THE POWER OF CHOICE

jisbell22

fork in the road

Have you ever noticed that some people regardless of the trials they are facing in life always seem to be happy and always in a good mood?  There are many who have learned that they have a power within them to be happy, no matter what they are facing in life.   They make a choice.

Choices are the most powerful force we have in our lives and ones we alone have total ownership of.  It is through our choices that our lives are lived, our paths are chosen and our circumstances are brought to pass.  Understanding this powerful force in our lives allows us to create the future we desire and deserve.

There are many of us who all too often blame others for our own bad choices and the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in.  While it is true that many of the challenges we face are created by the choices…

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Choice Has Set You Free

Butterflies-are-Free

The smiles and the laughter, the giggles and the cheer

Have been a hallmark of your life for each and every year

The joy and love you you’ve given and shared along the way

Have left the others wondering how you do it everyday

A life so full of gratitude and love beyond compare

Have changed the lives of many with each person that you share

Yet there are few who truly understand or comprehend the choice

To hide your pain and anguish behind your tender voice

For each new day you choose to live, regardless of your lot

The heavy load that you endure, and the battles you have fought

Your smile was forced now natural, a gift for all to see

Your daily choice in life has determined what you’ll be

Someone who spreads the laughter, the cheer and joy around

Who overcomes each challenge with the love of life you’ve found

So others see the person in whom you’ve chosen now to be

And from your heavy burdens, this choice has set you free

Who? or What are you?

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How do you define yourself when asked who you are or what you do?  What is the answer that you most often give?  Does that answer change or vary depending upon the context or company we are in?  Do you present a single answer or give a list of talents, hobbies or skills?

I enjoyed a great visit this weekend with a family friend.  In a discussion with one of their children I learned of a recent identity crisis this young person had encountered this year.  This individual had been an athlete their entire life, concentrating on one particular sport.  They had received tremendous accolades, attention and success in this area.  This success led them to be a significant part of a major University and the team in this sport.  Dreams and goals were achieved in reaching this pinnacle of success.  They had achieved what they had intended to throughout this young lifetime journey.

The end of last season, this individual was injured and no longer able to compete.  With humility and tremendous gratitude for the opportunity they moved forward into their senior year in school.  Keep in mind this individual is extremely goal oriented, driven and finds success in life.  The identity crisis occurred when the new school year started.  Their entire life had been this sport, each time they were asked to tell something about them, they replied with the same answer, I am a _(athlete)___.  They would proudly tell others what position they had on the team and who they were.

This part of the team became who this young athlete was.  This is how they identified themselves and who they viewed themselves to be.  When asked this year who they were, they were confused and unable to respond.

Now this young person is far more than just an athlete.  They are an amazing example to so many in so many other areas.  They are a very intelligent, motivated, strong and determined young person.  They were simply in the process of discovering truly WHO they were, not what they were.

Many times we find ourselves struggling with WHO we are and get caught up in the what we are or were.  This confusion paralyzes many.  Some get stuck in the glory days of High School and end up a fifty something still talking about that one pass that would have won state.  Others get hung up on the what we are and become puffed up with pride and ego, unable to see the true world around them.

It is in the Who we are that changes the world.  When we focus on the what we are we change nothing.

Have I Lived?

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Why are we here on this earth to live?
Is it to gain great riches? Or learn to give?
To lift anothers burdens, that they might be light?
Or to mock and make fun of anothers plight?
Each day we must ask, have I done any good?
Have I reached out to help all that I could?
Was I there for someone who needed a listening ear?
Was I there for my friends year after year?
The warmth of a smile, the caring of a friend.
Am I that someone whom people can depend?
The Lord taught us all how to truly give.
For this is the purpose of our lives to live.

Gratitude

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When we realize the power within ourselves to bring great people and blessings into our lives through the law of attraction we begin a journey towards realizing our full potential and bringing abut an incredible life. Our lives are a magnet with which we attract the very things into our lives that we focus upon. As we harness control of our thoughts and empower ourselves with the ability to focus on that which we desire we will be drawn like a magnet towards those desires.

Some will question immediately these statements without giving time to ponder the realities that are around them in regards to the fulfillment of this very analysis. Unfortunately many of our lives are filled with negative thoughts, people and energy. We focus upon that which we do not have instead of that which we do. We focus on problems instead of blessings. We spend our conversations on negative and depressing subjects instead of goodness and positive stories. Our news and media focus on the negative stories instead of the life changing and uplifting ones. Our movies are filled with violence, adultery, lust and deception. Depression is an epidemic and negativity abounds. The focus upon those issues attracts more of the same into our lives. Have you ever noticed that negative individuals tend to spread that negativity around and are often accompanied by others whom share that negativity?

