Reality Reflection: What’s Enough?

This week I’ve been contemplating a difficult topic in our world of consumerism and extreme focus on success and wealth. If you’ve been in the self-help industry for a while, especially the success and career related portions, you’ve probably run across people who say they can help you grow exponentially, and they talk about the people they’ve helped earn multi-six figures and millions (or more) each year. Now, there’s nothing wrong with making good money and with being financially well-off. Having financial resources can make many things in your life easier, and you’ve got lots of opportunities to invest in others and in our world. So here’s the question: is it OK if I don’t really want to make millions each year?

I know it may sound like a silly question, but really, there are people who would be very happy with a fraction of the money some of us make (even if we’re only making 30k per year). Yet I also understand how valuable (and powerful) someone can become when they have all those resources at their disposal. And some people find the thought of having that much wealth intimidating or even fear-inducing. Yet I understand that for some of us that by really living our life purpose we’re going to make lots of money. So is it wrong to want to (or actually) make lots of money, and/or is it wrong to not want to make lots of money?

I think it’s OK to be comfortable where you are as long as you’re covering your basic needs (and the needs of your kids or others under your direct care), and have at least a little plan for the future. It’s also OK to want to earn more and to put in the effort that will get you there. I think it comes down to two questions: are you at peace with where you are financially in your life and are you fulfilled? If you’re not at peace and not fulfilled then it’s time to make some changes to your life and start making more money. That doesn’t mean you have to make millions, just more, and while you may not be ready for millions today, there may be a day down the road that you will be. What are your thoughts on how much is “enough”?

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Mother’s Day Blessings

Sunday is Mother’s Day, a day we stop to appreciate and remember those women who have had an impact on our lives.  A word that I think really sums up this celebration is blessing.  It’s a word I’ve been sharing about quite a bit with you lately, because it’s an important word, one that often gets buried in our lives underneath “challenge” and “problem”.  This Mother’s Day think about these different blessings:

Bunches of Blessings:
One of the easiest and most popular gifts for Mother’s Day is flowers.  Personally, I prefer the potted kind instead of the cut kind because they last longer.  Whatever your flower preference is, don’t forget that what you’re giving isn’t as important as remembering to truly celebrate the one you’re giving them to.  Think of not only what you’re gifting, but also the gift of having a mother this Mother’s Day.

Bountiful Blessings:
In this world of abundance, abundant gas prices, abundant unemployment, and abundant opportunities for growth, change and development, one thing we don’t stop to think about is having abundant blessings.  Psalm 23:6 sheds some light on where we get those abundant blessings: “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  More so than anyone, mothers should be dwelling with God.  If they’re to be amazing mothers, they need a lot of strength, wisdom and many blessings from God.

Boxes of Blessings:
Sometimes our blessings come in disguise.  I’ve been meditating a lot on a song by Laura Story, Blessings, (on YouTube).  Her song reminded me that sometimes our blessings are like items that we get in boxes in the mail.  We don’t really know what’s in the box, but we hope it’s what we want.  Sometimes, the box doesn’t contain what we want, or what we did want is in the box but it’s not in good condition.  It’s the boxes of blessings that most often bring us to our knees asking for guidance.

Bundles of Blessings:
Mother’s Day is a celebration of the gift of life. Psalm 139 contains David’s thoughts on how God begins our lives with us.  God’s special plan for each of our lives includes our mothers.  If you are blessed with the opportunity to be a mother, remember to thank God for it, because not everyone is blessed with that calling.

This Mother’s Day, in all of the hustle and bustle, don’t forget to say a prayer for all of the mothers around the world, and those who have a desire to be mothers.   Also, consider the bunches, bounty, boxes and bundles in your life.  These aren’t just lessons for Mom, they’re lessons that everyone needs to gather in their life.

Psalm 16:5 says “Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.  You guard all that is mine.”  I hope that blessings overflow in your life (and your mom’s life) this weekend, and I encourage you to take the time to celebrate and recognize all the blessings God sends your way.

