Posts tagged with ‘acceptance’

18 feb

The Message We’re Not Hearing from Our Politicians: Tolerance, Acceptance, Compassion and Unity

WEJMDUnity is a very important theme. It is critical to the resolution of the many problems facing our nation and our world today because without it we will never be able to engage the necessary solutions.

In this election year it’s painfully clear that there are many people with many differences. Many needs. Many perspectives. Many polarities. Many grievances. Many resentments. Many biases. Many prejudices. A great deal of intolerance. A great deal of hostility. A great deal of rage and aggression.

We have forgotten who we are. We have forgotten that we originally all came from one Source. We all came from a place of Unity, a place of Universal Acceptance and Love. And then we fell into a dream of separation, a dream of selfish egos competing with each other rather than cooperating, attacking each other rather than living in harmony.

We have lost our way. We have lost our universal identity as a brotherhood of people. So caught up in the distinction of skin color, races and nations, we have lost our true connection with God. And now, amidst all the chaos, the confusion, the rage and the hate, we must find our way Home. We must find a way to re-unite with God and each other before we destroy ourselves. How do we do this?

How do we unify amidst so much divisiveness and venom?

It surely would be a whole lot easier and happen a whole lot faster if we had leaders who made acceptance, forgiveness and love the platform of their party, the priority above all other priorities, the glue holding together their political agenda.

Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening. When I listen to the various presidential candidates all I hear is what they’re going to do for us. Right now it’s the Republicans, but later it will be the Democrats doing the very same thing, everybody telling us what they’re going to do for us.

No one telling us what WE need to do for us, what you and I, what we the people need to do for ourselves if we want to truly solve our problems. If we want a world where people cooperate and co-exist in harmony, peace and prosperity, we must appreciate that it won’t happen at the level of nations and leaders.

It will happen from the ground up. It will happen first with the choices that WE make, you and I, each and every one of us. The choices we make to be more tolerant, more accepting, more loving, more forgiving, and more generous.

Easier said than done amidst so much anger, grievance, resentment and judgment swirling all around us, so many of us seeing the differences in people rather than the similarities, seeing others as the enemy if they don’t think the same way we do. If they have a different god or a different religion or a different political persuasion, if they’re too far to the left or too far to the right, we don’t just disagree, we demonize them, we label them evil and dangerous, they’re going to destroy America.

All this fear mongering, all this demonizing has got to stop. It solves nothing. It further polarizes people. It makes things worse.

Bottom line: There are too many people with divergent views and needs. For any of us to take extreme intransigent positions and expect the rest of the nation to get on board is unrealistic and counterproductive. We will never have a nation where everyone thinks the same way. We must find common ground amidst the differences. We must find ways to cooperate, compromise and negotiate for the greatest good of all concerned.

How do we do this? One person at a time. One mind at a time. One heart at a time. We do it by example. By role modeling right action. Albert Schweitzer had it right when he said, “Example is leadership.”

Example is leadership.

We cannot rely on our leaders to be the examples of right action. We must be the example. We must be the role models. We must each of us make the personal commitment to discourage the fear-mongering, the demonizing, the rageful, hate speech about those who don’t share our beliefs.

If we don’t do it, it’s not going to happen. All the divisiveness will defeat us in the long run. Not global warming. Not earthquakes and tsunamis. Not nuclear weapons. Not terrorists. Our divisiveness will defeat us.

We are the enemy of ourselves when we lack tolerance and compassion, and lash out at those we disagree with. True patriotism means respecting our fellow citizens regardless of their political viewpoints or religious beliefs.

We have been trained to believe in concepts like “every man for himself,” and “kill or be killed” which suggest that we must compete and battle others if we are to succeed and prevail. We have been trained to believe that aggression is necessary in order to survive.

The truth is that we do not need aggression in order to survive. The truth is that we will not prevail, in the long run, as long as we believe we must attack and subjugate others in order to win.

Most people think that “survival of the fittest” means survival of the strongest, the most aggressive, the most violent and predatory. They are wrong. Survival of the fittest in the final analysis will be survival of the spiritually fittest, survival of those who strive to unite rather than divide, survival of those who strive to let go of judgments and prejudices, survival of those who strive to embrace acceptance and tolerance, survival of those who are dedicated to the application of compassion, generosity and forgiveness.

