The Serenity Prayer – A Challenge


Did you ever wonder where the Serenity Prayer came from or what the intention was when it was written?  I googled and found this on a website  http://www.thevoiceforlove.com/serenity-prayer.html  and I have reposted, as follows:

Serenity Prayer:  God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.  Thevoiceforlove.com further noted that the “prayer” was written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in the late 1930s to early 1940s as part of a sermon he was giving and that the widely known prayer is abbreviated and the entire prayer reads:  Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen.

I’ll get back to this in a few moments.

I’ve been thinking a lot the past few days and talking to people that have made me think even more.  For example, I recently learned of an organization called Head Start.  How blind we are (I know this is true because so many people I asked didn’t know what the organization was) in our own Communities!  I have passed the sign a million times driving past.  I thought it was just a preschool.  It’s not.  It’s a place where children who come from families earning less than $17,000 per year apply to attend (and they have a huge waiting list) where they provide education and resources to the children and the families – the children so they can, hopefully, be on an even par with more privileged children when they start elementary school, and families to help them get on their feet and “make it”.  And, get this, the organization was formed in the 1960′s.  Think we should know about it?  I was speaking with someone yesterday and we discussed the Head Start Program, and talked about how it had been invisible to me, and she said that was because it was not in my reality, as it helps our society achieve and is intended to fight poverty.  Realistically, this type of program should be in each of our realities, which leads to point out that a major mission of www.timetoplay.com is people helping people.  We are all each others people and should care about each other and help each other.

OK.  More thinking.  My daughter is 17.  She has been telling me about children in her school who have given up and have no desire to strive to get ahead, they have a “what’s the use” attitude.  I was quite disturbed yesterday during our discussion, and this isn’t the first discussion of this type I’ve had with my children.  My 20 year old told me the same thing that he’s noticed about many of his peers.  Many of his friends, he noted, know that it’s hard to find jobs, and that many view the job opportunities as low paying without job security, and that they’ve given up before they’ve even gotten started.  And then there is the alarming rate of depression and suicide in our Country, a tabu topic.   The following national youth suicide statistics were posted on http://www.teachervision.fen.com/education-and-social-issues/mental-health/57131.html#ixzz1yQlQZiWt.  I’ve included the statistics I felt were most disturbing:    suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens, suicide is second leading cause of death in colleges, that for every suicide completion, there are between 50 and 200 attempts, that the CDC (center for disease control) performed a Youth Risk Survey which showed that 8.5% of students in grades 9-12 reported a suicide attempt in the past year, that 25% of high-school students report suicide ideation (thoughts).  Probably the most disturbing was their notation that a recent survey of high-school students found that almost 1 in 5 had seriously considered suicide; more than 1 in 6 had made plans to attempt suicide; and more than 1 in 12 had made a suicide attempt in the past year.  And this is just teens.  There’s plenty of statistics for adults, including our returning soldiers, and the statistics for people with depression are crazy, too.  The CDC posted 7/11 that depression affects 1 in 10 US adults http://www.cdc.gov/Features/DataStatistics.html. These statistics and conditions show complete dissatisfaction people have in life and that they’ve given up.

Lastly, another thing that always has bothered me is how people jump on causes when it affects them.  How many people do you know that never worried about people affected by breast or another type of cancer until they or their loved one got it?  Or MS, or Diabetes, or Autism or Alzheimer’s . . . it’s an endless list.  I know we can’t all fight for everything, but shouldn’t we care about each other all the time?  Who is affected with a condition, who is struggling, etc.  Religious or not, everyone has heard of the 10 commandments.  One reads, “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”.  We’ve become so far removed from this.  I told you, I’m always thinking. . . I came up with something I call the Pilgrim Philosophy.  Early settlers relied on each other for survival.  We worked together to keep our communities strong.  We all had a job and a purpose, a place to live, food.  I feel we’ve become socially isolated, striving, alone for survival.  And with conveniences of texting, email, and other electronic communication media, we have less face to face time with others.  Could this be contributory to the statistics on suicide and depression?

