Tag Archives: Help

The Thought Before The Thought

When you wake up in the morning
what is that voice inside your head say?
Before you consciously start to think.

Is it?

Let’s Go!

Or is it?

Oh No!!!  

Not Again!?!?

Be kind to that thought before the thought.

Be aware that is the thinking, and be kind.
Rewind and say, it’s going to be ok.
I am strong, and I am brave.
I am now, and I am ready
to go.

When you look in the mirror at night

what is that voice inside your head say?

Before you consciously start to think.

Is it?


look at me! 
I am so amazing!

Or, is it?


can someone look at me??? 
I am nothing.

Be loving to that thought before the thought.

Be aware that is the thinking, and be loving.
Rewind and say, it’s going to be ok.
I am strong, and I am brave.
I am now, and I am

When you look in the during the day

what is that voice inside your head saying?

Before you consciously start to think.

Is it?

Why me?  

What did I ever do to deserve this 
god awful day, and life?

Or, is it?

Why not me?  

Thank you god 
for this most wonderful day,
and amazing life.

Be compassionate to that thought before the thought.

Be aware that is the thinking, and be compassionate.
Rewind and say, it’s going to be ok.
I am strong, and I am brave.
I am now, and I am responsible
for me.

Increase Your Productivity & Ease Feeling Overwhelmed: A Tip for Writers

There is a common theme that I hear from people.   I hear either 1) I am overwhelmed, or 2) I want to be more productive and do more.    Both can cause a lot of anxiety and stress as well as frustration.   There are though ways that you can alleviate that anxiety by changing the process.

For example, right now I am following my own advice by changing my own process.  As a writer, I found that the entire method was taking up a lot of time.   What were my procedures?  They were pretty standard.

First, I would sit down in front of the keyboard and start putting my thoughts down by typing it into a document.   What involved the most time was the actual typing but also thinking about what I was going to type.   As such, I wanted to find a way to increase my productivity while also alleviate my feeling of being overwhelmed and not having enough time in the day to write as much as I would like.

There was another frustration that I had, and I have a feeling I am not alone in this.  I may have an “ah ha” moment, with what I think is a brilliant idea, but I am not in front of a computer or a piece of paper to write out my thoughts.  What I do have around me almost exclusively is my cell phone.

I started to realize that the phone can be a very powerful tool to assist me with my writing.   It is exactly what I am doing right now, and I will explain to you the procedures that I am using.   All that is required is a smart phone and a voice.

The first step I take is to open up an email on my phone and then begin composing a message. I will be sending the email to myself, so I put my own email address in the “To:” line, and typically leave the subject line blank because I will know recognize the email upon receipt.   From there, I click on my voice recognition software.   I find that Google Now (Android app that is similar to Apple’s version of Siri) works really well.   Then, I simply start dictating my writing into the phone.  What would take an hour to type now takes me 5 minutes to dictate.

What I really enjoy about this new method is that I can in essense write anywhere.  If I am walking, I can be writing an article or a story.   The same for any place that inspiration may hit me.

There is also a piece of mind associated with this, because so many times in the past  I may have had a great idea but I ended up forgetting it later.    I did not have a means to transcribe what I was thinking onto either paper or a computer.  Now, I am able to capture those thoughts more readily.  In the process, I am more productive.

And, I hope this can help you be more productive too.

Happy writing, my friends!

