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What is time? I posed that question to my father when I was a young boy. His answer has been with me ever since. "Danny," he said..."Time is the rich man's way of telling the poor man when to be at work."

I can't argue with his definition. Of course, he was being simplistic and answering only one aspect of that thing that measures our lives. In fact, it really is the primary measurement of our entire existence. "How old is she?" "How long has he been working here?" "Ahh...what a cutie - and he's grown so quickly in 15 months!" "When did the Earth come into being?" Our questions and statements about time are constant. You've probably checked the time an 
inordinate amount today - just like most people.

We live our lives governed by time. Meetings, deadlines, benchmarks, and other markers of life, are all gauged on, and by, time. But...what REALLY is it in the grander scheme of our everyday lives? How could we measure things without time? 

Time, to me, is just the constant presence of now. That's it. Our time measurements can only happen in the now. As I'm writing this article each moment is a new now. The future only exists in our minds - as does the past. Time is a floating "now" machine. Yeah...I get it. You're gonna say, "Wait a minute - I lived yesterday - I know it for a fact. And...I'm planning for tomorrow because, hopefully, I'll be able to do the things I've posted in my planner." To that I say, "You're absolutely correct!" However, they only happened, or will happen, in a particular now.

When you leave this wonderful spinning globe, will time have any meaning? No. So...time is relative (as Einstein stated). Can it really be wasted. No. Only the efforts you deem necessary and the deadlines you self-imposed are judged, not the time you lived doing (or not doing) them.

With that said, I hope you've enjoyed your time reading this post and perhaps you'll give time a bit more thought. After all...for us it's finite - and now.
 
Contentment is a very special state. It is beyond happiness, residing in a place that calms the soul and brings wisdom to one's existence. A person can live in "poverty" and be perfectly content - just as an individual who is extremely wealthy can be in constant discontentment. So...how does one become content?

It's easier than one thinks. Contentment is based (like so many things in life) in perspective. The secret is to recognize what is really important (not some importance that is thrust upon us by our society or through marketing) and what is not. The ability to laugh at one's self and the absurdities of so many things in life is another aspect that enables a person to become content.

There is a difference between material contentment (living a life of material plenty) and "spiritual" contentment. The first deals with possessions, which...if they should go away, so does the contentment. The other is based in the ability to live beyond the material world and understand that it is the contentment of the body, mind, and soul, that enables a person to travel through life in a contented state.

It also contains elements of that old expression, "Don't get too high with the highs, or low with the lows." Of course, we all experience great joy and happiness, as well as sorrow and tribulations. And yes...our emotions deal with those things in many ways. However - once one understands that these things too shall pass, the recognition that we are living in a journey that is finite helps us see that mellowness, balance, and calmness, will enable us to enjoy all the aspects of life in a deeper, more textured manner.

If you realize that contentment is already inside of you and that all you have to do is reach in, discover it, embrace it, and then live it...you will have found the magic of an incredible way of life.
 
Our society is filled with "noise." Of course...that word is relative. One person's "noise" is another person's "music." However, the constant sounds of our communities - whether one lives in the country, city, or suburbs - can constitute an ongoing, and often unconscious, "hum" that we have all become accustomed to.

That hum sets a pace for each of us. Therefore, to truly clear one's mind...cleaning out the hum is essential.
How is that possible? It's actually easier than you think. In fact, many of you do it without even knowing how or why. Have you ever "zoned out?" It's that state when everything seems to have disappeared from your surroundings and enables you to exist on a level that puts you in a place of relaxation.

Many of us fall into it without any provocation. It just happens. Yet, it's possible to do it on your on. You can facilitate it by staring at an object. closing your eyes and visualizing something such as a beam of light, yourself sitting, the top of your head, or any other myriad of things. The trick is to not focus on items that are emblematic of chaos. Some call the exercise meditation, some call it a form of yoga, and some call it both - by intertwining them. I call it concentrating on peace and serenity.