What can we do?  First, this isn’t Doreen’s project to change the world.  She CAN’T do it alone.  This is people helping people, communities helping communities, businesses helping businesses, to succeed and to enjoy life.  We can’t wait for someone else to fix it.  The thought process of “Not in my reality” can’t exist.  Guess what — this is our reality.  And, ever hear of NIMBY (not in my backyard)?  Guess what — rich or poor, this is in our backyard.

So, how does the Serenity Prayer enter into this?  I think it encourages complacency.  Especially the long version.  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”.  Is there really something we can’t change?  Think about it.  I truly believe that working together, people helping people, we can change anything.  I challenge you — and all of us — to make things change.

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Embrace the www.timetoplay.com philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  Check out www.timetoplay.com to get resources for a better life.  Read tips and read articles from amazing professionals to help you have a better life.  It’s time to enjoy life!

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Foster Bold Dreams, Bolder Actions


I’ve been reading The Everyday Entrepreneur written by Rob Basso.  Chapter 5 was one in which I found myself reflecting on things I have been working on or thinking about, and wanted to share.

The chapter started off with pensive statements about what sets a WILDLY successful person apart from others: “Imagination, a solid plan of action and determination to break down barriers” (p. 71). Rob noted that the challenge to achieve is the main difference between true entrepreneurs and complacent business people. Hmm. This is something I need to reflect on. In my life I was complacent to get a job, to feel secure, to get a check. There was a course I recently took where they used an acronym for JOB: Just Over Broke. Interesting, right?

So, for most of my life I played it safe, had my 9-5 (or 6 or 7 and weekends) job and that was it. Do you have something in your heart you want to achieve? I know I do. It’s a burning, energetic feeling – and it drives me forward. This brings me to the “no regrets” / follow your heart sentiment noted by Ken Davenport on page 80, where he was headed to study law in college but went into theatre instead, “he decided to study acting so that he would have no regrets later in life about what could have been.” Can we all do this? Do we have the luxury? In my case, no. Early on I had to get a full time job to support my family. I was 17 at the time. But, my path seems to have led me to where I am now, to a life I believe has been filled with achievement. I have learned things I know I would never have learned if things went differently in the beginning. And now I’m using what I’ve learned to propel what’s in my heart. It’s never too late.

What is one to do if you have a passion, if you have an idea, if you have a desire? Well, Rob did cover that, too! Pretty much what I’ve been doing working on the www.timetoplay.com project – on page 83 he talks of Mr. Scott Snibbe of Snibbe Interactive who had to fit his artistic pursuits around his schoolwork first, and then his professional career, while developing his company. In off times you can make it happen. For me, I rarely watch TV. I find myself thinking and planning and researching when I do have down time to make things happen. I “squish” it in. Remember the “NO REGRETS” statement? That’s one of the goals for www.timetoplay.com. To bring people resources so they will have no regrets. To remind them to enjoy life and to learn what they need to know so they can. In this case, following your dreams and doing what you love is one thing, maybe the most important thing, in the world to a person so they can enjoy life.

I know so many people who hate what they do in their career but become “STUCK”. They wake up every day and are exhausted, stressed or frustrated because they have to go to work. Can you change this? Maybe you can by fitting in some type of time to make it happen. . .

Rob’s Entrepreneurial Insight on p. 83 is “Find the space to nurture and grow your new pursuits”. Maybe it’s not to become an entrepreneur and start your own business, but maybe it is to study law, dance, guitar. . . something that you’ve wanted to do and think about all the time. Do you have something in your heart that you wish or want to do?

Do it.

Make it happen.

Rob also included an interview from David Becker, president of Philippe Becker Design, Inc. who noted that, “human nature [is] to trash new ideas”. Don’t let that stop you, either. In my experience, there are a lot of people out there who are so negative towards change and will push you down. Advice? Rob notes that you need people who support you to surround yourself with and perseverance. “I’ve got nothing to lose. . . what’s the worst that can happen? We won’t get the business. Or the best? We will get the business. But I can’t be afraid of what might happen.” David Becker, p. 82.

