Finding Your Way - Through Your Why

Category: #life Page 1 of 3

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Watch Your Own Movie

How much stress and life-struggle comes from watching other people’s movies? How often do you “watch your own movie?” We want what our friends have. Their social media posts seem better than ours. It seems their children are more well behaved than ours. Vacations they take are even more extravagant than ones we get to take. The constant daily grind often is perpetuated when we tune into the broadcast life of others around us. Peace, serenity, meaning, and happiness is brought to you through watching your own movie, not the movies of others.

But how do we steer clear of the traps of watching others movies so that we can maximize the lives we live?

Here are some tips and life hacks that you can implement to continue living as your authentic self, rather than envying those around you.

Get Comfortable in Your Own Skin

be comfortable in your own skin so you can begin watching your own movie
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Look, by now we’ve all heard about body shaming, confidence issues, and the like that force some people to look at others with envy.

Stopping this infectiously bad habit takes some rewiring of the mind. Start with these steps:

  • Assess yourself by your health – not your bodily figure
  • Depending on your physical fitness, decide what steps you need to take to be more fit
  • Set S.M.A.R.T goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) physical health goals such as
    • walking / running at a certain pace
    • how much weight you want to be able to work out with
    • what is your cholesterol level and where should it be?
    • blood pressure and what target you should be at?

By using actual health and fitness goals, you begin to see yourself in a better light. Gauging yourself against how physically fit you should be for your age is far better than trying to pin yourself against others in terms of how they look versus you.

There is no telling how physically fit someone is that “looks attractive.” However, you working to become your best self health wise, will begin to add more confidence and security of mind. It will help you live as your more authentic self. This is just one step in watching your movie over the movies of others.

Discover Your Life Passions and Live Them

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So much in our lives comes from watching others. When are we going to jump into the water of life for ourselves?

We look to others that are living what we enjoy, yet often don’t believe we can do what they do.

What are your interests? How about your passions? Would you be doing something different in life if you could?

Make a list of all the things in life you love. Be as far reaching as you want. Here are a few that I am very passionate about:

  • Travel
  • Outdoors
  • Exercising
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Life-Long Learning
  • Consciousness
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy

My list could go on quite while longer, but I think you get the point. If you are going to watch your own movie and not the movies of others, we must find a way to intertwine your life passions into purposeful intent within your daily life.

Discovering your purpose in life is where you begin to really entwine more meaning and excitement into your life. You begin to focus heavily on what it is you can do for yourself and others rather than wishing and hoping after what you see others do.

  • What does the world need that you love to do?
  • What are your passions and talents that you can bring to the work you do to serve those world needs?
  • Take these passions and talents and put them into practice in all you do!

Even if you aren’t 100% in the chosen career field you want, you can still bring your talents and strengths into your everyday job to begin living your purpose. Want to find purpose at work? Change your perceptions. This will give you more meaning and you’ll quickly find yourself watching your own movie, rather than hoping for a new job or career change.

Live and Be at Your Best

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Rest easy if you know you’ve done the very best you can.

I go to bed and sleep easy at night if I know I have any problem or life situation the best I had to give. When asking yourself that question honestly, only make adjustments if you know you could have put in more effort. If you know you gave the maximum output; rest easy.

Know and live by your values. Develop a code of conduct that you can live within. These are values you will not compromise and will look for in others you bring close in your life.

When you authentically live as your best self, it is far easier to live with and watch your movie over getting caught up watching the movies of others.

What it all boils down to is life is about YOU. Not those that you watch around you. What are you doing to live as your best most authentic self?

Are you living out your purpose and passions? How can we be better at this together? Would love to hear thoughts and comments as we aim to grow and achieve more together.

woman in red long sleeve writing on chalk board

Knowledge isn’t Power Until Acted Upon

Many of likely heard the phrase “knowledge is power.” But few realize the very important aspect of taking action. Therefore the truth in life to attaining your highest level of self, is understanding the proper formula. The fact is that once you have knowledge, you must take action and use that power. This is why knowledge isn’t power until acted upon. Knowledge + action = highest level of self.

Over my life I have been guilty of consuming and consuming more information and knowledge. And while that is great, it doesn’t do us much good if we don’t put that knowledge to good use.

Here are some tips that you can put in place around the mental, physical, personal, and professional aspects of your life to ensure you take proper action from the knowledge you consume.

Self-Care of Mind and Mental Abilities

self care isn t selfish signage and it's necessary for taking care of the mind and personal life
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Chances are have all likely heard of mindfulness and meditation by this point in time. The benefits of each are astounding and can help us in profound ways both personally and professionally.

There is so much information out there are the benefits of mindfulness and meditation that is can be overwhelming. So gathering information on this topic isn’t hard. Applying it however sometimes can be challenging. How to practice mindfulness in small easy steps is the way to go. Don’t bite off so much information that you fall victim to paralysis by over-analysis.

You can begin with daily journaling. Start by either beginning to write out what you want to accomplish for the day, or end your day with thoughts of accomplishment. Being able to capture your thoughts on paper is one important aspect of realizing knowledge isn’t power. Taking the action of reflection certainly helps in regard to becoming more mindful.

And becoming more mindful is a great way to take action in regard to improving your overall mental health. It’s one of the most important aspects of self-care in my honest opinion.

Improving Your Physical Health

knowledge isn't power when it comes to health. We have to take action in order to become healthy
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There may actually be more information available on caring for physical health than there is for mental health. Regardless of which one is the winner here, we can likely agree at every turn we can find the latest health craze information. That never means we’re going to benefit and become more healthy from simply reading about the latest diet trends.

The best way to put our physical health knowledge into action is to find what we most enjoy doing. Are you a gym junky or an outdoor fanatic? Do you like accountability partners or would you prefer to hold yourself accountable? Do you need to change your diet or is it more about getting more active? These are questions we need to answer for ourselves before going to the next step.

Choosing to take action in our health is of supreme importance. We cannot serve the world or others without taking care of us first.

Once you decipher through the loads of information out there on health trends, decide on whether you are going to spend time on your physical health during the morning, afternoons, or evenings. Once you decide, stick to it.

