Saturday, May 31, 2014

Have a Great Day!

“Do something every day that is loving toward your body and gives you the opportunity to enjoy the sensations of your body.”
Golda Poretsky
“Allow yourself to enjoy each happy moment in your life.”

Steve Maraboli

Have a great day.
Whatever happens, I hope you make it a great day.  If you have to go somewhere you don’t really want to go, I hope you can bring some good music or a good book with you.
If you have a lot of work to do, I hope you can organize it and prioritize your tasks and then get it done quickly and well.
If you’re in extreme conditions of any kind, and I hope you’re not, I hope you can find or create good in them.
If you don’t like your life as it currently is, I hope that you can find the courage and the insight to change it.
If you lack money, I hope you can find ways to save it or make it.
If you feel ill, I hope you can get plenty of rest and healing.
If someone offends or hurts you, I hope that you can find the strength and the courage to forgive.
If you feel alone, I hope you find love either with the people you know or someone you meet.
If you are worried or afraid, I hope you find the peace that is possible to possess at all times. 
If things didn’t go as planned, I hope they went better.
If you’re busy, I hope you can use every chance you get to be kind, creative, and productive.
If you’re around a lot of people, whether you want to be or not, I hope you can be the kind of person others want to be around.
If you’re pressed for time, I hope you will make time to take care of your mental, physical, and spiritual health.
If things got off to a slow start or a delay, I hope you can Get Started and Keep Going. 

Friday, May 30, 2014


Gust Avrakotos: There's a little boy and on his 14th birthday he gets a horse... and everybody in the village says, "how wonderful. The boy got a horse" And the Zen master says, "we'll see." Two years later, the boy falls off the horse, breaks his leg, and everyone in the village says, "How terrible." And the Zen master says, "We'll see." Then, a war breaks out and all the young men have to go off and fight... except the boy can't cause his legs all messed up. and everybody in the village says, "How wonderful."
Charlie Wilson: Now the Zen master says, "We'll see."

Charlie Wilson’s War

It’s funny how on one day things can look bleak and impossible and on the next, things can look fine.  It helps to get sleep.  It helps when new information comes in and creates a new perspective.  Most of all, it helps to be free of fear and anger.  One of the best ways to do be free of fear and anger is to practice gratitude.  On more than one occasion I have written about the power of gratitude and even included my own list of things for which I’m grateful.  Still, that never gets old and when things are still looking uncertain, it’s good to remind ourselves of this and to practice regularly.
 I just found these statistics: (
·      Happy people’s income is roughly 7% higher
·      Grateful people on average give 20% more time and dollars.
·      Grateful people will have 10% fewer stress-related illnesses, be more physically fit, have blood pressure that is lower by 12%
·      Grateful people are 20% more likely to get “A” grades.
Perhaps all that is another case of  “lies, damned lies and statistics,” as Mark Twain was attributed saying.  Still, I’d rather be happy and grateful because it beats the alternative.  In that vein here are some things I am grateful for:
·      My health
·      God’s love for me
·      My Muse
·      Flowers
·      The beauty of places like the desert, small country towns or small cities
·      The beauty of other people
·      The ability to look for the good in all situations
·      Walking
·      Naps
·      A place to live
·      Books
·      Time
·      Music
·      Good food
·      Laughter
·      The ability to confront a problem and solve it
·      Writing
·      A cold drink on a hot day
·       A hot drink on a cold day
·      Inner peace
·      The ability to learn new things
·      The ability to think differently
·      Art
·      A bed to sleep in
·      A bed that has been made
·      Clean clothes
·      Stars
·      Children
·      Family
·      Friends
·      Being loved
·      Loving others
·      Watching people do their work well
·      Making money

There are more, many more.  What I noticed was that as I was practicing gratitude, my anger was literally forgotten.  (Now it is gone.)  My fear was still there, but it began diminishing.  We can’t have two thoughts at once.  I can feel fear or I can feel gratitude.  I can’t really feel both completely at the same time.  Eventually one has to go.
What is fear anyway?  I have a friend who uses this acronym:
Recently I was confronted with a very unpleasant impossibility. I struggled all day with it.  It may happen and it may not. But the truth is that it hasn’t happened yet.  And if it does, it doesn’t mean something good won’t come out of it.  Maybe the “bad” thing will be a good thing.  Curiously, I’ve had things that I thought were good result in disasters.  And maybe those “disasters” were necessary for something new to occur.  What if all “bad” was only a means to something good, something better?  How would living that out change my life?   Perhaps it would make me far more grateful.  Perhaps it would also help me to appreciate the good in my life, but accept it calmly.
Being grateful helps me to Get Started and to Keep Going in life…for which I am also extremely grateful.

