In times of challenge as well as ease, we all need a helping hand to stay on top of our game, make successful decisions, and find peace of mind in the midst of people and events that might distract us. This collection of inspiring, poignant, and humorous real-life stories, coupled with uplifting insights, will show you how to keep your head on straight and your heart open no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
In his uniquely warm and down-to-earth way, Alan Cohen teaches you through meaningful examples that you’re in the perfect position to use your talents and assets to turn your life into all you want it to be. Each day-of-the-year entry contains a theme, an elegant quotation, a true-to-life anecdote, a short lesson, a question for self-study, and an empowering affirmation. In the tradition of Alan’s highly popular award-winning book A Deep Breath of Life, you can use this book on a daily basis for a potent uplift and gain valuable tools to feel better, create career and financial success, deepen the quality of all of your relationships, and find personal fulfillment that lifts you far beyond what you’ve known in the past.
|Publisher:||Hay House, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Alan Cohen is the author of 22 popular inspirational books, including the bestseller The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. He is a contributing writer for the New York Times #1 best-selling series Chicken Soup for the Soul, and his work has been featured on Oprah.com and in 101 Top Experts. Alan’s monthly column “From the Heart” appears in magazines internationally. His books (which have been translated into 23 different languages) and seminars have touched the lives of millions who have found the courage to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.
Read an Excerpt
A Daily Dose of SanityA Five-Minute Soul Recharge for Every Day of the Year
By Alan Cohen
HAY HOUSE, INC.Copyright © 2010 Alan Cohen
All right reserved.
Chapter OneJANUARY 1
What a Difference a Degree Makes
We have it in our power to begin the world over again. - Thomas Paine
As you set out on a journey, the direction in which you are pointed at its outset makes a huge difference as to where and when you arrive at your destination. If you alter your course by one degree when you begin, where you end up could be changed by a hundred or a thousand miles.
So it is when you begin a new year. Be clear on where you want to go and you will get there far more rapidly and efficiently than if you harbor mixed intentions or take actions out of alignment with your true choices.
When touch-typing on a keyboard, the first step is to position your right index finger on the letter J. From that point, your other fingers are aligned with the keys they are intended to press. Once your fingers are on the right keys, you can type for an entire session without having to look at the keyboard again.
If you place your starting finger on the wrong key, all of your other fingers areout of position, and nothing you type will make sense. The word hello will be printed as "jr::p," and love will come out as ":pbr." Start at the right place and everything that follows will be coherent.
Take a few moments today to decide where you really want to go this year. Decide what material goals you wish to achieve, but even more important, decide which inner experience you would like to enjoy. You may wish for peace, joy, self-honoring, harmony in your relationships, or a general sense of flow in all you do. When you are clear on what you want to experience, then think, write, or speak your intention. When your statement resonates within, you know you have your finger on the J.
You can have the kind of year you choose. This can be the best year of your life. A focused moment of thought today can make a difference of many miles when you reach your destination.
What would be the best thing that could happen to you this year? How would you most like to feel?
I claim my heart's desire, and I choose my direction. I will attain my chosen goal.
Whatever you expect, with confidence, becomes your own self-fulfilling prophecy. - Brian Tracy
One day when I arrived at the airport in a city where I was to present a seminar, I told my program sponsor that on my flight I had been given a free upgrade to first class. "Oh, I get upgrades all the time on many different airlines," she responded with a light laugh. "I don't even ask. They just put me up front."
"Why is that?" I had to ask.
"I think it has to do with the fact that my dad was vice president of TWA," she explained. "As a little girl, I traveled with him a lot, and the airline always gave us first class. Now it just seems natural."
My sponsor's account demonstrates how powerfully our subconscious beliefs affect the results we generate. The image and experience of flying first class was embedded deep in her psyche. Although she did not think about it consciously, her expectation created a consistent outcome. The personnel who gave her the upgraded tickets had little idea they were agents of a system far broader than the airlines.
You can tell what you believe by what you are getting. If life is treating you well, somewhere in your mind you expect it. If life is treating you badly, somewhere in your mind you expect it. You receive as much or as little as you expect.
To improve the results you are getting, begin by upgrading your beliefs and expectations. Deeply recognize your sense of worth. Do you know that you merit kindness, respect, enjoyable surroundings, financial rewards, and success? If so, people and situations will reflect your belief.
The script of your life is etched in your mind, and the people you encounter are actors in the movie you have written. No matter what scenes have been played, this year-beginning with this day-you have the power to rewrite the story. Expect your good to find you ... and it will.
What better conditions would you like to enjoy in your life? Do you know you are worthy of having them?
I expect good to come to me, and it does.
