Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Phillip Phillips - Gone, Gone, Gone

Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Going on a field trip can add much pleasure and excitement to your life.

When we were children, few words were more exciting to hear than the phrase “field trip.” Field trips were a break from schoolwork and an opportunity to go on an adventure with friends. Now that we are grown ups, taking a field trip can be just as fun and memorable – if only we were willing to sign our own permission slips so we could go on one. Allowing yourself to get stuck in your routine can make life seem boring. Adding a touch of variety to your life in the form of a field trip can break up the monotony of your days and lead you to adventure. Unlike the jaunts that were regulated by teachers or monitored by parents, taking a field trip as an adult can lead you anywhere you want. You can go on a daylong retreat or spend just a few hours at your destination. A field trip can be an opportunity to explore a new landscape or discover something about yourself. Taking a day trip to another town or visiting an unfamiliar spot in your neighborhood can be educational and fun. There is also much to be said for finding a beautiful spot under a tree where you can read a book. You can even go to one of your favorite spots and allow yourself to experience it as if you were visiting there for the first time. Going on a field trip is as much a state of mind as it is a change in the scenery. During a “grown up” field trip, schedules, clocks, and duties are put aside so you can focus wholeheartedly on mindfully enjoying yourself. Planning a field trip can be almost as fun as going on one. A field trip is an excursion to look forward to and an experience to be savored after the fact. Wherever you decide to go and whatever you decide to do, going on a field trip can add much pleasure and excitement to your life. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Remind yourself that the universe works in perfect order.

By Madisyn Taylor Difficult situations are opportunities to be our best selves, hone our skills and rise to the occasion. Sometimes we may feel like there is just too much we need to do. Feeling overwhelmed may make it seem like the universe is picking on us, but the opposite is true: we are only given what we can handle. Difficult situations are opportunities to be our best selves, hone our skills and rise to the occasion. The best place to start is to take a deep breath. As you do, remind yourself that the universe works in perfect order and therefore you can get everything done that needs to get done. As you exhale, release all the details that you have no control over. The universe with it‘s infinite organizing power will orchestrate the right outcome. Anytime stress begins to creep up, remember to breathe through it with these thoughts. Then, make a list of everything you need to do. Note what needs to be done first, and mark the things others may be able to do for you or with you. Though we often think no one else can do it correctly or well, there are times when it is worth it to exhale, let go of our control, and ask for help from professionals or friends. With the remaining things that feel you must do yourself, take another breath and determine their true importance. Sometimes they are things we’d like to do, but aren’t really necessary. After taking these quick steps, you will find you have a plan laid out, freeing you from frenzied thoughts circling in your head. With calming deep breaths, you are now free to focus more fully on our priorities. Herbal teas or flower remedies along with wise choices about caffeine and food can help keep us from becoming frantic too. But with nothing further from us than our breath, we can breathe in our best intentions and let the rest go with an exhale. Keeping ourse! lves centered and breathing into and through life’s challenges helps us learn what we are truly capable of doing, and we will find we have the ability to rise to any occasion. Remember you aren’t being picked on, and you are never alone. Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!
"One of the most loving things you can do for another person is let them make their own mistakes, learn their own lessons and endure in the contrast of a life they don't really want. People only really change when they've hit rock bottom - sometimes the most loving thing you can do for a person is to let them and be there to help pick up the pieces. Permanent change comes from within, no one can give it to you." - Jackson Kiddard Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Who's Your Realtor? A Blog from My Friend and President of The Floyd Wickman Team, Mike Pallin.

Who's Your Realtor? By Mike Pallin Trees fall down in the forest every day and nobody hears a thing. Philosophers ask, “If there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” (By the way, the answer is YES.) Philosophers must have a lot of idle time on their hands. That has to be one of the most irrelevant questions ever asked. But I guess that’s what philosophy is all about. What do trees and philosophy have to do with selling? Nothing, actually. But this discussion opens the door to an important question. If a salesperson has a conversation with a potential prospect and doesn’t ask a qualifying question, does the conversation matter? That would be a resounding NO. In his Speakers’ Academy, Hall of Fame Speaker Floyd Wickman teaches that conversation without an objective is just noise. He ought to know, with over 3,700 successful speaking engagements under his belt, he is a MASTER communicator. So, it bears repeating. Conversation without an objective is just noise. Let’s apply this principle to selling, and let’s use selling real estate as our example: Q: Do you have a dentist? When I ask this question in Session One of The Floyd Wickman Program, almost everyone (except the toothless people) answer, “Yes.” Then I ask, “Does your dentist have a Realtor?” Most of the time the answer is, “I don’t know.” I say, “Why not?” They say, “I never asked.” Make a note of this. “Who is your Realtor?” And now think of the number of times a day you are engaged in a conversation where that question can be asked. If you think about it, it’s a lot of times a day, isn’t it? In selling, we are in the business of building relationships that lead to repeat and referral business. Those relationships begin with a qualifying question,“Who is your Realtor?” That’s only four words. If four words are too many to remember, shorten it to three, “Who’s your Realtor?” Here’s the scenario. You have a dentist appointment. First thing they do is put you in the chair and before clipping the bib around your neck, the dentist notices your name badge (which you, of course, wear whenever you are out in public, don’t you?) and says, “Oh, I see you are in real estate.” That is called an opening. You say, “Yes, I am. And who is your Realtor?” There are only three possible answers. One is, “Oh, Floyd Wickman is my Realtor. We love Floyd. He did a great job selling our house. We refer all of our friends and family to Floyd. Do you know him?” But really, how likely is that? It’s not very likely, is it? You are more likely to hear either, “Uh, let me think, what was her name?” or, “Uh, I guess I don’t have one.” Now before your dentist starts sticking sharp metal objects into your mouth, you have the opening to say, “Well, Doc, you may not need me now, but if something were to happen that could affect the value of your home, would you like me to keep you informed?” Dentist says, “Well, yeah, of course.” Voila! You now have permission to keep in touch, to build a relationship, to earn referrals. You know what to do from here. Keep in touch. Build a relationship. Earn referrals. If you are in work mode, and for most of us in selling that is most of the time, and you are having a conversation with someone, remember to ask a qualifying question. “Who’s your Realtor?” “Who’s your loan officer?” “Who does your title work?” “Who’s your sales trainer?” Qualifying questions turn meaningless conversations into meaningful conversations. Timber! Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

