Change your mind…..Change your life.

I get these emails from Ralph S. Marston, Jr. every day called “The Daily Motivator (see email and credits below).

I’m often amazed that the writer can think of another interesting and new thing to say after 365 days!  Today’s message is a particularly good one so when you’re done with my blog, see the message below.

I read a book once…It was about the power of positive thinking and this little story was in it:

A couple had neighbors who had a patio light on in the back yard that shone into their bedroom window and kept them up all night.  It was a huge source of frustration & stress for them both.  To make things worse they had been fighting with the neighbors over it for years and asked them time and time again to turn it off at night, but with no luck.  As a result they spent a lot of time cursing out their neighbors and complaining about how horrible it was to live next to them.

Fortunately one of them read a book about how what we think and say can influence our lives.  So the couple decided to try something different; they changed their methods.  The first night they started praying (or thinking positively) about their neighbors…sending feelings of love their way and wishing the best for them (instead of griping about them under their breath). Of course it was hard to turn off the part of their minds that thought how much they disliked these people….but they thought “well what have we got to lose?  Let’s at least TRY to think positively about them.” So, they said their little prayer and went to bed….the VERY NEXT NIGHT the patio light went off and never came on again.

Whether you believe in the power of positive thinking or not….sometimes we just keep banging our heads up against the same problems over and over again when what we really need is a new approach and a new perspective.  If you find yourself with the same problems you had last week or even last year perhaps it’s time to try something new.  I don’t think you’d disagree that it wouldn’t hurt to TRY it at least, just to see what would happen.

Einstein said:

Insanity: is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.   Albert Einstein. 

And isn’t that the truth!

My father, Andy Andros, was a brilliant man with a good heart as big as a house.  He used to say this no matter how many problems he had and no matter how gloomy or grey the day was:  “This is the happiest day of my life” and truly IT IS.  That ability to put things into perspective and find JOY in the good things, every day of your lives ,is really one of the most important discoveries you can make.

Here is the email I was referring to earlier in my message:

THE DAILY MOTIVATOR

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Send love

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Instead of sending anger, send love. Instead of filling your mind with worry or frustration, fill your thoughts with love.

Send genuine love to those who support you. Send genuine love to those who disagree with you.

Let go of the need to get the last word, or to get even or to prove yourself. Send love, and you’ll find yourself living with unassailable strength and effectiveness.

Send love, and feel your anxiety melt away. Send love, and experience life at its highest level.

When you’re not sure what to do, do what is authentic, honest and caring. Move forward with love, for yourself, for life, and for others, and you’ll be moving toward good and valuable things.

Live a life that is real, and rich, and full. Send love, and live the best there is.

Ralph Marston

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The above message entitled “Send love” is the Daily Motivator email edition written by Ralph S. Marston, Jr. and he deserves all the credit for it!  Why don’t you consider signing up for his daily message by clicking on the link below.

Copyright (C) 2013 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All rights reserved.

Visit The Daily Motivator web site at http://greatday.com for an archive of more than 5,000 daily messages, inspirational photos and more.

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Dream a new dream…

Dream a new dream…

800px-Lincoln_Memorial_I_Have_a_Dream_Marker_2413Getting started….taking the first step…..staring at a blank page…..this is the hardest part of starting anything new.  Those of us who have been on the planet a few years may WANT to go from being frozen to forward motion – but how do we do that?  I’ve written before about the need to do something dramatic to get yourself out of a rut.  So if you find yourself wondering what happened to the last 6 months and fretting over why nothing has yet happened, don’t feel bad because you’re not alone.

To start something new or to gain some forward momentum in your life it’s important to first think of something you’d like to do.  If you’re anything like me, you got caught up in work and family and life in general, and you can’t even remember what your dreams were when you were young.  No time to fret over that……just look forward.  So step one in a new life is to dream a new dream – think of something new you’d like to do no matter how weird it sounds for a 95 year old to start medical school or an overweight middle aged housewife to begin ballet classes.   WHO CARES?  I mean really – do you really care what anyone else thinks?  And quite frankly in my book if someone else thinks you can’t do it- all the more reason TO DO IT.  Use that negativity as a motivating force to get you moving towards your dream.

