Posts tagged ‘Appreciation’

May 13, 2012

“Surf Lessons”

Today my buddy and I surfed Windansea, one of the more noteworthy surf spots in San Diego. This place is known for its’ competitive local attitude. If you are not a decent surfer and if you are not familiar to the other guys in the lineup, you are prone to verbal insults or being “ganged up” on by the local crew. Why surf here? It is an awesome wave and it can be really fun.

A few years ago when I surfed this legendary surf break I did not feel worthy. I wiped out a couple of times and I felt out of place in the lineup. I also received some rancorous comments from the local surf crew. I left this session feeling inferior and depleted.

This morning was quite different. I have become a much better surfer in the last few years and I have total control of my board. My friend and I easily caught as much or more waves then the other guys in the lineup. All the interactions with my fellow surfers were positive. I felt worthy. I had an awesome day!

Between waves, I reflected on all of the life lessons that were applicable:

1) Accept feedback – When I last surfed Windansea, I was not “good enough”. At that time, I did not have the requisite skill to be in the lineup. It was beneficial to acknowledge that I needed to improve ability before going back.

2) Practice, Patience and Persistence will get you where you want to go. – If you want something, you need to put in the effort and have patience for your desired outcome. In the blogging world, it is best to keep writing to hone your craft, be persistent through times where you do not feel inspired and be patient for the possibility of an expanded readership.

3) Don’t Take Anything Personally – As Don Miguel Ruiz stated in “The Four Agreements”, “nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.” There is always a chance that you are going to run into “grumpy” people in the community or in the surf lineup. Their attitude is their issue. Don’t make it yours.

4) Remember that you are in control of how to respond to every situation. –  As discussed yesterday, how we respond to the actions and reactions of others can affect how a situation can play out and can affect your emotional response.

5) Be here, now and “go with the flow”. – When you find something you truly enjoy, it is easier to live in the moment and feel the joy of the situation. Surfing does this for me.

Thank you for your patience for all of my surfing metaphors. Have a great day!

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April 29, 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award

I am very grateful to Currie Rose and to Holistic Me for nominating “Influence Versus Control” for the Kreativ Blogger Award! Currie has been very supportive of my little corner of the blogosphere. Currie has a great blog entitled “Based on a True Story”, which brings truth, humor, and a positive spirit. Holistic Me summarizes her own blog with the Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” I definitely agree with Holistic Me’s philosophy that we “are responsible for our own health and our own well-being. “ I encourage you to stop by these blogs because they are awesome!

The Kreativ Blogger Award works in a similar way to a chain mail, in that if you are nominated, you then nominate seven other blogs for the award in order to accept.

To those I nominate (and for everyone else), here are the rules:

▪   Thank the nominating blogger and provide a link to that blog

▪   Spread the love by nominating seven other bloggers, including their links

▪   Tell your readers seven things they may not already know about you

So, here are seven things about me:

  1. I grew up in Berkeley California. The odd thing about growing up in Berkeley is that people can have a preconceived notion about what those crazy Bezerkley people. When growing up I loved all of the café’s in the Telegraph Avenue area. I also loved going to the original Peet’s coffee. Ummm, coffee.
  2. My mother was an Art History Librarian and UC Berkeley. She was in charge of the Italian collection. I know very little about art history.
  3. My father was a soil engineer. However, I did not end up being good at math.
  4. I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology at University of California at Davis. For the record, I did not get into Berkeley.
  5. After UC Davis, I spent about a year as a substitute teacher for special education classes. This experience was influential in my career decision of becoming an occupational therapist in school-based practice.
  6. I went to “The Ohio State University” for OT school. Spending a few years with actual winter makes me appreciate the weather that I currently experience in San Diego.
  7. I am in the process of writing a book. I started “Influence Versus Control” to encourage me to write on a regular basis.

And my nominees for the Kreativ Blogger Award are (in no particular order!):

  1. David Kanigan – Great thoughts, quotes and images about choosing a positive response.
  2. A leaf in springtime – Inspiring art and ideas
  3. Jay the Baker – A sweat dose of positivity daily
  4. Goss Coaching – Great advice on getting where you want to go in life.
  5. Looking at the Sky – Best described by the author: “My thought today is to keep moving forward.  Looking for new things to create.  Finding new ideas that inspire you to move forward and learn more.”
  6. Momentum of Joy – “Where spirituality meets reality”.
  7. A Kiss of Bliss – Positive art and great ideas. Well written and encouraging.