Then, you can begin to find what type of exercising you most enjoy. Combine that exercise to your favorite activities. For example, if you enjoy Yoga but like being outdoors – easy – do Yoga outside. Same goes for running. We don’t need to bore down on a gym treadmill if we want to enjoy running outdoors. You can even do your weight lifting outside if that is what you prefer.

They key is find what works for you, and combine it with activities you enjoy. It will keep you far more motivated and ensure that you deliver on commitments.

Improving Personal Relationships

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Knowledge is certainly not power in the personal relationship aspect of our lives. So much information exists on relationships and how to improve them. It is absolutely incumbent upon us to take action and do our own work in this area if we want our relationships to improve.

There is a lot of great knowledge out there on “love languagesand what each of us prefer our partners to affirm for us. Once we understand each others love languages, it’s time to take action.

The key here is to really work this into our daily lives. The time we spend with our partners is critical to the overall happiness of the rest of our daily lives. If there is a problem at home, that problem will spill over into the other aspects of our mental, physical, and professional life. So this is a important one.

Begin with carving out one night each week to affirm your partner with their love language. If that is cuddling and watching TV, make one hour for that. Maybe it is affirming your appreciate for them and mentioning what one thing they did that you really appreciate about them.

Taking this simple and meaningful action will reap major rewards at home and ripple positive in all other aspects of your life.

Serving Yourself in Your Professional Life

knowledge isn't power in the workforce unless we take action on it
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With all the Leadership books out there that exist it can be hard to decide where to begin in order to gain your edge in the professional world.

Start with looking for what it is that you personally need to grow with. Ask peers, direct reports, and even subordinates what it is they think you need more growth in. Then go seek out that information.

If you have a job or career that involves any travel, downloading the learning and taking it with it on travel time is a great way to digest it. There are many ways to invest in yourself in today’s highly technological society. If you work from home, you’ll need to be more diligent and perhaps plan in the listening on morning or evening walks. Or plan some old school reading for fifteen minutes before bed each night.

The key here is upon finishing what you have spent time on learning – put it into practice. Develop a presentation, share a recap, or simply begin putting your newfound practices into daily use. Show the people in your business around you that you care enough about your personal development path that you want to share your learnings with them.

This will go a long way for those in your professional life to begin to take notice that you are person of action.

Summary – Knowledge isn’t Power

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What this all boils down to is understanding we can consume and consume more information for the rest of our lives. We can think we are quite knowledgeable about many facets of life, but until we take action on what we learn we aren’t bettering ourselves.

What habits or activities have you learned over time that help you take action from the knowledge you gain in life? How have you seen these actions improve your quality of life?

Would love to hear from you and engage in the conversation…

silhouette of tree near body of water during golden hour

12 Lessons for Life and Leadership

What is it that matters most in life? Is it personal gain? What about recognition and status? When we sit back and ponder on what we want to achieve and attain in life, hopefully we think about the impact we make on others. This is where our truest moments of self-worth and accolades should be found. These 12 lessons for life and leadership will not only help you attain more, but also leave a lasting legacy.

1. Lead with Love

Leading with love will ensure that you begin and end each day with the right mindset. It is my personal belief that when we serve others, we gain back more in return. Therefore, upon leading with love and true care for others in the world helps keep us within the right frequency to gain the same back.

It sounds cliche, but who doesn’t want more love in their lives? Putting it out to those we interact with, even love and care for everyday strangers, it going to help you get back what you put out. And that is far better than the opposite effect.

2. Allow Leadership into Your Life

Who or what is guiding you?

Set up the mental construct for what you believe in and how you want to be lead. What is your purpose? How does that purpose guide you? Upon figuring out this important aspect of life, you can begin to look for more learning, teaching, knowledge, and leadership that can help you further round you into your best self.

This learning and leadership you gain then can be put into place into your life for greater impact for those around you.

3. Listen More than You Speak

The famous phrase – “we have two ears and one mouth for a reason” rings true here.

Don’t be so apt to jump into conversations with your opinions and validations. Rather, choose to speak with intent and purpose. Listen to conversations rather than trying to speak over them.

Upon practicing this “more listening and less talking technique” it also will hep others realize when you do speak up, it is going to have a lot of insight and meaning.

Resist always being the squeaky wheel and instead work to become the calm, collected, stoic; then when you speak, others truly will listen.

4. Keep Others Remembering their Essence

When you are true to yourself, it helps others become more true to their self. The saying of “Lead by Example” is the foundational principle here.

When we as leaders or people of purpose, vivaciously live our lives through meaning, others can’t help but take notice. Even those without their true “North Star” will want to find one.

Why not better others around you through keeping them honest about their truest purpose? Helping others in this manner truly generates great lessons for life and leadership.

5. Watch for Repetitions

When we are carefully looking for the patterns in life and how it unfolds, it helps us be better prepared for our futures.

Life happens in the ever present moment only, but through becoming watchful of the pendulum swings we can better anticipate challenges or ensure we don’t get too high in the positive momentums.

In all our lives, we’re going to experience the pendulum swinging – we need to be watchful and observant of it.

6. Live with Balance

Try your best to not do anything in excess.

Proper balance in life is important for any leader, entrepreneur, or purposeful individual. It is easy to get caught up in the excessiveness of life. This can be in things that are good for us like exercising or of course in the more negative aspects such as binge drinking to forget a stressful event.

Life is meant to be lived in balance. Even the earth, moon, and seasons move within the same balance. We need to live in accordance to a similar cadence. Nothing in excess – but enough of what we need. Enough work / enough time off. There is no trophy for who works the hardest or longest.

7. Reflect Often

How can we see where we are going if we haven’t paused to look at the path we’ve traveled?

Making time to reflect on your decisions, progress, failures, and victories is important. Reflection is what purposeful individuals do. It is a lesson for life and leadership that no one should do without.

Whether it be weekly, monthly, or quarterly, plan some time into your calendar for a day to go on a retreat. Make it just for you. Could be for a walk in the park, a hit in the mountains, or a trip to a new town just to sit at the cafe.

Whatever works for you, just ensure you make time for that reflection. It helps to write those moments down in a journal so they can be reflected back on through time. It will make you a better leader and individual and certainly is one of the most important lessons for life and leadership.