It may sound difficult. Since we're so used to "noise." And...it also means being fine with being with yourself. Even if you're not...try it and soon you'll find that you're perfectly okay with being alone. Calmness will begin to encompass you as time seems to stop and peace and serenity engulf your being. Once you have accomplished the ability to remain calm on your own, then you will be open to even "higher planes" of existence.

It all starts with recognizing the "noise" and your desire to remove yourself from it. Once you've done that, you're on the path to peace and serenity.
 
For so many individuals a balanced life has become as elusive as catching a cloud. Society's pressures and stresses have moved people away from being in balance with themselves and their surrounding and into a frantic position of constant - and often needless - motion. People have become spinning tops caught in a perpetual state of inertia.


Relaxation even has to be scheduled! What does that say about our view of life and of ourselves? Balance is not something that one does on a mat for a few hours a week, it is a way of life. Prioritizing one's health, family, love, contentment, and living in the now, are all important elements of balance. How can one feel balanced when he or she is always looking at what needs to be done in the future and...when they have not really lived in the present?

What happens if the future doesn't come? Will you have spent your "nows" ignoring their importance for the sake of something that never happened? That doesn't mean that a person shouldn't plan for the future. But...it does mean that he or she shouldn't be obsessed by it. 

To be balanced, at least by my standards, also means to understand the difference between "working to live" and "living to work." It means looking at what's around you and understanding that it could change at any time and that you should "take it all in" and enjoy it. In addition, it is an ability to create a "level plane" for yourself, so that you don't get too high with the "highs" or low with the "lows." And - to be able to laugh robustly - especially at yourself, as well as recognize how to put life in perspective. Plus...it takes a realization that life is always changing. That's just inherent in the state of existence.

One of the things I have learned over the years is that (and I've said this many times before) we create our on constructs, then...often live by them, stress over them, and lose sight of what's truly worthwhile in being alive on this planet. The secret is actually not a secret at all...it's staring you in the face. It's in every person you see, love, and care about. It's recognizing that those you love and who love you in return want you around and not some fancy toy in your stead. It's the mountains, rivers, streams, and sky. It's everything in the universe. And...it's admiring all that while you're here - not letting it pass you by in the humdrum of running around as you focus on what can be, as opposed to what is. 

Balance is enjoying now. Knowing that each now will never be here again. Balance may include planning, but...it's overwhelmingly about being present every moment of your life.
 
What gives anything worth? What makes gold, silver, your services, or products, valuable commodities? It's their perceived value. We put a constructed worth on everything we encounter. From relationships to retail products, diamonds to donuts, and homes to horses, each item in our lives is accorded some type of meaning. And...that meaning is often translated into a value system of one type or another.

When businesses and individuals try to create worth they often forget that it's the perceived value that other people see in what they're "selling" that gives it any meaning whatsoever. Who needs a college education? A new car? Some fancier clothes? Or...the latest knowledge about technology? Well...you do, if you think it brings you value.

Here's the rub - if you give value, people will recognize that whatever they're spending - whether that's time or money - is well worth it. And - if you go "above and beyond" the initially stated product or service and provide even more value than the "customer" thought they were going to get...you're on the road to building great relationships and a solid business. 

It's value that the business and individual should look at first, not revenue. Because...if the value is what you say it is (or beyond what you say it is), then - most assuredly, the revenue will come.

Look first at what value you provide and then build your business and/or individual relationships from there.
 
Attitude is everything. Your outlook on life can motivate you or bring you down. We live in a world of constant change. There's no denying that life is permanently temporary. Yet...it's how one deals with those changes that can make the voyage a tough row to hoe or a incredible vista to enjoy.

We are all fortunate to be alive, and for that we should be grateful. That gratitude often brings with it a feeling of awe and can inspire us to do things we never thought possible. Having a positive attitude, along with the gratitude of our existence, enables us to make it through the toughest of times. When we are faced with adversity and have the courage to fight through the "pain," the level of fortitude we exhibit can make the result that much more enriching - a life lesson that we can carry with us until the end of our days.