So step one – dream a new dream.  Make a list of all the things you have ever wanted to do and throw in a few things you just realized you want to do.  Then review and refine the list by crossing off the things you’re less than enthused about and settle on one or two things that you want to accomplish.  Perhaps you want to learn a new language or improve on an old one?  Maybe your goal is to lose weight or become comfortable in your own skin (whatever weight that might be).  Or maybe you have always wanted to write a book?  If  so start off with a blog – you can write whatever you want (apparently, ha) and there’s no one to stop you or tell you you’re not good at it. Your dream can and should be anything you want it to be and it doesn’t matter if it seems absurd.  Just give yourself permission to dream or to do whatever you want to do.  The point is to just dream a new dream and get started on your new life.  That’s the first step in the sequence of many steps that will make up your future.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  Harriet Tubman

Don’t get po’d at your boyfriend or girlfriend….until you read this.

Don’t get po’d at your boyfriend or girlfriend….until you read this.

When I was at the University of Colorado Boulder I was studying Psychology (before I switched to Advertising at UT Austin).  My professor staged a test in which an unknown individual entered the classroom, grabbed the teacher’s briefcase and ran out.  The students were asked to describe the culprit and we ended up with as many descriptions as students.  The point being that what we thought we saw wasn’t necessarily what happened.

When we see…..we are exposed to a scene or an image….and in order to make sense of it, our brain retrieves stored images from our memory to try to categorize or match up what we’ve seen with what we have in storage (or in our memory).  At best we are simulating a picture based on our own memories or our own “frames of reference”.

FRAME OF REFERENCE is really important because it’s a critical aspect of getting along with others and enjoying your life.  Your frame of reference is made up of everything you know – all your memories, the way you have experienced things, the way your parents and associates taught you to communicate, the things you and your loved ones say to each other….essentially your frame of reference is the lens through which you see the world.  The reason it is important is because it colors your reality.

Years ago I was dating a guy from Venezuela…..one day IN A TOTALLY joking way I said to him “Fuck You”.  He freaked out and said to me “In my family if someone says “fuck you” that’s it…that’s the end of the relationship.  It’s all over.”  I told him that on the contrary, in my family, it didn’t mean that….it just was a way of jibing someone or yanking their chain and when said in my family – without explanation – the people hearing it would know NOT to freak out.  They’d know what I meant because they know me.  They’d know at the very least that if I said that to them, it could only mean one of two things:

1) it could mean that I’m seriously mad and hurling a really awful insult at them or

2) it could mean that I’m joking and that i’m expressing my light hearted dissatisfaction to whatever it is they just did or said.

This is important…..since the person i’m speaking to knows me – they don’t have to ask me what I mean.  They already know what I mean because they know me and they grew up in the same environment as I did and they use that phrase in the same way.  So no one gets pissed off…..they just know that they know that I didn’t mean anything particularly bad by it.  It’s important when you are interacting with other people that you try to see things from their perspective because you might just discover that not everyone else in the world is exactly like you.  And that is fine – that’s great in fact.  God forbid we’d all be exactly the same, right?

So back to the Venezuelan guy, in an effort to diffuse the rapidly escalating vibe in the room I asked him – “what’s more important when I say something” a) what you thought I meant by it or b) what I really meant by it?

Of course it’s more important what I say that I meant by it and IF I TELL YOU THAT I DIDN’T MEAN ANYTHING NEGATIVE BY SAYING IT THEN YOU, if you’re my friend and you love and know me, are duty bound to accept that.  If not your essentially calling me a liar and if that’s what you think – why are you my friend in the first place?

This is only important because we all see the world from our own perspectives….and so we judge what we see and what other people say by what we would say in those same situations.  But that’s a mistake.  Of course we have to refer to our own frame of reference to understand anything in the world, but to prevent huge arguments & misunderstandings, don’t stop there.  Ask yourself if this person’s background is identical to yours and if it’s not then be a little more flexible about how you interpret the world.  You’ll get along wit people much better that way and perhaps you’ll find a new way to look at the world?

OK so the point of all that is that we have to be careful not to cram our frame of reference, or what we’d do in a given situation, down someone else’s throat.  This is especially important in a relationship.  If your lover tells you they meant x instead of y, then you have to believe them because who knows better than the person who said it in the first place?

