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Reflections: What Makes You Feel Rich?

17/12/2014

“Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.” Mother Teresa

Reflections: What Makes You Rich? - Sculpture Ahava by Robert Indiana

Reflections: What Makes You Rich? – Sculpture Ahava by Robert Indiana

What makes you feel rich? The holiday season is in full swing now, and it’s an important time to remember what makes us feel rich. By rich, I mean what do you cherish most and why does this matter? Would you trade your health,  life, family, friends, health and happiness for wealth?  Yesterday was the first day of Hanukkah, next week will be Christmas, and Kwanzaa will start the day after. As we get into the spirit of all these celebrations, please take a moment to remember what truly matters and what makes all these special celebrations invaluable. Lately, as I read blogs and news reports, I read and hear about a lot of pain, loss and dejection. My heart breaks for each story, and for all the families who won’t have a place to celebrate, a tree, a bag full of gifts or a fancy meal. Please, please remember to take this season to rekindle your love and gratitude for your loved ones. Tell them honestly what you can and what you can’t afford, and let them know that LOVE – Ahava (in Hebrew) is the glue that holds you together.  Gratitude for what we do have will help us find some joy in the season.

This morning, I was reading a blog post from one of my favorite bloggers and the topic gave me food for thought. I’m sharing parts of what came to me both as a comment and afterwards. I’m a big believer in maintaining a positive attitude and making choices that help us grow. I love reading blog posts, and one on being rich and/or poor got me thinking about a topic that bothers a lot of people; especially during the holiday season.

“There are people who have money and people who are rich.” Coco Chanel

Reflections: What Makes You Rich? - Grandmother and child

Reflections: What Makes You Rich? – Grandmother and child

Why does it matter that we think about the question? We often read articles about the rich and poor and what creates both conditions. While some might say that poverty is a state of mind, there are real events that can devastate a family and push them into poverty; health, job loss, financial mishaps, disasters, poor choices, luck/timing, and other life experiences that let bad things happen to good, hardworking people. At a real estate conference I attended some years ago, Donald Trump was the keynote speaker, and he said something that has stayed with me. He told us that when people get very wealthy, many of them act like they worked harder than everyone else and made fabulous, smart choices. He shared that most people don’t like to admit to the luck factor (I call it grace) because it takes the power and all the decision out of their hands.  As people whispered, “what about your wealth, your wealth, Mr. Trump?”, he informed us all that he amassed his wealth through a combination of factors: an inheritance, great personal effort, business acumen and lucky breaks. Luck is a factor in being rich or poor, and making people feel guilty for not being financially wealthy is wrong. Yep, Donald said that and I’ve never stopped admiring him for speaking so honestly.

While there are some basic rules that help people win or fail, the outcomes are not so simple; there is timing, location and circumstance. In the final analysis, I will also say that being rich is a state of mind. There are wealthy people who live like paupers and have a poverty mentality, and there are people who are money conscious and still have none. It’s not so simple to ascribe wealth to hard work and poverty to laziness.  If we look around us and think about it honestly, we know that hard work or even laziness won’t necessarily produce the expected outcome. If you are content with having less, have loving friends and family, have health, and love living with the simple things of life, you are richer than the next billionaire out there. The real question is: What makes you feel rich?

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Motivation Mondays: Compassion

15/12/2014

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Maya Angelou

Motivation Mondays: Compassion

Motivation Mondays: Compassion – Dusty pink Rose; a symbol of compassion

The Tear – by: George (Lord) Byron
When Friendship or Love
Our sympathies move;
When Truth, in a glance, should appear,
The lips may beguile,
With a dimple or smile,
But the test of affection’s a Tear:

Too oft is a smile
But the hypocrite’s wile,
To mask detestation, or fear;
Give me the soft sigh,
Whilst the soultelling eye
Is dimm’d, for a time, with a Tear:

