Friendship

Yesterday we watched an old, yet timeless movie – You Can’t Take It With You (1938).  It’s a Frank Capra film (It’s a Wonderful Life) and also stars Jimmy Stewart.  The message of the movie is about friendship and enjoying your life (rather than chasing the dollar).  It’s a great film and I highly recommend it, especially if you feel you are somewhat caught up in the “rat race”.

I have many friends and I love them all.  I have experienced many changes in my life in the last year and as you can imagine, I now find myself having different view points, diets, ideas, etc. than most of the people I hang out with.  Much has been written about how when you make major changes, sometimes you have to leave friendships behind.  I would for the most part, disagree.  Of course if someone is being negative or bringing you down, then yes, it would be time to move on, but just because someone does not have the same views or ideas about life that you do, it’s not reason enough.

Most of my friends have been with me for a long time.  I don’t think any of them are vegan (like me) or even vegetarian (a few don’t eat meat, but eat fish, etc.).  Most have very different religious views than me as well as politics and my overall outlook on life.  Everyone is on their own path and there are so many different viewpoints out there that if we all had to match, no one would have any friends!!

Viewpoints come from your beliefs.  Beliefs can be quite stubborn.  Once someone has a particular belief they will attract all of the circumstances into their life to validate these beliefs.  Something really powerful has to happen for most people to step out of the box and really examine why they believe the things they do.  This is why most people go through life with the same religion, political party, etc.

You see, I believe that your world (including your friends) are a reflection of you.  You have attracted your friends into your life.  I think that I have so many friends with different viewpoints to teach me not to judge.  Despite all of our differences we have one thing in common that bonds us together and that is our love and caring for each other.  My friends are supportive, loving and kind and would go out of their way for me in just about any circumstance.  I am so grateful for them.

Look at the friends in your life.  They are there as a reflection of you, to teach you and to help you grow.  Look for positive people to enrich your life, and be sure to enrich theirs as well.  If someone is not holding up their end of the friendship, perhaps the lesson is over and it is time to let that one go, just be sure that it is for the right reason.  Friends come in all shapes, sizes, beliefs and viewpoints and I am grateful for them all.

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Looking on the Inside

Today’s my birthday and just like New Year’s it is a good time to reflect on where life has taken you and what path you want to pursue in the future.  I have had somewhat of an adventurous life although it didn’t start off that way.  I was raised in an uneventful, but nice home in Houston, Texas.  When I was 14,  my parents got divorced and my mom moved us (myself, 11year old sister and 2 brothers 6 & 3) to Acapulco, Mexico!  We went from routine to very exciting times! My mom worked as an assistant to the PR director for Braniff Airways and we got to hang out with all kinds of celebrities and interesting people.  My mom had a “date” with Sean Connery and I was an extra in a movie with Dean Martin – The Ambushers!  After 6 fun years, we moved back to the US and I finished my degree at the University of Texas in Austin and moved back to Houston.

After 10 years or so of more routine living – it was off to a new place – this time Caracas, Venezuela.  I worked for a real estate company that assisted executives from major corporations and embassies with relocation to Caracas.  I loved it there – it is a beautiful country with lots of opportunity for travel and exploration.  My trek to Angel Falls was one of my favorites.

After 8 years it was time to get back to the routine.  This time I settled in Florida and spent the last 13 years in a great career at Starwood in the vacation ownership department.  I won all kinds of awards and was able to travel to some of the best hotels and vacation destinations.  During the last 6 months there, I started feeling that this was not my path and decided to begin a new adventure.

This time however the adventure was not a new place, but an adventure in my own growth and personal development.  I have begun to see things in new ways and change the way I think and act.  One of the first things I did was to change the way I was eating.  I became a vegetarian and after a few months decided to go vegan.  I still slip up occasionally, but overall it is amazing to discover the link between what you eat and how you feel.  You may be thinking that I am referring to the physical, but it is much more than that – you will feel different spiritually and emotionally too.  It is a very exciting path to be on.

One of the most important tools in personal growth is to conquer your fears and step out of your comfort zone. I have always been timid and fearful of public speaking, so I decided to join Toastmaster’s.  I highly recommend it.   I am competing in my first speech contest this week!  Take action on something you have been putting off or were afraid to do and you will be amazed at how empowering this can be.

