meaningful relationships

 

 

Ever feel like you are living a song? I have been hearing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ frequently the last few years. When I began to notice the song, I assumed that my connection to the song was through the song title. I believed that I kept hearing this song as a way to encourage me down the path I’ve been traveling since leaving the corporate world.

 

Assumptions

 

Recently my wife questioned my assumption. She asked if the connection could be with the lyrics or meaning of the song. So, I looked at the lyrics and was surprised to find some interesting correlations with my life.

 

I’m just a city boy, born and raised in Omaha. I’m married to a small town girl. A couple years ago, we rode a midday train going anywhere (actually Georgetown, CO). We’re feeling like we’re living in a lonely world with everyone attached to their electronic devices and ignoring personal contact. And the associations go on, and on, and on. Okay, I’m sure you are now looking on the Internet for the lyrics. And, yes, I took liberties.

 

The point of this song is that we are all looking for meaningful relationships. This song suggests that the purpose in life is trying to fill an emotional void through personal connections. Sometimes we will find someone to fill that void and other times we continue with the search, going through relationship after relationship. This song encourages us to hold on to the feeling of hope that we will find the relationship that we seek.

 

Deeper Meaning

 

If I look beyond the song title, I think there is a deeper meaning for me. I interpret the search for meaningful relationships to be analogous to seeking out people I can help improve their lives. Some of these people are looking for their own meaningful relationships. Meanwhile, others are looking for ways to identify how to improve their lives.

 

On the flip side, some of those people are consciously or unconsciously seeking my assistance. When I am able to help them achieve improved clarity in their life or relief from ailments, I feel emotionally fulfilled. As such, the song both encourages me to continue and reminds me of the benefits of making such a connection.

 

The work I do is one way to help others. We all, however, have the ability to positively affect the lives of others. Sometimes it only takes a smile to establish a connection with someone. From there you never know where it may lead. Who knows, maybe there’s a meaningful relationship just waiting to begin with your next smile.

 

 

In the previous article “Don’t Stop Believing”, I wrote about my belief in past lives and experiences that reconfirmed that belief. Having studied the topic extensively, I have learned of even more profound cases where young children knew amazing things that they could not possibly have learned in this lifetime.  

 

This knowledge is interesting and exciting, especially in cases where it can be confirmed. However, it is really secondary to the healing that is available through exploring past lives.

 

Stumbling Into Past Lives

 

Dr. Brian Weiss MD’s work with past lives and healing is probably the most well-known of anyone’s in the world. He was a psychiatrist when he stumbled into past life regression. In the story that he tells about his first encounter with past life regression, his patient regressed when he was trying to use general hypnosis techniques. It wasn’t until she regressed to a previous lifetime that she began showing physical and emotional improvement.

 

The patient appeared to have true healing. Yet, Dr. Weiss was not convinced that past lives were real and was unsure as to what was really happening. . In a later session, the patient was actually able to obtain information about Dr. Weiss that she could not have possibly known. Although this was not about her life, it convinced him that something very real was happening. His experience with this client was the beginning of a journey that has changed his life and the lives of many others.

 

Our Work

 

My wife and I had read about Dr. Weiss’ experience many years ago. Then in 2014, we had the opportunity to attend Dr Weiss’ professional past life regression training where we witnessed such healing first hand. We learned that past life regressions can help heal both physical and emotional issues people are experiencing in their current lifetime.

 

Today, after additional study with others in this line of work, we include past life regression and other similar types of sessions in our service offerings. Our primary focus of regressions are for people who want to resolve issues that they cannot consciously explain. In many situations, the client becoming consciously aware of the situation that initiated the current day problem allows healing to begin.

 

Client Experience

 

Every person is different and every experience is different. Some have immediate understanding and healing. For others, there is a sudden recognition some time later. And, there are others where healing process occurs slowly over time as full understanding occurs.

 

I never expect miracles, but I am almost always surprised by the results. And, I love those e-mails that arrive from clients at a later date with new amazing insights. So, whether you believe in past lives or not, just know that if there is an issue with no apparent origin, your past lives might hold the key.

 

To learn more about Dr. Weiss’ work, check out his website http://www.brianweiss.com/

 

Note: Past Life Regression is not therapy and should not be used in lieu of medical treatment.

 

 

 

When I was young, I believed that I had lived at least one previous life. I am not sure how I drew that conclusion. It was just something I believed. One day I made the mistake of mentioning this belief to the minister’s wife. She informed me straight away that our religion did not believe in reincarnation. Then she immediately turned and walked way.