Conversely, positive and uplifting individuals are magnets for like minded persons. Those people who focus on the good in life, their blessings, helping and lifting others and seeing the good in things are happier and always have the opportunities given to them. Doors are opened for these people. Its simple really why this happens, positive people attract others to them while negative ones repel them. The more people with whom you attract into your life, the greater the possibilities and the more doors that open. People enjoy associating with positive individuals, we all want to become like them as they reflect the happiness that is within them, happiness many seek to find.

If you want to see miraculous changes in your life, spend the next few months focusing on the positive and the many blessings in your life. Even the simple blessings will bring joy when we focus on what we have been given instead of what we want. Gratitude is fundamental to becoming the positive force in not only your life but in others as well. We will attract more positive people, energy and experiences into our lives as we focus upon the good in all things. Avoid negativity and negative people. See the positive in all things and you will find greater success in your life, both personal and professional. Focus on what you want to achieve, become and attain and you will find it as you eradicate the negative influences and attract the positive in all things into your life.

We are in control of our lives and success. No one else. It all stems from our choices, attitudes and gratitude. It’s a choice. Your choice. What will you choose? It’s your life, will you harness the power of the law of attraction and begin a miraculous journey towards your destiny?

“Our lives are what our thoughts make it” – Marcus Aurelius

Expectations Unfulfilled

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Young children are raised with expectations placed upon them from others.  Parents, grandparents, family, friends, teachers and neighbors all have expectations for those around them.   Don’t hit.  Don’t talk back.  Be respectful. Finish your homework. Be on time…  This list can be large and generally well intentioned.  Most expectations are meant to mold children into productive, healthy, happy adults who can contribute to our society in positive ways.

What about the larger expectations often put on a child?  To serve in the military?  To attend the parents Alma Mater?  To follow in the parents footsteps and take over the family business?  To marry in the church?  Again, this list can be incredibly long.

Are these expectations reasonable?  Productive?  Healthy?

What happens to a child raised with these expectations who fails to meet or live up to those standards placed by another?

Many times when something goes awry in the life plan for a child be it personal choice, medical, mental or any other reason that would cause a child not to achieve the lofty expectations they have been raised with, the sense of failure can be extremely heavy and often a burden many carry for life.  The overwhelming personal grief in “letting” everyone down penetrates the soul like a cancer with feelings of self worth, self doubt and being a failure growing.

Often the sense of failure leads to poor choices in other areas of life.  For some, these become life sentences.  For others, it becomes an intensely personal battle to overcome the sense of failure many live with.

There are many in this world living with this sense of failure created by lofty expectations of others  Many you know most you do not.  They live with fake smiles while fighting extreme doubts of self and worth.  They continue throughout their life with the belief that they should have done more, been more or finished something, whether in their personal control or not.

We must create a culture where we encourage others to be successful in life while limiting the lofty expectations we place on them.  We must free our children from this burden of unfulfilled expectations that many of us live with in life and replace it with the belief that we can become anything we choose and encourage them to chase their own dreams and not ours.

A Prisoner By Choice?

This is an amazing article, full of truth and wisdom I highly recommend it

Light The Lie

Go with me for a moment to a place that will hurt. Think for just a moment about the person in your life that makes you cringe. The one you don’t want to think about. I’m sorry I’m making you go there right now, I understand it’s hard. What are you feeling right now? Hurt, broken, sorrow, pain, anger, confusion, hate? 

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This person that hurt you, the one that never asked for forgiveness, continues to hurt you time and time again. Except, they only had to act it out one time. Maybe they aren’t even in your life anymore? Maybe you haven’t seen them in years? Why is it that the pain still feels so real? Why does it feel as if a knife is stabbing at your heart? 

This person gets to go about life and seem pretty well off. Maybe they are truly evil and have no remorse for…

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The Healing Power of Forgiveness

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Just like all of us, I have faced many situations in my life where the opportunity to forgive someone or to hold a grudge against them presented itself. I was told by others, you have every right to be upset! I would never forgive them for that! The list could go on and on. Everyone always seems to have an opinion on how I should handle things.

