Drinking Wonder Water

This Wonder Drink is Amazing!

Soda is the most-consumed beverage in the U.S.  This is frightening because soda is a severe health hazard.  Soft drinks increase the risk of obesity, kidney and heart problems, and stroke, to name but a few.

The solution?  Water.

Yes, I know, good ole H2O is not sexy.

You might say that it is downright boring.

But water is only boring because we fail to contemplate the awesomeness this wonder drink provides.  Consider:

  1. Water doesn’t taste like liver, brussels sprouts, tripe or kimchi and contains no calories, fat, carbohydrates, partially-hydrogenated oil, MSG or sugar.
  2. Almost every cell in the body requires water to function properly. Water helps transport nutrients, regulate body temperature and digest food.
  3. Numerous studies show a positive correlation between water consumption and weight loss.
  4. Water flushes out skin toxins, making skin look healthier, and can reduce acne.
  5. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of dehydration. Water will revitalize you, help you feel more alert and aid in concentration and focus. Studies have shown that even slight dehydration (1-2% less than optimal hydration) can depress your mood and interfere with your ability to think clearly.
  6. Water provides pain relief. Aching joints, muscle cramps, strains and sprains all occur much less frequently when you are optimally hydrated.
  7. Water intake helps prevent sickness, and drinking water shortens the duration of many illnesses. Headaches and migraines are often caused by dehydration.  Research has found that drinking more water reduced the duration and intensity of headaches.
  8. Water helps lessen bad breath by keeping your mouth moist and diluting unsavory oral bacteria.

There are actually many more cool things this wonder drink does for you.  But do you really need more?  Next time you are tempted to drink a soda or beer, chug some water instead.  Make it your routine to drink a couple glasses first thing each morning.

Let’s all work together to kick soda out of the number one spot and make wonder water the most-consumed beverage in the U.S. and the world.  Our bodies, minds, hearts, kidneys, skin, muscles, joints, mouths and weight scales will all thank us.

Friendship Friends Grandad Friend

Friendship:  The Best Part of Life

My Granddad often said the quality of one’s friends was the single-best indicator of the quality of one’s life.

Granddad had a three-tier model for the things that bring us joy.  Granddad believed that things like money, power, security, a nice house or car were deceptive “middlemen” – things that we often mistake for happiness – but rarely bring more than fleeting joy.  He placed these items on the bottom tier.

Granddad populated the middle tier with things within ourselves such as our degree of autonomy, self-reliance, confidence and self-discipline.  All of which, in Granddad’s opinion, could restore money, power, a home or car when these things are inevitably lost – whether via natural disaster, economic downturn, lawsuit, job loss or dozens of other seemingly random events in life.

Friendship is the sole item Granddad placed on his joy-bringing top tier.   A true friend brings us comfort, a sounding board, someone to spend downtime with, someone who shares in our thoughts and dreams, a person to laugh or cry with, a trusted source of wisdom and advice . . . and the list goes on and on.   We all need friends with whom we can share our deepest secrets and reveal our truest self.

In C.S. Lewis’ novel The Great Divorce the master penman creates a setting where every human is completely isolated from everybody else.  C.S. Lewis makes a compelling case that Hell is not a place of steam, magma and blazing infernos.  Rather, The Great Divorce postulates that Hell is instead any place where Humans lack companionship and friendship.

The best parts of life are those that contain your richest laughter.  Friends are almost always a part of those moments.  The more and closer friends one maintains, the more laughter and joy you are likely to experience.   Reach out to a friend today and tell them you love them.

 “The best things in life are free. It is important never to lose sight of that. So look around you. Wherever you see friendship, loyalty, laughter and love…there is your treasure.” – Neale Donald Walsch

You can exist without friends; but you cannot truly live without them.

Coach Pagano Live Vision Not Circumstances

Live Your Vision, Not Your Circumstances

This is a post-game speech by Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling leukemia.

Notice what Coach Pagano says: “You refused to live in your circumstances and consciously chose to live your vision.”


“You refused to live in your circumstances and consciously chose to live your vision.”

All of us have circumstances.  Do we let circumstances rule our lives and strangle our will to fulfill our vision?   We either live our circumstances and let them dictate our life.  Or, we live our vision and let it dictate our life.

We cannot do both.

Your circumstances or your vision?  The choice is yours, and yours alone.  Be crystal clear about what defines you.  If you don’t have a vision, get one.   Make the conscious decision to start living your vision.  Circumstances are temporary, a vision lasts forever.

