Dorrie’s happy bank

This is essentially a guest post from Dorrie Koller. Let me set the stage about this email from Dorrie, so you know what she’s referencing when she says below: we all know what has taken place since last summer.
Since last summer, Dorrie’s mother who’d lived with her more than a decade died, her husband Don whom she’d been with since she was 19 died, and her dog companion Sparky died.
Dorrie has been an inspiration to those who know her, for how she’s navigated through wrenching days and nights, in the final years nursing both her mother and her husband as they fell apart, one from old age, the other from brain cancer.

Remember the piggy bank happiness calculator I was doing?  A quarter is feeling Really Good, a dime is feeling Good, a nickel is feeling Somewhat Good, and a penny is feeling Bad. 

Well the bank was completely full – I’m thinking it has been filling since probably last summer and we all know what has taken place since last summer.

It is important to remember that this is simply a means of recording what was – it is not a system designed to change how one feels, or berate someone to feel something that isn’t there. In fact, the very act of depositing a coin verifies and validates the feelings at the time. 

Drum roll………………..dink!!  clink!!

77% of the time I was feeling Really Good (quarters)

34% of the time I was feeling Good (dimes)

25% of the time I was feeling Somewhat Good (nickels)

22% of the time I was feeling Bad (pennies)

Bear in mind, sometimes you are soooo happy, you don’t think to run to the bank and deposit a coin.  And, likewise, on really horrible days, you wouldn’t do that either.  So these are those days that the moment is relaxed, you are doing the dishes and cleaning up the counter and there, sits some coins.  Which ones do you want to put in the bank?  

I feel this is a really good way of determining my basic outlook on life because it is not calculated.  It is when my mind is not necessarily in high gear, and it is a quick, gut impulse to select the coin and make the deposit. . . . It is a learning tool that shows me where I am functioning.  Then I can perhaps turn to whatever means might help me to change towards a more positive outlook.  

May God save the Queen!!  (my latest mantra :))

Let me jump in here. Though Dorrie doesn’t say it explicitly, I can only suggest she is referring to herself since I’ve never known Dorrie to hold any special affection for royalty. And she is The Queen!
To me Dorrie’s genius was to become aware, and through this awareness, heal.
Dorrie was suddenly orphaned in the world in a way that few of us have to deal with in the U.S. Her adult kids and siblings lived elsewhere. Friends can only go so far. Her entire household had passed away within months of each other, and she was suddenly alone on a five-acre plot of land that had held recently held four.
Though she doesn’t go into detail here, when she originally spoke to me about this coin depositing method it had the spark of Buddhist mindfulness to it (she is not a Buddhist, nor did she practice meditation to my knowledge — she intuitively came up with this on her own). As she says it wasn’t to beat up on herself, it was an awareness technique that allowed her to observe — and not freak — about where she was.
To observe and record was the intention, in the simplest fashion.
Here’s a . . . can’t think of another way to say it . . . happy ending for you. You have to admire her ebullience in the way she plans to speak this into existence.

I think I’m getting a dog!  We have our home visit next week some time.  I’m going to name her Happy! (Because I want to get happy, be happy, and have happiness in my life!  Just saying the word over and over out loud – as you do, addressing your dog – don’t you think that will have an enormous affect on attitude around here?  !)

Anyway, tomorrow I’m off to bury Mom with Dad and see all kinds of family.  

Long live the Queen– 

PS: a note — even the purple text for this post comes courtesy of the Queen. When I copied her email it somehow spread her text color throughout the whole article, as if decreed.

PSST: a later note from Dorrie about her figures above: “They don’t add up to 100%. Oops that is the artist in me!”  

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Lorem Ipsum: Happy 500 years

An unknown typesetter influenced how we set up dummy text for half a millennium! For anyone setting up a blog, you discover that the concept has weaseled its way from the hard world of printing presses and moveable type into the is-it-really-there world of digerata.

You might do the same some day — have an effect last long after your years here — even if inadvertently, as this individual surely did in the 1500s.

Think of this — this person, probably a man– who in his day was known for his ink-stained hands, his hunched-over physique, his owlish eyes, his family, his quiet ways maybe . . . all the grand things that make up a life. A wife, children, some who died, hearty friends, an enemy or two . . . and his quest for an easier way in his humble job led him to the innovation of dummy type blocks — so you could test the layout before committing to the hard work of making the real text fit.

Could he have even once had a flit of an idea that entire species woud perish before his innovation would? His new thing may yet live on into the next publishing revolution (and the next).

Do your best! No one knows in advance the legacy of an innovation. The wheel is yet with us, and so is courtesy. Every useful improvement begets others.