Reality Reflection: The Luck of the Irish

Friday in the US, Ireland and other countries around the world St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated.  So of course in addition to thinking about drinks and pots of gold and Celtic crosses I’m thinking about the topic of luck. Honestly, I think there is something to it.  I think that sometimes fortune shines on us.  If you’re not comfortable with the topic of luck or believing it could be real, you could call it karma and see it as a return of a good thing you did in your past or a gift that you can make good on later.

Why am I convinced it exists? Because things happen that had no reason to happen.  People don’t intentionally lose pennies for other people to find, parking spots don’t just wait for you, perfect jobs don’t come with labels on them “held for you”, deals aren’t waiting for you to take advantage of them, people don’t hang around doors just to open them for you (unless they’re doormen/women :)), perfect quotes don’t show up because they knew you needed some encouragement, the list goes on.

If we do think of luck as a karma thing, there are definitely things you can do to make luck show up more in your life.  Karma runs on the principle that what you do is returned to you, so if you’re acting in ways that help others and the world, you’ll see the same returned to you.  If you want more luck in your life, show up in ways for others and the world that give them blessings, are considerate and open the door for something good to happen to them.

The other thing about luck is that you have to be open to receiving it.  I think it’s much harder to be lucky if you’ve totally ruled it out as a reality and don’t think that it’s something that can happen to/for you.  Like many other things in life, if you’re closed off to the possibilities you’ll only receive what you’re open to.  So this weekend with a lucky clover in your yard or a bit of Irish soda bread on your plate I encourage you to let a little luck into your life, whether you’re Irish or not.

Reality Reflection: Present Participation

I’m a big fan of Mike Rowe.  I always enjoyed watching Dirty Jobs when the reruns are on and seeing how the world really works, how things are made, or all the behind the scenes things that go into what seems so simple to us, usually with things going on that most of us have no idea about.  This week in considering different things including life purpose, I re-read an article and video about the big lesson that he’s learned.  You can watch the video and read the article here.  In it Mike says 2 important things:

“Looking for your soul mate and looking for the right job are great ways to make sure you don’t get either.”
and
“It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs. Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way they feel…What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.”

It was a really good reminder for me this week as I struggled with a bit of an attitude issue about some things.  It reminded me as I’ve learned before and have tried to incorporate into my life that as great as the future may be, all I have is right now.  And if I can’t learn to be happy with the right now, why will I be happy with the future?  Sure things might change, I might move, make millions, have a couple puppies or have kids, but if I can’t appreciate and work with the here and now and do my best to live fully now, I’ll never get to a happy future.

So what about you?  Do you need to take a step back from pursuing the future and work on your present?  It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, we all get swept up in the excitement of what is coming.  But I believe that part of the journey of life is learning to be in the moment and appreciate what you have and who you are.  It’s not a lesson you learn all at once, Mike admits to needing to be told it over 100 times, but one that you learn as you live.  Will you choose to live with me this week?

Reasons of the Heart

What motivates you?  Today I’m thinking about motivation as I deal with unmotivated clients and have personally struggled to find my stride again after dealing with some life and health situations. I think the biggest challenge is that we say to ourselves that we’ll deal with “x” when we’re through this challenge.  But as soon as we get through a challenge we’re hit with something else and that thing, “x”, that seemed so important still seems really important, but is just getting further buried under the challenges of life, things that seem more pressing than “x”.

So what if we backed up a whole lot and thought about why we get up in the morning. And no, I’m not really talking about the fact that you get up because the sun is up or the alarm goes off or the kids run in and bounce on the bed or because you have to go to a job or because the kids are up and may be heading to school.  Some of those things can be indicators for why you get up, but in most cases if we really were honest, they’re not the reason we get out of bed.  The unfortunate thing is that many of us don’t get out of bed because we’re excited and thankful for a new day.  We get up because we have to, or at least that’s the attitude we have about it.

