“Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste death but once” (William Shakespeare). With hindsight 20/20, many critically ill people tell me about wishing they could turn back time in order to make wiser choices, especially by not smoking, drinking alcohol, or doing illicit drugs. Others talk about saving and investing money early to aid in their health and well-being. Let’s learn from other people’s mistakes and experiences so we can avoid pitfalls and expedite victorious success, therefore leading toward living a more productive, fruitful, quality, significant, purpose-driven, enthusiastic, and wonderful life.
Nonjudgmentally taking care of perpetrators in the hospital is possible attributed to God’s grace bestowed. I thank God for not critically harming anyone because of my teenage folly and lack of direction, purpose, principles, moral code and positive life philosophy at the time. Numerous heart-breaking stories of lives cut way too short makes me ineffably sad, while motivating me to help solve the global poor decision-making pandemic.
People smoke cigarettes leading to fatal maladies, while many tragically gasp their last breaths and die from cancer, emphysema, stroke, heart attack or infection, wasting their last days stuck, fully dependent on life support. Heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease, among other ailments, due to diabetes, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyles, neglect, noncompliance, and other preventable conditions are motivating factors toward helping stop the unnecessary early demise and poor quality of living that so many people may or may not consciously be aware they are choosing and creating for themselves. Becoming lucidly alert, vividly aware, and keenly knowledgeable about how precious and fragile life truly is before it’s too late is possible by spreading messages of hope, inspiration, and practical ways to live bountiful joy-filled lives.
Witnessing firsthand and personally experiencing too many of those aforementioned harmful effects in my life manifests deep pain and empathy for people, which is a pivotal reason for choosing to help others. A dominant universal goal regarding all spiritual realms is to mitigate pain and suffering. Caring for individuals working as an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse constantly makes me question, “Is there something we as a community, society, nation, and global enterprise can do to help prevent these tragic fatalities?” Tears of compassion and frustration well up and trickle down an anguished face, while contemplating the horrors that families of these loved ones face and endure.
“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized that I was somebody” (Lily Tomlin). Can such tragedies be averted? Young teenagers and adults are too often admitted for heroin overdoses with irreversible anoxic brain injuries, while ventilators keep their bodies alive as the brain swells, crushing parts of the cerebrum or spinal cord ending in brain death. All four extremities spastically and uncontrollably jerk up and down with both eyes transiently shooting open seemingly bulging from their skulls as their necrotic viscera pour out. Paralytics are administered because families do not need to witness such horror. Others drink themselves silly, which leads to irreversible pancreatitis or hepatic destruction, culminating in multisystem organ failure and subsequent death.
Even today, visualizing and feeling the glowing warmth, energy, kindness, and friendly smile radiating from a fellow high school classmate’s face 20 years later is poignantly palpable. His abundant energy, radiant countenance, joy, and ability to make others laugh was contagious. He made the tragic decision to try heroin one time, which ended his short life. Let’s decide to help others make better choices by making them for ourselves first.
“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” (Mark 8: 36 NLT). Moreover, harmful effects can ensue due to excessive gambling, extreme shopping, gluttonous eating, pornography, smoking, mind-numbing alcohol intoxication, and illicit drug use. Several poor behaviors mentioned above have ruined countless marriages, relationships, and even ended in fatality. Do you frivolously love and yield to bad habits more than you enjoy living in victorious freedom by loving and caring for your own mind, body, spirit, and soul? Let’s not stoop down to a level below our absolute best.
“You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough” (Mary Jane West). Let’s not take our gifts, talents, skills, abilities, or money with us to our grave. Don’t wander through life without meaning and purpose. Don’t measure success with society’s yardstick of success, power, status, money, and fame. Instead, focus on making a difference by impacting and influencing positive change in yourself, others, your community and country, as well as the world. People are influenced not by your social status, nearly as much as by how much you care about them. Show your family, friends and those around you how much you care by telling them, writing letters, and doing spontaneous acts of kindness for them. Show love in daily practices toward all humankind. Lead rather than manage people.
Additionally, happiness ensues through making one’s own decisions, not someone choosing for you. A young dog once thought happiness lived in his tail, thus choosing to chase his tail perpetually. He talked to an older dog about happiness being in his tail. This older dog said, “Everybody knows happiness is in the tail, but I don’t chase after mine. Wherever I go and whatever I do, my tail always follows.”
“Choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong” (Author unknown). Transition from dark to light. Stay standing strong, shining bright. Change environments and habits, being it’s easier to avoid temptation, than it is trying to beat temptation. Self-control only lasts so long in the midst of enticement. Cues create propensities toward behaving, acting, speaking, exercising, and eating in certain ways. Knowing what we desire and why, allows for clarity towards planning different measurable choices to implement at specific times, therefore manifesting a brand-new life. Frequent and consistent measurable goals set for specific times makes implementation likely and perpetual, eventually habitual. How we begin life is irrelevant and over, yet the rest of our story can be anything we choose.
Do you hit the snooze button or possess little energy or motivation to arise in the morning? How about the desire or automatic response to exercise, or do you think it’s too much work? Do you want to lose weight, although think it is too challenging to achieve and maintain? Do you desire to stop smoking, drinking, gambling, eating excessively, spending too much money, or jettison any other bad habit? Do you focus on your past mistakes and allow that past to dictate your present and future beliefs?
You cannot change the past, yet the future is so bright it can burn your eyes. Daily choices create power to make heaven from hell or hell into heaven. Attitudes and perceptions are in your control. Live your purpose, thus success, leading to fulfillment. Forget about what anyone else desires from you. Just do and be the best you. Remember, forgiveness brightens your future.
“…Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2 NIV). By reprogramming and reconditioning our minds from old conditioned ways of thinking to new strategic approaches we can feel more alive, blessed, joyful, grateful, willing, able, self-confident, peaceful, and full of vitality. Our health and well-being can improve as our lives and the lives around us become fuller because of the goodness radiating from our core being. Transforming our thoughts, attitudes, behaviors, and rituals allows us to enhance effectiveness with our time, be more generous, and filled with love overflowing. Nothing is more powerful than changing the way we think, in turn, making new life-changing decisions. These choices are ours and ours alone to make. Let this glorious transformative growing process begin.
“Always be a little kinder than necessary” (Sir James Matthew Barrie). Be considerate too. What kind and helpful things can you do for someone today? If we are not focusing on sharing and offering positive thoughts, deeds, peace, and kindness to the world than we can decide to change our thoughts, attitudes, vocabulary, words, actions, and behaviors before it’s too late, thus helping others and ourselves.
We harvest seedlings planted in either fertile or desolate rock and weed infested soil. Start plucking unwanted thorns and weeds from your mind, in turn, producing health, wealth, love, and joyfulness. Choose to gift yourself the blessings of eliminating devastating anger and resentment from your life, today. Unnecessary pain and suffering gradually subsides into oblivion. Call, write, or just choose to forgive.
“A man who denies to other men equality of rights is hardly worthy of freedom; but I would give even to him all the rights which I claim for myself” (Abraham Lincoln). Only allow love and good wishes for greatness unleashed within to go out toward each and every beautiful God-created person. We all are human with ebbs and flows of ups and downs. Let’s maximize our ups and minimize the down times. Living with aliveness, excitement, adventure, and vigor is fully attainable for each of us, today, tomorrow, and always.