Posts tagged with ‘AWARENESS’

20 may

Appreciate the Simple Things

mike_robbinsLast week my left ear got plugged up and it was difficult for me to hear out of it for about 48 hours. It was scary and challenging. Thankfully everything was okay, it’s all clear now, and I’m able to hear just fine out of both ears.

Having this happen was yet another example of how easy it is for me to take something simple, but very important (like hearing), for granted. Sadly, we often don’t appreciate the simple things in life until they’re threatened, impacted, or taken away from us in some way.

What if we did appreciate the simple things all the time, in an authentic way? What kind of an impact would that have on our lives, our work, and our relationships? Dramatic, to say the least!

The book A Thousand Things Went Right Today, by Ilan Shamir, is all about this phenomenon. Think about all the simple things that have fallen into place, just today, to allow you to be sitting here, reading these words right now.

With this in mind, there are two important things that you can do right now (and in an ongoing way) to alter the experience of your life, your work, and your relationships extraordinarily:

1) Be Easily Impressed – In order to be easily impressed (i.e. to truly appreciate the simple things in life) we have to look for good stuff, appreciate the small miracles that occur around us all the time, focus on the amazing aspects of people and situations, and let go of arrogant, erroneous notions like, “I already know that,” or, “I’ve seen it all,” or, “No big deal.”

When we’re difficult to impress we also make it hard to be happy, grateful, and fulfilled. When we allow ourselves to be easily impressed, life gets much more fun and interesting. Appreciation is fundamentally subjective. People and things are only valuable (or not) based upon our perception of them.

If you’re interested in living a life filled with passion, success, and gratitude, it’s in your best interest to allow yourself to be authentically amazed all the time. Life is a miracle. People are incredible. You are fantastic. And, these things are only true if we pay attention to them and allow ourselves to be impressed by the greatness of life, others, and ourselves.

2) Be Hard to Offend – Being hard to offend is not about us abandoning our values or convictions, it’s more about choosing to allow other people and things be exactly as they are, without resistance of judgment. (new paragraph here)

We take so many things personally that have nothing to do with us at all. The more we react to something, the less freedom and peace we have. When I get really “triggered” by someone or something, if I make it all about the other person or the thing I’m focusing on, I usually miss the real gift, the lesson, and the point (i.e. the shadow or mirror that this “negative” thing is showing me about myself and life).

We are not victims of the people or circumstances in our lives. Others don’t actually have the power to offend us. As Eleanor Roosevelt so brilliantly stated, “No one can make me feel inferior without my permission.” This same phenomenon is true about being offended. It’s a choice we make and we have the power to choose not to be offended in almost every situation.

Unfortunately, most of us (myself included) have these two things flipped upside. In other words, we’re often very difficult to impress and quite easy to offend. And, as you may have noticed, this doesn’t work so well for us and those around us. How we can start flipping this around – becoming more easily impressed and harder to offend – is by appreciating the simple things in life and doing so as a regular practice.

Action Idea – Appreciate the Simple Things Right Now:

Take a moment right now to pause and put your attention on all of the simple things you can appreciate in this moment. Look around where you are, go within yourself, and scan your life right now – focusing on what you appreciate. You can just think about these things, talk about them with someone else, or write them down (on a piece of paper, in your journal, in an electronic document, on my blog or your blog, and more). It doesn’t really matter what form it takes, this is about putting our conscious attention on some of the many simple things we can appreciate in this moment.

Some of these things while “simple,” may be quite significant (your health, your job, your most important relationships, etc.) And, even if you focus on very basic stuff (the fact that you have a computer or device that allows you to access this article, that your eyes work well enough to read it, that the electricity or battery power running your computer or device is allowing it to function, and more), your ability to recognize and appreciate the “good stuff” in life is directly related to your level of fulfillment and enjoyment.

We always have a choice as to what we pay attention to, what we focus on, and what we appreciate (or don’t). Make a commitment to yourself to appreciate the simple things in your life in a genuine and ongoing way, 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 –

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Posted by Mike Robbins on May 20th, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

20 may

Sacrifice: Choosing the Sacred Over the Profane

ScottSchwenkNot too long ago I tweeted, “When I know what I’m saying ‘Yes’ to, it’s easy to say no.”

Sacred. Profane. What do these words really mean? Is it about standing on some moral higher ground that assures belonging, safety, and the necessities of life? Paying homage to some being or group’s values out of fear of being on the wrong side of the law?

What if there’s a point of view that’s not peering out from the bowels of some dank cave of insufficiency and insecurity built by ego’s fear of future suffering rooted in the pain of the past?

What if there are no such absolutes as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’?

Sacrifice at its root is about recognizing something as sacred and acting in accord with that recognition. Sacred isn’t set in stone, and it certainly isn’t about feeble attempts at self-deprivation. Self-deprivation is just an insecure ego’s attempt to feel better about itself by being extreme.

What’s sacred for you may be completely different from what’s most aligned with my inner compass. They don’t have to agree to both be of immense value.

Recently I had occasion to be in a private meeting with a teacher who embodies a kind of unfettered freedom and liberation I’ve always sensed as possible, but had never met face-to-face. I was given fifteen minutes to use in any way I wished, with the intention of bringing this liberated perspective to pressing concerns or questions.

Knowing about the meeting nearly two months in advance gave me plenty of time to obsess about coming up with questions that would really matter, make some long-term impact on my walk through life.

It wasn’t until the final five minutes of the meeting that the most core concern I’ve lugged unknowingly through every corridor of my life surfaced.

“I have this irrational fear that I could do something which would irrevocably land me in eternal damnation, and it’s at the back of every place where I have fear and get controlling. It makes no sense to me logically that I even have it. No amount of logic seems to make any real difference in releasing it’s hold,” I said, both surprised and supremely grateful that it revealed itself.

It’s these kinds of not-yet-recognized fears that create factions, power struggles, wars, inner division, and separation from the very love we seek with each other, and ultimately within.

It’s likely that this core fear is a teacher for me. It will reveal itself in various forms and circumstances, giving me the opportunity to hone my clarity, self-awareness, confidence, and trust. Versions of it are likely to be faithful companions, becoming the weights I use in the gym of my life to build the muscles of discrimination, detachment, focus, and Awareness of Truth that transcend morals and survival.

So as I willingly grow through the days, weeks, and beyond with the help of this ancient form of resistance, knowing why I walk ahead, what I’m saying ‘Yes’ to, is fuel for the walk.

I’m saying yes to freedom from any form of suffering.

I’m saying yes to that same freedom for anyone in the circles of my life.

I’m saying yes to being unshakably rooted in the clear and embodied knowing of What I am.

When the mind starts to get agitated, looking to control some situation or person to assure my safety and survival, simply taking a long pause to breathe and recognize that I am safe, whole, and free (to refocus my attention on what I’m saying ‘Yes’ to) is enough to create some space in my experience. It’s enough to relax my body. It’s a choice to feel that peace is more valuable (sacred) than control.

Know what’s most valuable to you.

Know what can distract you from what you most value. This, for you, is the profane, and to be released.

Align your attention with what you most value and cherish.

Forgive yourself when you forget, and realign your attention with what you hold sacred.

Let the seeming wins and losses guide you into deeper core strength with the practice rather than being defining moments of your worth or lack thereof.

Let it be simple.

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 Scott Schwenk on May 20th, 2010 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , ,