You Are What You Ingest

Is it just me or mere coincidence?   Miley who!?!?

Ok. I won’t go so far as to say I have no idea who she is, but I can safely say I have not listened to any of her music nor have I seen her on television other than one episode of a popular TV show not too long ago.    I can also say that I have not watched the station she was on that created all the rage since they stopped playing videos.

Because I really do not know her (although in all reality does anyone?)  I won’t offer an opinion about what everyone is talking about but rather offer my own general observations.   The first is that there seems to be a lot of words being thrown around like “shocking”, “disgusting” and “poor dad.”

In terms of shocking, I am completely obvious to it all and even I have seen a gradual transformation. It is not like this happened over night with this particular entertainer.  I am also not quite sure what is so shocking about the entire event considering the station it was on and the platform it was taken place.  I mean is it not the station’s number one goal is eyeballs.  The more people that watch the better.  I’d say mission accomplished.

In terms of disgusting, I completely understand the phenomenon that is much like not being able to look away from an accident. I get it but equally understand there are two universal buttons on any remote. They are the “Off” button and the button to change the channel.  If something is not appealing to the eye there are alternatives including simply looking away.

As far as poor dad, I completely understand this ideology but at the same time I revert back to my comment about being shocking. This is not something that has happened over night with this particular entertainer.   It has been a very gradual transformation and one I am sure not only his father is quite aware of but many others around her as well.

I must confess though that not only have I not heard any of this entertainers songs, but I can say the same for most pop songs.  The same is true for most of the popular television shows.   I also do not watch the news.  Some may say that I am not connected, and it is true because I would make a terrible contestant on a game show but being on a game show is truly not my destiny cause or calling.

I used to watch a lot of what is considered popular, listened to a lot of the popular music and kept up to date by watching the news.   That was until a couple of years ago when I made the conscious decision to stop.  Ironically, about the same time I also stopped attracting negative people.

That is not to say that someone is negative by partaking in any of those forms of entertainment. I applaud those that enjoy them.  What makes the world so beautiful is the diversity in us all.  It is not that we are alike but that we are different that makes each of us so special.

There is an adage that you are what you eat. I would like to alter that a bit and say you are what you ingest.  We are much more than the food we eat.  We are a product of the thoughts we carry with us inside our heads, we are a product of our environment, and so much more.  We are though what we ingest whether it be physically, mentally, emotionally, or even spiritually.

I personally find what is popular in pop culture to be very negative.  So, I choose not to participate.   It works for me.   I wake up every day completely in love with being alive.  I experience the most amazing days meeting the most amazing people. And in my own way, I have fun living life.

It is up to all of us to find within ourselves what is our passion and what brings us alive.  There is a difference between simply living and being alive.  It ours to choose, each and every day, what it is we want from our today.

 

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What did I do today?

“Good morning?”  She asked over the phone in a rather pleasant tone to her voice.  “How may I help you?”  She continued as her standard opening line from her customer service desk.

“I am excellent. Thank you.”  I responded with a smile on my face.

She noticed it too.  “That is quite a bright and cheery response for this early in the morning,” she stated.

I went on to share with her that there is no reason to be anything but grateful.  It is a beautiful day, and my expectation is that I’m going to make it that way.  Plus, just because I may have a customer service issue with her company does not mean that I have a personal issue with her.

It seems that took her back a little bit as she explained, “That was rather refreshing”.   Then, she told me that most of the time her job entails listening to people complain all the time although she does enjoy her job. She likes listening to people, solving problems and does not mind listening to people yell and scream.

That really is a skill set, and I told her such.   We need people to be able to do what she does. Customer service is a very thankless job with a very high burn out rate.  It is one that requires a special kind of person who can listen, not get emotionally attached to the situation and keep smiling regardless of the circumstances.

“I know what you mean.”  She acknowledged, and added her own thoughts. “We had someone come in and talk to us about staying motivated.”   He taught them to not become emotionally attached to the situation as well as keeping everything into perspective.  It is only an “inconvenience” he taught them.  It is not “life or death”.

There is a big difference, too.   If I am calling, because my cable television is not working properly (which, in fact, was the reason for my call) it is truly a mere inconvenience. I am not going to die without my cable TV.   I want it to be working properly, but it is nothing that I cannot live without.

I shared her with her the story that I often share about a man who goes to work via the toll road early in the morning every day.    One particular morning he saw this woman in the toll booth. She looked like she was crazy with her arms flailing around, and it looked almost as if she was dancing.  Dancing?  Inside that small toll booth?  So, the next day he went through the toll booth and noticed the same thing.  Then, the next. And, the next.  Finally, after seeing this woman enough times, he got up a little earlier than normal so there would be less traffic on the road.   He let the flow of traffic that go ahead of him so there was no one behind him when he stopped at this particular woman’s toll booth.

“I have got to ask you,”  He asked, quite emphatically,   “What are you doing every morning?”

She looked around and pointed to the adjacent toll booths and explained that she was visualizing each one of them as other people.  They were all at a party, and she was dancing.   This was her party, and she looked at him when she said, “if you don’t like it, you’re not invited.”

It mattered not that she had to work early in the morning every day.  She saw this as an opportunity to make the most out of her job.  She was going to be happy in a situation where most would find excruciatingly boring.  This woman though made the best of her situation.   If she is there working for 8 hours a day, why not have fun doing it?

I also shared that making the most out of any situation is a matter of perception. There are those I have personally met who have endured the most, more than anyone could even imagine, and so often they are the ones who complain the least. In fact, some are the most grateful and appreciative for life’s myriad of complexities.

“Wow, that’s right?”  She interjected.  “There are those I know too that have gone through so much and yet complain so little while others literally find things to complain about.”

We got back to her specific job, and I expressed my feeling that if I did have something that was bothering me it is not her doing.  She does not need to suffer simply because I am suffering.  She has a job to do just like the rest of us.  And If I respect her, then more than likely she will respect me too.

She went on to ask me if I am one of those “people who go and talk positive stuff to others and you know talk to people.”  Then, the title escaped her at that moment.

“Do you mean an inspirational speaker?”  I inquired.

“That is it.”  I laughed and told her I do speak.  I also thanked her for thinking so highly of me.

She nicely said, “We need more positive people.  That is something we all need. Here at my job there are so many who get so frustrated.  It is good to have those reminders.”

In between our dialogue, she did resolve my issue.  More importantly, we made a connection.  She went away feeling better about herself, and so did I.

This evening, far removed from the conversation I had to start the day, I began evaluating my level of personal progress wondering if I got very much accomplished. That is when I began to reflect.   That is how I got from there to here.

Now that I am here my perception has changed.  What I accomplished today is reflective upon her last comment before we hung up the phone when she stated to me, “You are the kindest person I have talked to today.  Thank you for that.”

We may not realize the impact we have on someone else’s day.  We may not notice when someone is watching.    We can make a difference.  Often times without even knowing.

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30-30 Update

With only about a week left in my initiative to offer services to 30 people in 30 days, I wanted to not only provide an update but also add some detail as well.

How did I manifest this idea in the first place?  Professionally, being in transition I have been spending time focusing on extreme self-care.   Along with that, I have been focusing on creating opportunities for myself.  How have I been doing this?

Starting each morning,  most of the time the first thing I think about is how grateful and excited I am to start the day.   If I wake up earlier than expected, I am even more excited because that means I can get a jump on everything I want to accomplish.   But, this attitude did not begin overnight.

It takes a lot of work, but of all the investments ever made investing in oneself is certainly one of the best investments any of us can make.  I have, for example, hired a business (life) coach and have been working with her for over ten years now.  Sometimes people will ask me, “Why do you have a coach?”

My reply is always the same.  “Why wouldn’t I have a coach?”  I explain.

For me, self-introspection has been something that has always been intriguing to me. The first memorable moment occurred while a junior in high school.  One of the senior’s approached me in the hallway and asked quite firmly, “Why are you always smiling?”  to which I simply smiled, shrugged my shoulders and walked away.

It never really occurred to me that I smiled all the time.  It did though become the catalyst for a little quasi research on my part when I simply would ask random people what made them happy. The results were rather intriguing.  A majority of the answers revolved around some type of external stimuli whether it be a boyfriend, girlfriend, job, or something of that nature.

For myself it was, and is, important to find those answers within.  As I said, I hired a coach. I also meditate, and concentrate daily on improving myself and therefore my situation. Circumstances may change, but it is how I respond to those circumstances that is important.

Curiously, the more I work on myself the less influenced I am by outside circumstances.  This is again in part attributed to my work with my coach.  I also have my own exercises that I have made up for myself.

One is almost a walking meditation that works nicely while walking my dog.  As I am walking I think of a person and mentally see them as healthy and happy. Then, I visualize saying “I love you” to them.   It does not matter who it is, I go through this same process allowing different names just to come to me. I don’t judge the names but let them flow one after the other.

Along with this, I consciously focus my attention on being grateful while also being aware of any negative thoughts that cross my mind.   The two work in tandem.  As a Buddhist monk once told me, “the reason why meditating is so important is because through meditation you are able to control your thoughts but without meditation your thoughts control you.”