The meek shall inherit the earth.

“The meek shall inherit the earth” doesn’t mean the weak shall inherit the earth. It means those who are humble, accepting and forgiving shall inherit the earth, those who embrace peaceful methods to solve problems, to bridge divergent ideologies, and to find the common ground shall inherit the earth.

We will not survive as a nation, as a people, as a planet unless we recognize that the solution to all of our problems requires a unified approach that embraces trust, compassion and cooperation rather than further entrenchment in the ideology of war and destruction of others as a means to our peace and prosperity.

There is great beauty in the diversity of nature. There is great beauty in the diversity of human beings. But instead of appreciating that diversity and glorifying it, we fear it, we blame it, we scapegoat it, we destroy it… and in the process we destroy ourselves. Sooner or later we destroy ourselves with our fear and our divisiveness. Therefore, it behooves us to find a way to rise above the battlefield, to perceive the world in a different light, so that we can appreciate the foolishness of attacking others.

One way to do this is to consider the analogy of a jigsaw puzzle. Each jigsaw puzzle piece looks different in some way from other pieces, but each piece is inherently the same, in the sense that each piece is an integral part of the puzzle that contributes to the puzzle’s wholeness. Without every single piece, the puzzle is not complete.

It would be irrational and self-destructive for one puzzle piece to hurt or destroy another puzzle piece because the integrity of the whole puzzle, which each piece is ultimately dependent upon, would be damaged in the process.

We are all puzzle pieces. Each of us looks different but we’re all the same. Each of us a piece of the puzzle, a piece of the total picture, a piece of God. When we attack one another, we are being irrational and self-destructive because we are attacking the integrity of the whole organism, we are attacking the Oneness which each of us is a part of. We are essentially attacking God when we attack any of his children.

And so it behooves us to appreciate the Oneness of Life, that despite differences and diversity, we are all the same, that we were all cut from the same cloth, that we are all part of the whole, that we are all interconnected, that we were all created by God and deserve equally all the blessings of life that God offers, that we need to share our blessings with others, that we need to care about those less fortunate than ourselves, that there is one thing we need to do above all else and that is to treat others as we wish to be treated.

Love ye one another.

This is how we will unify our nation and our world. With love. With acceptance. With tolerance and with forgiveness. This is what we must practice and preach. Love. Acceptance. Tolerance and Forgiveness. This is how we must behave towards each other. This is the behavior we need to role model for our children. Unconditional love, acceptance, tolerance and forgiveness.

We must teach our children well. We must teach our children to recognize their spiritual brothers and sisters in everyone they see, regardless of what they look like, what clothes they are wearing, what country they came from, the color of their skin, the language they speak, or the God they believe in.

We must teach our children and everyone we meet the virtues of generosity, courtesy, consideration, humility and grace. We must teach our children and everyone we meet to be of service to others, to aid others as best we can, to ask the question, “How can I help you?” rather than “What’s in it for me?”

We must teach our children and everyone we meet to find ways to let go of anger and hurt, to see the God in people, the good in people, despite how they’re behaving, to find ways to hate the sin but love the sinner.

We must teach our children and everyone we meet that there is a oneness, there is a wholeness of which we are all a part, that we are all inextricably bound together, that we each have a responsibility to each other, that we ARE our brother’s keeper, that we must exclude no one from our love, that we’re all in this together, that nobody wins if anybody loses.

In this election year and the years to come, try to remember that it is our job not to elect leaders but to BE leaders, to be the role models that our world needs to survive and to thrive. It is our job to find the similarities, the commonalities rather than the differences. It is our job to find ways to unify rather than divide. It is our job to remember that either we all hang together or we will surely hang separately.

Forgive To Win!

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on February 18th, 2012 in First30Days Book, General, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

29 dec

Why Should I Forgive? The Origin of a New Year’s Resolution

WEJMDI’ve been asked why I’m passionate about teaching forgiveness. It’s because all religious, spiritual and metaphysical roads I’ve traveled have led me here, to this one Truth borrowed from A Course In Miracles: I forgive others for my own peace of mind.