A Small Step

Things look a little scary right now, but I don’t care.  I’m still moving forward.  I have goals and I just continue to focus on them.  That’s it.  That’s all I need to do.  I just Get Started and I Keep Going.  I can give up anything, except my determination to never give up.  So even though things look difficult, I just keep going.
·      One step at a time
·      I keep walking towards my goals.

Sometimes my steps are slow and halting.  Sometimes they are like jaunts.  Sometimes it feels like a crawl. It doesn’t matter what it feels like.  I just have to keep moving forward.  That’s all that’s required.  It’s not a race of speed, but of endurance.  I just keep moving forward.  I might meet my goals tomorrow or in 360 days.  It doesn’t matter.  I just keep going.  
That’s all I need to say right now.  This is a short blog, but it’s one more towards my goals.  It’s a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Strange Day

"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope."

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou died today.  The world has lost a great poet and thinker.  This quote is her gift to me.  Today was strange.  Everything seemed off.   I didn’t sleep well  and then I overslept.  I didn’t finish my Morning Write.  The people I wanted to talk to weren’t available.  Others felt distant and it was probably all in my head, but that didn’t make it any less difficult.  I worked hard to return to joy.  I was successful for much of the morning, but then fear started creeping back.  Then things seemed better and then strange and unresolved again.  There wasn’t much I could do about it. 
Well, that’s not completely true.  I could pray, drink water, tap and ask for prayer.  I could talk to my Muse (the best part of my day) and I could work.  I was also able to recognize that unexpected changes alarm me.  I did all of these things and they helped.  I didn’t have a panic attack, even though it came close.  Still, I struggle with the fear that things will not go the way I have hoped.  I wonder if my Muse will one day leave me and I will have nothing more to write. 
Then I saw this quote and I realized that following:
·      My Muse will never leave me.
·      Today was a hard day, but it was just one day.  Tomorrow will be different.  It may be better or worse, but it will be different. 
·      If tomorrow is worse, then eventually things will get better.
·      No matter what…
·      No matter what…
·      No matter what…
·      No matter what, I’m gong to get my house on the beach and spend my life with my Muse.
·      If love recognizes no barriers, neither do I.  I can’t.  Whatever happens, I am reaching my goal.  There is no Plan B.
·      My destination is full of hope, but so is my journey, even on strange days like today.
·      I’m going to Get Started and Keep Going every day…because love recognizes no other way…and I’m in love.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Doing My Best

“Doing your best, you are going to live your life intensely.”

Don Migeul Ruiz – The Four Agreements

I made a commitment today to do the best I can with everything I am doing.  I’ve probably already broken it a few times, but that isn’t going to stop me.  This started because I was tired this afternoon, but I knew that if I didn’t do my radio show in the afternoon, I wouldn’t get it done today.  So I did the best I could by doing my show.  I got on the topic of dong my best in everything I am doing.  Then I remembered, and spoke about, Don Miguel Ruiz’s fourth agreement in his book The Four Agreements – Always do your best.
What an amazing agreement.  What a powerful principle to live by. 
My best right now may not be as good as my best tomorrow morning when I’m not falling asleep as I am now.  Still, I like the idea.  here are some questions I can ask to keep me on track:
·      Am I taking care of my body?
·      Am I drinking enough water and getting enough sleep?
·      Am I eating well?
·      Am I being careful with my money?
·      Am I using my time well?
·      Am I giving my full attention to those I love?
·      Am I spending enough time reading and writing?
·      Am I staying on track with my goals?
·      Am I being kind?

