It’s a fairly simple question to ask, “Are you happy?” So, when my wife asked it of me I snarled, “Yeah, I’m happy”… but inside I started to really wonder, as she replied, “You don’t seem happy”
Why wouldn’t I be happy? I have a job I love, my health, a great home, a supportive family. Shouldn’t I exude happiness on a daily basis?
I also have meetings and deadlines and bills and responsibilities and I’m internally wired to work all the time. My internal thoughts and dialogue constantly push me to be better, to do more, and to be number one.
But why? How did this happen? What’s REALLY important?
The older I get the more I realize the importance of conscious contact with God. It really needs to become the focus of my life. Shouldn’t it be the focus of all our lives? I’ve written about this before – if conscious contact with God is the most important thing in our lives, why isn’t it the most important thing in our lives?
We’re so caught up in the stream of thoughts that can’t be turned off – the mind is always thinking, always talking, and has no mute button. Most people believe the thoughts that run through our minds are who we are, what determines us as people. What we are, though – is the soul behind the thoughts watching everything unfold like watching a movie. When we start to realize that we are the watcher and not the thoughts we’re getting closer to enlightenment. Two recent books that I have read go into this – “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle and “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer. Both are highly recommended.
To get in touch with “the watcher” we need to quiet our minds. Yoga and meditation are two great ways to do this. “The watcher” is that part of us connected to God. It’s love in its purest sense. When in contact with this part of your soul, people won’t ask if you’re happy, you will radiate love and happiness. It does take an effort to get in touch with this part of yourself.
The Dalai Lama said “If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” Yet the vast majority of people never meditate at all. The most important thing we can do to create loving, lasting relationships is highly overlooked.
The more contact we have with God, with “the watcher”, the calmer life becomes. We can start to step back from obsessive/compulsive thoughts and watch ourselves like we’d watch a movie. But “the watcher” can control the outcome, can make us become unattached from always “being right” or wanting an outcome the mind believes we need. The more we define our lives from that place within us all that is timeless and eternal, the happier we all will be.
God might have a plan for you that would blow you away. You’ll never know without seeking Him.
Step back, find the part of you that watches the thoughts. Get in touch with God, with love, every chance you can. Look for ways to schedule this into your life. It’s the most important, most overlooked thing in the world. God won’t come screaming to you with a deadline to meet, you need to seek Him. Hopefully instead of asking “Are you happy”, the people we know and love will start asking us “Why are you so happy all the time?” when we do.
I like to win. I mean, I *really* like to win, I’m extremely competitive. If I’m playing with my grand kids, I’ll let them win once in a while, but I won’t like it. A part of me will still be saying “he’s six years old, take that kid DOWN!”
Sports and games are fairly easy to determine who the winner is. The person or team with the most points, the most money, maybe the least points (golf) or the shortest time period (races) is the winner. Everyone else loses.
The other day, I got to thinking – how do you win the game of life? When you get to the end, what would be considered a “victory”? Life isn't a game with only one winner, we all have the chance to leave a lasting legacy if we so desire to. Winning the game of life will be different for everyone, but thinking about what you personally would consider a “win” might open your eyes a bit. It certainly did for me.
The question I asked myself when trying to determine my criteria for winning the game of life was “What are the most important things to do while on earth to view my life as a success?”… My list:
#1 - CONSCIOUS CONTACT WITH GOD: For me, everything starts here. Seeking God’s wisdom and guidance is the number one most important thing in life as everything else flows from this. Without consciously seeking God’s guidance on a regular basis, decision making can be very unclear as it isn't always so easy to tell which voice in your head is that of God and which is that of the ego.
So, if conscious contact with God is the number one most important thing in life, it certainly must be where I devote most of my time and effort, right?... Not even close. Right out of the gate, this is a huge eye opener for me.
The ego is very good at creating a lifestyle that edges God out. Edge God Out = EGO. I truly believe that if we could open our minds to what God’s will is for us we would find ourselves blessed at levels beyond our comprehension. And therein lies the problem – how can we receive anything that is beyond our comprehension?
Receiving God’s gifts takes faith, faith at a level so high that it will sustain you through the fear of making the necessary changes to allow you to live the life God willed for you. Faith this strong needs to be worked on, cultivated and sought after. It comes from having a strong relationship with God.
To me, the most important thing in life is conscious contact with God. If I get to life’s finish line and look back and see that I built a strong relationship with God, really got in touch with His will for me and followed that path to the best of my ability… I’ll consider that a win.