 

Thank you all!

influenceversuscontrol.com

influenceversuscontrol.wordpress.com

 

April 29, 2012

Responding to Life Events

One of the most influential equations that I have learned in my life has been:
E + R = O
For this equation;

  • E = Events
  • R = Your chosen response to an Event
  • O = The overall outcome

In the model, the “Event” is neutral. It is not “good” or “bad”, it is just a life circumstance. It is our Response to an event that will shape how we label or perceive the event in our minds. How we choose to respond to an event directly affects the overall outcome.

For example, imagine you are a school-aged kid being called a name by one of your classmates. You choose to respond by calling the other kid a worse name. The outcome is that the other kid hits you.

Imagine this scenario with a different response. You are a school-aged kid being called a name by one of your classmates. You ignore the other kid and move to the other side of the playground to be with a group of your friends. The outcome is that you have moved on with your day without conflict.

Let us look at this equation from an “Influence versus Control” perspective

  • E = Events – These are things that you typically can’t control. You may be able to influence factors leading up to events, but the event would have happened without you. Life events can be the small events such as being cut off in traffic or misplacing your house keys to major life events such as your house burning down or losing a family member.
  • R = Response – This is where you have some control. You can choose your response. When a life event happens, you can remember that there are multiple ways to respond to any situation and you can practice taking the time needed to evaluate your response. Since your response has a strong influence on the outcome, it is important to take personal responsibility for your responses to all life events.
  • O = Outcomes- This is an areas where we have influence. If we react “positively” to a situation, we are more likely to experience a “positive” outcome.

One Saturday, I experienced an opportunity to reflect on my responses to a common life situation. While playing with my children at the beach, I noticed that I no longer had my car keys. I could not use my phone to call my wife since my phone was locked in my car. My kids had just come out of the water and they were cold. There was a storm coming and rain was just minutes away.

In the past, this situation would have freaked me out. I would have become extremely frustrated and my blood pressure would have risen. Most likely, I would have started using expletives at an increasingly frequent level.

When I reflected on the fact that the only thing that I could control in this situation was my response to this situation, I was in a much better place for problem solving. I knew that there were just a limited amount of possible actions. First I unpacked all of our stuff to look for the key. Then I backtracked everywhere that we had been at the beach that day. Once I felt that I had just about exhausted all my options. I asked a fellow beach goer to barrow their cell phone. I called my wife to see if she could come pick us up. My wife’s phone went straight to voicemail, so the option of being “rescued” appeared off the table. While the kids played on a play structure, I went back to an area of the play area  that we had been playing before the key was lost and I started a grid search of the sand area looking for the key. After a while of searching,I found the key.

In this scenario, if had chosen to respond with anger, I could have “ruined” the day for my children and myself. By remaining calm, our family fun day continued on without incident. The next time “life happens”, remember you have the ability evaluate your response before you take action. When we chose to remain calm in a problematic situation, we are more likely to consider all of our options and problem solve effectively.

April 26, 2012

Right Mind-ed-ness

Our left hemisphere is all about the past and the future and serves as the voice inside of our head. Our right hemisphere is all about the NOW and overall perception of being. 

One strategy of “getting into our right minds” is meditation. Meditation is the practice of detaching from one’s thoughts. Many people think that to engage in meditative practice, you have to absolutely free of conscious thoughts. In “Meditation in a New York Minute”,  Mark Thornton reviews many types of meditative practice. The one teaching that was the most valuable for me is that the initial focus of meditation is to detach from your thoughts. When meditating, you can still have your internal dialogue, but the goal is to detach and observe your thoughts as if they are just words floating by. In short, we breathe deeply and try to get in our right hemisphere.

If you are a recovering cynic such as myself, the mere mention of meditation may trigger a belief system that resists this concept. This resistant vision may include pictures of hippies with headbands across their long hair sitting on a grass field making daisy chains while chanting Ohmmm. At least, that was my internal response about six years ago.

Today, I look at meditation pragmatically. I have studied the effects of meditation on myself. The results of my “single-subject research design” (with very loose qualitative data) is that when I have the habit of meditating for at least five minutes per day, I am better able to detach from my thoughts. I also noticed that once I started to observe my thoughts objectively, I was better able to control my thoughts and to change my thought patterns.

In summary, Meditation allows up to observe and evaluate our thoughts and to increase awareness that we can be separate from our stream of thoughts.

