7 Morning Rituals That Set Us on Track for a Great Day

Written by Les Dahl on December 29th, 2015. Posted in Health, Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll

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document.write(" arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Rituals. We think we can do without them but quite the opposite is true. Athletes create rituals to prepare physically and mentally for top performance. The right morning rituals set us on track for a great day, empowered to handle pressure and stress.

Why are rituals important?

We are creatures of habit. What renders our best endeavor ineffective is poor habits or lack of habits all together.

Steven Covey observed, “There are three constants in life; change, choice and principles.” His clarion call is for all who desire true success and meaning in life, “We must be principle-centered in all areas of life.”  This is theme of his best-known book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. (*)

Habits require discipline, a quality that runs contrary to human nature. Habits are cultivated with grit—diligent resolve and sustained effort. Rituals can be effective in creating habits.

A ritual is “a series of action or type of behavior followed regularly and invariably.”  Although rituals are usually thought of as religious ceremony, the idea aptly describes the kind of application required to set us on track for consistently great days.

 

7 Morning Rituals That Set Us on Track for a Great Day

Morning rituals are similar to pre-race warm ups. Their purpose is to ready our body, soul and spirit for a great day—at work and at home.

 

1. a glass of lime water

As soon after arising, drink a glass of lime water. This somewhat unusual ritual is first because its greatest benefits are derived on an empty stomach. 

 

2. prayer and meditation

Prayer is my personal conversation with my Father. Some mornings I have a topic in mind selected from a 'menu' of print-outs—personalized Psalms and Scriptures that express my thoughts and feelings. Other mornings I intuitively sense a topic that Father has selected for consideration.

Meditation is mindful reflection. Moments of silence while praying allow my mind to be infused with the Father's thoughts contained in the Psalm or Scripture selected. Attentive listening allows His 'still, small voice' to instruct me.

This ritual is an expression of personal relationship not religious duty. It's objective is to nurture a sense of connection with the Creator of the Universe. Thus empowered, I am ready for a great day.

 

3. physical exercise

For a working person, time is a premium, especially at the start of a day. The objective of physical exercise as a morning ritual is to awaken the muscles and blood flow. It is not intended to be a workout in the gym!

An effective, time-efficient exercise program is 10BX (10 Basic Exercises for Women) and 5BX (5 Basic Exercises for Men). These daily routines can be completed in 12 minutes with amazing results. Neither require any equipment. 

 

4. breakfast with the family

This may well be the hardest to execute of our morning rituals. To get everyone together in a happy frame of mind around the breakfast table is no easy feat. In fact, for some it is a miracle. Nevertheless, today more than ever we need to war for the unity and well-being of our family.

 

5. high-energy nutrition

Food is the fuel in our tank. Some foods, like whole foods and fruit, are high-octane energy fuel that prime us for a great day. Others, like refined carbohydrates, processed foods and added sugars, are energy-sucking sludge-producing fuels to be avoided. Choosing good food, especially at the start of our day is a vital ritual. Dr. Georgia Ede's well-balanced approach to health and nutrition issues provides helpful guidelines. 

 

6. coffee or tea

Caffeine is a controversial issue with 'research' cited for and against. Moderation and common sense are the key. My morning preference is tea, but I can enjoy a good brew of coffee, too.

Organo Gold is a new coffee that my family has come to enjoy because of the added boost called ganoderma. It's like adding 'STP' to the gasoline in your car. A cup of Organo Gold coffee is especially good at mid-afternoon when you need a pick-me-up. 

 

7. one for the road

Commuting to work can be 'dead time' or it can be a final 'warm up' ahead of a great day. One of my life coaching clients uses the one-hour drive to work for her private conversation with the Father.

It's like having Him riding in the passenger seat!” she says.

She also uses the time to establish inner calm using the 5-minute Meditation”, a free app.

This young professional, whose job can be very stressful, has a lot more great days since her morning routine has become her daily ritual.

 

Question: Does your morning routine set you on track for a great day?

 

(*) Disclosure: As an affiliate of Amazon, I receive a commission from purchases made through this website.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Things We Can Teach Our Children About Christmas

Written by Les Dahl on December 24th, 2015. Posted in Family, Parenting Strategies, Peace, Sage's Scroll

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document.write(" geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">It is easy to be knocked off balance and lose focus at Christmas. It is, after all, the busiest and most stressful season of the year.

Even more so for our children. Egged on by seemingly harmless questions, “What do you want for Christmas?” or “What do you want Santa to bring you this year?” children are swept off their feet by a marketing vortex that plays on their innocent fantasy.