So, now that I have provided a little background into what my days look like I will provide an update on my 30-30 initiative.  More than anything else, I have to say it has really been a great experience.  My focus has been enjoying being of service to others.    In doing so, there has been some really amazing experiences.

One of those was a photo shoot for a non-profit event.  There were a large number of people, most of them kids and it is amazing how everyone was really enjoying being a part the festivities.   Donated school supplies, including shoes, were given to children.  Both the volunteers and the kids were having such a great time.  They did a great job of offering a lot of different activities, including free haircuts for the kids.

If it were not for the 30-30 initiative I most likely would have never been involved with this charity event.  The same can be said with the other wonderful people I have been able to work with whether it was photography gigs, helping someone with a writing assignment, practicing hypnosis, reiki, and offering coaching advice.

Even after my 30-30 initiative has been completed, I will continue practicing extreme self-care.  I have come to this place where I believe that my thoughts create my realty.   They say that perception is reality, and for me perception is based upon how I see the universe.  And, I do have to say that this is an amazing universe with unlimited opportunities.

There is no better time to take advantage of those opportunities than right now.

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MMG: Mastermind Meditation Group

Have you heard of the power of group meditation and/or prayer?   Have you ever been a part of a Mastermind Group?  How about combine the two?

That is my thought exactly.   Think of it as a street light at night.  One street light is equivalent to one person meditating on their own.   But, group meditation is equivalent to entire streets full of lights lighting up the city.  Couple that with the ideology of the Mastermind Group whereby like minded individuals come together for a common goal of helping each other achieve optimal success and you have the formation of the Mastermind Meditation Group.

With a traditional Mastermind Group typically six highly successful people come together with an idea or project that they are currently working on with the ideology being that six minds are better than one.  It is highly confidential with each person trusting the other knowing that all members benefit from group collaboration.   By merging the concept of the Mastermind Group concept with meditation, instead of each person offering their brain power to the group all of them meditate together visualizing the successful completion of each person’s goal.

If you would like to be included in this group of happy, healthy and wealthy collaborators achieving personal growth and making a global impact on the world, please contact me directly.Image

How do you know if you’re a right fit?  Do you feel that you may not be happy, healthy or wealthy enough?  Not to worry.  If you already believe that you are deserving of being happy, healthy and wealthy, then feel to join us.  If you can see yourself already there, no matter where you are at currently physically emotionally or economically, then feel free to join us.

Kindness? No. Not here!

“You are welcome to go ahead of me.”  I exclaimed as she walked up behind me holding one item while I was standing in line waiting to check-out at the quaint little grocery store that always draws a large crowd no matter the day.

She looked up at me with almost a look of shock in her eye that I could say such a thing.   “Wow, thank you so much.”  She said with a big smile.  “That is so kind of you.”

Once in front of me, this woman in the flowery red shirt with silvery gray hair (at the roots) hiding under the short cropped blonde curls explained how versatile the vegetable was that she held in her hand.  With just a little olive oil, garlic and a bit of spices the green little leafy piece of vitamins could be tossed over pasta or served a myriad of other ways even for someone like her who was not a cook.

Not only was she not a chef, having grown up in Buffalo it was much different than in South Florida.  She explained.  There was simply too many rude people for her liking in Florida, although my “kind gesture” was memorable for her.  “It simply doesn’t happen, kindness that is, anymore”.

I smiled entertaining her on the idea that “I meet and see such amazing beautiful people in South Florida all the time. They are everywhere.”  I proclaimed.

She replied.  “No, they are not.  No one does what you just did”.  And, continued.
“That was just so nice. I cannot thank you enough.”

“It really was nothing although maybe this will be the catalyst for you to meet some really great people.”  Whimsically, I tried persuading her.

We were getting close to the front of the line with only one young woman ahead of us.  Wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt she was bobbing her head side to side to the beat of the music in her earbuds.    She had been looking down most of the time scrolling over her iphone until it was her turn in front of the cashier and in doing so turned off her music and laid the iphone down on the counter.   As she was about to pull her items from her cart she turned to see the woman in front of me with her one item and almost instinctively asked, “Would you like to go ahead of me?”

“No. No. We are in the middle of talking.”   She responded without even a moment of silence between her answer and what appeared to me was a very polite act of kindness on this young woman’s part.

My phone rang, and I apologized but took the call. It was the cable technician at my house. An issue with the cable?  Who would have thought?  When can I there?  “About ten minutes”.  I told him.

I hung up the phone as she looked up at me.  “The wifey?”  She quizzed.