Onward and upward!

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Embrace the www.timetoplay.com philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  Check outwww.timetoplay.com to get tips and read articles from amazing professionals to help you have a better life.  It’s time to enjoy life!

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Think and Grow Rich – by Napoleon Hill


Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill) - Blogging...

Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill) – Blogging Bookshelf (Photo credit: The Booklight)

This was a most amazing book. Andrew Carnie, of steel manufacturing fame, charged Napoleon Hill with writing this book. It was written in 1937, took 28 years to complete the research, and was the summary (I guess that’s a good word) of the 500 most successful people of that time including greats like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, etc.

What an impressive book. I’m going to provide just a brief summary and I do encourage EVERYONE to read this.

Most of the book is directed to the state of mind. I truly have realized, during my journey in my quest for quality of life, that our mind is what imprisons us, what causes us to become a victim. It’s most important for us to exercise as much control over the chatter that enters as it can totally bring us down.

Another component of the book was about “nay-sayers” that told some of the greats of our Country that things were impossible, could never happen, etc. Believe it or not, “Doubting Thomases” even told Henry Ford he could never be successful producing the automobile! I have learned, over the past years of my quest, and had reinforced through Mr. Hill’s brilliant work, that “the mind could produce anything the mind could conceive and believe” (p. 285). This book has helped me see that. I know I’ve been held back believing in people who have told me “no” or that “it can’t be done” or “why would you bother”. Although I feel bad that I let this happen, I know you can’t go back (you know, the Eckhart Tolle Power of Now philosophy – there is no past, there is no future, there is only the present). So, we move forward.

What do you want in life? Feel it, believe it. Write it down. See it. Make it happen.

In Think and Grow Rich Mr. Hill reviews 13 principles which lead to success. I considered going through and summarizing each one, but, as stated in the preface, “this book contains the secret, which as been put to a practical test by thousands of people from almost every walk of life. [Andrew Carnegie] believed the formula should be taught in all schools and colleges, and expressed the opinion that if it were properly taught it would so revolutionize the entire educational system that the time spent in school could be reduced to less than half.” (p. vi)

He noted that the secret will appear in the book as you read it if you are ready for it.

Therefore, I chose to not divulge it. 

The book is an experience, one that I am pleased to have taken part. It created clarity and pulled together ideas and education I have been acquiring during these past two years in my quest for quality of life.

A final thought from the preface, written by Napoleon Hill in 1937 (p. xi): “All achievement, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea! If you are ready for the secret, you already possess one half of it; therefore you will readily recognize the other half the moment it reaches your mind”.

Hmm. . . does that wet your appetite?

Happy reading!

Doreen

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Embrace the www.timetoplay.com philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  Check out www.timetoplay.com to get tips and read articles from amazing professionals to help you have a better life.  It’s time to enjoy life!

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Happiness for Dummies: Hardiness (Chapter 6)


The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

This book makes you think! The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I do marvel that this book is not a “dummies” book, that it does have valid content that makes you think!

Dr. Gentry described hardy personality in Chapter 6 — people who are resilient, who are survivors.  He noted that hardy people grow stronger, happier and more competent over their lifetime (p. 73).  Dr. Gentry described the 3 “C’s” – control, commitment and challenge which are traits of hardy people.

People with control are masters of their own destiny and take ownership.  They have commitment which helps them have a sense of purpose.  Interestingly, on page 77 Dr. Gentry described how cultural changes have caused people to become disenfranchised.  Some months ago I started to realize that so many people have become isolated — maybe due to the internet, texting, etc.  He speaks of the need for people to reconnect, which is a goal I have for the timetoplay site.  Last is challenge — Dr. Gentry described this as how people look at stress.  He noted that conflict creates missed opportunity, and instead of people considering situations a challenge, stress promotes negativity which creates the downward spiral we’ve read about in past threads.  Instead we should all see stress as opportunity.

I did love this statement:  Anything worth doing is worth doing well (p. 78).  I recently went to a training seminar where they used “The way you do anything is the way you do everything”.  It’s a really visual, though provoking statement.  It should make you strive to achieve.  I know I’ve implemented this into my thought process and have noticed a marked difference in my day.