Please Fasten Your Seat Belts

Too many times, more than I can count, I hear someone say something negative about the people living in Florida.  I typically hear it from those living here, referring to other less favorable members of the population.  Maybe it is just me, or I must be living in an entirely different state all together.
Last week while parking in South Beach, I closed my door and heard a thump.  My intuition told me that I had dropped something.   Not listening closely enough, I simply glanced down before meandering over to the parking meter to feed her my quarters.   Just as I dropped the first dollar through, a gentleman riding a bicycle stopped at the side of my car.  He was leaning down by my car door and then he popped his head over the hood.
“Is this yours?”  He asked, holding up my wallet.
Continuing the feeding frenzy uninterrupted and without any trepidation before finally responding, I simply glancing over, I said, “Yes.  That is mine.”
He playfully waved it back and forth and after she was fully fed, I made my way back over to other side of the car where he was holding up my wallet with a big grin on his face.    “Do you want me to put it in the mail?”   He shouted rather softly.  “Give me a dollar.”
Without breaking stride, I reached out and retrieved my wallet with one open hand.   Opening the car door, he moved to the side, as I assured him I would be happy to give him a dollar.  For his kindness, it was the least I could do.   The only problem is I very rarely carry cash.
He was excited, asking me  to make it a good one.  His mind was going wild as he out loud began wondering if maybe there would be a $20 in it for him, or something even better as I searched my pockets but to no avail.   I apologized that I did not have any cash, he said it was ok and then he went on his way but not without first sharing some rather insightful advice.
The advice I shall not share, although I will share another story of someone who exemplified kindness in a rather extraordinary way.   It was from this past weekend’s trip to Pittsburgh to watch the football game.  I had one layover, which was in Newark before landing in Pittsburgh.
While the first leg of the flight was extremely smooth both literally and figuratively that was not the case for the second.  The saving grace for the final leg was being engaged in a rather deep spiritual conversation with the passenger next to me.  As is typically the case, I strike up a conversation with whomever I am around, so not surprising, I became instant friends with this total stranger.
Through the course of our conversation she confided to me her fear of blood. This led to another discussion about hypnosis and into past life regressions.  She discussed how she is vegan had never eaten meat, and I asked how she felt towards animals.  Not too surprising, she has a deep connection and retrieved her phone to show me pictures of hers.
Since we were engaged in discourse the focus was not on the plane until she announced “this flight is really bad” referring to the turbulence.
The screen of the phone was rather small.  Trying to make out her turtle as the plane moved up and down and side to side was enough to make me dizzy.   At that moment, I began sweating almost instantly.   Knowing it was going to be substantially colder in Pittsburgh than it was in south Florida I had a jacket on but had to quickly remove it.  I was burning up and in mid conversation, facing forward, closed my eyes and practiced deep breathing.   My stomach was almost as quickly quite nauseous.
By concentrating on the deep breathing and having my eyes closed I calmed my stomach down, at least for the moment. Both the sweats and the nauseousness seemed to subside so I opened my eyes, turned to my neighbor, and apologized for needing to turn away.  She said that was ok, she felt the same way.
The captain had been on the speaker minutes earlier informing the cabin that we were on our final approach and would be landing momentarily.   Feeling more than a little relieved to have made it, I breathed a sigh of relief.   It was a bit premature, though.
Within a heart beat, the nauseousness came back and I got physically ill just as the plane was about to land.   Not able to reach for the bag fast enough, it was not a pretty sight.   Luckily though, my savior in the aisle seat sprang into crisis mode and swiftly implemented an action plan.
We steadfastly reached the terminal, parked and she deplored me to stay “right there” as she was going to go to the restroom to get some paper towels.   She did.  And, came back empty handed. No paper towels.
Undaunted, she reached into her purse found what looked to be a shawl and began using it to wipe up the mess.  I began to protest knowing it was going to ruin her article of clothing, but before I even get the words out she knew what I was going to say.   “Don’t worry about it.”  Calmly, she replied to my silent remark.  “I can get another one.”
While I was preoccupied with my little mishap passengers were exiting the airplane, walking by wondering why I still remained sitting in my seat with my friend rushing through the front of the cabin.   She did find some paper towels, gave them to me and I was able to finally gather myself enough to get off the plane.
As we walked down the walkway, she remarked how green I still looked.  I assured her I felt as good as I looked, and she offered to buy me some ginger ale for my stomach.  I politely declined and said that I was fine.
Feeling rather embarrassed, I offered her my card which she took.   She said she would call me so we could go to lunch and continue our conversation about hypnosis.   That was the furthest from my mind at the moment and repeatedly thanked her for her generosity and apologizing for the rather unpleasant way to end our flight.
Our separate ways we went, but her kindness I will certainly remember for a long time. That won’t easily go away.  For someone who is squeamish about blood, she reacted to this with complete composure and made a very uncomfortable situation rather bearable.
There are random acts of kindness going on throughout the world, and in our lives every single day.  Maybe its just me, but I truly believe their actions should be recognized.   Their names may remain anonymous, even their faces unrecognizable, but it is their good deeds that should be what is remembered.

