One Way to Determine If You Are a Leader or a Follower

One Way to Determine If You Are a Leader or a Follower

If we think about the people that have changed the course of history it's very safe to say that they listened to their hearts.  Additionally they listened to their souls and their higher selves.  The important thing to emphasize is that they listened inwardly.  In a moment of quiet contemplation (or several, more accurately) the leaders or pioneers of any given field, decided a change needed to be made.  An invention had to be created,  a peace had to be attained and possibly an injustice needed to be righted.

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Find the Messages In the Day

Find the Messages In the Day

I teach meditation and help people become calmer, but do you want to know something? I learn the most when I realize that I am not only the teacher but the student.

One of the greatest gifts of mindfulness is the ability to be so in tuned to the moment that messages come to you most effortlessly.

Let me give you a great example.  Yesterday was a very busy day.  I had podcasts to get out, interviews to be conducted and a speech for toastmasters that I hadn't even started.

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You Have to Think for Yourself to Become Calmer

The pull of society is strong...very strong.  But if you want to live a more purposeful life then you need to know that no society dictates what you do.

I have been reading a great book, The Leap, by Steven Parker.  The subtitle give you an idea of what it is about; the psychology of spiritual awakening.

In the book he talks about the transformation from sleep to wakefulness.  Very roughly put, sleep is our day to existence, steeped in ego, thinking we are simply individuals.  Wakefulness is a consciousness that we are all united, every living thing living in unity, and when we drop our preconceived beliefs we become happier.

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It's Time to Start Saying "NO"

If you aren't where you want to be in your life right now, you need to start saying "NO".

I'm not asking you to be belligerent, but I am asking you to take your feelings and needs into account.

We all have been at a point in our lives when we question some pretty big questions.  

You wonder how you became an accountant when in school you wanted to be actor.  

Or maybe you are living in Minnesota when you really can't stand cold weather.

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Your Destiny Doesn't Always Need to be so Grand

There is a buzzword that extends past the personal development circles into the mainstream consciousness.  

It is "Passion"

Not steamy soap opera passion, but your passion; the thing that makes you come alive, the reason you are here on this earth.

Here's the thing though.  Perhaps the word is so widespread that people who don't know why they are here, may feel intimidated or left out.

You don't have to change the entire world to have a destiny.  The very word destiny conjures up images of grandeur.

Some people feel they have to rise to prominence to experience their calling.

That's not case every time.

Your destiny may be smaller in size but grander in scope.

Perhaps your calling is to live the example of kindness, so that the world you do interact with is enriched.

You don't need to be a civil rights leader, inventor or third-world doctor to have a destiny.

We all have one, and each one is important.

It's why our soul had us take on human form.

And of course you know what I am going to say about discovering your passion, calling or destiny, right?  

Spend some time each day quietly reflecting on your life.

It will become apparent eventually as to why you are here.  If you need a hand, you can count on me.

Three Steps to Regaining Your Sense of Calm - SOB

No, not that S.O.B.!

Do you really think I would throw that out there?  Me, the guy that loves the world?


When I say S.O.B. it's an easy way for you to become calm.


We are always on the go, heading somewhere, thinking that the more things we do the more important we are.  Those thoughts won't help you become calm.  But if you stop your mind and literally your body, you are part way to relaxation.


While you are stopped, simply observe the world around you.  Don't feel the need to talk, to add your opinion.  Don't do anything.  Fight that urge to move and do.  Simply observe, one thing, or everything.


Lastly, breathe; in through your nose, holding that breath briefly, and then slowly letting it out through your mouth.  Do this four times and you are sitting pretty, reveling in calm.

Wasn't that easy?  

The next time you are running around crazy, wanting to be calm, just remember SOB!Peace,


Stop Believing You Are Incomplete

Guess what?  You are perfect.

No that doesn't mean everything is going great all the time, and it doesn't mean you won't get bummed out, angry or sad.  It means that everything in your life right now, good and bad, is happening to bring you a state of growth.

The good thing to know is that you possess absolutely everything you need to be the best that you can be and to have a life that is calm and fulfilling.

Here's the thing though; you have to stop believing that you are incomplete.

That's not an easy task either.  Everywhere you go you are bombarded with messages that tell you otherwise.  Think about the multitude of TV and movies that all focus on finding that one special someone, the belief being that once you do, your life will start and you will be happy forever.

Think about the iconic movie line,

"You complete me"

Here's a news flash.  You were born complete.

When you realize that, you stop searching and start living, embracing all that you are, experiencing your completeness.

Advertisers don't make it easy either.  If you don't have their latest product you are left home alone while the rest of the world goes on smiling and laughing.

So how do you avoid buying into all that incomplete mentality?

It starts with awareness.  Our talking about it now helps you understand when you are being manipulated to believing you are not whole.