Now meditation is good for the 20% of conscious thought that we can control. What do we do about the other 80% of unconscious thoughts and belief systems?

The short answer is….Work on it! On great way to work is through positive affirmations.

Again, six years ago my cynical self groaned a “good grief” every time I heard about positive affirmations. My belief system at that time was that positive affirmations are good for those “new age folks”. I had the comedic image of Al Frankin’s Stewart Smally  –

Affirmation helps re-shape our unconscious beliefs. The more we think and affirm our new belief and the more feeling that we attach to this belief, the more this new belief will become a part of our subconscious belief system. Positive affirmations can help improve our self-concept and self-confidence. Ironically, earlier this morning I was listening to a great podcast on self-confidence on “Life Habits”. http://lifehabits.net/2009/04/24/lh32-self-confidence/

In short, meditation and positive affirmations can be effective strateiges in re-shaping our thoughts and beliefs.

Happy thinking!

April 20, 2012

Get Back on The Horse!

On Day 18 of the “Habit Change Challenge”, life got in the way. I decided to stay up late playing “Ping Pong” with a couple of friends. When I got home, my youngest child kept me awake the remainder of the night and early morning since he had difficulty sleeping. I chose to sleep next to him so he would feel more comfortable and sleep better. Since I did not get much sleep, most of the night, I decided to sleep in to 7 AM. Therefore, I did not exercise or meditate in the morning. In the evening, my wife and I had a birthday party to go to after work. When we got home, I feel asleep with my youngest when I put him to sleep. So, I on this day I strayed from the habits of logging my gratitude, successes, meditating and exercising.

I almost made it! I hope that if you took up this challenge that you are still going. If this is a competition, I hope that you beat me.

I am not a victim of certain circumstances. I made decisions about life priorities that allowed my new habits to fall into the background. I chose to spend time with people that I do not see as much and I had a lot of fun doing so. I had a great time playing games with my friends and going to an adult birthday party without my kids. I choose to prioritize sleep over my target habits. The sleep that I got felt good! I do not feel badly about the choices that I made these last few days.

I am “jumping back on the horse”. I am not giving up on my new habits. I am starting over with the resolve of going another 21 days of being consistent exercising, meditating, listening or reading affirmations and logging my successes & gratitude. I have made progress and I choose to reflect on my “setback” as “feedback” instead of “failure”.

From this setback, I had a few thoughts about “falling off the horse”:

  • 1)   Get back on the habit as soon as possible!
  • 2)   Look at the larger goal of what you want to change
  • 3)   View the break of habit as a “blip on the screen” and start over
  • 4)   Commit to the new habit “one day at a time”
  • 5)   Avoid letting the exception become the rule! If you break a rule once, do not think that it is OK to do it again since you are already “off track”.
  • 6)   Focus on how awesome it feels to keep moving forward towards you goals instead of any possible shame of making a “mistake”
  • 7)   Analyze what happened that lead to you getting off track and use that feedback to get back on track
  • 8)   Forgive yourself!

Remember, the ultimate goal is to appreciate all the good that is a part of your life and make choices that bring more opportunities to appreciate what you have. Have fun with your own adventure!

-Andrew

 

April 10, 2012

Real Life Inspiration

Today, I received some awesome inspiration from a couple of conversations that I stumbled upon during my daily routine.One of my co-workers has recently returned to work after a stroke and a variety of other medical complications. She always had a positive attitude before she became ill and she continues to have an ebullient disposition. We spoke for a while about how it can be easy to fall into the habit of “ruminating” on past events as well as choosing what we want to focus our thoughts on. To demonstrate the importance of choosing your outlook, she told me that when a friend of hers stated, “wow, you have really had a rough year this year”, she replied that even during the worst days of her illness, she still found moments every day where things went well. To me, this is an inspiring reminder. Even if you are recovering from a major illness, there are always positive moments to collect.

Later that day, I stated to a friend of mine “man, it would be great to win the Lottery”. He replied, “You already have won”. “Just think about where you are in this world. You could be living in a country with limited resources.” I realized immediately that he was absolutely right. Our live is already full of abundance. There are always moments to enjoy. There are always people to share good times with.

You are already a winner! Every moment has bits of joy that just need to be recognized!

