Archive for the 'Happiness' Category

What is Tomorrow Without Yesterday?

August 14th, 2013 by Steve

What would tomorrow look like if there wasn’t yesterday?

Most of us have heard the gurus and masters talk about living in the moment. Live in the ‘Now’ the ‘Right Here’ not the past or the future. Even Yoda said “Do not look away, to the future, to the horizon.  Keep your mind on where you are, what you are doing.”

What does it mean to live in the here and now?  It means everything. It means simplicity and happiness. Imagine our reactions to new experiences and situations if there was no past to color our perception. Would you be shy asking a girl out if you have never seen rejection in the past? Would you be so eager to argue politics if you had no frame of reference? Would you be a Democrat or a Republican? Would you be religious or so strongly opinionated? Would you crave that piece of cake if you didn’t know the pleasure it gave you or the hole that you know it filled?

It is an interesting game to play with yourself. See how quickly you react to something then ask yourself is this because of yesterday? Next time someone asks you to try a food and you say ‘Oh no i hate that’ or ‘I don’t eat that’ is it because you really don’t like it or because you had a bad experience with it in the past? Why are you shy or scared or withdrawn or over compensating? All these things that we are is because of what is in our past.

We are what we were.

That is the trouble, we continue to be what we were rather than trying to just be.

Our experiences are what make us who we are and that is a good thing in some ways. We know not to touch a burner on a stove because we have been burnt in the past and in this way our experience is useful but if our experiences prevent us from new adventures then its working against us.

Play that game I mentioned above with yourself for a few days. Every time you hear or experience something new, before you react, ask yourself “Are you acting in the now or re-acting to the past?” and if so is that what is in your best interest.

  • Next time someone asks you to try something new before you say no ask when was the last time I tried this and have I changed? Who knows maybe you like pickles now.
  • Next time you want to take an action and you stop because of fear ask yourself if your past is worth denying your experience in the now. Maybe that girl will say yes that time.
  • Next time you get that craving that you know you want but shouldn’t have try to remember that is just the past trying to dictate your today. If your memory were wiped would you still crave that beer, burger or cigarette? I’d say probably not.

Do not let your yesterday dictate your tomorrow. Do not let the past rob you of the moment.

As the masters say “Live in the Now.”

 

Hope is Happiness

May 4th, 2011 by Steve

In today’s world I know so many people who love to focus on the here and now. The pragmatists, the practical people, the ones that don’t dream. They watch the news every day, focus on the here and now, stay on top of current events and chastise those that don’t.  They believe hopes and dreams are impractical. Just a dreamers way of floating through the day. Although there is wisdom in being practical, it seems to me a life of only practicality lacks purpose. Why live if you can’t dream and hope.

Hope is Happiness.

We live in the real world most of our lives. We deal with jobs, bills, relationships, homes, friends, etc. The list is endless.  To balance out all that reality, I hope, I dream and I look forward. I don’t need to watch the depressing news everyday. I don’t need to keep focusing on every real world problem when I know I have a plan in place to deal with them.  I don’t need to review every issue over and over again to give myself a false sense of security. Focusing on what is real and here sends all your energy on what already exists. For most of us we seek something greater than what already exists.

I am proud to look to the future and dream and to use my hopes to point me in the right direction. I am happy to just turn off the news that fills my head with the terrible state of affairs of the world today and read something uplifting. I will take time out of my day to dream and hope. I will picture my new reality and bring energy to it so it can manifest. Hope will drive me to do the things I need to do and when things aren’t going my way it is hope that will keep me going.

Don’t let those stuck in the quagmire of the here and now bring you down to their level and take your hopes and dreams away. If we continue to hope and work toward our dreams, happiness follows.

Whenever I am confronted with someone who is trying to drag me down I Hope that they find Happiness and go about my day.

 

 

Steve

What Fills Your Void?

July 1st, 2010 by Steve

I had a friend recently ask me for advice on ‘being strong’ to lose weight. Most of us who struggle with our weight and self image know that it is a constant process to stay with the plan and new lifestyle. Many do not make it. That is why so many billions of dollars are made by fast food, diet and fitness companies. Such a large portion of our economy is designed to feed us cheap, poor quality food rather than to help us to be lean and fit. It is quite an interesting cycle when you think about it.

It has been over 5 years since I lost my 100 pounds and I have managed to keep it off. My friend who asked the advice struggles in a vicious lose-weight-then-gain cycle  just as I used to. She wanted to know what my secret was and it got me thinking… there was no secret, I had just found something new to fill my void.

