Heaven or Hell

March 25, 2017

I was taught the religious vernacular of the two very distinct end games for a life of choices. On the one side there is heaven   The light fluffy clouds, the pearly gates of gold. The wings and being with our creator as a forever family. On the other darkness, the underworld, pain and suffering. Feeling trapped without options. A slave to the prince of darkness. A place with no possibility. 

Are theses places real or metaphors for something else?  Today I heard them described in a more beautiful way. A way that resonated with me. The afterlife lies in how you are remembered. If your life’s work conjures up good feelings and memories that is heaven. On the other hand, if the legacy you leave behind is one of hurt, selfishness and anguish that is surely hell. 

To quote Epictetus “The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil?  Not to uncontrollable externals,  but within myself to the choices that are my own …”

Our legacy determines our resting place. Beacause after all it’s our legacy that lives on. Aha!

The Dream

January 1, 2017

On the eve of another passing year contemplating this passing of time and taking inventory of the many opportunities and lessons.  We can realign ourselves to our true purpose by being still and asking a few important questions.

Do  I have attachments to possessions or roles?

If I lost my possessions or if my roles change how would I feel?

How much power do these things have on my life?

Life is cyclic by nature.  There is a beginning and an end to everything. Steve jobs in his 2005 Stanford commencement address said:

“If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

The tradition of the new year is an opportunity to evaluate your life to make sure you’re living your dream and creating the life you imagine.

 

For My Daughters

December 31, 2016

My daughters inspire me with their strength, creativity and abilities to make things happen. They are both entrepreneurs running their own businesses. Like their mother they both possess caring empath personalities. They make me proud to be their papa and glad I have them in my life. I found this TED Talk and thought of them

“I have my own theory about why decline happens at companies like IBM or Microsoft. The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesmen, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues, not the product engineers and designers. So the salespeople end up running the company. John Akers at IBM was a smart, eloquent, fantastic salesperson, but he didn’t know anything about product. The same thing happened at Xerox. When the sales guys run the company, the product guys don’t matter so much, and a lot of them just turn off. It happened at Apple when Sculley came in, which was my fault, and it happened when Ballmer took over at Microsoft. Apple was lucky and it rebounded, but I don’t think anything will change at Microsoft as long as Ballmer is running it. I hate it when people call themselves “entrepreneurs” when what they’re really trying to do is launch a startup and then sell or go public, so they can cash in and move on. They’re unwilling to do the work it takes to build a real company, which is the hardest work in business. That’s how you really make a contribution and add to the legacy of those who went before. You build a company that will still stand for something a generation or two”

Excerpt From: Isaacson, Walter. “Steve Jobs.”

This little pearl was hidden deep in Steve’s Autobiography interestedly enough in the chapter titled Legacy.  A good friend of mine has a saying “Legacy over currency”.  Truer words were never spoken.

Got Apple

What I learned in life is…May 9, 2013 by Paulo Coelho
What I learned in life is,

That no matter how good a person is,

sometimes they can hurt you & because of this we must forgive.

It takes years to build trust and only seconds to destroy it ..

We don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change..

The circumstances and the environment influence on our lives,

but we are the one who is responsible for ourselves..

That you have to control your acts or they will control you..

That patience requires much practice.. 

that there are people who love us,

but simply don’t know how to show it..

That sometimes the person you think will hurt you and make you fall..

Is instead one of the few who will help you to get up..

You should never tell a child that dreams are fake, it would be a tragedy if they knew..

It’s not always enough to be forgiven by someone,

in most cases you have to forgive yourself first..

That no matter in how many pieces your heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop to fix it ..

Maybe God wants us to meet all the wrong people first before meeting the right one..

So when we finally meet the right one we are grateful for that gift ..

When the door of happiness closes, another door opens..

but often we look so long at the closed one.. we don’t see what was open for us ..

The best kind of a friend is the kind in which you can sit on a porch and walk…

Without saying a word & when you leave it feels it was the best conversation you ever had.

It’s true we don’t know what we have until we find it, but its also true,

we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives..

It only takes a minute to offend someone, an hour to like someone,

a day to love someone, but it takes a life time to forget someone.

Don’t look for appearances, they can be deceiving, don’t go for wealth even that can fade,

Find someone who makes you smile, because it only takes a smile to make a day better,

find what makes your heart smile..

There are moments in life when you miss someone so much..

that you wish you can take them out of your dream and hug them for real..

Dream what you want, go wherever you want to go.. because you have only one life..

and one chance to do the things you want to do ..

The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything,

they just make the best of everything that comes their way.

The best future is based on the forgotten past..

