Every Morning We Are Born to a New Beginning

Each morning we are born again What we do today is what matters most Buddha

To many, especially those advanced in age, starting over is a scary proposition. To some, this forecasted mountain of challenges proves to be too crippling to attempt. And they wither under the weight of change. In this piece, I offer a story of my mom’s tumultuous journey and the many start-overs she endured to show that it’s not too late to begin anew.

My Family’s Story Is Proof: You’re Never Too Old to Start Over Again

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

– John F. Kennedy

I waved goodbye to the sleepy neighborhood. It was 4am and not a soul was stirring except for the five of us and the bus driver. It would be our last day in Vietnam.

I don’t know if I could describe what I was feeling at that point. Fear, excitement, and a slew of other emotions — but mostly, I was numb. As we rounded the corner, I shed a tear watching the house I grew up in fade out of view.

But whatever emotional rollercoaster I was on during those first few transitional days from Vietnam to America could never compare to what my parents must have been experiencing. I was young enough that the effects of this new beginning didn’t debilitate me. I could make new friends quicker, learn the language easier, and assimilate to life in America faster. Starting over wasn’t as significant a barrier to me as it was to them.

My parents were in their late forties; their road to societal integration wasn’t as smooth. They struggled. Yet, somehow they managed to rise above the rubble and became contributing members of society within months. Perhaps, they were forced to do so. Fight or flight, you know? And they fought. But, I think a major factor for this quick turnaround had to do with their positive mindset toward change. “It’s never too late to start over,” they would tell me.

And started over they did, for the umpteenth time.

To fully illustrate this point, I will give a brief summary of my mom’s many start-overs in her life and how she never shied away from them.

From the change you never choose

When she was very young, her family moved from the countryside of North Vietnam to the cosmopolitan South. Back in the sixties, North and South Vietnam were as different as night and day. She quickly assimilated to life in South Vietnam and soon became a top student in school.

Then, just as becoming a judge came within reach, the ravages of the Vietnam War caught up with her. South Vietnam fell. Leaving everything behind, she and her new husband fled the city to go into hiding — my father was a ranking officer for the Southern Army at the time, and his life was in imminent danger.

He was captured soon after and sent to “re-education” camps for six years. And just like that, my mom was reduced from a position of honor to one of a countryside daughter-in-law, farming the fields as a quasi-peasant. Even then, she thrived in that environment. Being one of a few educated people in the area, she became a teacher and a respected member of the community.

Through twists and turns

Some years later, on my second birthday, my grandfather from my mom’s side visited us, and appalled by what he saw, plucked us from the farms and brought us back to the city. By then my mom had fully embraced the rural life.

She started over again.

The former Soviet Union and Vietnam were relatively close allies back then. There were a lot of Russian military personnel in the South — and their wives. My mother soon became a somewhat famous seamstress for these Russian women. But just as soon as life stabilized, we got the call from the U.S. embassy: “You’re going to America.”

To a(nother) new beginning in America

In the US, she went back to school at the ripe young age of fifty, received an associate’s degree and soon became an admired team member for a Fortune 500 company. Yet just as soon as life stabilized and the joy of homeownership was upon her, the housing bubble popped. She lost the house she so proudly and deservedly earned.

She was shipped off to Oregon to start over with a different division in the company. By then I, the youngest of three kids, had graduated college and started to earn a good living. To her, her “job” was done, and she retired. And I suppose retirement could be considered “starting over” as well.

Triumphing through change

All said and done, my mom’s life is comprised of many abrupt changes, but through them all, she triumphed. She triumphed because she didn’t let the emotional weight and strain of starting over erect an impenetrable wall before her. She embraced each change, and in doing so, found ways to overcome these hurdles.

Now, when faced with the possibility of starting over, I channel my mom’s fighting spirit to move steadfast toward the future.

So what I’m trying to say is… it’s not too late. You’re not too old to embark on a new journey. The obstacles you see are indeed tangible, but they’re not insurmountable. You might not have that pep in your step anymore, but as long as one foot can go in front of the other, strive forward! My mom’s journey is a testament of that.

Today’s inspiring story was written by Hung Thai and was shared from the following website: https://www.goalcast.com/2017/08/07/my-familys-story-is-proof-youre-never-too-old-to-start-over-again/

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Today Can Be Our Best Day Ever!