#2 - IMPACT AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE IN A POSITIVE WAY: I love the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. One of my favorite parts from that movie is when they show Jimmy Stewart’s character what would have happened had he never been born, how many lives he impacted in a positive way.
People generally fall into one of two categories, either “What can I get?” or “How can I serve?”. The people who have the greatest success in life focus on “How can I serve?”
The “What can I get?” mindset will never understand the “How can I serve?” mindset except in a way that they will try to take advantage of for their own personal gains. If you’re focusing on how you can get something for nothing and/or scam your way through life, then people with the “How can I serve?” mindset are perfect targets, right? They want to help.
Often there are lessons to be learned on both sides when the two interact. The “What can I get?” mindset needs to learn that by switching to a “How can I serve?” mindset everything they seek would come to them much easier. The “How can I serve?” mindset often has to learn that when dealing with a “What can I get?” mindset often the best help is no help at all. When you give somebody something they didn't work for they won’t really appreciate it.
I want to help anyone I can anyway I can, always. Whatever situations are put into my life, I seek God’s will and look for how I can serve and/or what the lesson is for me. Looking back on my life and seeing that I did the best I could to help everyone I could, in any way possible, would be considered a win for me.
#3 - LOVE, JOY AND PEACE: I don’t want to look back at my life and see that my days were spent full of anxiety, worry and depression. Hatred, fear and anger held such a strong hold over me for so long that I continually struggle to not let them gain a foothold in my life again. I’m calling my book “FEED YOUR ANGEL” because I believe the best way to address this is to focus on what is going right in your life, to look at what is possible and to see that with God by your side there are no limits to your potential.
As creatures of routine, we dig ruts in our lives. Every day we travel through a rut it gets deeper and deeper. Most ruts are ego based and full of anxiety, worry and despair. The deeper the rut, the more fear involved to climb out and head a different direction. Humans have ruts running through many areas of our lives – relationships, work, money, and mindset. I dug a mindset rut for myself that I continue to dig out of every day. Some days the rut still wins.
Living from the place within you that knows only love, joy and peace isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds. Jobs and family have demands, demands can cause stress, and stress feeds on anxiety, worry and fear. If I don’t spend a lot of time focusing on what is good and right with my life, I will inevitably start to slide. The ego is a powerful force that will seep in wherever it sees weakness, doubts, fears, worries and anxieties.
Mindset is a daily struggle for me. I know that if I really want to impact the lives of others in a positive way, my mindset has to be focused on what is good and right. Love is the emotion that impacts others. Love, excitement, passion – these are the qualities I wish to exude.
I would be very satisfied if I thought, at the end of my life, that people saw me as a loving, energetic person who lived passionately from a position of love, joy and peace.
So, that’s my list. I will win the game of life by increasing my conscious contact with God, following His will for me to the best of my ability, helping as many people along the way that I can by living my life focusing on love, joy and peace.
It is my hope that my list will help you find yours and that we all get to the end of the game of life as winners.
Why are we so scared to follow our dreams and so willing to follow the herd into a workforce destined to suck the passion from our hearts?
Dreams are scary. They usually involve putting yourself out there in some capacity and being very vulnerable on a personal or financial level, and often both.
The herd will try dragging you down at first, you might encounter a LOT of negative feedback reinforcing the idea that following your dreams is foolish.
So, where did the dream come from? Aren’t dreams and passions God’s way of directing us to where our joy is? Would God put inspiration in our hearts looking for us to ignore it so that we can work a job we hate to pay bills for things we could live without?
Maybe, just MAYBE - if we could suspend our fear, if we could overlook our doubts and just start to get in touch with that part of the soul where passion and inspiration resides, the Universe would conspire to help us. Everything would fall into place.
Why so much fear? Why do we doubt ourselves? Where does fear and doubt come from?
There is light and there is darkness. There are angels and there are demons. Fear and doubt stop more dreams and create more unhappiness than any other emotions I can think of. I see them as dark and demonic. Self talk controlled from such a place will always pull you down.
My hope is that you’re reading this and can’t relate to any of it so far because you followed your passions and dreams your entire life and are living unencumbered by fear and doubt. Are you? If not, why? Aren’t you in control of your own choices?
Get in touch with your passions. Find what moves your heart, where inspiration lies deep within your soul. It might be buried so deep that you’ll have to do extensive digging to find it. But it’s there. It’s there for all of us. And it’s there for a reason. Dig the passion from your soul and start moving toward the light. The only thing stopping you is your own belief that you can’t.
