It has been said that no sooner are we born, we begin to die. Still, our perspective can just as easily be that no sooner are we born, we begin to live. As a student of life, you may discover that there are sadly far too many of us who never really live, but rather simply exist. We squander our youth foolishly only to find ourselves in the autumn of our lives filled with sadness and regret. Some of us become old and tired long before our body ages, left to face the finality of our lifetime in solitude and despair. Oh to be young again and know then, what we know now! What would we have done differently, and what might we have shared with others who may have never truly come to know us? But what determines how much time is left to live life to the fullest? When is it ever too late?
Life can change in an instant, and that moment is now. Begin your journey today and discover how one thought, one choice, one specific moment can make one day of life worth more than a lifetime of simply being. Challenge yourself with every turning page to experience the ultimate transformation of your spirit. Allow the student of life within you to evolve into a genuine master of living. Accept your purpose and find absolute fulfillment in the knowledge that if you are here, it is because you are meant to be. Rejoice in knowing that ... Living Is For Everyone!
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Living Is For Everyone!
By Ana M. Romero
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 Dr. Ana M. Romero
All rights reserved.
Let's Begin With Laughter
* * *
I challenge you to close your eyes and think back to something truly hilarious. It may be something funny that happened to you or someone you know, or perhaps a part of a movie or a joke, or even something silly that a child or a pet may have done. Whatever the picture in your mind, envision it as clearly as you can with your eyes closed, and hold it there in your mind's eye for about ten seconds.
Are you smiling? ... Of course you are. In fact, I've experienced people actually laughing out loud as they've done this exercise in some of my personal growth sessions. So why then, when something as simple as this can fill our bodies with sheer delight, do some of us completely refuse to lighten up? Why should we take ourselves (or others) so seriously? What does it benefit us to maintain an ongoing attitude of "zero tolerance" toward laughter?
I remember, as a child, I would watch the expressions of strangers whose path I crossed at the grocery store or on the street, sometimes at the post office or even the farmer's market. I was always wondering what thoughts were going through their heads.
While my grandfather and I hunted through barrels of fresh produce for the juiciest and most colorful plums and peaches to fill our plain paper bags, I would observe as elderly men and women with their wrinkled faces slowly inspected each luscious fruit or vegetable and either dropped it into their bag or reluctantly tossed it back into the barrel. Some would frown as they made their selections, yet others appeared rather expressionless as they continued their search for the perfect apple or onion.
But every now and then I would find it; no, not the ideal cantaloupe or lettuce head, but rather that spectacular smile. It could be on the face of a young mother with her yawning toddler in the stroller at her side, or a lonesome old man with just one simple bag in his arms. It made no difference if the person was young or old, tall or short, slender or stout. Whether he or she had dark skin or a lighter complexion, and whether or not they were wearing fancy shoes or worn out sneakers mattered little. That spectacular smile made them look amazing, and all I could do was keep my eyes glued to that expression and wish that our eyes would meet, even if for nothing more than a quick glance. And on the occasion that it would happen and their eyes met mine, I would give them the most genuine smile and see an instant connection. This was magic, and without even knowing it at the tender age of six or seven, I had discovered a universal language.
I remember how difficult it was for my grandfather to communicate with people who didn't speak his language. He was from Galicia, a small town in Spain, and had boarded a ship to Cuba when he was only twelve years old. The people and customs of this strange new land took some getting used to, but at least everyone spoke Spanish. Many years later, he met my grandmother whom he married. She was only fifteen and he was thirty years old. It was a different time and a very different culture, but even with such a considerable age difference they spoke the same language.
Had he been a younger man when he arrived in the United States, I believe he would have learned to speak English. I know how much he struggled to do so, but he would become discouraged as he tried desperately to pronounce words and structure sentences. When he attempted to say anything more than basic common phrases such as "Good morning, how are you", "I am fine, thank you" or "How much is this?" he would get frustrated with his accent and the look of confusion on the faces of those he was trying to communicate with and find an alternative; he would settle for an interpreter.
Having learned my native language and that of my parents simultaneously, I was the perfect little translator before I had even started school. I enjoyed translating for my grandparents, and anyone who needed my help, every time I got the chance. But I know how much they would have loved to be fluent in English, and it saddens me that it was such a challenge for many of my friends and relatives who were unable to master the language as they would have hoped.
Still, I realized that one thing they could do was smile. It was refreshing to see how often people would get past the language barrier and work harder to communicate simply because they were sharing a warm and heartfelt grin. You can imagine then, how much more I enjoy an all out chuckle or boisterous laugh. Certainly, there's a time and place for everything, and I'm far from suggesting that we go about laughing and giggling like idiotic lunatics, but if you are serious about life, then you must seriously consider laughter.
When used correctly and appropriately, a generous application of laughter can heal the most troubled spirit. It too has medicinal advantages, and I have seen miraculous transformations and healing that have resulted from nothing other than continual doses of "Ha ha has" whenever humanly possible.
A pleasant sense of humor is an essential factor in every well rounded personality. It may take some practice, but it begins with being able to laugh at our own flaws and vulnerabilities and all that which makes us human.
