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A Beautiful Life Now

July 12, 2019 by  
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If someone is really rude and totally offends you but then later offers a very sincere apology, most of us would probably forgive that person and move on with our lives. However, when most of us human beings make a mistake or screw something up, in many cases we will not forgive ourselves and so we carry that guilt around for days or years and that can hurt us in so many ways.

Quoting from Pema Chodron’s Living Beautifully, a great book that I’ve quoted before, “Over time, as thinking minds begin to settle, we’ll start to see our patterns and habits far more clearly. This can be an experience. I can’t overestimate the importance of accepting ourselves exactly as we are right now, not as we wish we were or think we ought to be. By cultivating nonjudgmental openness to ourselves and to whatever arises, to our surprise and delight we will find ourselves genuinely welcoming the never-pin-downable quality of life, experiencing it as a friend, a teacher and a support and no longer as an enemy.”

Pema talks a lot about acceptance of ourselves and the world as it is and how we should appreciate it as it is now. She talks about what she calls the “third commitment”, which is key to this kind of acceptance and appreciation. (You need to read her book to find out what the first and second commitment are and how they can greatly improve a person’s life.) To quote her again, “The everyday practice is simply to develop a complete acceptance and openness to all situations and emotions, without mental reservations and blockages, so that one never withdraws or centralizes into oneself.” She goes on to add that, “The attitude of the third commitment is that we live in a world that is intrinsically good, intrinsically awake, and our path is to realize this. Simply put, the practice at this stage is to turn toward your experience, all of it, and never turn away.

Pema talks a lot about being kind to others especially to ourselves. She talks about the process of growing-up and working toward feeling totally relaxed and free. She says, “that process, that transition, is one of becoming comfortable with exactly what we’re feeling as we feel it. The key practice to support us in this is mindfulness–being fully present right here, right now. Meditation is one form of mindfulness, but mindfulness is called by many names: attentiveness, nowness, and presence are just a few.”

Pema Chodron further explains that we need to pay attention to all the details of our life. “The specific details of our lives will, of course, differ, but for all of us, wakefulness concerns everything from how we make dinner to how we speak to one another to how we take care of our clothes, our floors, our forks and spoons”.

I think the bottom line is, if we pay more attention to the details of our lives it will give us more ways to free ourselves and that can help us free ourselves from suffering. So, we need to accept ourselves, appreciate our life as it is now, and pay attention. And we need to do all that, right now.

Reviewing and Improving on the Past Year

January 5, 2019 by  
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Wow, where did the 2018 year go?  It seemed to go faster than any other year of my life. How about you?

But what really got to me was what I wrote in my journal back on February 27, 2018:  “Now in Lihue, Kauai house … Kimbo [my nickname for my wife Kimberly] is working so hard to get the house in perfect condition as to justify the $4.5 million price we have it listed for… Now at 46 days away from age 74, I hope I’ve learned a little more about life and living.  I still need to focus on living in the great now moments of life and need to practice more of what I preach and write about … living in the present, self-talk and self-affirmations … and write them down.”

In that journal entry I made this list:

1. I am living in the now

2. I love my life now

3. I love my wife now

4. I love being semi-retired

5. I gain much of life from my writing and helping other people

In that same entry I finally came to this conclusion:

“In 6 days, we head back to Utah – in my head I keep thinking about that future event and have been counting down the days. I need to stop doing that and enjoy the great right now! I mean heavens, it’s pretty darn nice, right here and right now. Beautiful, warm, wonderful view of the great blue ocean and green mountains of Kauai … so I will now take all of that in and live in the ‘now moment’.  Ok I am doing that right now and it feels great!”

It was great to have realized what I needed then, but the realization didn’t quite turn into action. Recently, on Dec. 31, 2018, I made another, related journal entry: “I re-read some of my comments from last year and it hit me kind of hard how I said I must, and want, to live more in the present moment or the great wonderful ‘right now” and I realized I just didn’t do that very much. So, that’s now back on my new year’s resolution list for 2019. I’m going to do much better in 2019!”

I know that I’ve written and preached about keeping a journal of your life and reading my own past comments really shows me how important it is to do just that. You can coach yourself and remind yourself over and over again about what you need to work on and that, at least to me, is very important to improve and expand and make your life better and better. Yes, I know that we all have to think of the future and make plans and set goals and review our past, but after we’ve done that, we need to spend more time in the “great right now moment”.

I hope you agree and maybe what I’ve learned here will help you. I’m pretty darn sure it’s already helped me and will make me more aware of living in the now moments and how to love and enjoy 2019 more than last year, even though I fell short of my stated resolution. So, let’s all double down and make 2019 the best year EVER!

Stop the Worry Habit

April 6, 2018 by  
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As I mentioned in the last post, I have been concerned that I might have stomach cancer, but the bloating of my stomach continued to improve when I eliminated a few of my supplements so I canceled my doctor’s appointment. However, that experience was a big time scare and has got me thinking more and more about worry and how much harm it can do. As most of us know, our biggest worries almost never come to pass. Knowing that, shouldn’t we all stop worrying so much? And yet, who in this world doesn’t worry? I’d say pretty much no one.

Yes, there are a few times–a very few–when worry can be beneficial because it can push us to take needed action. But most worries are a waste of time. They drain our brains and there is even research that shows that excessive worry taxes your immune system. So, what can we do to reduce or eliminate most, or all, of our worries?

I don’t think we can totally eliminate all our worries but here are some ways to reduce some of them and eliminate others.

  1. Use positive self-talk when you find yourself with a big worry, reminding yourself that most worries never materialize. Push those negative thoughts out of your mind by replacing them with positive thoughts.
  2. Write your worries down because, many times, writing them out pushes them out of your mind.
  3. Try setting a half hour a week or so to visit your list of worries and ask yourself if those worries are really a big deal. If they are, ask yourself how you can handle, resolve, or eliminate that worry.
  4. Take a walk or work out. Just walking outside can do wonders for your mind and it helps reduce worry. There is such a great feeling that the great outdoors brings the human mind. (I just love my 20,000 steps a day and almost never miss taking my walks.)  I have noticed that most of my big worries are early in the morning as I lay in bed thinking about the day ahead. So, I find I just need to push myself out of bed and get myself moving. It almost always reduces or eliminates many of my big worries.
  5. Push your mind to live in the moment, that “great right now”, rather than thinking too much about the future.
  6. Play a competitive game like tennis. (And try not to worry that you might lose the game.)
  7. Take a long hot shower or, even better, get in a hot tub.
  8. Get a stress relieving massage.

On top of those suggestions, put this great thought into your mind. It’s a quote from Corrie ten Boom. She and her father helped about 800 Jews escape the Nazi’s in the Netherlands and resisted the Nazi Holocaust. She said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength”.

I must admit that some of my worries are pretty silly. For example, I worry about being even 2 or 3 minutes late for an appointment.  My wife worries about her clothes not matching perfectly.  What are your worries?  Yes, think about even your silly little worries. All these worries do add up. Then, with those in mind, apply the suggestions above to reduce your stress level and better enable you to live in the moment.

 

 

Making the Most of Every Minute

March 23, 2018 by  
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Wow, does time ever move fast and, as we all know, it moves faster every year.  And now, it seems that I can no longer lie about my age since my oldest son, Mark E., just turned 50 years old. I’m guessing you are like me in that you can easily remember when you turned 21 and 30 and all those other birthday milestones that seem like they happened not long ago at all. My 50th birthday is so fresh in my mind and easy to remember in great detail. I’ll never forget the huge billboard on I-15 with my picture on it wishing me a happy 50th birthday.