Authentic Happiness

Authentic Happiness

Happiness is not inherently complicated, but we frequently make it so.  We exhaust ourselves pursuing money, respect and acceptance; when what we truly crave is joy, love and connection.  We often waste months of our lives — if not years — trying to be someone else.  Someone we think our spouse, peers or pastor desire us to be.  Pursuing our parents’ or society’s expectations and acceptance, rather than the life we dream of for ourselves.  We stockpile material goods while neglecting the things that truly matters.

So how do we stop chasing the unfulfilling, fake indicia of happiness – and pursue happiness, itself?

By being true to ourselves.  By deciding who we are and deciding to become that person.  And rejecting who we think we should be.  Or who others’ think we should be.

We are bombarded by opinions of who we should be and rarely do we measure up.  So we run faster on the hamster wheel of career, money, status and approval – without recognizing that none of those things is bringing us closer to being happy.

To become happy, then, we must get off the hamster wheel.  We must decide to be our authentic self.  We must reject the dreams that others have for our lives, and embrace what makes us unique and what makes us shine brightest.  We must quit comparing ourselves to some theoretical self where we adjudge ourselves lacking.  Instead of worrying about what others are thinking or doing, we must look solely to ourselves to determine if we are fulfilling our potential in harmony with our talents, interests and principles.

It is not always simple, but making daily conscious steps towards who we wish to be leads us to happiness.

Great happiness.

Authentic happiness.

meditation love

Meditation on Love

The love that flows from me has traveled through me.  My love emits out of me with ease.  I no longer put up any barrier for this powerful energy to flow from me.  It can touch whomever it will.  I no longer direct it; I radiate it.  I shine it.  I give it.

My love soars, fuels me.  It must be given out.  I have so much love, I cannot contain it.  I am surrounded by what I love.  I appreciate my surroundings and those in it.  My experiences are directing me to greater expressions of my love.  I open my head, my heart, my arms, my life to love.

My mind is not the gatekeeper to criticize or judge others’ love.  I see everyone as an expression of what they care about and what they love.  I release any boundaries that have been set up before me on who to love, how to love them.  I let those walls come down.

I choose this moment to give more of myself — more of my love.

You can find this meditation, starting at 5.54, here.

What is Abundance?

Many popular television preachers unabashedly encourage Christians to “live in abundance.”  These preachers are not wrong, are they?  After all, God bestowed vast power and material blessings on Biblical figures such as Joseph, Daniel and King David.  Jesus Himself stated, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10.10)

But what is ‘abundance’?  Is it having enough money to meet our monthly needs?  Or an enormous store of power, friends, connections or wealth?  Does it mean being in love?

If so, what happens when the IRS wrongfully seizes all your assets?  Or office politics gets you fired from the job you love, though you did nothing wrong?  What about when you are served with divorce papers?  Or your doctor confirms the worst after your last test?  Can we still live in abundance then?

Let’s look at two other Biblical guys, Silas and Paul.  They were wrongfully sent to prison.  There were no windows and they could not walk around.  They were to be shackled underneath the town of Philippi until they died.  Faced with this unbearable reality, these guys burst out singing.  Why?  Because they couldn’t help themselves — they lived in abundance.  They were not ‘happy’ to be in prison.  But prison was merely a circumstance.  They lived in truth and love, and thus joy and abundance was their reality!

See, abundance is a mindset.  Abundance is the peace of mind resulting from your decision and effort to live authentically in joy, truth, love, gratitude and in service to others.

Joy never arises from a number in your bank account, the current weather conditions, or what model car you drive.  To live in joy is to consistently think about the person we wish to become and take daily action to become that person.  If we do, we will find joy, peace and freedom. . . whether we are on top of the world . . . or chained in a cold, dank, bleak Philippi prison.

Life will chain you in that Philippi prison every now and then.  When we lose someone we love, a relationship ends, or the inevitable struggles and frustrations of this world occur.

Let’s look again at the lives of Joseph, Daniel and King David.  They were not always wealthy, uber-powerful leaders.  They all saw horrific things happen.  But whether betrayed by their own brothers, having spears hurled at them, wrongfully accused of adultery, cast in prison . . . or a potential midnight snack for some hungry lions, these men lived in joy, truth, love and abundance.  They lived exactly the same when their fortunes improved, each becoming one of the very elite of the ruling class of a dominant world civilization.  In those period of their lives, each possessed power, fame and money beyond the dreams of avarice.

And, yet, they lived the same as they always had lived:  In simple yet confident peace of mind, joy, truth, love and gratitude.

They lived in abundance.

May you and I live abundantly.  No matter the condition of our current circumstances.

Greatness Aunt Margy

The Greatness of Aunt Margy

103-year-old Aunt Margy is my great aunt.  And not because she is my Grandmother’s sister.