8. Be Aware of Your Emotions

Too often people feel they need to be the boulder that slams into the lake falling high from the cliff.

What comes of the individuals around you after those massive waves calm into ripples on the water? Even after the water is still again the emotional scars can remain.

Purposeful individuals and great leaders are aware of their emotions. They do their best to ensure they don’t rock the waters as they pass by. The waters of life can be choppy enough, why add more waves?

9. Be a “Net-Giver”

Ever meet those people that always take from you but never want to give? It can be your time they want, your money, your toys, or anything else. They want, want, want!

Don’t be that person! Be the person that shows up for others and asks how you can be of service. I promise you’ll find yourself happier and always receiving even more in return. It is universal law.

I don’t mean “over-give” either. Be respectful of your time, money, and resources. But with the right balance, aim first to give; rather than take from others.

10. Be Authentic and Transparent

Once you begin to live with purpose, it becomes easier to be authentically transparent.

Most human beings like to avoid confrontations, but it’s a fact of life. We are going to face them. Being truly genuine with others and having their best interests at heart means telling them the truth.

Once you get a few genuinely, transparent, and authentic conversations under your belt, it becomes easier. No person of purpose is going to go far in their goals without these lessons for life and leadership.

11. Rely on Great People and Systems

There is no easy way to accomplish all you want in life completely on your own.

You must attract, development, and retain great people around you if you are in leadership. And if you are simply battling to accomplish your own cause, it helps to have a great community and support system around you.

There is always power in numbers. Never try and go it alone.

12. “Done” is Better than “Perfect”

Finally, simply remembering that it’s better to get to the finish line without achieving your perfect record setting pace versus never crossing it at all.

Too many people in this world are “afraid to finish.” We consume ourselves with new projects and always looking for excuses to procrastinate or find reasons to not begin that new project.

Put it out into the world and just start. Then get it to completion. In most cases, whatever it is you are working on you can always make it better later. But you won’t have that finished project to edit or improve if you don’t start or finish it.

Commit to the process and see it through to fruition and completion and remember there are many reasons done is better than perfect.

Live Now – Become Your Best Self

life is now neon signage
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I hope this post helped jog some points of discovery and epiphanies for anyone that comes across it.

We are always a work in progress. The key is realizing that and putting in the effort for constant improvement.

What is it that you are working on in terms of becoming your best self? What lessons for life and leadership have you discovered that have been the best teachers for you? I’d love to hear from you and what it is that you are working on so we can continue to grow into the best human beings possible.

Keep working to Find your Way through your Why!

Pam Reynolds actual death experience

The Amazing Pam Reynolds Actual Death Experience

Pam Reynolds was a songwriter and orchestrator. She lived in Atlanta and at the age of 35, she was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. This aneurysm was a particularly challenging one to address as it was located in her brain stem near the base of her skull. There was one procedure that she was told gave her very little chance of survival, but that it was her only hope at continuing her life. To address the aneurysm, part of the skull is removed, including the base of the eye. This creates a space that allows access to the base of the skull. The body temperature was lowered to 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Her blood was then drained to allow the aneurysm to flatten out. Upon clipping the aneurysm, blood was then pumped back into her body as she was warmed back up. While the surgery was a success, Pam was conscious during the experience. The following description is from Pam Reynolds herself and describes her actual death experience.

Beginning Recollections

Surgery prep for Pam Reynolds
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Doctor Robert F. Spetzler performed the operation, but there were more people in that room than I would have ever guessed to be in an operating room. They cooled my body down and my heart stopped. My brain waves stopped functioning. They tilted the end of the gurney up and drained my blood, like oil from a car, into a heart lung machine. I’m told that’s what happened but, understand, I was not there when this was happening.

I had been put to sleep. Dr. Spetzler has since assured me that I was nearly comatose. There was no way that I could have heard or seen anything. My eyes were taped shut and my ears had speakers inserted in them making a loud clicking sound. These speakers were used to monitor the response of my brain. Nonetheless, I began to hear a tone. It was guttural, it was unpleasant, I did not like it. It drew my consciousness like water from a well. And having done that, I sort of popped out of my head to see what this horrific noise was.

At first my vantage point was rather like sitting on the shoulder of the surgeon. In his hand, I saw the instrument that was making the offensive noise. I have heard the word “saw” all my life – my father used a saw, my grandfather used a saw, brain surgeons use saws. I had assumed they were going to open the skull with a saw. But this was no saw. This think was held more like a pencil. It looked like a drill and actually reminded me of an electric toothbrush.

This was the thing that was causing the noise that disturbed my very, very, very, deep slumber.

An Out of Body Experience like None Other

Actual death experience
Out of body experience

The feeling of exiting the body was incredible. I’ve never weighted five hundred pounds, but if was as if I had and just lost all the weight. I could move around at will. My thought process took me where I wanted to go. I felt no pain, no more suffering, no more fear. I was free to wander around, at will, unobstructed.

I heard a female voice describing that my arteries and veins were too small. I thought they may be working in the wrong areas since they were doing brain surgery. Out of concern I tried to communicate with the female but she could not hear me.

It was indescribable but beautiful to know that I was no longer part of that thing lying on the operating table. “I” was outside of my body.

I began to sense a presence. The feeling was rather like having someone looking over your shoulder and yet there being no-one in the room. I turned around to look at it and instead of seeing a person, I saw a very tiny pinpoint of light. As I started focusing on the light, it started to pull me and the pulling had physical sensation with it. It was like from my tummy, going over a hill real fast. The closer I got to the light, the better I could see and discern figures.

The first figure I knew was my grandmother. I heard her voice calling me. But it wasn’t a voice made of vocal cords, it was something different. There were so many people there, many I knew, many I did not know, but somehow I knew I was connected to them. I didn’t know how I knew this, but I knew.

The people were wearing light, they seemed to be made of light. The ones I recognized, it’s as if there had never been a separation between us. There was love, warmth, and protection and I felt all of it.

I then saw my uncle, who had passed away at the age of thirty nine. He didn’t use his mouth to communicate. He did it in another way that I remembered from my early childhood. He had the look. He would look at me and I would understand. It didn’t take long to understand that this was how everyone here communicated.