Beautiful Is The Day

Beautiful is the day.  The day is today.   Today is the most beautiful day there ever was, because truly it is all we have to live.    Tomorrow it is so far away, and we already know that “yesterday seems so far away”.     We give our energy to the past and future, we can worry about a myriad of things people and events that we have literally no control.   We are unlimited in our potential yet the opposite is true in  terms of the influence we have on others outside of ourselves. If we only change the way perceive the world, the world looks different.  If we are eager for change in the world then we must be the change we want in the world.   If we want to see the world as beautiful, see it as beautiful.  There is opportunity, a world of opportunity in fact, if only we grasp the fact that it can be will be and it already is.
Whatever the weather may bring, hope that the sun shines brightly on your day.  If there is clouds and rain though, hope that you’re able to dance sing and play. Even if there is a plethora of storms that converse on you, hope that you ride the waves and find at the end that this truly is the most beautiful of days – today.

We are Change

I have no interest in changing the world.

I cannot in due consciousness spend my hours ever dwindling on that which I have no control. Instead, my intention is to grab the helm while I can and steer my own vessel to calmer more peaceful waters. By keeping my compass centered internally laser focused on improving myself by building upon each and every day, like laying bricks, with today being the solid foundation for tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrow achieving ever more rewarding results than the one I had today, I will continue to be the captain of my ship thus changing my world. And, the world of those around me. As they too are charted in the same direction. That is how We Change the World.


Sometimes, the end is just the beginning; and sometimes, the bitterest of goodbyes may be the introduction to the sweetest of hellos.

“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.”

Thank You….

Fortunate am I for a myriad of opportunities, of places here and there, and of such amazing people whether they be simply walking by and saying hi or for being around for a season or more.  Whatever that has passed my way, I have learned from and am still learning. I realize that the more I think I know, really the more I really have no idea, as I have only begun.  What I have come to the conclusion of though is that whoever it may be, gracious I should be.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. 
It turns what we have into enough,
and more. 
It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity. 
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home,
a stranger into a friend. 
 ~ Melody Beattie

Whether it’s some rather large need, or something rather minute in scale never do we really know if someone is need – of something.  Maybe it is simply an acknowledgement of their being, of having someone out there letting them know that they are concerned.  Whatever that may be, we all have those moments.

 There was a woman some time ago that when asked what she was grateful for, she replied rather truthfully, “Nothing”.   In her mind, there was nothing to be grateful for, that she had nothing.  I asked her if she was in front of a computer, because there is a lot of people in this world without a computer.  She said, she was.   I inquired about her living arrangements and if she was fortunate enough to be living in a house or apartment rather than being on the streets as is the case for so many.  She said, she was.  I wondered if she had a job, since so many are without one.  She said, she had one.  I continued by asking if she was able to pay her bills this month and if there was any money left over in her account since a plethora of those out there wish they could say the same.  She said, she did and there is.  I queried her about her health and asked if she was sick even terminally so as so many suffer daily from health related issues that cause constant pain or are terminally ill and know they don’t have much further to go.   She said, she was fine.
Her honesty continued by her saying that she had never thought that way. It was a new line of thinking.  She never even thought about those things.  She never thought about those things, and it never even occurred to her be grateful as they went unnoticed.
Instead, she focused on lack and on when she did not have.  She spent her entire living feeling that she had nothing, when in fact, she was quite rich.  She was poor in her own mind though in many a myriad of ways.
What this particular person needed was someone to shed a little light on her darkness and her help her to become aware of the things that she for so long had overlooked. In fact, her entire life was that way and because of that she never really experienced any type of satisfaction.  Hers was rather unfulfilled so she asked my advice.   It was elementary.   Simply start by giving thanks.
“Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.” 
~ The Hausa of Nigeria
Utilizing that same principle, my intention is quite a simple one and that is to say:  Thank you.
I appreciate all that you have done for me so is there anything I can do for you?
I find it quite interesting when every now and then I’ll simply throw it there and say – how can I help you?
Never know how someone may respond.  Typically not at all, and that most certainly is perfect.
And, whatever the new day and week brings to you I hope yours is a great one and it brings you all that you need, want and desire.
“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson