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Living Happily Ever After

The standard of success in life isn’t the things. It isn’t the money or the stuff—it is absolutely the amount of joy you feel. — Abraham Hicks

The formula is so simple. The Law of Attraction dictates that you get more of what you focus on.  When you zero in on that which brings you joy, you begin to attract more circumstances that make you happy. If you make it your overriding goal to live happily ever after, then you will experience a life beyond compare.

What trips most of us up is that we put conditions on what “happily ever after” looks like:

Condition #1 – Lots of money. If you require a certain amount of money before you are happy, then you are on a dangerous path.  As you continuously ponder the absence of that dollar amount, you experience a feeling of lack. Now you are attracting more of the same.

My friend Peter has lots of money and an incredible lifestyle to match—homes in exotic places and first class travel at the drop of a hat. As I have gotten to know him over the past year and heard the story of his life, I have come to understand that his early circumstances were unhappy, to say the least.  I’ve also learned that he is naturally upbeat.  He has always found a way to have a blast, wherever he is and whatever he’s doing.  Because of that, he has attracted more of what matches his optimistic nature.  Wealth was never a goal—having a good time was. The more he enjoyed himself, whether in the office or out on a kayak, the more he attracted circumstances that matched his natural ebullience.

Here’s the most important thing to know: Peter is no happier now than he was when he had nothing. If you don’t have his kind of wealth, you will undoubtedly scoff at that. But think of your own circumstances.  You likely have had abundance in your life at one point, whether it was having your own apartment after you left home or even living the American Dream of home ownership. Has it made you any happier?

Condition #2 – The people I love have to be doing well. Good luck with this one. First of all, are you the one who defines what “doing well” means? Other people’s paths, including the journeys of your family, are not yours to control.  You have a full-time job with your own.

My teacher, Abraham Hicks said it better than I ever could:  you cannot get poor enough to make someone else rich and you cannot get sick enough to make someone else well.

There will always be people around you who aren’t living up to the expectations and dreams you hold for them.  The best gift you can give them is to demonstrate, through your example, how to be happy despite imperfect conditions. After all, isn’t that what you want for them?

Condition #3 – A “to do” list with nothing on it. This is the funniest one of all.  The game of life is to add things to your list, not get rid of the list altogether.

We are all incredibly busy.  We think it’s gotten worse because we have selective memory.  We forget that, ‘lo those many years ago before the Internet and cell phones and 400 television channels to choose from, we still felt rushed. That feeling isn’t being imposed on you from the outside; it’s coming from inside you.

The logical conclusion is to think that, if we had less to do, we would feel better.  I have tried it and I am here to tell you, it is a false belief.

All those items on your “to do” list summon Life Force through you.  The energy you feel when you are busy is extraordinary—unless you resist it.  It isn’t getting things done that tire us, it is fighting the work involved. Think of the difference in how you feel when you whistle as you work versus complaining every step of the way.

Living happily ever after is a decision, pure and simple. It is life affirming and a boatload of fun. Are you in?

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Work Summons Energy

In 1935, when Social Security’s original retirement age of 65 was established, life expectancy was 63.  Today, life expectancy is 78.  The math is clear—if we retire at age 65, we have an average of 13 years to do…what?

With all the craziness going on in today’s economy, it is likely that most of us will have to work well past the time we anticipated.  I believe this is a good thing—it is forcing us to adapt to the new reality of our longer life span.

You see, work summons energy.  When we are engaged in tasks that fall under the category of work (paid or unpaid), we are more alive than when we are idle.

Don’t take my word for it. Think about how you feel when you have lots of time on your hands and nothing to do.  Now consider how you feel when you are fully engaged in work.  Don’t you feel more vibrant?  Even if you dislike the task, you are still more alive while you are doing it.

Most people initially scoff when I tell them the following:  in 2009, USA Today reported that a recent German study has found that people tend to be most bummed out about life in general on Sundays, with Saturdays and Fridays following closely behind.

How could this be?

There is much less structure during our weekends.  Left to our own devices, we rarely create structure for ourselves. Even if we have a “to do” list, there is no real pressure to get things done.

At our jobs, however, the structure is created for us and we are forced to be productive.  This is much better for our mental health. I don’t know about you, but for me, having too much time to think is not a good thing—my mind is a dangerous neighborhood to hang out in. And hanging out there for 18 years?  Just shoot me now!

This is the very best argument for figuring out how to thoroughly enjoy your job:

If you cannot figure out how to make your job satisfying and something you look forward to, you will not be able to create similar value on weekends or during your retirement years.

We are the same, whether at work or at home.  Creating value comes from within. A boss cannot give it to you at work and your family cannot give it to you at home.

Creating value for what you do has everything to do with focus.  You can focus on the task at hand in a way that drains you OR you can employ your focus as it was intended—as a way to summon more energy.