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Embrace the timetoplay philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to enjoy life.  It’s time to enjoy your life.  Be sure to check out timetoplay.com for resources for a better life.

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Happiness for Dummies – Chapter 5, Optimism


Is the glass half empty or half full? The pess...

So, we’ve heard about the power of positive thinking or the “glass half full/half empty” mentality.  But, I didn’t really know all of the ramifications of having the half empty mentality.  It’s almost self-sabotaging.

Dr. Gentry provided a list and examples about the benefits of being optimistic, including the fact they are less likely to be compulsive gamblers (which I found quite interesting).  He also noted optimists set more goals to achieve, they reach for the stars, they are more confident.  I have to comment on this one.  Only recently have I started to have confidence.  Somewhere along the line I felt I wasn’t good enough.  How about you?  Does lack of confidence bring you down?  Dr. Gentry noted optimists solve problems better.  I always lived by a mantra that there’s a solution to every problem, but that’s not always what I followed.  You?  As you can see, it’s easy to go down the drain quickly.  And there’s 2 pages of the bullet points of pessimists vs. optimists!  A few more…  Optimists are not quitters and welcome second chances.  Each day we wake up with a clean slate.  A chance to start over.  A land of new opportunity!  One more I’ll throw out there.  They’re not as lonely as pessimists are, and are more socially outgoing.  Interesting. . . this goes for relationships and meeting members of the opposite sex.  I’ve been blessed by having my husband for 24 years (and counting!), but so many people state “there’s no good ones out there”.  That definitely portrays negativity and pessimism, which eliminates opportunity.  Definitely something to consider, right?

Dr. Gentry included a quiz entitled “how optimistic are you”.  It’s interesting to read the questions and get the score.  If you are interested in this, I’d suggest purchasing the book and doing the quiz.

On p. 67 Dr. Gentry noted our futures are a self-fulfilling prophecy.  “The attitudes you have today largely determine how things turn out tomorrow”.  This one was good, too:  Can’t never could.  He noted if you believe you can’t do something you will find a way to make sure you can’t!  “The more you think failure, the more you fail – in school, at jobs, in relationships”.  (p. 67).

Did you ever hear the statement, “having a heavy heart”?  Dr. Gentry described a study of 1300 healthy men that found pessimists had 2x the risk of developing heart disease over a 10 year period compared to optimists.

Dr. Gentry noted any pessimist can unlearn – we may have become what we are due to circumstances, and sometimes our beliefs are a defense mechanism.  I know that was me.  We can all change — hence this timetoplay project.

Learn.  Get the tools you need.  Change.  The world is beautiful.  It’s time we all see it that way.

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Embrace the www.timetoplay.com philosophy — you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  It’s time to enjoy life!  Check out www.timetoplay.com for resources for a better life.

Posted in Enjoy Life, Happiness, Happy, Health, Healthy, learn, life, lifestyle, Love, money, people helping people, Quality of Life, Uncategorized, Work / Life Balance, www.timetoplay.com | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Happiness for Dummies: Knowing What Happiness Isn’t


An emoticon with a smile. For more emoticons i...

An emoticon with a smile. For more emoticons in Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Emoticons. 32px|alt=W3C|link=http://validator.w3.org/✓ The source code of this SVG is valid. Category:Valid SVG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, the book review continues, you can read on here or join in on the forum — I’d love to start some real dialogue.  As timetoplay.com (by the way the new website layout will be up this week) is my quest for quality of life, I believe many, many others need to come along for the “ride” with me so we can enjoy life.  Here’s the link to the book review / discussion for this book, Happiness for Dummies, in the forum in case you’re interested – http://timetoplay.com/forum/showthread.php/168-Happiness-for-Dummies-W-Doyle-Gentry-Ph

Chapter 3: Knowing what happiness isn’t

This chapter reviews another theme we read about in Mr. Tolle‘s book The Power of Now — it’s just really streamlined and made for us to understand a little easier with examples of people who have fallen into the ruts believing happiness comes from what Dr. Gentry calls culturally valued outcomes — wealth, power and success. Through timetoplay.com, my “quest for quality of life” journey, I have realized that “things” aren’t as important to making me happy as they were when I was younger, so this chapter was interesting to me.

