Archive for July, 2008

Walking the Path of Least Resistance

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

Today on my morning walk something unusual took place. I started out going down hill, which isn’t at all unusual since I live on the top of a hill. But, about 15 minutes into it the sun filtered through the trees above a particularly lovely stone house with beautiful landscaping, and fell upon the right side of my face. At that moment the world around me changed. I can only describe it as being similar to an episode of The Dead Zone where the main character places his hand on someone and then he’s transported into a scene from the other person’s world. Suddenly I was there walking, and then the warmth of the sun hit my cheek, and then I wasn’t.

I felt connected to everyone and every living thing, and a thoroughly magnificent joy welled up from within me. All the colors were brighter- the trees were greener, and the sky bluer. While I knew I was still walking I felt as if I were floating. I was still me, but aware that I was part of something greater. I also knew that this place – this joy – was the place where life emanates, and the ‘stuff’ from which we create our lives. I also understood that thought patterns such as fears and worry were false distractions that veiled my consciousness from this primal state of being. And, I realized that great accomplishments spring from this joyous source; not from a place of lamenting the conditions of our lives.

It lasted only seconds but for the remainder of my walk I was exuberant and full of energy. I never slowed down – not even climbing several more hills. I just kept thinking of how all the energy spent focusing on our problems actually dams-up our consciousness, preventing us from accessing answers from that sublime pool of joy. It also occurred to me that when fear and worry block the natural flow of our energetic thought patterns it drains us, whereas joy and happiness are energizing because they flow unobstructed along the path of least resistance to manifest in our lives.

I would characterize loving your life, doing what you love and loving what you do as following the path of least resistance.

From now on I’m walking the path of least resistance.

Have We Reached the Final Stretch of the Real Estate Downturn?

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Last week I received two real estate reports I subscribe to. Both pointed to slight decreases in unsold inventory in several markets such as California, Nevada, New Jersey, and the national average. This trend could be the beginning of the real estate recovery we’ve all been praying for. Consumer confidence rose slightly in July too, so that’s another good sign. If the recession is short-lived we could see the market coming back by next spring.

On one of my walks around town this weekend, I passed a block where three homes in a row had been for sale. One sold late this spring, and the other two now have signs saying they’re under contract. I think things are getting better in the real estate market. Houses are selling. Every realtor I speak to confirms this. It’s just going to take a while for the public at large to catch on and change their perception.

If you’re in the market to buy - start looking and buy this year. If things turn around we could see appreciating prices by the next spring market. And, by the way the spring market actually begins in February.

Now Is The Time to Do What You Love

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Recently, I dreamed of aunt who’d passed away that I’d been very close to.

I was driving around the old neighborhood in Yonkers when I saw her standing outside a local delicatessen, laughing and speaking animatedly to a friend. I was so excited to see her again and at the prospect of hearing her laugh - an infectious laugh she was famous for. I rushed to find a parking spot so that I could go to her immediately.

When I arrived at the deli her face lit up at seeing me, and she smiled warmly. I was about to embrace her when a business colleague appeared out of no where saying he needed my immediate attention. I was annoyed, but felt duty-bound to help him with this work related problem. I turned to my aunt and gestured that I’d be with her in a minute. I hoped to be able to deal with the work issue as quickly as possible so I could get on with spending some quality time with her.

After a few moments with my colleague the crisis was solved and I turned my attention back to my aunt, but she was gone! I was heart-broken to find that she’d disappeared and furious with the work colleague who’d diverted my attention.

When I awoke I was very disturbed about the dream. I decided I would meditate on it to see why it had upset me so much. As I relaxed an answer came to me.

I was upset because, once again, I’d allowed work to interfere with something I loved dearly. I realized that this dream was just a short-hand for my entire working life. I’d never allowed myself to pursue what I loved doing, except for the 3 years I took off to pursue my education, which were 3 of the happiest years I can remember. I’d always placed my passion for writing on the back burner and thought it insignificant compared to the “real” work that paid me well. I also realized I had no one to blame but myself - I could have told my work colleague to wait, but I hadn’t.

I’ve decided my dream is very important and urgent message I must listen to. It’s time to put all my energy into doing what I love - do it or die trying! I’d been contemplating going back into Private Banking again since it would give me a healthy and steady income, but when I think about actually having to do it, I feel weighted down and horribly depressed. I feel the message for me is, “Do what you love - and do it now.”

Has anyone else had a similar experience, or dream they’d like to share?