Doing my best keeps me present in the moment because I can only do my best with things that are actually occurring at the moment.  I can’t do my best in the past or the future.
My best at this moment would be to take care of myself by getting a bowl of popcorn and a couple of comics, and then after that, going to bed at a reasonable hour.  I’m going to explore this theme more in a future blog.  For now, let’s just say that I find the idea highly motivational.  I look forward to being able to Get Started and to Keep Going…because that is the best!

Time Is a Gift

If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.

Maria Edgeworth

Regret for wasted time is more wasted time.

Mason Cooley

This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Most books that I read on writing say that I need to spend anywhere from four to six hours a day developing my craft.  I’m not there yet.  It’s true that I’m doing a lot, but I’m not at that mark yet.  I’m not going to beat myself up over this.  I’m doing what I can and I will try to do more.  I will try to use my time better, because it’s a gift I’ve been given.  I’d say I’m putting in about two hours a day but they are broken up.  Yesterday I was able to put in a lot more time because of Memorial Day.  I got two blogs written and I read about 60 pages of On Writing by Stephen King.
When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to write.  Then, even though I’ve been keeping journals for over 30 years, I forgot that.  I went into teaching and I held down a lot of different jobs.  I did some things I loved and a few things I hated.  I spent a lot of years being immature and unproductive.  At the same time I like to think I did a little good.  I wasted a lot of time.  This is one of my few regrets in life.  What I lacked most was direction.  I thought I had it, but I really didn’t.  Now I do and while this doesn’t make life easier, it makes it simpler.  Whenever I get discouraged I tell myself, “House on the beach” and I know what to do.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but that’s okay.  It doesn’t have to be easy. 
Here’s something else.  It helps to put a number on things.
For example, I could set a goal of reading 500 books.
Or I could say, “363,” the number of days in which I will be in my house on the beach (if not sooner).
I could say “7 to go,” the number of books on financial management I have yet to read.
I could say the amount of money I want to earn or the amount of money I need to clear my debts.
I could say, “1,000,” the number of blogs I want to write.  (Then I’ll say “2,000.”)
I could say “20 minutes,” the amount of time I’m giving myself to finish this blog. 
So, in using my time well, or better, I can get more done.  I can reach my numbers, or at least get closer to them.  Some numbers are not flexible, such as 363 or 7, because those are time-bound.  The numbers 1,000 and my debts are also time-bound, but they have some flexibility.
For some reason, quantifying things helps me greatly.  It makes a game of it, a competition with myself.  How well can I use my time?  How much can I reduce a problem?  How much can I increase money or the number of books I’ve read or the number of hours I exercise in a year?
In 1981, George Doran created SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound.  I like the idea that goals have a deadline.  Otherwise they are in danger of never being reached.  Peter Drucker said, “That which gets measured, gets done.”  Brian Tracy said, “Avoid Someday Isle.  Someday Isle is the place where people say ‘Someday I’ll reach my goals.”  There is no “some day.”  There is only today.
So today, having been up just over an hour, I’ve hand written three pages and I’m in the process of finishing another blog.  I’m not saying this from conceit.  I’m just stating a fact.  I feel relieved because I was able to get off of Someday Isle, at least for today.  I feel blessed.  Even though I’m doing the work, it all feels like a gift from God who gave me desire, ability, time, and health.  I feel extremely fortunate. 
The one thing God didn’t give me was excuses.  Those come from the Enemy. 
I say all of this not only with gratitude, but also with a sense of responsibility.  I have given my word – to God, to my Muse, to the people I love and to myself.  So I Get Started and I Keep Going.   Time is a gift and I want to use it well while I have it.

Monday, May 26, 2014

All I Can Do

“Ink on paper is as beautiful to me as flowers on the mountains; God composes, why shouldn't we?”

Terri Guillemets

“Every writer I know has trouble writing.”

Joseph Heller

“It is impossible to discourage the real writers — they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write.”