 

My first thought was “Wow! That was kind of rude.” I had a hard time with the thought that I was not permitted to have my own beliefs. It was a defining moment that created my views on organized religion. I learned that this was a belief that I needed to keep to myself, but I didn’t stop believing.

 

Evidence

 

Had I not held this belief and continued to believe after being scolded, I would have been totally unprepared for the adventures of being the parent of a child that described his past lives in amazing detail. My wife and I learned of his adventures riding horses and how he had been a guard at a castle.

 

However, we were very impressed when around two years of age he gave us accurate directions for getting to McNichols Arena, a local venue for basketball and hockey.   He informed us that he had played hockey there. We had to believe him because how else would a two-year-old know directions to a sports arena.

 

Our other son never told us explicitly of his adventures in previous lifetimes. However, he had a strong affinity towards World War II and fighter jets. He also had a strong interest in the movie “Gone With the Wind” and insisted on watching the entire series, which is quite odd for a young boy. He also knew information that he hadn’t been taught. We didn’t have cable TV at the time, so that wasn’t the source either.

 

Your Beliefs

 

Now, you can believe whatever you wish about these experiences. Perhaps your religion says that past lives cannot occur. Just be aware that not everyone will believe the same way. If you keep your ears and eyes open, you may hear and see things that will challenge that belief. Until then, don’t stop believing! And, so will I.

 

Coming soon – Part II – Healing Past Lives.

 

 

After the recent flooding in the Midwest, I had to scoff at a politician who claimed that there were towns totally destroyed that would never exist again. Although this is possible, this politician clearly does not understand the mindset and determination of Americans.

 

Examples From History

 

If we look back in time, Chicago rebuilt after a major fire destroyed over 17,000 buildings in the 1870s and San Francisco came back stronger than ever after a 7.9 earthquake hit in 1906. More recently New Orleans is rebounding from Hurricane Katrina. Likewise, Joplin, Missouri is on the mend after a devastating F5 tornado destroyed a nearly mile-wide swath when it plowed through the southern part of the city eight years ago.

 

In all these cases, people died and property was destroyed, but the community survived. The same can be said of countless communities across the country. The key to their recovery is the people. People coming together to help one another is a way of life for many Americans. They fight for their communities even if politicians don’t realize it. Human resiliency should never be underestimated.

 

I can tell you that my father and father-in-law are prime examples of people who would be there any time for anyone. And, there are countless others like them. During the recent Nebraska flooding, for example, a farmer lost his life when he was taking his tractor out to help someone in need.

 

A Little Help

 

People overcome tragedy on a regular basis. Some get more attention through the media than others, but that does not diminish the effort. There are millions of situations where people help each other every day. It can be as simple as the neighbor who clears another neighbor’s sidewalk and drive after a snowstorm. We’ve had neighbors do this for us and vice versa. The neighbor of my father-in-law offered a portable heater upon learning that he needed something to heat his back porch to keep stuff from freezing.

 

A Lot of Help

 

Sometimes the help is more substantial. For example, in his earlier years, my father-in-law raced to the scene of a fire to save a family’s home, took a tractor through two-feet of snow to get mail for the entire neighborhood, and did mechanic work on a semi on Christmas Eve so that the driver could get home to be with his family for Christmas.

 

Other times people risk and sometimes lose their life to save a friend, a neighbor, or even a stranger. People do this for each other. It is human nature to help those around you who are in need.

 

If we stop for a moment, each of us can recall with examples of how someone has helped our families or us. Likewise, we can remember ways we have helped others.

 

Gratitude

 

Even though there are times it is challenging to express gratitude, especially when the gift is anonymous, I believe most of us are grateful for those that help. Most of us have seen heart-warming videos of someone graciously giving their time and effort to help others in need. Those videos are very touching to us as a third-party. The person who was the recipient of the help, is likely extremely touched and grateful.

 

I for one am very grateful for human resiliency. I am proud to be a part of a community and a country where people help others in times of need. The world could be an even better place if we focused more on the wonderful gift of human resiliency.

 

 

 

When I was young, I admired people I saw on TV making people laugh. As I recall, Bob Hope held his birthday specials around the same time as my birthday. Thus, I particularly connected with him. Impersonators and those who could mimic sounds also intrigued me.

 

Laughter

 

Entertaining people, particularly making them laugh, became a dream of mine. There was even one occasion where I had an audience laughing quite hard. Afterwards, someone suggested I go into comedy. This made me believe comedy was an area where I could be successful.