We can stretch our minds by imagining several different possibilities.

Flexibility is the capacity to bend without breaking, as well as a continual willingness to change or be changed in order to accommodate new circumstances. People with flexible minds are open to shifting their course when necessary or useful; they are not overly attached to things going the way they had planned. This enables them to take advantage of opportunities that a more rigid person would miss out on. It can also make life a lot more fun. When we are flexible, we allow for situations we could not have planned, and so the world continues to surprise and delight us. Since reality is in a constant state of flux, it doesn’t make sense to be rigid or to cling to any one idea of what is happening or what is going to happen. We are more in tune with reality when we are flexible. Being in tune enables us to adjust to the external environment and other people as they change and grow. When we are rigid or stuck in our ways, instead of adjusting to the world around us we hunker down, clinging to a concept of reality rather than reality itself. When we do this, we cut ourselves off from life, and we miss out on valuable opportunities, as well as a lot of joy. Just as we create flexibility in our bodies by stretching physically, we can create limberness in our minds by stretching mentally. Every day we have the opportunity to exercise our flexibility. We can do this in small ways such as taking a different route home from work or changing our exercise routine. On a larger scale, we can rearrange the furniture or redo a room in our house. If these are things we already do regularly, we can stretch our minds by imagining several different possibilities for how the next year will unfold. As we do this, our minds become more supple and open, and when changes come our way, we are able to accommodate and flow with the new reality. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Friday, May 17, 2013