In Today’s rush, we all think too much - seek too much - want too much - and forget about the joy of just being Eckhart Tolle

It’s All in the State of Your Mind

I’ve never talked about this before. Doing so now is a result of my sister
Lorraine reminding of these events that happened over 50 years ago.

While running high school track during my sophomore year in the spring of
1955, I pulled up with a pulled hip muscle. The coach said to take it easy, but
before long, I could not stand on the right leg. The pain was unbearable.
Down to the ground I went, and the EMTs were called, and a trip to the
hospital was in order. The x-ray showed a fracture of the pelvic bone caused
by (of all things) the musculature being so tight or strong that the muscles
splintered a part of the hip bone.

The prescribed treatment by our family doctor was to lie on my back with a board
between the mattress and box spring for a month. No cast or brace was needed;
just lie flat and do not move.

When I inquired as to when I would be able to run again, the doctor said I may
not be able to run again.  With my muscular and skeletal configuration as it
was in the hip, running track again could be out of the question.

Needless to say, I was stunned by the doctor’s statement, but decided that was
not going to happen.

Fast-forward to the fall six months later.  It was September, and I had worked my way to the starting halfback position for the high school football team and was ready to run the first play in the first game of the season. My number was called, and 65 yards later, standing in the end zone, I felt that I could put that never-running-again theory to rest. I was fortunate to score 12 TDs and average over 100 yards a game–all in a seven-game schedule!

Again, fast-forward to age 70, almost three years ago.  Standing on our SUV
bumper attempting to throw a piece of luggage up onto the luggage rack, I
slipped and fell and broke my hip once again. Another ride to the hospital, three
screws in the hip, and a long recovery regimen.

While in the hospital after surgery, my son-in-law Kyle Horga challenged me
to be well enough in six months to walk in the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon, a
distance of 13.1 miles, which at that time seemed as far away as the moon to
me.

However, five months later I walked the half marathon in Myrtle Beach and have
walked two additional walks since and plan to do two more this year.

When you reach my age, you will reach the concrete conclusion that human
achievement is based solely on the proper state of your mind.

Today’s article was written by Jack Bottinger and is shared from the following website: http://inspire21.com/stories/truthstories/Itsallinthestateofyourmind

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You Have the Power to Change Your Life in Positive Ways!

A saint is a sinner who keeps on trying Mother Teresa

I am proof that anyone can turn their life around: How to battle your demons

AFTER battles with anxiety, alcoholism and homelessness BETH BURGESS, 32, explains how she won the fight with her demons.

I have a vivid memory of myself at 20 years of age sitting in a stranger’s bath. I don’t know how I got to that house but could vaguely remember getting into a car with three men the night before.They’d promised me money and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s in return for a “party”.

I felt so down the next morning that I looked at a razor blade and seriously considered ending it all.

Instead I just lay there while the men I’d come home with were in the next room drinking and smoking drugs.

As a young girl growing up in the suburbs I could never have imagined sinking so low.

Even though my parents divorced when I was 10 we were a normal, loving family. After the split my dad went to live in Wales and I stayed with my mum and older sister in the south of England.

When I was about 14 I started smoking and drinking with friends. Sometimes I took amphetamines and LSD. It was stupid to get into drugs but I just saw it as normal teenage rebellion.

 NEW START: Beth at the peak of her addiction

I was seriously addicted to alcohol

However, at 16 I started to develop deep feelings of anxiety. Now I know they were part of a condition known as social phobia but I couldn’t cope as a teenager and I started self–harming.The pain helped distract me from my emotions. I couldn’t turn to my parents because I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I just felt ashamed and embarrassed.

By the time I got to sixth–form college at 17 I was smoking 20 cannabis joints a day. It helped to ease the anxiety, as did alcohol.

I can’t pinpoint the cause of my problems though the family break–up probably didn’t help as I always felt different from everyone else as a child.

I left home to go to University College London to study English literature and German when I was 18 and I dreamed of being a teacher or a writer.

By this time though I was seriously addicted to alcohol and would carry a bottle with me everywhere I went.

During the first year of university I got glandular fever and was too ill to carry on so I had to go back home and live with my mum.

I’d hide booze under the bed and got away with appearing sober.

In my second year I had to apply for house shares but kept turning up to interviews drunk.

After one disastrous meeting I picked up a man in a bar and he offered me a place to stay. With a fair amount of alcohol inside me, it fair amount of alcohol inside me, it seemed a reasonable thing to do and I lived with him for five months.

Over the next few years this became a habit. Men would give me money for the night or take me in.

