Secrets For A Happier Life February 12, 2014

Secrets For A Happier Life: Ideas, Inspiration & Practices
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Michael

Michael D Selzer DDS

 

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Letting go for happiness

 

8-23-2013 

Taming your habits for happiness

 

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2-11-14 

Ice skating for happiness

Balancing fear and growth February 12, 2014

 Dear Michael,   

  

Standing at the very top of the mountain and looking out to the white powder that is coating the outside edge of everything in my view I adjust my goggles, face warmer, gloves, pole grips and tap each leg up and down to clear ice off my skis.  It’s show time and another chance to fully enjoy a slow taking in of crisp cold air and the panoramic view before flinging myself into adventure. 

 

Breathing slow and deep I take one more look straight out to the horizon and then down the slope that I will become a moving part of.  The adventure for me is that I do not really know what I am doing here.  I mean about how to ski or more precisely how to control the skis so that I do not hurt myself or anyone else.   

 

 

I invite you to continue reading below.

  

Michael Selzer DDS  

Quick Changes

I have crashed into the pipes that are used to make the artificial snow and slithered off the prepared part of the slope into the thick snow on the sides.  I have fallen on soft snow and on hard ice and when I first started I would often fall on the down slope getting off the seat at the end of the chair lift.  One time just at the end of the lift I was having some difficulty getting back to standing on my skis when suddenly I felt some giant lift me from the back of my jacket and unexpectedly my feet where now underneath me and I was standing.  I turned to my son Joel and asked,  “Who was that masked man?”  That’s when I saw the silver bullet lying on the ground.

 

Da da dum, da da dum, da da dum dum dum. Da da dum, da da dum, da da dum dum dum.  Hi O’Silver

No not really but some huge guy did lift me up. 

  

So I am now standing at the top edge of the slope and I am ready.  I know that parts of the voyage down the hill will be exhilarating and other parts anxious and some wrought with fear just like the parts of a routine day.  And as with these parts of any routine day all or practically all of the parts are just made up in my mind. The experience of flowing down the hill starts out with trying to obtain a balance between moving to slow and the feeling that it’s not challenging; to I can go faster and it becomes more fun.  Then the slope changes or I pick up speed and I start to feel a bit out of control and the amenity starts to creep in.  I shift my weight to the edges of the skis and I slow down a bit. 

 

There is a speed in driving that has a similar feeling; or on a bicycle or water skiing. Also, hitting a golf ball and playing tennis, running and sitting in the sauna getting heated up.  The same connection to the “speed”, “fun” balance and concerns about getting hurt, becoming ill, straining too much, hitting the ball too hard or too soft and losing the control and effect of the hitting.  Same with investments and the words I speak and the words I write especially if I expect that someone else may be reading them.

 

 

Small Moments Of Happiness

There is something here within the fun, balance and concern. I know that I write for my own amusement and insight but there is an underlying need that the writing also will become useful for others.  I think back to now and years past to freely giving all of my thoughts to Joel and Judi and Amy or at least as much as they can withstand.  Joel and Judi especially when they were younger were open as children to the whims and wishes of their parents.  So as I gain insight to ME I am continually trying to transfer that insight to others.  Joel and Judi remain, I think, the most open to this evolving understanding of life and its application to the enjoyment of living, or maybe its that they just listen politely at times with kindness.

 

But somehow I keep coming back to the skiing and I learn bit by bit how to have more control or actually the spontaneous ability to move where I want to go.  Well that’s a sort of control. So there becomes a balance between a tight control and a strictness where the rules must be followed to the letter of the law.  Like keeping the training wheels on your bicycle you are safe from falling but you do not have the freedom to lean into the curves and enjoy the greater range of balance that comes with the removal of the training wheels.  I guess in skiing you could compare it to not using the poles. 