In my late twenties I read the Bible, the Old and New Testament, for the first time. Although I was impressed with the transformation of God’s consciousness from the Old Testament God of anger, judgment, vengeance and war to the New Testament God of peace, love, acceptance, charity and forgiveness, I was more impressed with the implications of several thought-provoking Biblical comments:

(1) From the Book of Matthew: He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

If the above-passage is an accurate quote from Jesus of the Christ, that’s pretty awesome and powerful. “Nothing will be impossible for you.” That’s not a vague and ambiguous assertion. That’s a description of how Reality Manifestation works. That’s the Secret right there. That’s the Law of Attraction, the Law of Abundance. The power of the Mind to transcend time and transform space, and thereby create the reality of one’s choosing! “Nothing will be impossible for you.” Wow. I like the sound of that. And I find it hard to believe that Jesus of the Christ was exaggerating. His word was his bond.

(2) From the Book of Mark: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” I don’t take the word “rich” literally here. I believe what was meant instead of rich is the word greedy. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a greedy man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Greed is of the ego. Greed is about competition and separation rather than cooperation and unity. Greed is about judgment, aggression and unforgiveness, not acceptance, tolerance and harmony. Greed is not of God and if you really want to get to God and Heaven and the Garden of Eden, or whatever else you understand to be a place of eternal, unconditional peace, compassion and joy, then be of Service to Others. Help others. If you’ve got two coats, give one away to a needy brother.

3) From the Book of Matthew: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

Meek doesn’t mean weak. Meek doesn’t mean wimpy. Meek doesn’t mean sucker or chump. Meek means those who are gentle, those who are non-violent, those who are compassionate, those who are accepting of others, those who are unconditionally forgiving. “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” The implication of this being that those who seek peace through violence and murder are not blessed and will inherit the wind.

4) From the book of Matthew: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” This is very clear. The message is basically that if you walk a righteous, honest and forgiving path, you will get the life that you want. You’ll get the goodies. First be a person of integrity. First be of service to others. First let go of anger, fear, judgment and attack. First forgive. And then “all these things will be added to you.” In other words: You win. You Forgive To Win!

5) From the Book of John: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” In other words, All these things that I have done, you can do and more if you have faith in me, if you follow my principles of forgiveness, acceptance, and love. That’s the ticket. There’s the message again: Want to do 22 impossible things before breakfast? First seek the kingdom of heaven. First be a person of honor. And then with your faith you’ll move mountains, and all things will come to you.

Why? Because when we get our mind focused on Forgiveness, Acceptance and Love, this removes the obstacles to the natural flow of abundance and prosperity which is available in infinite amounts to everyone.

So that’s my New Year’s resolution: To first seek the kingdom of heaven. To first be a person of honor. To forgive. To accept. To love. As best I can. As unconditionally as I can. Wherever I am. Without exceptions. Without expectations. Without the need for appreciation or acknowledgment.

To have forgiveness, teach forgiveness to learn it.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Forgive To Win!

Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on December 29th, 2011 in First30Days Book, Global/Social Change, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

17 may

The Importance of Live Conversations

MikeRobbinsNewHave you ever had a conversation, disagreement, or conflict escalate over email? Do you sometimes find yourself engaging in difficult or emotional conversations electronically because it seems “easier,” only to regret it later on? If you’re anything like me and most of the people I know and work with, you can probably answer “yes” to both of these questions.

In the past few months I’ve had a couple conflicts with important people in my life get blown way out of proportion, mainly because I engaged in them via email, instead of talking live to those involved. As I look back on these and other similar situations I’ve experienced in the past, I can see that it was my fear to connect live and my poor judgment in using written communication that contributed to the increased conflict and lack of resolution.

Why do we do this (even though most of us, myself included, know better)? First of all, email (or other forms of electronic communication – texting, Facebook, Twitter, and more), tends to be the primary mode of communication these days for many of us – both personally and professionally.

Second of all, it can sometimes seem easier for us to be honest and direct in writing because we can say what is true for us without having to worry about the in-the-moment reaction of the other person.

