Archive for December, 2008

Choose Happiness

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

i have been thinking about what I would say in this final blog of 2008. I also thought about what has been the biggest challenge for most of my coaching clients whether the focus has been on life coaching, business coaching or executive coaching. It really doesn’t matter since we all have the same challenges. We are bombarded by negative news. This morning after a peaceful meditation and yoga practice I went to the coffee shop and bought a paper which was strictly a habit. Of course the front page was full of bad news. I don’t know why I thought it would be any different.

So that’s the challenge…how to stay positive and to choose happiness in the midst of negative reinforcement. How do we stay upbeat as we go forward in the new year?

I thought of a zen story, which you might have heard before, that reflects this sentiment. A man is pursued by a lion to the cliffs edge. As he quickly looks over the cliffs edge he sees a strawberry vine. He grabs onto the vine and climbs down the cliff to get out of the way of the charging lion. As he dangles, he notices two mice nibbling away at the vine. He looks around and sees a ripe strawberry that he plucks and enjoys.

That’s the challenge for many of us. When things are starting to fall apart, it becomes more difficult to see a way out. From your vantage point now, you probably can’t see it. But you can certainly see that next step that is directly in front of you.

Focus on it. Take it. Choose it. When you choose, it allow yourself to also choose Happiness.

It’s a decision that you make over and over again. Every minute choose to be happy and to smile.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

A new context for the new year

Monday, December 29th, 2008

This year is coming to an end. Each year has its surprises and disappointments. I don’t think any of us were prepared for the financial downturn that occurred this year.

In many ways our country was adrift, going downhill with ineffective leadership.

And then we had the election with renewed optimism. All of the events of the last eight years, paved the way for new leadership; in many ways a historic time. Without any of them we wouldn’t be where we are today.

So hear we are going forward. Perhaps you didn’t meet many of the goals that you set for yourself.

As you go forward, don’t shy away of setting new goals for the new year. But think of your goals in a different context. Rather than tangible goals such as a better job or making more money or losing that 10-20 pounds that you commit to every year,think of the personal qualities that you want to cultivate and develop. It might be that you want to become a more optimistic person, or a more fun person.

With the same determination, focus on those qualities that you intend to cultivate this year in the following way. Since I have already mentioned becoming more positive, express gratitude for the the optimism in your life; for the faith that you have. Whatever the quality that you wish to cultivate, express gratitude for having it now.

It is my intention to not worry about the future. I would use gratitude in the following way. I am grateful that it is all working out as it should. Everything is in perfect order. Develop your gratitude practice to help you experience your life in the way that you want to live your life.

You get to choose how you want live to live your life. If you want to be happy, choose happiness.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. 415.453.5016

Nature’s gift.

Friday, December 26th, 2008

It’s the day after Christmas. Some of us love holidays, while for others it’s a challenging time.

I’m in between somewhere. My childhood memories of holidays were not pleasant. As an adult I look forward to them but they are not without their share of stress.

One of the things that I do look forward to is taking a walk. Yesterday was exquisite. It had been raining for over twentyfour hours and we had our share of leaks in the house.

In the morning I walked to the coffee shop and on the way there I saw a double rainbow. What an amazing sign. Then the blue skies. Our creek on our property was raging and then the hike later to the waterfall. It was spectacular with the creeks and streams kicking in.

It had just stopped raining and the air smelled fresh as we walked to Cascade falls like we have for many years. The only difference is that we are all adults. What we had been doing for so many years we still did, but in a new way.

Nature is so healing. I’m thankful that I took the time to be graced by its presence.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com 415.453.5016

CREATING GRACE

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

In a life coaching session this morning, two things came up which are food for thought. The first is about friends in your life. What is your definition of a friend? My Uncle Sam used to say to me that if you could fill up one hand with true friends in your life, you are lucky. What he was saying was that true friends are hard to come by.

The model that he lived by was that to have a true friend you had to have a history with that person. You knew that they were there for you no matter what. IF you were sick, or in trouble they were there.

How many of us can say that today? With many struggling to survive and their responsibilities to their own families, is it harder to find true friends? How many do you really have?

And I know that some of us have been disappointed when in a time of need that person that we thought was a friend was no where to be found. They emotionally disappeared.

