Which Dog Food is the Better One?

My kids wanted to get a brand spanking new puppy, but I finally showed them why adopting an older dog from a shelter was really the better way to add another member to our family. When I explained that shelter dogs have a harder time finding their forever home, they immediately changed their focus to finding an adult dog to save. We actually found two at the shelter, and they quickly integrated themselves into our family from that first day on. The next thing to do was to compare Natures Domain vs Kirkland dog food to see which one was the best for them.

I had each child look up the best dog food to feed our new family members, and those are the two that were picked. I told them if there was a tie, then I would be the tie breaker. I knew nothing about dog food at all, but I was able to find a site that truly educated me. (more…)

Spring is Great but Falling Trees Are Not

After a long winter, I crave the sunshine and warmer weather. A favorite is when we turn the clocks ahead one hour to gain that extra hour of evening daylight. Probably my favorite time of year is when it is still daylight at nine p.m. My wife and I sit out on the porch and watch our dogs play in the fenced in yard. However, we have to get through the spring storms. One year we called a Queens tree removal company to clean up a fallen tree in our back yard. It was a tall silver maple. Those trees often have multiple trunks that are partially grown together. They grow tall and often at steep angles looking like they are always ready to fall over. (more…)

Fantastic Pruning Services Done Quickly

I used a tree removal in Long Island NY service because I lacked the tools and knowledge to remove a small three that died. I also needed some help with pruning on the property line. The latter was a bit more important to me because the neighbor complained constantly that my branches were growing over his property line. Most people here are pretty good about letting something like that slide as long as it isn’t too egregious, but he was absolutely adamant that my branches were causing him all sorts of problems and he wanted them gone immediately.

I didn’t feel like going to the hardware store to buy a bunch of tools that I would only use once, so I went online to find a removal service to do the work. (more…)

How Breathing Differently Can Make You Happier

“When you breathe, you inspire. When you do not breathe, you expire.” – Quote from an 11-year-old’s science exam

I recently read a book by Osho, the wonderfully non-PC mystic and guru. In the book, Osho instructed the reader to pay attention to their breathing rate when they were sad, and notice the timing of the in-breath and out-breath. He explained that next time they were happy, they could re-induce the sad state by merely repeating the breathing pattern. Fortunately, he added, it works the other way round too!

Follow some or all of these exercises;

Firstly; When you are experiencing a powerful, positive state, allow yourself to become aware of your breathing rate. Pay particular attention to the timing and rhythm of your in-breath and out-breath.

Secondly; Next time you are in a neutral or negative state, start breathing at the rate and rhythm from exercise one, and within a minute or so, the positive state should begin to return.

Many gurus advise people to do breathing exercises regularly. I know Tony Robbins does in his marvellous book “Unlimited Power” he advises that you start each day with a breathing exercise of inhaling slowly and deeply, then holding it for twice as long as the inhalation and exhaling in twice the pace. It really is invigorating and a great way to get motivated at the start of the day, especially if you are looking to do some things with your day that require motivation.

Breathing is powerful, our life force and is a major factor influencing our state of mind (if you uncertain about this, hold your breath for two minutes and re-read this sentence) This being the case, please use your common sense when doing any of these exercises (if you have a respiratory condition, please check with your health advisor first.) I do not want any asthmatics complaining that they did themselves harm following these exercises!!

So, thirdly; Start breathing comfortably but deeply, in through your nose & out through your mouth. Imagine that you are breathing from that area of your abdomen just beneath your belly button. Make the in-breath last to a count of 5 and the out-breath to a count of 6. Continue for at least 2 minutes, and notice what happens.

This 5:6 ratio seems to be a simple yet powerful way you can induce a relaxed state at will. The art of Yogic breathing is called Pranayama. Pranayama offers many different approaches for cleansing the mind & body through breathing exercises. Here’s one of them (with thanks to RA Wilson):

Fourthly (this may seem a bit odd to do, I’d recommend not doing this in front of friends or at work!) ; Lie on your back and pant like a dog, breathing rapidly in andout through your mouth 20 times. Then, breathe slowly, deeply and gently in and out 20 times through your nose. Once again, do the mouth-panting 20 times, then resume gentle nose-breathing. Notice what happens.

This technique is referred to as the breath of fire, and typically results in a state of… well, you find out!

These techniques can be very powerfully utilised when wanting to get in control of your state if you are going through a period of change such as reducing your weight, stopping smoking or developing more confidence.

Please remember that most people don’t breathe nearly enough. Start to breathe more deeply and notice how much better you feel. Have lots of fun with this. Notice how good you can make your self feel when you breathe differently.