And third, electronic communication (or even one-way verbal communication, i.e. voice mail) takes way less courage than having a live, real conversation with another human being (on the phone or in person). When we talk to people live we have to deal with our fear of rejection, fear of being hurt, and our tendency to “sell out” on ourselves and not speak our full truth. Avoiding the live conversation and choosing to do it in writing sometimes feels “safer” and can allow us to say things we might otherwise withhold.

Regardless of why we choose to engage in important conversations via these one-way forms of communication (email, text, voice mail, etc.), it is much less likely for us to work through conflicts, align with one another, and build trust and connection when we avoid talking to each other live about important stuff.

Anything we’re willing to engage in electronically can usually be resolved much more quickly, effectively, and lovingly by having a live conversation, even if we’re scared to do so. The fear may be real, but most often the “threat” is not.

Here are some things you can do to practice engaging in live conversations with people more often and, ultimately, to resolve your conflicts more successfully.

1) Be clear about your intention – Before sending an email, text, etc. (or even leaving a voice mail), ask yourself, “What’s my intention?” If you’re about to engage in something that is in any way emotionally charged, about a conflict, or important on an inter-personal level, check in to make sure you’re not simply sending the message to avoid dealing with it and the person(s) involved directly. Tell the truth to yourself about how you feel, what you want, and why you’re about to engage in the specific type and form of communication you’re choosing.

2) Don’t send everything you write – Writing things out without a filter and just letting all of our thoughts and feelings flow can be a very important exercise, especially when we’re dealing with a conflict or something that’s important to us. However, we don’t always have to send everything we write! It’s often a good idea to save an email in your drafts folder and read it again later (maybe after you’ve calmed down a bit or even the following day).

3) Request a call or a meeting – Before engaging in a long, emotional email exchange, it can often be best to simply pick up the phone or send a note to request a specific time to talk about the situation live. Face to face is always best if you can make it happen, but if that poses a big challenge (i.e. you’re busy and it might take a while to set up) or is not possible (i.e. you don’t live close enough to the person to see them easily), talking on the phone is another option. A great email response can simply be, “Thanks for your note, this seems like something that would better to discuss live than by email, let’s set up a time to talk later today or this week.”

4) Speak your truth, without judgment or blame – When you do engage in the live conversation (in person or on the phone), focus on being REAL, not RIGHT. This means that you speak your truth by using “I statements,” (I think, I feel, I notice, I want, etc.). As soon as we move into blame or judgment, we cut off the possibility of any true resolution. Own your judgments and notice if you start to blame the other person(s) involved. If so, acknowledge it, apologize for it, and get back to speaking your truth in a real way, not accusing them of stuff.

5) Get support from others - When we’re dealing with emotionally charged conflicts, it’s often a good idea to reach out for support from other people we trust and respect. If at all possible, try to get feedback from people who will be honest with you, won’t just tell you what you want to hear and agree with you no matter what, and who aren’t too emotionally connected to the situation themselves. Whether it is to bounce ideas off of, get specific coaching or feedback, or simply to help you process through your own fear, anger, or tendency to over-react (which many of us do in situations like this), getting support from those around us in the process is essential. We don’t have to do it alone and we’re not the only ones who struggle with things like this.

Living life, doing our work, and interacting with the other human beings around us can be wonderfully exciting and incredibly challenging (or anywhere in between). Conflicts are a natural and beautiful part of life and relationships. We can learn so much about ourselves and others through engaging in productive conflict and important conversations.

The ultimate goal isn’t to live a conflict-free life; it’s to be able to engage in conflict in a way that is productive, healthy, kind, and effective. When we remember that live conversations, even if they can be scary at first, are always the best way to go, we can save ourselves from needless worry, stress and suffering – and in the process resolve our conflicts much more quickly, easily, and successfully.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on May 17th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

20 apr

You Have More Than This Requires

MikeRobbins96I had a powerful conversation recently with my good friend Theo. I was telling him about some of the intense challenges I’ve been facing and my underlying fear that I simply can’t handle all that is going on (and what I fear may unfold in the coming days, weeks, and months). Theo listened to me with empathy and compassion, and then said something simple, but profound. He said, “Mike, it’s important to remember that you have more than all of this requires.”