Dr. Gentry discussed what money DOES buy, which is comfort for living (there are some things that are definitely necessary, like food and shelter), people to help you and support you (he gave examples of people who you hire), and economic freedom.

Then he went into the power, success and excitement which — the general theme is — DON’T make people happy. I guess it depends on who you ask, though, right? Or, if you really went deep into the people, are they really happy, or just appear happy on the surface. Each life situation brings something else with it that you have to deal with, right? So, let’s discuss the points Dr. Gentry made:

POWER – economic, physical, social (status): These people have control over the world around them but, he went on to discuss why these people who regular working people would think “made it” aren’t happy. He gave an example of people high in the corporate world who become very aggressive in life, I guess trying to control everything, which became their only goal and focus, and they just weren’t happy. I guess if anything becomes an obsession, there’s no room for anything else in your life.

SUCCESS: Dr. Gentry notes that, many times, success is accompanied by misfortune and tragedy. I guess we see this time and time again in the news regarding successful people, or people we believe to be successful, in a tragic situation. He noted that success does not guarantee a happy life free of misfortune and misery. He actually told of people like Ben Franklin and Abraham Lincoln who were depressed much of their lives. Maybe when you feel you “made it” there’s nothing more to strive for? Or you feel a huge sense of responsibility which causes depression? Anyone have comments?

EXCITEMENT: This is interesting. . . people substitute activities and think they’re happy while they’re doing it but sometimes (which is really a feeling of excitement) and wind up regretting it in the morning, like going to clubs, gambling, or other passion or energy-seeking activities. He notes excitement can cause an illusion of happiness. He included this activity that anyone can do to evaluate if you’re confusing excitement with happiness: “Make a list of 10 things that excite you. Then rate how happy you feel after doing each of these things — how grateful you feel, how satisfied you are, how much contentment and serenity you feel.” (p. 44)

Dr. Gentry then went into how researchers have identified income has little effect on how positive a person is – that 1) each time you reach a level you adjust your “level of neutrality” and it takes more to make you happy; 2) people constantly compare themselves with others, the “keep up with the Jones’s” philosophy, and feel deprived. Although she might be made if she ever reads this, I grew up in a home where my mom was like this. You know kids learn what they see. My mom spoke about how this one got this, or that one got that. I realize now that you shouldn’t get into debt to have something just because someone else does, and I am lucky to have had my husband along with me to protect me from doing this. The more stuff you have the harder you have to work to have the stuff, so you have to ask yourself how bad you want it, right? Dr. Gentry suggested not just comparing yourself to people who have lots, but to those with less than you so you can become more content and grateful with what you have. 3) Escalating needs – kind of goes with the treadmill effect. The more you get the more you want, which keeps you from being happy because you’re always “waiting — Mr. Tolle said that, too — to get “it” so you can be happy.

Dr. Gentry reminded that emotions like envy, jealousy, greed and resentment keep you from being happy with what you’ve got and makes you feel bad when you compare yourself. “Their success makes you feel less successful, their power makes you feel powerless and their freedom makes you feel less free. It’s all about them!” (p. 45)

Wow. This has become kind of long. Sorry. But, there’s more! Interestingly, Dr. Gentry said that happiness comes in waves. excited and joyful one minute and not the next, but that the purpose of this book is to make us have more happy moments. That sounds good to me! He suggested another exercise where you put down 10 of the most happiest moments of your life and another list where you list 10 events that you thought would make you happy but didn’t, which will show what you value / your priorities.

Last thought of the chapter – enjoy the moment. So, we’ve heard / learned over and over the importance to stay in the moment. Again, hard to do, right? Things pull us away, but I guess we need to constantly remind ourselves and pull ourselves back in.