Mild Charity’s glow,
To us mortals below,
Shows the soul from barbarity clear;
Compassion will melt,
Where this virtue is felt,
And its dew is diffused in a Tear: Abbreviated.
Read rest at poetrysoup.com

What does Compassion have to do with Motivation? Why is it an important part of today’s Monday Motivation post? I’ve been thinking about this for some time and one word came up – Mindfulness. A synonym for mindfulness is – Self-Compassion. Now you’re wondering, where is she going with this? Think about it. Every time we make decisions about our goals, our dreams, and our lives, they have an impact on those around us in either positive or negative ways. Each action we decide to take must be viewed through the lens of Mindfulness; compassion for ourselves and consideration for those around us. This doesn’t mean that you cancel your goals, but that you balance your all-or-nothing mindset with a scale of compassion.

How does this play out in our lives? Remember that job your Dad had to take that meant you moved 6 times in 5 years? Remember that promotion you got that you knew, deep inside your heart,  you got in an underhanded way? Remember that day you walked out on your friends and family because they were “cramping your style?” It is time to let the pain and guilt go and heal by turning a new leaf in your life. All-or-nothing makes for some very lonely folk in nursing homes. It is important to ask ourselves, every step of the way to success, what is my motive? What motivates my action? Our success is not always based on how hard we work but, also on how smart we work with focus, and as Maya put in the quote above, with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.

The rose is a symbol of Compassion for good reason. It blooms beautifully even though it has thorns that can wound deeply. We must balance our thorns with goodwill; goals set with good intentions will resonate and be far more satisfying in the long run.

“Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men.” Confucius

Motivation Mondays: Compassion

Motivation Mondays: Compassion – Are you the black sheep in your circle?

A Broken Appointment by: Thomas Hardy
You did not come,
And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb.

Yet less for loss of your dear presence there
Than that I thus found lacking in your make
That high compassion which can overbear
Reluctance for pure loving kindness’ sake
Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum,
You did not come.

You love me not,
And love alone can lend you loyalty;
–I know and knew it.
But, unto the store
Of human deeds divine in all but name,
Was it not worth a little hour or more
To add yet this: Once you, a woman, came
To soothe a time-torn man; even though it be
You love me not. From Poetrysoup.com

Are you or were you the black sheep in your household, workplace, community? Why? How did it make you feel? Sometimes, we go along like lemmings to the edge of a precipice because we don’t want to rock the boat or be considered the black sheep in a group full of followers. We stop listening to the quiet, little voice of wisdom in our hearts, telling us to veer right and discover new worlds. We throw compassion out the window and try to force others to conform to stagnant, outdated ways of thinking. Through it all, we feel disconnected. Be mindful. Have compassion for yourself and your charges.  True leadership is not always about agreeing with the status quo, it is also about taking the time to consider other options; other brilliant and innovative routes to the same destination.

Since we are in the throes of shopping and preparing for Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, New Year’s Day and more, it would be wise to not beat ourselves up for not earning more, getting more or doing more. If a plan, an appointment, or promise of an expected bonus is broken, don’t wallow in misery. Pick yourself up and remind yourself of  the original motive that led you down this road. It is important to find ways to re-invigorate our dreams and plans. While we are out pursuing our goals, let’s be mindful of other black sheep and be more inclusive in our actions.

How were you mindful last week? Today? Yesterday, I was at one of my local discount stores waiting to pick up something. I was told to come back in 47 minutes. An hour later, I arrived to see a long line of people waiting. There was a woman arguing with a staff member about how she’d been in the store for over an hour and should be first in line. She arrived, like me, after the line had formed and he refused to hear her argument. Eventually, she joined me at the back of the line. “I am going to complain to upper management once I leave this place!” she said in an angry voice. We chatted a bit about the problem at hand, and both of us agreed that it wasn’t enough to complain, we had to have a solution to recommend. We  had to keep in mind that the people standing in line had first dibs. Why? Because they chose to wait while we chose to stroll through the store, shopping and doing other things.

