The Seasons as a Metaphor for Life

In the many years I spend in the northeast, I was always taken back by the beauty of autumn. One autumn, while on our annual leaf viewing trip, it occurred to me that the seasons provides us with a very interesting metaphor for life.  Each season provides a different metaphorical twist to our thinking and, when we put these all together, the overall result is the opportunity to understand what you are going through in your life just a little bit better. Let’s play with this one for a while.

Autumn is a time for shedding a lot of the well-rooted, mature ideas that have been adding color to our lives, but are getting tired. The great colors of summer give way to even more spectacular autumn colors.  The falling leaves represent our ability to break current thinking patterns and the ultimate composting of these leaves represents the great idea enhancing value that our combined experience and learning gives us. The absence of leaves exposes the wonderful trunk and branch structure of the trees, which gives us a nice metaphor for the backbone of our thinking. If you were a child growing up in a seasonal climate you probably felt compelled to save a few of the more beautiful leaves and this is a good metaphor for building on some past idea nuggets. The wonderful smell of autumn (at least in the Northeast) conjures up some of the most pleasant memories. For me these memories just seem to span my entire lifetime. I sometimes feel like a kid again, even though some people have told me that I’ve never stopped being a kid. The autumn season of the mind is the time to challenge and shed old thinking and get reacquainted with the principles and values that support your thinking.

It signals the time to question how events in your life impact the restructuring of your life in the future. What things need to really change in your life? What habits do you need to drop? What dreams do you have to reformulate? What current strengths do you need to nurture and what new ones do you need to build for the future? What patterns of thinking do you need to change? Late autumn brings that first killing frost which ushers us into winter thinking.

Winter is a time for quiet thinking, contemplation, and introspection. As an author I find winter is my best time for writing and for generating some great new creative ideas. Deciduous trees, bulbs, and perennials are storing energy in their roots and gaining strength during the winter because they don’t have to show off for a few months. A lot of our creative thinking is blocked by our need to look good and show off. Winter thinking suggests that we think below the surface without worrying about how we will be judged. A blanket of snow just adds a little more security to protect those new, creative, and fragile ideas. As winter wears on, evergreens and the basic structure of trees that became exposed in the autumn can really strut their stuff. This is very well aligned with the idea that, after you set aside old patterns of thinking, some new, more creative thoughts are able to take shape. Since these are great metaphors for the basic principles and structures that guide our thinking, it helps us to stay in touch and build from them. The winter season of the mind is the time for understanding the roots of your thinking and internally energizing the seeds of new ideas. Winter provides us with a few more questions to ask of ourselves.

What do I have left to build on as I examine my basic structure? How might I turn my concerns and losses into something positive? This may seem like a strange question but, in my many years of studying creative thinking processes, I have found that there are always some positive aspects to even the most negative situations. What plans do you need to put in place for when the spring of your thinking arrives? What do you need to be doing to build up strength in your inner core?

And then comes spring when everything comes to life again. It’s also a time for massive cleanup, as any gardener knows. It’s also a very exciting time for gardeners because they are preparing for the beginning of a long period of growth as opposed to autumn when we prepare for a long period of rest. This is when new plants (ideas) really begin to grow and are nurtured along by warmer temperatures, longer days, and rain. We rake, prune, cultivate, fertilize, plant, aerate, and mow because we know that whatever we do now will stick with us for a good part of the year. We also know that it will create healthier roots for new ideas in the future. What are some ways that you carry out these tasks to help new ideas grow? The spring season of the mind is a time for growth and expansion of new ideas.

Spring represents a time for new growth and moving on. It’s a time for rekindling your excitement about living. The one thing that has always amazed me about spring is that it always seems to come. Every year I tell myself during winter that all those things that made spring and summer so beautiful are never going to want to return. But, come May, spring brings the most beautiful sights, sounds, and smells. When I think of spring I think of the start of a new life. What new things do I need to plant in my life? What are some of the leftovers from winter that I need to clean up and throw out? What things do I need to prune in my new life? How might I cultivate and nurture new relationships that will make my new life more meaningful?