Freedom isn’t Free…

Freedom isn’t Free…

This isn’t my story, but it’s a story that needs to be told, so I”m “reprinting” it here:

Attached is a copy of a speech by Eric Saul, US Army historian, given at the ceremony to honor Medal of Honor winners William K. Nakamura and James Okubo in Seattle on March 25, 2001.  Pass it on to family and friends.
We were privileged to attend that emotional event  and were impressed and heartened by Saul’s speech.
He is an Army historian from Monterey, CA and has great knowledge and insight on the accomplishments of the Nisei soldiers and the JA (Japanese-American) community. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated hearing those words from a non-JA. I hope all JAs as well as all Americans will read the speech.

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gallery_4So why was it you Nisei, second generation, born in America, were willing to volunteer for the Army from the plantations of Hawaii often when you were considered second-class citizens, or from concentration camps in America ? Your parents couldn’t become citizens or own land, so land was put in your name. Before the war, you wanted to be doctors, lawyers, and professionals, but you couldn’t.

No one would hire you. So you worked on your family farms, flower orchards, and shops.. You were often segregated in the Little Tokyos and Japantowns. You couldn’t go where you wanted, be where you wanted, be whom you wanted. Furthermore, your President, on February 19, 1942, signed an Executive Order that said you weren’t Americans anymore, you were “non-aliens.”

So why did you join the army? Why did you become soldiers, and ironically become, of all things, the most decorated army unit that this country has ever produced? There were words like giri and on, which your parents taught you. Which means “duty,” and “honor,” and “responsibility.” You had to pay back your debt to your country. Oyakoko: love for family.Your parents couldn’t become citizens, but you loved your families AND you had to prove your loyalty at any cost.

You used your bodies as hostages for your families to prove your love for democracy and justice when you volunteered from those camps. Kodomo no tame ni: “for the sake of the children.” Many of you didn’t have children at the time, but you knew you wanted to have families. And you knew that you didn’t want your children to have to suffer as you did. You wanted your children to be able to be doctors, and lawyers, and professionals. If you went into the military, did your job, perhaps things would change. You knew it, and you fought for it. You even came up with your own regimental motto that’s on this honored regimental flag in front of me.

It was “Go for Broke.”
You set the tone for your own regiment, and lived up to its motto. You made democracy work. Because of your wartime record, your children can now be what they want in a country that you wanted for them.

Enryo: humility. There’s an old Japanese proverb that says if you do something really good and you don’t talk about it, it must be really, really good! You never talked about your wartime record. You didn’t tell your children, you didn’t tell your wives, and you didn’t even tell the country.

Gaman: internal fortitude, keep your troubles to yourself. Don’t show how you’re hurting. Shikata ga nai: sometimes things can’t be helped. But other times, you have to go for broke, and you can change things. Haji: don’t bring shame on your family. When you go off to war, fight for your country, return if you can, but die if you must.

Shinbo shite seiko suru: strength and success will grow out of adversity. When I was curator of the Presidio Museum, I wanted to know why you joined the Army. Why did you join from a concentration camp? A veteran from Cannon Company named Wally told me a story. His family was sent from Los Angeles to the Santa Anita racetrack, which was an Assembly Center for Japanese Americans. There, they were put in a horse stall.

10 11 barracos HM WyBefore the war, they had a flower shop, they had their own home in Los Angeles , and they were a middle-class family. Now they were living for weeks in a horse stall that hadn’t been cleaned when they moved in, and it stunk of horse manure. Wally’s father said to him, “Remember that a lot of good things grow in horse manure.” It did. I remember hearing a story from a Chaplain Higuchi, the chaplain of the 442nd, who was from Hawaii .
I asked him, “How could the Niseis have joined the Army under these circumstances? How could they have done what they did?” Chaplain Higuchi said he himself couldn’t understand, because he was from Hawaii and hadn’t suffered the same discrimination. But his job as chaplain was to go through the pockets of the Niseis who had been killed in combat.

He remembered going through the pockets of one mainland Nisei. In his wallet was a news clipping that told how the family farm had been burned down by racists near Auburn, California . Yet this Nisei still volunteered for the service. Chaplain Higuchi said that there was no medal high enough in this country to give to this Nisei who had been killed and was lying in front of him. Chaplain Higuchi had to write a letter home to his parents.
You Nisei fought for this country, your country. It has taken fifty-six years to get to this point, but you made democracy stand for what it really means. When you came home from the war, President Truman had a special White House ceremony for you. It was the only time that the President of the United States had a ceremony at the White House for a unit as small as a battalion. It was raining that morning in Washington, and Truman’s aide said, “Let’s cancel the ceremony.” Truman said to his aide, “After what those boys have been through, I can stand a little rain.”

