good about the situation.

So what good could ever possibly come from a tragedy that seems to destroy everything you have strived or worked for?  It doesn’t matter if it is a health or financial crisis.  It is when something happens in your life that stands as the silent testimony that life can change in an instant or turn on a dime?

It all depends on how you look at it.

When I teach seminars on “How to Create Health,” the first thing I ask the audience to do is to take a deep breath, then point to themselves. Some people look surprised, some are reluctant, but to this day, every single person in the audience points to the same area of their body.

Their heart.

That simple gesture has profound consequences in everything you do. When you take a moment to consider who your really are, you don’t point to your head, where your thoughts reside, you point your index finger directly at the middle of your chest. The identity that is “you” is not made up of your thoughts or beliefs about yourself or the world – it lives, grows and expands from your heart. Basically, “you” are not your thoughts!

Dr. Wayne Dyer, an internationally renowned author and speaker in self-development, advises to “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

You always have a choice about how you are going to look at a situation or circumstance. You can decide to focus on the negative (“What a horrible thing to happen…”) or the positive. No one makes that choice but you. And you do it in every moment you are awake, breathing and alive.

Follow the logic…if “you” are not your thoughts, beliefs or emotions, but something greater that resides in your heart, and then who is in control of your thoughts and beliefs about the world?

You are.

Once you truly accept that simple statement and allow it to guide your thoughts, the creation of your dream life lies in the palm of your hand. You can change your thoughts about anything and start to feel more vibrant, alive and joyful. Catch yourself whenever you allow negative thoughts and change them into something positive. Do this on a consistent basis and you will begin to feel better, more hopeful and joyful. Try it on something small or simple and then expand this technique to more complicated issues.

Keep a journal of your “thought experiments,” record the negative thoughts, how you changed them, and what effects came from that simple decision to change your outlook. After a while, patterns will emerge that provide valuable insight into many habitual thoughts that have kept you reacting the same way to the same situations.

It is simple – change your thoughts, and change your world.

As John Milton, the English poet, wisely observed, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of Hell, a hell of Heaven.”

What you perceive to be “bad,” is. What you think of as “damaging” or “wrong,” is. You define your world by the thoughts you think. Two people can look at the same thing and have totally different thoughts about it. Instead of choosing negative thoughts, make a conscious decision to see the good.

The simple truth is that from the flames of destruction, something bigger and better can be born.

It will happen if we think it will.