In the journey of the soul itself the way out is the way in. It is a movement beyond the known boundaries of faith and convention, the search for what matters, the path of destiny, the route of individuality, the road of original experience, a paradigm for the forging of consciousness itself: in short the hero's journey. Joseph Campbell The Hero's Journey Over one hundred years ago, on March 26th in 1904, Joseph John Campbell was born in White Plains, NY. Joe, as he came to be known, was the first child of a middle-class, Roman Catholic couple, Charles and Josephine Campbell. Joe's earliest years were largely unremarkable; but then, when he was seven years old, his father took him and his younger brother, Charlie, to see Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. The evening was a high-point in Joe's life; for, although the cowboys were clearly the show's stars, as Joe would later write, he "became fascinated, seized, obsessed, by the figure of a naked American Indian with his ear to the ground, a bow and arrow in his hand, and a look of special knowledge in his eyes.” It was Arthur Schopenhauer, the philosopher whose writings would later greatly influence Campbell, who observed that …the experiences and illuminations of childhood and early youth become in later life the types, standards and patterns of all subsequent knowledge and experience, or as it were, the categories according to which all later things are classified—not always consciously, however. And so it is that in our childhood years the foundation is laid of our later view of the world, and there with as well of its superficiality or depth: it will be in later years unfolded and fulfilled, not essentially changed. And so it was with young Joseph Campbell. Even as he actively practiced (until well into his twenties) the faith of his forbears, he became consumed with Native American culture; and his worldview was arguably shaped by the dynamic tension between these two mythological perspectives. On the one hand, he was immersed in the rituals, symbols, and rich traditions of his Irish Catholic heritage; on the other, he was obsessed with primitive (or, as he later preferred, "primal") people's direct experience of what he came to describe as "the continuously created dynamic display of an absolutely transcendent, yet universally immanent, mysterium tremendum et fascinans, which is the ground at once of the whole spectacle and of oneself." (Historical Atlas , I.1, p. 8) By the age of ten, Joe had read every book on American Indians in the children's section of his local library and was admitted to the adult stacks, where he eventually read the entire multi-volume Reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology. He worked on wampum belts, started his own "tribe" (named the "Lenni-Lenape" after the Delaware tribe who had originally inhabited the New York metropolitan area), and frequented the American Museum of Natural History, where he became fascinated with totem poles and masks, thus beginning a lifelong exploration of that museum's vast collection. After spending much of his thirteenth year recuperating from a respiratory illness, Joe briefly attended Iona, a private school in Westchester NY, before his mother enrolled him at Canterbury, a Catholic residential school in New Milford CT. His high school years were rich and rewarding, though marked by a major tragedy: in 1919, the Campbell home was consumed by a fire that killed his grandmother and destroyed all of the family's possessions. Joe graduated from Canterbury in 1921, and the following September, entered Dartmouth College; but he was soon disillusioned with the social scene and disappointed by a lack of academic rigor, so he transferred to Columbia University, where he excelled: while specializing in medieval literature, he played in a jazz band, and became a star runner. In 1924, while on a steamship journey to Europe with his family, Joe met and befriended Jiddu Krishnamurti, the young messiah-elect of the Theosophical Society, thus beginning a friendship that would be renewed intermittently over the next five years. After earning a B.A. from Columbia (1925), and receiving an M.A. (1927) for his work in Arthurian Studies, Joe was awarded a Proudfit Traveling Fellowship to continue his studies at the University of Paris (1927-28). Then, after he had received and rejected an offer to teach at his high school alma mater, his Fellowship was renewed, and he traveled to Germany to resume his studies at the University of Munich (1928-29). It was during this period in Europe that Joe was first exposed to those modernist masters—notably, the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee, James Joyce and Thomas Mann, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung—whose art and insights would greatly influence his own work. These encounters would eventually lead him to theorize that all myths are the creative products of the human psyche, that artists are a culture's mythmakers, and that mythologies are creative manifestations of humankind's universal need to explain psychological, social, cosmological, and spiritual realities. When Joe returned from Europe late in August of 1929, he was at a crossroad, unable to decide what to do with his life. With the onset of the Great Depression, he found himself with no hope of obtaining a teaching job; and so he spent most of the next two years reconnecting with his family, reading, renewing old acquaintances, and writing copious entries in his journal. Then, late in 1931, after exploring and rejecting the possibility of a doctoral program or teaching job at Columbia, he decided, like countless young men before and since, to "hit the road," to undertake a cross-country journey in which he hoped to experience "the soul of America" and, in the process, perhaps discover the purpose of his life. In January of 1932, when he was leaving Los Angeles, where he had been studying Russian in order to read War and Peace in the vernacular, he pondered his future in this journal entry: I begin to think that I have a genius for working like an ox over totally irrelevant subjects. … I am filled with an excruciating sense of never having gotten anywhere—but when I sit down and try to discover where it is I want to get, I'm at a loss. … The thought of growing into a professor gives me the creeps. A lifetime to be spent trying to kid myself and my pupils into believing that the thing that we are looking for is in books! I don't know where it is—but I feel just now pretty sure that it isn't in books. — It isn't in travel. — It isn't in California. — It isn't in New York. … Where is it? And what is it, after all? Thus one real result of my Los Angeles stay was the elimination of Anthropology from the running. I suddenly realized that all of my primitive and American Indian excitement might easily be incorporated in a literary career. — I am convinced now that no field but that of English literature would have permitted me the almost unlimited roaming about from this to that which I have been enjoying. A science would buckle me down—and would probably yield no more important fruit than literature may yield me! — If I want to justify my existence, and continue to be obsessed with the notion that I've got to do something for humanity — well, teaching ought to quell that obsession — and if I can ever get around to an intelligent view of matters, intelligent criticism of contemporary values ought to be useful to the world. This gets back again to Krishna's dictum: The best way to help mankind is through the perfection of yourself. His travels next carried him north to San Francisco, then back south to Pacific Grove, where he spent the better part of a year in the company of Carol and John Steinbeck and marine biologist Ed Ricketts. During this time, he wrestled with his writing, discovered the poems of Robinson Jeffers, first read Oswald Spengler's Decline of the West, and wrote to some seventy colleges and universities in an unsuccessful attempt to secure employment. Finally, he was offered a teaching position at the Canterbury School. He returned to the East Coast, where he endured an unhappy year as a Canterbury housemaster, the one bright moment being when he sold his first short story ("Strictly Platonic") to Liberty magazine. Then, in 1933, he moved to a cottage without running water on Maverick Road in Woodstock NY, where he spent a year reading and writing. In 1934, he was offered and accepted a position in the literature department at Sarah Lawrence College, a post he would retain for thirty-eight years. In 1938 he married one of his students, Jean Erdman, who would become a major presence in the emerging field of modern dance, first, as a star dancer in Martha Graham's fledgling troupe, and later, as dancer/choreographer of her own company. Even as he continued his teaching career, Joe's life continued to unfold serendipitously. In 1940, he was introduced to Swami Nikhilananda, who enlisted his help in producing a new translation of The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (published, 1942). Subsequently, Nikhilananda introduced Joe to the Indologist Heinrich Zimmer, who introduced him to a member of the editorial board at the Bollingen Foundation. Bollingen, which had been founded by Paul and Mary Mellon to "develop scholarship and research in the liberal arts and sciences and other fields of cultural endeavor generally," was embarking upon an ambitious publishing project, the Bollingen Series. Joe was invited to contribute an "Introduction and Commentary" to the first Bollingen publication, Where the Two Came to their Father: A Navaho War Ceremonial, text and paintings recorded by Maud Oakes, given by Jeff King (Bollingen Series, I: 1943). When Zimmer died unexpectedly in 1943 at the age of fifty-two, his widow, Christiana, and Mary Mellon asked Joe to oversee the publication of his unfinished works. Joe would eventually edit and complete four volumes from Zimmer's posthumous papers: Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization (Bollingen Series VI: 1946), The King and the Corpse (Bollingen Series XI: 1948), Philosophies of India (Bollingen Series XXVI: 1951), and a two-volume opus, The Art of Indian Asia (Bollingen Series XXXIX: 1955). Joe, meanwhile, followed his initial Bollingen contribution with a "Folkloristic Commentary" to Grimm's Fairy Tales (1944); he also co-authored (with Henry Morton Robinson) A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake (1944), the first major study of James Joyce's notoriously complex novel. His first, full-length, solo authorial endeavor, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Bollingen Series XVII: 1949), was published to acclaim and brought him the first of numerous awards and honors—the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Contributions to Creative Literature. In this study of the myth of the hero, Campbell posits the existence of a Monomyth (a word he borrowed from James Joyce), a universal pattern that is the essence of, and common to, heroic tales in every culture. While outlining the basic stages of this mythic cycle, he also explores common variations in the hero's journey, which, he argues, is an operative metaphor, not only for an individual, but for a culture as well. The Hero would prove to have a major influence on generations of creative artists—from the Abstract Expressionists in the 1950s to contemporary film-makers today—and would, in time, come to be acclaimed as a classic. Joe would eventually author dozens of articles and numerous other books, including The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology (Vol. 1: 1959), Oriental Mythology (Vol. 2: 1962), Occidental Mythology (Vol. 3: 1964), and Creative Mythology (Vol. 4: 1968); The Flight of the Wild Gander: Explorations in the Mythological Dimension (1969); Myths to Live By (1972); The Mythic Image (1974); The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and as Religion (1986); and five books in his four-volume, multi-part, unfinished Historical Atlas of World Mythology (1983-87). He was also a prolific editor. Over the years, he edited The Portable Arabian Nights (1952) and was general editor of the series Man and Myth (1953-1954), which included major works by Maya Deren (Divine Horsemen: the Living Gods of Haiti, 1953), Carl Kerenyi (The Gods of the Greeks, 1954), and Alan Watts (Myth and Ritual in Christianity, 1954). He also edited The Portable Jung (1972), as well as six volumes of Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks (Bollingen Series XXX): Spirit and Nature (1954), The Mysteries (1955), Man and Time (1957), Spiritual Disciplines (1960), Man and Transformation (1964), and The Mystic Vision (1969). But his many publications notwithstanding, it was arguably as a public speaker that Joe had his greatest popular impact. From the time of his first public lecture in 1940—a talk at the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center entitled "Sri Ramakrishna's Message to the West"—it was apparent that he was an erudite but accessible lecturer, a gifted storyteller, and a witty raconteur. In the ensuing years, he was asked more and more often to speak at different venues on various topics. In 1956, he was invited to speak at the State Department's Foreign Service Institute; working without notes, he delivered two straight days of lectures. His talks were so well-received, he was invited back annually for the next seventeen years. In the mid-1950s, he also undertook a series of public lectures at the Cooper Union in New York City; these talks drew an ever-larger, increasingly diverse audience, and soon became a regular event. Joe first lectured at Esalen Institute in 1965. Each year thereafter, he returned to Big Sur to share his latest thoughts, insights, and stories. And as the years passed, he came to look forward more and more to his annual sojourns to the place he called "paradise on the Pacific Coast." Although he retired from teaching at Sarah Lawrence in 1972 to devote himself to his writing, he continued to undertake two month-long lecture tours each year. In 1985, Joe was awarded the National Arts Club Gold Medal of Honor in Literature. At the award ceremony, James Hillman remarked, "No one in our century—not Freud, not Thomas Mann, not Levi-Strauss—has so brought the mythical sense of the world and its eternal figures back into our everyday consciousness." Joseph Campbell died unexpectedly in 1987 after a brief struggle with cancer. In 1988, millions were introduced to his ideas by the broadcast on PBS of Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers, six hours of an electrifying conversation that the two men had videotaped over the course of several years. When he died, Newsweek magazine noted that "Campbell has become one of the rarest of intellectuals in American life: a serious thinker who has been embraced by the popular culture." In his later years, Joe was fond of recalling on how Schopenhauer, in his essay On the Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual, wrote of the curious feeling one can have, of there being an author somewhere writing the novel of our lives, in such a way that through events that seem to us to be chance happenings there is actually a plot unfolding of which we have no knowledge. Looking back over Joe's life, one cannot help but feel that it proves the truth Schopenhauer's observation. Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