We live in a sea of inherited innovation, in technology, in language, in culture, in behavior — in everything we are and do and have. Some improvements we can look to a single source — thank you Edison for my ability to write this at night! Most are the long accumulation of human tweak upon tweak, over thousands of years. The building you’re in. The shower you’ll take. The store you’ll shop. The words you’ll read. The phrases you’ll utter. The thoughts you’ll think . . . .

Even the light bulb is that — an accumulation of human genius. Edison didn’t invent glass, nor did he invent filament or gas or metal or any number of other elements he assembled into the light bulb. He put them together the way my son strings together words invented by others — uniquely and to startling effect.

Allow me, in my wonderment, a little profanity

It is an amazing thing to recognize how f**king fortunate we are to be living in this era, with these myriad streams of thought and invention laid upon our banquet table to experience — and we didn’t contribute a damn thing for it. We were born into it.

I’m raising an imagined glass of potent drink. A toast.

Here’s to all the improvers. We live in your wake. Here’s to that unknown typesetter who rearranged some lines by Cicero into garbled Latin-ish dummy type. Innovations live on.

You too might do the same some day, even if inadvertently . . . we’re all making adjustments, innovating small improvements, creating something new by navigating this life. Some ideas spiral outward as others take them up. You never know how yours will be absorbed into humanity’s currents.

Live your best! You are part of the great stream.


Antsiness — a signal to move!

This post was inspired by a conversation Mike Cohen and I had this week.

We were talking about something you may have seen come across the wires recently. I’ve seen the information shoot out from several sources in the past couple of weeks. And if you haven’t come across this, you’ll want to know: 

Studies have been done! The word is out! Sitting is bad for you — prolonged sitting — sitting without breaks —  without breaks of the kind this sentence is fond of taking.

You can exercise regularly, but much of it is undone by extended sitting. Or better put: Constant sitting cannot be undone entirely even by exercise.

In one article it was stated the ideal is to move — just for a minute — every twenty minutes. Extended sitting isn’t found in nature, except in zoos. Which double makes my point. It shuts down processes that flush your system. Things kink up. Flow is aborted. Stagnation, for a body or for a nation, is not good. Cells get toxic.

When I mentioned that the twenty-minute mark made sense to me because I’d noticed that once I overrode my antsiness I could sit for much longer — Mike grabbed onto the idea: 

“Antsiness is a signal. Your body’s signal to move.”

Your body is wise like Yoda, but without the linguistic triple axel back flipspeak to make you pay attention. 

Wise this one is, move she must or die she will.

It simply can’t speak to you and say get off your larditudinous buttocks and move. So you get antsy, you get squirrelly. You change your position in the chair when you should be sliding out of that chair into a new pose entirely (Spot yoga!).

Like yawning, your body is telling you that you have better things to do — at least for a minute.

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In case you skipped blithely past the link above

Stymied? Change one thing

Change one thing — and all the rest changes.

B.F. Skinner, the behaviorist, was famous for prescribing better environments to create better humans. It’s also true that changing one thing changes your environment . . .

Right now my sister is working on one simple thing that is going to make her mental life soooo much less cluttered. Charlie, her man, just might love her more, if that’s even possible. . . . She is after all my adorable sister, so it’s entirely possible that his love is already bursting over the brim. He might already be brimming.

I won’t write about it just yet — I’ll wait till the success speaks for itself. But I can say that it only involves 15 minutes a day.

If she fails I’ll write about it too, because sometimes nothing succeeds like massive embarrassment. That’s the kind of love we demonstrate in our family.

Years ago, alarmed at my fattening self, I changed one thing. I started a walking program. Four and a half hours a week. When I look back now that was the beginning of this me here today, the one who is in a far better mental, physical and spiritual state than before I began. And it all started with one thing.

Though revolutionary changes can be cathartic if the new ground can be held, for most of us it is the incremental tweak that changes the arc of a life. Tweak upon tweak upon tweak and you are doing finger push-ups just because.

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I know giants!

You can be a giant in physics and not even be noticed in beach volleyball.

In this Internet world, it’s easier than ever to be a giant in your favorite niche. Look at me — I’m an Internet giant on the subject of Evan’s mental flotsam.

If you’re not in commerce or some other endeavor out there in the world where the world takes notice, you can and probably are a giant in someone’s personal life. Or you can become one.

Or you can become a giant on your block or neighborhood — or for the old codger down the street.

You get to choose your gianthood. You might even name your giant self for fun. I use Sheldrake.

The world is in need of giants. Giants are needed on the playground, giants are craved by neighbors, giants are required in the social arena where ranting and divisiveness reign. I know many giants. There are giants all around me. I’m inspired by these giants, in my family, amongst my friends, in the world — to grow myself. To grow myself someday — in some arena —  into a giant.

