Rotating Header Image

September, 2009:

Change Happens

We must learn to define our own lives

by pursu­ing our joys and passions with people we love.

A tremendous amount of confusion happens when people look into their past ex­periences in order to initiate change in their lives today. They recognize destructive pat­terns and make the decision to further inves­tigate why they operate the way they do. The primary problem with this is that people become so stuck in their pasts, they wind up being obsessed with self-discovery. As a result of this obsession, their patterns don’t actually improve, but worsen.

I am not a believer in wallowing in our past. The past merely provides a frame of refer­ence. It gives an explanation as to how we form certain perceptions and opinions. The past alone cannot provide the appropriate motivation to change. Becoming obsessed with the past can create a situation in which a person actually reinforces the negative pat­tern. A person with this obsession can para­lyze his or her ability to take positive action. It is in action that we change. The negative behavior must change in order to let go of a pattern.

Action is in the now.

  • When you become aware of a repeating pattern of sabotage, become grateful! You are now empowered to change.
  • Becoming cognizant of relentless thoughts of self gives you the opportunity to value service to others. Breaking the pattern of self-centeredness is actually very simple: Help someone else!
  • In all likelihood, you are not the deplorable bane of the human race. You are probably a good person. Let go of the fatalistic inner-dialogue, someone looks up to you!
  • Change what you do. Today. Right now. The sooner you act, the sooner you find relief!

With Gratitude, Cynicism is Unnecessary

This is a very significant week for me. While on family vacation, I am celebrating the anniversary of entering drug and alcohol recovery twenty-three years ago. Although much time has passed, the gratitude I feel today is far more significant than in the past.

As I reflect on the importance of this occasion, I realize one of the biggest changes in my life is the reduction in my negativity and cynicism. There was a time that I believed cynicism and skepticism allowed me to stay protected. In reality, carrying theses attitudes into all aspects of my life made me lonely. I found it next to impossible to connect with people since I was constantly wondering how people would try to take advantage of me. Today I look for opportunities to form new relationships. The biggest reason: maintaining an attitude of gratitude.

I suggest for anyone who wants an attitude adjustment to spend a couple of minutes a day reflecting on gratitude. Just think of five to ten things. Perhaps keep a gratitude journal. Here are some examples of what I am grateful for:

  • I’m grateful I have a beautiful family today
  • I’m grateful to be surrounded by loving and supportive people
  • I’m grateful to have found a way of living that provides me with constant opportunities to grow as a person
  • I’m grateful my outlook on life has become more positive
  • I’m grateful to have found a connection with a Higher Power

This is an exercise I practice every day. It is a crucial part of maintaining the perspective I want. If you are able to create and maintain an attitude of gratitude, you will notice a tremendous difference in how you face each day.

Secrets Breed Sickness


Secret keeping always breeds sickness. No matter what lengths a person may go to in order to protect himself or someone else, if he is keeping secrets, he will create harm. Often people make the decision to keep secrets be­cause of a fear of embarrassment. No one wants his own reputation, or his family’s reputation, to be tarnished.

This fear is un­derstandable, because embarrassment can be painful. However, when we allow ourselves to operate from a foundation that en­courages pathological dishonesty, we shouldn’t be surprised when someone spends his or her life lying or cheating. I’m not saying it is always a parent’s fault when a child grows up and becomes a dishonest person, but when someone grows up in an environ­ment that allows dishonesty to flourish, he may have a difficult time breaking that pattern.

Family relationships are the most criti­cal aspect of anyone’s early psychological and emotional development. Patterns of behavior are established at a very early age. These pat­terns are rooted in the perceptions formed from our relationships with our fami­lies of origin. If we are unwilling to investigate these parts of our lives, we will severely limit our ability to break the patterns of dysfunc­tion with which we have become accus­tomed. This can have a life-long effect on our ability to form healthy relationships.

Everyone doesn’t come from a dysfunctional family. In fact, there are many people who choose to abuse the term in order to justify negative or antisocial behavior. For those of you who do come from dysfunctional family backgrounds, it is imperative you realize your own power to break the cycle of dysfunction and let it go forever. It all begins with a willingness to change.

· A dysfunctional family is one in which abuse, neglect, closed- mindedness, and absence of affection are characteristics which create the atmosphere at home.