 

Look deeper within the freedom and fun that relates to the fear being a part of the growth to balance.  Without the fear the growth may not be there.  Thatis that if I stop myself from advancing through the fear I will never get to the balance and its enjoyment.  If it hurts a little bit, ie fear, and I back off, and do not put up with the hurt I will not get through to the other side.  And it’s the other side or the greener grass that seems to be the attraction that brought me here in the first place. 

 

So what does this mean for me?  It’s nice if I want to know the answer to something all I have to do is ask myself a question.  So if the answer is inside me how come I don’t already know it?  

 

 

A puppy’s perspective

Oh yea, greener grass as the attraction.  The attraction I have or desire to do something is a calling that is an expansion of who and what I am right now.  An exploration like a toddler that stands for the first time and now has a broader view of everything.  This exhilaration with the broader view seems to continue and it gets translated into greener grass, more, better, I don’t know but lets try it.  So the toddler goes for it.  Trying to crawl, then stand, then walk and then a trip to the moon and beyond.  But as older kids or adults the pain of falling down becomes greater than the joy of reaching out and we become placated with a particular zone of vibration.  And then along comes something new like skiing.  Well I put up with the pain and fear of crashing and the embarrassment of little kids swishing past me left and right.  I’m older I should be able to do this better, I give up.  No I don’t.  Try it again.  Like when I taught myself to juggle.  My mind races on and all of a sudden I find myself in balance flowing down the slope with white powder being thrown off with each turn as a crowd stops to watch.  No not really but I did get back up and gradually made it to the bottom of the hill in one piece.

 

So there is something here a lesson for me right now to understand.  The fear is a signal, an indicator that I am up against a wall and that there is some balance which allows me to get to the other side of the wall.  But it seems that I have to get over the wall to experience the balance that exists there.  And that balance is a different experience than the balance I have with other things.  Like the taste of an orange is different than the experience of the taste of an apple or even a tangerine.  Like acquiring a taste for a particular new food you have to let go of the expectation that I will like it or not and just have the experience of the new taste.  Some things just taste great the first time.  Others require that you acquire a taste an ability to separate this taste from others. And that at first there may be a little pain or discomfort or hurt or worry about getting ill, a letting go into the newness of this taste or activity or feeling.  And then after a time and some learning or recognition or resonance there is something interesting about this new taste this new thing or feeling.  An opening occurs somewhere within me an expansion where I feel a bit bigger, lighter more open taller like a toddler standing up.  I have a new friend, a new flavor that I can enjoy I am more.

 

It’s not feel the fear and do it anyway but it is feel the fear and do not let it stop you.  Go beneath the fear to feel what supports the fear.  What is the fear about?   In golf for me the first tee is the hardest.  Even after I warm up and feel somewhat more confident there is still that first tee.  The first tee.  Please just let me hit the ball straight, up in the air and at least 175 yards.  Not a great 250 yard shot but reasonable.  The same fear is there on each shot but not as much as that first tee.  What is there?  What is beneath the fear?  If I am by myself its a lot easier.  I want to be a really good golfer or at least good.  Others are watching.  I want to, maybe this time astonish them with my hitting straight and far.  Golf allows me the fun of competition with myself and also with others.  What underlies this competition is the expansion of my skill, my growing up my standing higher like the toddler and the competition with others is just another standing up of the toddler.  The same pain of falling down and the pushing through the pain to get to the balance that exists on the other side and to then discover that there is a never ending list of new standing up “toos” that although they continue to create the same value as the toddler gets needs to be seen in a larger light.  And seeing these new experiences in a larger light is just another level of new experience and insight.

 

It’s a catch 22, as is most everything else.  “Its all one”, as the gurus say and the catch 22 is that although it keeps the wheel turning the wheel is not going anywhere. 

 

What wheel?  The wheel of life.  Its all a great void a nothingness that we make into something.  Wait a minute that sounds familiar.  Isn’t that what the mystical traditions report that God did

or I imagine does all the time.  And if we do that, take this great void of nothingness and make it into something then aren’t we are also God.    

 
 
 
“Pretty much,” as Jerry Seinfeld would utter.  Except on a much much, much smaller scale.    

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