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Dreams, Visions, What’s and Why’s

I have been in Southern California now for 11 days, 105 more days to go. It’s weird.

I’m staying with my sister and her son in Orange County while I’m looking for a place to rent closer to where the auditions and “shoots” happen in the Hollywood/Burbank/Santa Monica area about 50 miles away. Rents are high in LA. The population is dense and the pace is fast, even when the traffic is congested. All of this is the exact opposite of my slow paced small town home in rural southern Oregon.

More than once I have asked myself “what am I doing here?” and, “is it worth it?”

I could be at home with my wife enjoying the view as summer slips into autumn. But I choose to stay here in So Cal- Why?

WHY I’m here has to do with a vision that is much bigger than what I’m doing here… here’s what I mean…

WHAT I’m doing here is making myself available for TV commercials and programs as Santa Claus and meeting people, but WHY I’m here is much bigger and more significant than that. Why I’m here is because I see being here as being on the path to my bigger dream… I’m in the process of realizing my vision of myself.

Over the past few years I have felt a calling… a calling to bring more joy, light and happiness into the world… and to do it my way and in a big way.

Somehow being in Hollywood and associated with the entertainment industry seems connected to this larger vision. I’m not sure exactly why or how. It could be as simple as the money; a national commercial, or a series of national commercials could pay very well. It could be something more subtle or circuitous. Whatever the reason I feel drawn to be here now.

Yes, I have my questioning moments, my “have I gone nuts?” thoughts and my occasional, “I should just go back home” feelings… but I also have a guiding inner voice which keeps me on my path, and a vision that allows me to see past the inconveniences of the moment to the realization of a greater life purpose.

One more thing that keeps me keep’n on… I LOVE what I do. I love being recognized as Santa Claus as I’m walking, driving or riding my bike. I love hearing the calls- “Santa!” Santa on Bikeand seeing the eyes light up and the smiles beam. I know that I am blessed and I’m thankful for the gifts that I can share. I feel the love every single day and it is amazing.

My hope for you is, if you have not already, that you find the passion that is in your heart. I hope you will take time daily to be still. I hope you will learn to hear your inner voice and follow your guidance… and have understanding people in your life who support you in spite of, or perhaps because of, your weirdness.

All the best,
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The REAL Magic of Santa Claus

A few days ago I journeyed from my quaint personal North Pole of Ashland, Oregon, to the metropolis of Southern California where I’ll spend the next 4 months portraying, and in many ways “being“, Santa Claus.

Santa Leaving the North Pole

I’ll be in TV shows and commercials; I’ll make many personal appearances at Christmas parties and other gatherings. I’ll also be the Santa Claus that people see at the grocery store, driving down the street and riding his bike along the beach… I will be recognized many thousands times, perhaps even millions of times, as Santa Claus… but what is the REAL Magic of Santa Claus?

Many children believe Santa Claus has magical powers, how else can he deliver all of those presents, all over the world in such a short time?

Some kids think magic is in the elves who make the toys, the sleigh and the reindeer.

The real truth is- THE MAGIC IS YOU, because YOU ARE the elves’, the sleigh, the reindeer and the REAL Santa Claus.

I'm simply a portrayal artist, an image, an icon for the magic…. but the magic is you.

But here’s an interesting question. Why?

Why have we, many generations before us, various cultures around the world, religious, spiritual and secular people all embraced and built on this legend of Santa Claus? Why do we as children relish in the mystery of Santa Claus and why do we as parents perpetuate the myth?

Understanding the kids’ part is pretty easy. Children love the mystery, they love the presents and I think they like the fact that the presents go to NICE boys and girls. Santa helps children feel special, they know that they are being acknowledged and rewarded for being nice.

But why do adults keep all of this going… now that’s a bit more difficult question?

Some people say it’s the merchandisers, Coca Cola, Macy’s and all the rest that perpetuate the myth.  Others say it’s consumerism and our drive to have more and more stuff. I think both of these assertions are a bit cynical and leave many questions unanswered. Questions like: Why do so many people increase charitable donations and give anonymously during the Christmas season?