I think it’s so helpful to constantly remind ourselves that, because time moves so very quickly, we should all pay very close attention to what we want to make of our lives. What do we want to accomplish? Who do we want to help? Who do we want to love? And, as I’ve preached for many years, we absolutely must take the time to write down what we want to do and accomplish as well as put a timeline on those goals.

Yes, life is very short, but it can be very productive, helpful to others, and extremely fun and fulfilling even though it passes tremendously fast.  So, what we all may want to do is repeat that in our minds every day. We’ll call it our “Fun & Fulfilling Philosophy. “

So, yes, we do all need to make our time count since life really is very short. Writing those life goals down helps you become much more efficient but also, all us humans never want to forget that, as we go after our goals, we must push ourselves to live life in the great right now, as in “living in the moment”.  I certainly have to regularly remind myself of both those very important habits as I can easily get carried away with worry and fretting over the future and what I haven’t accomplished.  Those reminders really do help me as I’m sure they would for you too. So, give it try and make the most out of every minute of your life.

Your Own Affirmation List

October 21, 2017 by  
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In last week’s post, I challenged you to come up with some affirmations and positive self-talk. What did you come up with?

Never forget that the human brain can be programmed and you can teach it just about anything you want to–repeat those affirmations to yourself over and over again and your brain will believe it. It can and will improve your life and move you toward any goal you have set for yourself. It’s just like what science has discovered about forcing a smile on your face to make you feel better—the brain doesn’t realize it’s a fake smile and so releases the same feel good chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, as if it were a genuine smile.

If you are still working on coming up with more affirmations and positive self-talk, here are a few of mine that I try to repeat each one ten times every day, many times when I’m taking a shower, bath or sitting in my hot tub.

  1. I am feeling more upbeat and positive.
  2. I am happy and healthy.
  3. I live in the great right now moment.
  4. I set big goals but am satisfied with baby steps.
  5. I forgive myself for mistakes I make.
  6. I love my wife, I love my life.
  7. I feel calm and collected even in stressful situations.
  8. I am making a difference in the world for the better.
  9. I love people and I listen to others.
  10. I am strong and worthy.
  11. I eat a healthy diet.
  12. I love to exercise.
  13. I appreciate other people.

By the way, before I play a tennis game I do some self-talk as well. For example, I repeat over and over in my head, “I have a very power forehand. I have a very accurate backhand. I am fast and flexible. I have a very accurate and fast serve.” It always seems to help my game. I am convinced this self-talk was a key to helping me win 4 gold medals in singles tennis at the Huntsman World Senior games.

So, go ahead and give it a try in whatever aspect of your life you’d like to improve. I am convinced that if you take time to make up your own list of daily self-talk comments that you will be so glad and satisfied that you did and it will improve your life and those around you.

Do you find this information inspiring? You can get these every week in your email so you don’t miss one, by going to the top of my website page here: http://ignitemylifenow.com Search through the recent posts and archives sections on the blog page to find more super helpful thoughts and ideas.

 

Living Well and Healthy on the Way to 100

January 20, 2017 by  
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I would like to share with you some more thoughts about life and living and, yes, a few more things that you and I can do to increase our chances of living to be 100.

First, let me tell you about my super crazy few days this past week. The day after I wrote about how important it is to have great health I suddenly got very sick. It started with a severe case of acid reflux but then I could not eat or drink anything without huge chest pains and throwing it all up. I began to feel better after 3 days and so got some time in on beautiful Poipu beach. However, there I witnessed a guy being pulled from the ocean by a lifeguard just 20 or 30 feet from where we were relaxing and just having a good time.

Five paramedics went to work on this guy. They pounded his chest, did CPR on him, and shocked him many times–they worked on him for 20 minutes. Everyone on the beach just froze and watched as they tried to save this guy’s life. Many people were in tears, but even with all that effort and skilled professional work done by the paramedics, the guy did not make it.

