Monday, July 29, 2013

Crosspost from Marc and Angel Hack Life - 8 Ways to Grow Happiness by Letting Go

Marc and Angel's blog is always upbeat and inspirational - I've included an excerpt in this blog.  Read it in its entirety on their blog, Marc and Angel Hack Life, who just released their audio book for ‘1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently’  Click here to check it out!

Thanks to Marc and Angel for writing such an uplifting and helpful blog! 

1.  Criticizing everyone and everything.

Life isn’t perfect.  People make mistakes.  Let go of unfair expectations.  Stop criticizing yourself and others for being human.  If you feel like everyone is judging you all the time, realize that human beings often feel this way when they are too busy judging themselves.

2.  Believing that you have all the answers.

Criticizing has a big brother: the know-it-all-syndrome.  The older you grow, the higher you rise in your chosen field, and the more you achieve, the more likely you are to think you know it all.  The measure of your intelligence and success in life will be in direct proportion to your ability to change your mind and let it expand.  If someone is able to show you that what you think or do is not right, thank them and happily adjust.  Seek the truth.  Never stop learning.

3.  Trying to control everything.

Craving control leads to anger and unhappiness.  Life is to be lived, not controlled.  Powerful, positive change will occur in your life when you decide to take control of yourself instead of craving control over everyone and everything else.  Realize you haven’t lost anything; you were never in control of the uncontrollable to begin with.  (Read The Power of Now.)

4.  Dwelling on what used to be.

When something negative happens, view this circumstance as a chance to learn something you didn’t know.  Don’t wish it never happened.  Don’t try to step back in time.  Take the lessons learned and step forward.  The past is valuable.  It provides a solid foundation for everything you’re doing now.  Learn from it – the mistakes and the successes – and then let it go.  Because only when we let go of what used to be, do we grow and begin to see a world we never knew was possible.

5.  Wanting everything you don’t have.

Life is NOT short if you spend every waking moment appreciating it.  It’s just that by the time most of us catch up to appreciating what we have, we’ve already squandered our time and left life at least halfway behind us. The key is being thankful for what you have NOW.

6.  Whining and doing nothing about it.

Complaining does not work as a strategy.  Those who complain the most, accomplish the least positive results.  When you spend time fretting and complaining, you’re simply using your imagination to create things you don’t want.
Don’t talk about what’s wrong.   If you took a fraction of the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving your problem, you’d likely be stunned by how well things can work out.  Start talking about how you’ll improve things, even if the conversation is only with yourself, and then focus on the next positive step.  Refocus your energy into making your situation better.  (Read The Power of Habit.)

7.  Fearing everything for any reason at all.

Sometimes we’re afraid we’ll fail.  Sometimes we’re subconsciously afraid we’ll succeed, because then we’d have to deal with all the disruption (growth) and change that follows success.  And other times it’s our fear of rejection or simply our fear of looking like a fool.  So it’s easier to hesitate, to wait for the perfect moment, to decide we need to think a bit longer or do some more research or explore a few more unnecessary alternatives.
Meanwhile days, weeks, months, and even years of our precious lives pass us by.  And so do our dreams.
The best way I’ve found to let go of fear is to stare it down.  Connect to your fear, feel it in your body, realize it and steadily address it.  Greet it by name if you have to: “Welcome, fear.”  And then take action!  Whatever you’ve been planning, whatever you’ve imagined, whatever you’ve dreamed of, don’t wait another minute.  Get started!  Take the first step.  Do something.  Do anything.  Learn as you go and watch as your fears slowly subside.

8.  Spending time with people who drain you.

It’s not always where you are in life, but who you have by your side that matters most.  Some people drain you and others provide soul food.  Don’t jeopardize your dignity and self-respect by trying to make someone accept, love and appreciate you when they have proven that they are incapable of doing so.
When you leave the wrong people behind, the right things start happening. 

And Marc and Angel's question for you:

What could you stop, subtract, or let go in life that would make you feel happier and more at ease?  Please leave a comment below.

photo by me, taken in Disney World, Epcot Center, Japan, 2012

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Crosspost from Joseph Nicholas DeFilippis - Structural Racism,Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

 My friend, colleague and former Social Justice professor, Joseph DeFilippis, posted this to his Facebook page.  Thanks in advance for reading and considering.  And, most importantly, please talk to your loved ones, friends and colleagues.  Start a dialogue, no matter how your feel.  Please indulge me and read on.
Posted by Joseph Nicholas DeFilippis (on facebook)
This is a message for all of my Facebook friends who are neither black nor activists. (I am thinking specifically of some of my theater friends, college friends, high school friends, and family) -

You are needed right now. This is the time to be an ally. Well, it is always that time, but this is a moment where your voices need to be heard in solidarity with this country’s ongoing war on black bodies.

The polls show that America does not care.
- America does not care about the Trayvon Martin verdict.
- Or the Marissa Alexander verdict.
- Or about Stop and Frisk policies.
- Or about our prisons filled with black people incarcerated for non-violent crimes (drug use).
- Or Paula Deen’s desire to organize a slavery party.
- Or the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act decision.
The majority of Americans are fine with all of these things.
Because they have maintained for years that racism no longer exists. And denying that racism still exists has been a big part of why racism is allowed to thrive.

Yet this summer is making obvious what many black people and many activists always already know – that racism (structural racism – embedded in our police system, prison system, education system, banking system, welfare system, and foster care system) is still a central part of the fabric of American life.

And you need to speak up about it.

The very public nature of these events this summer provides you with an opportunity for speaking up. You need to speak to your fellow non-black, non-activist Americans and provide a balance to the apathetic and/or racist rhetoric that has accompanied these recent events.

You cannot just say “this is a tragedy” and then assume that someone else is going to do something about it. You do not have to attend a rally (you should, and perhaps you will, but let’s assume for a moment that you won’t). But you have to speak up. A lot. You have to have uncomfortable conversations with people you love and with strangers. On Facebook. At work. At dinner parties. You have to express your disappoint and anger and sadness about these recent events to people who do not already agree with you. “Liking” my status updates is not enough. You need to speak up and be an ally.

You are needed.

end post