Everywhere they turn, children are bombarded with high-definition, fast-action, color-intense visual images that prey on their impressionable imagination. As if the visual overload is not enough, an overdriven cacophony of Christmas sounds and advertising bombards their sensitive eardrums.

Exhausted and stressed, we parents get sucked into the Christmas juggernaut and miss what makes Christmas the “special time of the year” that it is.

Here are 5 things we can teach our children to help them stay balanced and not lose focus at Christmas.

1. Christmas celebrates Light

Just listen to the news for evidence that darkness encroaches upon our world. Our children feel it intuitively, along with their personal darkness and fear. Christmas is an opportune time to reassure our children that the Eternal Light of God, whose birth we commemorate, shines in their heart. It only takes a little candle to shatter darkness.

 

2. Christmas announces Joy

Darkness steals joy, especially that of childhood. Joy to the World is a favorite carol heard often at Christmas. But the commercialism of Christmas tempts our children (and us) to look for happiness in material things—toys, electronic devices, food. Joy, however, has its source within and springs forth by our choosing. That lesson will benefit our children all through the year.

 

3. Christmas proclaims peace and goodwill

Darkness promotes feelings of alienation. Home is designed to be a refuge of safety, especially for our children—the space where they can be themselves, accepted for who they are and loved simply and especially because they are family. Christmas is a good time to reaffirm family and extend expressions of goodwill to all.

 

4. Christmas denotes giving

On this point the significance of Christmas is most sadly lost. Too easily, especially for our children, Christmas becomes a season of getting. Giving of gifts tends toward superficial (it's the expected thing to do, especially if one expects a gift in return) or toward extravagant (an unnecessary and beyond-budget display).

True giving comes from a sincere heart and a habit of being kind and generous. It is found in a person who delights to elicit joy in others. Our children become authentic, fulfilled human beings as they learn this lesson.

 

5. Christmas heralds contentment

The attitude in the Christmas story that impresses me most is the unpretentious contentment of Joseph and Mary summarized by three words—simplicity, gratitude and wonder.

The young couple are content to begin their life together as a family in a rustic stable. Simple shepherds and dignified magi are welcomed with authentic gratitude and sincere wonder.

And after the grandiose fanfare of that first Christmas, Joseph, Mary and their beloved Yeshua continue a simple life filled with gratitude and wonder in Nazareth,.

 

The greatest gifts we can give our children this Christmas are the lessons of Christmas. These are best caught not taught, which happens when we parents model them every day of the year.

I bless my parents for these gifts. The lessons are deeply ingrained in me. I have the privilege this year of sharing them with two of my grandchildren who, with their mother, live with us.

Blessed Christmas to all...

 

Question: Will you take time this Christmas to impart these lessons to your children? They will bless you for it.

 

5 Lessons to Create a Successful Day

Written by Les Dahl on December 21st, 2015. Posted in Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll

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Usain Bolt has revolutionized athletics. He is personable, entertaining, and he gets the job done with record-breaking performances. Track fans love him. Promoters bank on him.

Usain's 9.58-second record at the 2009 Olympics in Berlin was no fluke. It was the result of hard work and disciplined training. It was also the outcome of a winning frame of mind.

Bolt's stated goal is to become a legend. Obviously, this is not achieved by winning one race. Nor does it happen by breaking one world record. A legend is made by winning consistently over a lifetime.

Ironically, Usain's life-spanning goal can only be accomplished one race at a time. Achieving our best in our profession and in our family is accomplished by giving our best one day at a time.

 

Lesson 1: Our greatness emerges as we focus on today.

 

We have two kinds of days, 'race days' and 'training days'.

On a 'race day' we may have a goal, assignment or project that needs to be completed, or we have an important meeting or a crucial presentation. Perhaps we have a special family event—a birthday, dinner or much-anticipated family outing. A 'race day' requires a winning performance. Successful 'race days' move us forward in our career and family relationships.

A 'training day' is one of those 'just-another-day-at-the-office' days filled with tedious routine and work. It's one of those days when you're behind in your housework, the kids need your help with their homework, and where's your spouse when you need them.

The temptation on 'training days' is to slip into a 'let's-get-this-over-as quickly-and-painlessly-as-possible' frame of mind along with miserable 'woe-is-me' feelings that go with it.

Don't give into that temptation.

 

Lesson 2: Habits and attitudes forged on 'training days' set us up for success on 'race days'.

 

A reporter once asked Usain, “What goes through your mind when you settle into the blocks at the start of the race?”

At the time, Bolt was struggling with bad starts.

Nothing,” was Usain's reply. “I just keep my eyes on the finish line.”

What about getting your start right?” the reporter pressed.