Here’s my perspective…

Giving is much like making love, it makes us feel good. I’m not talking about a physical sensation; I’m talking about the feeling of emotional human connectedness. In a way giving is selfish. We do it because WE feel better after we give. We like being givers… we like being Santa Claus.

For centuries wisdom traditions of all sorts have recognized that we benefit by giving. Charitable organizations exist solely because we feel better when we give and you might be surprised to learn that most giving is done by those of modest means. In a series of controlled experiments, lower-income people and people who identified themselves as being on a relatively low social rung were consistently more generous with limited goods than upper-class participants were.

So the true Spirit of Christmas, and the perpetuation of Santa Claus and the magic that you bring to me, the icon, serves a very real and important role in our lives and in the evolution of society. Santa Claus connects the next generation with the compassion of giving.  

Many new parents have a challenge with the whole concept of Santa Claus. They don’t know if they should continue the myth or if it’s wrong to mislead their children. My wife and wrestled with this when our kids were young.

Neither of us was religious, we had no spiritual practice. The fact is we are both very secular at the time… but we both loved Christmas. We wanted to give our kids presents and we liked the idea of the presents coming to the kids from someone else, someone who was not spoiling them but simply showing their love and giving to them because of who they were… good kids who were on the nice list.Santa 5 Mitch 10-17-12

I understand that embracing, and in fact becoming, the magic behind Santa Claus can be a daunting responsibility for new parents. I understand that it can be very easy and rational to simply be “honest” with the children and tell them there is no Santa Claus… but wait- is that the truth?

There is a Sponge Bob Square Pants but no Santa? A Mickey Mouse and a Korra but no Santa?

Perhaps there is a Santa Claus after all, a Santa that is not a lie, a Santa who is fun and loving and a reminder of who we are; givers. A Santa you can work your magic through and a Santa you can use to teach your children the value and joy of giving… not just to their children and family but to others as well.

The REAL Santa Claus is not a person, it’s a concept. By you being Santa Claus you are letting others know that they are loved and appreciated and by being Santa you remind yourself that you are the kind of person you want to be, a giver. 

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P.S. If you are in Southern California keep an eye peeled for me. I could be anywhere. 

Are You Exchanging Cold Comfort for Experience?

24 hours of driving, 3 gatherings with my wife's old high school classmates, 1 business meeting about becoming a spokesperson for a new high-tech product and 2 video shoots, 1 as a "Featured Extra" in a music video shot late Sunday night on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

That was my week… and it was SO much fun.

Yesterday during my 10 and half hour drive home to Ashland, Oregon from Southern California I had a lot of time to think.  As my mind wandered from event to event I just kept smiling and smiling and smiling.

Why?

Many of the things that I had just experienced would have been horrifying to other people, in fact there have been times in my life when they would have been so unpleasant that I would not even have done them… and today I absolutely relish the entire experience. Weird!

What is it that converts fear into joy? Apprehension into enthusiasm?

Experience!

Years ago I remember a business owner talking about a couple of employees. Both had been with the company since it opened 5 years before. One he said had "5 years of experience" with the company, the other he said, had "1 year of experience repeated 5 times".

I have never been one to have the same experience year after year. I love variety.

I'm not recommending "my way" I'm simply saying that this IS my way. And it is, at least in part, responsible for how I experience life.

I have long known that I really value being happy and I enjoy making people laugh and smile. I also really like seeing myself as an inspiration to others. These things make me feel more complete, more whole.

In addition I have what I can only describe as an innate desire to "be all I can be". I like myself better when I strive to be more and to do more for others.

What is it that you really value? What makes you feel whole?

Once I recognized these things about myself I started to allow them to have more influence over my decisions and actions. For example I allowed myself (another way to say this is- I forced myself) to take steps, like joining Toastmasters, which I had to do 3 times before I could muster the courage stay in the group long enough to learn what I wanted to learn, which was to overcome my fear of public speaking.