As I took a step back and allowed what he said to resonate with me, I was touched by a few specific things. First of all, I appreciated his acknowledgment and reminder. Second of all, it allowed me to take inventory of some of the adversity I’ve overcome in my life, and, in doing so, it reminded me that I am quite resilient. And, finally, over the next few hours and days after Theo and I had this conversation, I got to thinking more and more about the power of the human spirit.

In just about every situation and circumstance in life, we really do have more than is required to not only “deal” with what’s happening, but to thrive in the face of it. As the saying goes, “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.” And while I don’t believe that we have to necessarily suffer and struggle in order to grow and evolve in life, one of the best things we can do when dealing with adversity or challenge is to look for the gifts and find the gold in the situation as much as possible.

Think about how this plays out in your own life and how it has played out in your past. Often we have things happen that initially we don’t think we can handle – sometimes these are things we consider “bad” and sometimes they’re things we consider to be “good.” Feeling overwhelmed is feeling overwhelmed, regardless of what it is we’re feeling overwhelmed about.

However, as we look back over the course of our lives, we can probably find many, many examples of times we were able to overcome challenges, deal with fear, rise above limiting beliefs, and deal with things we didn’t initially think we were capable of. Another great saying that I love is, “circumstances don’t define you, they reveal you.” Ain’t that the truth?

Here are a few things to think about and do so that you can remind yourself, especially when things get particularly difficult or scary in your life, that you do, in fact, have more than the circumstances or situations of your life require.

1) Remind yourself of all you’ve done, experienced, and overcome. Take some inventory of your life from the perspective of resilience. Think about all the times you’ve dealt with change, loss, newness, fear, pain, disappointment, failure, etc. – and been able to work through it. You’ve also probably had many experiences in life where wonderful things and exciting opportunities showed up for you and you were able to step up and take your experience of life to a whole new level. Even though we’re all unique, our stories are different, and we have varying personalities and life experiences, most of us have done, experienced, and overcome a lot in our lives up to this point, and by remembering this and acknowledging ourselves for it, we can create an even deeper and more authentic sense of self confidence.

2) Remember that you have a great deal of support and you can reach out for it. One of the things that can get in our way when life gets intense, is that we sometimes think we’re all alone. No one understands me. No one really cares about me. No one has time to support me. Regardless of our circumstances, relationship status, or family situation, just about everyone of us has some important and powerful people around us who we can lean on and who would be happy to help us – if we’re willing to ask for and, more importantly, receive their help. This one can be tricky for many of us, myself included, but when we remember that other people love being of service and our request for help is not a sign of weakness, but a clear indication of self care as well as a beautiful opportunity for people to serve, it can empower us to reach out and tap into the incredible amount of resource we have around us.

3) Focus on what you appreciate about yourself and your authentic power. Self appreciation and self love, as I write and speak about often, are the cornerstones of self confidence and authentic power. Having a fundamental belief in our own goodness, power, and beauty are essential to us living an empowered and inspired life. While it’s not always easy to do and can sometimes seem downright counter-intuitive, selfish, and arrogant, self appreciation is truly the “key to the kingdom” when it comes to personal empowerment and resiliency. Remembering that we are good enough just as we are and have all that we need within us and around us to deal with the stress, challenge, and uncertainty that is somewhat inherent to being human in today’s world, is essential to our well-being and overall fulfillment in life.

Regardless of what you’re dealing with in your life right now – however hard, easy, challenging, or wonderful things are – you truly have more than is required by any of the circumstances and situations of your life. And, the more we remember this and live from this perspective, the more freedom, power, and peace of mind we’ll experience.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on April 20th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

18 mar

Live Like You’re Going to Die (Because You Are)

MikeRobbinsNewYou’re going to die. I’m going to die. Everyone around us is going to die.

The reality of death is, of course, both obvious and daunting for most of us. With the recent tragic events in Japan and some very serious health news I received from someone close to me, I’ve been thinking about life and death a lot this past week. I was on a run a few days ago and thought to myself, “I wonder what it’s like to know you’re going to die?” Then I thought, “Wait a minute, we’re all going to die – we just don’t act like it.”

As simple as this thought was, it was profound for me. I don’t live my life all that consciously aware of my own death. My own fears about death (mine and others) often force me to avoid thinking about it all together. I do catch myself worrying about dying; sometimes more often than I’d like to admit, especially with our girls being as young as they are – Samantha’s five and Rosie’s two and a half.