86,400 Big Ones
Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons. - Attributed to Ruth Ann Schabacker
If I were to tell you I would give you a gift of 86,400 big ones and ask you how you would spend them, what would your answer be? A down payment on your dream home? The new hybrid car you have been fantasizing about? The vacation of a lifetime with your family?
Most people would answer in terms of 86,400 dollars. But the big ones I am referring to are not dollars-they are moments. That is the number of seconds, or moments, in a day. Every day you are given a gift of 86,400 precious moments to spend as you wish. What you do with them determines the quality of your life.
While many people are careful about how they budget their money, they are not so careful about how they budget their time. More precisely, they are not careful about what they do with their minds and feelings during their time. You may budget your time to get everything done; but if you are stressed, fearful, resistant, or upset while you are getting these things done, you have not budgeted your time well. Take care to spend your thoughts well and you will spend your time well.
The wonderful thing about your gift of 86,400 big ones is that the gift is renewed every morning. No matter whether you spent yesterday's gift well or squandered it, each morning you have a bright new package on your table. If you made poor choices yesterday, you can make better ones today. In fact, if yesterday's poor choices have moved you to make better choices today, they have served you well.
Your 86,400 big ones include your sleep time as well. Before you go to sleep, focus on appreciative, fulfilling thoughts, and positive energy will pervade your rest. Then when you awaken, you will have received interest on the 86,400 big ones you invested wisely.
How might you better appreciate each moment of your day and make the best use of it?
I make the most of the opportunities that each sacred moment offers me.
Greatness Among Us
We must not measure greatness from the mansion down, but from the manger up. - Jesse Jackson
As thousands of commuters rushed through a metro station in Washington, D.C., on a cold January morning, a musician stood next to a wall playing his violin, the case at his feet open for tips. He played six pieces for 45 minutes. A few people stopped and listened for a moment, then hurried on their way. A few threw some change or a dollar into the case.
The most attentive listener was a three-year-old boy holding his mother's hand. He wanted to stay and listen, but his mom tugged him along. A few other kids tried to stop, but their parents also hurried them away.
After 45 minutes, only a half dozen people had stopped, and the violinist had collected $32. He put his violin away, closed the case, and disappeared into the crowd. No one applauded or thanked him.
Neither did anyone realize that the musician was Joshua Bell, one of the world's greatest violin virtuosos. The pieces he had played were incredibly demanding, and his violin was worth $3.5 million. Days earlier Bell had performed to a sold-out crowd in Boston for tickets priced at over $100.
The unlikely concert was sponsored by The Washington Post as a social experiment. Would listeners recognize and appreciate talent and beauty in an unexpected setting? Would they take a pause from their busyness to receive and enjoy it? Would their expectations of meager talent override their grasp of greatness?
Blessed are those who are open to recognizing quality and brilliance. There is talent, beauty, wonder, and inspiration in your midst right now. To pass it by is to miss the gift. To stop and breathe it in is to be the recipient of a miracle.
Who or what around you might be offering you a majestic gift? What would it take for you to pause to appreciate and enjoy it?
I am open to the gifts before me. I take the time to receive and magnify the good offered me.
Bigger Than you Think
Beyond the horizon ... a great, creative impulse is at work. - Vance Palmer
In 1949, Popular Mechanics printed an article describing a hypothetical computer 50 years down the road. A leading-edge expert at that time predicted, "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
The end of the 20th century has come and gone, and laptop computers have shrunk to three pounds-not to mention smaller PDAs and a universe of tiny computers orchestrating household, office, auto, and industrial gadgets. Nanotechnology is becoming a reality, in which computers perform functions at a molecular level!
The computer expert's size and weight prediction had underestimated the miniaturization of the technology by a factor of 600; if you consider PalmPilots, he was off by a factor of 5,000. So even the biggest thinker of that time had no idea how advanced the industry could become!
As you envision your year to come-and all of your life to come-consider that the good that arrives may be 600 or 5,000 times bigger and better than what you can imagine. The vision of your life that you see through the lens of history is always smaller than your true destiny. In the Bible we are told that when Abraham set out on his spiritual journey, God bade him, "Lift up your eyes." Abraham was being guided to let go of his normal limited vision based on past events and see the greater expanse of his possibilities.
Life on the planet is moving faster than ever before, including your evolution. It is very difficult to make prognostications, because we are advancing so rapidly. Your old idea of how far you may progress is being updated at every moment. You may reach your goal far more quickly than you think, and it may come through a route or in a package far different than you expect.
Believe that your future will be even better than you can imagine, and you open the door for it to be so.
Where on your journey do you think you will be in six months, a year, or five years? Are you open to move beyond what you expect?
I allow the future to deliver me gifts even greater than I can imagine.