Sinclair Lewis

While reading On Writing, by Stephen King, I wondered if I was doing all I can do to reach my goals.  Several other questions occurred to me.  As I write perhaps I will, or will not, arrive at some answers:
Am I a writer?
Am I a good writer?
Am  I a great writer?
Do I need to be a great writer?
Or do I only need to be good enough to make a living at this?
Can I make a living at this?
Am I being pretentious, calling myself a writer because I think it sounds cool or gives me some kind of identity?
Am I disciplined enough?
Is my goal to write or to make money?
What kind of writing do I want to do?
Should I be open to anything?
Why did the last two paid assignments I had end up in frustration for me?
That’s all the questions I have for now.  To answer the first, I am definitely a writer.  I say this because I write.  I write almost every day.  In the last year and a half, I have written over 1,000 pages either by hand or in my blogs.    As long as I keep writing, I’m a writer. 
To answer the second question, I’m a good writer.  I don’t know if I’m a great writer.  I’m not Shakespeare, but do I need to be?  What do I want?
I want to live in my house on the beach with my Muse.  Stephen King says his muse (no capital) is a surly old guy who smokes cigars and acknowledges him with only the occasional grunt.  My Muse is a beautiful flower of a woman.  While she doesn’t grunt at me, she doesn’t say a lot until she’s sure I’m committed to doing my work.  Sometimes she speaks as soon as I begin writing, but most of the time she waits.  If she does speak, she gives me a germ of an idea and then says, “Get to work, lazy one.”  She says it with a smile, but she’s serious.  She’s nothing if not unpredictable.  Still, I love her and I want to spend my life with her.  So here I sit.
Reading King’s book is not unlike having cold water thrown on my face.  According to him, I’m not reading or writing nearly enough.  I’m proud of the one book a week I read.  King thinks I should be reading about one-and-half times that..  Someone else said to make 300 books a goal.  In his article, The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Reinventing Yourself, James Altucher says to read 500 books.  His response to those who say they can’t? 
“Give up.”
But I can’t give up.  This is too important.  If I don’t do this, if I don’t give this every ounce of effort, if I don’t get my house, if I don’t get my Muse, then I am a failure. There is no Plan B.  I’m not trying to be dramatic, but my life and my happiness depends on this.  This is why I was born.  In fact, before I was born, God whispered this assignment into my ear and He said, "Go find your Muse."  
The only thing He didn’t give me was a guarantee of success.  He did say, however, that as long as I don’t give up unless I’m dead, then I should be fine.
So I feel like I need to up my game.  I need to work harder.  Yes, I’ve done a lot.  But it’s time to move forward.  I know what I need to do.  I know how much more time I need to put into my reading and writing. 
And here’s the thing:  I’ll take this gladly.  I’ll read more.  I’ll write more.  I’ll get up earlier.  I’ll spend more time in this chair with my Muse.  I’ll make sure I’m reading or listening to books every chance I get.  The truth is I want to do this.  I want to read more.  I want to spend my life with my Muse in my house on the beach. I want this!  What else is there but my destiny?
I still don’t have all my answers.  I don’t know what books I should read, but I’ll read what interests me.  I don’t know what kind of writing to do, so I’ll write what my Muse tells me to write.  I’ll keep working until the answers reveal themselves.  I’ll Get Started and I’ll Keep Going…because that’s all I can do.


“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.”

Tony Robbins

Thus, flexibility, as displayed by water, is a sign of life. Rigidity, its opposite, is an indicator of death.

Anthony Lawlor

“Flexibility -- In all aspects of life, the person with the most varied responses ‘wins.’"