Sometimes in life we are led in a direction that takes on a life of it’s own before we even have a clue what’s happening. Years later we look back and see how everything unfolded and if just one piece of the puzzle was one iota different then everything would have changed. But it didn’t. It unfolded the way it did for a reason. We either accepted life’s pull and went along with the feeling of our heart, or we fought it every step of the way. Fighting your dreams leads to “if onlys” and “what ifs”… that’s how you’ll be able to tell if you followed the path God laid out for you. Don’t fight your dharma.
Feed your angel… FEED YOUR ANGEL!
Life gives us choices. If we follow what our heart yearns for, if we can get in touch with our passions and let our souls be the guide - without letting the ego’s incessant chatter about all the reasons we can’t do anything hold us back - and we grab hold of those dreams and advance in that direction… that’s when miracles happen. That’s where passion resides in the soul of every human. That’s where the future you dream of will become your reality.
There’s a reason this book isn’t called “Fight Your Demon”. When we fight something we’ve already lost. When given the choice of reacting with fear or acting with love, choose love. Stand up for what is right for yourself, for your family, for the world. There’s no fighting in that. There’s no fear. There’s no anger. If love is all we’re seeking, why not spend more time advancing in the direction of love?
You were given passion at birth. Do you remember? What are you passionate about? Do you know? Get in touch with your passions. Begin to follow your heart. Don’t deny this, don’t fight what the Universe has given you as your “life pull”.
There is something burning in your heart. There is a passion longing for release. You have an ego that will fight you on this and tell you why you can’t get in touch with this loving, unconditional spirit that lives inside us all.
Don’t fight where you’re led!
If you knew, really KNEW, that God put you on earth for a specific reason and that you’re only mission in life was to get in touch with your passions and follow your heart to achieve everything you ever desired, would you follow your heart? Or would you fight it every step of the way and deny yourself?
Life pulls us in the direction of our dreams. Learn to be led by your passions. Get out of your way. Dreams become realities through belief. Find your dreams, get back in touch with your passions – that driving force within you that creates burning desire. Suspend your disbelief in what is possible and follow your heart. Miracles are made when dreams meet belief.
I’m writing today as the “special preview edition” of FEED YOUR ANGEL will be shipped to me in three days. I am also scheduled to go to Denver next weekend for a writer’s seminar. This past month I’m actually beginning to SEE it, to FEEL like a writer. I’ve been working on the cover and interior design for the preview edition and on Tuesday I’ll hold them in my hands. NOT the full book, but sixteen chapters, fifty-four pages and a dream of mine as long as I can remember. What a great, great feeling that will be.
As I think about that moment I can’t help but wonder… what took me so long? If I’ve wanted to write since I was in elementary school, why haven’t I been writing all along? What is it that took fifty three years to get here? Probably a combination of several things:
- I HAD OTHER PRIORITIES – As I grew up, I also became interested in music. By the time I was a teenager, I could see myself as a “rock star”, and visualizing myself as an author took a back seat.
- CONFIDENCE – Because I wasn’t writing very much my confidence level to be able to do an entire book wasn’t all that great. It seemed like a daunting, time consuming task.
- DESIRE – I didn’t have a particular idea that resonated within me and made me WANT to pick up a notepad and start writing. Once I came up with the FEED YOUR ANGEL idea and started writing an amazing series of events began to take place that led me to this time and place where dreams are becoming reality.
I could probably list many other reasons, but these are the three biggies that come to mind first.
Today, I woke up at 4:30am… on a Saturday. One of the few days where I could
have slept in. But my mind was racing with all the things I wanted to get done for the book and it’s associated websites. Isn’t this the way life was meant to be? So excited for the day because it’s filled doing what you love?
I’m starting to SEE and FEEL like an author. I’m excited to start looking for speaking engagements when I get back from Denver. Instead of wondering why it took me so long to actually write a book, I know that this publication wasn’t ready to be presented until now, and I’m just the channel it chose. The book is writing itself, I needed the time to prepare to receive it. I needed to meet people who thought it was a good idea. I needed to meet people who knew I could do this before I knew it myself.
When the book is ready, the author appears.
