What does it matter?

During the normal course of a day many of us experience interactions with all sorts of people, in all sorts of contexts. Family, friends, co-workers, customers, vendors, and simple random interactions are a normal part of many days. Think back of today, or perhaps yesterday and think of all the interactions you had during this time.

Perhaps you and your co-workers talked about COVID and how the impact has somebody missing work, perhaps several people. This shortage led to a customer not being serviced as expected and now the upset customer is taking it out on you or your co-worker. Did Jane have a crappy attitude and set you off on the wrong foot for no reason? Maybe John dropped the ball and you are found yourself venting at his lack of determination or focus. Maybe you are the one listening to the venting, a compassionate ear for a frustrated soul.

I was once talking to one of my direct reports, he managed a large group of employees and he was having a few issues as employees were arguing about this and that. As he was talking it suddenly occurred to me that about 80% of what we encounter on a daily basis is nearly meaningless. Worse, it’s actually counter-productive as it convolutes our day and adds drama and complication which quite frankly has no need to be in our day. I revert back to one thing I know and am reminded of here again.

Life is simple.

The world we are taught to live in is anything but simple. When we really clear away the clutter though, what really matters at the end of the day? If not the conversations and context we’ve had through the day, what is left?

Let’s go to the old dramatic axiom: what if on your way home from work you died unexpectedly, and suddenly found yourself facing your maker. Your maker says “Welcome! I hope you enjoyed your last day on earth. Now that you’re done with life on earth, what have you brought with you here?”

Now think back to the daily conversations which happen around you on a normal, everyday basis. How many of these instances make the cut for quality and actually benefit you as you move on to a new plane of experience? Most of us will not have many to bring to this table. It’s ok. relax and know it’s never too late to be a little better today than yesterday.

This doesn’t mean our lives are meaningless, far from it. Our lives are actually much more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. Much more powerful than many of us realize. Think back on your day, or a few days. When was the last time you made somebody smile? When was the last time you made a selfless gesture to a stranger, something as simple as holding the door open to allow the person behind you to walk through? Perhaps it was a simple smile and gesture of “hello” to a stranger you passed on the street.

These simple gestures can, and often do have profound impacts on those we encounter. And we’ll never know exactly how, and this is ok. We are quite literally all in “this” together. “This” being this life as we know it. We all have things going on in our lives nobody outside our inner circle knows about, often even the circle doesn’t know all of it. Have you ever had a day where you feel empty, useless, like you don’t matter and nothing you do is good enough? Then some random stranger gives you a smile, simply acknowledges that you’re alive and a person. This simple gesture can pull you out of the gutter and help change your thoughts and bring you back to center.

This is a dramatized example and I imagine though you can insert your own memory of a time when you were unexpectedly cheered up by a random act of kindness.

Now let’s think back to meeting your maker and the question posed. “What have you brought with you here?” Think about the positive impact you have had knowingly or otherwise on people. Suddenly, you’re not empty handed, are you?

None of us are perfect and there is no reason to be. Laugh, love, cry, get angry, feel sad… and compassionate and empathetic… and all the myriad of emotions we as humans have. We don’t have walk around with a fake perma-smile plastered on our faces. We also don’t have to take out our frustrations or anger at others. Processing emotions (not burying them) is very important and something we can do and still have a positive effect, even when we’re not in the best of moods.

One thing which I believe to be true and it’s my starting point with all of my interactions. People wake up in the morning wanting to do good things for themselves and their families. Is this true 100% of the time? Of course not. It is true far more often than not though.

Knowing the people around you share the same goal as you do: trying to make life better for yourself and your family. This common goal helps to see others in a slightly different light and we can all help each other get closer to this ideal. By helping each other do the same.

Play around with smiling at strangers, saying hi randomly and holding a door open here and there. Sure, you will get some strange looks and questioning faces and that’s awesome, you’ve just gave somebody hope for humanity!