The void in our lives is a powerful force. We eat, drink, party, argue or shop to excess to fill the void of what is missing in our lives. If you do not figure out what that void is, then you will struggle with any change you try to make. Our bad habits are there because they provide some type of joy that fills this emptiness we feel.

My void was my lacking self confidence. I have never been comfortable with myself for a variety of reasons. To fill that void, I  used  sarcasm and humor to deal with social anxiety. I controlled conversations by dominating them with my ability to argue. It kept me in control and, in my mind at the time, showed others that I was worthy because I was smart. I also kept finding joy in food because I could not find joy in anything else. My lack of self-confidence prevented me from enjoying just ‘being’ without the worry of what everyone thought of me.

My void is smaller today but it is still there. I still struggle with self image but not like I used to.  I have a tendency to still want to dominate a conversation. I still engage people to help them feel comfortable and to ensure they will accept me.  Slowly I am working to find healthier and healthier habits to fill the void.

My initial change, like any major change in life, began with a belief that I deserved better. I cover my motivations in several previous articles but the belief was that I wanted a longer, better quality life for my family. The reason I succeeded and stayed successful is because I found something to bring me joy that was greater than the joy I got from food.

Food or, more specifically the overuse of food was my source of happiness. Today, as a substitute I manage to find happiness in my family, martial arts, running and reading or writing. I fill the void that food used to occupy with friendships, physical activity and thought. Losing my food addiction became easy when it no longer was my chief source of happiness. As a matter of fact, food worked against my new source of happiness. Running, sparring and lifting weights requires a lean, fit and flexible body. My abuse of food worked against that. Food became a fuel for my body to burn in order to achieve faster mile times, stronger kicks or lift more weight. I started to build a healthier relationship with food because it no longer filled my void.

As I think back to my friend and her request about how I managed to ‘be strong’ and lose the weight, I realize I was not that strong. I just shifted my love from food to fitness and family. My large gaping void became a much smaller one, or at the very least my void was now filled with a habit that was better for me and brought real joy. With the changes in my weight came changes in my attitude, perception and spirituality. It all changed as I filled my void with something better.

What fills your void? What do you use as a source of happiness to fill what you are missing? What is the source of the void in your life and do you want to fill it with something better? Are you using food, alcohol, drugs or combative behavior to bring joy because something deeper is missing from your life?

If there are habits or behaviors you want to change, then you first must find out what void you are trying to fill. There are thousands of possibilities, as varied as our life experience and personalities. Generally, a void is something missing, a sadness that supersedes everything and prevents you from your enjoying life.

Take some time right now and think what you want to change in your life. Pick just one habit you want to break and analyze it. Do you use this habit to fill in for something else? Are you filling a void in your life with a ‘happiness substitute?’ If you need help figuring it out, ask yourself when you are most likely to engage in this habit. Is it when you’re bored, or upset, anxious or nervous? Use that information to figure out what your void is. Is it boredom, social anxiety, depression, bad self image? Once you figure out what your void is, you will be able to find something that fills it the right way. If you are bored, find some fun hobbies. If you have bad self image, use affirmations and exercise to feel better. If you are depressed, get help from a therapist or friends. You will soon find your void filled with something positive and it will shrink and eventually disappear.

Don’t let your void continue to cause emptiness in your life. Fill it with something fun and divine and complete your being.

Steve

Maybe it’s Just You

June 19th, 2010 by Steve

We all have bad days. It just feels sometimes like no matter what you do, how you feel or what energy you put out into the universe, that you just have a bad day. Hopefully the bad days are few and far between, and after the bad day you can put it behind you and move on. At least that is how it should be and feel.

Do you find yourself having bad day after bad day? One bad interaction with a rude sales person, mean boss or snippy waiter after another? Do you feel the world is against you? Are you always fighting the good fight, not letting people take advantage of you? Do you stand your ground and fight in order to feel righteous?

Well, I don’t like to say it but I will…. maybe it’s just you.

I have always seen God as a facilitator, a parent who supports His children by giving them the tools to live any kind of life they choose. I have never seen God as someone who plays favorites or chooses one to suffer while another lives in luxury. Those choices, I believe, are up to us. We choose the type of life we want to lead.