You can’t go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

If ~

November 4, 2016

If you can keep your head when all about you       Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 

    But make allowance for their doubting too;   

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, 

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, 

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, 

    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: 
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster 

    And treat those two impostors just the same;   

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken 

    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, 

    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: 
If you can make one heap of all your winnings 

    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 

And lose, and start again at your beginnings 

    And never breathe a word about your loss; 

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew 

    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

And so hold on when there is nothing in you 

    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ 
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, 

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, 

    If all men count with you, but none too much; 

If you can fill the unforgiving minute 

    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

By Runyard Kipling 

Half Way Down

September 8, 2016

I recently read a beautiful story about a little 4 year old girl who lived in NY and observed, as children do, people around her in reaction to the 9-11 tragedy. Eventually she asked where do people go when they die. The troubled father took some good advice from his life coach who said “answer your daughter’s questions honestly but don’t volunteer any unsolicited information. Don’t elaborate, don’t over-explain, he said. Just answer the question in its simplest form. That’s all she wants.”  In further discussion with his mother she said I believe there’s a poem for that and offered this poem by A.A. Milne titled. Halfway Down.

Halfway down the stairs

Is a stair

Where I sit.

There isn’t any

Other stair

Quite like

It.

I’m not at the bottom, 

I’m not at the top;

So this is the stair

Where

I always

Stop.
Halfway up the stairs

Isn’t up,

And it isn’t down.

It isn’t in the nursery,

It isn’t in the town.

And all sorts of funny thoughts

Run round my head;

“It isn’t really

Anywhere!

It’s somewhere else

Instead!”

I like this in that it explains perfectly where we go when we die. 

13 Virtues

September 5, 2016

In 1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin created a system to develop his character. 

Much can be learned from studying his credo. Putting this practice to work will be the true test. I believe even Franklin understood this as he said “Well done is better than well said.”
1.  Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2.  Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3..Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4.  Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5.  Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

6.  Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

7.  Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8.  Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9.  Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.

11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

13. Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

The orange lesson

November 16, 2015

In the last few years Dr. Wayne W. Dyer used to always bring an orange on stage as a prop for an object lesson.

“If I were to squeeze this orange as hard as I could, what would come out?” He would asked someone in the audience, in this case a 12 year old boy.
He looked at me like I was a little crazy and said, “Juice, of course.”
“Do you think apple juice could come out of it?”
“No!” he laughed.
“What about grapefruit juice?”
No!”
What would come out of it?”
“Orange juice, of course.”
“Why? Why when you squeeze an orange does orange juice come out?”
He may have been getting a little exasperated with me at this point.
“Well, it’s an orange and that’s what’s inside.”

I nodded. “Let’s assume that this orange isn’t an orange, but it’s you. And someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, says something you don’t like, offends you. And out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, fear. Why? The answer, as our young friend has told us, is because that’s what’s inside.”
It’s one of the great lessons of life. What comes out when life squeezes you? When someone hurts or offends you? If anger, pain and fear come out of you, it’s because that’s what’s inside. It doesn’t matter who does the squeezing—your mother, your brother, your children, your boss, the government. If someone says something about you that you don’t like, what comes out of you is what’s inside. And what’s inside is up to you, it’s your choice.
When someone puts the pressure on you and out of you comes anything other than love, it’s because that’s what you’ve allowed to be inside. Once you take away all those negative things you don’t want in your life and replace them with love, you’ll find yourself living a highly functioning life.
I’ve been in this place many times. The world squeezes you and those feelings of inadequacy and fear and self doubt come out. The challenge increases when you add the necessity of  establishing and enforcing boundaries in a kind, yet firm way.  The balancing act we all face of wanting to help without harming.  I’m still working on developing that foundation of peace and love. For me it’s been a lifetime journey and I still haven’t mastered it. But I knew there was a reason I like oranges.

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This Too Shall Pass

September 30, 2015

Zen stories can teach us so much. Here is a favorite. I love it because life is always throwing challenge at us and it is very easy to get caught up in feeling overwhelmed and down about our instinctual judgement of our situation. If we reexamine we can almost always reset our glass to half full. 

According to an ancient story, there once lived a king in a Middle Eastern land. The king was continuously torn between happiness and agony. The smallest things could make him really upset or give him an intense emotional reaction, so his happiness easily turned into disappointment and despair.
One day the king got tired of himself and started seeking a way out. He sent for a wiseman living in his kingdom. The wiseman was reputed for being enlightened. When he arrived, the king said to him, “I want to be like you. Can you bring me something that gives balance, peace and serenity in my life? I will pay whatever price you like.” The wiseman replied, “I may be able to help you, but the price is so great that not even your kingdom would be enough payment for it. Therefore I will give it to you as a gift, if you will honor it.” The king gave his assurances, and the wiseman left.
A few weeks later he returned, and handed the king an ornate box carved in jade. The king opened the box, and found a simple gold ring inside. The inscription on the ring read, “This, too, shall pass”. “What is the meaning of this?” asked the king. The wiseman replied, “Wear this ring always. Whatever happens, before you call it good or bad, touch the ring and read the inscription. That way, you will always be at peace.