Many years ago after my ex wife’s 5th marital affair, the breakup of my family and the continual lawsuits at her hands in demanding more and more and more money, I was angry, fed up and tired of the burdensome weight I was feeling in my life. I hadn’t broken our family up, yet I was the one trying to keep sanity in not only my life, but the lives of our children as she raced from one relationship to the other while making me finance her escapades. I was tired of the judicial system and others supporting her in destroying others around her. I had vowed I would never forgive her for what she had done to our family.

As the first several years went by, I was full of anger and hatred towards her. I blamed her for putting our family through what she had put us through. I stopped attending church, stopped exercising, stopped living, as I was consumed by the hate. It seemed to grow within me, the dark feelings as I would not forgive her, nor was I willing to let go. I felt, just as others around me that I had every right to be upset with her for destroying our family. Why should I forgive her? I wasn’t the one who left the marriage I had a right to be angry.

As time continued on, my refusal to forgive her was destroying me. It was like a cancer inside of me that was eating away at my soul. My blood pressure was high, my cholesterol was high, I wasn’t sleeping, I didn’t eat well. Through all this, I held on to my belief that I didn’t need to forgive her.

I knew better. I knew what the scriptures said about forgiving others. I Knew that was what God would have us do. I always believed forgiveness was for others that had wronged us, for them to heal. It took me a very long and painful journey to understand that the true nature of forgiveness is to allow us to heal, to remove the poison that comes from holding onto grudges from within us.

It took me years to learn that while I was busy holding onto this grudge, this anger, that it was not hurting her. It was destroying me. I was not happy. Then one night as I knelt in prayer, I prayed for the strength to forgive. It wasn’t easy! It was painful. It brought back all the heartache and betrayal that I had felt. I struggled within as I searched for the way to truly forgive her for her actions against me and our family. Then I let go of the hate and allowed the forgiveness to happen. When I told her I forgave her, she mocked me. It didn’t matter, I let go anyway.

It wasn’t long before I discovered the direct benefits I was receiving as a result of my true forgiveness. I was sleeping through the night for the first time in nearly 6 years. My blood pressure and cholesterol were normal again. I felt the energy to exercise. I went back to church. I was invigorated with life. I loved life! Letting go had made my life improve. I found the love of my life after I went through this process for which I am eternally grateful for. She is my soul mate and I would never have found her had I held onto the grudges and not learned to forgive.

Forgiveness allows us to heal. It is a way for us to put the hurt in a place that cannot destroy us. When we hold onto those grudges in life it is a poison that impacts not only us but those we love most. I have seen families and friendships torn apart from grudges and refusal to forgive. I have seen people stop going to church, to family events, and end friendships all over a grudge and failure to forgive. The person we hold that grudge against does not always even notice, we let them control our lives for the sake of our pride.

Many times forgiving ourselves is the most difficult one to forgive. Our failure to forgive ourselves creates a path of destruction in our own life. Many of the poor choices we continue to make stem from our failure to forgive ourselves for our mistakes. By forgiving ourselves we can create a brighter future for ourselves and those we love. It allows us to finally move forward and be free of the internal chains that hold us bound, we will have better self esteem and greater love and compassion for others.

Forgiveness allows us to move forward and to heal. Let go of the grudge you hold, forgive yourself, forgive those who have wronged you and reclaim control over your life.

The Double Standard of Domestic Violence

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There is a scourge upon society that infiltrates every community, race, social class and religion.  Domestic Violence is such a heinous crime that it destroys many lives and affects nearly 1 in 3 individuals.  This is an epidemic that has destroyed generations of families, yet one that has continually been swept under the rug, hidden away and not discussed.  A dirty little secret no one wanted to ever discuss.  It affects children, men and women.  All can be victims for it is not a scourge that only affects women, or children.  Many men are also victims.

The subject of domestic violence has received a tremendous amount of publicity as of late.  The high profile accusations against several athletes has brought this to a fever pitch.  The advertisers and the public are demanding reform and action take place.  Many are calling for the resignation of Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL.  Many players have been suspended, or banned from the sport.  People are calling for quick and swift action against these players, the teams and the league.

Keep in mind, these players have only been charged, not found guilty.  Yes!  I do understand the video evidence in the Ray Rice deal.  That single case, with the evidence available should be dealt with immediately.  Many of the others are accusations, not convictions.   Society wants them punished simply on an accusation.