“Detroit”… “Motown”… “Motor City”… all the same town. Many ways to get there. Several highways head into the city. So, if you took highway 75 to Detroit and made it into town, would you then decide that’s the only way to get there? Would you stand on street corners, go door to door and proclaim to everyone “I have FOUND Detroit! You must take highway 75 to get there!”… The first person to mention they took highway 53 to Detroit MUST be confused, right? You KNOW from personal experience highway 75 gets you to Detroit! There are signs all over highway 75 where it is WRITTEN – Detroit 5 miles… Detroit with arrows pointing the way for you… Highway 75 is the way to get to Detroit, any rational person can see that.
What if someone not only doesn’t take highway 75, but also decides they’d rather call Detroit “Motown” – or “Motor City”?... “Yep”, they’d say – “We took highway 96 to Motown yesterday”… well, that’s just wrong. Wrong name, wrong highway – they obviously know nothing about Detroit.
Fact is, there are many ways to get to Detroit. No one way is any better than any other. One road might be more convenient than another depending on where you live, but – many roads lead to Detroit. And no matter what you call it – it’s still Detroit.
Substitute “GOD” for Detroit. So many names, so many ways to find God. Why do people think if they’ve found God one way it’s the only way to get there? Why does the name matter? Allah? Jesus? Mohammed?... What road got you there? Christianity? Taoism? Buddhism?...
No matter what you call it, it’s still God. And there are many ways to get there.
Ram Dass, when he was younger, took LSD as a spiritual quest. He gave some to his guru – more than any one man should have been able to handle. It had no effect on the guru, leading Ram Dass to surmise “When you already live in Detroit, you don’t need to take a bus to get there”.
It is my goal to some day “live in Detroit”. I’m willing to consider any and all paths that head in that direction.
I’m very seldom happy or satisfied with where I’m at in life. It seems like no matter what I do I feel I could have done better, given more, gone an extra step or two… there are times when I allow myself to feel grateful for all I have, I certainly am grateful for many, many things… but my days are often caught up pushing, striving and working to achieve MORE. I am also EXTREMELY critical of myself as well. Anything perceived as a failure, or not up to the standards I’ve set for myself can be emotionally devastating to me.
I have no idea where this personality trait comes from, maybe one or both parents, I’m not really sure. I do know it has benefits and drawbacks for me, as is often the case with many things in life. As a young musician, I wanted to play everything perfectly and effortlessly, so it drove me to practice 2+ hours/day for years until I became a good enough player to be satisfied with my abilities. I take that same drive into anything I do – I want to not just learn something, I want to be one of the BEST at anything I do… which, of course, is not always possible… especially at first. It’s this drive that has helped me become a fairly accomplished musician and salesperson, although the same part that drives me also looks back at what I’ve done and usually thinks “I could have done better”…
The drawbacks of this “I should be instantaneously great at everything I do” attitude include having to go through the emotions of doing things at first that aren’t so perfect – whether it was playing that first show, making that first sales call, writing the first chapter, giving the first speech… and dealing with the outpouring of negative emotions that follow. The interior dialogue that says “That was awful, what were you thinking? You can’t do this!”… It can kill things before you even get started.
I gave a speech in 2012 that didn’t go very well at all. Now, I also gave many talks in 2012 that were very good. The one that sticks with me is the “failure”. I gave no talks after that, even thinking about it now fills me with negative emotions. When prepared, I can do a pretty good presentation. I think I went into that particular speech just thinking my natural ability would carry me – sometimes it will. That day it didn’t. I stopped really looking to give talks after that. It also has affected my writing… I don’t have much confidence in my writing. Because of that I am very critical of anything I post.
I’m writing a book called FEED YOUR ANGEL not because I believe I have it all figured out – but because I DON’T. I need to remind myself every day that my thoughts will create my reality, to focus on what’s going right, to look at the bright side…
There is almost always a battle raging within me. As I write this I’m thinking “Very few people will ever read this, nobody cares what you think, you’re not a very good writer, this is a stupid idea”… At the same time I’m thinking “This is a great idea, if you continue writing and speaking there’s no limit to the amount of people who’s lives you can positively impact, keep going, you’ll get better, you can do it”…
It’s a battle similar to this that keeps most of us from ever trying anything new – starting a business, relocating, writing a book, whatever it is… it’s always easier to stick with where you’re at and what you know than to make any changes or try something new. Change can be scary. Failure, even if it’s only “perceived” failure, is very hard to overcome. The path to self confidence runs through the road of failure, though. Only the things you are truly passionate about will give you the drive to succeed.