Not quite.  I thought.

She reverted back to her previous commitment that kind people in Florida do not exist.  They are apparently extinct.  And like the dinosaurs, they have been so for years and years.

She continued on as she handed three dollars in cash to the cashier, took her change of three quarters and looked over her shoulder at me.  “Thank you so much for your kindness”.  She said.   “That really changed my day.”  Then continued.   “And, I just really appreciate you being so kind.”

I replied in kind (pardon the pun) telling her that maybe it was the start of something new for her.   “It may be the beginning of you meeting more and more nice people”.  I thought, thinking it would be a refreshing view of the world for her.

For me I seem to find them everywhere, these kind-hearted people who seem so elusive.  Not merely here either but where ever my travels take me.  Then again, my mantra when I wake up is that I am going to meet the most amazing people.  It is my intention always.  I see it as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you think you are going to meet great exciting wonderful people, you will.  And likewise if you think you are going to meet rude people, you will.

Standing in the check-out line I meet all kind(s).

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30-30: UPDATE

It is almost the halfway point of my 30 – 30 initiative, and I am happy to report that the project has been not only been a great success, but a great learning experience and really much much more.  To refresh your memory, I have embarked on an effort to offer my services (whatever they may be) to 30 people in 30 days.  

What I have found thus far is that I have not only been able to share my services with others in ways that I would have never imagined but also have received back in ways that I would not have imaged either.  For example, I not only was able to offer my photography services but in doing so was able to attend a magnificent non-profit event that was a great service to the community.   I have also had the opportunity to assist several people with writing assignments that assisted them professionally.  And, I was able to help a few others through hypnosis.    

Many of those who responded asked how much they owe me for a particular service? While I truly honor monetary payment there are also other means of exchange.   In this particular exercise, I simply wanted to help out others simply for the sake of helping without anything in return.   In doing so, I opened myself to amazing situations and such wonderful learning opportunities.

Someone not too long ago asked what I have been doing recently. I responded by saying that I have been so busy non-stop all day, every day.  He looked at me with a rather odd look in his eye and asked almost disbelieving, “How can you be so busy when you aren’t working?”

Work is not my life.  Life is my work.   While the 30-30 initiative does not consume my entire day, I find other ways to indulge.   Whether it is taking a new class, reading a new book, or simply learning something new I have always wanted to learn, I have been filling my days with every possible way to invest in myself.

The more involved I get in passionate activities, the more fulfilled I am.  The more fulfilled I am, the more I yearn for more passionate activities.  By passionate I mean anything that is of interest and is in line with my purpose.

While focused on my intention, I have been attracting like minded people.  Others have contacted me completely unaware of of my 30-30 initiative and have inquired about something quite similar.  I even have others who have gotten involved too like a neighbor that said the initiative sounds a lot like “Pay It Forward”.  He asks me routinely how it is progressing and offers to help me any chance he gets saying he is “paying it forward.”

Looking forward there is still time left, and who knows what tomorrow may bring or what someone may need.   Where ever the water may lead am sure that the stream will be tranquil and though there may be rocks they will not get in the way.  Rather, will simply flow with the current and be delighted by where it takes me.

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“He was pretty cool”

What are your expectations in terms of customer service?  Are there particular companies where the customer service is perceived to be so lacking that you have little or no expectations about getting good quality customer service?

I have to admit that there are companies that I find myself hesitant when needing to call their customer service representatives, because of past experiences of poor customer service.

My philosophy as a whole though is that people are people.  Companies are a product of not only goods and services but also the people behind those goods and services.  When it comes to customer service it is the individual representative who dictates where the experience is positive or negative.  Too often, the representatives are just as frustrated as the customers who are calling trying to resolve their issues.  This often leads to more frustration and frustration for both parties.  And, we have all experienced times when we have called customer service when it was certainly no party.

For me, this morning, I woke up as I normally do ready to start the day.  Wanting to get an early jump on things, I started if off with a healthy dose of fertilizer.  (No, the fertilizer is not a joke in relation to customer service, or the perceived lack thereof).  Instead, I started my day by providing a little nutrients for my lawn.

As I went outside into the backyard I noticed that there were two young gentleman working for a tree company cutting down the limbs on the large spacious tree in my neighbor’s yard behind me.  Both of them appeared to not notice me walking towards them.   What caught my eye was the tire tracks from their machine leading to my cable box in the ground.  Beside it was what was left of the TV cable.   My intuition was to ask aloud if anyone had noticed who cut my cable, but for whatever reason, I said nothing and went about my business of fertilizing the lawn.