We work on that in training,” Bolt answered. “On race day, I just stay relaxed and let my body do what it's trained to do.”

That's the secret. Skill and greatness are developed on 'training days'.

 

Bolt doesn't worry about the many races ahead on his journey to legendary status. He doesn't even fret over the many winning but mediocre races of the past. Usain focuses all his attention and effort on the one next race ahead.

Likewise, we need not concern ourselves about how we will endure the many trying days ahead, nor need we beat up ourselves over the less than satisfactory days behind. Our singular focus is this present day, this present moment—on being fully present and fully engaged.

 

Lesson 3: Success demands that we be mindful of yesterday and aspire to tomorrow but our focus is today. Everything else distracts and keeps us from our best.

 

 

Reflection inevitably recalls mistakes—things we wish we hadn't done or said. Mistakes may be regrettable but they are redeemable if we learn from them and move on.

Learning to surrender our mistakes and our regret to our Father through prayer is an empowering spiritual exercise. Rather than harbor regret, guilt and shame within where they fester like cancer cells eating away at our courage and confidence, we embrace mercy, compassion and renewal.

 

Lesson 4: Mistakes cannot hold us back unless we chain ourselves to them.

 

Feel regret but don't wallow in self-pity. Facing our mistakes to deal with them is liberating; dwelling on them at the expense of celebrating our success is debilitating.

All things do work toward our benefit. We survive. We recover. We can finish strong. The race is not over until it's over.

 

 

Lesson 5: The power of reflection is in recognizing that yesterday was actually filled with success. Take note and celebrate accomplishment—no matter how small and seemingly insignificant.

 

When recalling successes too often we only take notice of 'great' successes or 'big' accomplishments. This can lead to disappointment and discouragement. Most of our days are defined by 'small', seemingly insignificant achievements.

Begin to take notice of small but measurable success—small steps of improvement in personal and professional development, relationships, emotional awareness and control. Build on your strengths. Winning days are forged one small step at a time.

Winning days begin with winning mindsets. A winning mindset is made up of...

  • passionate desire — you have to want it, and want it badly
  • diligent training — little habits determine winning results
  • redeeming the past — mistakes are okay, we learn from them
  • celebrating achievement — success often comes in small packages
  • focusing on the present — fully present and fully engaged in the moment

 

With a winning mindset, we run our race with patience— small, steady steps, one day at a time.

 

Question: What life-changing lessons have you learned from mistakes? What strengths have you overlooked?

Coming in January, 2016 PROJECT 100 - Complimentary personal coaching sessions to help you create success in your life. For more information and to apply for your FREE session send request via Contact Us or email lesdahl@bedrocklife.com  

 

Shalom

Photo taken by J. Brichto - Usain Bolt, Anniversary Games, London 2013

HOW TO ESCAPE THE ‘CAGED-HAMSTER-ON-A-TREADMILL’ SYNDROME

Written by Les Dahl on December 14th, 2015. Posted in Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll

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document.write(" geneva, sans-serif;">Our fast-paced life demands that we go, go, go to keep up. Pressures at work and hassles at home push us to the edge. We feel like the little hamster in a cage running to exhaustion on his treadmill going no-where fast.

At the genesis of the universe, the Creator established a prototype for our day. His day begins with evening followed by morning. The concept, when understood and implemented is transformational.

 

5 TRANSFORMING OUTCOMES OF 'EVENING'

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1. Evening signals the completion of a day.

Evening calls for deliberate intention and action. The day is done. Stop. Close off the day's activities. The unfinished work will be there in the morning. After a relaxing evening with family and a good night's rest we are refreshed, re-energized and ready to tackle what's on our plate for the day with greater creativity and clarity of mind. (Read complete article)

 

2. Evening activates authentic faith.

Abraham, the 'father of faith', faced reality head-on. He and Sarah, his wife, were too old to have children. In the face of bleak, impossible circumstances Abraham trusted God for the son He promised. That is authentic faith.

Evening requires that we face reality—the pile of unfinished tasks demanding urgent attention, the burdensome pressure from exacting bosses and vexing co-workers.

Activating authentic faith that brings closure to the day and creates transformation:

  • Identify the precise source of your stress and release it into the hands of your Father
  • With a deliberate, decisive act of faith, entrust your work, yourself and your prosperity (the successful outcome of your efforts) to God—He takes personal interest in you.
  • Let it go, along with the worry and stress attached.
  • With gratitude for His assistance through the day, go home, relax, enjoy your family, and get a good night's sleep.

That is shalom.

The One who capably manages the affairs of the Universe does not sit idle. He works behind the scenes even while we sleep.