Kelly Perdew

Something else struck me in the book, The Automatic Millionaire.   Hansen and Allen say, “The size of the question determines the size of the result.”  In other words, instead of asking how to get a job to make money, the authors suggest to ask, “How can I make $1,000,000?”
·      How can I make $1,000,000?
·      How can I get to my house on the beach?
·      How can I reach all of my goals?
The word how is not asked in fear, desperation or confusion, but with expectation, wonder and a genuine curiosity.   How will my goals happen?  In what way?  Is there a way I’m not aware of yet?  I’m open to possibilities. That’s what the word how is about – it’s about the openness to possibilities, even possibilities I hadn’t considered.
For example, I want to make a certain amount of money.  My “small question” thinking would lead me to ask, “How can I get another job so I can make more money?”
Perhaps, however, there’s another way, or other ways, ways I hadn’t considered, as I said.  Perhaps I don’t need a job.  Perhaps there are other ways to make money. 
I don’t know.
But “how” also implies that I’m willing to work towards my goals once I find the right way.  Sometimes I feel reluctant to try new things.  I’m not sure if that reluctance is resistance or intuition.  Usually, however, when I get enthusiastic about something, I’m on the right track. 
 The thing I’m most enthusiastic about is my writing, which is why I write every day.  So far, however, this isn’t making me any money.  I have other professional possibilities, but I also feel a certain reluctance to pursue them.  Again, is that intuition or resistance?  Here’s something else.  I’m selling a lot of my comic books on eBay.  I have no problem doing this.  I feel enthusiastic about it in a way I don’t feel enthusiastic about other things that could potentially make money. 
Perhaps this blog is more self-confessional than it should be, but I’m trying to understand what’s going on in my head.  I know I need money to reach my goals.  But I also have other goals that don’t require money.  Should I focus on those until I get excited about a money-making opportunity?  Am I being selfish?  Lazy?  Impractical?  What do I really want and what am I willing to do to get it?  By that last question, I don’t mean that I’m willing to do anything illegal or immoral.  But would I take a job I have no little or no enthusiasm for and hope the enthusiasm comes?  Or should I just focus more on reading and writing until this becomes a viable source of income?
I’m asking the question I ask every few years:
What do I do with my life?
Actually, I know what I want to do with my life.  The real questions is this:
How do I do the things I want to do with my life?
These are good questions and I don’t mind struggling through this until I find an answer.  My goal hasn’t changed.  I still want my house on the beach.   It’s just a matter of time.  This goes back to the thought I had when I first started writing these blogs:
When you don’t know what to do, do what you know to do.
I know how to write.  I know how to read.  I know how to write resumes.  I know how to teach. 
So I Get Started and I Keep Going.  My question is how, but I don’t need the answer today.  What I do need to do today is create a list of tasks and then complete those tasks.  I need to review my goals and make sure the tasks I’m completing get me closer to my goals.  The truth is that there are few things I wouldn’t do if it will get me to my goals.  I’m still not clear about how to respond to my reluctance, but that may mean there are some questions I’m not asking or fears I’m not addressing.
What I do know for certain is that all of this will be resolved.  I’m perplexed, but I’m not afraid.  I just need to Get Started and Keep Going…until I can answer “how.”