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Embrace the TimetoPlay.com philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money (at least enough to eat) and a work life balance to have quality of life.  It’s time to enjoy life.  There’s so many amazing resources on timetoplay.  Take charge, make the change — one little thing at a time.  It’s up to you.

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Happiness for Dummies – W. Doyle Gentry, PhD


Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Resized, renamed,...

Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Resized, renamed, and cropped version of File:Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs.svg. (Photo credit: Wikipe

It’s been a while since I posted in this blog, mostly because I didn’t want to supersede the last blog post, Learning:  the Key to Enjoying Life.  But, I started reading the book, “Happiness for Dummies”, and figured I’d post what I’ve gleaned.  I’ve also put this on the http://www.timetoplay.com forum if you want to participate in the book review / discussion there. . .

I figured this book would be kind of fun and light — it’s not. The author summed up the book’s intention in the introduction: “Happiness for Dummies tells you how to fight for, create, and live a long and happy life. It makes you the master of your own happy destiny!” The book appears to be educational and thought provoking. The author (based on what I have read so far) has provided examples of happy people and ways to identify, learn, experience, and change. By the way — he’s noted Type B personalities are happier than Type A. I’m a type A. I expect a lot from myself. Hmmmmm. Something to consider as we go through this book.

LEARN — here’s that concept again. I’ve decided the key to enjoying life is to learn. Don’t just sit there. Identify what you need and then learn. Find out all the information you need to change, and then implement it. In the introduction the author also included this sentence re: happiness and its pursuit: “You wait for it to find you instead of exercising your right to pursue it”. Let’s not wait. Let’s learn and implement.

OK — so, let’s start the Happiness for Dummies discussion.

This is CHAPTER 1: Anyone Can Be Happy — and it’s going to be long.

Beginning on page 12, Dr. Gentry reviewed findings on 4 people who professed to be happy. Their common attributes were a strong family and parents who loved them and taught them to be positive. They volunteer and give back to others. They SMILE an encourage others around them to smile back. They are POSITIVE thinkers (that was worth repeating). One interviewee said he looks for opportunities to be happy and that he has a motto “only you can make it happen!” (p. 13). He also goes to bed each night reflecting on the positive things he did that day and wakes up each morning thinking positive thoughts. We’ve heard about being grateful and feeling grateful and making lists like these before. . . maybe something to implement? These people all participated in religious services. One said his wife taught him to loosen up and enjoy life and see the glass half full instead of half empty. The author summarized that they all believe happiness is something you have to work at — it doesn’t just happen. So, that’s definitely important to consider — all hope’s not lost, right? Another points re: the commonalities of these people that Dr. Gentry interviewed — people believe happiness comes with age. He went on to review statistics on p. 15, where 28% of people 18 – 27 felt happy whereas 38% of people 68-77 felt happy. He noted that people who are older realize that life’s not perfect, they realize you have to accept it for what it is. I guess that means they don’t put as much pressure on themselves as people who are younger do. They’ve accepted things for what they are. . .

Dr. Gentry briefly introduced that married people are happier, something that will be embellished in chapter 16 and chapter 20 — so we’ll get to that shortly.

Dr. Gentry discussed Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Something I remember studying in college. Now I wish I paid more attention! I’m going to interpret the hierarchy of needs to being a journey — 5 levels that Dr. Maslow identified — 1) meeting your basic survival needs; 2) safety — including financial (see? timetoplay.com philosophy is on the ball! if you don’t have money, at least to eat, you can’t enjoy life); 3) feeling loved and needed by others; 4) having self-esteem – liking yourself and feeling respected; and 5) feeling like you got “there”, that you’ve reached your full potential. Maybe people get stuck and #5. I know, since starting timetoplay.com, I’ve realized I had been stuck at #5, not feeling like I had made “it”, evaluating my situation and feeling like I still have to strive or prove something to myself. I know this feeling was based in my childhood. That’s a story for another time. Like Mr. Tolle, Dr. Gentry notes that you cannot look for happiness in power, status, wealth and success. That if this is how you’re trying to get to happiness you will end up being unhappy. I realize that now and have, through the learning journey of developing timetoplay, have been learning to enjoy life and live in the moment. It’s not been easy. It’s a process, right?