I also don’t talk about death that much because it seems like such a morbid topic, a real “downer.” I worry that it’s too intense to address or that if I focus on death I will somehow attract it to me or those around me superstitiously.

And, as a culture we don’t really like to talk about death or deal with it in a meaningful way since it can be quite scary and is the exact opposite of so much of what we obsess about (youth, productivity, vitality, results, beauty, improvement, the future, etc.).

But what if we embraced death, talked about it more, and shared our own vulnerable thoughts, feelings, and questions about it? While for some of us this may seem uncomfortable, undesirable, or even a little weird – think how liberating it would be and is when we’re willing to face the reality of death directly.

Steve Jobs gave a powerful commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 entitled “How to live before you die.” In that speech, he said, “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Contemplating death in a conscious way doesn’t have to freak us out. Knowing that our human experience is limited and that at some mysterious point in the future our physical body will die, is both sobering and liberating.

The reason I’ve always appreciated memorials services (even when I’ve been in deep pain and grief over the death of someone close to me) is because there is a powerful consciousness which often surrounds death. When someone passes away we often feel a certain amount of permission to get real in a vulnerable way and to focus on what’s most important (not the ego-based fear, comparison, and self criticism that often runs our life).

What if we tapped into this empowering awareness all the time – not just because someone close to dies or because we have our own near-death experience, but because we choose to affirm life and appreciate the blessing, gift, and opportunity that it is.

Here are some things we can think about, focus on, and do on a regular basis that will allow us to live like we’re going to die, in a positive way:

1) Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – As my dear friend and mentor Richard Carlson reminded millions of us through his bestselling series of books with this great title, life is not an emergency and most of the stuff we worry about, get upset about, and obsess about is not that big of a deal. If we lived as if we were dying, we probably wouldn’t let so many small things bother us.

2) Let Go of Grudges - One of my favorite sayings is, “holding a grudge is like drinking poison, and expecting the other person to die.” Everyone loses when we hold a grudge, especially us. If you knew you were going to die soon, would you really want to spend your precious time and energy holding onto anger and resentment towards those around youor people from your past (regardless of what they may have done)? Forgiveness is powerful – it’s not about condoning anything, it’s about liberation and freedom for us.

3) Focus on What Truly Matters – What truly matters to you? Love? Family? Relationships? Service? Creativity? Spirituality? Our authentic contemplation of death can help us answer this important question in a poignant way. If you found out you only had a limited time left to live, what would you stop doing right now? What would you want to focus on instead? And while we all have certain responsibilities in life, asking ourselves what truly matters to us and challenging ourselves to focus on that, right now, is one of the most important things we can do.

4) Go For It – Fear of failure often stops us from going for what we truly want in life. From a certain perspective (the ego-based, physical, material world) death can be seen as the ultimate “failure” and is often related to that way in our culture, even though people don’t usually talk about it in these blunt terms. However, this perspective can actually liberate us. If we know we’re ultimately going to “fail” in life (in terms of living forever), what have we really got to lose by taking big risks? We all know how things are going to turn out in the end. As I heard in a workshop years ago, “Most of us are trying to survive life; we have to remember that no one ever has.”

5) Seize the Day – Carpe diem, the Latin phrase for “seize the day,” is all about being right here, right now. The more willing we are to surrender to the present moment, embrace it, and fully experience it – the more we can appreciate and enjoy life. As John Lennon famously said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Living like we’re going to die is about remembering to fully engage in the present moment, being grateful for the gift that it is, and doing our best not to dwell on the past or worry about the future. If today were your last day, how would you want to live?

Death can be difficult and scary scary for many of us to confront. There is a lot of fear, resistance, and “taboo” surrounding it in our culture and for us personally. However, when we remember that death is both natural and inevitable, we’re reminded that everyone’s life (whether it lasts for a few days or a hundred years) is short, precious, and miraculous. This awareness can fundamentally and positively alter the way we think, feel, and relate to ourselves, others, and life itself. Living as if we’re going to die (and remembering that it’s guaranteed) is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and those around us.