Where is Happiness?

Do you move through life feeling everyday is the same? Like some repeated pattern that goes on and on? For some people, there’s nothing new to do under the sun, and nowhere to go. Everything is just boring, boring, boring. They work so hard to earn enough money to play, but yet their playtime passes so fast. Suffer five days, enjoy two days. Sometimes, to break the monotony, they seek thrill through intoxicants (alcohol, smoke), sex, and even drugs. For these temporary pleasures, it feels exciting while it’s happening, but once it’s over, the same pattern of meaninglessness sets in, and they’re left thinking, “When can I get the next high?”

Perhaps you will recognize this scene… Two old men are sitting on a bus. As the bus passes by the red-light district, one old man says to the other, “Hey… aren’t you going to see the chickens (prostitute) today?” The other man raises an eyebrow… a spark in his wrinkled eyes, “Yes, yes, I will be going this afternoon!” The first old man smirks, and says, “You didn’t even bring your medicine, how can you DO IT?”

For some people, their lust is so strong, that they borrow money from family and friends, just to visit brothels. You will see this pattern in addicts. Drug addicts, sex addicts, alcohol addicts. They’re always looking for the greater thrill and the next high, and that’s what sets their life on a downward spiral. They waste their time, energy, and money, instead of using it to build success.
For life to have zest, everyone needs that natural feeling of drive, anticipation, and excitement. When one does not know how to get it naturally, one may resort to vices to stimulate that sense of being fully alive, desperately trying to bring some meaning into life. But you see, happiness is within you… If you can’t satisfy your wants, then the other way to happiness is to release them. Let go of that which you must have. Shakyamuni Buddha said that, “All desire leads to suffering…” Suffering because you crave what you do not have. And let me ask you this: Is this yearning self-created? Or something imposed on you by the outside world? Perhaps it’s the outside world’s fault because other people keep flaunting their luxuries and exotic experiences. But surely, we create this yearning within ourselves. It is within our power to control it, or release it altogether.

Lord Richard Layard, Professor from the London School of Economics, a leading happiness researcher, says, “Happiness is a balance between your expectations and your attainments. One way is to get what you want. The other, is liking what you get.”
Many of our desires are misplaced. We think getting them will bring us happiness, but that is an illusion. These misplaced desires are nothing more than temporary pleasures. You don’t need to satisfy your desires to be happy; you need only release them. Do you need the attention of the opposite sex? No, as you get older, your body parts will sag, and the opposite sex will pay less attention to you. Must you get laid to be happy? No, as you age, your sex hormones will lessen, and so will your desire to mate. Must you wait till you have a million bucks? Nope. Historical and worldwide research shows that above US$15,000 a year, higher income is no guarantee of greater happiness.

The people who feel good everyday, without resorting to vices, have one mental characteristic in common. They have a dream, and they know what they want to achieve in life. This sense of purpose drives them; gives meaning to their existence. They have discovered their soul’s calling, and are living life to the fullest by following it. This is different from those who are ‘party animals’, “living life to the fullest” by drowning in deafening music, and shaking till the sun rises… That’s not living, that’s dying.
If you want to find true meaning and happiness in life, then you’ve got to uncover your life’s purpose. For each of us has a unique destiny. A path made specially for you to walk on this journey through life. Follow it, and you arrive in paradise. Ignore it, and you continue to wander… wasting time, and life itself.

1. You need to know what you’re made of. Your talents, strengths, and abilities.
2. Craft a vision for yourself, and visualize that dream in your mind.
3. Work out a plan that sets your goals and decides what actions you must take to achieve them.
4. Tell your closest friends about it, and commit yourself to taking five of the planned actions everyday to build your dream.

When you see that your actions are creating results, it will be a natural source of excitement and inspiration. Instead of spending time, energy, and money on vices, you invest it in creating an upward spiral of success. By releasing your desire for temporary pleasures, you kick your bad habit out the door. By choosing to live your purpose and answer your soul’s calling, you break free from the chains of monotony, and find truth, meaning, and happiness in life.

Simplicity, Patience And Compassion: The Three Treasures

According to Eastern tradition there are three treasures on the pathway to enlightenment: simplicity, patience and compassion. At first glance, such simple ideas. Yet after contemplation one easily recognizes: it’s these basic thoughts, when woven into our day, that can lead each of us to a contemplative, peaceful and more fulfilling life.

In this short article then, I invite you to take a page from Eastern religion: explore the three treasures and become aware of your relationship to them.