On the flip side, when in a time of need when you needed it most, people showed up. They revealed themselves, their true character and were there for you. You were blessed by their grace.

With life changing as rapidly as it does today, it’s paramount for us to have the ability to connect with others in a heartbeat. It’s the ability to create that space for grace to show up in your life.

As we keep evolving and expanding who we are so that we can make those deeper connections, we make room for grace to be part of our lives. And it doesn’t need to take that lifetime. It’s that heart-to-heart connection that occurs in an instant.

I thought that one of my goals, which brings me to the second point, is to create more friends in the next year.

But then I started thinking about whether there was a better word than goal. Yes I think it would be great to create more connection in my life in this next year. That’s my intention. That’s what I wish for you.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

Change your relationship to the unknown

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

I was having breakfast with my friend Curt this morning. We’ve been friends for many years and have seen each other evolve through many stages in our lives. He knew me when I was single and a trial lawyer. He was with me when I made the decision to give up the law practice and make the transition to becoming a life coach. It’s been nine years since I left the law practice. In the eight years that I have been a life coach I have worked with over a thousand people in different ways. Many were stuck in their lives or were looking to answer a particular challenge. Many who I work with are very successful. If you met them, you would think that they didn’t have a problem in the world. They seemed self-confident and reassured and charismatic.

What I have found is that no matter how self-assured and self-confident one might seem when you meet them, on the inner level they experience the same doubts and insecurities that you do which is usually a version of, “Am I good enough?”

In our work together, we change that mindset so that the unknown rather than scare you, excites you. And you stop worrying about what people might think of you.

In fact, I think that all worry is based on what might happen in the future which is unknown. Are you optimistic about it or pessimistic? That’s the choice that we make over and over again.

I know what my choice is. Even if it doesn’t work out the way I hoped it’s never as bad as I thought. Whatever happens I have more tools to work with. And I’m not as stressed out so that when things go my way, I can enjoy the moment.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

Making Sense of the Law of Attraction

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

In the life coaching or executive coaching circles, there’s always someone pontificating on the Law of Attraction. This morning I got an email…actually it was a short video. So the theory goes- our dominant thoughts determine our reality. What we focus on expands. if you want a great relationship, focus on being in the great relationship now and experience it emotionally. If you want more success in your business, focus on what’s it like to be successful. See it, feel it and believe it.

All of the writers, say do 3 things. Ask for what you want, Believe(act as if it’s already happened) and be willing to Receive.

As to my own experience, I have found that when I’ve focused on what I’ve wanted that eventually it happened. Finding my soulmate was like that. Success in my law practice was like that and now success in my career as a coach. I do have to admit, it took longer than I thought. So along the way I had plenty of time to practice patience.

But..the critics have their opinion too. For example, on the way home, you get hit by a drunk driver. Does that mean that you created the drunk driver? If you take the viewpoint that you create your reality, then you would have to say yes. And let’s say you have a serious illness. Did you create this illness? So not only are you sick, you feel guilty about being sick.

Let’s try to make sense it. I do believe that our thoughts do create our reality. They do determine what we focus on. From own experience it’s worked. But I also know that there are some things that are out of my control. I can’t control that drunk driver. I can’t control that hurricane.

So I do believe that to a large extent we do attract to us, our reality. But there are forces greater than we can comprehend that are also at work here. We don’t know exactly know what those forces are and how and when they will show up.

As I have said on many occasions, life is a great mystery. To think that there was one universal principle that was true no matter what, makes it an absolute factor in our existence. I like to think that there’s more to learn. I look forward to being surprised and yet I can still believe that if I focus on what I want, that it will happen. It makes me feel like I have a plan and I’m going in the right direction.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

TIGER

Friday, December 12th, 2008

I’m a dog lover. And the last year has been the first as an adult that I haven’t had a dog. It’s also a time as my kids leave home that I want to have the flexibility to travel more. It’s a decision that I made. Like many decisions that we make there are pros and cons.

Since then I have been graced by two cats that make the rounds on our property. There’s a lot of wildlife on our property and Whitey, a mysterious white cat, is always lurking, tracking the birds that are feeding. Although nothing happens, Whitey soon disappears and a few days later, he disappears. Whitey, is kind of a neighborhood cat as chooses who he wants to hang out with. Once in a while, Whitey likes affection and to a limited extent snuggles up to you.

