Tag Archives: positive thinking

The Next Best Thing

Inspiration from the iGnite Archives

April24_2016

Point to Ponder:
Do you struggle with contentment, have trouble appreciating your life and/or find yourself always looking for the next best thing?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

In an effort to fill my life with as much motivation and positive thinking as possible, I subscribe to inspirational and spiritual email services, read nurturing books, surround myself with “light-giving” people, spend time outside and try to exercise several times a week. One of the email newsletters I receive is called Simple Truths, and several times a week they send quotes, short videos and exerts from their books. Just this week I scrolled through one of the newsletters titled “Attitude is Everything.” Honestly, because this message has been drilled into my brain since as far back as I can remember, I initially disregarded it, as I knew it wasn’t going to be new information. This was “old hat” and the reality is that I was looking for cutting-edge wisdom — the latest and greatest that would knock my socks off.

Never-the-less, I reluctantly played the encouraging video and as I suspected there was nothing new. I had read and listened to these words hundreds of times, however because it was ageless wisdom and my life is always evolving, it actually blew my socks off, again! The words were relevant and a necessary way of thinking and living. I immediately became re-inspired and humbled, and it dawned on me that my way of thinking is what led Eve down the path of destruction. I was looking for the next best thing, the shiny and juicy red apple that would give me an advantage in life, but the truth is the old and simple stuff was plenty good. It was enough. In addition, good and bad habits are formed upon repetition and because the substance of the following inspiration by Simple Truth is vital to keeping a positive state of mind, I will continue to read, share, and try my best to live it. Here is what they suggest:

Wait to Worry
Only 8% of what we worry about comes true.
“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

Keep an Attitude of Gratitude
Count your blessings and jot them down.
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~ William Arthur Ward

Your Health is Your Wealth
If you lose your health you lost everything. Take time to exercise, catch up on your sleep and eat right.
“One of the main qualities it takes to be successful is energy….it may be the only thing.” ~ Katharine Hepburn

Joy Boomerangs
Do something for someone else….the good you do boomerangs back to you!
“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” ~ Booker T. Washington

Learn to Say “No”
We have limits to our time, energy and interests.
“If we always say ‘yes,’ we run a greater danger of severing relationships than if we refuse right away.” ~ Vicki Hitzges

Understand the Power of Discipline
If you discipline yourself today, you’ll enjoy your life tomorrow.
“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Surround Yourself with Positive People
Find people who will challenge you, believe in your and inspire you to improve.
“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.” ~ David Viscott

All in all, I do think it is important to be open to learning and exploring new things. Knowledge is power and a key component of growth, however I also believe that most humans struggle with contentment (THAT’S ME!) which keeps us chasing the next best thing and in a perpetual state of wanting and needing more. Therefore, as we continue to seek new information, opportunities, and adventure, remember to not over-think it and keep it simple. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel and most often our most sacred treasures are right under our noses, like the bee pollinating the flower in the picture. While the bee is only a tiny little insect, they are the most efficient pollinators whose impact is incredible! Without them, many of the flowers we love would not exist, we would not be able to enjoy the deliciousness of honey as well as a long list of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. However, because of that simple little critter, life is a whole lot sweeter, just as so many other “little things” in our life.

Action Item:
Practice contentment by taking a moment to stop, breathe and focus on your life: the tumultuous times you have overcome and the wisdom you thankfully gained from them; the struggles and inconveniences that you are currently enduring and the growth opportunities you are receiving from them; and the relationships, blessings and “little things” that you might often look past. In this busy, accomplishment-oriented and task-driven world we live in, take the time to focus on the “small things” and give thanks for the big impact they have had and currently have on your life.

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What Are You Paying Attention To?

“For one minute, walk outside, stand there, in silence,look up at the sky and contemplate how amazing life is.”   (Unknown)

POINT TO PONDER:
What are you paying attention to?

ACTION ITEM:
Every day this week, at least once each day, step outside, take a deep breath and contemplate how amazing your life is. Then, complete the cycle by sharing your amazing life and gifts with someone else. It’s the human world’s circle of life.

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

There is no doubt that May is spring’s December. Not only does May consist of Mother’s Day and Memorial Day (both special and fun, but often also filled with heavy emotions and busy travel), but it’s also the month of transition, endings and beginnings — end of school activities, graduations and weddings. Until June arrives, it can be just plain nutty!

So, upon hearing the brilliant quote by author Sue Monk Kidd: “We become what we pay attention to,” I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to shift our mindsets to gratitude rather than let “the crazies” move in and potentially hijack our joy.

I really do appreciate being reminded that our lives are not a product of destiny, but rather a sum of our attitudes and choices — many being very difficult at times. We of course can’t always control our circumstances, however we can control what we pay attention to.

So, how about you? Are you paying attention to your hectic schedule, or to the blessing of a full life? To work deadlines or to the blessings of having a job and salary? To your significant other’s shortcomings or to their qualities and characteristics you admire and love? To not being the same size you were this time last year, or to the blessings of health and freedom of choice? To construction along MoPac and Austin traffic or to the blessing and convenience of a car? To running your child/children all over Austin for activities or to the blessing of a healthy child?