The mood of all of us beach goers changed dramatically. We went from fun, games and joy to quiet and very somber. It is amazing how so many people care deeply about a person they do not even know. The young lady next to us broke down in tears. I was fighting back my own tears. The loss of life is a sad thing and, yes, we will all get to that point eventually. But this was a reminder that it is so critically important to live life to the fullest every single day, to do virtually everything we can to stay healthy and extend our lives —yes, to like 100 years old–in good health.

With that said here are a few more of the 100 Wonderful Ways to Live to Be 100:

  • Find reasons to laugh.
  • Do unto others but do not forget about yourself.
  • Do not dread getting older.
  • Get busy and stay busy.
  • (This one alone can add an average 7 years to your life.)
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Eat less.
  • Practice positive self-talk.
  • Use your brain–engage in games and intellectual stimulation.

Let’s not wait until illness or some unexpected tragedy makes us realize how valuable our life is. We can honor this gift we have, every day, by doing everything we can to not just live, but live well and healthy. And to live, yes, to be at least 100.

On the Way to 100

January 13, 2017 by  
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It’s early January 2017 and I’m sitting on beautiful Shipwreck Beach in Kauai.  It’s the perfect temperature with a slight breeze and as I’m writing I’m also listening and watching kids, grand kids and adults laughing, playing and having an absolute blast!  To be in a place like this doesn’t take tons of money but it certainly helps, especially if you live a thousand or two thousand miles away from a warm beach.

I’ve talked quite a bit about new year’s resolutions and goals in the last few weeks, especially talking about that big financial goal or resolution you need to set for you self for 2017.  I must say, that no matter how important financial goals are, setting goals and resolutions for your health is just as important, or I should say much more important!  Look at the billions of dollars that Steve Jobs had, but all that money couldn’t buy his health or save him from the grim reaper.

I’m surely not saying that money can’t ever help your health. It really can by providing better doctors, hospitals, and the latest and greatest hi-tech procedures and medicine, but what you and I choose to do, day by day, can greatly increase our odds of having good health. We could even live to be 100 years old and arrive there in pretty good shape.

A  article from August of 2015, titled “100 Wonderful Ways to Live to 100”, quotes a book called The Longevity Project written by Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin.  In the article, it is explained that the authors’ research showed that “being conscientious was one of the best predictors of longevity. That’s because people who are conscientious may be more likely to abide by healthful behaviors, may be less prone to disease, and may find more success in relationships and in the workplace.”

In addition to that observation, I would like to share with you a few of the other article’s 100 ways to live to 100. Then maybe next week I’ll share a few more of the 100 wonderful ways and my thoughts on those. I should also add that almost all the 100 ways are backed up by good solid research. Here are a few easy one to keep in mind:

  • Don’t dread getting older…adults who developed positive attitudes about getting older live more than 7 years longer than those who had negative attitudes.
  • Find a life purpose.
  • Walk a lot.
  • Go meatless.
  • Try to keep your marriage friction-free.
  • Get your Mediterranean diet on.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Drink alcohol (but only in moderation).
  • Cut the sugar.
  • Drink your coffee-but only in moderation.
  • Join the 1 percent.

beach 1Yep, rich people live longer. It’s been proven in many studies!

Oops! I’ve got to stop for a few moments while I watch crazy, young, testosterone filled guys jump off the more than 100-foot-tall cliffs into the water. My son-in-law just did it and survived and went back and did it again. Ugh. It’s very scary.  Maybe I should add to the list of my rules for longevity and health not to take huge risks, like jumping off a cliff or out of a perfectly good airplane, even if I have 2 parachutes!

Ok, that’s all for this week. There will be a few more next week. In the meantime, let’s all go to work on these and set some hard and fast new year’s resolutions for our health and longevity.

 

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

Be Grateful Now

November 13, 2015 by  
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It seems most of us don’t stop and take time to appreciate and have gratitude for so many things in our lives, until we lose something that has great value for us.  However, if we lose it and then get it back, suddenly, our gratitude and appreciation factor can soar.  I’m talking about everything from our health, wealth, relationships, family, and friends, just to name just a few.