Summer is a time for harvesting and enjoying the fruits of our labor. For many it means vacation, a time to take your thinking to a more relaxing place and to view it from a different perspective. In winter thinking, the energy is concentrated below the surface at the root level. Summer thinking creates new ideas and expands on what is above the surface. We look at what we have and continually trim, prune, and deadhead to create more beauty. The summer season of the mind is a time for improving and enjoying our ideas.

Summer represents the beginning of feeling comfortable with your life. It may signal a time to move on and find new relationships and opportunities. How might I create lasting enjoyment in my next 50 years? What new opportunities can I grow in my life? How might I cultivate new relationships in my life?

Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony (Pastoral) is all about the seasons. Listen to this while doing some deep thinking about the seasons of your life which will really enhance the experience.

Christmas, A Time for Happiness, and Sadness

This post is going to be a bit more personal than most. For me, Christmas has always been a struggle between the joy that comes with the season, and the sadness that comes from memories of those that I have loved and lost. My Dad died on my 3rd birthday at the age of 34. As a youngster, I struggled with the sadness I felt for my Mom – especially during the holidays. She did such a wonderful job raising 3 children, but always seemed so lonely, especially during this time of year.

I lost my brother at age 27, my sister at age 57, and my niece at age 16. Then I lost my wife and childhood sweetheart of 40 years, Jan, at age 57. Each one of these losses took its toll. There were times when I thought I wouldn’t recover. But I did – and I’m much stronger because of it.

From what I have read, and a number of conversations I’ve had with others, it seems that many folks have this same problem of being torn between joy and sadness at this time of year. I have found through the years that the best anecdote for this is to lay aside some specific time to focus on those things which make you sad. Reminisce in your mind about those you have lost, and the good times you spent together. Cry if you can – it’ll do you good. When you are finished, smile and feel happy about how lucky you were to have them in your life. Then move on. You owe it to them, and to yourself to be happy!

And then focus on the joys of your current life. For me, it’s my wonderful wife, Jean, and her family, my successful children, my incredible grandchildren, and my health. And that’s just for starters. When you begin to look at all those things that are providing joy and meaning to you, there’s a pretty good chance you will be surprised at how long the list is. If you are one of the many who deal with the balance between sadness and joy in this Christmas season, I sincerely hope this is helpful to you.

I would love to hear any comments from any of you. And let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

A Little Something to Lighten Your Day

As many of you know I have a long history of helping people add humor to their lives. For years I kept track of some of the funniest things that crossed my desk. I called it my Silly File, and when my collection grew over the years, I decided to turn it into a book. The book is called “The Funniest Book You Will Ever Read. Period!” And I have had a lot of people tell me just that. So here is a little example of some of the things in this book that will lighten your day.

Jeff Foxworthy

His books and stand-up acts on Redneck humor are a riot!

Redneck Fashion Tips

Jeff Foxworthy Stand Up

Here are a few of his red neck lines. You might be a redneck if —

The Blue Book value of your truck goes up and down depending on how much gas is in it. 

 You wonder how service stations keep their rest-rooms so clean. 

Your wife’s hairdo was once ruined by a ceiling fan. 

The Halloween pumpkin on your porch has more teeth than your spouse.

 You need one more hole punched in your card to get a freebie at the House of Tattoos.

 You think loading the dishwasher means getting your wife drunk.

 You take your dog for a walk, and you both use the same tree.

You come back from the dump with more than you took.

Your house doesn’t have curtains, but your truck does.

You consider your license plate personalized because your father made it.

You have a complete set of salad bowls, and they all say “Cool Whip” on the side.

A tornado hits your neighborhood, and does $100,000 worth of improvements.

You’ve used a toilet brush to scratch your back.

You missed your 5th grade graduation because you were on jury duty.

You know you’re a redneck when……

You take your dog for a walk and you both use the same tree.

You can entertain yourself for more than 15 minutes with a fly swatter.

Your boat has not left the driveway in 15 years.

You burn your yard rather than mow it.

You think “The Nutcracker” is something you do off the high dive.

The Salvation Army declines your furniture.

You offer to give someone the shirt off your back and they don’t want it.

You have the local taxidermist on speed dial.

You come back from the dump with more than you took.