We choose how the world perceives us and how we perceive the world. I have many friends and acquaintances who live in very similar circumstances to me. They have similar jobs, income, education, families, etc. So our environments both physically and socially are pretty much the same. Yet they have the worse days. Every day is filled with someone trying to ‘get one over on them’ or some ‘rude waiter’ or some ‘idiot that cut them off.’ I rarely see or experience these things. I’m not immune from them but generally I have very few bad days. Am I that lucky? Are my friends who suffer from bad days that unlucky?

Did God choose me and say: “He is one of my favorites, so he gets to have easy and fortunate days”?  As much as I’d like to think that God did choose me for an easy life, I think I choose it myself. I am not removing God from the equation. God provides me the power and energy to manifest the easy life I think I deserve but, in the end, God gives me what I choose.

As I hear about the negative experiences my friends have, I keep coming back to the same two questions: “Why did you choose to have this experience? And why are you choosing to have it over and over?” For an answer I always look to my life and experience. If they occupy the same environment as me and they have these bad experiences, then I must be doing something so that I don’t have them.

How do you go from being a negative person to someone that always has great days? The answers are not easy. I will touch on them briefly but will have to expand on each with its own article in due time.

    1. Your Perception: It starts with your perception of the world around you. How do you react to your environment? A good example of this is in young children who have not had the life experience of adults and often tease or make fun of other children. If you look closely, you’ll notice that they rarely pick on kids who are not bothered.  They almost always pick on kids who are bothered because they are looking for that reaction to feed something inside themselves that they do not get elsewhere. If you react negatively to people (which more often than not are the cause of the bad situations), then more attacks will come your way so those people can feed off your negative reaction. On the other hand, if you react positively or don’t react at all, you will soon see that the negative people in your life will take less of an interest in you. If they are in a negative space, they want you there too. If you won’t join them, they will stop trying and find someone who will. As the saying goes, “misery loves company.” If you cannot perceive a loving, caring world you will forever experience a life of ‘bad days.’

      Start changing your perception today. When faced with someone negative, don’t get sucked in. Instead, react positively and show them love and understanding. It may drive you crazy at first because you will want to put up your shields and fight.  But it is easier to let energy flow past you than to put up a wall and resist it. Imagine standing in a river or a gust of wind and you face it head on. You feel its force pushing against you and you have to push back just as hard. However, if you turn your body sideways, the wind or water rushes past with minimal resistance. Being nice and radiating positivity is equivalent to turning your body sideways. Others’ negative energy will flow past you so you waste no energy dealing with that situation.

 

    1. Your Feelings: How do you feel every morning? Do you wake up eager to face your day? Are you excited to get to work and do something meaningful or touch base with your coworkers? Does the thought of seeing your children get you hopping out of bed eager to face the day? Or do you get up dreading facing your boss? Want just a few minutes sleep until the kids come in and you have to deal with them? Would you rather lay in bed another hour or another day than deal with the world?

      Your feelings set the stage for the type of day and life you will have. You have to get up excited to face the day.

      Find something that you love to do and set aside time right when you get up to do that one thing. Do you like to run, meditate, knit or watch a TV show? If you know that upon getting up you will get to do that thing, it will help to set the tone for the rest of your day. Every morning I get up and go for a jog with my wife. I cannot wait to get up in the mornings and spend time with my wife for a few minutes as we both exercise and talk. This sets the energy for the rest of my day. Work seems great, my friends are fun and I enjoy all of my interactions because I radiate happiness.

 

    1. Your Energy: This may sound very similar to your feelings but there is a difference. At first when you are in a negative energy state it takes conscious effort and energy to elevate yourself to a higher energy state where you radiate happiness. As you practice feeling good and perceiving a caring world, your energy will get higher and higher.  Soon you won’t have to perceive a happy world because you will live in a happy world.

 

  1. Your Faith: What do you believe you should experience day to day life? Do you believe that life is a struggle and you need to fight your way through? Or do you believe life should be easy and you should get everything easily? This is the hardest part to truly build. Faith is the most powerful and solid way to build an easy life. Perceptions change day to day, feelings go up and down and your energy varies. Over time you can get them all in sync with your life’s goals.  But when you believe, when you have faith that you deserve the easy life and to have it all go your way, then it comes easily.

If you see yourself having bad day after bad day, try to ask yourself why you do this to yourself.  Then try to change your perception, feelings, energy and finally your faith. Once you do, you’ll be seen as one of the “lucky ones” by your friends who haven’t found the way out.

Steve

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