 

April 8, 2012

Respect Versus Judgment

In this time of multiple religious celebrations, I feel that it is best to foster respect over judgment. Religious affiliation can be a significant portion of our own identity, or to the identities of those with interact with. When we discover that we are speaking or interacting with someone that has differing beliefs, it is best to lead with respect. Every human being is deserving of respect. It does not serve own interests to judge another person as being “less than ourselves” if that person holds a belief that is at odds with the beliefs that we hold dear and true. Regardless of religious association, there are many ideals that can be considered “universal truths” or ideas that are almost universally appealing. These ideas include:

  • Gratitude
  • Forgiveness
  • Faith
  • Love
  • Courage
  • Compassion
  • Appreciation
  • Trust
  • Truth
  • Honor
  • Respect

I am sure that there are likely many more that we could all agree are common values.

So if you choose to celebrate Easter, Passover, or you celebrate other religious traditions or if you do not celebrate any religious traditions, I want to extend my respect to you as a part of the human family.

Much love to you all!

April 6, 2012

Learning to “Let it Go”

 

Lately, I have been exposed to reminders about the importance of letting things go.

This morning, I made a bunch of eggs and French Toast for my kids. My children decided to eat significantly less than I imagined that they would eat. They asked for two pieces each, and they both ended up eating just one. At the end of the meal, there were a plates half full of uneaten French Toast smothered in syrup. I do not like to waste food. I admit that I was slightly annoyed by the syrupy messy mess of uneaten food resources. As I scraped the uneaten maple encrusted remnants, I reminded myself to “let it go”.

A few moments later as I was cleaning off the table, I noticed that milk had soaked through the tablecloth and had started to stain the table. This table was inherited from my parents and I have significant emotional attachment to the table. This was the table that I ate dinner with my family growing up. This table made it 40 years without any stains in the wood. Now there are stains.

“Let it go.”

In Buddhism, the second “Nobel Truth” is that the origin of suffering is attachment. Basically, we get in trouble when we become attached to transient things in our lives. In the Buddhist worldview, transient things not only include the physical objects that surround us, but also ideas, and objects of our perception. “Because the objects of our attachment are transient, their loss is inevitable, thus suffering will necessarily follow.” Buddhist believe goes deeper and asserts that our own sense of “self” is itself transient and that our attachment to our sense of “self” can also be a cause of suffering. One simple way that we can alleviate our suffering is to let go of our attachments. In other words, we can just “let it go”.

Looking back at my morning French Toast, I can observe that my frustration was directly linked to my attachment to food resources in my home. My suffering was linked to attachment to eggs, bread and maple syrup. I also experienced suffering due to my attachment with the wood surface of my family table. Once we can identify the source of our sense of dissatisfaction, it can be a lot easier to “let it go”.

Whereas attachment to a specific object can be easy to identify, it can be more challenging to recognize beliefs that can cause us a sense of dis-ease. “The Work” by Byron Katie can be a great tool to evaluate one’s beliefs that can lead to a sense of dissatisfaction. In brief, the work consists of five basic steps that force us to identify our thought process about a given situation. These five steps include:

  1. Ask yourself “Is it true?”
  2. Ask yourself “Can you absolutely know that it’s true?”
  3. Ask yourself “How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?”
  4. Ask yourself  “Who would you be without the thought?
  5. The Turnaround – Next, turn your statement around. The turnarounds are an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you believe to be true. You may find several turnarounds. This is not about blaming yourself or feeling guilty. It’s about discovering alternatives that can bring you peace.

In many of my own life situations, I have observed that when I start to experience stress, I would be better off if I just “let it go”. Some situations are easier for me to let go of than others. For your own sense of peace and well-being, I hope that you can learn to just “let it go”.

March 30, 2012

Sunshine Award

I am very grateful to “Simply Charming” for the nomination for the “Sunshine Award”. I love how this awards was presented to me. Thank you for the fun and the appreciation.