In your business, think about how your products/services better people’s lives or improves their circumstances. This is your focal point and drives your energy to get your product/service out to more and more people, because you know it’s going to help them, add true value to their experience of life. As business owners and leaders, we can have a tremendous impact on our employees and families, as well as our customers and vendors.

This is what is meant when you hear the phrase: “Be the change you want to see in the world”. At the end of the day, it all matters.

Hold that thought.

I was reminded of a very powerful (yet easy to forget) concept recently, which reminded me about the efficiency of the universe we live in. In all aspects of life I’ve found common “rules” or “laws” if you will, and over the years I’ve learned many of these concepts I’ve experienced are quite literally universal laws which govern the world we experience.

All are powerful. All are also very simple in nature. Our daily lives are often cluttered and overcomplicated. Think about how many advertisements you see and hear on a daily basis, whether or not you watch TV, listen to the radio or visit a local store. Advertisements to get us to take this medicine, (it’s crazy how a pharmaceutical company would even need to advertise… this is for another day!) prompts of services for cell phones, internet, how many car ads can we get into the mix, or even the lawyers and realtors faces posted at the bus stop. Every day we are being suggestively told we NEED something we don’t have. Western culture has created a “keep up with the Joneses'” mindset throughout the majority of our culture. Pull up any social media platform these days and it’s all about who’s got the most followers, people now being the commodity over a product for the first time.

This type of overt direct messaging, along with the subliminal messaging underlying the advertising industry of “you need X to be happy” can take a deeper root within us if we pay too close attention. Even if the immediate products and services aren’t interesting to us, we are still hearing “we need X” subconsciously. Being inundated with a certain message or messages creates a thought pattern which can manifest itself directly, or very often indirectly.

Going back to the beginning, here is the reminder I came across which resonated with me once again, as it always does with me.

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

Watch your words, for they become actions.

Watch your actions, for they become habit.

Watch your habits, for they become your character.

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

For most of us, the above isn’t actually new information, yet it’s very easy to forget how quickly a thought can grow to become so much more. Seeing an advertisement isn’t a big deal. However when you are exposed to the same message repeatedly it can very easily establish a foothold in our subconscious mind, from which it can grow rapidly if left un-checked

Luckily, the solution is just as simple as the construct above. For only $99 down I’ll give you everything you need to figure it out! If you pay me, then you’ll be able to find happiness!

Just kidding.

Except about the simple solution part, that part is very true. One way I like to “check” myself is to ask myself why I do or think something. Understanding our why in life is another topic altogether, and the larger concept of this smaller, bite size version. We can break down segments and ask very specific why questions, and the cumulative responses gives us a better idea of what is going on in our subconscious.

Why do I get up and go to work everyday? To pay the bills or because I actually love what I do?

Why do I celebrate an occasion with food and/or beverage which is not beneficial for my bodies long term health?

Why did I get so upset when that dude cut me off on the highway? Did I really need to give him the finger?

Why is my wife always right?

What is it that I love so much about breathing fresh air in the morning, or seeing the sun rise?

These are just a few examples of questions, some deeper and much harder to answer. Noticing our behavior during certain instances and questioning the root of our emotions, thoughts and feelings is a great way to begin to understand what is happening below the surface. There are no right or wrong answers, and enjoying this life and some of the “vices” may be a part of the journey you enjoy. If you like having a drink (or ice-cream, or pick your poison) after work, you don’t have to beat yourself up for it. Asking the question doesn’t mean there will be a negative response.

One thing is clear to me through my experience. Thoughts are indeed things. More aptly put, feelings become reality. Our subconscious mind doesn’t deal in words or phrases, it deals in energy, in feeling. As you notice your actions and question the root, pay close attention to how you feel about the instance more than what words come to describe it. Do you feel good about what just happened, or not so much? The feeling is the true barometer of what we are experiencing.

On the previous blog I spoke about consistency, practice over perfection. Our thoughts during any given day are very much in this category of practice and consistency. If we are more often thinking and feeling things of a higher vibration (joy, love, inner peace), our external life will reflect this. If we are always in the lower energy thoughts (anger, jealously, self pity…) our life will just as accurately reflect this too.