If we get too caught up in this way of looking at the world, we lose touch w/ our ability to sit back & simply say yes to everything on our plate.

By Madisyn Taylor Sometimes we find it difficult to see the good in people, places, or situations that aren’t to our liking. We focus on the things we don’t like in our lives as a way of fueling our efforts to create change. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, and it is one way we make progress. However, if we get too caught up in this way of looking at the world, we lose touch with our ability to sit back and simply say yes to everything on our plates, which is the true starting point for all successful activity. Sometimes what we really need is to encourage ourselves to look deeply into all things in our lives to see the inherent goodness at the heart of everything. At the core of this inquiry is the practice of unconditional acceptance, which can be scary because we feel as if we are being asked not to change the things we don’t like. But when we think this way, we are still operating on the surface of our lives. In order to feel the beauty and warmth of full acceptance, we have to be willing to sink deeper into the stratum underlying the external manifestation of our lives. This deeper place of being is the origin of all lasting change, yet its paradox is that when we are in it, we often don’t feel the need to change anything. From this place, we experience the pure beauty of the process of being alive, and we see that all things change in their own time. We don’t need to force anything. If there are things that we do need to change, from this place of serenity we create the shift easily, our hands guided by an energy that resides at the very center of our hearts. In our active, goal-oriented culture, we learn to distrust stillness and to engage in busywork on the surface of life. This tendency can blind us to the good that lies at the heart of all things. But all we have to do to see again is stop for a moment, let go of our preconceptions and our agendas, and settle into the very center of our hearts, remembering that it is only from here that we can truly see. Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Learning to forgive is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.