I’d more or less given up with university as I was too ill. They eventually awarded me a degree on the basis that if I’d been well enough I would have passed.

I was desperate to find out why I was so unhappy and needed to drink. I tried everything from cognitive behavioural therapy to antidepressants but nothing worked. NHS alcohol services couldn’t see me because I always came in drunk.

Things eventually got too much and at 21 I attempted suicide by overdosing on paracetamol.

When I woke up in hospital the next day mum and dad were standing by the bed.

They had no idea how I’d been living. They told me that if I didn’t admit myself to a mental hospital they would have me sectioned.

they would have me sectioned. I had no choice and went to a place in London. I was put on an addiction programme but they threw me out after a month for smuggling in alcohol.

AT 23 I was drinking a litre–and–a–half of gin every day and my GP told me I had a year to live. At the time I didn’t care and would have been happy for my life to end.

Eventually mum told me about NLP, or neuro linguistic programming, which she had read could be good for treating anxiety and phobias.

I had no idea what it involved but was willing to try anything.

The 90–minute session consisted of visualisation techniques and tapping areas of the body to break the pattern of thoughts.

I learned that phobic responses are triggered by memories (usually stored as pictures, mental “movies'” and sensations). For me, if I thought about going outside I immediately saw a “movie” of the last time I did. I would feel the same terror it had caused, accompanied by a tight feeling in my chest and then panicky thoughts about going out again.

NLP interrupts that process by breaking the association between the memory and the phobic response. Practitioners calm the memory’s effects by changing it, such as interrupting the movie with tapping, or by changing the colours or sounds. This causes the body to respond more calmly.

I walked out of the practitioner’s feeling so much better. For some, NLP can take away anxiety instantly and for the first time in my life I wasn’t scared and felt hopeful. I almost skipped home.

However, although it can help elements of addiction (reducing cravings, for example) it can’t cure it and I was still drinking heavily.

Then my dad told me about another form of therapy, DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy). It teaches you to change negative into positive thinking.

Despite earlier relapses it was a combination of DBT and the support of Alcoholics Anonymous that enabled me to stop drinking for good in 2010.

Being sober has completely changed my life. I’m so much happier and healthier and it’s amazing to be able to think clearly and make commitments.

The best thing about the new me is that in 2010 I qualified as an NLP practitioner.

Since 2011 I’ve also qualified in life coaching, EFT (emotional freedom technique), hypnotherapy and mentoring.

I’m very lucky and things could have turned out so differently but I’ve written a book about my experiences and I am determined to give others hope.

The Happy Addict: How To Be Happy In Recovery From Alcoholism Or Drug Addiction, by Beth Burgess (Eightball Publishing, £9.99) is available on amazon.co.uk

Today’s story is shared from the following website: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/417321/I-am-proof-that-anyone-can-turn-their-life-around-How-to-battle-your-demons

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Learning….It’s Meant to Be for a Lifetime

Ignorance is  voluntary Misfortune   Nicholas LangLearning is meant to be a life-long endeavor. I witnessed during my near-death experience, that learning is a desire that we inherently have. Even in heaven, it was our desire to learn and the increase in intelligence.

I believe that it doesn’t matter whether our learning is through formal schooling or from self-study – it is all valuable. In today’s “Information Age”, all of the information can be a little overwhelming. Yet, my experience has shown me that, with God’s guidance, we are guided to all that we need and all that we can be benefited by.

I hope that you will commit to being a life-long student! Please enjoy today’s story!:

How and Why to Become a Lifelong Learner

For the first twenty-two years or so of our lives, our main “job” is learning. The bulk of our time is spent in classrooms acquiring new knowledge. And then, once we graduate, we feel like the education phase of our lives is done and now it’s time to go out into the world. Have you ever thought about how odd that idea is? That only a quarter of our lives should be devoted to learning, and then we should simply rest on our laurels for the remaining three-quarters of it?

It’s an erroneous idea – but one many have absorbed, at least subconsciously. But school need not be your exclusive provider of learning. Just because you’ve finished your formal education, doesn’t mean that your education is over!

Many, perhaps most, of history’s greatest men were autodidacts – those who devote themselves to self-education, either in addition to or as a substitute to formal schooling. A fantastic example of this is author Louis L’Amour. L’Amour was one of America’s most prolific and manliest fiction writers. During his career he cranked out over 120 dime Western novels as well as several collections of short stories and poems. What makes Louis L’Amour’s story all the more remarkable is that he was almost entirely self-taught.