Never use laughter at someone else's expense, but rather be gracious and look inward without attacking yourself or others mercilessly. Learn to patiently acquire an appropriate sense of humor. When something is naturally funny, others will soon be laughing with you not at you or at anyone else. If your attempt at humor is not well received or falls flat, remind yourself that the awkward moment too shall pass. You may consider whether to explain that it was not your intention to offend or you may decide to offer an apology if after reviewing your failed attempt at humor you conclude that the comment, gesture, etc. was in poor taste. If you are the recipient of a practical joke or offensive comment, feel free to express why you find it offensive or inappropriate kindly and calmly. Even if you feel certain that the offensive comment, action, joke or story was intentional, remember that no one can make you feel bad or embarrassed unless you allow them too.
In most cases the person attempting to injure you or someone else intentionally will end up embarrassing none other than himself. At such a time, being generous and quickly letting that person off the hook is an excellent opportunity to exercise tolerance and compassion. If the joking turns to harassment and it appears that the offender is attempting to provoke an altercation, why not be the bigger person and remind yourself that you are in control of the situation. Always provide yourself with the option to simply ignore the offense, overlook the jab, or politely inquire what is "really going on behind that joke".
Sometimes the unusual discomfort of experiencing what you fail to depict as funny will serve to open your perspective to an entirely different way that others see things. What makes you somewhat uncomfortable may very well be the great stress reliever or coping mechanism of another.
As we approach our senior years, especially with much older friends and relatives in our social circle, we experience loss more frequently as they begin to age, fall ill, and die. Each loss may affect us differently, and we may find ourselves going through a variety of emotions all at once.
It is not unusual for each of us to cope with losing a loved one in our own particular way. Some of us become distant and withdrawn and may seek refuge in sleep, silence or solitude, yet others may need to feel the comfort and support of others who are also mourning as if to share the pain. Yet, there are those of us who rely on distraction to cope, throwing ourselves deeper into work, time away with friends, or recklessly looking to numb the pain with alcohol or by self medicating.
One vital determining factor of how well we are able to regain our sense of normalcy may lie within our faith and religious beliefs as well as the manner in which we personally perceive death itself and life after loss.
How long we mourn does not necessarily measure how greatly we loved, and as we mature and experience loss with greater frequency, many of us begin to understand that even the ones who we loved so deeply would not have wanted us to be damaged and forever inconsolable by their deaths.
Even at the most trying times, we may turn to humor to lessen the pain, and we should allow ourselves to accept this as a natural progression of the healing process. Laughing again is as natural as the sun returning to brighten the sky after a storm. For a while, the days may seem dark and gloomy; the heavens may be covered with clouds of grey that keep us from seeing any change in the dismal weather that surrounds us. But then, one day we lift our heads and see the bright rays of the sun gloriously radiating through the clouds. Its soothing warmth falls upon us, and we know the storm has passed. Once again, the sun will shine.
Don't allow petty concerns to keep you from your rightful share of mirth. If your teeth aren't the whitest or your laugh resembles the cackling of a hyena with untimely snorts, so be it. Who knows, maybe that unique laugh of yours will be the very contagion that infects the most deprived spirit of one who desperately needs a good laugh. Infect the world and do it with absolute abandon. Laughter is the sound of a happy heart and the roadmap to a land of bliss. It will keep you healthy and spiritually young.
I believe laughter should be a family tradition; a legacy to leave our children and all whom we love. Laughter should be as much a part of our daily routine as taking a shower and brushing our teeth. Laughter is a part of every healthy diet and the most inexpensive antidote to any ailment. And best of all, you get to fill your own prescription and administer the dosage as frequently as you see fit. When we find ourselves needing time away from laughter, it should feel as if we are separating from what we treasure most.
We should know deep within us that this temporary departure from laughter is just that; temporary. We will do what we must and do it well. We will focus on whatever it is that has taken us from its nurturing embrace, and find our way back with the anticipation of returning to the open arms of a loving child. My continual return to laughter is always a most welcome reunion. My heart sings and my spirit exclaims "Oh Laughter, dear Laughter, my happily ever after!"
There is but one more thing to consider with respect to humor, especially for those who seem to be quite capable of "dishing it out" but less skilled at "taking it". As in all tasteful recipes, remember to measure your sarcasm and your words when serving humor. By doing so, you may lessen the chances of having to "eat those words" without proper seasoning.
This Chapter's Challenge:
I challenge you for the next thirty days to make it a point to laugh at least twice a day and to smile at two people you've never met twice a week.
Many of us already do this much more often than what is being suggested, but for those of us who do not, it may feel somewhat uncomfortable and require stepping out of our comfort zones, but it will be well worth it.
Remember the title of what you're reading and why it's called L.I.F.E
Living Is For Everyone, and you are no exception. Stop excluding yourself from the life you deserve. Let's begin with you, let's begin today, and ... Let's begin with laughter! Allow yourself to experience the sheer joy of feeling great!CHAPTER 2
It's Called Integrity
* * *
Throughout the course of our lives we have the ability to make a variety of choices and decisions. As we mature, most of us begin to make wiser choices and better understand the possible consequences of our actions. Some of us actually develop the keen sense to learn from other's mistakes, thus sparing ourselves from having to experience unnecessary consequences and truly giving ourselves a favorable head start on the path to maturity.