A couple of weeks ago I was hit with 3 big health issues that shook me to the core. I had been previously told that I had the beginning stages of COPD and then I came down with a horrific sinus infection that was not only very painful but my nose was running like a river day and night.  On top of that I took a blood test that showed my blood was over the safe limit in its thickness and my PSA numbers indicated that I may have prostate cancer.  Talk about getting hit in the face with your own weakness and mortality all at once!

I was beside myself not only with physical pain but huge, incessant, mental worry and stress.  I was a mess.

Now fast forward a few weeks and everything dramatically changed. The sinus pain, nasal drip and horrible cough stopped, the infection was cured by medication.  My latest pulmonary test showed my lungs were normal and improving, so most likely I didn’t have COPD and my prostate exam came back negative, so no cancer. YEA!

I was ecstatic and, on top of that, it was a huge relief. I was so VERY DAMN GRATEFUL to be healthy and pain free.

I couldn’t stop thinking about how grateful I was and then something struck me pretty hard. I was thinking, “Hey you dummy. Why weren’t you appreciative and so totally grateful back before all of your problems began?”  Why is it that we humans seem to need to lose something very before we fully appreciate what we have? It’s kind of strange but most of us really don’t fully appreciate so many things in our lives until we lose them.

So, the bottom line is that every day, I’m going to concentrate on being aware of all the great things in my life–health, wealth, family, friends, freedom, love etc.– and do that without having to take that round trip of losing it and getting it back before truly appreciate what I have. And if you don’t think you have enough good things in your life right now, stop and take a minute to think about what your life would be like if you lived in Syria or you were one of the many refugees freezing and trying to make it to a safer country. I’m certain you have a lot to be grateful for and the time to appreciate it is now.

 

Battling Fear in the Great ‘Right Now’

October 2, 2015 by  
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Fear and anxiety is something all of us experience from time to time in our lives—sometimes more often than we care to admit.  We fear and stress over big things that might not, and usually never, happen. They are these little things that can get stuck in our brains day after day that bug us and don’t let go. As a matter of fact I am experiencing a bit of fear and stress right now over something that logically shouldn’t bother me, something I’ve been through many, many times and logically I shouldn’t have any fear at this point. That fear and anxiety is all wrapped up in my head over a speech I’ve been asked to give to a group of MBA students at Utah State University.  Even though it’s not scheduled until next week and I’ve given many hundreds of presentations and seminars on the same subject over the years, I’ve still been worrying myself into a bit of a frenzy.

Part of the problem is that I haven’t given any speeches for a very long time  That shouldn’t bother me since I know my financial subject backward and forward and I’m sure none of the kids (Oops! I mean the MBA college students!) don’t have near the experience or knowledge of the subject I’ll be presenting.  So I really shouldn’t be stressing.  But of course our fears and worries aren’t necessarily logical or based on any facts. And furthermore I’m almost positive, based partly experience, that when my presentation is all finish I will think back and laugh at myself for being so uptight.

For most of us normal and average human beings it’s the same story–we fear things that may happen in the future even though most of what we fear never happens. So what is the lesson to be learned from all this?  It’s an old subject, an old lesson but one that we need to constantly be vigilant in observing and monitoring–that self-talk or negative chatter box inside our head.  We need to keep directing that self-talk to bring our thoughts from future thinking to thinking and living in the great ‘right now’!

Just taking time to write about my fear and anxiety over next week’s speech has already given my brain a calming feeling and the worry and stress has dropped considerably. Wow … I guess that is another lesson to learn! If we open up and talk or write about the fears and anxiety that we have in our heads, sharing it with others, that sharing can act as a kind of magic cure.

Well, I think I better get to work and outline and practice my presentation for the MBA students next week–that also reduces stress and anxiety.

 

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