It will also help you to spend time each day quietly reflecting on what you bring to the world, you and you alone.

If you want to share your life with someone, look for them to complement who you are, not complete you.

No one completes you.  No one needs to; you are whole.  When you realize that, life becomes becomes so much fuller.


You Are Not Giving Up on the Life You Want

Our lives are truly remarkable.  

There are so many times when you feel happy, calm.   There are so many times when you are amazed at the life you are living, awed by the natural world and by the people you love.

And yet there are also times of darkness, when all around you seems bleak.  Challenges befall at every turn.  You wonder why these events, maybe people, have crossed your path.

I can't say for sure why they have; only you can do that.  However, I would offer a possibility. 

Perhaps, the tough times are there to help you see the other side of the coin.  Would you know a beautiful life if that's all there was?  You wouldn't.

Tough times help us appreciate the good ones.  They give us something to measure against.

An equally important reason for difficulties is to help us understand what we are capable of doing, becoming.

You are strong.

Feel that strength.

It's not a boastful power.  It is a calm, steadfast understanding that you are capable of absolutely anything, and to that point, you are capable of creating an amazing life.

You are living it right now.

Of course it has challenges, sadness and sorrow.  And as much as we hate to realize it, our souls have created those moments to help us see not just the light, but our ability to persevere.

You are not giving up on the life you want.

You know you can't.

At some point today, truly focus on what you want your life to be.  See it in your minds eye and know that you can create that.  Recapture your power, or reawaken it.

Whatever your age, whatever your challenge, it's going to serve you to understand that the life you want is a possibility.

And not just a possibility, but a certainty.  Whether it's in this life or another, you will experience your light, your divinity, your joy.

How about choose to discover it today?


There is Always an Answer...Love

It is a wonderfully calm day today.  The sun is shining so brightly and I have some truly peaceful music playing on Focus@Will as I write this.

All is well.

And it always will be.  

Do you want to know why?

Because there is Love.

Love abounds.  

It's in the hearts of those around you; the people you know and the people you don't.  It resides in all of us. Even the darkest of hearts know love.  It may may be shrouded, almost imperceivable, but it is there.

Waiting to be discovered.

What a beautiful reminder today: that we all joined by one energy.

Every person on this planet shares a feeling, an energy.  Every person on this planet is Love.

There will be times when you doubt so many things, wondering how you will ever make it through the day. Wondering how you ever fell so far.  You look for a reason. You look for an answer.

In those times, and in all times, the answer is the same: Love.

Don't beat yourself up, just look for the Love.

There are 8 billion people with you in this moment. Some of them know your pain or their equivalent and others know of light and hope.

All of them, know both.

Just like you do.  You know hope and joy; pain and sorrow.

All of it makes up who you are.  

Wherever you are in your life at this moment, know that there have been people who loved you, believed in you.

And there are certainly people right now that do as well.

It may be people that know you.

Or it may be the person who smiles at you as they hold the door for you entering a store.

It doesn't matter who it is, if you know them or not.  Whatever the vessel, whatever the form, the clearest answer will always be the same...


It's Time to Be Selfish

There is such a strong desire for us to fit in that we do almost anything to endear ourselves to others.  Don't get me wrong; we should always look to create community, to enrich the lives of others.

But you know you have to look after you too, right?  Don't think for a second that those concepts are mutually exclusive.  In fact, if you don't take steps to take care of yourself then you won't have much, if anything, to give to others.

Getting back to my original point, whether the desire is to belong or to actually be kind to others, we give much more than we receive.

As with most things in this world, there exists duality, a need for balance.  

The question stands then, what can you do for yourself today that will not only improve who you are, but also allow you the ability to give back to the world?

Do you want some ideas?

  • Take a walk outside.
  • Make yourself a nice healthy lunch and eat it somewhere other than at your desk, in front of your computer or in your car.
  • Meditate, if you know how. (You knew I had to put that in there!)
  • Spend any amount of time daydreaming. 

If caring for yourself is something you find difficult, you are going to find excuses for why you can't do the things I suggest above.

Well, you can make excuses, or you can change your life from reactive to purposeful.  The choice is always yours.  

In the end, when you take care of yourself, you end up being able to give so much more to the world.  And quite frankly, the world needs your best you!

Peace, Thom


Three Powerful Ways to Demonstrate Love

Hey my friends,

I am going to put on my tie-dye shirt, grow out my hair and flash you the coolest peace sign and say...

When you give Love, you get Love.

Does that resonate with you?  There are so many choices in a day to choose Love, to be kind and to smile. The biggest thing to realize is, you're not being Pollyanna, you are actually being selfish, but in a wonderful way.

When you act out of Love the world responds in kind.  What does that do?  Well, it lowers your level of stress of course, but it also has you feeling more connected to the world.