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sometimes a Moment Happens

Sometimes a moment happens that changes all the other moments in your life.  I’ve had a few of those of moments.  They were literally moments.  For example, on a whim, I asked my Art History teacher at Grossmont Community College where I should continue my education.  I mentioned one school and he said, “You’re too smart for that school.”  He recommended another, more challenging school and without a moment’s hesitation, I went to the counselors’ office and signed up.  Six months later I was there.
There was the moment when a friend said I should teach adults.  I did and that changed my life and gave me an exit strategy years later from a job I hated.
There was the moment I gave my life to God.
There was the moment I knew when someone was a true friend.
There was the moment I understood and cemented my political beliefs.
There was the moment I started my first journal, when I was 17 years old.
There was the moment I knew I wanted to be with my Muse.
It happened two years ago today.  I knew, I just knew, I wanted to spend my life with her.  In fact, I knew it before then.  But two years ago today I realized that life with my Muse was my only choice.  The joy and certainty I felt confirmed it.  There were no other choices, no Plan B.  I had absolutely no idea how it was going to happen.  It was more than a vague desire, but there was no plan.  In fact, at the time it looked impossible.  I still don’t know how it’s going to happen.  But it no longer looks impossible.
There were other moments, when a plan started forming.  One time it was in a coffee shop.  Another time at a park.  Another time at a beach.  Most moments, however, happened in the very chair I’m sitting in, taking action, working, writing.  In each of these moments, I began clarifying my desire.  I still didn’t have a complete plan, but I knew what I wanted. I wanted to write.  I wanted my house on the beach. I wanted to spend my life with my Muse. 
The sculptor Michelangelo said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” 
Every time I write, I chisel a little more of my own block of stone.  Something emerges.  A plan begins to form.  But I have to keep chiseling.  I have to keep working.  Michelangelo also said, “There is no greater harm than that of time wasted.”
I need to use my time well.  I think I still don’t always use it wisely.  There’s a lot I can get done today and within a year from now.  There’s a lot I can do.  A lot.  In fact, in my Morning Write, I’ve written a list of things I can accomplish today.  Each item, when accomplished, has the potential to move me forward financially, spiritually, professionally, intellectually, organizationally, or in my relationships.  Does this mean I have to work non-stop until I drop?  No, but it does mean that in each thing I’m doing I can ask myself, “Will this thing I’m doing now move me forward in my goals?  Will it make me a healthier, kinder, more loving, and more prosperous person?  Will it make my environment more peaceful?  Will it make me more peaceful?”
If the answer is yes, then I will keep doing it.
If the answer is no, then I have a decision to make.
For now I’m doing the right thing.  I’m writing.  When I’m done, I will work on the tasks on my list.  All of this gives me great joy, like the joy I felt two years ago today.  What’s even more exciting is realizing that that moment, an unexpected gift from God, can be created again and again and again.  I just need to do my work.  I need to keep writing. 
With regard to specifics, one of my goals is to reach 1,000 blogs.  I’m not even close, but it doesn’t matter.  I’m still chiseling that stone.  I’m still doing my work.  It takes time and effort and sacrifice, none of which compare to the reward of being with my Muse.  To paraphrase Zig Ziglar, there is no price to pay in doing my work.  I pay a price if I don’t do my work.
Sitting here and writing every day is no sacrifice.  It’s the best choice.  It’s the choice with the most rewards.  The good we should be doing is really the key to a happy, peaceful, and successful life. 
Two years ago I understood that a little better. 
By this time next year, I plan to have that block of stone transformed into my statue.  It will look like a house on the beach.   Or it will look like a flower.  Or it will look like my Muse.  The inscription will read, “Get Started and Keep Going.”

Saturday, May 24, 2014

One Hears From a Muse

I’m really having a hard time writing tonight.  I don’t know why.  How can I get past this?  I have no inspiration at the moment, just a determination to get this done.  I suppose the answer is to keep writing and stop allowing distractions.  Is there another way?  Should I just stop for a while?  Should I try a different blog topic?   How can I get past this?  For now I’ll keep writing.
This is what it’s like sometime.  I switch back and forth from here to eBay or Facebook.  Maybe that’s my problem.  Maybe I shouldn’t leave this page until I’m 100% done with this blog.  Where are you, my Muse?   Why is nothing happening?  Why can’t I seem to get anything intelligent down on paper.  I’ve tried twice, but both efforts, while good starts, have lead nowhere. 
So I keep writing.  Can this be a blog?  Can I write about my frustration and feelings of embarrassment that I can’t seem to produce?  What’s wrong with me?  Why is this so hard tonight?  Have I wasted too much time?  Should I be more self-disciplined?  Am I a victim of Newton’s law of physics that bodies at rest tend to stay at rest and bodies in motion tend to stay in motion?  Did I not have enough motion?  Did I rest too much?
When does this get easier?  Is this really the thing I want to do with my life?  Do I really want to get up at 5:00 a.m. every morning and put words on pages?  It may seem romantic, but right now this whole process is like a boxing match.
But here’s the thing…
I’m still standing.
I feel like an idiot, having wasted so much time, having given into the Enemy, having not been self-disciplined….
I’m still standing.
Well, not literally.
Literally, I’m sitting here and writing this blog.  I’m writing.  Even if I’ve said all this before, I’m still writing. 
And to answer my question, “Yes, this is what I want to do with my life.  This is how I want to contribute to the world.  I want to spend my life with my Muse.”
I was once working with a client on a resume.  Halfway through our meeting, she said, “I want to go home.  I’m just not feeling it.”
“I’m just not feeling it,” was a popular expression that meant, “I’m not in the mood to do this.  I’ll do it when I’m in a better mood, more inspired, or perhaps under more pressure and not having a choice.”
I’m not “feeling” this writing at the moment.  But it doesn’t matter.  I’m staying.  I told the client that I wanted her to stay and finish up.  I didn’t allow her to give into fear or apathy.  I knew those feelings would pass.  They did and we finished.  They will pass here, too.  I will finish.  I do have a choice.  I don’t have to do this.  But I will.
One of the secrets to success is to do our work well, even when, especially when, we don’t feel like it.   So I’m doing this as well as I can. 
My Muse just let me know that she’s here, that she loves me and that she is pleased with my work.  More importantly, she’s pleased with me.  Maybe that’s all I needed.  I needed to keep working until I heard from my Muse.  How does one hear from a Muse?  One hears from a Muse by working until one hears from a Muse.  She was just waiting for me to stay focused for a while.
She was waiting for me to Get Started and to Keep Going.  In my next blog, I will thank her publicly for always being there at the right time and in the right way.  For now, my work is done.  For now I’m one step closer to my house on the beach.