I know giants

I know giants who make everyone feel amazing in their presence (Harley!). I know giants with a dedication to kids that is otherworldly (my brother!). I know energetic giants of connection (Kelly!) (it used to be you Russell). I know giants in listening to signs from their soul telling them to be still (Russell 2.0!). I know giants of creative re-invention (David Langley!). I know giants in teaching the experience of meditation (Anthony Amrhein!). I know giants in personal growth despite the loss of loved ones (Dorrie!). I know yoga giants and play in the shadow of their knowledge (Holly Briscoe! Melissa Kramer!). I know giants of compassion (Jeannine!). I know giants of spiritual determination (T-chele!). I know giants in the use of exclamation points (me) (!).

I know giants. And so do you. You probably are one and may not even recognize your giant-tude.

If not, choose to be a giant somewhere in your life. Sheldrake would like a playmate.

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If you don’t believe you can do things with the power of your mind . . .

“If you don’t believe you can do things with the power of your mind, then you haven’t been in our bedroom at 3 in the morning.” 

This is a direct quote from my wife Ann. Not about our late-night sexual escapades, as you and I both would relish a post on this subject — we have a son and a business and we’re asleep then! This is about our dog Bodhi.

It’s about our big ole dog staring at us till we wake up and take him out. He doesn’t whimper, he doesn’t put a paw up, he doesn’t bark, he doesn’t jangle about — there’s just an eerie silhouette of a dog staring at you as you awaken, as he’s beckoned you to do.

We’ve marveled at this. He will sit there patiently for minutes, till you sense him . . . and stir . . . and then try to shoo him over to your mate to take out.

Mind power marvels

I am sure if we looked around we’d find daily doses of mind power in action. Amongst friends and family and cohorts.

That person who suddenly decided to get in shape — and you can see the shape shifting before your eyes within weeks.

That woman I met who overnight changed herself from dour to sunny — and it stuck. She was effortlessly alive and vibrant a year later.

That time last year when I was thinking of a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a decade or more — and she called as if I’d just alerted her — as I was leaving Santa Fe, her town!

How are these things possible? We can only surmise. But the power is there.

How do you want to use yours today?

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Speak it into existence

As promised, this is a continuation of the ideas expressed in the previous post:

Here’s my take on why Mike is so effective in speaking ideal business circumstances into existence.
When Mike talks about the next step in his business — which is ultimately the business of helping people with various afflictions deal with their issues without medication — Mike is speaking from what his wife Carolyn would term the highest energy level.
He genuinely wants to heal people without drugs. He ardently desires to make bioneurofeedback (biofeedback for your brain) more available for all. He earnestly wishes the greatest good for the greatest number. 
I say this knowing Mike might be too modest to claim all this publicly, but having spoken to him at length every week or two for several years now, I know it’s true.
So first of all he’s operating from highest principles.
Second, Mike speaks as though it will happen . . . somehow. He just doesn’t know when. I don’t hear the angst and worry that so many of us place on our wish list, which comes across as I’ll just freak if this doesn’t come to pass.
I don’t know how he does it — exclude the worrisome details from his mind. Maybe it’s from years of experience that he’s trained himself to focus only on where he wants to go. Maybe it’s natural to him.
Third, repetition. Mike will speak to the next step often. Often, often, often. 
Fourth, he gets very specific. “You know, I think Delray Beach is the perfect place for another office.” He’ll even define the size of that office and whether or not it is in partnership with someone else. All sorts of specifics that make it real in his head.
When he’s speaking about, say, a person needed to fulfill a certain role, he gets detailed. He does not speak in negatives, as in: 
  • I don’t want a person who is flighty.
  • I don’t want another person who can’t take initiative.
  • Oh please don’t let me find another closet smoker (complainer, lazy-slothful slug, whatever . . . he doesn’t go there).
He speaks about the ideal. About her capabilities. About how nice it would be if she came with these credentials. About ways something might happen.
The clincher?
When I asked Mike himself about what he thinks it might be that makes his process so effective, after some thought he said this:
He’s not attached to how or when the next step comes about. He’s operating from a pleasant, day-dreaming-like stage, but one where he’s verbalizing increasingly detailed images of his desire. 
He really is able to let it go. It’s as if he’s musing aloud, nonchalantly. Mike doesn’t get that near-constipated look so many of us get when speaking about how . . . we . . . must . . . make . . . something . . . happen. Now!
So there you have it, all the ingredients to flow things your way, as observed from a Master Flower. Flow on!

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And a random extra thrown in, just for you

Speak it — until it’s true

In keeping with the recent theme of speaking it into existence, I’ve been reviewing how those around me speak to issues in their lives. I’ve been paying close attention to this for a year or two, ever since I noticed how events and people materialized around a friend of mine, Mike Cohen, founder of The Center for Brain Training.

We go to breakfast once every week or two. This turns out to be a perfect frequency to notice how someone talks about their world. More often and you become so involved that you may not even notice — the way you don’t notice behavior of your own, it’s too familiar.

Less often and you wouldn’t have the intimacy. It would be all catch up and no insight — not enough depth. It would be less likely for the everyday persona to appear.

Be like Mike

I uttered this once to our Dreamers Club when I related what I’d noticed about Mike and the way circumstances materialized around him — especially the way the profoundly right person would come into his professional life at the perfect moment! Often the individual needed for a particular expansion of his business would appear as if beckoned.

I saw this happen when he desired to open another office. Woosh and presto appearo — here she is, the perfect person to helm that satellite office.

Same thing when he craved someone of keen intellect who could jump into all manner of projects that had been languishing, projects requiring sensitivity, understanding, writing skills and more. Ziiip, and there she was.

Same thing when he needed a skilled assistant who would work well with children: he appeared. Again it happened, a gifted freelancer showed up — and wrote a powerful article about The Center for Brain Training in a local publication — when he sought someone who could craft the story of the emerging science of brain biofeedback . . . and its benefits.

When I say he sought this person or that experience or particular skills, what I mean is that he talked about it, incessantly.

It wasn’t as if he’d placed an Internet ad or had been throwing out feelers into the community at large when most of these people arrived at Mike’s doorstep. No, he simply had been talking about his desire for such and such type of person and circumstance.

In the next blog article I’ll go into more depth about my take on how Mike talks his walk . . . 

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Gifts to the giver: a followup

A couple weeks after writing the series on giving, I was chatting with the prime mover from that series, Paul. He’s the guy who started it all off through his generosity, giving away boatloads of valuable furniture as he was downsizing.

He commented on the part about givers opening themselves up to receive — in the blog article I’d given my brother as an example — that he’d never considered that possibility before. Then he launched into a neat coda to the whole process demonstrating that principle as he told me about three recent financial windfalls.

The one that surprised him most — as it would anyone — was when an ex out of the blue sent him a check as a gift. An ex! (This is a testament to Paul’s good-hearted ways. No ex — in fact, no one — is going to lob a gift your way if you’ve been a mean-hearted scarab in your dealings.)

As Paul noted, this gift easily equaled what he might have received had he decided to sell the furniture instead.

What a grace note. He’d skipped all the hassle-time-effort it would have taken to sell off the furniture. And he’d also received quiet satisfaction in initiating a cascading series of gifts that went far beyond him.

Giving is surely one of the most rewarding ways to flow the good — to all, you included.

Posts from the giving series trilogy, in order


A struggle addict breaks his habit

I am in the midst of giving up a life-long romance with struggle. 

In my twenties, in a journal, I noted that I enjoyed struggle. It may sound odd in that era of get-it-now, buy-it-later that this would be so. But it was. I enjoyed projects that required endurance and pluck to get through.

It served me well then.

In the midst of conspicuous consumption, I was able to kick into austerity programs and save for these adventures:

  • a bicycle trip from the Colorado mountains to the Louisiana swamps.
  • A meandering motorcycle trip with alternating buddies, from South Florida to Nova Scotia to New York City.
  • Two kayak trips, one a month long around Lake Champlain and back to New York City via the canal system and the Hudson River.
  • A van trip across America and back.

I wrote three books, worked hard in between, had some other adventures — and maintained a sometimes frenetic romantic life while doing all this. It takes an enjoyment of the long payoff to accomplish those things. You must relish the long process.

Time for a new motif

Things of this nature become aspects of your character. You don’t even notice the heavy, loaded base of the iceberg beneath its exquisitely exposed peak. Oh, the peak is beautiful — it shimmers in the sun, impossibly imposing in its magnificence. But that hidden base of gargantuan proportions outweighs every anchor in the world massed together.

I’ve been operating as if only struggle is noble! And I hadn’t noticed. At least not until I paid attention to how I speak about my experience. That’s when I noticed the thrill I got when describing difficulties overcome.

Now, harking back to Point Number 1 from the previous post, I’m more attentive to the stories I tell. This is also an Abraham-Hicks motif of renewed significance for me as I chart a new way of speaking about my world. Their instruction is simple: Tell a better story.

Recently I was listening to Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project, speak about optimal performance. I’m paraphrasing his brilliance here: One key aspect to optimal performance is that you must tell the best story possible without subverting the facts. (My emphasis.)

Not only does doing so energize you, it focuses you on the best possible outcome. And as we all know, that helps you get there. Or somewhere near there — as opposed to far from there.

So my mission is to find a new motif, one that speaks to being in the divine flow————-

Maybe there’s something in your life too that you can find a better way to speak about, so that it serves your forward movement and no longer anchors you in place.

Let’s do it together — speak new patterns into existence.

You first.

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