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Accountable Goals for 2016

December 26, 2015 by  
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As pretty much everyone knows, this time of year is so super busy it can be the most stressful time of the year.  There is an automatic built in deadline for all of us and as you read this we’ve just past that automatic deadline that’s called Christmas. The 25th of December is a goal that the world has set for all of us. That date pushes all of us to get many tasks done and in a way that is a good thing.

So now as we finish this year of 2015, most of us start thinking what the next year will be like and what is it that we want to accomplish.  We start thinking about what goals we want to set for ourselves and, if we are wise, we put deadlines on our goals which pushes us to reach those goals within that self-imposed deadline.  If we tell other people what our goals are and the deadline dates, that is usually very helpful because those friends and relatives can help push us and keep us on track by asking how we are doing and if we are on track for completing our goals on time.

I couldn’t help but think of that late last night at a party, when I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t written this week’s blog and I had told my editor that I would have a draft to her by last night. Ouch.  So first thing this morning I got right on the task of writing this blog that you are now reading. Outside help can really keep us on track.

Additionally, last night someone asked me what my goals were for 2016. They knew I was big on goal setting and they also set goals for themselves and push their kids to do the same. My answer was that my biggest goal for the new year was to push myself for better and better health.  Now that I’m almost 72 years old I see, more and more, how important health is. I’m already in darn good shape and came so very close to a 10 mile a day goal I had set for myself in 2015 that included running, walking and playing tennis. But in 2016 I’m going to raise the bar to an even higher level and add some tough weight lifting goals since I know that extra muscle will increase my metabolism and of course make me look and feel better and stronger.

So my challenge to you is take time to think through what you want to accomplish in this coming year and be sure, as I’ve preached over and over again, to write down what those goals are and then be sure to put a time frame or a deadline on your goals. To help yourself along, tell friends and or relatives what those goals are and ask for their help. That combination is a sure fire way to make your goals a reality.

 

Reflections in Lieu of a Christmas Card

December 18, 2015 by  
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Now, a week before Christmas I received this email from a very dear friend of 40 years.  He’s a great guy, now a retired doctor, whose life was turned upside down 2 years ago when he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and given only a few months to live.  After going through a 9-hour surgery and painful recovery he’s still hanging in there and has embraced life with incredible energy and enthusiasm, fully living life every single day.  He is a positive, lovable human being who is setting a wonderful example for all of us, a man I am proud to call a great friend.

Here is his “Reflections in lieu of a Christmas Card”

I stayed out of the hospital this year.

I played golf or pickle ball almost every day.

I enjoyed friendships, new and old.

I’m learning to say goodbye reluctantly to some
friendships that didn’t work.

I made a few new friends.

I love my kids and grand kids who each seem to be
on their own unique journey.

I continue to know less about more.

I own my own faults and will probably keep
most of them.

I travel less and enjoy my home and Robyn more.

I value things less and ideas more.

I totally reject trying to change anyone else.

I seek forgiveness for hurting anyone.

I reject exclusion, pettiness, manipulation, passive
aggressiveness, and revenge.

I love knowledge, insight, information.

I love competition and discussion.

I reject polarization, cliques, political and
group collectivism.

I advocate for things I believe and not for groups,
causes, or labels.

I advocate for health, fitness, and science.

I love animals more than people.

I reject political correctness and distribution of
wealth.  I advocate for self-determinism.

My identity is not in my possessions.

I resolve next year to reduce drama in my
life by avoiding those who need it.

I want to live as long as possible if there is good quality.

After pancreatic cancer, I’m not afraid of much so
I will speak to my beliefs.  You can have yours
so don’t be offended.  I can disagree with you
and love you.  Don’t react with anger.  Just
listen or not.

I can’t be offended unless I choose to be.

Life is short, don’t withhold love.

Don’t take yourself seriously.  Laugh at your
mistakes and embrace them.  Don’t worry
about what others think.  Worry more about
what you think of yourself.  I want you happy.

If this all sounds pontifical, it probably is.  It’s me at my best and worst.

Love to all.

–Craig Davis

More Notes on Beautiful Uncertainty

December 11, 2015 by  
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As I promised in my last blog here, I have other high points from Pema Chodron’s wonderful book Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change. These super great gems will not only save you time but I really believe they can help most people’s lives in a big way. And maybe it will even motivate you to read her book.

Page 52: One big key that Pema talks about over and over about is “mindfulness”. I need to work on this more in my daily life.