Our lives are inundated with distractions that shift our focus to unimportant things — adding zero value and actually taking away from our lives. However, it’s our choice to pay attention to what matters.

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Proclaiming Your Passions Over Your Problems

talk about your joys

“If you want to get over a problem, stop talking about it. Your mind affects your mouth and your mouth affects your mind. It’s difficult to stop talking about a situation until you stop thinking about it.”
~Joyce Meyer

Point to Ponder:
What current situation do you find yourself venting about?

Action Item:
Make a conscious effort this week to replace negative comments about “problems” with positive statements that spread only joy.

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I admit, I’ll do just about anything to avoid a chronic complainer or negative person. With that said, I absolutely think it’s healthy and necessary to vent our frustrations and unload our struggles to trusted friends. In fact, in order to feel like I am not living alone on my own planet, I’ve recently needed to vent, but in doing so I have found that it’s a slippery slope because I’ve not gotten over my so called ‘problems.’  Like the quote in the picture says, I’ve found that the more I talk about them, the more I think about them, which only causes more frustration.

There’s no doubt that all problems are relative, and what seems cumbersome to one person can be trivial to the other. Despite the range of problems, everyone feels like they have them — but if I really get honest with myself, I don’t have one real problem. Instead, I’m just discouraged and tired. However, the truth is that the root of my complaining wasn’t just so I could be heard, the truth is that I wanted someone to validate my feelings and feel sorry for me… which is laughable.

Because I don’t like complainers, which translates to “I am tired of hearing my self-absorbed pity party,” I’m making it a goal to stop complaining about my ridiculous “problems” and start proclaiming my passions instead (even if it’s in my mind and only to myself). I tested the theory over the weekend and not only do I feel better, but I like myself more and appreciate my life a lot more!

I’m a big-picture thinker, and in being this way I always imagine the monumental possibilities when a group of people embark on a positive initiative together. So in this particular situation, I invite and challenge you to join forces with me and make it a new year’s goal to proclaim your passions over your problems. And, when I say passions, I mean anything that brings you joy. Whether they are your pets, family, work or hobbies, your passions are yours and by sharing them you are spreading joy, which everyone needs more of!

 

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Wisdom from the Big Bang Birthday

Dad playing football with all the grandkids

Dad playing football with all the grandkids

See the distant road rather than the mud on the windshield.
— Bill Swinney (Kathleen’s father)

Action Item:
Fill your life with joyful, positive and passionate people, thoughts and things and remain focused on them. Never forget that life is an adventure.

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

This month we celebrated my Dad’s big BANG 88th birthday at his ranch. Seriously, it was a bang of a birthday, as he has an authentic Civil War cannon that he loves to fire to commemorate another year of his ‘great adventure.’ This year we had an Eight Bang Salute celebrating 88 years on the 8th of July.

Dad has shared his enthusiasm for adventure with his six children throughout his life, and he taught us that nothing is impossible!! For example, when we were young he threw six ropes off the back of the boat and had us get up and ski together. In the mid 60’s, he created the first parasailing expedition by going to the local Army Surplus Store and purchasing an old parachute. He cut holes in it, tied it to the back of the boat with a ski rope and took off with one of my brothers dangling from the parachute in a small makeshift rope seat. It was quite a site to see back then!

Just four years ago at the age of 84 he decided to build a big new ranch house by himself. He has always had an altruistic spirit and hired some ex-cons and a one legged carpenter to assist him. He finished his pride and joy in less than a year. Unfortunately, the ex-cons returned to rob him and stole his truck!

Following the big bang birthday I received a hand-written letter from my Dad — something he does a couple times a year to all of his children. He expressed his joy for life, along with incredible wisdom. This is what he wrote:

“Life has been a great adventure for me—and it continues to be so. Remember these things:

  • Believe there are opportunities for success instead of pitfalls leading to failure. Don’t let trivialities get you side tracked

  • There are a myriad of positive ways to view life—so keep the negative out of play.

  • Remember the redeeming value of rest and the exhilarating value of work and KEEP THEM IN BALANCE.

  • The body will follow the mind until it collapses with fatigue, so if you can keep your body fit and strong then you can get more performance as your mind pushes the body into high test situations.

  • Most importantly, remember the human body is the most complex chemical plant God created and the chemicals are dispersed by how one thinks. Thinking positively dispenses chemicals that lead to accomplishment, and daily accomplishment puts “OLD AGE” on hold! Sounds simple, BUT IT WORKS!!”

This is only one of many wisdom notes my father has written me and eventually I will share them all. Until then, I do not doubt that Dad will someday meet our Heavenly Father, exhausted and exhilarated from truly living and thoroughly enjoying this life that He so generously gave us. The thought “What if I would have…?” will never enter his mind, and I strive to carry on his grandiose passion and joy for life.

I found this 67 year old inspiration water skiing barefoot with a friend and while I not sure I want to ski barefoot at 67, she inspires me to never stop. She’s pretty remarkable!!

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