 

Then, I made the mistake of telling my mother my desire to be a comedian. She scoffed at the idea. Since she valued money over most everything else in life, she told me that I couldn’t make money being a comedian. I recalled thinking about how Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, and others must have been making good money. I was old enough to realize that there were probably lots of others that were struggling to “make it big.” Still, she sucked the air right out of my balloon and my desire to become a comedian deflated.

 

Trying Improv

 

As an adult, I tried my hand at improv, which is very different from stand-up comedy. My first improve class was fun, but the second one was not nearly as enjoyable. Therefore, my enthusiasm in learning improv went right down the drain.

 

Over the last several years, I have reflected back on these experiences. I realize that if I truly had a strong desire to become a comedian, nothing would have swayed me from achieving my dream. Looking below the surface, I have asked myself, “What about being a comedian is attractive to me?”

 

When I think about comedy, I see it as a tool to help people feel happy, even for a short time. I lost my father at a young age and I think I had an appreciation for the feelings of sadness that others had. I think I wanted to make others feel good like the old-time comedians made me feel.

 

Truly Helping People

 

Now, I realize that comedy is a short-term solution and I really desire to improve people’s lives in a more permanent way. Thus, my true passion is to help others make a connection with that thing that lights up their face, puts a twinkle in their eye, and gets them excited about living life. From there, we can work together on finding ways to integrate their passion into their daily life.

 

What is it that you want to be when you grow up? Take that desire and look under the surface to see what truly motivates you. Once you make that connection, look for ways to integrate your passion into your daily life.

 

 

 

A few years ago, I was shopping in a hobby store when I noticed a group of men dressed in suits.  This was highly unusual. A vast majority of people who shop in the store are women and it is a rare occasion that I see anyone dressed up in the store.

 

I spent several minutes watching the men, who appeared to be analyzing the product displays. Finally, I decided to approach the men as I had a burning question on my mind. After one of the gentlemen confirmed that they were indeed analyzing the product displays, I asked, “Why aren’t there any women in the group?”

 

No Women

 

The man replied that there weren’t any women interested in the job.  He said that women didn’t want to move up in the company. Well, I knew that was just a story and was in not in any way based on fact. I was quite sure that lots of women would be interested in the job.

 

I went on to explain to the man that given their clients are probably 90% female. Given that, women should be involved in how they displayed their product. If nothing else, the average height difference between men and women makes a huge difference in the perception of a display.

 

Although the gentleman was polite and listened to my point of view, it was clear that he really wasn’t listening. I stressed to him that they needed to reach women if they wanted to make sales.  I also explained that a woman’s perspective was critical to making that happen. In the end, the conversation was very unsatisfying.  I believed I could redesign the displays to attract more sales in my sleep.

 

Lack of Connection

 

Yet, I was intrigued that the man didn’t seem to care if they connected with their customers. Given the corporation had sent a group of men to do the job, it would appear that the corporation didn’t understand either. I assume that they really did want to sell products, but somehow they got a bit off-track without realizing it.

 

A disconnect or partial-disconnect with customers is a common occurrence. It is actually rare that a business is fully connected with their customers and potential customers. If you find a business that has numerous 5-stars out of 5-stars reviews, it is likely you have found a business fully connected with their customers.

 

Connecting

 

For a majority of your customers to feel connected to your business, the business must attract the right customers. Thus, the business must strive to draw in customers whose needs match the company’s goals. Alternately, the company may choose to define their goals around the needs of a group of potential customers.   To have great success obtaining and maintaining customers, the company can never lose sight of this connection.

 

 

 

There is a local restaurant where my wife and I occasionally dine. A nice feature of this restaurant is that they allow you to create custom salads and entrees from a list of ingredients. We often create salads, choosing the greens, toppings, and dressing.

 

Creating custom salads and entrees is a bit more challenging for kitchen staff because they don’t know what is right because they have made it a thousand times. Instead, each time is unique. This requires having a process to ensure that the food items are created per their customers’ requests.

 

Some of their locations seem to do this well. Unfortunately, at the location closest to our home, they seem to have a difficult time making my salad according to my specifications. And, if mine is correct, it seems someone else’s meal has an error.

 

Expectations

 

I have come to expect that they will make mistakes when making my salad. Even when it appears that they’ve made it correctly, I usually spend the entire time looking for the mistake. If there isn’t one, I will still find a flaw. I might say something like, “Well, it has all the right ingredients but they put too much salad dressing on the salad.” I try to mold reality into meeting my expectations..

 

The restaurant is usually good about fixing the mistakes. However, the errors are annoying because the rhythm of the dining experience is thrown off. My entrée sometimes ends up arriving before I get the correct salad. Other times, one person is eating while the other is waiting.

