Monthly Archives: January 2014

Wisdom | It Requires Discernment and Experience

I have been working on my theme for the new year. Yes, I know. I’m a bit late with it. I do have really good excuses but they’re still just that…excuses!

My meditation and study time this morning produced an interesting and valuable bit of insight while pondering for an appropriate theme. I would say it was actually bigger than a bit.

This insight came from one of the many tools that I use. These same tools have been used for eons. Some might say they are the product of “ancient wisdom.”

So, how does one become wise? It might help to have the definition of wisdom.

  • accumulated philosophic or scientific learning; knowledge
  • ability to discern inner qualities and relationships; insight
  • good sense; judgment

Knowledge, insight and judgment. Wisdom is not just skin deep. It requires discernment and experience.

I’ll share with you a few of the tools I have used to tap into ancient wisdom.

I Appreciate Homeopathy

This healing practice used widely in alternative medicine has helped me address health issues that required an “outside the box” approach. Actually, 200 years ago homeopathy was considered modern medicine.

So much for ancient wisdom!

emperor tarot

The Tarot Deck has been modernized into what we know as playing cards.

I Appreciate Tarot

I use the tarot cards to gain insight into some question that I’m pondering. They’re known to be used for fortune telling but that doesn’t really describe how I use them.

The tarot has been used for hundreds of years. I’m sure that in the hands of their stewards they have been used to ponder countless questions. And, this morning I added my own.

This tool is actually the predecessor of the modern playing cards. At some point, the trump cards were eliminated. Sad since these cards tend to provide the most valuable information.

So much for ancient wisdom.

I Appreciate Astrology

My Dad introduced me to astrology when I was a teenager. It was really a lesson from the book “Your Thoughts Create Your Reality.” Long story.

Over the years, astrology has helped me develop self-awareness and provided me with valuable insight into others. In fact, I authored a book in my Spiritual Approach Series™ called “Astrology: A Spiritual Approach to Mind Management.”

As you might imagine, I really appreciate astrology and the ancient wisdom that it embodies.

It’s interesting that we have found the need to modernize just about everything. Now, there are certainly cases where it’s challenging to find any downside to modernization. I’m thinking about my Lexus vs. the Model T. Still, we must be careful not to discard ancient wisdom in the process.

If you’d like a complimentary copy of the ebook, just use the form at the right. You’ll receive an email within moments of completing the form. Respond with “I’d like a copy of your Astrology book.” We’ll get it right out to you.

Appreciation is a powerful tool that helps us create more of what we say we want in our lives. You can practice Aware Appreciation along with me. By signing up, you’ll also receive daily reminders.

Heat | Get Out of the Fire

You know what they say. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the fire.

For those fellow type A personalities, you probably responded with something along the lines of “turn it up!” Be careful what you ask for.

My motto for this year is “simplify.” Quite the opposite of “turn it up.” It has gotten a bit too hot for me.

The key is to find a moderate temperature. If my life is too simple, I find ways to complicate things. I turn up the heat!

So, here’s a few ways I appreciate the heat and how I recognize when it gets too hot.

I Appreciate Hot Water

The year started with some serious challenges. Anytime I have to deal with a plumbing problem, it feels pretty overwhelming.

Why is that?

Have you ever thought about how many times you use the water in your home? It’s constant. Toilet, sink, shower.

We discovered a leak in the hot water pipe behind the kitchen sink. We heard a hissing sound behind the new dishwasher and steam was coming out of the adjacent cabinet. Too hot!

For the week it took to find the right person to repair it (long story), we limped along with limited access to hot water. And for the last couple of days, we had no hot water at all.

It reminded me of my experience living in a community outside of Rio de Janeiro. To take a hot (better described as warm) shower, I climbed 63 steps to a building perched on a cliff that had a solar heated water tank. You have to want it bad!

So, when the plumbing problems were fixed yesterday, I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I turned on the dishwasher, washing machine, and took a hot shower!

I really appreciate hot (and cold) running water.

I Appreciate Sweating

I’m not much for cold weather. I love being warm…even sweating.

One of our neighbors is having a new heating and air conditioning system installed by a local company. Their name? 72 Degrees. I guess that’s the temperature that suits most people. It’s not warm enough for me!

Yesterday, after the plumbing problem was resolved, I celebrated with a trip to the spa. I spent almost an hour on the BioMat and then enjoyed the steam room. Sweating out the toxic emotions of the last couple of weeks was just what the doctor ordered.

As the heat rose, I was throwing off the blankets and taking cold showers. It got too hot…even for me. Afterwards, I felt detoxified and blissful.

I really appreciate sweating.

I Appreciate the Sun

Just as the plumbers were finishing up, the rain gave way to the sun. It warms up almost immediately.

I love feeling the warmth of the sun on my face. The sun makes the world a brighter place.

Las Vegas Desert Heat

The sun can get pretty intense in the desert southwest.

For over 30 years, I lived in Las Vegas. I must admit that the mid-August sun was way too intense for just about any organic creature…including this one. It was impossible to enjoy it. Rather, you ran for shade.

When I moved to the south, I thought I’d appreciate the seasons and a respite from the sun. After several years, the extended periods of cloudy skies started getting to me. I NEEDED the sun! Even the mid-August desert sun sounded good.

I really appreciate the sun.

So, I realize that I like it warm (even hot) but it is possible to overdo it. I’m going to try simplifying. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Please share below and complete the sign-up form at the right. Appreciation is a powerful tool that helps us create more of what we say we want in our lives. You can practice Aware Appreciation along with me by signing up to receive daily reminders.

Utility | The Swiss Are On To Something

This Aware Appreciation process is doing just what it’s designed to do. I am noticing all sorts of things that are worthy of appreciation.

Several of the things on my list today serve multiple purposes…sort of like the Swiss Army Knife. I had to wonder if the Swiss Army Knife was really a Swiss invention.

Swiss Army Knife

The Swiss Army Knife has amazing utility.

From Wikipedia…

During the late 1880s, the Swiss Army decided to purchase a new folding pocket knife for their soldiers. This knife was to be suitable for use by the army in opening canned food and disassembling the Swiss service rifle which required a screwdriver for assembly.

So, the knife is a Swiss invention but it was first manufactured in Germany.

Most of us carried one of these nifty devices until the increased airport security started confiscating them when we neglected to take them out of carry-on bags prior to screening. Now, the Swiss Army Knife is rarely handy when I need it.

That doesn’t keep me from appreciating it or any of the other multi-use things I noticed today.

I Appreciate My Multi-Purpose Printer

Actually calling this machine a printer is a bit of an insult. I do primarily use it for printing but it stands ready to copy, scan or fax as well. And, it does all of this with a very small footprint.

I recall a day not that long ago when we had 4 different machines (all of which were much larger) to handle these tasks.

The machine is technologically amazing.

I Appreciate Splitters

You may recall I have been in the midst of a remodeling project. I love poking around in home improvement stores. At this point, I’m ready for a break. Thank goodness we’re almost done.

There have been several issues that have come up (primarily plumbing or electrical related) that have found me at the home improvement store seeking help to find a splitter that would solve the problem. These nifty devices come in all shapes and sizes. Who knew?

Without these splitters, we would end up with a whole lot of duplication. Splitters provide an amazingly efficient way to solve many problems.

I Appreciate the Walk-in Closet

I am writing this today from my closet office. I converted a walk-in closet that was designed for extra storage to an office at our second home. I needed a comfortable place to work. It’s compact but it does the job.

Our primary home does not have walk-in closets. It is one of the things I have most missed while living there. I dream of having a closet again where I can see all my options at the same time.

The walk-in closet is an amazing architectural improvement.

Did this inspire you to notice things in your life that have versatile utility? What’s your “Swiss Army Knife” example?

Please share below and complete the sign-up form at the right. Appreciation is a powerful tool that helps us create more of what we say we want in our lives. You can practice Aware Appreciation along with me by signing up to receive daily reminders.

Easy | It’s a Good Thing

If you’re like me, you may make things more difficult than they need to be on occasion. My “programming” seems to create challenges to make an accomplishment seem more worthwhile.

Crazy, I know!

Easy is Good

I think Staples is on to something with the Easy button!

It can help to remind ourselves regularly that “easy is good.” And, a great way to do that is by appreciating ease in our lives.

So, here goes…

I Appreciate Google Alerts

There’s so much to appreciate about Google. Today, my appreciation is focused on the alerts that I have set-up to scan the internet for information that will help me in my work. This morning there were several links that I could easily follow to find just what I needed.

No searching hoping that I was typing in the phrase that would lead me to what I was looking for. Google brought it to me. Now, that’s easy!

I Appreciate Create Space

Amazon has a division that authors can use to create print versions of their books. I used this service for the first time with our most recent book and was quite impressed.

The book is called Warning Signs: A Parent’s Guide to Addiction Prevention.

Of course I needed to be prepared before I started the project but with all the pieces ready to go, it was a snap!

And, with Create Space I can allow Amazon to offer our book with the companion Kindle version with a package discount all from one central management account. Now, that’s easy!

I Appreciate the Data Service Provider

Today, I was doing some research. I needed access to several years of historical information to answer my questions.

One of the services I subscribe to has done a great job of assembling the tools in one place. Login once and all the information you need is just a few clicks away.

It’s just a matter of refining my search but all the information is there. Now, that’s easy!

As I was reflecting on what makes life easier, I noticed that some things are free. Some things are a “bargain.” And, some things are a bit pricey but worth it. What I’ve shared here includes free, bargain and pricey.

Of course, even free comes with a price. Google’s alerts are free but I have to navigate around the advertising to get the information I’m looking for. And, we’ve all experienced bargains that turned out to be very costly.

Sometimes, it’s the pricey services that we end up thinking of as a “bargain.” So, once again, there’s opportunities to practice appreciation literally everywhere.

Do you have an example where you purchased something that really felt like a stretch but turned out to be a “bargain?” Or, what free service would you use even if there was a cost associated with it? Facebook comes to mind! Can you share others?

Complete the sign-up form so you can receive updates or even participate in the Moments of Aware Appreciation Movement. Appreciation is a powerful tool that helps us create more of what we say we want in our lives.

Sleep | A Good Night of it Makes Everything Better

For many years, I have had problems sleeping. Turns out that all the stressful years managing the accounting firm had the effect of putting my cortisol levels in permanent over-drive. I can typically fall asleep but staying that way for 7 hours or more rarely happens.

Human Biological Clock

When the body is working as designed, sleep comes naturally.

On the rare occasion when I do sleep soundly through the night, I can feel the difference immediately. The genuine and extended rest gives me energy I don’t always have. So, when I found myself feeling groggy this morning I took advantage of the opportunity to get a little extra sleep. When I finally did come out of it, I felt really good.

It reminded me of a few things I really appreciate that help me sleep.

I Appreciate Darkness

The darker the better when I’m trying to sleep. It’s amazing how much light creeps in from sources we don’t even notice unless we are focused on the dark.

For example…

The light from the cable television box lights up the entire room. I have to close the cabinet door to minimize its effects. Clocks can do the same thing.

There is also quite a bit of light that comes in from outside…even with blackout blinds. Moonlight isn’t the problem. It’s the light fixtures that remain on all night for security purposes that there’s no real solution for.

So, when it’s really dark…I REALLY appreciate it.

I Appreciate Cold

This is a real conundrum. I like it cold when I sleep…around 65 degrees. As soon as I’m ready to get moving, I like it closer to 80 degrees.

The only way to adjust the temperature from 65 to 75 (or vice versa) quickly is to use the heating and air conditioning system. Fortunately, we have systems with zones that allow us to cool only the bedroom.

I REALLY appreciate the zoned climate control.

I Appreciate Pillows

I am a pillow diva. And, it seems to be getting worse (or better depending on how you look at it).

Recently, I added to my already sizeable pillow collection. I needed king-sized pillows for both sides of my body to minimize the tossing and turning.

This brings me to 5 pillows required for a restful nights’ sleep. I already shared with you that I love down so I don’t need to remind you that just “any pillow” will not do. The “right” pillows caress and support me throughout the night and I wake up feeling refreshed.

I REALLY appreciate pillows.

Please share what helps you get a great nights’ sleep? Sleep is one of those bodily functions that we tend to take for granted. Making your sleep space really comfortable is a great way to take care of yourself.

Complete the sign-up form so you can receive updates or even participate in the Moments of Aware Appreciation Movement. Appreciation is a powerful tool that helps us create more of what we say we want in our lives.

Help | Has Independence Vanished in the Haze?

There is an exercise that we use to help people understand recovery. I can’t give you the details. If I told you, I’d have to kill you!

Help by the Beatles

Help! I think I need somebody.

What I can tell you is that we play the Beatles song “Help” during the exercise. The lyrics of the song make it clear that sometimes we just need somebody to help us do what we cannot do for ourselves…even if that means our independence vanishes in the haze!

We have needed more than a little help lately in our “neck of the woods.” Fortunately, we’re not afraid to ask for it.

I Need Help with the Renovations

We have been renovating our kitchen. Carpentry, painting, plumbing, electrical…you name it. It’s way “over my head.” I appreciate that there are people that have plenty of experience that offer their services.

I Need Help with the Laundry

Occasionally, I see an image of women in a third world country washing their clothing the “old fashioned way.” Wow! That’s all it takes to remind me of all the modern conveniences we enjoy.

This morning I put our king sized linens in the washing machine. In less than an hour, they were ready to be moved to the dryer. It would have been a colossal job without the help of the appropriate equipment. I appreciate Mr. Maytag who began manufacturing the electric washing machine in the early 1900s.

I Need Help Understanding Life Support

This one is a work in progress. We are still waiting and watching as my father in law continues to rest unconscious in the ICU.

Many of us have a living will. We think it will provide answers for our family if they are presented with an unexpected medical emergency. I have learned that there is very little that is clear cut when you’re dealing with a situation like this.

I’ll provide a bit of history. My mother passed away a couple of years ago. She had cancer and her doctors had differing opinions about her ongoing care when the chemotherapy didn’t work.

The doctor that told us what we wanted to hear suggested that we continue blood transfusions until that was no longer working. As a result, my mom died a long slow painful death.

The doctor that suggested we discontinue the blood transfusions and let nature take its course was actually giving us sound counsel. We weren’t ready to hear it.

Mom was still very much in charge of her own care at that point so my sister and I weren’t responsible for making the decisions. She was looking to us to help her sort it out though.

It’s very different with my father in law. He has not regained consciousness since his accident a week ago. His kidneys are failing and today he is being put on dialysis. The doctor in charge of his kidneys says that he won’t let the kidneys be the reason he doesn’t make it.

Yesterday, after more tests, the neurologist asked if there was a living will. And, if there is a living will, why the family was moving forward with dialysis. In his opinion, if his condition hasn’t improved (and has actually deteriorated) in the last week it is highly likely that even if he does regain consciousness he will not be returning to a life he would want to live.

That’s why my father in law (or any of us for that matter) execute a living will. No heroics. Just let me go.

It’s just not that simple. And, we need help sorting it out! What is really clear to me is that life support happens in limitless ways. For my mom, it was blood transfusions. In this case, it’s dialysis.

We think we just need to authorize someone to “pull the plug.” If you’re still breathing on your own, there’s no plug to pull!

I appreciate the help and guidance we are receiving…even though it’s a bit hazy.

What could you use a little help with? Have you asked for it?

Please share your insights and complete the sign-up form so you can receive updates or even participate in the Moments of Aware Appreciation Movement. Appreciation is a powerful tool that helps us create more of what we say we want in our lives.

Intentions | Think of Them as Paving

Heaven or Hell It's Up To You

Will your intentions put you on the road to heaven?

There is a saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I believe it’s also true of the road to heaven. Your destination is dependent on a well-intended journey.

At the new year, most of us take a bit of time to review what worked and what didn’t in the previous year so that we can use the information to create intentions for the upcoming year. I am no different. And, the process produced some insight for me today.

Intentions should be something I feel like I have a good deal of control over. If our intentions are dependent on someone else reacting in a certain way to our activities, it can take the wind out of our sails when that doesn’t happen. Better to focus on what you can do or not do.

Here’s a few of my examples.

I Intend to Write 5 Times Each Week

There are things I would like to have happen as the result of my regular writing but I have to focus on what I can control. That is my activity.

I trust that the results will take care of themselves.

I Intend to PACE 3 Times Each Week

Dr. Al Sears developed an exercise program he calls PACE. It is very efficient (20 minutes or less) so there’s really no excuse for not doing it. Still, I have not made it a habit. Again, I would like to take off a few pounds and develop some muscle but the most important thing I can do is just do it!

I trust that the results will take care of themselves.

I Intend to Crack My “Needs” Code

There is a process that I started with my coach designed to identify my primary needs that drive my longings. To live a full and fulfilling life, it’s important that we feel like our longings are being addressed.

When that doesn’t happen, we tend to venture into activities that will not produce the results we say we’re looking for. Lots of time spent getting nowhere.

I would like specific results from this process but the most important thing I can do is commit to it and the required self-reflection.

I trust that the results will take care of themselves.

So, the only thing I can control is my activity. It’s important to be realistic when I’m determining what I can commit to. If I over-commit, I will disappoint myself. Rather, taking action is designed to build my confidence and anticipation.

What intentions have you set for the new year? Do you feel confident that your intentions are within your control? When you consider your available resources (time, money, energy), do you feel like you can channel enough resources to fulfill your commitment?

Please share your insights and complete the sign-up form so you can receive updates or even participate in the Moments of Aware Appreciation Movement. Appreciation is a powerful tool that helps us create more of what we say we want in our lives.

Firsts | There’s Nothing Like a First…

I spent a bit of time reflecting on what was memorable about the year that just came to an end. While I could have taken it in a number of directions, keep in mind that this exercise is about practicing appreciation.

So, as I developed my list I noticed that it includes a number of “firsts.” I’ll share a few with you.

I Appreciate My Coach

I began working with a business coach this year. I have considered this many times but didn’t think I could find someone that would really make a difference for me.

You see, I needed someone with a unique blend of business acumen, internet marketing experience, an understanding of metaphysics and new thought and…the connection that is impossible to distill into words. With Cathy, I found it!

It has been a challenge and a pleasure to work with her. As it should be. I look forward to the insights I am sure to have anytime we get together.

I Appreciate Omega Institute

I lived in Las Vegas for many years (30+). I went to Esalen Institute for the first time in 1991. I could drive to Big Sur, CA from Las Vegas enjoying the time for reflection in both directions.

Omega Institute is in New York. Even after I moved to Nashville, driving to Omega was still out of the question. Still, it was on my “bucket list.” And, this year I was determined to make my way there. I found a weekend workshop that was intriguing and began making plans.

It required planes, trains and automobiles but we enjoyed an awesome first experience at Omega. It will not be my last!

I Appreciate My Raised Desk


This illustration explains why I felt like my hip was “out of whack.”

For a long time (many many months), I had a nagging pain in what I call my hip. Apparently, it was actually a psoas muscle strain. Sitting at my desk aggravated it. My kettle bell workout aggravated it. Even sleeping aggravated it.

I was talking to my sister one day and she mentioned that she raised a section of her desk so that she could stand while she works. We both sit at the computer for many hours every day.

After some research, I determined that I could put a section of my desk on jacks…the same jacks they use for RVs. It was a bit of a project but now I move from sitting to standing throughout my workday. It began relieving the continuing aggravation almost immediately and today I have NO pain in my hip.

I’ve always wondered if it would improve my productivity to stand at my desk. I can say that it has and I actually have the best of both worlds. I sit some and I stand some.

What firsts did you experience recently? How is your life improved?

Complete the sign-up form so you can receive updates or even participate in the Moments of Aware Appreciation Movement. Appreciation is a powerful tool that helps us create more of what we say we want in our lives. Give it a try and share your experiences.