One of my friends once told me that if  “you always have it your way”  you are missing out on many opportunities to learn and grow – so it’s time to step out of that comfort zone and face new areas of exploration inside myself.  Last year was the year of change – this year will be a year of growth.  I feel this will be the most rewarding journey yet…I hope you’ll join me.

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Judgment Free Zone

Are you living in a judgment free zone?  What I mean by this is, do you judge others by some arbitrary guidelines that you have created? I know I have been guilty of this – not to extremes or anything, but I did have my list of items that made me look at others as if they were not worthy.  Some examples were people that smoked, had a lot of tattoos, were extremely overweight or very redneck, to name a few. I had never been prejudiced against race or culture, but I still had a few hurdles to overcome.

You see it wasn’t until recently that I realized that these judgments were just reflections of me and my own growth!! They were my fears and inadequacies, not the other way around. When you judge someone, for whatever reason, you are reflecting your weakness and lack of self love. When you lack self-esteem it is easy to put others down and see how they don’t “measure up” to your standards.

Who created these guidelines and standards? We all create our own, based on our set of belief systems. Start questioning these belief patterns and ask yourself if they are serving you in a positive way. It is easy to build yourself up at the expense of others, but at the end of the day I don’t think any of us is going to really feel any better. When we begin to doubt ourselves, it is easy to become very judgemental toward others. Looking back, I now realize that I was not in the position to be much of a judge at all.

When I made the decision to live in a judgment free zone, an amazing thing happened. As I quit judging others and came to terms that everyone is on their own path, and are in my life to teach me something, I became more confident, had more self-esteem and had my spirit uplifted.

As I continue to be aware of my thoughts  toward others, I  attract more positive people and happenings in my life.  If a negative thought pops in my mind, I recognize it, dismiss it and replace it with something positive.  This will allow others to bring their best attributes to you.  Just imagine if everyone could put forth their ideas without judgment or fear.

The next time you see someone who doesn’t do things exactly like you think they should be done, or perhaps are different than you – send a little love their way!  It will be returned and before you know it, you will be attracting non-judgemental people into your life.

Hope to see you in the Judgment Free Zone!

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Getting Started

Have you been putting off something that you have been wanting to do?  For me it’s been writing this blog.  What got me into writing “mode” versus “thinking and planning” was a seminar I attended recently in Las Vegas.

Have you seen “The Secret”?  I saw it when it first came out and have seen it many times and introduced it to friends and family members.  One of my favorite parts was the genie – “Your wish is my command!”  I really have felt stuck in that mode for sometime, occasionally breaking out and achieving some goals, but always going back to reacting to my current issues or fear and Boom! – “Your wish is my command!” –  I would go right back to where I didn’t want to be.

How can this be I would think – as I would watch “The Secret” again to get all positive and visualize what I wanted.  Then when it wouldn’t “happen” I would get all caught up in  my current situation and the cycle kept on going.

Well if it were as easy as watching a movie and thinking about what you wanted – lots of people (including myself) would be living their dreams.   O.K. then, what do I need to do to make some changes and get on the right path?  For me it was signing up for that seminar with a little leap of faith – since I had no clue how I was going to get there, pay for it, where to stay, time off work, etc. but a voice inside told me just do it!!

The seminar was Harmonic Wealth Weekend with James Ray (the genie guy from The Secret).  It was a breakthrough weekend for me.  It wasn’t so much that I learned anything that I didn’t already know, but now it was in my face and I had to deal with it .  The first thing I had to do was take responsibility for everything that has happened in my life – no matter how much I thought I was a victim of circumstances, the truth is we create our own circumstances.  At the time, I was in sales and not selling – sure was easy to blame the economy, the boss, the company, etc. but all of that was just a reflection of me and my thoughts, not the other way around.

In order for me to turn things around, I had to go way out on a limb – leave my job of 13 years – and truly evaluate what did I really want to do.  I got so far out on the limb, that it was about to break off from the tree or at least I thought it would.  I started changing my thinking, my way of looking at things and began a shift toward a new consciousness.  The best way to start on a new path is to just get started.  Take some action and things will begin to fall into place – I look forward to sharing my new adventures with you.

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