By allowing myself to gain new experiences each year, I have added a depth to my life that I find incredibly fulfilling. By consciously experiencing more (that is by having 40 years of experience in the last 40 years, as opposed to having 4 years of experience repeated 10 times, or 8 years of experience repeated 5 times) I experience joy and fulfillment where I once would have found dread and pain.

Are you seeking the experiences that move you in the direction of your true self, your highest calling? Are you willing to trade cold comfort for change?  Or will you exchange all you can be, for all you are now?

Again, I'm not advocating anything. We each choose our own path and whatever path we choose is as it should be. This is simply what I see from where I'm standing.

The Courage to be Imperfect

I had my eyes opened a bit this week. I discovered that the emotions I've had, and to some extent continue to have, about sharing the details of some of the darkest, most personal and most embarrassing experiences in my life have a name, or at least the act of going ahead and sharing the "whole of who I am" has a name… and the name is courage.

I have always thought that courage was a synonym for bravery, it turns out that courage is quite different. The word courage comes from the Latin word cor, meaning heart — and the original definition was "to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart".

The decision I made to tell the story of who I am with my whole heart was difficult. I had spent decades crafting a "public image". I saw that image as being important to my business and how I wanted to be perceived by others. Another much more honest way to say it is; I was afraid that if people saw too much of the "real" me they may not want to do business with me, or like me as much, or at all.

By nature I'm a pretty confident guy, I am very comfortable blazing my own path through life and still I spent decades not living courage"wholeheartedly", that is, not having the courage to tell the story of who I am with my whole heart.

Of course there are many things that are just inappropriate for certain conversations, and just because I have developed the courage to live wholeheartedly doesn't mean I will share the "warts and all" of my life with every person I talk to, but it does mean that those aspects of my life hold no power over me. I have the courage to tell it like it is.

I love the way Dr. Brené Brown addresses this subject in the TED Talk I have inserted below.

Dr. Brown began by studying human connection. As it turned out, looking at human connection led her to human vulnerability. She saw that many people struggle for a sense of worthiness – people who live with feeling that they are somehow not good enough. And Dr. Brown discovered that these folks who struggle for a sense of worthiness feel an excruciating sense of vulnerability.

But Dr. Brown also found something else.

In her research she also saw many people who have a basic sense of worthiness. And she discovered that these people are also deeply in touch with their own vulnerability, but that these folks embrace their vulnerability. These people who have a basic sense of worthiness – people who Dr. Brown describes as “whole-hearted” – these wholehearted people understand that vulnerability is necessary. These whole-hearted people understand that the things that make us vulnerable are also what make us beautiful. She describes these folks from her research as having the courage to be imperfect, as experiencing connection born of authenticity, and as embracing their vulnerability.

It is not easy to stay with ourselves in those places where we are most vulnerable. It is not easy –but it is the path to whole-hearted living.

Dr. Brown’s research led her to these conclusions:

  1. Vulnerability is at the core of a person’s experience of shame, and fear, and the struggle to feel worthy.
  2. Vulnerability is also at the core of love, courage, innovation, creativity, spontaneity, belonging, tenderness, and joy.

It is our vulnerability that allows us to live whole-heartedly. I hope you will take the time to be educated and inspired by her Ted Talk-

Becoming Who We Really Are

For the past few years I have been hearing a call to become who I really am. This call has been getting stronger and becoming increasingly clear… and it's a bit unsettling.

For most of the last 20 years I have been an expert.

I have seen myself as someone who could solve nearly anyone’s Internet marketing problems. I have been paid many thousands of dollars to speak at hundreds of association meetings and business conferences across the country. In this aspect of my life I have been confident and I have felt as if I was on top of the world.

As I began to become more and more aware of my Higher Self I also began to feel as if some of what I was doing professionally was not fully aligned with what my Higher Self would have me do. For example there were times when I excepted speaking gigs even though I knew I was not the perfect presenter for their event. I was swayed by the large speaking fees (typically between $7,500 & $8,750 for a few hours of presenting). 

