If I work hard so that I may live well, when do I stop working hard and start living well?
I finally found the answer to this question, which has haunted me for what seems like forever. That is:
Living well is not about working hard, it’s about loving hard.
When I love hard or deeply, I can overcome whatever limitations I see in myself, my family and my world. When I love the people around me deeply, work is a privilege, and I get more done than I can ever do by working hard.
I needed to have a crisis to see what it is to love hard, and to have amazing results in my life. What about you, is your life about working hard or loving hard?
Many of you may be old enough to have witnessed the story of Olympic gold medal hopeful, Derrick Redmond, who tore his hamstring during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and destroyed his dreams of winning a medal. He did, nonetheless, do what many of us only dream of. He brought the Olympic stadium, all those who watched on television, and millions who watched since then, to their feet, as he did what was probably the most courageous act of his life.
Even if you have already seen this live or seen the video, it’s worth watching; if only to remind us of the miraculous power that drives us and causes extraordinary results.
Our days, our lives , and our spirits flourish the more we surround our selves with good news. Below I lift you up with two inspiring stories, both of which are strangely linked to the Iraq war.
For the first, we celebrate two educators from Toronto, who came home from New York City with a 2015 Digital Book Award, leading the way to the creation of paperless schools. Both men, James and Jamie are part of the Connect School for Languages, which James was inspired to create as a result of the Iraq war. Check out the article I wrote in Good News Toronto, about these ordinary guys and their really cool paperless textbooks.
The other even more evocative piece of good news relates to a man, who lost his leg and arm in the Iraq war, wowing the world on Dancing With the Stars. A horrible situation enables him to inspire the world, as he displays like never before, the awesome beauty, courage and spirit he possesses. He is my greatest dancer.
Below I share a video of Noah Galloway’s inspiring story and performance.
Today, March 20, is the International Day of Happiness.
Enjoy the World Happiness Playlist created by John Legend, Ed Sheeran, Cody Simpson, David Guetta, James Blunt and Charlize Theron in collaboration with the United Nations. Watch the video they created below, and share it with your world. Take a moment to dance, laugh, or just connect with another.
Have you ever done something out of anger or frustration; something crazy, which in hindsight you realized was kind of crazy? I have. The other day, I got up to make a report at a church council meeting and mentioned the pain on the stroke affected side of my body. I also inadvertently indicated that it was triggered by a few miserable people in the room (my judgement, of course).
My upset and my pain had more to do with the fact that I was in no mood to be there. For some time I had been feeling useless, ineffective and completely immobile. So when the meeting seemed held-up by some church members who I felt were unnecessarily vigilant, I wanted to rip their mouths off (or maybe just pinch them into recognizing their foolishness, not recognizing that if anyone was really foolish, it was me).
When I saw my craziness, I could have just forgiven myself and say ‘I am only human.’ However as people who are striving to better human beings, we need to have a strategy for handling our craziness, especially when triggered by the perceived craziness of others. It’s not enough just to be quiet, and give off the air of spiritual maturity on the inside, when on the outside we are ready to crucify someone with our words and our thoughts. How can we actually feel and display the type of spiritual maturity, inside and out, which changes us and the world around us? Judge Lynn Toler has a brilliant answer.
If you are like my daughter and a lot of kids, you know that Valentines Day is not just about romance. It is about showing love for everyone. A great way to fill ourselves with love is to have love in our heart for someone we don’t like.
In the spirit of Valentines Day, I chose to love the mobility supervisor, who secretly watched me, and cancelled my disability transportation service, concluding that I was not disabled enough to qualify. The greatest hurt to me was that she did this without giving me any time to prepare, without empathy for someone who had used the service for 7 years, and without respect. Despite this:
I choose to love her for helping me see that my physical and mental disorders are not visible to some eyes, and perhaps should be less visible to my own.
I choose to love her, for though she did not give me any time to prepare for exposure to winter condition, I found strength and resilience in myself.
I choose to love her, for even though my resulting pain and depression from exposing my stroke-damaged body to extreme-cold weather, I have learned how to be active and outdoors in the worst of winters.