I asked my grandmother regarding the nature of the light. My communication to her was, “Is the light God?” and there was great laughter and she said, “No, sweetheart, the light is not God. The light is what happens when God breaths.” That was the communication.

The landscape was nonexistent. It was as if the bodies were floating tin midair. There was light and shadow, but it didn’t seem to fall on anything. That’s what convinced me that I probably was not in “heaven.” It had colors like you wouldn’t believe. I was probably in an “in-between” place. Perhaps I was on some sort of bridge on the way, because, let us not forget, they would not let me into that light.

I became concerned as to whether or not I was really there. I looked at my own hands and held them up to my face. I saw something, I knew I was there, I could feel “me.” The odd thing was, I didn’t feel so very different than I feel here. And yet, there was no density in the flesh, but still, I held them up to my face to secure the knowledge that I was there.

There came a time that I knew I had to return to the body. My uncle was going to take me and that was fine. I was okay with that, until I saw the thing and I was not at all pleased. He told me, “Think about your favorite food…Won’t you miss your children?” And then he told me, “It’s like jumping in a swimming pool, baby. Just jump.” I looked down and saw the body jump with the first defibrillation. I definitely did not want to get in the thing then, because, to be honest with you, it looked like what it was — dead. I knew it would hurt. My response to him was – no. So then he pushed me.

I hit the body at the second defibrillation of the heart, and there I was alive and somewhat uncomfortable. Getting back into the body was kind of like jumping into a pool of ice water. It was shocking. I could feel the shock and it was very unpleasant.

I woke up in the operating room and was told I wasn’t supposed to wake up until I was in the recovery room.

Validating the Out of Body Experience

actual death experience of Pam Reynolds
near death experience of Pam Reynolds

Afterward, Dr. Spetzler listened very closely to everything I said to him. On the following day, he very firmly explained to me that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, this was not a hallucination. He told me that what I described actually occurred. For example, they had to defibrillate me twice.

The voice I had heard was indeed female, and later my doctors introduced me to her. She was the head of the cardiovascular team and she was doing a “cutdown.” this is the methodology by which they drew the blood from my body.

I was able to eventually see the Midas Rex bone saw and indeed it did look like an electric toothbrush.

I was a believer when I left the hospital and I wasn’t the only one. There were several staff members there who said I wasn’t the only case they had seen that was unusual in this regard.

I know that consciousness survives the death of the physical body because I’ve had that experience personally. Beyond that, I cannot, in truth, know anything. In my opinion, what happened to me is evidence of an afterlife.

Having had this near death experience, I no longer fear death. I fear separation. I thought at first that I wouldn’t even fear separation, but there is no experience that makes the separation okay when you lose someone. But when my time comes, I will embrace death.

I find it extremely interesting that others from all over the planet, regardless of culture, religious bias, or political lean defy coincidence by reporting the same basic elements with their near death experiences.

Do Your Own Research – Form Your Own Conclusion

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There are thousands and thousands of documented cases surrounding that of out of body, near death experiences, and actual death experience.

This blog post was generated from an amazing read that I am involved in titled, “Surviving Death – A Journalist Investigates Evidence for an Afterlife.” This book by Leslie Kean is full of incredible stories and is masterfully written.

She gives both sides to the arguments of consciousness and what happens before and after death. Actual death experiences are examined as well as cases of real life examples of reincarnation.

The soul and spirt that embodies us within the physical reality we call life deserves to be studied. Science likes to have concrete and absolute proof of existence so within these cases it is often difficult to lay claims to truth.

But there is documented proof out there if we want to find it. The evidence is mounting more and more. We can choose to deny these facts and turn a blind eye, or lean into the possibilities and form our own conclusions.

It may not take an actual death experience for us to discover more evidence. There are ways for us to work to discover the power of out of body experiences through focus, mental work, meditation, and other practices. I know this borders on the lines of speculation, but there are people out there who absolutely know that we continue life after death due to their experiences.

I am one of those people. Perhaps at a later point in time I will tell my story here in my blog posts. For me, it wasn’t an actual death experience, but rather the practice of daily focus and effort to experience an out of body experience. Upon that successful completion, my life was also forever changed.

My reason for being became clear – and I had to begin sharing my life experiences in hopes that others may benefit.

For more insight and information on Pam Reynolds, feel free to watch:

What are your thoughts, questions, or even experiences around all this? I would love to have you engage in the conversation.

To me, these are some of the most fascinating questions that we should be exploring in life.

My search for truth will never cease, and I welcome you all along for the ride with me.

red rose on gray rock

Evidence of Life Before and After Death

What happens after we die? Do we have a soul that continues on? What exactly is spirit? Is there an afterlife? These are just a few of life’s greatest questions that mankind has asked internally and externally for millennia. For those with inquisitive motives around these topics, evidence of life before and after death is surfacing. We just have to know where to look for it.

For those of us born and raised in the western world, there has been a reoccurring dismissal or downright denial of reincarnation. That is all beginning to change as we are being forced to peel back the layers of some profound, real, and life-changing stories. 

If you find yourself as a western world believer of “Yolo,” (you only live once), bare with me and keep an open mind. What you are about to embark upon in this reading may shake and challenge you to your very core.

The Curious Beginnings of James Leininger

little boy in wheat field
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James Leininger appeared on the surface to be like all other two year old boys. However there was one very troubling issue his parents Bruce and Andrea couldn’t figure out. He would have terrible dreams at night often ending with screaming and recounting a plane crash. 

“Airplane crash on fire! Little man can’t get out!” Little James would scream these words while amidst his night terrors. His parents first believed he was suffering from “typical nightmares.” 

The nightmares persisted to a point where Bruce and Andrea became increasingly more concerned. They would ask him about the specifics of his dreams. “Who is the little man?,” his mother would ask him. “Me,” James would reply. His father got more involved in the questioning.

“Son, what happened to your plane?” James replied, “It crashed on fire.” 

“Why did your plane airplane crash?”

“It got shot,” James would reply.

“Who shot your plane?” James then twisted his head up at his father as if he should know, “The Japanese,” James replied with some discontent in his voice. 

How does a two year old respond with such conviction? How could it be that little James seemed to be describing life before and after death? Either it was one wild reoccurring dream or something else was amiss. 

