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40 Tips for a Powerful New Year

In late 2001 when I had cancer one of the most interesting things I learned was while I was talking to the other people in the chemo room. It was just a room in Making Happythe doctor’s office where we were all sitting in comfortable chairs while our particular poison (mine were Gemzar and cisplatin) was going into our bodies via a tube into our arms. We would talk. One of the remarkable benefits I had, that they didn’t, I was was in Los Angeles, three days a week, receiving Scientology Spiritual Counseling to get rid of all of the grief, fear and “deathfullness” I had. The one thing I found that each and every one of the other patients had was an upset on one particular thing: they didn’t know when they were doing to die.  When they found out that they had cancer they then knew that they might (or might not) die. And they didn’t know when. I was in exactly the same boat. I didn’t know if I would be dead in six weeks, six months or six years. It was interesting that I could cheer them up by just by asking, “When was it that you did know when you were going to die?” I could get them all laughing on this point, as they would eventually realize that there never was a time when they knew.  What had happened is, as a result of knowing they had cancer, they had discovered that they didn’t know. It was step up in awareness.

I considered myself very very fortunate at the time. If indeed, I was close to the end, I had been given the most wonderful opportunity to do all the things that mattered most. Even with the chemo and the surgeries I still had time. I could call the people who mattered most and tell them I loved them. I could go and see them. And I did too. Each day, every day was another wonderful gift that I was grateful for. That was six years ago. I had over 200 people praying for me every week. I had a totally competent surgeon. I had the most wonderful counselor one could even hope for. I had chemo that worked. I’ll never be able to specifically and exactly assign the correct amount of thanks to the four sources of effective help. I got to keep my body and stay in the game.

Some people get to plan dropping their body. Death does not come as a surprise or shock to them. For them it is predictable and predicted, both the time and the event. Others are not as fortunate. Yesterday, a very nice person, Lory Smith – someone I’ve known since 1992, when we were on the Education Committee at the Phoenix Association together, passed away. This year, Lory was serving as a Director on the Phoenix Association’s Board of Directors. In all the years I have known her I have never heard anyone who knew her ever say anything unkind about her. Like I said, Lory was a very nice person. Death came suddenly and without any prediction. Yesterday she went to the dentist and her heart stopped while she was in the dentist’s chair.

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Today I received the following in an email. I don’t know who wrote it or put it together. I wanted to pass it along.

40 Tips for a Powerful New Year

o Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

o Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

o Buy a TIVO, tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

o When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement: “My purpose is to___________ today.”

o Live with the 3 E’s: Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

o Watch more movies, play more games and read more books than you did in 2007.

o Spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.

o Dream more while you are awake.

o Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat fewer foods that are manufactured in plants.

o Drink green tea & plenty of water and eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

o Try to make at least 3 people smile each day.

o Clear your clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.

o Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

o Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

o Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.

o Smile and laugh more.

o Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

o Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

o Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

o You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

o Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.

o Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

o Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, and wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

o No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

o Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

o Forgive everyone everything.

o What other people think of you is none of your business.

o Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

o However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

o Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

o Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

o Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

o The best is yet to come.

o No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

o Do the right thing.

o Call your mother and father often.

o Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:

“I am thankful for __________.” “Today I accomplished____________.”

o Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

o Enjoy the ride. Remember that this is not Disneyland and you certainly don’t want a “fast pass.”

ENJOY LIFE IN 2008

11 comments

11 Comments so far

  1. Greg Swann January 16th, 2008 7:28 am

    That was sweet. A beautiful way to start the day. Bless you, sir.

  2. Scott Cowan January 16th, 2008 9:52 am

    Russell,

    Thank you for sharing that wonderful list with all of us! We all need a reminder now and then on what is truly important.

    Best wishes!

  3. Matthew Hardy January 16th, 2008 11:05 am

    I would like to add my name to the long list of people who are very glad that Russell is still with us!

    Here’s to the best year ever!

  4. Eric Blackwell January 16th, 2008 12:12 pm

    Russell;

    Thanks for an awesome post. I needed that today.

    The third image from the left (Defeat) looks a LOT like your pencil sharpener!! I’m just sayin….

    Top o’ the year to you and yours!!

    Eric

  5. Diane Cipa January 16th, 2008 6:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing. It was worth the reminders.

  6. Doug Quance January 16th, 2008 9:45 pm

    As usual, you are a veritable cornucopia of knowledge and wisdom… and your post is a most generous gift of your time.

    Thank you, Mr. Shaw.

  7. Dru Bloomfield January 17th, 2008 8:01 am

    Russell, You make me smile on a regular basis. I’m sure you are WAY over your 3 smile a day target!

  8. Thomas Johnson January 17th, 2008 9:56 am

    Russell- Thank you and bless you!
    I am forever grateful for your wisdom about my overpriced listings paying the same as doing something fun…

  9. Brett Wilson January 17th, 2008 10:08 am

    Well said! I feel the energy rushing through already. I have a few things that also work for me:1- I turned on the radio to “sing out loud”, 2- I stay away from the morning tv new (except the weather forecast), 3- I say out loud “show me the money”. Does anyone think that #3 is a little too much?

  10. Katie Huebschen January 17th, 2008 11:15 am

    Thank you for a powerful post! Even doing just one of these things can make a difference.

  11. Greg Tracy January 18th, 2008 10:18 am

    A wonderful story written well.

    This time of year it seems to be easier for people to look ahead than it is for them in, say September, but whenever we do look toward the future(and we should often) it’s important to have good intentions and goals.

    I hope you feel well. Success in 2008…