You keep a can of Raid on the kitchen table.

Your wife can climb a tree faster than your cat.

Your grandmother has “ammo” on her Christmas list.

You keep flea and tick soap in the shower.

You’ve been involved in a custody fight over a hunting dog.

You go to the stock car races and don’t need a program.

You know how many bales of hay your car will hold.

You have a rag for a gas cap.

Your house doesn’t have curtains, but your truck does.

You wonder how service stations keep their rest-rooms so clean.

 You can spit without opening your mouth.

 You consider your license plate personalized because your father made it.

Your lifetime goal is to own a fireworks stand.

 You have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say “Cool Whip” on the side.

 The biggest city you’ve ever been to is Wal-Mart.

 Your working TV sits on top of your non-working TV.

 You’ve used your ironing board as a buffet table.

 A tornado hits your neighborhood and does $100,000 worth of improvements.

You’ve used a toilet brush to scratch your back.

You missed your 5th grade graduation because you were on jury duty.

You think fast food is hitting a deer at 65.

You let your 14-year-old daughter smoke at the dinner table in front of her kids.

The Blue Book value of your truck goes up and down depending on how much gas is in it.

You’ve been married three times and still have the same in-laws.

You think a woman who is out of your league bowls on a different night.

You wonder how service stations keep their rest-rooms so clean.

 Someone in your family died right after saying, ‘Hey, guys, watch this.’

 You think Dom Perignon is a Mafia leader.

 Your wife’s hairdo was once ruined by a ceiling fan.

 Your junior prom offered day care.

 You think the last words of the Star-Spangled Banner are ‘Gentlemen, start your engines.’

 You lit a match in the bathroom and your house exploded right off its wheels.

 The Halloween pumpkin on your porch has more teeth than your spouse.

 You have to go outside to get something from the fridge.

One of your kids was born on a pool table.

You need one more hole punched in your card to get a freebie at the House of Tattoos.

You can’t get married to your sweetheart because there’s a law against it.

You think loading the dishwasher means getting your wife drunk.

Hope you enjoyed and it really did lighten your day!

Build Your Own Humor Room

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t imagine life without humor. Back in my days as an engineer and creative thinking expert for Kodak I designed and built what was arguably the first corporate humor room. I was intensely interested the effect of humor in the workplace and did a lot of pioneering work on how eliminate the oxymoron of ‘fun work’. Accessing the humor in your life has so many benefits. So why can’t we create ‘humor rooms’ in our own lives?

A ‘humor room’ is a place to get charged, recharged, excited, stimulated, humored, challenged, unstressed, turned on, and transformed. They can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. A ‘humor room’ could actually be a room in your domain that houses lots of humor material. Or perhaps you’d like to scatter humorous material all about your home so that everywhere you went would have the capacity to make you laugh. Your entire home would then be your “humor room”.

Your’ humor room’ might consist of keeping some humorous photos on your computer or having several  Pinterest boards that focus on various humor sources (funny cartoons or quotations, YouTube’s of your favorite comedians, etc.).

Perhaps your ‘humor room’ would be the placement of some slightly weird and funny pictures, furniture, or objects around your home.

Here are a few items you may want to make a part of your ‘Humor Room’:

  • Posters of your favorite comedians
  • Some of you favorite humorous quotations
  • A few gag gifts (a rubber chicken is a must)
  • A few humorous videos like Jeff Foxworthy, Monty Python, and Carol Burnet show, etc.
  • A library of funny books to include my books of course as well as, Dave Barry, Far Side, and any others that make you laugh
  • A marginally weird clock, lamp, or other accessory. Click on this and check it out.
  • Toys and stuff for juggling (balls, scarves, hamburgers, chain saws etc.)
  • Anything else that makes you laugh

Have fun with this and I’d love to hear some stories about how you put this to use. Send me a note at with your story. I’ll be in my own ‘Humor Room’.

“Laughter is the fireworks of the soul.”

Another Story of Kindness to Share

Here is another story of kindness that may bring tears to your eyes. These stories from my latest book, Kindness Rocks! How To Live a Life of Kindness, are just too good not to share.