 The Rules: *made to be broken*

  1. Include the award Logo(s) in a post or in your blog.
  2. Answer 10 question about your self.
  3. Nominate 10 to 12 other fabulous bloggers.
  4. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blog, letting them know about the award.
  5. Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

The Questions: (and answers from a man of few words)

  1. .    What is your Favorite color?  Blue
  2. .    What is your favorite animal? Dog
  3. .    What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?   Coffee
  4. .    Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter?  Facebook, if I absolutely had to choose.
  5. .    What’s your passion?  Supporting students with special needs.
  6. .    What’s your Favourite pattern?  Mandelbrot sets
  7. .    Do you prefer giving or getting presents?  Giving
  8. .    What’s your favourite number?  Seven
  9. .    Favourite day of the week?  Saturday
  10. .    Favorite flower…
Jasmine
Now it is time to give “props” to some awesome bloggers. And the nominations for the “Sunshine Blogger Award” are.
  1. http://henriksenlearning.wordpress.com/
  2. http://saymberblondi.wordpress.com/
  3. http://orples.wordpress.com/
  4. http://akissofbliss.wordpress.com/
  5. http://momentumofjoy.wordpress.com/
  6. http://currierose.wordpress.com/
  7. http://adammaikkula.wordpress.com/
  8. Http://couragetoadventurecoaching.com
  9. http://outsideair.wordpress.com/
  10. http://thelifeofjwo.wordpress.com/

I hope that you all enjoy the fun and appreciation of the sunshine award! You have all brought me more sunlight (he said going for the most obvious of cliche’s).

March 26, 2012

GRATITUDE 4 the 7 X 7 Link Award!

First and foremost, I would like to show my appreciation to Marcy King at http://orples.wordpress.com/ for the nomination of the 7 X 7 Link award. Marcy has been very encouraging of “Influence Versus Control” and she always provides great comments. Marcy’s site includes great information about her children’s books as well as some cool photography.

And now, the rules for the 7 X 7 Link Award

  1. Give thanks and acknowledgements to the blogger who nominated you for this award
  2. List 7 of your previous links in the following categories. Most Helpful, Most Popular, Most Beautiful Piece, Most Controversial, Most Surprisingly Successful, Most Underrated, Most Pride Worthy)
  3. List 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for this award.

Here are my SEVEN Links:

1.) Most Helpful – Setting Personal Goals

2.) Most Popular – Personal Responsibility

3.) Most Beautiful Piece – People First!

4.) Most Controversial – Identity

5.) Most Surprisingly Successful – Being Sick

6.) Most Underrated – Find Your Passion!

7) Most Pride Worthy – Scripting For Emotional Success

SEVEN things about myself (Andrew Gilbert)

  1. The most important thing to me is being a good father. I prioritize spending time with my children as much as possible.
  2. My wife, Emily Dolton, is an inspiring member of the local community and she does much as she can to address the needs of people with special needs. She is also an amazing artist/ muralist (http://www.insideemilyshead.com/)
  3. I have a child that has “special needs”. I definitely feel that his needs do not define him and are just an attribute (see People First blog). The love that I have learned from this “little guy” and overcoming his early health obstacles have been the main inspiration for changing my overall life outlook from “totally cynical” to a “recovering cynic”.
  4. As a “recovering cynic”, I admit that I am not perfect. I have not “been to the mountain top”, but I have seen postcards. I practice every day to be more positive and collect more data to reinforce a more optimistic worldview.
  5. As a school based occupational therapist, I have collaborated on two programs that utilize movement as an instructional strategy. One of these programs was demonstrated to improve vision skills, the other was demonstrated to improve handwriting / penmanship for Kindergarten students. I feel that movement is vital for all of us and that movement is a vital instructional strategy.  (http://occupationaltherapystrategies.com/)
  6. I love to surf. It helps clear my brain and it is great exercise!
  7. When the surf is blown out  or too small, I like mountain biking.

For this award, I did my best to “spread the love around”. There are some great bloggers that I follow I want to acknowledge Jay Rondo for the Versatile Blogging nomination and “a kiss of bliss” for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”. Thanks again to Marcy King at http://orples.wordpress.com/ for the nomination of the 7 X 7 Link award!

The SEVEN nominated bloggers for the 7 X 7 Link Award are:

  1. http://davidkanigan.com/ – For positive words and art.
  2. http://positivecookieattitudes.wordpress.com – More than just positive baking advice. Consistent positive blogging action!
  3. http://identityspecialist.net/ – Total honest, in your face blogging action!
  4. http://gyatoday.wordpress.com/ – This blog reminds us that it is always better to give than receive.
  5. http://everythingvnothing.wordpress.com/ – This blog provides consistent inspiration.
  6. http://momentumofjoy.wordpress.com/ – The name says it all. This blog keeps the joy moving.
  7. http://currierose.wordpress.com/ – A wonderful spirit! I love the whimsy and honesty.

 

Thank you very much for stopping by “Influence Versus Control”. Please stop by and say “Hello” to the great bloggers listed in this award.