If You’ve Never Failed - You’re Not Trying Hard Enough to Succeed

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Many successful people have failed while attempting to achieve their goals. The reason they made it though is that they didn’t allow criticism or failure to deter them from pressing on. They had a vision of what their lives could be, and used their failure as a lesson and stepping stone to get them to their goal. Thomas Edison put it best when he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

(I found this great video on famous people who’ve failed. To watch just click on the link below.)

Famous People Who\’ve Failed

If you have a dream declare it boldly! Do not be afraid of what anyone thinks. Many new ideas are not accepted at first. Just think of how many people must have laughed at the Wright brothers before they designed a plane that actually could fly. Create an plan to achieve your goal and begin working it. Even if you’re first few attempts backfire - keep going. Remember, the people who dare to laugh are the ones most afraid of failure.

This month one of my articles, published in BC The Magazine July/August issue, is a profile of fascinating business man, A.J. Khubani. Khubani’s company, Telebrands Corp, markets products with the red AS SEEN ON TV label, such as the PedEgg, the StickUp Bulb, and the GoDuster. Khubani started his business right out of college and it was NOT an overnight success, but he stuck with it.

Twenty-five years later his company is worth $100 million. The most interesting part of our interview was when he spoke of failing and almost losing his business, and his home in 2000. He responded that failure and challenging times help us to mature. He also said that if he had a chance he wouldn’t change a thing in his life; that’s now much he valued the experience of failing.

So, if you have a dream and a vision for your life don’t cower in the corner fearing failure - go for it. And, remember if you fail you’re in great company. And, after remembering your in great company, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back in there!

Repay! Repay! How to Find Hidden Money in Your Budget

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

The Sunday edition of The New York Times had an excellent article titled, Given a Shovel, Digging Deeper into Debt, about the dangers of using credit cards and cash-out refinances to live beyond your means. The story focuses on a woman, who like millions of homeowners in recent years, refinanced her home several times to pay off credit card debt, until she ended up $271,000.00 in debt; $129,000.00 more than the original loan amount she’d taken to buy her house. Her financial house of cards came crashing down when she had a serious medical emergency, and then later lost both her jobs. Her home is now in foreclosure.

The article also placed some of the blame on lenders’ policies of easy access to money for both mortgages and credit cards, and their strategic marketing campaigns designed to ease the guilt associated with spending money and increasing debt. The woman in the article says what she regrets most is all her needless shopping. She said if she had it to do all over again she would learn to deal with her emotions instead of using shopping as therapy.

I’ve written several similar posts on this such as; Is Advertising Making up Poor?; Creating Kindergarten Consumers; Will We Ever Learn When it Comes to Mortgage Lending?; and How to Reduce Credit Card Debt all dealing with the issue of living beyond your means, and our addiction to consumerism. The road to financial solvency and real wealth begins with reducing, and then eliminating credit card debt.

To find the extra cash needed to pay off credit cards take a hard look at where your money goes each month:

1. Bottled water. Buy a water filter instead and “make” your own.

2. Don’t use paper towels for everything from cleaning to spills. Buy some good dishtowels and micro-fiber cleaning cloths that can be washed and used over and over.

3. Do not waste another cent on disposable ANYTHING from paper plates, plastic cups and utensils, coffee filters, toilet scrubbers, to mop cloths. Buy permanent and reusable items instead.

4. Go through your pantry once a month and pull everything out. You’ll probably find you already have 2 or 3 of everything you keep buying each time you go grocery shopping.

5. Cut back, or cancel your cable television entirely. You’ll be surprised how much time opens up to do other things in your life.

6. Stop shopping for clothes for every occasion. Go through your closet and find all the clothes with tags on them, or that you rarely wear – and start wearing them. Everyone will think you bought new clothes anyway.

7. Use up all the shampoos and conditioners you have lining the shelves of your medicine chest before you go out to buy more.

8. Don’t pay to have others do the things you can do yourself such as house cleaning, manicures, or hair coloring. Cancel the fancy landscaping and fertilizer service. Scale back to just a mowing service, or better yet cut the grass and trim the bushes yourself.

9. Wait a day and think before making a purchase on credit. Many times the impulse to buy fades within a day or two and we realize we really don’t need the thing as much as we thought we did anyway.

You’ll be surprised how much more money you’ll have to pay down credit card debt when you cut back on just a few of these things. Look around there are probably more things you can cut. Commit to buying with cash from now on and you’ll be on your way to attaining real wealth.

To read the NYT article paste this link into your browser:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/20/business/20debt.html?th&emc=th