The Cab Ride

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes, I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute” answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like someone out of a 40’s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly to the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness.” It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated”. “Oh, you’re such a good boy” she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?” I answered, “It’s not the shortest way” I answered quickly. “Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued in a soft voice. “The doctors say I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

“What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that once had been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing in the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with the driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.

“Nothing,” I said

“You have to make a living.” she answered.

“There are other passengers,” I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held on to me tightly.

“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.

What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

A Kindness Story to Share


I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes… I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me. ‘Hello Barry, how are you today?”H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them peas. They sure look good. ”They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?’ ‘Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.’
‘Good. Anything I can help you with?’
‘No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.’

‘Would you like to take some home?’ asked Mr. Miller. ‘No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with. ”Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas? ‘All I got’s my prize marble here. ”Is that right? Let me see it’, said Miller. ‘Here ’tis. She’s a dandy. ”I can see that. Hmm mmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?’ the store owner asked. ‘Not zackley but almost. ”Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble’. Mr. Miller told the boy. ‘Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller. ‘Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, ‘There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one,when they come on their next trip to the store.

‘I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles. Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one.  Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary, we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts…all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband’s casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.

Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes. Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband’s bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket. ‘Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. Hey just told me how they appreciated the things Jim ‘traded’ them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size….they came to pay their debt. ‘We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,’ she confided, ‘but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho …’With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral:
We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.

Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles ~ A fresh pot of coffee you didn’t make yourself…An unexpected phone call from an old friend…. Green stoplights on your way to work….The fastest line at the grocery store….A good sing-along song on the radio..Your keys found right where you left them. Send this to the people you’ll never forget. I just did…
If you don’t send it to anyone, it means you are in way too much of a hurry to even notice the ordinary miracles when they occur. IT’S NOT WHAT YOU GATHER, BUT WHAT YOU SCATTER THAT TELLS WHAT KIND OF LIFE YOU HAVE LIVED!

Such a great story. See this and a lot more in my new book, Kindness Rocks!


A Nice Story of Kindness

I feel bad that I haven’t been posting lately on this site, but I have been very busy with my new book and my Presidency of The Villages Acknowledging Acts of Kindness Club. I am very excited about the feedback of my new book and believe it will have a powerful impact on creating a culture of kindness in our communities – and in our world. Has there ever been a better time to promote kindness?

Here is one nice story of kindness:

Remember our Veterans – A Wonderful Story

Being a Veteran, I am always on the lookout for things that show kindness and appreciation for those who give so much for our country. This story is one that is well worth sharing. My hats off to teachers like this!

In September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a history teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks in her classroom. When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.

“Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?

She replied, “You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.” They thought, “Well, maybe it’s our grades.” “No,” she said. “Maybe it’s our behavior.” She told them, “No, it’s not even your behavior.”

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period and still no desks in the classroom. Kids called their parents to tell them what was happening and by early afternoon television news crews had started gathering at the school to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.

The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the desk-less classroom, Martha Cothren said, “Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.”

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it. Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniform, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk.

The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said, “You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. They went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have. Now, it’s up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don’t ever forget it.”

By the way, this is a true story. And this teacher was awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year for the State of Arkansas in 2006. She is the daughter of a WWII POW.

Let us always remember the men and women of our military and the rights that they have won for us.

“America without its soldiers would be like God without his angels.”



I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning… to the end. He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house… the cash. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.

To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?

 By Linda Ellis, Copyright © 2020 Inspire Kindness,

See my Amazon author page:

Time For a Nap?

It’s Nappy Time 

Have you found that you and your friends have been saying, “It’s my nappy time” more frequently lately? I have to be honest, the older I get, the more I need a nap from time to time. But, as I think back to my younger days, I have always been prone to napping – except then I called it a “power snooze”. Does this sound  familiar? Actually napping is very good for you, no matter what your age. I remember in my working days that there were a few folks that spent their lunch time snoozing. And they seemed to be the same ones that were more energized all afternoon.

It turns out that napping can actually serve as a self-improvement tool. It can increases not only our health but our intelligence and productivity as well. Famous leaders like Edison, Churchill, JFK, and Napoleon were ardent nappers, and they did okay.