We may awake to find that a particular problem from the previous day is resolved. He may give us creative ideas and solutions in our sleep.

An inspiration may come to us as we drive to work next morning. Or, we may simply awake exhilarated from a good sleep, ready to tackle giants and dragons lurking on our path.

 

3. Evening sets the stage for our day.

Evening—closing off each day, committing our unfinished tasks and pressures to our Father, relaxing with family, getting a good night's sleep—leads to greater creativity, productivity and accomplishment.

The problems are not less, we just handle them better. Our co-workers still complain and annoy, but we better deflect their negative energy.

Unexpected twists and turns don't throw us off as easily. We maintain focus, drive and balance through the day.

Sure, we trip up, stumble, even fall back into our old ways at times, but when evening comes, we also release our mistakes, failures and the accompanying emotions to our Father.

 

4. Evening acknowledges accomplishment.

At the end of each day, God looked at what He had accomplished. He “saw that it was good.” He approved, satisfied with the result.

Interestingly, never once did God say the day was perfect. Our Father does not expect perfect; only that we do the best we can with what we are given to work with.

Evening allows us to acknowledge that our diligent effort has accomplished good, even if no one else thinks so. Neither we nor our work is defined by the approval of others. Our Father defines us and His empowering Spirit working through us defines our work.

Evening focuses on positive effort and accomplishment. It extracts satisfaction and declares, “Today was a good day!”

When we arrive home, still basking in that positive 'inner glow', our first words to our kids are, “How was your day at school?” And then we stop, listen and affirm them.

Turning to our spouse we ask, “How was your day?” Again we stop, listen and affirm. If they ask about our day, we answer, “I had a good day” and share accomplishments not complaints.

Our focus is on them, not us, with the desire to acknowledge and affirm each member of our family. A positive atmosphere is created in which positive relationships are cultivated.

But,” you say, “my day was hell!”

You've probably heard, If you're going through hell, don't stop. Someone has added, “... don't stop to take pictures!”

Hellish days are an unavoidable part of life. On such days we need to take Winston Churchill's advice to the British people facing the formidable Nazi invasion, “Never, never, never give up.”

In sheer defiance in the face of hell we declare with songwriter John Petty, “...in a world that keeps on pushin' me around I'll stand my ground and I won't back down.”

Close off that day, give its hell to Father—He's already been there and conquered it for you!— and move on.

 

5. 'Evening' lays the groundwork for shalom.

With practice, we become skillful at shedding stress, anxiety and every other form of emotional baggage that accumulates during our day. Shifting our focus from the negativity surrounding us to our achievements evokes satisfying, empowering feelings.

Shalom—peace, health and prosperity— is within our grasp.

The practice of evening empowers us to stop the treadmill, step out of the cage, and live a meaningful life before we are caught in the death spiral of stress.

(Death spiral: The downward, corkscrew-motion of a disabled aircraft which is irrecoverably headed for a crash.)

 

Question: What do you do to break the strangle-hold of stress?

 

Shalom!

 

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

HOW STRESS ROBS YOUR EVENING

Written by Les Dahl on December 7th, 2015. Posted in Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll

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document.write(" geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Great sprinters like Usain Bolt spend hours in training perfecting their starts. They know that a good start propels them into position for a winning finish. A good start to your day empowers you to perform well and finish strong.

Let me ask what may seem a silly question: when does your day start?

When the dawn breaks” or “When I get up in the morning” (which for some of you night owls may be mid-morning!) are typical responses. But I have another answer for you to consider.

For years I puzzled over the creation story in the Bible. The fact that the Creator spoke the vast universe and the world with its many-faceted detail into existence is amazing. Talk about the power of words! That He accomplished this in six days is astounding—unbelievable for many! What caught my attention and bewildered me, however, was the phrase repeated after the completion of each day's activity: “And there was evening and there was morning, the ..... day.”

Clearly, the Creator's concept of day is quite different from what we are used to. His day begins with evening, which is followed by morning, the beginning of new activities. The Jews, to whom the Torah was entrusted, structure their days after this pattern.

The concept is significant. It describes how the Almighty thinks and there is intention, purpose and life in His thinking. We do well to align our thinking to His.

More than significant, this concept is transformational. As we begin to understand and apply its implications in our life, we are liberated of a whole lot of stress, we become much more productive at our work, and we derive greater satisfaction from our daily accomplishments.

 

'Evening' signals the completion of a day.

 

Evening calls for deliberate intention and action. The day is done. Stop. Close off the day's activities. Shut down the computer. Pack up your things. Go home. It's evening.