Now on the other hand, a yellow striped cat that I call Tiger is a sweetheart. She’s affectionate, and purrs before you even touch her.
I look forward to her making the rounds. There have been occasions when it was warmer and our house was more open, that Tiger would be inside our house. Even though, Tiger has no collar, I know she belongs to someone.

Tiger reminds me of that unconditional love that we all have inside of us that is waiting to be expressed. That’s what animals do. They allow us to express a part of ourselves that too often we keep buried.

The holidays are also an opportunity to express that love that we so often keep hidden. Take the time to call an old friend and let them know how special they are. So often we don’t know how much we make a difference in someone’s life. Making that call will make that difference.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

What can we learn about happiness from Bhutan?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

We are on the happiness cycle. I recently wrote that I read in the newspaper that Happiness is Contagious. That’s good news for all of us who spend a lot of time on our personal development. By finding happiness inside ourselves we affect others.

Apparently the country of Bhutan has been aware of this for quite some time. We have been told that money can’t buy happiness but in the country of Bhutan that observation is the basis of government policy. Bhutan measures its progress not by GDP which is a measure of economic health and development by most nations but by GNH, or gross national happiness.

Gross national happiness is built on four pillars: fair and sustainable economic and social development, protection and promotion of cultural values, environmental conservation and good government.

In practice, that means any economic development project in the country is considered progress only if it does not dramatically widen the income gap between rich and poor, pollute the country’s rivers, sicken its people or line a government official’s pocket.

“Gross national happiness is not about happiness,” said Kinley Dorji, managing director of Kuensel, Bhutan’s national newspaper.

“As Buddhists, we believe happiness is an individual pursuit, gained from looking inside rather than outside. Gross national happiness is a mandate of the state to create an environment where citizens can pursue happiness.”

Has Bhutan achieved its goals? It has the highest per capita income in South Asia, with most of its money derived from sales of clean hydroelectric power to neighboring India and from luring high-end exclusivity-seeking tourists, who must spend at least $200 a day while visiting the country.

Bhutan’s rushing glacier-melt rivers are surprisingly clean and its pine, oak and hemlock forests largely intact.

Ancient traditional sports such as archery still are a passion, and more than 90% of Bhutanese have access to free health care and education.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

HAPPINESS IS CONTAGIOUS

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Quite often I go on newspaper cleanse…what I mean by that is that I don’t read them for awhile. But like many of us I got back in the habit with all of the election stuff and yes following my teams.

So today I was in the habit and for a change on the front page was some exciting news. In bold print was the title…Happiness is contagious which was the conclusion of a study by Harvard researchers just published in the British Medical Journal. So often when we wonder how we can make a difference and we feel guilty if we are just working on ourselves, we now know that it does make a difference. Making ourselves more positive and upbeat affects others. Making a difference begins with ourselves.

What’s also exciting is that an article of this nature made the front page of a major newspaper. Yes things are changing.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

JOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com

TAKE TIME

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

When you are in the process of gathering your tribe, which eventually becomes your natural way of living, thoseamazing juicy moments occur quite frequently. Yesterday I wrote about Louise and her sister. That was later on in the evening. But it was how it began that was also profound.

This was the two Bev’s second annual Loveland holiday party. As we were sitted in a circle Bev read a poem that struck a chord in me and made me say to myself that I wanted a copy. The next day she faxed it to me. So here it is. It’s a reminder to slow down and get your priorities straight.

Take time to Think
It is the source of all power.

Take time to play
It is the source of perpetual youth.

Take time to Read
It is the fountain of wisdom

Take time to Pray
It is the greatest power on earth.

That time to love and be loved
It is a God given gift.

Take time to be Friendly
It is the road to happiness.

Take time to Laugh
It is the music of the soul.

Take time to Give
It is too short a day to be selfish.

Take time to Work
It is the price of success.

Take time to do Charity
It is the key to heaven.

JOURNEY ON

MARK
eJOURNEY ON is a blog dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, an executive and life coach inspires others to experience more fulfillment and success in their life. A former trial attorney for 30 years and musician, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. His articles reflect this journey in an inspirational way. http://www.inspirepossibility.com


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