So why is napping so good for you?

It keeps you alert. When you are the point of almost dozing off a nap is the best thing for you. This is especially important if you are engaging in an activity such as driving where falling asleep could have grave consequences. They say that a 40 minute nap can increase alertness by 100%, but sometimes 20 minutes will even suffice. I find that whenever I have an event coming up, a quick nap just before attending makes a big difference.

It has a great effect on learning and memory. I write and do a lot of presentations and have found that taking a short nap just prior to these tasks is very beneficial. When you are worn down your working memory and learning capabilities are at their minimum, and a short nap can make a world of difference. Remember when you or your children were in Kindergarten and napping was a part of their day? There was a reason for that other than just getting the kids out of the teacher’s hair for a while.

It can improve your overall health. Napping gives your brain a chance to rest and your body a chance to heal. When you sleep or nap you release a growth hormone which boosts your immune system, reduces stress and anxiety, and aids in muscle repair and weight loss. They say it also primes your sexual function as well. That alone seems to be a good enough reason for me to nap.

It reduces stress and improves our mood. If you have ever had children you will be familiar you will remember that whenever a child was misbehaving the excuse was usually, “He just overtired.”  Our moods can change quite drastically due to lack of sleep and a short nap can change that. Napping is also a great anti-stress tool.

It stimulates your senses and your creativity. After napping you often realize that your senses are much sharper. Thing may taste better, colors may be more vivid, ideas may be clearer. After waking from a sound sleep these things are pretty obvious. But

 So, now that you know how valuable napping can be for you, what’s keeping you from engaging in some “nappy time”?  When is the best time to nap? I think any time you feel the need is the best time, but perhaps your lifestyle dictates that it’s best to just find a time that fits your schedule and make it a daily experience.

If you have trouble napping find yourself a very dull book, sit back, relax, and start reading. You’ll be asleep in minutes. Rocking chairs always work too. I personally find it very relaxing and soothing to put the earphones on with some gentle jazz or classical music. And here is some advice I recently saw on a sign outside a church:

Having Trouble Sleeping? Try One of Our Sermons.

My new book, “Kindness Rocks!” has people very excited. This book gives you everything you need to know to live a life of kindness. It’s easy to read, inexpensive, and packed with some great stuff about Kindness. It’s book seven in my “Living Your Life to the Fullest Series.

Time for Some Downsizing?

Have you ever spent a day cleaning out your garage or cellar and then found that it really made you feel good? Well why not applied this theory to your life. We tend to collect a lot of stuff through the years and much of this tends to get stored away, never to be seen again. Or sometimes it just becomes a source of something more to worry about. The older we get, the more important it becomes to simplify our lives. Here are some of the things that you should simplify.

Simplify Your Schedule. Here is an interesting and simple way of looking at how to reduce clean up your schedule.

  • Make a list of things that make you happy.
  • Make a list of things you do every day.
  • Compare these lists.
  • Adjust accordingly

How many things are taking up your time that don’t either make you happy or add excitement and beauty to your life? Make a list of things you HAVE to do and a list of things that you WANT to do. What are some of the things on the HAVE to list that you can sacrifice to give you more time for your WANTS? Can you plan your day so that it includes special time periods to assure that you are doing some of the things you really want to do. For example, among other things I love to read, write, and listen to music. So I set aside certain times during the day to do these. Some of the things you love can be done simultaneously (like listening to music while writing), so work on building your multi-tasking skills.

Simplify Your Expectations – Shoot From the ‘Golds’. Sometimes, when we are feeling stressed out, it may be because we are expecting too much of ourselves. You may expect to be perfect at everything. You may have a need to be better than your friends and associates. You may have set your goals much too high. If your expectations are too complex and out of reach your inability to achieve them may make you very unhappy. Take a serious look at your expectations and reposition and resize them so that are challenging but achievable. And, if you find you just have too many expectations, eliminate a few that really aren’t that important.



So what do I mean when I say, ‘shoot from the ‘golds’? If you are a golfer this will make a lot of sense to you. Most courses have multiple tee sites (blue, white, gold, and red) based up on the golfer’s ability. I am by no means a great golfer but felt that I should always shoot from the ‘whites’. That is until a friend told me that I would enjoy the game much more if I played from the ‘golds’. He said I’ve earned it because of my age – and he was dead right. My game is so much more enjoyable now.