Earlier in this email I kidded about being a hippie; but there is nothing 1960's related about demonstrating Love whenever you can.  

Here's how:

Smile - It opens so many doors and makes the world feel good. 

Show concern for others - Not just people you know, but everyone.  Think about charities that you can donate time, money or energy towards.  Or simply get your nose out of your phone and look around at the world and see where you can help.  In fact, that is a great way to start the day, with the intention of helping the world with all you can do.

Use words that uplift - Speak to EVERYONE with kindness.  Look to connect with people using your words.  I capped "everyone" because there will be times in the day when people ruffle your feathers, If you choose to let them.  Instead, either choose not to engage or simply walk away.  Best of all, return their anger with Love. 

After all, didn't Martin Luther King Junior say...

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

I know he did; I just looked it up for us! :o)

I will keep it short for now, but if you practice just one of these suggestions you will find your day gets so much better.  

I guarantee it.

Peace, Thom

Three Reasons You Get Angry and How to Stop Them if You Choose to.

I am not an angry guy, but every now and then, that energy wells up in me.  Or I should say, tries to well up inside of me.

Let's face it, we create anger.  And we also have the ability to stop it. 

Should we stop it every time? Should we look to eradicate anger from our lives? Quite simply, no. However, we should be aware of our anger and on some level make it conscious, as opposed to reactive.

It's my belief that every energy has the ability to move us forward, including anger.  However, I find it least productive when it is the end result of careless thinking and expectation.

Think back to the last time you were angry.  Chances are good it was the result of one of these things:

  • Something didn't go the way you expected it to.
  • Someone acted in a way that went against how you felt they should
  • Someone did something that was in conflict with a belief that you hold in high regard.

You would think that for such a powerful energy as anger that there would be many more reasons, but this list of three covers it all.  

Here's the thing.  All three reasons are things you can change.

Don't have expectations.  Let things be as they will be, and change your experience to what actually happened, not what you wanted to happen.

Let people be who they are.  Let them do what they do.  Your way of living is only right for you. Ditch the ego part of you that tries to tell you that your way of living is the only way, that everyone should feel, think and believe the way you do.

Having beliefs is great.  Living by a code pf personal values adds meaning to our lives.  But the operative word is personal.  Your values are your values.  Live by them and let others live by theirs.  If there is ever a conflict, simply let others know what is important to you without devaluing what is important to them.  Be respectful of yourself and them.

In the end, you are the one responsible for feeling angry.  Empower it if it will serve you, or simply make a conscious decision not to react to the feelings once you notice them.

It is that easy.

You are powerful. You have the ability to respond in ways that serve you.  No one is in control of your emotions or life.

Now, go take on the day!



One Way to Not Grow Old

I was walking down the street this morning and heard Mother Nature call my name.  She didn't so much say,

"Hey Thom!"

Nope.  It was more like her kids, the trees, swaying in the breeze.  They were saying,

"What do you think of the new clothes? Nice, right?  It was just yesterday that we were naked as jaybirds. Now that you mention it,  those little guys weren't even around.  They were sleeping through the winter too"

Yipper.  Winter has transitioned to Spring.

And the trees were so beautiful, and the breeze so refreshing as it cooled the slight sweat that clung to my clothes from my walk in the sun.

Time marches on.  It never stops.  Does that bother you?

You might not want to let it get to you.  You are getting older.  So am I.  That's a cool thing though, if you see it that way.

It's funny; when we are younger we want to be older and when we are older we want to be younger.

But not everyone thinks that.  Hopefully, not you.  Time is make believe.

Think about it.  Of course there are seasons, but who came up with the idea of time?  Man.  It is constructed.  It's pretty arbitrary too.  Why is a year a revolution of the earth around the sun?  Because somebody though that was a good way to mark the days, another arbitrary term; the amount of time it takes the earth to rotate once on its axis.

It's all made up.  So how about you forget about fictitious segments of life and just live?

Don't worry about another birthday, live this "rotation" to the most.

We get all cranked up about getting older when we feel we have things left to do and time is slipping away.

Well, stop pi**ing away time thinking about the "days" you have left and live the ones you do have.

If you have something you want to do, then do it. 

When you live each day to the fullest, you never worry about birthdays, and you end up having the greatest talks with the trees!

Peace, Thom

Why You Shouldn't Aspire to be Anyone Else

You are driving down the highway and you see a beautiful woman driving a brand new Lexus.  She is gorgeous; hair perfect, designer sunglasses and manicured nails cradling the latest iPhone in her hand.

Lustful thoughts aside, you think...

"Wow, she has got it made!"

And of course the same is true for the example of a man too.  He is tooling down the road in a black BMW, classically good-looking, dressed to the nines, perfect teeth. And you think...

"I would give anything to be that guy!"

Would you?