Specific World War II Memories Recalled

Future occasions of these night terrors continued and James would eventually tell his parents specific details that continued to baffle them. 

He explained that the type of airplane he flew was known as a Corsair. At that time, these aircrafts were the elite fighter planes that the marines and navy pilots would fly. He also told them that the plane took off from a boat called the “Natoma.” 

Little James seemed to be describing the fact thathis plane he flew took off from an aircraft carrier. Lastly, little James was adamant that his plane was shot in the front engine, where the propeller was. 

Upon hearing this information, his father did some research and found a black and white picture of the Natoma Bay, a small United States aircraft carrier that saw battle in the Pacific during Work War II. 

Jame’s father Bruce was absolutely stunned. Convinced his son was making this all up in some way, he pressed on determined to disprove the evidence his son kept placing in front of him. 

After all, Bruce was a devout Christian, taught that we live only once. What was happening before his very eyes threatened every belief he was raised under and within his faith. His faith taught that there was no physical life after death. Could his son actually have lived a previous life?

Further research from Bruce concluded that the USS Natoma Bay had been commissoned by the Navy in October 1943 and entered naval service in 1944.

Specific Names Further Credit the Story

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By now Jame’s parents were on a serious case of conducting reincarnation research to either disprove or prove their son’s reoccurring dreams. 

Jame’s began to refer to himself as “James 3.” This puzzled his parents as to why he would call himself “James 3.” He responded to them with, “I’m the third James.” 

Through conducting tireless research, Jame’s father was able to connect with some family members of a friend that James began describing in his dreams. The name Jack Larsen came up and James would tell his parents that Jack was his friend and that he flew planes too. 

They believed that Jack was likely dead, but to their astonishment they found that he was actually still alive at the time of doing their research and living in Arkansas. This information was divulged to them while Bruce was attending a veterans Natoma Bay reunion in San Diego, CA in 2002. 

Within this reunion Bruce discovered that there was also a “James M. Huston Jr.” This James was killed during an attack of the island of Chichi-Jima, about 150 miles from Iwo Jima. The only details that were known were that James Huston was the only airman killed in that battle. 

This explained why their son James called himself “James 3.” If he had been James Huston reborn, he would now be the “third James.” 

Only one discrepancy now remained. Little James had said he was flying a Corsair when he was shot down. The documents shown that the plane James Huston Jr. was flying when he was shot down was an FM-2 Wildcat. But there was soon to be more facts that supported this life after death story.

The Remaining Puzzle Pieces

brown puzzle pieces
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For Christmas Jame’s parents bought him some G.I. Joe dolls which he named, “Billy, and “Leon.” He would play with them for hours and grew very attached to them. When he received a third doll, he named it “Walter.”

With such peculiar names, his parents asked him why he chose to name them those names. James replied, very quickly and precisely, “Because that’s who met me when I got to heaven.” 

His father conducted further research and found that a Billie Peeler, Leon, Conner, and Walter Devlin all served on Natoma Bay. They were killed in 1944 and were already dead when James Hutson Jr. was shot down. 

Through some census records Bruce found that James Huston Jr. had two sisters, Ruth and Anne. At the time of doing his research, Anne was still alive and eighty-four years old. Upon reaching out to her, she sent him some photos of James.

The first was a photo of the entire squadron with a plane behind it. The second showed James Huston Jr. standing alone in front of and airplane. The image clearly was that of a Corsair fighter plane. 

Jame’s Huston’s military records show that before joining his squadron, he flew the Corsair and became quite good at it. When he joined his new squadron however they assigned him to fly the FM-2 Wildcat that he was eventually shot down in. 

Form Your Own Conclusions

conclusion word formed from lettered yellow tiles
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The evidence of life before and after death is there. We just don’t often hear about it. When we do, it often receives great criticism, at least in the modern western world. 

There is plenty of documented research you can conduct on your own with this case and many others. I believe part of our journey on this planet is to do our own work to discover ourselves and our true nature. 

Today James lives as a normal adult and has largely put his past life experience behind him. However it took him some time to move past the pain and trauma he was recalling.

Whatever energy his soul carried over to this next life of his was still highly effected from his last life. Perhaps it is the reason why most of us don’t remember our pre-existing lives. Sometimes they end traumatically. Or maybe we do remember at a young age until we grow older and begin to face the challenges of the world and adulthood.

Have you ever had reoccurring nightmares as a child? If so, it is quite possible you were re-expieriencing a past life… 

In a way, I feel we do “only live once.” But just as this current body. I believe the soul lives on infinitely with the possibility to come back and learn more and grow through earthly experiences. The evidence of life before and after death is there for us to look at if we want to see it. It is life changing for some to discover this potential reality. 

So even if you do think “YOLO,” you’d be correct…until the next incarnation with the same soul – in my humble opinion at least. Or perhaps we just keep at it until we become so experienced and “pure” of love and overall consciousness that we then do “join” back with our source or higher power.

Whatever your belief, I think you can at least attest, this is quite fascinating and exciting stuff!

bust of ancient philosopher on grey background

The Benefits of the Stoic Mind

The benefits of the stoic mind are relevant perhaps now more than ever. Even though the teachings and philosophical views go back to around the 3rd century BC, the learnings may be even more practical today. Our lives are full of social, political, career, personal and media driven distractions. It is often hard to center oneself on what is necessary to focus on let alone deal with the challenges that the modern life is placing in front of us.

Here is an old story that helps frame up the teaching of stoicism quite well:

An old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is angry, jealous, greedy, resentful, lies and and has a big ego. The other is Good. It is full of joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth.” The boy thought about it, and asked, “grandfather, which wolf wins?” The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

Which wolf are you feeding?

Introduction to Stoicism

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Let’s shed some light on the belief system that Stoicism operates within.

In the most simplistic terminology, Stoicism was designed to help people live their best lives possible.

Stoicism is a life philosophy that centers around positive emotions. The goal becomes reducing negative emotions and helping individuals to develop virtues of character.

Stoicism provides a framework for living a life well-lived. It teaches what is truly important in life. In addition, it also centers on providing tactics to bring more positive outcomes into our circle of influence.