Over the past few years I have also become much less comfortable telling the world, or myself for that matter, that I’m an expert. Sure there are a few things I know more about than some others… that's fine… but that's not what I am. I now strive to engage the people I work with as equals and friends. I no longer engage in transactions with clients, I join them where they are as a friend and I share my perspective and experience as I would with my best friend or my brother or sister. 

In my industry, Internet marketing, there has become a group of experts, gurus, and group of perennial students who are continuously told they must learn, learn, learn to one day become ‘experts’ themselves. Because isn’t that the goal?

Here's what I now see. What these gurus, including myself, are teaching isn’t brain science and it does not require endless hours of study. And it doesn't demand an endless panel of experts upon experts telling people how it's done.

Here's what's necessary, and what I now strive to provide; direction and consistency.

My Higher Self knows that just as a good parent provides guidance and direction and teaches by example, a good coach does the same. The goal is not dependence but INDEPENDENCE.

By listening to my Higher Self I know what is really needed and what I can best provide; support and guidance. Those who come to me can best benefit from my experience and the experience I have learned from others… and mostly they benefit from me just being there willing to listen to their concerns and then share from my experience. This is me being true to who I really am.

We all need someone to talk to as we find our way ahead, whether that be in business or in simply living our lives.

I was reminded of this during the past couple of weeks as many people who began working with me as their Internet marketing coach are now joining me as I bring The Greatest Gifts of All project forward.

Ed with Neale Donald Walsch In this project these people want nothing from me – and expect nothing from me, and I need nothing from them. Now, almost magically, we are in a new relationship. I have received emails and phone calls from people sharing their experiences with me and telling me how my experiences have touched their lives and allowed them to see new things, or old things in a new light. This is me living my purpose.

So as I have been developing The Greatest Gifts of All project I have been looking closely at alternatives to the broken training system in the world of Internet marketing. I'm making sure that I don't let habit move me to do something that is familiar but not consistent with my Higher Self.

I don't want to be your expert. I don't want to have a business plan. I don't want customers. I want relationships.

My objective is not to become necessary to you, but to be available to you, by choice.

After many decades of operating from a different paradigm this new way of being is very foreign and yet feels SO right. Occasionally I find myself slipping back to the old models that have always ‘worked’ instead of a embracing this new inspired way of being. And that old model is built on endless repetition, an a reliance on formula. That is simply not who I am now.

Like a good parent I want to share from a place of love, not commerce. I want to foster self reliance, not dependence. I don't want to look for another product to sell, or service to provide, I simply want to bring forth who I am and what I have.

I don’t want to be an expert any more. I can’t, really, because I now I know the information and experience I share doesn’t belong to me, and it certainly doesn't make me any better or worse than anyone else.

So I am no longer an expert, I'm just a fellow traveler with around 3,100 weeks worth of experiences. I am happy to sit for a while, exchange thoughts, enjoying a cup of tea.

How about you?

I have created what I'm calling "Let's Talk". This is simply my way of being available to anyone who would like to talk about these Gifts or anything else. See http://the-greatest-gifts-of-all.com/lets-talk/

I have also made everything I offer through The Greatest Gifts of All, including these "Let's Talk" conversations available on a "Pay What You Wish" basis. See http://the-greatest-gifts-of-all.com/pay-what-you-wish/

If you're going through inner conflict about your work and your vocation here's what I'm absolutely certain of… There is nothing to be afraid of. Nothing at all.

Your Higher Self will show you the way, again and again. That’s how you find the Faith (Gift 7) you need to believe in yourself, your work, and your path.

I hope we have a chance to talk soon. 

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P.S. There is a LIVE Web Meeting this Wednesday, April 24th. Learn to fully receive 9 of Life's Greatest Gifts into your life. These Gifts ladyatcomputersmallincrease happiness, fulfillment and provide deeper meaning to our lives. http://the-greatest-gifts-of-all.com/9-of-lifes-greatest-gifts-live-web-meeting/

Beliefs and the Boston Bombing

At this time the authorities have not yet identified the bomber(s) or the reason for the bombing, but here's what I know. It was the bombers BELIEFS  that allowed him, or her, to commit this horrific act.