· Relationships built on a foundation of honesty, understanding, and love will flourish.

· The cycle of dysfunction is broken when an individual recognizes he possesses the power to let go of his negative patterns.

Do you continue to excuse negative behavior today because of family situations from the past? Do you want to let go of the pattern of victimization? Start by making the decision to change now.

Be True to You

True growth can only happen when your roots are strong. It doesn’t matter what you learn or become aware of, if you are not in touch with your essence, the meaning of the new lesson will be lost.

Many people spend years aimlessly drifting, hoping to some day stumble upon the one great truth that will completely transform their life. They feel they have no purpose and find it an impossible task to connect with others. Still others look for the radical change that will set them in the direction of success and happiness and satisfy the urge to remake their existence. Finally, there are those who kneel at the altar of the status quo, condemning anyone who deviates from the norm as being a reckless saboteur. They constantly fight to “get back” to a state of mind which has been idealized and used as the standard of happiness.

These are all extreme examples. Understanding them is important because they illustrate some of what we use as criteria to make connections and form relationships. Growth is fluid and organic. Without movement, life atrophies and dies. At the same time, change for the sake of change simply creates a temporary sense of satisfaction, its long term effects as deceptive as drug-induced euphoria.

Keep things simple.

  • Answer, to yourself, the question of “Who am I?” No one else outside of you can tell you what your essence is. Friends and advisers can point out patterns, traits, and characteristics, but only you can make the final determination of who you are.
  • Take risks! It is dangerous and unhealthy to not seek new awareness and perspectives. This is only a problem when you are attempting to escape a challenge. Again, change for changes sake isn’t taking a risk, it is simply avoidance.
  • Have fun! Life is a joyful experience. The key here is experience. Go, do, and be. Find new adventures and share them with people you love.
  • Seek guidance from those you see growing. Make it a point to find and talk to people who have knowledge on something you wish to learn about. It’s always fun to meet new people and absorb.

The key in all of this is to be true to you. Rarely does someone need a radical makeover. Most often it is a readjustment that will do the trick. Have a strong network of relationships, strong roots, and allow growth to happen. Remain open to new ideas and stay curious. With this as your foundation, you will surely thrive!

Balance,Beliefs,and Relationships

Relationships can be very complicated, and these complications are increased when your life is out of balance.

Balance is achieved through being aware of your belief systems and noticing how they affect your physical, emotional and spiritual states. Belief systems include everything from perceptions of spirituality to the value of money. When you have a strong belief about something, you form your opinions, make decisions and form relationships based on these beliefs.

For example, if I believe in order to have success in life I must achieve a certain level of financial income, I will make it my mission to reach that financial goal. I will believe my happiness depends upon that goal. People who are severely religious base their entire lives on the dogma of their chosen religion. Anything that deviates from that belief system is unacceptable and is subsequently rejected.

Our external life is a reflection of our internal belief systems, and the same holds true for our relationships: they reflect our internal belief systems and these beliefs form our reality.

It is very important to know what you believe and why you believe it. Throughout my life, my belief systems have changed. For example, I grew up in a specific religion; however, as I got older, this particular religion stopped meeting my spiritual needs. It’s not because the religion is flawed or because everyone who participates in it is wrong; it simply stopped providing me with what I was seeking. Rather than blame this religion and do everything in my power to debunk it, I chose to look in a different direction to find spiritual fulfillment.
It doesn’t make sense to automatically try to destroy something because we don’t agree with its philosophy or because we have chosen to find something else. We try to fight it out of fear, and fear creates a very limited scope of the world. People who are negative about what they don’t believe never seem to find pleasure or joy in anything. Having a solid idea of what you believe and why you believe it, without the fight, will enable you to pursue ideas with joy to further your growth. Focusing on what you disagree with will only stop you from having an open mind and being able to relate to others.

Here are a few important points to keep in mind:

•    Your belief systems are reinforced by your actions. The combination of action and belief forms your reality.
•    Once you are aware of your limiting belief systems, you have the power to let them go!
•    Your relationships will become more intimate as you form a clearer definition of success and happiness.
•    Your personal mission statement is formed by your definitions of success and happiness.

Pay attention to what you believe and how you reinforce these beliefs. Your actions will provide you with the guidance you need to determine what is truly important to you. With this knowledge you are empowered to enhance all of your relationships.