Stoicism was created to be understandable, actionable, and practical. Practicing Stoicism doesn’t require learning an entirely new philosophical methodology or meditating for hours a day. Instead, it offers an immediate, useful and seamless way to find tranquility and improve one’s attitude, behaviors, and overall state of mind. It is a life practice that not only can improve our way of living, but also help us discover our purpose.

The Foundation of Stoicism

ancient greek temple to contextualize the benefits of the stoic mind
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Stoicism was an attractive school of thought during the 3rd century BC because it provided compelling answers to anxiety, stress, fear, and troubling questions to life at the time. The Stoics offered an operating system that dealt with the trials of the human condition that are quite relevant today.

The teachings largely center around pulling into the front and center of one’s mind more positive behavior. Thus, that focus resulted in a more positive mindset. All of this focus was targeted to avoid the negative focus and negative outcomes of life.

A handful of thinkers helped to form the Stoic philosophy:

  • Marcus Aurelius
  • Lucius Annaeus Seneca
  • Zeno of Citium
  • Epictetus

Our ancestors have taught us the benefits of the stoic mind. They have helped us pave our way to understanding life so that we can attain the most positive outcomes we desire.

The Four Habits of The Stoic Mind

notebook checklist to put into practice the benefits of the stoic mind
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  • Accept What is only True

We often can get caught up into gossip. It is a human condition that we must resist. The reason being is, more often than not, gossip drives negativity in our lives. When you hear gossip, ask yourself where it is coming from? Does the affirming party truly have proof of this gossip? Ask them if they have proof. If they do not, then kindly ask them not to tell you or do not reciprocate.

  • Work For the Common Good

Do right by others. Be a good humble individual. Give more compliments than complaints. By being an overall kind, empathetic, loving individual, you will attract more of those traits into your life through giving them off.

  • Match Our Needs and Wants with what is in Our Control

Life is neither good nor bad; it is the space for both good and bad.

Seneca

Think of life as a hand of cards. You didn’t control the hand you were first dealt. However, you do control how you play that hand. Essentially, even with a more difficult draw of the cards, we can win. Conversely, with a great hand we can overestimate our good fortune and still lose. The situation we are dealt in life is mostly neutral. It is the actions we take after the hand is dealt that matters.

  • Embrace what Nature has in Store for Us

O world, I am in tune with every note of thy great harmony. For me nothing is early, nothing late if it be timely for thee. O Nature, all that thy seasons yield is fruit for me.

Marcus Aurelius

Let us work to control only our direct surroundings. Even those at times we can’t fully control. Bringing fear and anxitey into our lives over issues we aren’t generating isn’t healthy. What we do control is how we respond. We always have the power of “choice.” Place our focus there.

Taking Action

person holding world globe  and taking the benefits of the stoic mind into practice
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Putting into practice the benefits of the stoic mind can help change our lives for the better. It does require some action and effort around mindset.

Take one of the four mentioned habits of the stoic mind and put it into place immediately in your life. You’ll see instant benefit if you adhere to the practice daily.

Once you gain the benefits of others, work the other mindsets into your daily life as you are able. Pause and reflect on what is happening in your life. With the benefits of the stoic mind fully employed, you will find your life with:

  • less anxiety
  • lower stress
  • better health & wellness
  • more focus and mental fortitude
  • more meaning and happiness

What benefits have you had from practicing more of a “Stoic Mindset?” However we are living now in these challenging times of change, we stand to benefit even more through practicing the Stoic teachings.

I’d love to hear from here from you! Feel free to post a comment or engage in the conversation.

accomplishment action adventure challenge

Living as your Authentic Self

I’ve always liked to believe I’m living life as my authentic self. However, for most of my life I have often thought about how others view me. It used to be something that I put a great deal of precedence behind. Having lived in the corporate eye for the majority of my adult life, I’ve always been wary of what others think of me. I’ve had to ensure that the corporate view aligns with the “real me” as much as possible. We often reserve our views from the public eye and hold back the “real self” in order to please others. However, living life as our authentic selves first, helps us align to our life purpose.

What do You Stand for?

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Deciding what you stand for should align with your purpose and mission. Have you thought about your personal mission in life? Many of us have passions, and these ultimately can align with our mission in life.

One of my methods for deciding one’s purpose in life is to use the following formula:

  • What the world needs
  • Heed your talents
  • Your passions in life

I call this the WHY model. Beginning with WHY is vital over the HOW or the WHAT. The “why” is what defines us. To start to think about your purpose or mission, begin with what you think others in this world need help with. This is “what the world needs.”

Next, we call into play what your talents are. “Heeding your talents” brings to the forefront where your strengths are. What do other people come to you for? What support do you find yourself giving in everyday life? These are likely your natural talents.

Lastly we look at your passions. While our passions don’t always lead us to our purpose, it is a good indicator of where to begin our “search for meaning.” This is how we begin to ensure we are living as our authentic self.

Living with Purpose

notes on board describing living as your authentic self
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I have defined my purpose statement as:

“Empower and inspire others to find their purpose in life through helping them deprogram their outdated education and indoctrinations, so they can achieve greater levels of meaning, happiness, and overall success.”

This purpose statement is in my phone, printed in my home office, and put in the forefront of my mind to remind me of WHY I do what I do. It helps me make decisions, prioritize my work, and even align goals in my personal life.

Once we have efficiently aligned on our purpose, our daily mission becomes more clear. Thus, it helps more align how you can begin living as your authentic self.

Fulfilling your Mission Breeds Confidence

high angle photo of person going down with confidence living as their authentic self
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Once we have affirmed our reason for being, we are more aptly able to live in truth and honesty. What does this mean? I’ll give just a few examples in my own life:

Despite how others may view me in the corporate space, I have grown more comfortable in my skin with my views. As I am working to generate a platform and community, many of the corporate people I am working with are hearing of my endeavors. It can be a little uncomfortable at first as my personal and life views gain recognition from my peers.

However living as your authentic self has ways to re-affirm if you are on the right path. Many of the corporate people that have discovered my work continuously reaffirm my goals and aspirations with continual accolades and affirmations.

This helps grow the confidence level and in my own belief, is the universe helping solidify in me that I am on the right path. There are some amazing benefits to living a purposeful life as well. All of this helps us live and fulfill our purpose with more confidence.