How can you start living your life for more conscious of your own death, in a positive and empowering way? What can you do right now to let go of what’s not important, focus on what truly matters, and seize the day? Share your thoughts, ideas, insights, actions, and more on my blog below.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on March 18th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

27 feb

The Power of Acceptance

MikeRobbinsNewFor much of my life I’ve struggled to accept certain things about myself, others, and life that I don’t like. Being someone who is committed to change and transformation, the idea of “acceptance” has often seemed weak, wimpy, or like an admission of failure or powerlessness to me – although I have pretended to understand, believe in, and even teach the power of acceptance for a long time.

The truth is, I’ve been scared to fully embrace acceptance – worrying that if I truly accept certain aspects of myself that I don’t like, things about others that bother me, or circumstances in my life or in the world that aren’t okay with me, then somehow I wouldn’t be motivated to change them in a positive way or, even worse, I would get resigned about them and they would always stay the way they are – which, of course, to me would be “bad” or “wrong.”

The famous quote by Carl Jung, which I have quoted in both of my books and find myself saying all the time comes to mind here, “What you resist, persists.” It seems that I (and so many people I know, work with, and talk to) am constantly “resisting” (more like fighting against) the way things are. Whether it’s with our body, our work, our spouse, our family members, our friends, our co-workers, our finances, the state of the world and economy (especially these days), or many other things – we’re often arguing with reality instead of accepting it the way that it is.

Even though it can be scary and counter intuitive at times, acceptance is the first step in transformation. It’s very difficult and quite stressful (as I know from experience) to try to change things from a place of non-acceptance.

Acceptance is not resignation, failure, or agreement; it’s simply telling the truth and allowing things to be as they are. When we accept ourselves, others, and life – we can create a real sense of peace and let go of much of our suffering. And, from this place of peace and truth, we’re more able to not only appreciate life, but also to manifest the kind of circumstances, relationships, and outcomes we truly want.

Action: What You Can Do

Make a list (in your mind, in your journal, or on a piece of paper) of some of the things in your life right now that are causing you the most stress, pain, or anxiety. These things may have to do with work, money, relationships, health, things happening in the world, your body, or anything else.

As you think about or write these things down, ask yourself if you’re willing to “accept” them as they are right now. You don’t have to like, agree with, or want them to be this way…but, if you can start to accept these things, people, and situations in a genuine way – your ability to be at peace with them (and your life) and to ultimately change them in a positive way will be enhanced significantly.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

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Posted by Mike Robbins on February 27th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

13 jan

New Year, Be You

MikeRobbinsNewWith the New Year still in its first few weeks, the annual “new year, new you” phenomenon is all around us – in the worlds of advertising, media, self-help and more. And while this time of year can be a great catalyst for positive change in our lives, what if we made a commitment to live our lives in 2011 focused on who we are, and not so much on what we do, what we accomplish, what we look like, what we’re striving for, and more? One of best things we can do in this New Year is to focus on who we really are, instead of who we think we’re supposed to be.

Who would we be without our accomplishments (or failures), our degrees (or lack thereof), our bank accounts, our experiences, our title, our home, our status, and more? As simple of a concept as this is for us to think about and discuss, at least on the surface, it’s actually quite difficult for many of us, myself included, to genuinely separate who we are from what we do (or have done or not done). These past two years have taught many of us, in some cases quite painfully, how quickly the external circumstances of our lives can change dramatically and things can be taken away.

The deeper question for us to ponder here is really one of the big philosophical questions of life, “What makes me a valuable person?” While this is something we have all thought about to some degree, most of us don’t really engage in this inquiry on a regular basis. And, when we do, we often think that if we just got more done, lost some weight, made more money, took a vacation, accomplished a goal, had more meaningful work, made it to retirement, or whatever, then we’d be “happier” or feel more “valuable.” Sadly, as we’ve all experienced, this is not usually the case and is also one of the main reasons why most of our New Year’s “resolutions” don’t really last.

What if, in addition to having important goals, we could also expand our capacity for appreciating ourselves and being who we really are this year – having nothing to do with our external circumstances? What if just being ourselves, the way we are right now, is good enough?