Yet, there are times when even the most cautious individual makes an unwise decision, despite the advice of others or what he or she has observed through someone else's situation, only to learn a most valuable lesson by personal experience. In the most challenging situations when we are faced with such a predicament, our personal integrity becomes a useful flashlight to illuminate each step of the way.
Who wouldn't prefer to stand proudly before their fellowman and state that his or her integrity has never been compromised? I know that one of my most difficult personal challenges has been to accept myself and prevent myself from being overly critical on the countless occasions when I have fallen short of the level of integrity that I personally hold myself to.
I have found peace and greater self acceptance through the realization that I continue to learn far more from my mistakes and poor decisions than from my achievements and successes. Struggling through the consequences of my actions to find my true "self" has continually strengthened me.
I could probably write an entire book of things that I am not proud of, and I know on far too many occasions I have been unjustifiably judgmental of others. It has been all too easy for me to surrender to human nature and get caught up in gossip, greed, and countless other vulnerabilities that cheapen us and make us lesser than what we aspire to be. Still, it is my constant awareness that losing that which has taken years to build and strengthen is but one bad judgment call away that keeps me steady and determined to solidify my sense of integrity one careful action at a time.
My decision to become a Personal Growth Advisor came from the simple truth that we are creatures of habit. I could see how often I would make a wholehearted commitment to be a better person, promising myself that I would be caring, calm, polite, kind, patient, empathetic, selfless and understanding, only to fly off the handle at the very first bump in the road.
Each time I fell short of my expectations I would beat myself up emotionally and tell myself what a horrible person I was and how I just didn't deserve to be admired, respected, or loved; not by me or anyone else.
Despite the many supportive and wonderful family members, friends, and business associates on my side, I just couldn't seem to stop listening to my inner voice and the mental tape recorder of past criticisms that replayed violently and repeatedly within my mind. As much as I tried to improve, I would quickly regress to the former "me"; the "me" that I had created but kept hidden deep within the recesses of my being; the "me" that I nurtured and accepted subconsciously, even though she was simply a distorted image that I had allowed to take haven where no one, not even I could reach her.
After numerous attempts to stay on track, followed by even more failures, I finally discovered how to break this vicious cycle and reach far beyond what I could even imagine to be possible. I found the courage to confront myself and the "quiet lies" that I had allowed myself to live with for too great a part of my life. I made a conscious decision to heal, and suddenly an entire new world erupted before me. I realized then, that I would have to remain saturated and entirely consumed in "all things positive".
I knew that I would need an arsenal of reliable weapons to defeat the enemy within that I had created, so I armed myself with knowledge through education, serenity through meditation, and the most powerful strength in this universe and beyond, which had been dormant and resting deep within my very being all along; I called upon faith. Greater than any army that has ever existed, I became one with my Creator, and He revealed my purpose, and thus restored my life.
With all that I had discovered throughout my existence, both the positive and the negative, I began to share with others and assist others to, in turn, find their purpose and strengthen their skills to better manage their lives. By exploring our hopes and dreams, facing our fears and disappointments, and embracing our attributes and imperfections, together we evolved and progressed beyond our imaginations.
I started my new life as a Personal Growth Advisor and vowed to remain forever dedicated to the personal and spiritual advancement of every living being that crossed my path, starting with myself. Surprisingly enough, this always new and never ending adventure makes every waking moment of my life a miraculous state of being. I love everything and everyone, and I dwell in the wonder of every miracle that surrounds me. I am healthier, happier, and abundantly blessed. In addition to appreciating the value of every unique and precious living organism, I now accept and appreciate all that I am and all that I can be.
Excerpted from Living Is For Everyone! by Ana M. Romero. Copyright © 2016 Dr. Ana M. Romero. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Let's Begin With Laughter, 1,
Chapter 2 It's Called Integrity, 8,
Chapter 3 Finding Forgiveness, 14,
Chapter 4 Exploring Empathy, 23,
Chapter 5 Time to Share My Morning Prayer, 30,
Chapter 6 Lots of Love, 36,
Chapter 7 If There Is Intimacy, 41,
Chapter 8 Family Comes First, 47,
Chapter 9 Experience Enlightenment, 57,
Chapter 10 Invocations and Affirmations, 64,
Chapter 11 Listening and Learning, 74,
Chapter 12 Inspire Independence, 79,
Chapter 13 Fearless Faith, 85,
Chapter 14 Endless Eternity, 92,
Chapter 15 In Everything You Do Your Life Begins With You, 99,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Inspirational and life changing book... so moving and exceptional!! I've already recommended it to many friends.. this is self help with a twist of realness, simply love her approach to living life. Fantastic read, look forward to many more books by Dr. Romero and can't wait to see this on NY Times best seller list!
Heartwarming and inspirational! This delightful book is such an easy read and the challenges at the end of each chapter help open your mind to new perspectives. Makes a great gift for those who live in the past and need to better appreciate their lives.