An unlikely Theater
The world is but canvas to our imaginations. - Henry David Thoreau
As our car waited in line to exit the parking lot at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, I wondered what was taking so long. "Probably some security measure," someone in the car surmised.
When we finally reached the tollbooth, we found a handsome Italian man with thick white hair and sparkling eyes. As he collected our fee and handed us our change, he broke into a rousing song of several verses from the opera La Traviata-masterfully sung. The women in the car swooned, we all applauded, the toll collector bowed, and we left the parking lot with a smile.
There are two ways in which you can change your life: you can manipulate external conditions, or you can shift your attitude. Sometimes you can change your environment; always you can change your mind. This parking attendant turned a dreary and monotonous tollbooth into a world-class opera house. In the midst of subfreezing temperatures and noxious exhaust fumes, he brightened the day of everyone who passed through his lane.
Sometime later I read a survey in which people were asked, "What do you think would be the most boring job in the world?" The number one answer was "toll collector." So this fellow took the most boring job in the world and made it absolutely inspiring. In his own way, he has achieved spiritual mastery.
No job or situation is too dreary or oppressive to keep you from making it into something pleasant-or even exciting. All you need is some creativity, the recognition that you deserve to enjoy whatever you are doing, and the refusal to be bored. Perhaps one day you will exit O'Hare and have your own command performance.
How can you take what you have and make what you want?
I find creative ways to keep my life stimulating and exciting. I do what it takes to keep my joy aflame.
A Crucial Balance
There's a reason you don't have pictures of your office at home. - Citibank ad
A Nielsen survey of people in 46 countries revealed that at the top of the list of all New Year's resolutions was: Strike a better balance between work and play.
Work/life balance is a huge issue because most people are out of balance and longing to find it. Fortunately, some companies are recognizing the crucial relationship between health and success. The Marriott corporation, for example, has launched a huge program to help their employees create a healthier balance between home and office. The company realized that many of the health problems they were paying to correct were related to overwork, stress, and employees' lack of skill in making beneficial life choices. So their investment in their employees' well-being is ultimately an investment in the company.
Work is valuable and healthy as long as you know how to stop. When your job encroaches on your marriage, family, friendships, and physical wellness, you have stepped over the line. No job or level of success is worth the cost of your joy, health, relationships, or life. Work is supposed to enhance your life, not be a substitute for it.
When visiting Japan, I have observed that people in that country would benefit greatly from better work/life balance. The Japanese work too much and do not know how to stop. Several times I have stood on my Tokyo hotel balcony late at night and seen many, many lights on in offices in buildings across the street. A couple of times I have yelled into the night, "Go home already!"
It may be time for you to go home already-not just literally, but spiritually. Give your life the love and attention it deserves ... and your work will surely prosper, along with your soul.
What could you do to create a healthier and happier balance between work, home, and play?
I keep my work in perspective. I place my happiness, health, relationships, and joy above all else.
The War Is Over
You have to wake up a virgin each morning. - Jean-Louis Barrault
On January 8, 1815, Americans fought the Battle of New Orleans, the last major battle of the War of 1812. Under the command of General Andrew Jackson, an American army defeated British forces attempting to take control of New Orleans and the corridor to America's West. The conflict was huge, with more than 7,000 British soldiers up against about half that number of American troops. The British incurred over 2,000 casualties, the Americans a smaller number.
What neither of the warring factions knew, however, was that the war was already over. On December 24, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent had been signed, and peace officially reigned. Yet news of the treaty did not reach New Orleans until February. But the Battle of New Orleans was just as bloody as if the war had been going on.
In like manner, many of us are still fighting battles of wars long over. We pit ourselves against oppressive parents even though we are grown and completely beyond their influence. We try to prove ourselves to a father who is long dead. We are still trying to win the love of the spouse who would not acknowledge us. We try to spite or punish a past partner who abused us.
All of these efforts are as vain as the Battle of New Orleans, which had no purpose and many losses. Like the soldiers who fought valiantly but to no avail, we have not yet gotten news of the peace. We labor under ancient illusions and fight ghosts who defeat us by the reality we afford them. But they are not here.
Friend, the war is over. You need no longer struggle to defeat past enemies. Instead, turn your attention to the moment at hand and the life available to you. Release the demons that pick at your soul and stand in the blessed power of your now.
Who or what are you still fighting that is now long gone?
I release my past and I step wholly, surely, and confidently into the good of now.
Who Lost the Least?
Sometimes I worry about being a success in a mediocre world. - Lily Tomlin
While visiting Las Vegas to present a program, I tried my hand at gambling in the casino. Meanwhile, I overheard several conversations between other gamblers. "How'd you make out?" one fellow asked another.
Excerpted from A Daily Dose of Sanity by Alan Cohen Copyright © 2010 by Alan Cohen. Excerpted by permission.
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