Friday, September 24, 2010

A Passion for Life

This week we had an “equilux” - that's a day when day and night are just about equal in length. We normally refer to this as the autumn equinox or solstice, but by any name, this passage from summer to fall is a time when change again occurs around us. The days are now noticeably shorter, the nights are cooler, and the leaves are beginning to change. A bright Harvest Moon ushered in the change of seasons this year - that hasn't happened in nearly 20 years and is not scheduled to happen again until 2029. This full moon also coincided with the alignment of Jupiter and Uranus, adding extra flavor to this year's equinox. Try to figure the odds of all these things happening at once; on second thought, just enjoy this confluence of events and the world around you. Take a moment in your busy life to slow down and reflect on the passage of time and what this all means to you and those you love.

My message this week is about passion and what it means to the things we do and those we’re with:

"We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from life." William Osler

Sir William Osler, M.D., C.M., 1st Baronet (1849 – 1919) was a Canadian physician. He has been called one of the greatest icons of modern medicine. Osler was a pathologist, educator, bibliophile, historian, author, and renowned practical joker.

Are you going to add anything to life today? On your way to work, did you add to the craziness on the roads or were you one of the considerate ones – driving defensively, staying in your lane, and slowing and stopping when you were supposed to? At work, are you helping others, staying positive, lending a hand and adding to the general morale – or are you just there, waiting to see what’s in it for you? At home, will you help others and be there for your friends and family, or just sit in front of the tube and veg out? You’ve got choices – today and everyday; you can add to all that’s good, or take more than your share. If you have a passion for life – all of it – then you’ll give it your all, all of the time. Make up your mind to passionately add to your life today and see how that affects the world around you.

It’s not easy to find out whether someone is passionate; you can’t just ask - it has to be experienced. The best way to determine if it’s there is to see what shines through a person’s personality and actions. Be aware that what you’re thinking, feeling and doing shines through you to those around you. Make sure that the you that is seen by others is passionate about the everything you do. You’ll be glad you did, and so will they.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Before It's Too Late

When I was a kid, my parents would take my two brothers and me for long rides, and the three of us would play that game where you looked at the letters on a car's license plate and try to make up what they might stand for: like on 43 DGC 615 - it might mean Don't Get Caught (that would always be accompanied by sideways glances and snickering); or on 21 HDF 398 - this could mean He Didn't Flinch (calling up visions of John Wayne); and on 54 ALJ 024 - that would bring on howls of Arte Loves Jessie (much to my embarrassment, and I didn't even know any Jessies). You get the picture.

These days I drive a lot on the crowded California freeways and still play that silly game in my head; only now there are all those personalized "vanity" plates: SC Daisy; OC QT; 1 4 U; and recently I saw B4 2 L8 - this last one triggered lots of "coulda, shoulda and woulda's" in my mind, and unleashed a nagging suspicion that I've let too much get by me as I watched or paid attention to all of the other things that were happening. Life is like that - the trick, I guess, is to be in the moment, focused on what is here and now, and making sure that all that you have is put into all that you're doing. As you get ready for Summer to officially turn into Fall next week, make sure you do all that you need and are supposed to do - at work, home or play - B4 2 L8 (Before It's Too Late). You'll be glad you did.

This week’s message is about Loyalty and how important it is to give and take this important value each and every day.

Loyalty is the pledge of truth to oneself and others.” Ann Velez-Boardley

Ada Velez-Boardley is a social worker and guidance counselor in Philadelphia, Pa. She is Puerto Rican by birth and often blogs about her love of America and her native island.

Loyalty is a value that you’d like to find in all of the people you deal with. But you can’t just come out and ask someone if they’re loyal – a simple yes or no answer won’t do. If asked, most would likely answer: “that depends”. How you’re treated, whether you’re listened to, how engaged you’re encouraged to become, whether you feel like your efforts matter, how you’re able to interact with others, whether you’re given the proper respect and recognition – all of these and many more determine whether you’ll be loyal to someone or something, and whether they’ll be loyal to you.

Now link loyalty with truth. They work best together when people pledge to be truthful to themselves and others. Look at the people and groups you associate with – how loyal would you be to them if they weren’t truthful with you, or if you couldn’t rely on what they said and did? It’s bad enough when it’s an honest mistake, but when it’s the result of not being truthful it’s worse, because then you have to start wondering about their motives. And people who are relying on others certainly don’t want to have to start worrying about that. Think how disruptive that can be, and how much time and energy is lost as a result of worry and concern like that.

Loyalty, then, is a great responsibility: you have to always do the right thing and act responsibly to those who are loyal to you, and the same goes for those to whom you are loyal. Loyalty has to be earned, and once given should be nurtured and treasured every day. It’s dynamic, two-way and never-ending. Pledge to be truthful to yourself and others today, and every day. And then give and take the loyalty that comes your way.