It has been an interesting 2018 so far. Hasn't it? And the year is still just getting started it feels like. Especially now that spring has finally arrived. So, as you begin getting more active, I hope you remember the lessons from our podcasts and blogs this year that will guide you to a year of fulfillment and a year of doing what you absolutely love most. One word of caution though. Be aware of your expectations you have for yourself.
The old saying goes "expectations breed pain". This doesn't mean that you should have ZERO expectations. It simply means you should focus on raising your standards rather than your expectations. Your standards define who you are in life and are the foundation for all decisions that you make. Standards are completely in your control. Expectations, on the other hand, are typically in relation to other people and are not entirely under your control because of this. For example, you expect that your child will pick up after him or herself, or you expect your boss will give you enough time to complete a project on top of all the other work you have piling up on your desk. If you are familiar with either of these, then join me in saying good luck with these expectations!
Your standards define who you are in life and are the foundation for all decisions that you make.
Standards on the other hand, define you on the inside and are the root of every action you take. Standards build morality; they strengthen character; they control your thoughts and your emotions; and they instill in you the qualities of the type of person you envision yourself becoming in this world. Your standards are the foundation for your entire life and determine how far you will go and how much impact you will have on the world. Think of it this way: When you get excited about something, and jump high into the air screaming with joy, there are a few things you need. You need something under your feet to push off of; enough space to jump as high as you can; and the ability to express yourself freely in the biggest and loudest way possible. In this example, your standards are like the ground beneath your feet. They provide you with a solid base to push off from. And when combined with your internal drive to seek fulfillment in your life (this being your expression of your excitement in the previous example), you will have the potential to reach as high into the air as possible and feel totally uninhibited and larger than life.
Make the choice to depend on yourself first, just like when putting on your oxygen mask on the airplane. Go on a journey and explore what you love most in life and what you believe you are or capable of. Discover what fuels your fire to live and search for more of it. These are the key components of your personal standards that will help them to grow and thrive. Standards that no one can create for you. We on the outside can only see your potential when you have forgotten what it looks and feels like. We cannot see the standards you create for yourself. However, we most certainly CAN see the standards you choose NOT to live up to.
Your next decision after raising your standards should be to lower all of your expectations to a level that you know will not impact your mission in life and your life's purpose. If expectations breed pain, you will either have too many of them or you will invest yourself too much in the few you do have. Redirect this energy NOW into developing your standards so that you can sculpt your own Sistine Chapel of inner confidence and self-understanding.
These powerful instructions should give you the boost your need to achieve what some people refer to as happiness, others refer to as fulfillment, and we all experience as a sense of satisfaction. If we can learn to raise our standards and lower our expectations, we could all walk out into the world each day knowing who we are.
Don't. Click. Anything.
Stop for a second and think. What was the last excuse you made before reading this?
Are you about to make an excuse right now so you can get back to Facebook or your email?
Stop. Just stop.
No more excuses. You've been making them too often and for too long.
Excuses lead to regret. Plain and simple.
What have your excuses kept you from doing (and ultimately experiencing) in your life? Have you missed countless open doorways that might have led you to a new job, a larger paycheck, or a bigger smile on your face? How would you know? You're too busy making excuses! Right?
This, my friend, is the road to regret. And it's staring you right in the face, laughing at you.
Excuses lead to regret. Plain and simple.
Hence why I'm telling you to STOP. I truly and desperately am working my rear-end off so that I can help as many people as possible live a life without suffering, without regret, and without excuses.
Why? Because I know what regret is. I let it be my teacher for such a long time that I've learned my lesson. And now, I regret nothing... absolutely nothing in my life. Every experience, good or bad, is an opportunity just waiting for me to learn from. The same is true for all of us.
So what excuse did you make today? What story did you tell yourself so that you can stay on the side of the line where it says comfort? And what are you gonna do about it?
The first thing you should do is check out the podcast we just recorded for you (Ep3.5 - Stop Making Excuses) available through the following links. And leave us a comment telling us what excuses you're giving up now that you've read this! We'd love to hear your story!
Last October, our health clinic was blessed with the presence of a Buddhist monk by the name of Bhante Dhammawansha. He visited our clinic to deliver a talk on the practice of mindfulness and how we can use it to reduce stress in our busy lives. His talk encompassed a variety of lessons, all of which were designed to free us from creating our own suffering. This blog is about these lessons. I hope they serve you and inspire you to join us on March 4 for a Mini-Meditation Retreat led by Bhante himself!
Lesson #1: A Full or Empty Mind Does Not Equal Mindfulness
Lesson #2: Respond. Don't React
Lesson #3: Mindfulness Leads to Happiness
Lesson #4: Don't Make Yourself Blind (or Anyone Else)
"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." - Mahatma Gandhi
Lesson #5: Lead By Example
If you found these lessons to be valuable, we hope you can join us on Saturday, March 4 for a Mini-Meditation Retreat led by Bhante himself. Details can be found here. (Registration is required.)