By Madisyn Taylor Learning to forgive is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. When someone has hurt us, consciously or unconsciously, one of the most difficult things we have to face in resolving the situation is the act of forgiveness. Sometimes it feels like it’s easier not to forgive and that the answer is to simply cut the person in question out of our lives. In some cases, ending the relationship may be the right thing to do, but even in that case, we will only be free if we have truly forgiven. If we harbor bitterness in our hearts against anyone, we only hurt ourselves because we are the ones harboring the bitterness. Choosing to forgive is choosing to alleviate ourselves of that burden, choosing to be free of the past, and choosing not to perceive ourselves as victims. One of the reasons that forgiveness can be so challenging is that we feel we are condoning the actions of the person who caused our suffering, but this is a misunderstanding of what is required. In order to forgive, we simply need to get to a place where we are ready to stop identifying ourselves with the suffering that was caused us. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, and our forgiveness of others is an extension of our readiness to let go of our own pain. Getting to this point begins with fully accepting what has happened. Through this acceptance, we allow ourselves to feel and process our emotions. It can be helpful to articulate our feelings in writing over a period of days or even weeks. As we allow ourselves to say what we need to say and ask for what we need to heal, we will find that this changes each day. It may be confusing, but it is a sign of progress. At times we may feel as if we are slogging uphill through dense mud and thick trees, getting nowhere. If we keep going, however, we will reach a summit and see clearly that we are finally free of the past. From here, we recognize that suffering comes from suffering, and compassion for those who have hurt us naturally arises, enhancing our new perspective. Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Friday, May 10, 2013

The first step in creating your ceremony is to look to nature for similarities...

Create a ceremony around nature to connect with loved ones that are far away. Life’s journeys may sometimes take us away from our families and friends, but there are many ways to stay connected. Aside from making use of the technology available—speaking on the phone or seeing each other from across cyberspace—we can create simple ceremonies using nature and our own thoughts to connect our hearts across the miles. The first step in creating your ceremony is to look to nature for similarities in the different surroundings. The second step is agreeing upon something that is meaningful to all involved. If your mother loves birds, then perhaps each time you hear a bird chirp, you can think of her and mentally send love. You may choose the sight of a butterfly, the feel of a breeze or raindrops, or the scent of flowers to remind you of a special someone. The pink glow of sunset might be your favorite time to send a thought, or perhaps the warming oranges of sunrise. We can all see the sun, the moon, and an array of twinkling stars when we look to the skies. The monthly full moon may be your time to connect with your loved ones, or the first star you see each night, knowing that they, too, are gazing into the night sky and sending love. You could choose a day that you would usually celebrate together, such as a holiday or a solstice. If you once shared Sunday brunches in the garden, you can! each seek out a garden on Sundays. Or you can choose a specific time and account for the time difference in order to connect by heart and mind at exactly the same moment. With practice, we may learn to recognize the feeling that comes when a loved one sends energy our way, and the feeling of soul-to-soul communication. In this case, distance may indeed make our connections stronger. There is certainly much to make us think of our close friends and loved ones often, but when we decide upon a reminder together, we create a simple ceremony of connection that defies any distance. Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

When the world failure comes up, it’s a call for us to apply a more enlightened consciousness to the matter at hand.

All you have to do is speak or read the word failure and see how it makes you feel. The word failure puts forward a very simplistic way of thinking that allows for only two possibilities: failure or success. Few things in the universe are black and white, yet much of our language reads as if they are. The word failure signifies a paradigm in which all subtlety is lost. When we regard something we have done, or ourselves, as a failure, we lose our ability to see the truth, which is no doubt considerably more complex. In addition, we hurt ourselves. All you have to do is speak or read the word failure and see how it makes you feel. At some point, the word may not have been so loaded with the weight of negativity, and it simply referred to something that did not go according to plan. Unfortunately, in our culture it is often used very negatively, such as when a person is labeled a failure, even though it is impossible for something as vast and subtle as a human being to be reduced in such a way. It also acts as a deterrent, scaring us from taking risks for fear of failure. It has somehow come to represent the worst possible outcome. Failure is a word so burdened with fearful and unconscious energy that we can all benefit from consciously examining our use of it, because the language we use influences the way we think and feel. Next time you feel like a failure or fear failure, know that you are under the influence of an outmoded way of perceiving the world. When the world failure comes up, it’s a call for us to apply a more enlightened consciousness to the matter at hand. When you are consciously aware of the word and its baggage you will not fall victim to its darkness. In your own use of language, you may choose to stop using the word failure altogether. This might encourage you to articulate more clearly the truth of the situation, opening your mind to subtleties and possibilities the word failure would never have allowed. Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The further you distance yourself from expectations, the more exhilarating your life will become!