I choose to love her for giving me the opportunity to share the importance of treating all people in a loving and respectful way.
I send love and light this Valentines Day, with a hope that you too will choose to love someone you find hard to love. Consider that every time we do not love, we fill ourselves with darkness, and block the good that everyone brings.
It is a new year and many of us focus the purpose of our life on achieving things. We concentrate on things like being more successful in business, getting a new job, losing weight and a whole host of other things. Yet all these things are useless without something much more important; something which is the true purpose for life and the foundation of our happiness.
Let me give you an example. I grew up being told by others, and noticing my own awareness, that my sisters were prettier than me. So I turned my attention to my brain. I became known as the one who did the best in school. What I didn’t understand was that it isn’t important how pretty, how smart, or how accomplished any of us are.
What really matters is how virtuous, loving, kind, and peaceful we are. I thought I could use my brain to become more accomplished or make better decisions than my sisters, my mother, and many others. Yet, this thinking allowed my ego to run away with me; until I had a stroke. Then the only meaningful part of me that was left to heal me and guide me through life was the love, positivity and spirituality within me. This is true with regards to all the things we consider important; such as profession, employment and relationships.
Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.
When we have a character focused on love and doing good deeds for others, our ego is shut down. Therefore we cannot help but become better and better at being who we are, and doing the good we are meant to do. This is the foundation for whatever we want to achieve.
What will you do to strengthen your character in 2015? Consider the following.
The time has come for us to go after many more opportunities, ask more questions, and take more risks, while welcoming the many instances that we will hear the word ‘no’.
Have you ever talked yourself out of going for a job, approaching a
person that interests you, or asking for something you needed; all because you feared rejection? Did you know that successful people experience more ‘no’ than others. They experience countless rejection and failures because they take more risks and do far more than others. We all can learn how to get what we want most in life, if we understand the true meaning of the rejecting word ‘no.’
Let’s consider the example of a mountain lion and its prey. When the mountain lion goes after a deer, it does not get discouraged, even though the deer says ‘no way!’ To many it would seem as though the mountain lion does not have a single chance of catching the too swift deer. Yet, the mountain lion does not fear. It does not get emotionally hurt. It does not take its failure personally. Instead, it keeps focus on its ultimate prize, which is to catch a deer and not necessarily the one that escaped. It uses all its many failures to become smarter, and looks for opportunities to try again, having no doubt that it will succeed. Eventually, it perseveres and turns an unsuspecting deer’s ‘no’ into ‘yes’.
The successful among us are like mountain lions. However, we all need to be like Mountain Lions and welcome the necessary rejections of life. We need these rejections to develop the perseverance, skill, and confidence of a mountain lion. We need them to test our faith, and develop greater patience and fortitude needed to fearlessly go after our greatest desires.
Rejection often brings a message that says ‘you are greater than that which you seek. You are worth far more than you imagined.’ If you allow it to, it will push you in a direction that promises something much greater that the ‘yes’ you were hoping for.
In 2015 and beyond, I will use this ‘welcoming no’ or ‘mountain lion philosophy’ to go after many possible rejections, for among this I will find my ultimate success. Will you join me?
Thought I would share the Heart&Stroke Lottery piece to which I contributed. Click here to see. I am the fifth panel. I share this and the piece I recently wrote Good News | Our everyday heroes…(Living Life in The Silent World of the Deaf), to support these organization. I do not make money from doing work for these and other charities; I contribute primarily because of the blessing they can provide to others. I also do it because I must give, and I find it difficult overcoming barriers to paid employment as a middle-aged stroke survivor. I ask for your prayers that this work will also be a blessings to me, as I continue to find my purpose and my place after my stroke blessing.
I was recently privileged to write a wonderful story about Anya, a 21-year-old Deaf young lady, which has been posted on Good News Toronto. Just a couple years ago, Anya was lost and depressed in her isolated world. Today she is an award-winner and creator of a fun exercise and sign-language education program, called “Hearing The Deaf”. It is partially done in complete silence, teaching what it’s like to be deaf in a hearing world.