Top 2 Ways to Get the Most from Life

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James R. Doty, in his book, “Into the Magic Shop,” talks about growing up in an environment of poverty and neglect. At 12 years old, he entered a magic shop and, through a simple act of kindness extended toward him, the trajectory of his life was transformed. If Doty had chosen to blame his upbringing for a lack of potential, this world-renowned neurosurgeon likely would’ve proven another sad statistic. Instead, he focused on his abilities through the power of both the brain and the heart. When tempted to obsess over our circumstances, we must, instead, choose to focus on our capabilities. In other words, rather than look for excuses to set ourselves up for failure, we should latch onto everything we can do. And then do it. I’d like to take it a step further: It also requires faith. Because faith knows we’ve already received and then acts accordingly. It’s like dressing for success before walking out the door.

Do you focus on your circumstances or your capabilities?

Image source: https://psychcentral.com/.

 

Don’t let anything dull your sparkle: manage your mojo with a mantra

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My mojo is missing, my mood is meh and I can’t put my finger on it. When I told that to one of my sisters recently, she said: “Turn it over to the Lord. Be your sparkly self again.” This requires daily, oftentimes minute-by-minute, discipline. Yet I’m the first to admit that I frequently allow circumstances beyond my control—the mess in the world, others’ actions and reactions—to dictate my disposition. To rub me the wrong way. To dull my sparkle. But what if we were to adopt a mantra when we’re tempted to pull up an easy chair and accept mediocrity versus excellence? Or pessimism rather than optimism? Perhaps now is the time to recommit to memory the prayer of sorts I devised when I first began the practice of Bikram yoga (see “Waiting for better days”). Because I am strong, I am healthy and I am happy. And I refuse to remain stuck in a rut. Stay tuned for mojo updates.

What’s your mojo mantra?

Image source: https://fityourself.club.

Sparkling affirmations

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Sparkling affirmations

[Image credit: scottchan]

One afternoon, a yogi friend of mine used the word “vibrant” to describe my recent practice.  I ran into two others who said I “sparkle.”  Who wouldn’t want to hear themselves described with such colorful words?  Especially when life often gets in the way, many times attempting to bring us down — about our circumstances and ourselves.  What we think, we become.  So it stands to reason we should regularly possess an arsenal of these positive affirmations, particularly when the going gets tough and we’re feeling less than vibrant … or sparkly.  It’s okay (and not out of the norm) to have a bad day or a bad moment.  That’s life.  But as a couple sweet teachers remind the class after each practice: don’t let anyone or anything steal your peace.  We all have “stuff.”  It’s about learning how to accept it without allowing it to define us.  And then rising above it in order to sparkle.

What are three words of affirmation others have used to describe you?

The pursuit of happiness

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The pursuit of happiness

[Image credit: khunaspix]

When I review many of the blogs I’ve written, I see the topic of happiness come up a lot — the pursuit of and the desire for.  Conducting a cyber search reveals more of the same.  Thankfully, I’ve discovered those things in my life which bring me joy in small doses.  But what about a life filled with minute-by-minute happiness?  And what does being happy truly mean?  For me, the definition is subjective.  What makes one person happy may do nothing for the next person.  Some say it’s a deliberate choice, while others base their happiness on their circumstances.  I’m learning that a life of pure happiness means living transparently rather than simply surviving.  And that this only happens by moving forward in all my good, bad and ugly, grateful for the precious few traveling with me — the ones who accept my flaws and celebrate my strengths along the way.  Because the more I can be myself, the closer I become to minute-by-minute happiness.

What’s your definition of happiness?

A sneak peek

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[Image credit: farconville]

Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us.
~ Paul Theroux

When it comes to reading, I typically select fiction.  I think it’s easier to escape into someone else’s imagination, made-up places and people and events.  And other times, nonfiction helps me relate or be encouraged by another person’s real-life trials and triumphs.  When it comes to writing, however, I tend to stick with the former but draw on real life to fuel the hopes and dreams that make up the second chances Theroux talks about.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say we’re denied a certain life — unless it is through circumstances beyond our control that we find ourselves in the place we’re standing.  But I think if we allow it, fiction enables us to try our ideas on for size before Someday rolls around.  A sneak peek, if you will.  Or a second chance without life’s inevitable risks and no regrets.  How cool is that?

What’s your passion: fiction or nonfiction and why?

Owning the truth

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[Image credit: thepathtraveler]

This past week I found myself struggling with a backseat mentality again (see Never settle for second best).  It doesn’t help that recently someone close to me also called me a derogatory name.  In that instance, the choice was mine to “own” the label or not.  Although it has taken me several decades to realize the only thing I do own is my reaction to life’s circumstances, it’s still hard to put that notion into practice.  However, the way someone treats me has no bearing on who I am — or my contribution to the little slice of world I reside in.  So if someone tells me with their actions that I’m not worthy or someone else calls me a name, I can either accept and live out these perceptions and words as truth, or I can shed them and move on.  It just takes a little faith and a whole lot of courage.

Do you choose to own the hurts, or leave them behind?

Try it, you’ll like it

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Remember forcing yourself to attend a function or participate in something you really didn’t want to, and then discovering it wasn’t as bad as you expected?  You may have even enjoyed yourself a tiny bit.  Or perhaps a lot.  That used to happen to me all of the time as a young girl when I had little choice over my circumstances.  Now that I’m a grown-up, however, I have more opportunities to decide if I’m in — or out.   Although I’m getting better at avoiding commitment at the get-go — when I’m convinced it’s something I’m not interested in — I sometimes vacillate this way and that with my decision-making.  Like yesterday morning when I decided to skip the gym to catch another hour of shut-eye.  I told myself I could bring a change of clothing with me to work and head over for some quick cardio at quitting time … if I felt up to it.  I gave myself a huge out, but forced myself to go anyway.  And I’m so glad, because not only did I run my second (and a half) mile this week (pain-free!), but I met a potential new friend in the parking lot.  Plus, I felt a whole lot better than if I had spent the better part of the evening lounging on the sofa.

When was the last time you did something you didn’t want to, but were pleasantly surprised with the outcome?