Finding Joy in Life’s Surprises Releasing Your Expectations by Madisyn Taylor When we expect a situation to unfold in a certain way, it becomes more difficult to enjoy the surprises. As we endeavor to find personal fulfillment and realize our individual ideals, we naturally form emotional attachments to those outcomes we hope will come to pass. These expectations can serve as a source of stability, allowing us to draft plans based on our visions of the future, but they can also limit our potential for happiness by blinding us to equally satisfying yet unexpected outcomes. Instead of taking pleasure in the surprising circumstances unfolding around us, we mourn for the anticipation left unfulfilled. When we think of letting go of our expectations, we may find ourselves at the mercy of a small inner voice that admonishes us to strive for specific goals, even if they continually elude us. However, the opposite of expectation is not pessimism. We can retain our optimism and free ourselves from the need to focus on specific probabilities by opening our hearts and minds to a wide variety of possible outcomes. When we expect a situation, event, or confrontation to unfold in a certain way, it becomes more difficult to enjoy the surprises that have the potential to become profound blessings. Likewise, we may feel that we failed to meet our inner objectives because we were unable to bring about the desired results through our choices and actions. Consider, though, that we are all at the mercy of the universal flow, and our best intentions are often thwarted by fate. As you grow increasingly open to unforeseen outcomes, you will be more apt to look for and recognize the positive elements of your new circumstances. This receptivity to the unexpected can serve you well when you are called upon to compromise with others, your life plans seem to go awry, or the world moves forward in an unanticipated manner by granting you the flexibility to see the positive aspects of almost any outcome. The further you distance yourself from your expectations, the more exhilarating your life will become. Though a situation in which you find yourself may not correspond to your initial wants, needs, or goals, ask yourself how you can make the most of it and then do your best to adapt. Your life’s journey will likely take many unpredicted and astonishing twists because you are willing to release your expectations. Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

These are two very different definition of the word 'love'.

"People use the word 'love' a lot of different ways. Take me, for instance. I am often heard saying that I love my mom and dad. I am also often heard saying that I love pizza. What am I saying when I say I love my mom and dad? I'm saying that I care about them. I'm saying that I love spending time with them and that I talk to them every chance I get. I'm saying that if they needed me, I would do every humanly possible to help them. I'm saying that I always want what's best for them. What am I saying when I say I love pizza? Am I saying that I care deeply about pizza? Am I saying that I have a relationship with pizza? Am I saying that if pizza had a problem, I would be there for the pizza? (What? Not enough pepperoni? I'll be right there!) Of course not. When I say I love pizza, I'm just saying that I enjoy eating pizza until I don't want any more pizza. Once I'm tired of the pizza, I don't care what happens to the rest of it. I'll throw it away. I'll feed it to the dog. I'll stick it in the back of the refrigerator until it gets all green and moldy. It doesn't matter to me anymore. These are two very different definition of the word 'love'. It gets confusing when people start talking about love, and especially about loving you. Which way do these people love you? Do they want what is best for you, or do they just want you around because it is good for them, and they don't really care what happens to you? Next time someone looks deeply into your eyes and says 'I love you', look very deeply right back and say, 'Would that be pizza love, or the real thing?" - Mary Beth Bonacci Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Real Estate information is my skill.

Everyone has a skill, an area of interest or a hobby. You might be handy with a hammer, good at gardening, or have a super golf swing. Whatever your hobby or specialty, sometimes the most enjoyable part of that skill is sharing it with a friend or neighbor. In my case, staying up-to-date on Real Estate information is my skill. Applying my knowledge to someone who can benefit from my efforts is very satisfying. So, if there’s something I can help you with, just let me know. Sharing my expertise is simply one of the most enjoyable parts of my business. Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor! 810-357-8404

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Master the Path of the Peaceful Warrior