She is great because she is a wonderful host and an amazing cook.  She is energetic, feisty and sarcastic; but never mean-spirited.  She loves laughter and is a blast to be around.  Aunt Margy relishes the beauty and majesty of nature.  There is an energy within her, a brilliant light that never wanes. She gifts a piece of that light to every person she meets.

I have never heard her say a negative word.  Not a complaint about a situation or event.  No laments about growing old.  Never a criticism about another human being.

Aunt Margy makes everyone feel special by listening intently to every word they say.  She understands what really matters in life. People matter. Loving people matters.  Some of us talk about it; she doesn’t speak a word about it.  She just lives it.

Aunt Margy’s life is a life of greatness. Too often we measure greatness by wealth, athletic skill or fame.  She is not a Hollywood Star or a Fortune 500 C.E.O., but her energy and spirit capture all that is right and good about this world.  Aunt Margy has lived True Greatness, meaning she has maximized the talents and abilities with which God created her and fulfilled the purpose for which God called her.

Being around Aunt Margy – even for a few hours – reminds me that greatness isn’t about world championships or stock holdings.  It is bringing joy to those around me.  It is about small, deliberate kindnesses.  It is listening and hearing.  It is about helping others see the beauty in life that Aunt Margy sees.

Greatness is understanding that this earth and everything in it is fragile and could be gone in an instant.  Greatness is understanding that all we really have are our connections to each other – they are all that truly matter.

Aunt Margy understands these things; I hope you and I understand them, too.

Three Magic Words That Produce Instant Happiness

NOTE: this is Part II.  You should read Part I – Six Barriers to Happiness first.

What are the magic words guaranteed to instantly evict the unwelcome “negative six emotions” and leave us only feeling our baseline of happiness?

“I am responsible.”

Try it.  Declare, “I am responsible!”

No.  This isn’t hokey.  Okay, maybe it is a little. . . but give it a try.  Right now, declare, “I am responsible!”

Did you feel the power?

If you didn’t feel it, try it again.  “I am responsible!”

The moment you claim 100% responsibility for your life and each event in your life, you immediately get your life back.  And you will immediately begin to see your happiness return.

Accepting 100% responsibility instantly negates the “negative six emotions” and immediately forces your mind to begin working on solutions to the issues upon which the “negative six” have entered your psyche.

Consider that it is NEVER the issue, the event, the situation, or the other person that causes our negative emotions.  We scapegoat and blame those events or people and use them as a means to justify and rationalize our negative emotions.  But they are NOT the cause of our unwanted feelings.  It is our decision, alone, to feel victimized and powerless to change things.

The true cause of negative emotions is being unclear about how we are going to respond to the event, situation, person or issue.

That’s it.  And that will always be it.  Lack of clarity is the root of negative emotions.

So, if negative emotions are the disease; purpose and clarity are the cure.

The moment we accept 100% responsibility – even if we are not clear on the solution, yet – we allow our mind to immediately begin searching for the perfect solution to the problem — instead of employing our mind’s vast capabilities trying to designate a scapegoat and concoct a number of way to blame that person or event for what is wrong in our life.

Take responsibility.  Say aloud, “I am responsible,” and reclaim your life . . . and your happiness.

Six Barriers to Happiness

We all want to be happy. The positive emotion of ‘happiness’ is a by-product of living a purposeful, productive, fulfilling life of service to others.  A purposeful, productive life produces peace of mind and an abundance of joy, truth and love. When you live life in those terms there are only six  barriers to happiness:  the negative emotions of fear, self-pity, envy, jealousy, inferiority, and rage.

We often envision happiness fluctuating up and down like an outdoor Ohio thermometer.  But science tells us that is an inaccurate model of how humans actually experience happiness.  Once a human is purposefully engaged in a productive venture; happiness exists.  If you feel that your work helps others and is worthy of your daily effort — your happiness actually fluctuates very little at all.

What actually occurs when we feel ‘less happy’ than normal is that we are concurrently experiencing one or more of the “negative six emotions.”  When we choose to feel one or more of the “negative six” more powerfully than our happiness, we describe that result as ‘feeling unhappy.’  But the happiness is still there in the background, just as it always is.  We simply cannot feel it as strongly since we are choosing to experience the negative emotion(s) more intensely at that time. To return to the state of happy, then, all that is necessary is to remove the negative emotion(s) interfering with our ability to feel, experience, and appreciate our happiness.

That sounds good in theory.  But removing negative emotions is more difficult than the simplistic advice we are often given to “just think positively.”  Right?   We cannot just say a few magic words and have negative emotions disappear as easily as a magician waves his wand through the air, right?

Well, actually; no.  It is that simple.  Feeling happy requires only the incantation of three magic words.

Click here to read Part II – Three Magic Words That Produce Instant Happiness to find out what they are.