He said to the Niseis, bearing their regimental standard with the motto of “Go for Broke,” “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the opportunity to tell you what you have done for this country. You fought not only the enemy, but you fought prejudice and you won. You have made the Constitution stand for what it really means: the welfare of all the people, all the time.” Lastly, he advised the Niseis to keep up that fight. So in the 1980’s you fought for redress. One of the reasons that redress passed so overwhelmingly in Congress was the overwhelming record of the 100th/442nd and the MIS.

060614-F-2034C-008 The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 provided an apology for your parents and for your suffering. So on the battlefields of France, Italy and Germany , “Go for Broke” stood for the welfare of all of the people, all of the time.
You never lost faith in your country, and we are here today to celebrate that faith. The result of that faith is that your children can be anything that they want: professionals, doctors, and lawyers. The price that you paid for democracy was the highest combat casualty rate of any regiment that served in the United States Army. The 100th/442nd suffered 314% combat casualties. The 100th/442nd was an oversized regiment, with its own cannon and engineer company, and even its own artillery battalion.

The four thousand men who started off in February of 1943 had to be replaced nearly three and one half times. Eventually, about 14,000 men would serve in the 100th/442nd. I see many of my friends from I Company and K Company here today. In one battle alone, the battle for the Rescue of the Lost Battalion in October 1944, which you fought in, two thousand of you went in to rescue two hundred Texas soldiers who couldn’t be rescued by their own division. You went and suffered almost a thousand casualties in that one battle alone, of almost five days of constant fighting. In K Company, you started off with 186 riflemen. By the time you reached the Lost Battalion, there were only eight men standing. It was unbelievable!

You rescued the Texas Lost Battalion, and for that you won two presidential unit citations. The army designated the Rescue of the Lost Battalion to be among the top ten battles fought by the U.S. Army in its 230-year history. You Niseis ultimately won seven unit citations, and no other unit for its size and length of service has won that many presidential unit citations. Chet Tanaka counted how many citations and how many medals the 100th/442nd earned. Of the fourteen thousand men who served, there were eighteen thousand medals for heroism and service. You had become the most decorated unit in American military history for its size and length of service. The US Army had three infantry divisions lined up to breach the Gothic Line,which protected the Po Valley and the entrance to Austria .. And those three divisions couldn’t do it – they were stalemated for six months. The Army then asked the 442nd, the “Go for Broke” Regiment, to break the stalemate.

Posted_Japanese_American_Exclusion_OrderThe commander and officers of the 100th/442nd said to the commander of the 92nd Division, “General Almond, we have a plan. We can create a diversionary attack and break the Gothic Line if you give us 24 hours. The General figuratively fell out of his chair and said, “Impossible. We’ve had three divisions hammering away at the Gothic Line.”  The Germans had their best SS Divisions on the mountains and it was considered an impenetrable fortress. He told the Niseis to “Just create a diversionary attack and we’ll do the rest.” But you Nisei soldiers had your own plan. You were smart.

Your average age was about twenty and your average IQ was 116, which was eight points higher than necessary to be an officer in the army. You were barely a hundred twenty-five pounds soaking wet, but you were college-educated, and you were going to “Go for Broke.”So you climbed up that mountain called Mount Fogarito,

which the Germans had so heavily fortified. You climbed it where they didn’t expect you. It was nearly a 4,000-foot vertical precipice. You climbed the mountain that was unclimbable, in combat gear. The Germans couldn’t possibly expect an attack from that point.. From nighttime until dawn you climbed, almost eight hours..
Men fell down as they climbed the mountain, and no man cried out as he fell.
You took the mountain and you broke the Gothic Line.