Dr. Gentry goes on to discuss how negative emotions narrow your thinking and cause frustration, how positive produces a “high”, feelings of excitement, and an increase of productivity. He discusses the importance to release positive endorphins through creative activity, exercise, fellowship with others, prayer, laughter (noted to be very effective for pain management and healing, too!), being surrounded by things of beauty and healthy sexual encounters (I know people are thinking about that last one).

This was a great tip — replacing negative emotions with positive emotions. It was noted that you cannot feel angry, upset or sad if you replace it with a positive feeling, that you can’t be angry and happy at the same time. DEFINITELY a good tip that all of us can easily try.

Blood pressure: Being angry or upset can increase blood pressure. We have heard that this can cause heart attack and stroke, too. Our minds can do terrible things to our body, causing depression and sickness — Dr. Gentry referenced a study by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson who wrote a thesis on how positive emotions can undo the effects of stress, how the simple use of touch or petting a pet can decrease blood pressure. Something to look into. . .

Dr. Gentry discussed being mindful and staying in the present moment. We did learn a lot from reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle — if you haven’t read the forum/discussion on that, it is available in the book club/review section. Over 2600 people have gone into that thread, and I hope it’s helped them. I realize it’s very hard to implement this all the time. The intention is to be aware of your feelings at each moment and to change things to stay positive, to focus on how you feel, to not worry, not wait for things to happen (to make them happen), to not dwell in the past or the future because all you really have is the present moment. There is no past and the future isn’t guaranteed. Pretty pensive, right? Again, I realize I forget to stay in the present. I have to be more mindful of this. And, regarding lingering in the present moment, Dr. Gentry discusses on p. 22/23 about Type A personalities always moving forward because we have too much to accomplish. Since starting TimetoPlay.com I’ve realized this has always been me. Not taking a few minutes to see the beauty around me, to appreciate what I have, what is happening, just being present. This is not something I know I can snap my fingers and make happen. It’s a constant realization that I have to be present to absorb, enjoy, reflect. I have been trying to be more aware. I was driving the other day and realized the beauty of the blue sky, I have been noticing the buds on the trees and the way the trees and plants are becoming ready to “pop” with splendor for the spring. I noticed how pretty my daughter’s hair looked the other day. The little things. The things we miss when we’re rushing around. Dr. Gentry suggested allowing time in your busy day for a few moments of happiness. This, as well, is the timetoplay.com philosophy. Even if you can only take 5 minutes for another cup of coffee to enjoy. . . something. . . and, although I forget EVERY day to do this, I’m definitely doing it more.

Last thing for chapter 1 — something to really consider — Dr. Gentry gave an example of a man who had an abusive childhood home with alcoholic parents. He had an underlying protective mechanism that he wasn’t able to be happy because if he started to be happy, his happiness could be taken away. This was because of his explosive childhood situation. In summary, sometimes past experiences might prevent you from letting yourself enjoy life. It’s something that, after a bit of self-reflection and realization, you might need to speak with a mental-health professional to work through. I realize I had been angry for 30 years — not on the surface, but, apparently it was there. Hence the reason I had to “make it”. I never did go to a psychologist, but it is something to consider. While based on Mr. Tolle’s book, we’re not supposed to dwell in the past, I do feel that it’s important to realize that, sometimes, it’s not easy to let things go, that we’re terribly hurt deep down. However, it’s not something that should hold us back. One of the goals for timetoplay is that, in the end, we should have no regrets. That we need to enjoy life. It stands to reason that, if you live in the past and dwell on that situation, regrets will be forefront in your life. So, this goes back to learning what we need and getting the resources to change.

So much for “Happiness for Dummies” being a light, fun book. This one’s definitely going to be work, too. You would never guess it from the title as it certainly minimizes things, but I think it will be time well spent.

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Embrace the www.timetoplay.com philosophy: you have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work life balance to have quality of life.  It’s time to enjoy life!

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