 

Connecting

 

After this happened several times, I wondered if there was a connection between my expectations and the errors occurring in the kitchen. As such, I tried setting expectations beforehand that the kitchen staff would correctly make my salad. This seemed to help improve, but not completely eliminate, the issues with my meal.

 

Positive Expectations

 

It does make me question, however, how much my expectations result in self-fulfilling prophecies. Thus, I started working on setting positive expectations to see if I could observe results from my expectations. Recently, I have focused on positive expectations regarding close parking spaces and avoiding traffic congestion. So far, having these positive expectations seem to help me be successful in achieving my intent.

 

It doesn’t really matter if I am actually experiencing these positive results or it’s just my perception. By connecting these positive expectations with my results, I am creating a healthy self-fulfilling prophecy. As I expand these positive expectations to the rest of my life, I can experience a major life shift.

 

 

 

 

When people think about teams, they typically think about sports teams. However, many businesses also use the concept of teams to focus individual workers on common goals. Teams, however, go far beyond athletics and our work lives. They don’t even have to be officially designated as a “team.” A team can be any group of people acting together with a common purpose.

 

Team Formation

 

Some teams, such as a college basketball team, have an official charter.  Meanwhile, other teams don’t have a formal designation. In the latter case, people may work together for some common cause or purpose without officially forming into a team.  For example,  people often work together to free someone trapped in a car after there is an accident. In this case, there is a common purpose of saving someone’s life even though no one stopped to declare the rescuers a team.

 

When people come together with a shared purpose, clear agenda, and strong leadership they can plan and coordinate in a manner that creates amazing results. If we look at Apple, for example, Steve Job’s leadership and his development teams changed how most of us live our daily lives.  This is true even for people that use competing products.

 

The Common Enemy

 

Sometimes leaders struggle to get the results they desire from their teams. To focus the team on a goal, the team leadership may identify an “enemy.” In the basketball example, a coach may target another team as an enemy.  Often, the coach is trying to create or leverage a rivalry. However, they may have other motivation for selecting a specific team to target.

 

The focus on one enemy can have amazing results. During World War II,  the Allies joined forces to stop the Axis Powers. People came from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, cultures, races, and genders for a common goal of defeating Hitler. Everyone was a part of the team.  Some worked in factories, some fought, and everyone sacrificed.  The patriotism and teamwork during WW II is unrivaled to anything experienced today.

 

However, having a common enemy also has the potential to have negative outcomes. In basketball, the team can become so focused on one team that they lose sight of the bigger picture.  They put so much effort into beating one team that they lose games with other teams that they should easily win.

 

By becoming obsessed with beating an enemy, the team’s identity becomes based on the enemy. The team does not have its own identity because all decisions and actions are based on what is perceived to be needed to beat the enemy. They may be working to beat the competition, but if they win or the “enemy” goes away they are suddenly thrown into a new place with no identity.

 

Behavior

 

Another risk associated with defining an enemy is that the enemy becomes the “bad one” and the team becomes the “good one.” By defining one as good and one as bad, the “good” team begins to believe that it deserves to win at all costs. The team may even see themselves as righteous and above others. This can lead to inappropriate, unethical, and potentially illegal behaviors.

 

Using the basketball example, there are certain teams that display less than appropriate sportsmanship. Sometimes these behaviors can even do physical harm to other players.  Yet, they seem justified to the player and sometimes to the coaching staff, too.

 

Often not all players feel the same way.  If they disapprove, other team members have to make a choice.  They can stay with the team and overlook these behaviors even though they do not approve.  Alternately, they can speak up knowing that there may be repercussions.  If they disapprove strongly, they might even excuse themselves from the team.

 

In many situations, team members are pressured into remaining silent.  To make matters worse,  frequently people stand up for the inappropriate behaviors. This often takes the form of excuses and finger pointing in an effort to distract people from the inappropriate behavior.

 

The Value of Teams

 

A team is much more powerful if it has its own identity.  That way the team can stand on their own.  Their competition is less relevant.  They can withstand changes that happen around them and are not reliant on their perception of the competition.  The team is less likely to be overconfident or lose sight of the overall goals.

 

The world needs teams because people who are working together can accomplish amazing things.  If leaders could engage large groups of people in a common purpose, with clear intent, and a coordinated effort, things we never imagined would become possible.  Diversity of thought, discussion, and compromise, would unleash creativity like never seen before.

 

 

In the early days of telephones, an operator connected someone with another party by plugging wires into a switchboard. If everything worked properly, this action established a voice connection between the two parties. However, occasionally the operator crossed the wires and a person ended up talking with someone they had not intended to contact. The analogy of crossing wires spread into communication between people when there was a misunderstanding between the two parties. “Sorry, I think we crossed our wires” became a standard apology.