Let’s use washing dishes as an example.  Nobody inherently enjoys washing dishes.  Those who say they do have learned how to create value around the task.  If I focus on what a waste of time it is or on being a victim (“How come I have to do this?  Why doesn’t anyone help?”), then doing dishes is draining (pardon the pun).  If I focus instead on how good it feels to get something tangible done, then doing dishes summons energy that makes me feel good.

That is the choice you have every day at work:  focus on this in a way that saps my strength or focus on it in a way that creates more energy. Your job is a great learning lab.  If you can learn to create value there, it will spill over into every area of your life:  relationships, physical and mental health, even your spiritual connection.

Those people we admire who have lots of energy and are highly productive don’t have perfect lives. What they do have is the ability to create value in all that they do.  They produce lots of results, not because they are more gifted or have more money but because they have learned the secret:  Work Summons Energy.

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Acting “as if”

Over the weekend, I was in Charlotte, NC to participate in my first Avon 2-Day Breast Cancer Walk. Over the two days, we walked a total of 39.3 miles. I trained for it but the longest distance I had walked was 15 miles so I was anxious about my ability to complete the route.

Then my friend Michelle, a veteran participant who walked with me, gave me a gift—something to focus on. She said, “Whenever you feel tired or your feet hurt like crazy, just remember that on Monday, when this is all over, you can go back to the comforts of your life.  Cancer patients don’t have that choice.”  Her pearls of wisdom made the walk relatively easy for me.

You see, there are many women in my life who have or are survivors of breast cancer (and by the way, men can get it, too). My friend Gayna is currently in the middle of treatment and in horrendous pain. Jacque, a subscriber to my column emailed to thank me for doing the walk, writing that she was sitting with a frozen bag of peas on her chest recovering from bilateral breast surgery. Several friends and family members get re-checked each year and then wait anxiously to hear whether the cancer is still gone.

The Law of Attraction dictates that you get more of what you focus on. These walks provide a way for thousands of people worldwide to focus on two things:  early detection and finding a cure.  Along the route, we met two sisters who were doing their seventh walk together in as many years. (There are walks scheduled each year in nine cities.) They told us they are focused on the cure being found just when they complete their ninth walk in two years.  That’s a beautiful focal point and a great use of “acting as if.”

On my way to catch a flight home this morning, I was riding down an escalator at the Atlanta airport and was reminded once again how “acting as if” can boost one’s mood.

I looked around and spotted several people who looked, shall we say, out of sorts.  Once I saw it in them, I wondered how I looked.  I decided to set my face in an expression that said I was having fun.  In no time at all, I actually was!

You see, your brain does not know the difference between pretend and reality.  If you smile or laugh or sing, it receives a clear signal that you are in a good mood and responds by sending into your system chemicals that actually make you feel that way.  When you focus on the victims of cancer you are walking for, you barely feel the pain in your feet.  It is an amazing tool you can tap at any time, under any circumstance.

Actors use this technique all the time and have to be careful with it.  I recall reading an interview with the talented Sir Anthony Hopkins. He was relating an experience of acting in a movie where his character had a heart attack.  He said that this particular director was famous for doing upwards of 15 takes for one scene. Because Hopkins was concerned about the impact faking a heart attack would have on him, he firmly told the director that he’d better get it right in two takes because that was all Hopkins was willing to do. Such wisdom.

On the other hand, had I been Vince Vaughn or Owen Wilson in the film The Wedding Crashers, I would have wanted to redo many of the scenes over and over, just because they were so much fun!  What an impact that particular focus would have!

Whether you are fighting cancer, walking to raise funds for a cure, or simply wanting to have a good day, what you focus on matters.  Remember, your brain doesn’t know the difference between when you are pretending and when something is actually happening. Put “acting as if” in your toolbox to attract more of what you want.  It’s a simple concept. It’s not always easy to do but this is one exercise worth doing over and over until you master it.

Focus, focus, focus….

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How Lucky Can You Be?

I am back from an amazing month in Europe, a trip that provides ample evidence that the Law of Attraction works.  Bill (my significant other) and I travelled from Italy, where we hiked to 8,000 feet in the Italian Alps, to Switzerland to France and finally to Poland. It was a month of experiences that opened my mind and my heart and today I feel more like a global citizen than before I left.

Along the way, we saw different lifestyles and attitudes. Without benefit of understanding the languages, I had to depend on observing body language.  It seems to me that those who live in small villages are more content than those in the big cities. Conversely, those in the cities seem more open than the villagers, although it’s fair to say I may have that opinion because those we met in the larger cities more often spoke English.

And what does any of this have to do with the Law of Attraction and its edict that you get more of what you focus on?

In the small villages, people seemed most focused on the tasks at hand and less concerned about what was around the corner. They just didn’t appear, at least facially, to be worriers.  When we stopped to talk with them or ask a question, they never acted as if we were keeping them from something more important. They were fully engaged in the moment.

In one Swiss village (population approximately 6,000) there is virtually no crime. People leave their doors unlocked and the keys in their cars.  Because there is little crime, they don’t focus on it and therein lives the question, “Cause or effect?”

