Asides

My Conversation With God

My Conversation

With God

I am Athletic,

Although, I find myself stumbling through life.

I am Beautiful,

Although, the mirror can sometimes get in the way.

I am Creative,

Although, the canvas does not always see the labor of my thoughts.

I am Driven,

Although, I’m not always sure of what road to take.

I am Enlightened,

Although, it is the darkness, which often prevails.

I am Free,

Although, I find myself a captive to the world around me.

I am Gifted,

Although, I forget that giving also means to myself.

I am Humble,

Although, my ego can get in the way.

I am Independent,

Although, I do need you.

I am Joyous,

Although, it is sad to see how we treat one another.

I am Kinky,

Although, life can be such a prude.

I am Loving,

Although, I hate to look out into the world some days.

I am Modest,

Although, I am perfect in every way.

I am Noble,

Although, I don’t have the most charitable thoughts.

I am Open-minded,

Although, the night can be so intolerant.

I am Perfect,

Although, I often forget I was made in the eyes of you.

I am Quick witted,

Although, don’t always respond as such.

I am Resourceful,

Although, I have a hard time finding the right tools.

I am Strong,

Although, sometimes I just don’t have the strength.

I am Trustworthy,

Although, I don’t always trust myself.

I am Useful,

Although, the outcome can seem truly useless.

I am Vivacious,

Although, my energy can become so drained.

I am Wise,

Although, I can make such foolish decisions.

I am X-rated,

Although, the street is not exactly G.

I am Youthful,

although the day can get so old.

I am Zealous,

Although, the enthusiasm can get the best of me.

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-Bryan Hayes

@2002 All Rights Reserved

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Good Morning !

I woke up early this morning

taking a few moments to get out of bed

not for any thoughts of not wanting

to get up filling my head

but instead sincere and intense

feelings of gratitude knowing it will provide

knowing today is the most beautiful day

to ever be alive

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~ Bryan Hayes

Are You?

“I am worthy.”

You don’t hear that very often do you?

More often than not it is a slip of the tongue that takes one form or another of the phrase “I’m not good enough.”   This short sentence is quite powerful, though.  How many times do you hear people say things like:

“I can’t do that.”

“They won’t like me.”

“I’m going to get hurt.”

or, one I heard most recently

“I’m so self conscious.”

All of these have something in common.  They are all limiting beliefs for one.  Also how does it make you feel when you hear someone say any of these to you or to someone else?

Listen the next time you hear it and listen to what words they emphasize the most?  A lot of times you can literally hear their voice change when they hit  the action verb.  It is an action, too because it is reaffirming what they are thinking thus thoughts become action.

I have been very conscious of my own thoughts as well as the words that I choose to speak.  Throughout the day I focus my attention on my thoughts. If I have a negative thought I try to first recognize that I am having it then questioning why I am having it.  A question I often ask myself is, “Is that true?”

For example, if I think that I am going to struggle because of an unexpected bill I will ask myself if that is true.  Next, I focus my attention on gratitude instead of lack by being mindful of all that I have to be grateful for literally in my mind saying “I am grateful for” and making a list of each of them. I continue the list until the feeling of the initial negative and/or limiting thought fades away.

Another tactic I use is if I am encountering a period where my thoughts are not aligned as I know they should be I will sit quietly and meditate or I will actively do something for someone else.   Sometimes doing something for someone else is as simple as making a phone call. We often forget how much a phone call can mean for a person especially if they are not in the best of health.

There is a woman that I call about every week, and I am so appreciative of our conversations.  It is a beautiful reminder of keeping myself centered, because I could not fathom calling her while she is bed ridden and complain to her about anything menial that may be happening in my life.  No matter how she is feeling, whether she is in pain or not, she is always cheerful and happy to be alive.  What then do I have to complain about?

A Buddhist monk once told me the reason why meditation is so important.  He professes to the theory that through meditation we are able to control our thoughts.  Without meditation our thoughts control us.

Throughout the day we have not only our thoughts but the thoughts of those around us.  We can choose which of these we listen to or not.   The more we focus on listening the more we hear the individuals words and how powerful they are.

There was a woman I was working with recently who kept saying that she “can’t” or she “won’t” succeed, and the exercise I asked her to do was to literally count and keep track of every negative thought.  She began and quite quickly realized that most of her thoughts were not in line with where she wanted to be.  She is normally a very positive person but she has some situations of late that have knocked her off her game.  Luckily for her she is ready to get back into the game and work on getting back to where feels good about herself.

The great thing about is that once you change yourself the whole world looks differently.

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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.

 

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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“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.
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“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