Page 56: “And even when fame is achieved, does it bring the happiness that people anticipate?” Consider how common it is to have wealth and fame but be miserable, like Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis.

Page 72: When one gets to speak or teach, remember to not tune out others; try to pick up on their feelings, etc.

Page 73: Let go of negativity about other people.

Page 72-73: A monk taught Pema to practice saying to herself when waking up, “I wonder what will happen today; that’s the spirit of taking a leap.”

Page 104: Chogyam Trungpa’s comments on ‘enlightenment’. Basically it is when you hear or see or smell something for the first time like you did when you were a child; that’s enlightenment and I do need to pay more attention to those things around me to have more enlightenment, and look deeper to see or experience new stuff.

Page 108: Be fully open to whatever is coming along right now.

Page 111: To know self is to forget the self.

Page 112: To forget self is to be enlightened by all things.

Page 115: Embrace the world as it is.

Page 115: “Peace and prosperity come from how we, the citizens of the world, are working with our minds. By not running from the vicissitudes of life, be fearlessly opening to them all, we have the opportunity not only to change our own life but also to help change the earth.”

Page 133: Pema ends her book by saying “… so I leave you with a question: Are you ready to make a commitment? Is the time right for you to commit to not causing harm, to benefiting others, to embracing the world just as it is? Are you willing to make any–or all–of these commitments for a lifetime or a year or a month or even a day?”

It’s so interesting to me to write these words that I’ve read so many times before and realize that, once again, the review motivates me to work on these great principals to enhance my life. It’s amazing how most of us humans know something and know it well but tend to neglect that knowledge way too quickly. We get distracted and stop doing, thinking and living what we once learned. It tells me one more time to keep reviewing and reviewing and reminding myself. Remember this great quote “To know and not to do is not yet to know.” –Guru Neem Karili Boba

Side Notes on Uncertainty

December 6, 2015 by  
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Years ago I picked up a habit that has served me well for many years and I still do it to this day. It’s simply this: When I’m reading a book–especially a book with good advice, concepts and life lifting ideas—I write notes of those statements that I find profound and powerful,  those things that I don’t want to ever forget.  I write those gems on the blank pages in the front or back of the book with the page number of the quote.  That helps me tremendously weeks, months or years later when I want to quickly review the high points in that particular book, and I can do so in a matter of a few minutes.  Those quick reviews re-motivate me, remind of many things that I’d forgotten, and help me find and follow good pathways.

Let me show you what I mean. Here are my notes from Pema Chodron’s book Living Beautifully with Uncertainly and Change.

Page 3.  “Our attempts to find lasting pleasure, lasting security, are at odds with the fact that we’re part of a dynamic system in which everything and everyone is in process.”

Page 6.  “Change….when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment….”

Page 7.  “What a fundamental ambiguity of being human points to is that as much as we want to, we can never say, ‘This is the only true way. This is how it is. End of discussion.’  In an interview Chris Hedges also talked about the pain that ensures when a group or religion insists that its view is the one true view.”

Page 10. Our habitual response to feeling ensues…when we’re hooked, we turn to anything to relieve the discomfort–food, alcohol, sex, shopping, being critical or unkind.”

Page 12. “…emotions like anger that are an automatic response last just ninety seconds from the moment it’s triggered until it runs its course.”

Page 16.   My thought from reading this page is I try to notice when I am trying to escape from the fundamental uncertainly of life!

Page 26.  “We all have our familiar exits: zoning out in front of the TV, compulsively checking e-mail, coming home at night and having three or four or six drinks, overeating, overworking.”  Note to self: I need to become more aware of these escape methods and not do them myself.

Page 29. “Don’t believe everything you think.”

Page 30.  My thoughts from this page are that I need to think about what I’m thinking but then I shouldn’t try to totally repress thoughts I don’t like but I need to work on refraining from doing it again.

Page 50. “Accept yourself as you are right now.”

Page 53.  “Loving kindness for self means making time for meditation and self-reflection, for kindhearted, compassionate, self-honesty.”

Since we all have limited time in our lives (even if you live to be 80, that’s still only 960 months and you know how fast a month flies by!), we all need to be as efficient and productive as we possibly can and that’s why I encourage you to use your time wisely. I really think my habit of capturing the best items of the best books as you read is a great habit to develop for life enhancement and productivity.

I hope you glean as much wisdom as I did from these high points of Pema’s great book. I will post the rest of the notes that I made in the front of her book next week. Right now I need to go to my club and play some more tennis. Yep … we all need to balance our lives to get the most out of the limited time we have here on the planet earth.