Looking Past Your Inner Critic

women looking past her inner critic to live as her authentic self
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The final part of living as your authentic self has to do with seeing past the inner-critic. This is the part of us that is always questioning how others view us through their own eyes.

Once we have affirmed that the universe is on our side, we need not worry about that inner critic in our heads. As long as we are living with authenticity and integrity, we can say our mind and live to our guidelines.

I’m not sure about you, but this has been one of my biggest hurdles as of late. I know that I’ll never compromise myself morally, legally, or within current social issues. However, the views I have in my life are largely not discussed in the corporate arena. I don’t make it a point to bring these views up in my corporate position, but if someone asks my opinion, I’m not very hesitant to give my view. I’m always cautious to mention my views are my opinions and also my truths through my life experiences.

I know that part of who I am as an individual and living through my purpose, means I have to authentically give my perspectives. How can we live our purpose and mission if we hold back on enlightening conversations with others?

In the end, this is how you can take steps that lead you closer to living as your authentic self.

If you’re at all in the same camp with me here, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment or engage in the conversation with any struggles or success stories you’ve had in your life.

joyful adult daughter greeting happy surprised senior mother in garden

Become a Person of Value Instead of Success

Most of us in life are looking for a means through which we can classify ourselves as “successful.” However, the majority of people frame this up backwards. What exactly is success? How do we define it and attain it? In my life, I have lived the experiences that have taught me that when we become a person of value instead of success, we obtain more from life.

What does it mean to become a person of value? How does this lead us towards more meaning, happiness, fulfillment, and success? If these are questions that you asking yourself, then you are walking the path of self-discovery. You are beginning to see how the world and the energy within it works. It is a masterful design that once truly seen, yields amazing and life changing benefits for ourselves and those we interact with.

We Tend to Want More than we Need

we need to want less in life in order to become a person of value
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In this modern world and time through which we live, we tend to be drawn into a over-abundant mindset. While we should be abundant in our thinking, we need to ensure that is is not in a materialistic manner. Part of the human experience is waking up to the fact that we are not our materialist selves. Discovering ourselves requires that we address this key aspect in life.

There is a distinct difference between thinking with Abundance and constant want and desire for materialistic gains. Society has trained us to believe we need all the latest gadgets, trinkets, and doodads that we MUST have to show that we are successful.

When we can successfully deprogram ourselves of the materialism belief system that we think defines us, we take one step closer towards self-actualization. We begin to ask ourselves if our things if life don’t define us, then what does?

Attaining Self-Actualization

Understanding Self-Actualization to become a person of value
Where do you sit within this diagram?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is a great reference tool to assess where each of us sit in our own lives. In order to become a person of value instead of a person of success, we have to understand our human psyche.

If you are reading this blog post, chances are you have the first two rungs of the ladder met. We first have the innate response of ensuring we have food, water, a place to sleep, along with safety. Once we check off those aspects of life, we look for belonging and feelings of accomplishment. Most of us want to feel we are part of something greater. We want and crave recognition and acceptance.

Where we often trip ourselves up is in this middle of the pyramid. We listen to the ego and chase after the materialistic gains that we think define us. We are not these things, but we often believe they define our self-worth:

  • The money we make in life
  • Our title and career labels
  • The house or apartment that we live within
  • What type of car we drive
  • All the toys and latest gadgets of life

However none of these define us. This is where a fundamental shift in our mindset makes a great difference for us. Realizing that when we become a person of value in service for others; that is when we begin to obtain more real abundance in life.

Generating the Necessary Mindset Shift

shift your mindset to become a person of value
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To become a person of value instead of always chasing down success, we begin with how we better serve others.

As long as you are a person that has the base essentials of life met, you can begin to define your self-worth through what you bring to others in your life. Meaning, how do you better serve those you come into contact with in your life? Here are some ways to frame this up for everyday living:

  • How can you make even the smallest interactions better? I.e. smiling at people, holding doors for them, and random acts of kindness.
  • As you learn and grow, how are you sharing that learning and knowledge that may better serve others in their lives?
  • If monetary means allow, how can you provide for other people in need without depleting your own resources?
  • What are you really good at doing? We each have a super power that can be used for good in the world. Define yours and bring it to others every day.

This “value” that you begin to generate every day for others in your life begins to define you. It will become your success. You will begin to embody the abundance that the universe will draw back into your life. It is through this Law of Attraction that the universe begins to put back into your life what you are giving out.

Always remember that as you become a person of value, you are defining your currency. Through defining your currency as a person of value and giving that currency to others in life, you become successful. That is the the proper mindset we need to set in motion for the betterment of ourselves and those around us.

Implement this mindset shift in life and watch the powerful and positive transformation occur around you…

young man in sleepwear suffering from headache in morning

Staying Present Through Pain and Suffering

I love life. The learnings and lessons I’ve experienced continue to have profound and forever lasting effects on me. We all are undoubtably forced to experience the highs, lows, twists, and turns of the game we play called “life.” Some of these lessons leave imprints of loving memories while others force us to our knees in agony and heartache. This life is lived in a world through which the Principle of Polarity is absolute. Regardless of whether we desire it, we always live through moments that are inspirational as well as full of heartache. It is easy to enjoy the good times, but we never want to embrace the more challenging times. However, staying present through pain and suffering is a necessary and an important aspect for becoming our best selves.

Embracing the Heartache

disappointed black woman crying and touching head in pain
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I’m not sure about you, but I’ve mostly been the type of person that pushes negative thoughts from my mind. Even as I see life running its course, I push the finality of the end of life as far away from me as possible. Recently I was forced to face another loss in my life. Every ounce of my being wanted to resists and run from the pain I was feeling. I faced extreme temptation to make the moment more about me rather than the reality of the situation. After all, I wasn’t dying, but a part of my life that I loved was.

I believe we have come to live these physical lives for all the benefits and challenges that come with them. We can better ourselves through facing the heartache and loss head on. There is a lot to gain when it comes from tackling the reality of life directly. Here are just a few:

  • The benefit of support for others around us. It would be easy to run, but staying present can provide the support for others around you that you love.
  • You learn a lot about your ability to cope. If we don’t face our worst moments of life we lose the ability to build up strength for our futures.
  • Others are watching. We have the ability to make others in our lives better by how we face our unique challenges in our own lives.