City dwellers, on the other hand, expect crime.  Again I ask, “Cause or effect?”

Unfortunately, most of us base our expectations on what we observe versus what we desire. If I had focused on my savings account as the basis for my ability to travel to Europe, I would still be limited to the USA.  Instead, I simply knew that someday I would see Europe. I didn’t know how but I was confident it would happen. I daydreamed about it regularly. I read travel magazines and watched travel shows on TV. And then one day Bill found me (another Law of Attraction triumph.) We fell in love and I was delighted to discover that he travels at every opportunity and has both the means and generosity to share these adventures with me. You get what you focus on!

The Law of Attraction is not some silly notion.  Any one of us can move with confidence toward the achievement of our dreams even if we don’t have a clue as to how it’s going to happen. You get what you expect. What are your expectations?

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

Susan Boyle, the amazing singer who achieved fame on the TV show, Britain’s Got Talent is a great example of this.  She practiced singing her entire life.  She always had a vision of being a star even in the face of incredible skepticism. When I watched the

video of her audition  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk

I was in tears because I was watching the Law of Attraction at work.  Before she went onstage, she said to the emcees, “I’m going to ROCK that audience.”  Following her smashing performance, I watched as she curtsied to the judges and blew kisses to the audience.  I knew that she had been practicing for that moment her entire life.

That is what “luck” is.  When Boyle first dreamt of being a star, she couldn’t aspire to be a contestant on Britain’s Got Talent; the show didn’t exist! But she did aspire to be discovered and, when the opportunity arose, she was right there to take advantage of it.

Are you prepared for the opportunity to fulfill your dreams? To paraphrase the movie character Dirty Harry, “You gotta ask yourself, are you feeling lucky?”

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What Does Your Energy Attract?

I pulled a book off my shelf this week that was gathering dust. It should not have been; it is a very worthwhile read. In 1989 Stuart Wilde wrote The Trick to Money is Having Some! and it’s still relevant to today’s world.

I opened up its pages with hope in my heart and excitement in my belly. You see, I have used the Law of Attraction to heal many important areas of my life: my relationships, my physical and mental health, and my spiritual connection. There is one area I continue to struggle with—money. According to Wilde that struggle is a root cause:

“Effort is a natural part of our physical state, but struggle is effort laced with emotion, and that is unnatural and unholy. Inside the energy of abundance, there is no struggle, only flow.”

As I made my way through this wonderful book, the theme that stood out is that money is simply a form of energy. So I asked myself, “What kind of energy am I putting out around the topic of money?”

Clues abound when I look at what I attract. First, I have a belief that everything always works out. Not bad, right? It’s certainly better than, “Yikes! I am REALLY in trouble!” Unfortunately, although things do work out, it’s usually by the skin of my teeth. A more satisfying belief would be that I always have more money than I need in any given moment.

Secondly, I have a core belief that you have to labor really hard to make a lot of money. Over the years, I have worked on softening that belief but it is still there. This is also unfortunate because, to tell you the truth, I have little interest in working really hard. I don’t think anyone wants to do that, even if they are. Most people I know who work really hard believe that someday they won’t have to. That “someday” doesn’t ever seem to arrive.

Finally (and this is the ironic part), I have trouble focusing when it comes to attracting money; it has never motivated me. I am motivated by learning cool things. I generally have several projects going at once, none of them getting the focused attention that would manifest the desired results. Because my energy is scattered, so are my results. But here’s what I suddenly understood as I was writing this column: if I make “creating abundance” a learning project, it will definitely capture my interest. How cool is that?

The solution to any area in your life where you’re not getting what you want always lies with The Law of Attraction which dictates that you get more of what you focus on.

The more we focus on lack, the more of it we attract. We need instead to nurture an abundant consciousness.

  • When we see someone spending gobs of money on something we deem frivolous, it is important to say, “What fun!” instead of maligning him/her.
  • Rather than scanning the news for signs of corporate greed, scan for business people who are also philanthropists, using their money for good. Then imagine yourself doing the same.
  • Get into the habit of receiving. If you see a penny on the sidewalk, pick it up. When someone offers you something, don’t talk them out of it. Say, “Thank you. I accept.”

More than anything, it’s important to work on increasing our positive energy. Wilde wrote, “In a world where everything is ordinary and dull…if you invest energy in things, people respond.” There are millions of people for whom price is irrelevant. What they want is energy. If they can get it from hanging around you, they will reward you with abundance.

I know this to be true because, in my research I’ve discovered that people who get promoted up the ranks are usually the ones who have the kind of energy the organization wants. Of course, those of us who are not in the habit of abundant thinking make up stories like, “She got that job because she’s a brown nose,” or, “He has political connections or he wouldn’t be here.” That kind of thinking only keeps us stuck in our world of lack.

So if you’re going to invest your time and money in something that will pay the greatest dividends, it would be wise to do whatever you can to increase your positive energy. That’s the trick—to money and to anything worth having!

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