Louis L'Amour sitting in chair drinking coffee cowboy hat

Lifelong learner Louis L’Amour

Due to family hardships, L’Amour dropped out of school when he was fifteen and spent the next eight years traveling around the American West working odd jobs on cattle ranches, farms, lumber mills, and even mines. To earn extra money L’Amour boxed in small prizefights around the country and earned a reputation as a formidable opponent. While in his twenties L’Amour became a merchant marine and traveled the globe via steamship.

During all this time, L’Amour was voraciously reading books. As soon as he set foot in a new town, he’d locate the local library. If libraries weren’t around, he’d skip meals so he’d have enough money to order books from catalogs. He was also working on his craft as a budding writer, scribbling notes in cheap notepads that he kept with him all the time.

All of his experiences while traveling, all the books he read, and all the notes he wrote laid the groundwork for his later successful career. But even after L’Amour became an established writer, his pursuit of learning continued and rewarded him greatly. He is a perfect example of the fascinating life one can create for himself when he makes the commitment to be a lifelong learner. (If you want to learn more about L’Amour’s lifelong self-education, pick up a copy of his autobiography, Education of a Wandering Man. Super inspiring read.)

 

Not only can becoming a lifelong learner help you earn more money in traditional employment, autodidacticism can be the gateway to self-employment and starting your own business. There are countless examples from history of famous folks who learned how to create thriving businesses without any formal education: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford to name just a few. Countless not-so-famous business owners became successful without ever earning a sheepskin too, simply by teaching themselves what they needed to know and relentlessly tinkering.

You’ll be more interesting and charismatic. Those who met Theodore Roosevelt were always greatly impressed with his ability to hold a conversation with anyone regarding any subject imaginable. Scientists were blown away with Roosevelt’s knowledge of complex theories, socialites were smitten with his witty insights about the latest piece by Oscar Wilde, and cowboys out West respected the “Eastern Dude’s” understanding of desert wildlife. How did Theodore Roosevelt become such a charismatic, conversational dynamo? By developing the ability to speed read and then devouring books like a hungry lion feasting on a fresh kill. While in the White House, he would read a book every day before breakfast. If he didn’t have any official business in the evening, he would read two or three more books, plus any magazines and newspapers that caught his fancy. By his own estimates, TR read tens of thousands of books during his lifetime, including hundreds in foreign languages. As a result, he could connect with anyone, from any walk of life, on something that truly interested the other person.

You’ll be a better leader. Being able to connect with others doesn’t just make you more interesting. It also makes you much more influential. The greater your knowledge base, the more you can meet people where they are, and the greater the stockpile of solutions you have at your disposal to tackle problems and overcome challenges.

You’ll be independent and handy. One thing I admired about my grandpa growing up was all the cool stuff that he knew. He was always tinkering, and it seemed like he knew everything about everything. How to hunt, how to shoe a horse, how to garden (he grew grapes), how to make awesome pancakes. Even after he retired, my grandpa was always learning new things and acquiring new skill sets. For example, he learned how to restore antique horse carriages and old phonograph players. He got so good at it, in fact, that he started restoring antique phonograph players as a small side-business.

Because of my grandpa’s diverse range of skills, when something broke or he needed something done, he could do it himself. He didn’t have to call and pay an expert to do it for him. If he didn’t know how to do it, he went to the library, got some books on the subject, and figured it out.

Lifelong learning keeps your brain healthy. Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Nearly 100 years later science is validating Henry Ford’s quip. Margie E. Lachman, a psychologist at Brandeis University who specializes in aging says, “Education seems to be an elixir that can bring us a healthy body and mind throughout adulthood and even a longer life.” Her research has shown that the more education an elderly person has – whether obtained formally or informally — the better they performed on cognitive tests than other elderly folks who had less education.

Learning new things can also help stave off old-age ailments like dementia and Alzheimer’s. One study has shown that older folks who stay cognitively active and curious about the world around them are 2.6 times less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s than those who let their minds lie fallow.

You’ll feel more satisfied with life. In his book Drive, author Dan Pink argues that we need three things to feel motivated about, and satisfied with, our life: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Becoming a lifelong learner fulfills all three of these psychological needs.