Seeing those traits of greatness in ourselves leads to an understanding of what magnitude truly is. It is a recognition of our ability to endure and a realization that the results which have manifested from our actions are both satisfying and fulfilling. Those are attributes that some people have not yet learned. 

Sometimes we are given an epiphany - a special moment when we know that our attitude can, indeed, lift us to new heights, when our gratitude can enable us to intensify our senses and completely "take in" the beauty that exists around us, and when our perseverance has brought us to a place we had only previously hoped to experience. That amazing instance can change our lives forever. However, life's journey can also cause those same realizations to occur over time. Either way...they prove to us that magnitude is an entirely reachable human state.    
 
A short talk on analyzing your passions and how to make them productive.
 
Yes...it's true. Size really does matter. In fact, it not only effects your life - but it will certainly effect the lives of others as well.

No, I'm not talking about an outward physical trait. What I'm addressing here is the size of a few things that are far more important. How "big" is your heart? How "broad" is your mind?

Living with a "big heart" and a "broad mind" enables you to spread good energy, see things in a more accepting manner, and allows you to learn more easily. A "narrow mind" and "closed heart" tends to drive people, who may add texture, love, and kindness, to your life...away. What you are left with are only those with the same "closed heart" perspective and "narrow mindset" as yourself. That will, most assuredly, limit your view of life and will stunt your ability to grow as well. 

However, the toughest part is to be able to admit to yourself that you have a "closed heart" and a "narrow mind." It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to recognize one's shortcomings. And...even more to want to change. A "broad, or open, mind" and a "big heart" may cause a person discomfort at first because it goes against what one has "stood for" his or her entire life. Yet...once they are achieved a person frees himself, or herself, from the negative energy and the physical affects that a "small heart" and a "narrow mind" causes.

If you've ever be around negative people (or you are one yourself), their faces emit the affects that their negativity creates. A positive person is lighter, happier, and less stressed. Closing one's heart and one's mind will, ultimately, increase one's stress and also cause physical ailments.

So...be aware of the "size" of your heart and mind. Open them both. It will allow you the freedom to pass on an overly stressful and judgmental life. And - give you the rewards that go with a "big heart" and a "broad mind." 


 
My website, as you know, is entitled: Dan Dissects Life - Practical Tips for Happiness and Contentment. Quite often people think that happiness and contentment are synonyms for each other, but...they're not. One can be very happy and not contented. However, if one is contented - they may not exhibit the traits that one thinks of when they contemplate what happiness should mean. Yet, the contented person may, indeed, be very happy.  

Happiness is a state of considerable pleasure and cheer. The happy person is often gleeful, light, and even euphoric. Happiness is wonderful. The mind and body may be overcome with elation. It is a beautiful "place to be!" However, happiness may come and go. Contentment, on the other hand, is often a way of life.

An example may be the parent who watches his or her child graduate from college. They are proud of their offspring and happy to see him or her reach one of life's great goals. Yet...even during the ceremony, the parent's thoughts may drift to school loan payments (and how they'll deal with them), whether or not their child will be able to find a satisfying profession, and, perhaps, a sadness of knowing that their child will soon be leaving home. They might find themselves being discontented while, at the same time, experiencing happiness.

Contentment is different. It is a feeling of peace with one's self and one's life, an ease of mind and satisfaction with one's state of being. Happiness adds a certain texture to the contented person...a taste of extra satisfaction to an already satisfied state. Yet - there is also a constant calmness to the contented person's "soul."

Happiness might manifest itself when one buys something "new," enabling the buyer to sense fulfillment and joy. The contented person may realize that they are fine with what they have and that just "being" and feeling nature's energy is fulfilling enough.

Experiencing happiness without contentment may leave a person "empty." But, meshing happiness with contentment can lead to a life filled with calmness, love, laughter, and relaxation...no matter how many things and how much money a person may, or may not, have.

 
My take on authenticity and mental trash within the context of trust, love, and compassion.