Would you trade lives with either of them?  Perhaps that women has tears welling up in her eyes behind those shades.  Maybe she is listening to a voicemail from the hospital saying that her dad is not doing well, and she needs to get there soon to be able to say goodbye.

That male model may seem like he has it all together, but just maybe, he is battling an addiction and he is about to lose his house.

You don't know.

And in desiring to be someone else, you lose your happiness with who you are too.  When things get tough we always compare ourselves to others, seeing others with the possible facade of success and happiness.

The truth is, everyone has stuff they are dealing with. No one has a perfect life, no matter how it looks on the outside.

When things are tough, don't look to trade lives with anyone.  Feel the pain that you are in and understand it is fleeting, that you will get through it.

More so, realize that this seeming bump in the road is a lesson to bring you closer to your higher self; your higher self, and no one else's.

Love who you are.  Everything you are going through is to help you realize your divinity, your higher self.

Peace, Thom

Cram It All In, It's Still Not Going to Fill that Void

When I have more money, life is going to be so much better.

When I get to move into my dream house then I know I have arrived.

When I get that raise and that spiffy new car, I can finally relax, because I will be happy.

Do any of those thoughts resonate with you?  I hope not.  I certainly don't have all the answers for you, but there is one thing I have found.  Happiness is not outside of you.

It's not in a new love, a new car or a new house.

It's waiting to be discovered within you.  It's waiting patiently.  Every now and then you feel it, right?  Every now and then you get a glimpse.  

Here's the tricky thing though, when you get those things I initially mentioned, you feel happy.  But it's fleeting, and it's not real.  It seems it, but after a short while those things fail to lift your mood.

So what is the key to happiness?

You don't think I can lay it all out here in an email, do you?  I can't.  But I can tell you how to find out for yourself what happiness is.  If you read yesterday's post, you know what it is; at least you will know where to get the answer.

You guessed it; ask yourself.  I tell you what; I will even give you some questions to ask yourself to get the ball rolling.

  • Am I happy?
  • In the times I am not happy, seldom or frequently, why is that?  
  • How do I find that well of joy within me?

The answers may not come right away, but because you have asked the questions, your higher self will lead you to the answers in time.  Chances are good that you will begin to see signs and answers as you go throughout your day.

It certainly won't be signs for things on sale, because nothing outside of you is going to fill your void of unhappiness.

But keep your eyes open and your heart willing, and soon you will be awash in joy.



There Has Got to Be More Than This

There is so much more.

Yet many times you get drawn into the drama that is ego.  You wrap yourself up in your own worries and scenarios, unaware that there is so much more to live for.

Right off the bat, there are other people to live for.  Not at the exclusion of yourself, but in addition to you. Do what you need to do to make yourself better, and as you do that, share who you are with the world.

Now, the important thing to realize is that better doesn't necessarily mean more things, bigger house, shinier car, etc.  When I say better, I mean, become calmer. I mean become introspective.  I mean become unconditionally loving.

As you become all those things, shift your focus off of yourself.  Take care of yourself, eat right and work out, but also give of who you are.  Think of others' happiness.

There is so much more than you think.

There is a whole world that needs your light and attention.  When you focus outside of who you are, then you experience a fuller life.  That is what you want, right?

Today, think of the world first.



I Quit! - Perspective on What to Do at Work

I Quit!

We have all thought that.

And since this is Monday, many people are feeling that desire stronger than ever. They spent the weekend hassle-free, doing things they enjoy (hopefully) and now have to go back to the grind.  

If you are not happy, really happy, then why don't you quit?

I can tell you why I didn't.  The money was good and to be perfectly honest, I was lazy.  The whole idea of rewriting the resume and trying to covertly arrange job interviews was a hassle to  think about, never mind actually do.

So I stayed.

Until one sunny fall Sunday, working alone, I decided to leave it all behind.  Anyone who listens to ZEN commuter knows the story.

But this blog is about you. How do you feel about your job? I figure there are five major beliefs when it comes to a job/career:

  • I love what I do.  The company I work for is awesome.
  • I love the work I do, working for myself
  • Some of my job stinks, but for the most part, it's easy and I get paid well
  • Most of it stinks and I am just gonna coast because I don't want to have to look for anything else.It pays the bills
  • It is the absolute worst and I will do anything to be out of here

That's a pretty broad spectrum.  To be honest, I can't tell you what to do if situation 3, 4 or 5 resonates with you.  In fact, I can't even say if you need to do anything.  The only one who knows that answer is you, not your significant other, parents or best friend.  It's you.

So ask yourself.

Ask yourself what to do.  Go somewhere quiet, close your eyes and ask.  You will get an answer. Don't sit on it though.  Act on it, despite the fear that crop up.

Real simply, life is not meant to be a chore.  If you aren't doing what makes you happy, then you have to go after what does, despite the fear.

Life is short.  Make it what you want it to be.