Justin Flinner is the owner of My Metro Medicine and has worked in the exercise and health industries for nearly 20 years. He is a licensed medical practitioner, university professor, and national champion in Chinese martial arts. He has worked for numerous government and financial institutions in the nation's capital delivering programs, seminars, and classes on countless health topics. Please send any inquiries you have for Justin to email@example.com.
The past is a seed that is planted in the present and grows into the future.
Yesterday, I met a group of friends, who also happen to be acupuncturists, over a delicious meal and good conversation. After not meeting with them for four months, I was reminded of the importance of having my own community of friends; to share our life stories, the current day-to-day happenings, and our visions of the world transforming into the ultimate living environment.
As I filled my mouth with extraordinary flavors of a savory Chinese beef dish, I held my cup of hot tea and listened to the friendly and inspiring conversation. My friend Brooks began to describe a moment from a course he teaches about the roots of the medicine our small group sitting at the table practices and shares in common. A student in his course, a native from China, began to declare at one point that his ability to speak English was "not very good". Brooks, drawing on some wisdom from his days in the same program, invited the student to change his declaration to one with more possibility: "My English is better than it was yesterday." This tiny shift in words has the potential to create a huge shift in the person speaking them. This sharing from my friend Brooks reminded me of the reason I recently shared something about my late grandmother (shared below).
When we live with the constant mindset of "I need to improve myself.", "My skills aren't quite where they need to be.", or "I'll NEVER be THAT good!", we bring ourselves to a screeching halt on the road of life's potential. If these kinds of phrases are running through your head or coming from your mouth, you have then exercised your ultimate ability to withhold yourself from experiencing your full potential. In essence, you've tightly tied a tourniquet around the moment in your life that comes just before the moments of tomorrow.
In moments of what we consider failure or areas of our lives where believe we are lacking in something, we must acknowledge all we have done up to that point. We should instead take a moment to reflect on what we've accomplished. It is important to understand that all of our actions we've taken were opportunities to learn from (just like the quote from Thomas Edison above). Repeating an action, like speaking English, gives us a chance to improve upon it each day.
We should be thankful for this seed, plant it with care, nurture it, and watch it grow into something magnificent. Every moment in our lives is important, valuable, and not to be considered wasted. I will leave you with the words I recently shared about a person who had great impact on who I am today; my grandmother.
I have a dream. In fact, I have many dreams. I dream of my future. I dream of my family's future. I dream of each of my patients' futures. The challenge is that I can't stop dreaming...and I don't want to.
Each and every one of us dreams. We dream of owning our first home; we dream that we have the lucky lottery ticket; we dream to one day sit on the beaches of the South Pacific, or we simply dream about being able to experience happiness once again. Whatever the dream, we are often encouraged to "reach for our dreams" and dream BIG. But what if we changed this dream-reaching idea. What if we changed it to...
Don't reach for your dreams. Achieve them!
What if we decided to live each day as if our dreams were already achieved? How do you think your life would be? Would it give you more incentive to keep dreaming?
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating that you live a lie, so to speak, or pretend that something is happening when it actually hasn't. For example, you don't think of what clothes to wear and then never put them on before you walk out of your home and realize your just in your skibbies. No, you imagine what clothes you will wear for the day, then you begin the process of dressing yourself. This is the same when it comes to achieving your dreams. The moment you dream BIG you have begun the process of achieving your dream. So, in a sense, you've already achieved a portion of what you are actually dreaming.
Achieving your dreams happens before
If you lived each day as if you have already achieved your dreams, a number of things would happen:
- Your confidence would increase immensely.
- You would never question (nor let others question) your belief in yourself.
- Your self-esteem would skyrocket!
- You would maintain a successful attitude.
- You would reach every goal you set.
- Every step you take on this path would be more solid than ever before.
...and above all...
- You would experience true and lasting happiness.
Your future, your dreams, your life. They are all in your hands for as long as you are alive. So, why not choose right now that you ARE living your dream? Because really, the only person stopping you is yourself. Eleanor Roosevelt put it beautifully when she said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
I will close by urging you to start living your dreams NOW! Don't wait for when you will reach them, and especially, don't chase your dreams. Why? Because you have already caught them. I bet I could see it in your eyes without even looking. If you need a little extra inspiration, watch the music video below of Michael Bolton singing a song from the Disney movie soundtrack of "Hercules" called "Go the Distance". Now, GO LIVE YOUR DREAMS!!!
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inspirational ideas on healthy living through eastern medicine, optimism, and possibility through empowerment.