The cable box is in the commons area shared by not only my next door neighbor and I but also where and independent companies mows.   When they installed the cable initially I told the representative that it was imperative for them to bring someone else out quickly to bury the cable, because it will easily be ran over by someone who is cutting the grass not knowing it is there.

In fact, I was going to call the cable company and ask them when they were scheduled to come out and bury the cable or if they had forgotten about it because it had been several weeks since the installation.  Obviously now that the cable was cut it was too late for that, but I needed to call customer service and report the situation.

When I dialed the phone, I realized by the voice recording that there was an outage in our area.   Then, when I spoke to a customer service representative he told me that someone had in fact “finally come by and had buried the cable.”   He said that my lack of service was due to the overall outage in the area and not the cable being cut.

Maybe I had not looked closely enough at the ground and possibly overlooked the buried cable so took him by his word and went about my day.   This evening though when I returned back home my TV was still not in service, so I walked outside to look at the cable once again.  When I did it became quite clear that the cable had not been buried.  There were no evidence of there being any digging in that area.  The cable itself was almost non-existent from the box to the house.  Instead, it appeared that someone had mistakenly (I’m sure) cut the cable and then realized it and panicked.   Then, they pulled the cable completely out of the outlet to the house and discarded the rest of the cable to hide the evidence.

Whether or not it was the two gentleman cutting trees or someone else is irrelevant.  It really makes no difference, and really they were probably more worried about it than I was.  In reality, whomever did it, if they would have simply came to me and explained that they had accidentally cut it I would have been completely fine with it.  That is why they call it an accident.

Back in the house, I again called the cable company’s customer service phone number.   Again, the recording stated that my area was still experiencing technical difficulties and our TV was not in service.  When I finally reached a representative, I found him to be a little  rough around the edges.   He was short with me, and I sensed that he was not in the best of moods.

I responded by saying nothing.  Rather I took a breath and waited a beat.  Then, I asked him, “How is your day today?”

“You really don’t want to know.”  He responded as he continued to type in my information.

My intention shifted from trying to resolve my menial issue with my television to changing the energy of this particular conversation.  I joked to him that it was Friday so it cannot all be bad, to which he responded that “it is only Friday for those who do not have to work tomorrow”.

“I tried”, I said smiling. Continuing to try and be gracious with the situation.

I also joked that if the worst thing that happened to me today was that I lost my TV for the evening, then I must be doing ok because it could most certainly be worse.

He not only agreed but went on to tell me that he was dealing with not one but two deaths in his family this week.   Both of which were in the state where I live, and “I can’t get there”.  He expressed almost total exasperation as he said it.

Most customers when they call are upset.   It’s all about them, so I wanted to change that in this scenario.  By asking him how his day was it opened up a whole new conversation, a whole new understanding of each other, and not to mention it opened up a whole new line of communication.

He shared that there were no notes from my call earlier in the day, and he did not know why someone would inform me that the cable was buried, because there was nothing in the history showing that to be the case.  Furthermore, my issue was not going to be as easily remedied as one would think because of the outage in the area.   That meant they cannot request someone come out and replace the cable because the outage takes precedent and overrides the system.  In lament terms, my cable television was going to be out of service for a few days.

The customer service representative continued to share that along with the deaths in his family but his girlfriend was at the hospital visiting her family member.    He also could not attend either the funerals, because he had to work.

By allowing him the opportunity to vent completely altered the entire dynamics to the point where he said if he was near my neighborhood he would come out and run the cable himself.  He also expressed his gratitude for me being both polite and patient.  It was something he took sincerely, because more often than not customers react in exactly the opposite way.

“You do not know how much I appreciate your being polite and patient with me when I was short with you.”  He said and continued.  “If there is someone like you I will do everything in my power and more to resolve your situation.”

He apologized for the fact that he could not do more in this situation, but he was going to have another representative monitor my account asking them to notify me when service was restored so the scheduling of the new cable could be expedited.

We finished the call, although I did not completely hang up the phone.  The last thing I heard out of his mouth was, “”He was pretty cool.”

The lessons in all of this for me are numerous including:

  •  We never know what is going on in someone else’s head.
  • Often times we do not have all the information.  When there are gaps we tend to assume as well as make judgments.
  • We do not know what someone else is going through, and likewise, no one or nothing is responsible for our level of happiness or sadness.
  • Just because someone else is having a bad day does not we have to have a bad day.
  • Lastly, this particular conversation reminded me of another conversation I had although this was with a Buddhist Monk.  He explained to me that “it doesn’t matter if you become Buddhist.  It does not matter what you practice as long as you practice kindness.  All that really matters is that you practice kindness.”