Growing and Rising Above the Pain

a person holding a growing plant
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Perhaps it is because I’m a forever optimist and I never want to address the negative aspects of life. Regardless of our how strong our positive intentions are in life, we are going to face the stark reality of life. Here, in the physical world, all of us will experience this over and over whether we ask for it or not. Trying to push it away and running from it will likely only create more pain and suffering for us.

The last time I had suffered loss in my life was five years ago. While I was there supporting my wife through our loss of a loved one, I only really showed up the final day.

Staying present through pain and suffering means being there through the entire experience. Thankfully, I have the ability to put my life on pause if need be to step away and be supportive where necessary.

While this recent experience was gut-wrenchingly painful to watch, I showed up in every way possible to be with my wife and support her through it. Through the daily heartache that lasted about a week, my wife and I grew stronger together. Each of us, together, drew closer. She saw my commitment and was so thankful that I stood with her through it rather than pressing on in my business and work.

I could have pushed the pain away and only dealt with it on it’s final day, but by staying present through pain and suffering we became unified and united.

Presence Builds Character

look yourself in the mirror. Reflect on your character
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While no one on earth enjoys life’s more challenging moments, the challenges we face don’t only build character, they define it. Grief can change your personality. As described by Gabrielle Applebury:

“Grief can change your personality on a temporary or more permanent basis based on various factors including how profound the loss was, your internal coping skills, your support system, your general temperament, your general stress tolerance, and your outlook on life. Grief can alter your thoughts and emotional process, as well as your behaviors. Keep in mind that your personality develops based on both environmental and genetic factors, meaning that it is malleable and able to change due to circumstances and experiences.”

By staying present through pain and suffering we experience the totality of life. The heartache is difficult, but the moments of joy through life with the ones we love is called further into our line of sight. It helps us be more “aware” so that we don’t let those joyous moments in life wisp away too suddenly.

Upon the passing of our third family pet, a good friend of mine reminded me that, “brining a pet into your life is a ‘Mitzvah.’ A powerful good deed that ripples through your life.” This was in response to my questioning of why my wife and I continue to bring the eventual pain of the passing of our beloved fury friends into our lives.

The good times far outweigh the more painful ones – and thus staying present, even through the eventual pain and suffering, will help us see and appreciate more of life.

photo of people near wooden table

There is no “I” in “DREAM”

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts recently while traveling to a mastermind retreat. The podcast is hosted by Alex Sanfilippo and is centered around creating a brand. In one of his podcast episodes, the phrase, “There is no “I” in “dream” was brought up. I absolutely loved this concept. While this message seems simplistic enough, I thought I would try and elaborate a bit more on its truth.

We have to Lead before we Achieve

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As I reflect back on my life, what becomes ever more clear is that “I get” when “I give.” Now, that said, the giving has to come from a place in the heart that is genuine and without reciprocation. What I mean by this is simply doing right by others out of pure compassion, understanding, empathy, and love.

The universal constant in my life has proven this to be true. When we come to the table with the right intention of truly giving and serving, our world of potentiality really opens up. We get back more than we often give – at least that has been the case in my life.

When I say we “have to lead,” I’m not talking specifically about needing to be in positions of leadership. Rather, what I am saying is we have to think of others before we think of ourselves. As long as we have what we truly need in life, we need not seek over-abundance. When we lead our lives in this manner, we receive MORE in return.

It also need not be about only giving in forms of charity. Instead, it is more about leading with your thoughts more for service and how you help raise up and support the people around you. This can be done in any of the below following ways:

  • Offer support and be a good sounding board when needed
  • Provide random acts of kindness
  • Give people more compliments over criticisms
  • Begin your goals with how it improves the lives of others over yourself
  • Live the “Golden Rule” – doing unto others as you want for yourself

Begin with “Why” over “What” or “How”

Begin with the why over the what or the how
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When we are seeking how to achieve our dreams and goals, we must begin with the end in mind. Why are we aiming to achieve what we want? This is the underlining starting point.

When our objectives are completely about us and how we attain more without regard to the impact on others, goals are harder to achieve. It’s not impossible to obtain goals that are “self-centered.” However we are far more likely to see long term benefit when the main goals are focused on what we give to each other by attaining our goals.

Take health goals for example. Most people would likely see that attaining good physical and mental health is solely the benefit of the individual. In actuality when we achieve overall good health and wellness we are then able to better serve our purpose to the world. Without good mental and physical health we will never be our best selves, limiting our potentials.

Too often we begin with “what” we want to do or “how” we are going to do it. Beginning with “the why” is crucial for the purpose. “WHY” do we want what we want? The ego will often spill over into our thoughts with its own desires and needs. It tries to help us with this instinctive process as its only trying to improve our living situation. What the ego can’t see however is that we will benefit far more through the proper intention.

Nearly all dreams and goals can be thought of this way. It does require some mental reconditioning, but we can rewire our thinking so that we’re always in the right frame of mind when it comes to our goals.

Life need not be all about You

brown wooden cubes
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When it comes to understanding the concept of “there is no “I” in “Dream,” – it simply comes down to realizing what we do can’t always be about us.

I’ll never suggest that as caring individuals we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of. We do need to keep our guard up enough to not fall victim to ill intent. However, with enough of the right intention, it is my belief that the Law of Attraction will guide us.

When we put out the right intentions we are going to receive those same intentions back into our lives. Once we climb Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to a high enough point of perspective, we have a choice to make.

Once we have the basic physiological, safety, and connection – we then decide if we are going to make life more about ourselves or the betterment of society.

There is nothing wrong with improving oneself. But that should be our main focus. The only competition we truly need is internally against ourselves rather than outdoing our peers and neighbors.

It is at this point that complete self-actualization occurs and we begin to think about leaving our legacy. Our dreams can become more about improving ourselves along with those around us. We come to understand that there is no “I” in “Dream.”

How do you feel about this perspective? Please feel free to leave a comment or speak to any life experiences that you would like to share. I’m always looking to engage in more thought provoking conversations…

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