It didn’t take 24 hours, as you thought, or a few weeks, as the Army had planned. It didn’t take six months. The U.S. Army reported that you broke the Gothic Line in only thirty-four minutes! If the story of the 100th/442nd is unbelievable, there is a more unbelievable story. It is the story of the Military Intelligence and Language Service. More than 6,000 Niseis served throughout the Pacific in a super-secret branch of the military. Niseis provided the eyes and ears of intelligence and language skills that helped to break the stalemate in the Pacific. They broke secret codes, interrogated prisoners, provided valuable propaganda, and translated millions of documents to help win the war in the Pacific. t1larg

By the war’s end, General Willoughby, General MacArthur’s chief of intelligence, declared that the Nisei shortened the war by two years and saved a million Allied lives. Never had so many owed so much to so few. I only wish that a million people could be here to hear your story and know of your service. I wish every American could know your story. We owe a great debt of honor to you Niseis for what you did for the country and for democracy. It is a debt that can never be repaid.

I am here to tell the story for your children, because I know you can’t say it. It is a legacy that they must carry on and remember what you did for them and for all of us. Your legacy continues to protect us all. I remember during the Iranian crisis that there was talk of keeping Iranian Americans possibly in protective custody. Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga said, “You can’t do that. That’s already been done, and you were wrong then.” So your wartime service protects all of us. You did make the Constitution stand for all of the people, all of the time. History works. You made it work, and you made it work for me, for your children, and for this country.

President Ronald Reagan remembered, when he signed the bill enacting the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which was called House Resolution 442, that blood that has soaked into the sands of a beach is all of one color. America stands unique in the world, the only country not founded on race. but a way, an ideal. You Niseis came home, and professions and could go where you wanted and do what you wanted to do. You went about your lives, but you made sure that your parents could become citizens.

2009_0328_lagc_go_for_broke_580x290By 1953, you saw your parents naturalized. Your parents had to wait, in some cases, sixty-five years to become American citizens. And that they could own land for the first time. And that others of Asian descent could own land for the first time. Your greatest success was that your children could be what they wanted to be, without the discrimination that you suffered. Some of you became lawmakers and entered the House and the Senate. There were more than 590 laws in California in the 19th and the early 20th century against Asians. You fought a fight to make sure those laws were challenged and overturned one by one.We thank the Japanese American senators, Sparky Matsunaga and Dan Inouye, veterans of the 100th/442nd, for doing that. We thank you for your providing the legacy upon which they could fight for those rights. Justice prevailed, and your parents became citizens. We stand at a pinnacle of your history in your golden years. Redress passed and a nation apologized for a terrible injustice perpetrated against its own citizens.

A few months ago at the White House, President Clinton belatedly awarded 20 Medals of Honor to Japanese Americans. Clinton stated in his speech of the Niseis that “in the face of painful prejudice, they helped to define America at its Best.” Last night I was speaking to one of my K Company friends, Tosh Okamoto, and he said to me, “You know, the awarding of the Medals of Honor to our boys is sort of the icing on the cake. I’ve sort of been angry for a long time at my country and what happened to us during the internment. Getting redress and the apology, and having the country recognize my buddies, lifted a cloud from my head.

I now really feel like I’m truly American, and it was all worth it.” So this is the happy ending of the 100th/442nd/MIS story, and I thank you for sharing it with us. I salute you.God bless you. And tell your kids to tell the world!

 

Incredible Photos….

Incredible Photos….

Change your life, jump out of a plane….

Change your life, jump out of a plane….

I didn’t write this blog, but I think it’s “right on” and I wanted to share it with you.  I did write something about this subject the other day however, in my blog that suggested this:  in order to get out of a rut you have to do something RADICAL.  Jump out of a plane, go to Africa on a safari, quit your job and volunteer at the local hospital, and on and on.  The point is to do something totally different than what you’ve been doing.  So if you’ve been sitting at a computer the way I have for heaven KNOWS how many years……maybe it would be a good idea to get up and go do something radically different.

 

Momentum changer

If nothing seems to be going right, break the pattern by getting yourself going right. When momentum is pushing you backwards, make the choice to create some positive, forward-directed momentum.

Just because a few negative things have happened to you, doesn’t mean you’re having a bad day. It means you have the opportunity to make a meaningful positive difference in the direction of the day.

Instead of agonizing over the setbacks and disappointments, get energized and enthusiastic about the good things you can now do. Get energized and then get busy actually doing those things, taking positive action and getting positive results.

Be a momentum changer. Although the day may have started out in an unfortunate direction, that can end right now with you.

Any negative pattern you experience can only continue if you let it. Don’t let it.

Stop the negative pattern, change the momentum and transform the whole day by choosing positive action. You have the power to be a momentum changer, so use that power to the benefit of yourself and all those around you.

 Ralph Marston