Do I Deserve Happiness?

In the book, The Automatic Millionaire, authors Hansen and Allen say three things are needed in order to become wealthy:  desire, belief, and self-acceptance.   Self-acceptance is defined as the belief that one deserves wealth.  According to the authors, if you don’t believe you deserve wealth you either won’t attain it or you will lose if you do get it.  The word “deserve” got my attention.
What do I deserve?  What do any of us deserve?  Do we deserve to be wealthy, happy and loved?  Do we deserve good health?  Do we deserve healthy relationships?
Everyone deserves to be loved, but for all the rest…
Those are things that must be earned and maintained.  We do, however, deserve the right to have access to those things.  Here’s what else we deserve. 
·      Healthcare
·      Peace
·      Safety
·      Food and water
·      Clothing and shelter
·      A stable and loving family environment.
Everything else has to be earned.  People often complain about the unfairness of their specific situations, but the truth is that most people, especially those born in America, have access to a great number of resources and possibilities.  Even those born in poverty have access to at least some of these resources.
Here’s what I’ve found in my life and the lives of others:
First, most people start at a disadvantage.  It might be poverty, a highly dysfunctional family, a physical disability of some kind, or a lack of access to resources.  It might also be a lack of knowledge about resources.   It might be a lack of education.  Recently, there was a  lot of talk about the 1%.  That is, 1% of the country has more wealth than the other 99%.  I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I know that greed exists, as do racism, sexism and the differentiation of economic classes.
Some are born into better circumstances.  Others work their way into better circumstances.  Others may cheat, lie, or steal their way into better circumstances.  (I don’t believe the latter will find their circumstances truly better.)  Still, better circumstances exist.  I know this because I see other people have them.  Do I deserve better also?
Again, “deserve” may be the wrong word.  Despite the disparity in income, one thing most of us have today, that we didn’t have even 20 years ago, is access to knowledge.   Much of this comes not only from a multitude of books and other printed material, but also from the Internet.  There is so much I can learn, and in a relatively shorter amount of time.  I don’t even have to go to the library or the bookstore.  Much of what I need in knowledge and ideas is available at my fingertips, and much of it is free.  For example, has over 45,000 books that, many of them classics, that I can download for free.   As a writer, this is extraordinarily valuable.
There are other resources in other fields of study, including politics, faith, finances, education, and more.  What is required is time and diligence.  I need to use my time wisely and well.  If I want to advance as a writer, a father, an employee, or a student, I need to keep my mind on my goals.
So, to personalize it, let me ask these questions:
·      Do I deserve to be happy?
·      Do I deserve healthy relationships?
·      Do I deserve my house on the beach?
·      Do I deserve the kind of lifestyle that allows me to live with my Muse?

If I believe I don’t then I’m probably not going to get those things or I’m going to sabotage my efforts.  The truth is, I only deserve them if I work for them.  I need to do the external work of earning money or continuing to write.  I also need to the internal work of fighting fear, apathy, laziness, anger, regret, or anything else that gets in my way of reaching my goals.  Psychologist Abraham Maslow says that self-esteem comes through accomplishment.  I agree.
Sometimes good or bad things happen outside of my control, things I don’t deserve, but even then, my response to those events can determine my destiny.  We do deserve most of what we get.  I’d like to get good things.  I’d like to get to the best of what God and life have to offer.  I’d like to Get Started and Keep Going…because the world and those I love deserve my best.