What would you have recommended to management? Instead of being in a hurry to have a staffer disciplined or fired, could you offer a solution? a recommendation? When we operate from that place of self-compassion/mindfulness, we are firm, we stand up for what is right, and we remain mindful of the needs of others. More on our recommendation later.

The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for December are:
12/01 – Acceptance
12/08 – Busyness
12/15 – Compassion
12/22 – Joy
12/29 – Regret
More Below!

More below!

“True compassion means not only feeling anther’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it.” Daniel Goleman

Motivation Mondays: Compassion

Motivation Mondays: Compassion from the good samaritan

Expect Nothing by: Alice Walker
Expect nothing.
Live frugally
On surprise.

become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.

Discover the reason why
So tiny human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing.
Live frugally
On surprise. From poetrysoup.com

Why learn to expect nothing from others? If you’ve spent some part of your life being disappointed about the human condition or the actions of people who betrayed you, you’ve heard the line above – Expect Nothing. Why do we hear that advice from the sages, the wise ones, and our more experienced loved ones? When we learn to give without thought about what’s in it for me/you/us, we save ourselves the pain, hurt, and disappointments that inevitably rise when our wishes or expectations are unfulfilled. We can, like the Good Samaritan, learn to give to others out of a spirit of compassion.

Again, this is the time for reflection, self-compassion and a release of our wish to smite the offending party. You see, compassion goes a long way by helping us stay grounded, achieve our goals, and live our lives with less of the baggage and BS we often carry around.  While working towards our goals, we can choose the path of the bold and eager warrior or the path of the quiet, yet steady warrior; our intention must be clear of duplicity and of casualties on the road to success. As I said last week, Motivation is not just about us and our goals, it’s also about supporting others to achieve their goals. It’s about thinking outside the box with less of the Me, Me, Me and more of the Us, Us, Us.

What did we end up recommending? We suggested that the store have a ticket system. You come in, go to the section in question, get your ticket and when they are ready, wait for your number to be called. This is an inclusive act. it benefits everyone. It is compassion in action. What would you do differently today? Stay Mindful and Motivated.

Motivation Mondays is open to anyone who wishes to share a motivational quote, photo, personal challenge or a post that encourages others to start the week on an upbeat note.

Basic Instructions: Each week, I will have a motivation word to help us create a response. (See listed words for end of November and all of December below)
Email address: You may email or share your post as a comment and I will add it to the round-up of related posts. email it to: contact(@)mirthandmotivation(.)com
Category tag: – Share your post using Motivation Mondays
Twitter hashtag: – Use this on Twitter #MotvnM
Dedicated Page: There is a dedicated page for Motivation Mondays. It has the same instructions and will include other helpful tools and a link to the round-up
Facebook Page: MotivationOnMondays Join our page and add your post and/or any motivational piece you think will be helpful to others.
Facebook Community: We have a Facebook community forum to compliment the page. It serves as another way to share uplifting posts and thoughts. Please join in and add your voice.

Badge: – I created a fun badge using PicMonkey’s free photo editing tools. You can create your own, use WordPress’ integrated tool on your blog or you are welcome to use mine. (see dedicated page)
Tag: – Motivation Mondays
Hashtag: – #MotvnM

Positive Motivation Tip: Compassion is not just our gift to others, it is also our gift to ourselves. Be kind to yourself and others today and everyday.