When you’re an autodidact you – not your parents, not your professor, not your boss — get to decide what you’re going to learn about. Instead of being a passive consumer of knowledge, you’re actively choosing what you’re learning. In other words, you’re autonomous. As you learn new skills, you’ll enjoy the positive feeling that comes with mastery. And you’ll find yourself with a renewed sense of purpose in life as you set goals for your self-education.

The satisfaction that comes with lifelong learning doesn’t stop there. The more you know about the world, the deeper you can plunge into it, and the more levels of it you can experience. Whether you’re traveling, having a conversation, visiting a museum, watching a movie, or reading a book, your library of knowledge helps you make connections that you would never have otherwise perceived. The more you learn, the more you realize how many references and meanings you’ve missed because the author/speaker simply took that background knowledge, that fluency in cultural literacy, for granted.

Inspiring story shared from the following website: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/03/18/how-and-why-to-become-a-lifelong-learner/

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Creating a Meaningful Life

Efforts and Courage are not enough without Purpose and Direction John F. KennedyI just had to share today’s story about Jack LaLanne. This probably dates me but I remember when Jack was a frequent personality on television!

As a young person, I have to admit that I never had a sufficient measure of appreciation for Jack LaLanne. Now, as a person who has recovered from some significant health issues, I wish Mr. LaLanne could have been a personal mentor! He understood health and he understood that all else in life shrinks in importance to health.

Not all of us are blessed with perfect health and I have found that everything else in life craters when our health is compromised!

We all have an important personal mission to accomplish with our life. We need to have the best health possible to make that happen!

In addition, we need to have a personal map of what our mission is and the steps that we will need to take to facilitate the accomplishment of our personal mission.

And sometimes…we need a mentor. Several individuals that I do not know personally serve as mentors to me! Their example, their stories, and their own personal missions inspire me and help me understand what I need to do in my efforts to serve the world through my own personal mission!

I hope you are inspired by today’s story and that you are working everyday to help your own personal mission find its fulfillment!

Jack LaLanne tribute: An inspiring story for seniors and advisors


Jack LaLanne, America’s first health and fitness guru, died Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011 at the age of 96. When I read the article scroll across the newsfeed, it caught me off guard. Usually, when someone dies in their 90s, it’s no surprise. But Jack LaLanne was no ordinary person. He was something of a superman.

In the spring of 2008, I had the great fortune of sitting down with LaLanne for a video interview. At the time, LaLanne, a spry 93, was in New York City promoting his new book, “Fiscal Fitness: 8 Steps to Wealth & Health from America’s Leaders in Fitness and Finance.” LaLanne co-wrote the book with financial expert Matthew J. Rettick. They explained to me how seniors can best upgrade their physical and fiscal health and how those two seemingly diverse topics actually go hand in hand.

In the July 2008 issue of Senior Market Advisor, we ran a story entitled “Super Seniors.” It should come as no surprise that Jack LaLanne was our lead senior in that feature.

As I wrote about LaLanne then:

“People of a certain generation–those growing up in the ’50s and ’60s–remember a familiar figure greeting them from their early morning television sets. Wearing a jumpsuit, sporting a physique carved like a Greek statue, he jumped, lunged and flexed muscles that most people didn’t know existed, all the while barking commands at the audience to get off the couch and join him in this foreign activity called exercise.”

When I spoke to LaLanne in 2008, he wore one of his trademark exercise outfits. When he shook my hand, my hand stung afterwards. He had continued an intense daily exercise regimen and maintained a sharp mind as well as a steadfast attitude regarding fitness and finances.

“Say you’re a multimillionaire, but you’ve got a big belly, health problems, your sex life is gone, you have aches and pains–what good is your money?” he told me in 2008. His words, which were spoken roughly six months prior to the financial meltdown, cast a chilling truth to what LaLanne saw as America’s excesses.

While exercise is his specialty, in writing “Fiscal Fitness,” he explained to me the similarities to being healthy financially and physically. “In both cases, you need to have a plan. So many people are financially bankrupt. It makes you sick. They spend money on this and that, with no plan of what they’re doing. They get to 30 or 40 years old, in debt up to their ears. They need a plan and part of that plan is going to an expert to get out of a financial rut.”

Jack LaLanne had a plan and he stuck to it through self discipline and hard work. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes of his: “How do you build up your bank account? By putting something in it every day. Your health account is no different. What I do today, I am wearing tomorrow. If I put inferior foods in my body today, I’m going to be inferior tomorrow; it’s that simple.”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2011/01/25/jack-lalanne-tribute-an-inspiring-story-for-senior

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