Then today,  along comes a little story on FOX Sports regarding another professional athlete, an Olympian no less.  One who represents the United States on the world stage in soccer.  Another Domestic Violence incident.  However, the difference with this case and why it is not getting the national microscopic attention of the other cases is, this is a woman who is charged with the violence.  Ironically there is also a history of violence in her relationships, this is not her first time involved in a domestic violence disturbance, yet the sponsors, the Olympic Committee, coaches and organization are supporting her and standing behind her while she sorts out this unfortunate situation.

Where is the public outcry?  Where is the media?  Where are the sponsors threatening to cancel their agreements with the USOC?  Where are the demands for the resignations of the head of the USOC?

Domestic violence of any sort should be abhorred and steps taken to stop and prevent it from happening should be swift and precise.  There MUST be equality in the decisions made surrounding the alleged perpetrators regardless of gender.

Anything less than complete refusal to accept domestic violence in any sort from any individual will only exacerbate the problem.  The gross inequal attention and treatment based upon gender, age, or any other microscope is abhorrently wrong and will cause significant damage to the cause of eradicating this scourge.

Hope Solo of the US Women Soccer team should be treated the same as any NFL player currently under investigation.

Related articles:

:US Soccer happy to let Solo play despite -http://www.foxsports.com/soccer/story/us-soccer-e happy-to-let-solo-play-despite-domestic-violence-charges-092314

:http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/gloria-allred-calls-roger-goodell-resign-commissioner-domestic-violence-brandon-marshall-091814

A lesson in Love: A Boy, A Fire and the Matchsticks

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My father was born into a family who didn’t want him, whose own father abandoned him and his step father beat him.  As a young boy, my dad learned hatred, anger, abuse and survival.  At 8 years old, my father was forcefully removed from the only home (his grandparents home) he ever felt loved.  Taken by his mother to do his step fathers bidding. For the next 10 years my father would suffer great emotional, physical and mental anguish as a result his step father and mother.  He grew up an impatient child full of anger, resentment and trust issues.

My father survived.  He grew into a remarkable and successful man.  A miracle most in this situation never achieve.  Yet, this isn’t the greatest miracle of all, the miracle is that he was able to overcome this and be a great father to 6 boys.  His lessons, although some have taken a life time to understand were taught by example.

One such teaching moment was expressed at his funeral by my older brother, the oldest of us 6 boys.  A lesson I never comprehended until the day of his funeral, for this story had never been talked about much until that day.

This story takes place on a warm summer day, a day I remember as a young 4 year old boy. My inquisitive older brother was always wanting to understand how things worked.  He was 6 years old at the time.  He had learned that is was possible to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together and creating friction.

He spent hours trying to get this to work, much to no avail.  An idea popped into head, maybe the two stick are supposed to be match sticks.  Off he went to get the matchsticks, certain that this would be the solution.

It worked!

He rubbed the ends of those two sticks together and sure enough, FIRE!

Surprised that it actually worked, he dropped the two sticks into a pile of dry leaves that quickly spread into the several trees filling the fence line between ours and our neighbors homes.  The trees were engulfed into flames.

Quickly my brother grabbed the garden hose in an attempt to put out the flames.  Unfortunately for him he was unsuccessful as it took three fire departments responding to put out the flames.

In the end, the only damage done was to the trees and the fence.  The homes were safe and no one was injured.

For me as a small child, the story ends there.  For my brother, it was a lesson he learned early on that I was unable to hear and learn until the day we buried my dear father.

My dad arrived as quickly home from work as possible after the fire to check on his family.  He took my brother and left for the evening.  It was here in this one on one moment between my dad and my brother that the true miracle of my dad’s life was made evident.

My dad was a deeply impatient and at times angry individual because of the severe abuse and neglect he suffered as a child.  This abuse haunted him until the day he died.  He was famous for his short temper and outbursts when things didn’t go right.  At times, he yelled and he cursed.  He had not tolerance or patience for stupidity.

The reality however of this curse my father lived with was clearly made evident in this and all interactions with his children.

As my father and older brother left for the evening, My dad went to get an ice cream with my brother.   The two of them sat there eating ice cream and talking about the fire and what happened.  My dad, instead of yelling or being angry, thanked my brother for trying to save the house with the garden hose.

My dad showed in this moment, truly what would be the hallmark of his life.  While he had no tolerance or patience for mistakes with himself, he was deeply patient and tolerant of the mistakes of his family and children.  While my dad lived with a curse from his childhood that would never allow him to forgive himself for mistakes, he lovingly and patiently allowed everyone else the ability to make mistakes.

What my father could never give himself, he gave to everyone else.

Love and Patience and Understanding.