Most of us never close off our days. We carry the accumulated stress and burden of our work home with us. At home we find the kids are wired from their day at school. Our spouse is strung out and would appreciate a little sympathy, which we can't give because we are looking for some sympathy ourselves. Interactions with family are strained. What is intended to be a soothing, re-vitalizing refuge of joy and peace, i.e. our family, is threatened. Like a contagious virus, unresolved stress quickly spreads as wholesome, thriving relationships are infected.

Attempts to relax produce minimal results. We are exhausted emotionally and our muscles are tight. Our mind, whether consciously or not, is still weighted down with fallout from the day's activity.

Sleep does not come easily. When we finally drift off, neither our mind nor our body get the full benefit of sleep. Morning comes too early after a fitful night. We awake to another day of the same old grind.

This never-ending death spiral is broken by evening. It is imperative that we decisively terminate each day. Let it go. Take back our evening.

Family is a wonderful antidote against caustic bosses and negative co-workers. Evening is ours to enjoy our family.

The unfinished work will be there in the morning. After a relaxing evening with family and a good night's rest we are refreshed, re-energized and ready to tackle what's on our plate for the day with greater creativity and clarity of mind.

Reorganizing our day to conform to pattern established by our Creator is life-changing.

Question: How would implementing the practice of 'evening' transform the quality of your life?

 

Shalom!

(I observe four more ways in which evening transforms us. These I share in my next article. Meanwhile, enjoy evening, a new and empowering dimension to your day.)

Image courtesy David Castillo Dominic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

BLUEPRINT FOR SHALOM (Peace, Health and Prosperity)

Written by Les Dahl on November 30th, 2015. Posted in Health, Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll

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document.write(" geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Life is not without struggle and we are easily burdened with its pressures. Often we have more than enough on our plate on a daily basis and we are weary from the load we carry. It is precisely to us in our battle-worn condition that Yeshua (Jesus) extends the invitation:

“Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest (shalom). Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Shalom—peace, health and prosperity—is a gift of God's grace. Although we have a part to play in procuring shalom, it is not the product of our will-power nor of our self-help. It is an endowment from our Father in heaven. However, conditions apply and shalom is not obtained in our daily experience until these conditions are met.

Condition #1: “Come to Me...”

We must want shalom.

That is self-evident, you say. Who wouldn't wish for peace, health and prosperity? I am surprised, however, how many people are quite happy in their misery, sickness and lack (poverty). You very likely know some of these people—probably have to put up with them at work. They complain a lot and prey on your sympathy. No matter what you say or do, they really have no intention to change. They love the attention and pity drawn to them by their doleful condition and whining.

Condition #2: “Learn from Me...”

We must be willing to learn.

Creating shalom is a process that involves learning and comes with a learning curve. It takes time, study and practice to develop of shalom. We apply ourselves to His Word (the Bible). We attune ourselves to the lessons (parables) embedded in Nature. Fueled by our quest to learn, we discover insights otherwise hidden. We pay attention to people around us, particularly our elders, and garner knowledge. We hearken as experience teaches us discretion and wisdom.

If we are willing to learn, our Father rewards us with insights and promises relevant to the shalom (peace, health and prosperity) we need to live well. As a loving, caring father mentors his son and daughter, teaching them the art of living well, our Father in heaven disciples and instructs us.

Condition #3: “Take my yoke...”

We must be willing to change.

One of the great obstacles in our pursuit of shalom is the comfortable and familiar. We just don't like change. Change requires giving up old habits, thoughts, beliefs. Change demands letting go of hurts, bitterness, anger. Change calls for surrender of our will and way to His. That's not easy.

Fully aware of our struggle, our Father reassures us with the words, “I am gentle and humble in heart.” Have you ever thought of God as humble? But that's exactly what our Father is like—rock solid and firm (tough love) but gentle and humble with a big heart of love for us.

So if you accept the conditions which apply, here is a blueprint for shalom that I have discovered in my quest. (In subsequent articles, I will elaborate on each concept. Your feedback is greatly valued.)

THE BLUEPRINT for SHALOM

1. Set your compass
Prepare for the day by properly aligning yourself.

2. Chart your course
Determine your path from here to there.

3. Create your aura
Create the eye of the storm and stay in it.

4. Activate universal laws
Cultivate good seed in good soil and give generously.

5. Engage in active personal development
Make necessary changes to achieve clarity and growth.

6. Expand your power source
Cultivate spiritual growth.

7. Stay in rhythm
Sing your melody, play your instrument in symphony of the universe.

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of His Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises. (Romans 15:13)

 

Blessings...

 

Image courtesy of lkunl / FreeDigitalPhotos.net