Writing a book has been a goal of mine since I was a little kid. I intend to succeed. In the process I hope that some of what I write resonates with someone else in a positive way.
Life is short and guaranteed to no one. My father lived to be 71… at the time of this writing, that would be 18 more years for me. Mom lived until she was 97, which would be 44 years. Reality will probably fall somewhere in between – maybe 35 years?... 35 years will BLOW by. How will I use that time? What is REALLY important? Am I happy with where my life is at today? Are my own beliefs about what is truly possible limiting my future? What if it all ended today, have I lived a meaningful life?...
I spend a lot of time thinking about these things, maybe we all do. The older I get, the more I realize the power of BELIEF. For years I’ve bought into the idea that “you become what you think about”. Based on that, I’ve tried to see myself as a wealthy, happy, healthy individual and make that my mindset. What I’ve found, though, is that if you tell yourself “I will be a millionaire by the time I’m 50” but internally every time you say or think that thought your subconscious mind says “no, you won’t” you will have a tough time achieving that goal. The saying is “whatever you can conceive and BELIEVE you can achieve”. BELIEF is really the key here.
As a society, I think we limit ourselves by our patterns of thought. We fall into routines that may or may not serve our best interests. The routines become ingrained and when thoughts pop up like “I should learn how to play the piano” they are quickly shot down by all the reasons that’s a stupid idea, leaving us to live day to day lives that often are duplicates of the day before… our own versions of the movie “Groundhog Day”. On our tombstones, we could have: “Here lies Schmitty, he lived one day very well many times over”. To truly achieve anything in life we need to stretch our thoughts and what we believe is possible for ourselves. We need to take risks.
In the blink of an eye, our lives will be over. What does your heart tell you? Are you happy? Do you spend your days doing what you love to do with the people you love to be with? Are there yearnings inside you that you’ve long ago decided not to pursue but leave you wondering “what if”?...
“what if” I volunteered my time to help others less fortunate?...
“what if” I started my own business?...
“what if” I started to paint, to write music, to dance, to meditate, to exercise, etc, etc, etc...”
Pull the “what ifs” from your subconscious mind. Find one that moves your heart. Change your thoughts about what is possible. Learn to BELIEVE you can do anything. Take a risk. DO IT NOW! Tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. The present moment is all we have, and our present moments are limited. Make every moment count. BELIEVE.
Every night and every morning I say these words silently to myself:
I am rich
I am prosperous
I am abundant
I am healthy
I am happy
I am love
Every night these are the words I fall asleep to, these are the thoughts I give my subconscious mind to work on while I sleep.
Every morning, these are the words I use to start my day with the right attitude.
I’m writing a book called “Feed Your Angel” because for years I never saw myself this way. I saw myself as poor, unhappy, unhealthy, angry and insecure. I need to put supportive thoughts into my mind on a daily basis or the negative mind stream finds its way back to my subconscious.
There are many books that speak to the power of using the words “I AM”. Be very careful what you program yourself to believe you are. Using the phrase “I AM” followed by all the things you wish to see in your life every morning and evening gives you 730 opportunities per year to program your subconscious properly. Your subconscious mind will begin to act on those beliefs.
When you use the term “I AM”, believe that whatever you say after it is true for you. See that feeling or emotion as being who you are. When you say “I am love”, see and feel what that means for your life.
Personally, I use “I am love” because I can have trouble controlling my anger at times. When there’s a lot of stress and I feel pushed or things aren’t going exactly how I want them to I can get frustrated and angry. You can tell what’s inside a person when they’re squeezed and too often anger is what I see in myself. I want to replace that with love. So, 730 times a year (at least) I tell myself “I am love”, “I am love”, “I am love”… and I see myself mentally responding differently to these situations. You can’t put that much positive energy into your mind without seeing a positive impact on your life.
I make lists, I have them everywhere. There’s lists of things I need to do at home, lists for work, lists of players to look up for fantasy football, books I want to read, movies I want to see… they’re all over. So it came as no surprise to me today when I opened a notebook and a list I made a long time ago fell out. No date, nothing. Just a list of ten things. This is the list:
- Be passionate
- Smile often
- Love everything
- Exercise frequently
- Have fun
- Be honest
- Seek God
- Set goals
- Read daily
- Meditate often
I’m going to keep that list where I can see it every day from now on. Advice to myself from myself that maybe came just at the right time on the right day for me now. And hopefully it reaches you and your life in a similar fashion :)