Related Posts

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos: Compassion Rose, Black Sheep, Good Samaritan via Wikipedia

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

Interview with Peter Wells: Author of Living Life Backwards

14/12/2014

Maxim to live by: “If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same.” Peter Wells

Interview with Peter Wells: Author of Living Life Backwards

Interview with Peter Wells: Author of Living Life Backwards

If you’ve ever read Peter Wells blog; Countingducks, you’d fall in love with his masterful skill at storytelling. Peter is an accomplished writer, a world traveler, a witty storyteller with a wicked sense of humor, a father of three, a grandfather and a dear friend. According to his bio: “His writing is inspired by his working and traveling life, and the people he has met through them. He now lives just south of London and is the proud father of three daughters.” I met Peter, three years ago, through our blogging community on WordPress and we made a fast connection. I fell in love with his writing style, his use of language, and his keen sense of humor. I read everything that he wrote and watched as his community of eager readers grew and grew and grew. I was thrilled for him because I believed he had  great stories to share and that he would publish his writings some day. He did!

In February of this year, Peter’s first book, Living Life Backwards hit the market and we bought copies and encouraged him to keep on writing. I’m delighted to share that Peter is now working on his next book: The Man Who Missed The Boat. I encourage you to buy a copy  of Living Life Backwards and read it. Use the promo code BOOKDEAL25 for an Extra 25% off his and any Amazon Book. You won’t be disappointed.

Living Life Backwards, PDMI Publishing, LLC; (February 19, 2014), is a beautifully written story about the complexities of relationships and what happens when the lives of fragile characters intersect. The storyline and characters feel very familiar and they would make you wonder if Peter visited each of us to share stories we hold dear. It might even seem autobiographical or part fictionalized memoir. But, Peter is a great storyteller and knows how to weave a story well. The novel poses a question: When an Obsession knocks on the doors of your Paradise, should they remain closed? Should they?  I am delighted and grateful that Peter agreed to share part of his life with us. Sit back, enjoy the interview and ask any questions that you’d like to have answered. Join me in welcoming Peter Wells!

“Writing means sharing. It’s part of the human condition to want to share things – thoughts, ideas, opinions.” Paulo Coelho

Interview with Peter Wells: Author of Living Life Backwards -  Front of Book Cover

Interview with Peter Wells: Author of Living Life Backwards – Front of Book Cover

Having spent his childhood in a barren emotional wasteland overseen by a father who valued order above feeling, Bill finally meets a woman who leads him to a place he can call home. Arriving in the small coastal town in England with his new wife, he finds that he is quickly assimilated into her community and extended family. With his somewhat murky past behind him, he forges a new life within a solid, caring community and discovers what being valued means. As it happens, his wife appears to be overly interested in “organizing” everything and everyone around her, including her young cousin who is the apple of her father’s eye. Within the garden of Eden Bill knows he can show no interest in this apple called Misty. (back cover editorial)

Tell us a bit about your background: Where did you grow up and where do you live now? I grew up in the English countryside and have been a country boy most of my life, although I now live south of London on the banks of the river Thames, which is a very pretty place visited by a decent number of ducks and other wild-life.
Is that why you picked the name – Counting ducks for your blog? I’ve been blogging for 3 years and countingducks is an expression of my love for those water-loving birds, a play on my version of day dreaming, and a title that popped into my head.

Share a bit of your world view: How do you live your life and manage your household?  My world view, and my household are built on the philosophy of celebrating what you have before you decide to acquire anything else. As a species, we have a habit of trampling over the Garden of Eden in our search for some private paradise.

You recently published your first book – Living Life Backwards – Congratulations on a masterful story!  How long did it take to write and how did you come up with the title? It took about three months to write and the title just came out of my head for no reason. One of the main characters (in the book) is a bit of an aging hippie, and that is just the kind of thing he would say!

What is the creative process like for you? I either have ideas while I should be sleeping or out on my early morning stroll. I’m not one to have a plan of the book when I start. The book sort of plans itself on a daily basis. It all comes from my approach to Blogging, in that those posts are also often created during my morning stroll.

What tips would you offer writers on getting published for the first time?  Stay open to all opportunities and enjoy the process. I was lucky, in that a publisher approached me through my Blog and asked me to write one. I have now written a second book, which is due in the not too distant future I hope. It is called “The Man Who Missed The Boat”

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