Being ourselves fully, takes courage, commitment, and faith. It’s a process of letting go of many false beliefs we’ve picked up from the collective consciousness – that we have to look good, be smart, know the right people, say the right things, have the proper experience, make a certain amount of money, and more, in order to be happy and successful in life. Being ourselves can be scary and counter intuitive, difficult and even off-putting, and, at times, lonely.

However, being our authentic self is liberating, exciting, and fulfilling. When we have the courage to just be who we are, without apology or pretence, so much of our suffering, stress, and worry in life simply goes away.

Here are a few things to consider and practice as you deepen your awareness of and capacity for being who you truly are in this New Year:

1) Tell the truth to yourself. Think about and own how much of your self-worth is based on what you do, how you look, who you know, what you’ve accomplished, etc. (i.e. the external stuff). The more we let go of being defined by the external, the more freedom, peace, and power we can experience. And, as we really get honest with ourselves, we may realize that outside of these external things, we don’t really know who we are. As scary as this may seem on the surface, it’s actually great news and can give us access to a deeper and more meaningful experience of who we are.

2) Appreciate who you really are. What do you appreciate about yourself that has nothing to do with anything external? In other words, what personal qualities (of being, not doing) do you value about yourself? The more we’re able to tap into what we appreciate about who we are (not what we do), the more capacity we have for real confidence, peace, and self love.

3) Practice just being you. As silly as it may sound, we all need to “practice” being ourselves. We have a great deal of experience being phony or being how we think we’re supposed to be. It actually takes conscious practice for us to be able to just show up and be who we are. We can practice alone, with people we know, and with total strangers. This is all about awareness – paying attention to how we feel, what we’re thinking, what we say, and how we show up. It’s not about getting it right or doing anything specific, it’s about letting go of our erroneous notions of how we think we’re supposed to be, and just allowing ourselves to be who and how we are in the moment.

Have fun with this, talk to others about it, and have a lot of compassion with yourself as you practice – this is big stuff for most of us. This year, instead of trying to be a “new” you, just be yourself and see what happens.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on January 13th, 2011 in New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

26 dec

The Fifth Secret of Change

happier_confidencePeople who successfully navigate change know that the quicker they accept change, the less pain and hardship there will be.

Resisting change is never the answer, and yet, we all do it. We resist the new boss. We resist the expense cuts. We resist the new strategy from the top or job responsibilities we didn’t really sign up for. We resist the fact that we lost money. We resist that we are getting older! But as one of my favorite quote (by Byron Katie) says, “when you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time!”

People who successfully navigate change know that the quicker they accept a situation, the less painful it will be.

The image I like to share is of being in a river. Change is about going in the direction of the river. What makes change hard is when something we don’t quite expect or see as a positive happens. We desperately cling to a rock—we don’t know how things are going to turn out so we prefer keeping things at least as they are. We don’t switch gears. We don’t focus on what to do now. Instead we beat ourselves up or, worse, we start rowing back upstream. We want the team back, the job back, the relationship back. Remember this. Everything that is right for you now is ahead of you, downstream. We often longingly look back to how things were. Let go of the way you think life should be or work should be or the company should be. The quicker you can get to a place where you can accept whatever has happened, the less tough it will be for you. Don’t resist the momentum even if it looks totally different than what you were planning.

Acceptance comes in two forms, accepting yourself and accepting whatever may be happening to you personally, professionally and financially. Accepting yourself means allowing yourself to be human, to get it less-than-right, to make a poor decision, to miss out on an opportunity or deal, to accept how you look, to accept your strengths and weaknesses. How much time do you waste beating up on yourself, kicking yourself, telling yourself negative stuff. Ask yourself, what part of yourself don’t you accept?

Then, ask yourself what you still need to accept in your life. Did you miss out on the stock rally? Have you put on weight? Were you were dumped or fired? When you resist, you give these situations more power. When you don’t accept something, it’s like trying to drive forward with your parking brake still on.

Finally, ask yourself who do you need to accept? Is it your spouse, boss, an annoying colleague, a parent? When the people around you feel accepted, that’s surprisingly when they then start to change. Perhaps you are having a challenge with many people right now in your life. So, focus on accepting them completely instead of hoping they will change and watch what happens.

Allow things to be as they are and you’ll see where change really happens.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on December 26th, 2009 in Ariane, Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in