Sure, you could stay in bed, and maybe your boss or kids would be willing to work with you on that.  Maybe the kids are willing to climb in bed with you with cups with lids and watch a TV show or two for an hour so you can mentally wrap your head around the day ahead or just rest with them and maybe even catch up on your emails or read a book.   Maybe your boss would love someone to come in an hour later and leave an hour later because it will help deal with the client issues that always seem to crop up at the end of the day better.  You don’t know until you ask.

But now we’ve completely gotten sidetracked.  The question, if you remember, is why do you get out of bed in the morning?  What really and truly motivates you to live your life each day?  Is there anything that you’re really feeling motivated by, or have you let life get the best of you and you’ve stopped looking forward to what the day will bring.  I believe each and every day can hold some really amazing things, but we don’t always have the open eyes or heart to receive them.

As part of what we do for the last week of the month I do want to take a look at being motivated, but I really want to work on tapping back into our hearts and listening to them again, believing in them and ourselves and opening up to the best this world has to offer, rather than just floating along.

“The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of.”  Blaise Pascal

What Do You See in 2017?

As we work our way into this new year I want to encourage you to make time not just to make resolutions about what you’re going to change or what you want to accomplish with this year, but really to take stock in what’s in your life, what you might be blind to and what you’ve been ignoring, and see what’s really going on around you.  Part of this is about facing the things that have hurt you, the things you may do that hurt others, the things that are holding you back, and the things that you’ve let influence your life for too long.  But the other part of this is about really opening your eyes to see the world around you and see what God wants you to see and what He has created.

In today’s verse God’s promising Abram all the land that He sees around him and letting him know that a thriving, plentiful life for himself and his future generations is all around him.   Would Abram have know that if God hadn’t pointed it out to him or took the time to listen to God and see what God was trying to show him? I think God would have blessed him anyway but Abram would not have known the impact that he would have on future generations without taking the time to look and listen.

I know that we can get really busy in our lives, let things take over, let the concerns of others take priority and forget to take time to really look around and see the world around us, not just as others are telling us it exists, but truly seeing what God wants us to see.  I encourage you to make time this week to really take a good look at your life.  Don’t let any overwhelm you feel discourage you and don’t let the problems you see stop you from trusting that God has a good plan for your life (and can and will forgive you if you repent, and will help you work through the challenges).  And maybe you’ll get lucky like Abram and see some really incredible promises.

“The Lord said to Abram after lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west.” Genesis 13:14

Aloha and Enjoy

We’ve got less than 10 days left in this month, a month we talk about two sometimes opposing topics: Halloween and enjoying life, with next week mostly devoted to talk of Halloween, today I want to talk about enjoying life again.  This week I heard a definition or translation of a word that we hear enough that most of us would recognize it, even if it’s not a word we use in our daily language. The word is aloha and the definition used was “to consciously manifest life joyously in the present.”  It’s a bit of a mouthful, but super powerful if you take the time to really get what it’s saying.

But this understanding of Aloha is exactly what we’ve been talking about this month on the blog: learning how to enjoy life each day.  Some days that enjoyment takes a bit more effort and consciousness to manifest, while other days it seems effortless.  Neither is wrong, especially when you’re getting started learning how to enjoy life, and even the wisest or most zen individuals have admitted to having a challenging day.  That’s all part of our life experience and how we’re supposed to live our lives.  It wouldn’t be much of a journey if it got handed to us on a silver platter.

I do believe though, that when you’re focused on the good, when you’re creating solutions and giving support to others, working towards better understanding of what goes on in our world, open to new experiences and perspectives, and generally moving with life rather than fighting, hating, rejecting or being apathetic towards it, life is typically easier, better and more enjoyable.

As you and your kids and/or friends pick out Halloween costumes or make last minute party plans I encourage you to think about the difference you would experience in your life if you were manifesting results beyond your wildest dreams as a regular part of your life.  What would change for you?  What would you do differently?