Master the Path of the Peaceful Warrior From Master the Path of the Peaceful Warrior On-line Course by Dan Millman The following is an excerpt from the "Master the Path of the Peaceful Warrior" on-line course. If you would like to enroll in the course, click here. Of the many factors that shape our lives -- geographical location, family dynamics, resources and influence, beliefs, self-concept, support systems, motivation, relationships, luck, karma or fate -- our sense of self-worth is the single most important determinant of the health, abundance, and joy we allow into our life. To the degree we doubt our worthiness, we limit or sabotage our efforts, and undermine our relationships, finances or health. Ever wondered, for example, why so many young actors, who gain sudden wealth, fame, and celebrity, go on to self-destruct with drugs and erratic behavior? Or why many able-bodied people live on the streets, reduced to begging for spare change. Or why some people continue to accept abusive mates or undesirable work conditions? Once we understand the lessons of self-worth, we are in a better position to help such people -- but first we must help ourselves. So, as we proceed, note the following points: No one else can give you an improved sense of self worth. Self-worth comes from doing what is worthy. Your innate worth has never been lowered, compromised, or touched by fate or circumstance. It exists as a fact of life, like air and trees, and doesn't need to be raised, revitalized, or earned. To make this topic relevant to your own life, let's start with: Self-Reflection on Self-Worth Consider the following questions, and answer "Yes," "No," or "Sometimes." When fortune smiles on you, do you think, "This can't last?" • Do you find it easier or more 'natural' to give than to receive? • Does your life feel like a series of problems? • Does money seem scarce or hard to come by? • Do you find your work or relationships unfulfilling? • Do you work long ours and lack leisure time? • Do you resent or envy people who take frequent holidays? • Do you feel driven to work more, do more, be more than others? • Do you overeat "comfort" food, smoke, drink alcohol daily, or use other drugs? • Do you feel uncomfortable when you receive praise, applause, lots of attention, gifts or pleasure? • Have you turned down or passed up opportunities in education, work, or relationships and later regretted it? • Do you seem to get sick or injured more than other people? • If someone asks the cost of your services, do you price yourself lower than others in your field to be "fair"? If you answered "Yes" to a number of questions, did these circumstances or situations just happen to you solely through bad luck? Or is it possible that the choices you made, and actions you took, led to where you are? By acknowledging your role and responsibility in your current life, you find the power to make different choices. That is not to say that someone who is robbed at gunpoint or run into by a drunk driver somehow "attracted" or "drew" such experiences due to low self-worth -- such ideas are superstition or magical thinking. But when we make choices that lead to difficulties, it is worth understanding in this context. For example, if you were abused as a child, the abuser was responsible -- not you. But if you are abused as an adult (say by a troubled spouse), the abuse itself is not your responsibility -- but the choice to stay with that person may point to low-self worth. (This is not about blame, but it is about acknowledging our role or responsibility, which leads to the power to change.) Discovering your unconditional worth can help you expand fully into the world. It begins with a first step -- awareness of the problem is the beginning of the solution. Taking Charge by Taking Responsibility Sometimes bad things just happen -- a toss of the karmic dice: a hurricane or freak storm, or earthquake or other natural disaster -- we may become a victim of circumstance. We can only make the best of those circumstances and learn from them and grow stronger. But much of the time, our lives are shaped by the choices we ourselves make, and the actions we take. So if life isn't going well, ask yourself this question: "Who's doing this to me?" If the answer is "someone else" -- if your boss or spouse or partner or another person appears to be the cause of your suffering -- then ask yourself, "Who chose to be around this person? Who chose this job. Did I truly have no other options? Or do I believe that 'beggars can't be choosers'?" Maybe it's time to take another look. We end self-sabotage only by taking responsibility for the choices and actions that created it. Only when we stop blaming our boss, the government, our parents, spouse or partner, children, circumstances, fate or God can we change our lives and say with conviction, "I chose where I am and who I'm with, and I can make other choices." Taking responsibility has nothing to do with blame or finding fault. Rather, taking responsibility is taking control, because it represents the power-moment when we recognize the degree to which our difficulties are self-generated, and that what we created, we can also change. The Heart of Self-Worth We don't always get what we deserve in life; we get what we believe we deserve. So the problem is not your actual worth, but your perceived worth. Most of us have lost touch with our intrinsic goodness -- our courage and humanity -- allowed our worth to be covered over by memories of a thousand transgressions, real or imagined, so that we feel only partly deserving of life's blessings. EXERCISE: Ask yourself: "How deserving am I?" Then give a numerical rating, somewhere between 1 to 100, based on how deserving you believe you are. Come up with whatever rating feels right and true for you. 60? 70? 80? 90? 95? Why? Bear in mind that you have been subconsciously rating yourself since childhood. Now we bring it into the light, and consider how this self-perception has shaped your choices and your experiences. Our sense of self-worth (or deservedness) comes from many influences, beginning in our early years -- how we were treated by parents or other caregivers (as judgments placed upon us by others become internalized). Abused children, as well as people from stable and loving households, but with extremely high standards, may both grow up with self-worth issues. The source of self-worth issues is complex, and does not come exclusively from how well or poorly we behaved. But whatever the reasons or sources for your internalized level of worth, the purpose of this week's session is to draw it up from the depths and into the light of awareness. Self-Worth and Self-Sabotage As I've noted, self-worth is a subconscious self-assessment of your perceived value, goodness, and deservedness. You allow yourself to receive only those people, experiences and blessings that reflect your sense of worth. Success involves talent, effort, and creativity. But first and foremost, it requires a willingness to receive. As the saint Ramakrishna once said, "Rain or blessings may pour down from the heavens, but if you only hold up a thimble, a thimbleful is all you receive." The Choices You Make: The central theme of self-worth is that you subconsciously choose (or allow into your life) the level of people and experiences (both positive and negative) that you believe you deserve. Until you come to realize that life is full of cactus, but you don't have to sit on it. In any moment, you are free to choose the high road, by being kind to others, working hard, finding supportive partners, and following good role models. Or you may burn bridges, use drugs or alcohol, or choose destructive relationships. Through your choices, your sense of self-worth influences whether you choose to learn easy lessons or more difficult ones, to strive or to struggle. These choices are not conscious. We don't wake up one morning and say to ourselves, "I think I'll sabotage my relationship today -- oh, no, I already did that last week; today I'll sabotage my finances." Some of us get in our own way and block success or abundance -- we start but don't finish that schooling or training that leads to a better career opportunity. Or we experience great success but self-sabotage, self-destruct, or don't allow ourselves to ride the wave and enjoy it in perspective. Looking back on your life, have you wondered, Why did I say that? Why did I do that? Have friends or loved ones advised against a choice or action, but you did it anyway because you just felt you had to? Now you understand the source, and can finally get out of your own way, and make more positive, empowering choices and to take actions to build a new life -- whether in the realm of exercise, diet, rest and recreation, travel, improved working conditions, more education or training for a better income -- the world opens up to you. Your Innate and Unconditional Worth Coming to appreciate your innate worth has nothing to do with entitlement or putting yourself above others. Rather it involves a basic recognition of your essential value as a human being -- realizing that you have done the best you could and made the best choices you could see at a given point in your life. More important, unconditional worth does not have to be earned; it belongs to you just as it did when you were a young child. Let's say someone invited you in to gaze upon their newborn child or month-old infant. Most of us would gaze into that infant's wide eyes and rate it 100 on the deservedness scale. You were that child once. When did you start subtracting, and why? Because you made mistakes? Said unkind things? Weren't always respectful or kind? Had slips of integrity? (Well, if you were already perfected, you wouldn't be living on this planet!) Each of us is a H.I.T. -- a human-in-training. It's time you recognize that you've done the best you could each day of your life, taking into account your own baggage, information, limitations, wounds, and struggles. You made the best choices you could see at the time. And now the time has come to appreciate your innate worth and choose the higher roads of life. The Power of Grace Even when you don't feel very kind, or brave, or deserving, the roof over your head continues to shelter you from storms, the sun shines upon you, your chairs keep supporting you, and so does your life. Life itself is an unearned gift. This is the hidden meaning of grace. If you have debts to pay, then pay, then pay them forward in the currency of kindness to others -- not by punishing yourself. Not ever again. It is not necessary. It never has been. Daily Life Assignments: (1) Remind Yourself: Write out the following words on a post-it, or piece of paper, and post it on your bathroom mirror so you see it each and every day: How good can I stand it today? (Because that's how much good you'll allow) (2) Just Imagine: Let your imagination drift to a better life. Fantasize yourself as the star of a new movie of your life. You no longer have to be an extra or bit player, being told by others where to go and what you can or can't do. In this exercise you become the director, the writer, and the star. • Imagine, just for a moment, how specifically you might have an improved relationship (it may be with your current partner, but with some different elements); or, if it is a troubled relationship, then with another partner. • Now do the same in the workplace -- your current work, or another career or calling. What kind of work situation might you wish for? • Let your mind drift to another area of life -- what possibilities might await you there? For any and all of these areas: • Is it possible to draw closer to your dreams? Why or why not? • What steps might you take? • Who is stopping you? (If the answer is "me," then this "me" can instead become a friend and supporter.) Most of us have been our own "worst enemy" sometime in the past. Can you recall a choice you have made or action taken that you now see as a subconscious act of self-sabotage? What will you do to avoid such sabotage in the future? How have you responded to favors, gifts, or opportunities? How might you respond differently now? What advice might you give yourself, as your own best friend, about allowing yourself to live a more abundant, enjoyable life? The next time an opportunity arises that might interest you, or someone offers to give you something or do something for you -- instead of the reactive, "Oh, thanks, but I couldn't" open your arms and heart and mind, and say, "Yes! Thank you!" (Even if you don't feel deserving.) When you are alone, in quiet moments -- as odd as it may feel -- every once in a while, open your arms wide and say to an imagined person, or to life itself: "Yes! Thank you!" And let this be your approach to living -- from now on, and as you continue through this course. Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Friday, May 3, 2013