 

Miscommunication

 

People are not always aware that wires have gotten crossed. Yet, the miscommunication may still cause emotions to flare. In extreme cases, a person may become so upset that they completely disconnect from the other person without the other person knowing why. Other times, however, the person recognizes that there was a miscommunication allowing them to take corrective action.

 

Human beings are constantly involved in some form of relationship with others. Thus, they are constantly vulnerable to miscommunication.

 

Ambiguity of the spoken word contributes to wires being crossed. English, in particular, contains many possible interpretations of the same set of words. Fortunately, it is believed that the actual words spoken may make up as little as 7% of communication with body language and tone accounting for the remainder.

 

Body Language

 

A person cannot convey body language in writing without writing a small script. Although tone can be expressed through the written word, it can be challenging. Thus, the writer must convey their message using only a small fraction of the communication tools available when speaking.

 

Even when speaking, non-verbal communication may be challenging. Often, people are not conscious of the messages being sent to others via their non-verbal cues. Sometimes, the truth shows even when the speaker intends to hide it. For instance, a person’s true feelings may show when they are trying to encourage a friend, but feel in their heart that the situation will not work out. A person has to be both aware and practiced to hide or change non-verbal messages.  Even politicians and others who are coached on body language often slip up and let their true feelings show.

 

Even when the intended message is conveyed, the recipients of the message may not interpret it as it was intended. Connections can become strained. And, sometimes those connections permanently break over something minor.  If properly understood,  the message would be accepted and have little or no impact on the relationship.

 

Things To Consider

 

If a person gets upset about something that someone says or does, they need to consider if they are properly interpreting the message. First, the person may desire to consider if there are alternative ways to interpret the message. Second, the person might ask the other person to explain further. Third, if the person believes they received the intended message, they might explain to the other person the message they received and how it affected them.

 

The person may just find out that wires got crossed. By clarifying the intent, it can potentially strengthen connections with others as they engage in caring and thoughtful communication.

 

 

 

 

The purpose of advertisements is to create a connection between consumers and the product being advertised. They really don’t care if the viewer has no interest in their product or no need for it. Instead, they try to show a connection and a need that will encourage people to buy their product.

 

Not Actors

 

The statement “These are real people, not actors” appears regularly in advertisements. This statement is intended to connect the viewer with the “real people” in the commercial. The idea is to get the viewer to think, “Oh, these are real people like me. If they like it, so will I.”

 

Other advertisements try to connect the consumer with things that they desire. A weight loss commercial may show men and women that lost 50 pounds. They are hoping that the viewer will react strongly. Perhaps they will say, “I want to lose that much weight. Maybe I should use their program.” On the other hand, the consumer may say, “I only need to lose 20 pounds. If they can lose 50, surely I can lose 20.”

 

Magic Pill

 

Pharmaceuticals often advertise the magic pill. In commercials, someone suffering from depression magically becomes a happy person after taking the magic pill. Advertisers hope that you will ignore or not even see the fine print that says some people have suicidal thoughts when taking the magic pill. In reality, there are no magic pills.

 

Alternatively, the advertisement may feature a sexy woman or man. Consumers are drawn to them because they want to be like them and they want to have what the person in the advertisement has. The hope is that the consumer will equate the sexiness of the actor with the product. Thus, they are attempting to implant the idea that the fancy car will make the consumer sexier or draw a sexy person into their life.

 

People are driven to see the grass on the other side of the fence as greener, which is fueled by these advertisements. Of course these advertisers don’t tell consumers that they are fine the way they are. If they did then they wouldn’t sell anything. Connecting people with being happy the way they are and with what they have is completely contradictory to advertising.

 

Negative Advertising

 

Advertisements aren’t, however, always presented in a positive manner. In political advertisement, for example, many advertisements paint an opponent in a negative light and contrast themselves as positive. These advertisements may use black and white images of the opponent, shroud the opponent in darkness, and/or use negative verbiage stamped across the opponent. Meanwhile, the favored candidate is presented in color with positive verbiage. These types of psychological techniques have evolved over the years, but are still obvious in commercials today.

 

Be In Control

 

It’s important for us to understand how advertisers attempt to make connections to products, services, and people. By having this understanding, consumers can use their own critical thinking rather than being at the mercy of the advertisers.

 

So, next time you see an advertisement, especially if it seems too good to be true or is very degrading to someone, question it, research it, and consciously choose how you react to it.