Downsize Your Stuff. George Carlin did a wonderful skit which was all about “stuff”. Check it out on YouTube if you can before you read any further. I remember back when I had a growing family and decided to get one of those storage sites so that I could make more space in my home for more stuff. When my kids all left home I decided to close this, and ended up throwing out almost everything I had stored – for years!

It feels great when you downsize. Pick a certain spot and begin cleaning out. Throw out or sell anything that you haven’t used in a while. You may discover a lot of things which you’ve long ago forgotten about. Some of those rediscoveries may still add value to your life – you don’t have to toss everything. And you will likely find that your family may love a lot of those things you no longer need. Why not distribute some of your stuff to your family and friends?

Cast Aside Your Negative Thoughts. Negative thoughts have the power to block you from true happiness. Through the years, a lot of us develop negative thoughts about a number of things. There may be certain people you don’t like. Perhaps you have developed a strong bias or prejudice about certain people, politics, religions, lifestyles, practices, etc. I am the first to admit that I once had some negative thoughts about some of these things. But I have tried my best to eliminate these, and I think I have succeeded. And I feel much better because of this.

So here is what you need to do. Take a careful look at each of these areas for downsizing and simplifying your life. Have fun and enjoy the process. After you have succeeded in downsizing, focus on maintaining a simpler, less complicated life and make sure you don’t slip back to where you were before.

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realize that they were the big things.”

That’s the Way It’s Always Been Done – The Calf Path and the Roast.

How many times have you heard the words, “That’s the way it’s always been done”?  My guess is that you have done a lot of things in your life by making that assumption and following it. There are a couple of well known stories that illustrate this very nicely and may give us some incentive to change the way we think.

The Roast.  A young woman was preparing a roast and carefully cut off the ends. While delicious, her dinner guests wondered why she cut off the “best part.” She said she did it that way because her mother always had, and her mother had taught her to prepare a roast. When she asked her mother why, the reply was that her mother, Grandma, always had as well. So they went together and asked Granny, who said, “I cut off the ends because I had a small roasting pan.”

The Calf Path. This poem written by Sam Walter Floss in the 1800’s is one of the best illustrations ever on how we get stuck in our thinking, and sometimes mindlessly adhere to an established track. As you read it think of some of the ways that you may be on your own version of the calf path.

One day through the primeval wood a calf walked home as good calves should.
But made a trail all bent askew, a crooked trail as all calves do.

Since then three hundred years have fled. And I infer the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail. And thereby hangs my moral tale.
The trail was taken up next day by a lone dog that passed that way.

And then a wise bellwether sheep pursued the trail o’er hill and glade.
Through those old woods a path was made. And many men wound in and out and dodged and turned and bent about and uttered words of righteous wrath because ’twas such a crooked path.

But still they followed – do not laugh – the first migration of that calf.
And through this winding woody-way stalked because he wobbled when he walked.

This forest path became a lane that bent and turned and turned again. This crooked lane became a road where many a poor horse with his load toiled on beneath the burning sun, and travelled some three miles in one.

And thus a century and a half they trod the footsteps of that calf.

The years passed on in swiftness fleet. The road became a village street.
And thus, before we were aware, a city’s crowded thoroughfare.
And soon the central street was this of a renowned metropolis.
And men two centuries and a half trod in the footsteps of that calf.

Each day a hundred thousand rout followed this zigzag calf about.
And o’er his crooked journey went the traffic of a continent.

A hundred thousand men were led by one calf near three centuries dead.
They followed still his crooked way, and lost one hundred years a day.
For thus such reverence is lent to well-established precedent.

Are there some situations in your life where you are putting one foot in front of the other without thinking? Take a look at some of your daily habits and ask yourself this question. Then ask yourself how you might shift your thinking and change some of these habits. Your life might just become a bit more exciting. In what ways might you create some new calf paths of your own rather than doing things because “that’s the way it’s always been done”?

Stay happy, healthy, and Kind.