We must dive below the layers

To reach the depth we wish to access, we must dive below these layers to the deepest parts of ourselves. There are times when life urges us to seek more. Small changes to our comfort zone may fail to alleviate any sense of stagnancy or frustration, and we may need to examine our lives and ourselves more deeply to find the right place to start. Everything we need for success and joy lies within. But so often, life’s debris accumulates, building layers around our core that makes it difficult to access the truth that resides within. To reach the depth we wish to access, we must dive below these layers to the deepest parts of ourselves. The first layer can be found in our minds. Our to-do lists and busy work are usually less important than we think, so we must look past them to examine the thoughts that matter most to us. The next layer can be found in our hearts, where past hurts and disappointments can sometimes cover up our vulnerabilities, as well as the truth of who and what really stirs the love within us. We can choose to go even deeper – to our center. If we can go beyond anything has affected us to the point that it blocks us at the gut level, we can reconnect with our power, our raw instincts, our organic yeses. Here, at the core, lies our truth. Our core is our foundation that supports us and what we’d like to build our authentic life upon. When we examine ourselves to these depths, we are able to find what we wish to bring to the surface and what we wish to let go. When we remember what lies beneath our layers, we can look at what was floating on the surface, causing blocks and pains, and understand the purpose that they served. Oftentimes, it is the built up debris that causes us to go deeper, so we can search for the truth. Go deep, live life from your truth within, and watch your innate beauty manifest outward. Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

You were born to sail, to expand.

By Mastin Kipp A friend of mine who is a brilliant, dedicated and respected yoga teacher here in L.A. once said, as she was pacing around her house, "I'm faffing again!" And I thought to myself, "What is faffing?" She saw the puzzled look on my face and said, "I faff a lot - I waste time doing nothing as a form of resistance. And I don't even know that I'm doing it sometimes!" According to the Urban Dictionary faffing means to aimlessly waste time doing useless tasks. Ouch! I do that all the time. Here's how I faff… 1. Social media addiction 2. Email addiction 3. Social media commenting addiction 4. Cleaning up too much when I should be writing 5. Taking on projects that don't scare me, while avoiding soul projects that I know I should be doing 6. Living my life based on what other people think 7. Did I mention social media addiction? 8. Eating comfort food when I should be creating Those are just to name a few. We avoid our calling and, as a result, our lives by faffing our lives away. We faff every day and stay "busy" but it's a false sense of accomplishment. I'm amazed at how much I can get done when I stop faffing and actually focus on what matters. I am also amazed at how much I do that doesn't really matter - or doesn't matter as much as the real soul's calling that I am meant to do. And I suppose at the root of all this faff is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of change. Fear of rejection. Fear of life getting worse instead of better. Fear of fear. And fear of fearing fear. It's all fear and quite frankly it's all BS. To faff is to miss out on life. To faff is to deny your soul. To faff is to ignore your Creator and make meaningless tasks seem important and important tasks seem impossible. You were not born to faff. You were born to sail. To expand. To grow. To live a bigger, brighter version of your life. And to do this - look at where you faff and turn your faffing into fear tackling. Isn't it time we stopped faffing and started living? Food for thought…. As always, the action happens over on the BLOG; head on over there and leave a comment on my blog "Do you find yourself faffing your life away?" and join in the conversation! The TDL Community thrives in the comments and it's a GREAT place to get support! XOXO, Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!