The good news is we get to choose, and we become what we practice.

Life is simple. (That’s not to say it’s easy)

No matter how difficult or complex it may become, it can always be simplified down to reveal what’s underlaying what we’re experiencing.

What is prayer

We are familiar with the word “prayer”, we’ve heard it thousands of times in our lives whether we are religious, spiritual, agnostic or anything in between. We have heard people around us say they will pray for this, or pray for that, for the well-being of a loved one or for the outcome of a job interview or winning lottery ticket.

Definition of prayer

 1a(1): an address (such as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought said a prayer for the success of the voyage

(2): a set order of words used in praying

b: an earnest request or wish

2: the act or practice of praying to God or a god-kneeling in prayer

3: a religious service consisting chiefly of prayers â€”often used in plural

4: something prayed for

5: a slight chance haven’t got a prayer

According to the above Merriam-Webster definition above it gives us a good idea what a prayer is. Or does it? What has lead us to believe our words have anything to do with the prayer we actually petition for? How does God, Source, The Divine, Energy, know what words to listen to, which prayers to say “yes” to, and which ones to say “no” to?

How does this universal wisdom listen to our words and know how to respond, when in many cases we don’t even know what we really want?

Often people as for money, lots and lots of money! “If only I had more money than everything would be just fine!” Ever heard, or said a version of this? I’m willing to bet we all have and on more than a few occasions. Money though isn’t the desire, security is and the money is simply the tool we perceive which will provide us the security we seek. These prayers go “unanswered” because we are asking for something verbally, that we really don’t care about as long as our other needs are met.

Imagine for a minute your bank account has one million dollars in it. Imagine what you would do, would you fly off to some remote island and retire? Would you buy a bigger house, pay off debts you owe, perhaps some medical bills? Would you buy a nice new car or send your kids to the best colleges? Imagine for a moment this scenario, close your eyes and imagine one million dollars in your account. What would you do? Take a few moments to visualize this.

Welcome back! Now think about what you visualized and I invite you to bring it back into focus again, this time focus on your heart and how this visualization makes you feel. Keep this feeling at the forefront of your being and experience the feeling of this visualization. If you don’t feel much, that’s ok too, this is different for everyone and perhaps trying this again later may or may not yield different results.

The words used in our “traditional” prayers are not heeded by Divinity. We ask for things often based upon immediate desire or need. Our words are riddled by thoughts of logic, fear, what we perceive in our worlds at that moment. Even when we are meditative in our prayers our conscious thoughts are rife with what we think we know. The Divine shoots right past our conscious thought and dives straight into the energy we are moving.

This energy is like a truth serum to the universe around us. There is no on/off switch we can use to turn off our energy when we are feeling fear, anxious, sad, depressed. The universe, the Divine gives us more of what we transmute in our energy base. What does this mean?

I go back to the original question; What is prayer? Prayer is the feeling we have within us when we converse with The Divine. Prayer is something we can (and often do) be in, a continuous action instead of a short burst of a request. Prayer is the feeling we give to the universe, and the universe responds in kind.

Our words can be used as a tool to create this feeling, as can music, laughter, lighting candles and myriad other actions we may consider as “prayer”. These things though are not the prayer itself, but the tools we can utilize to create the feeling, which is ultimately the prayer.

There are no right or wrong ways to pray and if you have certain rituals or practices which create strong feelings within you I’d love to hear about them as I’m always curious as to how people individually perform this sacred ritual or prayer. I often pray, that is to say I create a feeling of love and open-ness in my heart which feels as if my heart is “on”. I no longer associate requests or words to my prayers as I let my energy speak and what the universe delivers will be exactly what it should be.

I invite you to keep this concept in mind the next time you pray, or choose to speak with you Divinity. Practice with it, play around with it, and have fun while you explore. Indeed, it’s why we’re here in the first place!