The victims and their families are in my prayers. I am confident that those responsible will be brought to justice, and while that is as it should be, it will not fix this problem or heal these wounds.

It will be beliefs; yours, mine, those of our leaders and especially those of the survivors that will determine the meaning of this bombing.

I choose to believe that me being angry would serve no good cause.  So I am not angry. I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed that we still have people who, despite our laws that provide freedom of speech and peaceful protest, decide to use violence as their way to communicate and intimidate.

I find comfort in looking at a bigger picture and larger perspective. For example did you know that the number of people killed in battle – calculated per 100,000 population – has dropped by 1,000-fold over the centuries as civilizations evolved. Before there were organized countries, battles killed on average more than 500 out of every 100,000 people. In 19th century France, it was 70. In the 20th century with two world wars and a few genocides, it was 60. Now battlefield deaths are down to three-tenths of a person per 100,000.

This comes from Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker book, "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined," Pinker makes the case that a smarter, more educated world is becoming more peaceful in many ways.  Here's more:

The rate of genocide deaths per world population was 1,400 times higher in 1942 than in 2008.

There were fewer than 20 democracies in 1946. Now there are close to 100.

The number of authoritarian countries has dropped from a high of almost 90 in 1976 to about 25 now.

Pinker says "As we get smarter, we try to think up better ways of getting everyone to turn their swords into plowshares at the same time," Pinker said in an interview. "Human life has become more precious than it used to be."

This does not lessen the pain suffered by those in Boston but it does add perspective.

We are smarter, more evolved, and yes there are still some amongst us who act primitively.  Let justice be served in love. These violent actions are not OK and cannot be tolerated but our response must be based in love, not hate, or fear.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind…

Murder in European countries has steadily fallen from near 100 per 100,000 people in the 14th and 15th centuries to about 1 per 100,000 people now.

Murder within families. The U.S. rate of husbands being killed by their wives has dropped from 1.2 per 100,000 in 1976 to just 0.2. For wives killed by their husbands, the rate has slipped from 1.4 to 0.8 over the same time period.

Rape in the United States is down 80 percent since 1973. Lynchings, which used to occur at a rate of 150 a year, have disappeared.

Discrimination against blacks and gays is down, as is capital punishment, the spanking of children, and child abuse.

You can learn much more at- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/22/world-less-violent-stats_n_1026723.html

Let's continue to act in loving ways. Let's continue to be hopeful. Let's continue to live true to our Higher Selves and let's hold those in Boston in our thoughts and prayers.

In Love,
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9 of Life’s Greatest Gifts – LIVE web meeting

Wednesday, April 24th from 6:00 – 7:30PM Pacific Time I will be hosting "9 of Life's Greatest Gifts" web meeting

Learning to add more Happiness, Joy and deeper Meaning to our lives is the topic of the evening.9 Greatest Gifts allow us to improve the way we experience every aspect of our lives. 

The challenge for many people today is that our lives have become so busy, and so full of distractions and societal expectations, that we lose sight of what is truly important. We forget that these life enhancing Gifts are available to us. We live in stress and disharmony. 

ladyatcomputersmall

In this session you will discover how to benefit from these 9 Greatest Gifts regardless of your life's current circumstances

There will be live Q & A during the meeting.

The meeting is FREE. Reserve your seat and get the access information at-
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/517899994

You will learn very simple, proven, techniques to make very positive changes in your life and in your destiny. 

Gift 1 changes the lens through which you see your life.

Gift 2 makes all of your decisions easier to make.

Gift 3 improves relationships and the language of your thoughts.

Gift 4 aligns you with your true calling.

Gift 5 assures your better future.

Gift 6 helps you through the dark times.

Gift 7 provides inner strength & confidence.

Gift 8 changes the way you express love.

Gift 9 adds meaning and purpose to your life.

This 90 minute session includes an interactive Q& A.

After each Gift is revealed you also be given a "fully receive it" exercise which will make it easier for you to fully receive and benefit from each of these 9 Greatest Gifts.

Reserve your seat and get the access information at- https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/517899994