Simplicity
The first treasure: simplicity. Simplicity in thought and action. According to author Thomas Cleary in his translation of Taoist Meditation, simplicity leads the seeker on the Way. Simplicity of thought, he tells us, can often be brought about by silence. And in the silence, we gain personal wisdom. If finding 10 or 20 minutes each day to rest quietly or meditate could bring you closer to peace, would you be more conscientious in devoting this time?

Simplicity of action, however, feels a greater challenge. It involves priorities and discovering what is truly important. Here’s how I personally handle this: When I feel overwhelmed by my “to-do list” I create a game by challenging myself to let go of everything I can do without. Then, I remove as many things as I can from my list. What I am left with are those items of greatest importance. I devote as much time necessary to completing each task with joy and precision.

Try it now. What can you remove from the task list today that could bring you closer to simplifying your life? What will you place your attention on?

Patience
Treasure number two: patience. Yes, the virtue. And just like simplicity, it is also a challenge to move slowly through tasks until they have been completed or to remain calm when dealing with someone outrageous. I’ve found that we are often mirror images of others and attract to us parts of ourselves. This is important to note as it could manifest positive or negative events, depending on mindset. In this light, Inalya Vanzant reminds us to keep thoughts pure. She tells us to remind ourselves: “I will gain more understanding when I realize… how I interpret what comes at me is a reflection of what is in me.” When faced with a situation requiring patience ask yourself: Am I casting a positive image?

In this framework, more of my favorite wisdom comes from author Richard Carlson in his new book: Easier Than You Think. In it he explains, when we are with someone, we should make every effort to pay expert attention to that person. This engages them and often can diffuse a stressful situation by simply making them feel important. With this in mind, the next time you engage in conversation or even a casual chat with someone: ask yourself if you are creating a role model’s image.

Compassion
Compassion, the third treasure. I often liken it to empathy. Although we cannot always know directly what it is like to be another, we can value everyone’s need to be heard. Conflict or anger is often a cry for help. We simply need to be aware of our circumstances in effort to create compassion in our lives. We will be called to help others as we become more enlightened vessels of peace. Events will come to us as a reflection of what we need to heal in ourselves.

Thomas Cleary reminds us we should always act in sincerity. In Taoist Meditation he writes: “to choose what is good and hold onto it firmly is a matter of sincerity.” Compassion, as well, challenges us to define what is most important to us; a reoccurring theme throughout the three treasures. To me, this involves being awake and aware in our lives to see the ways in which we are available to give sincerity and service.

Today, be aware of the ways spirit is working through you. Remember: You are the vessel of peace for others and the world. I believe, the more we become vulnerable to trust and open ourselves to sincerity, the more we can allow compassionate behavior into our lives and become enlightened each and every day.

In Conclusion:
It is my wish these positive ideas enhance your life and bring you peace. Be conscious every day of the messages you are receiving, the people you meet, your experiences. It is amazing the way these simple ideas can enrich your life exponentially. Go forth then, and be aware. Place your attention on the three treasures: in the darkness they will bring you light.

Unhappy at Work? A Change is Coming

We all can’t be astronauts, professional athletes, dolphin trainers or test pilots — some of us have to work for a living. I’m not implying that the people in those professions don’t actually work, I’m suggesting that some jobs might not seem like work. Unfortunately, I don’t have one of those jobs and I’m guessing you don’t either. For the majority of us, work is a daily grind of repeating the same repetitive task day after day, month after month, year after year while spending eight or more hours a day with arrogant bosses and surly co-workers.

There is, however, hope for us drones. A change is coming. It may not be today, tomorrow or even this year, but your present situation will change. It has to, it’s the law. Okay, maybe not the law, but it is a law. It’s known as The Universal Law of Impermanence, which states that everything changes. Some change comes rapidly and some change takes eons, but eventually everything changes. You could find another job, get a promotion or transfer, or maybe your unfair boss or troublesome colleague will leave. Eventually the situation will change — it has to.

Confucius said “Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work another day in your life.” If that sounds good to you, you probably don’t want to wait eons for it to occur. Buddhism teaches us that we can either wait for the change to occur naturally, or we can initiate the change. It’s the difference between taking control of our lives or leaving it all up to the whim of the universe.

How much time have you spent actually trying to improve your situation? Sure, complaining is easy but it accomplishes very little. Have you actually looked for another job? Have you tried to improve your skills through in-house training, adult learning centers, books or correspondence courses? If none of these options are available to you, have you tried creating a better relationship with your boss and co-workers? Even the smallest step in the right direction is progress.

There is no one solution that is perfect for everyone — we all have unique situations, but if we are persistent and creative enough there are always options available to begin the process of change. Some people believe that finding happiness at work is as elusive as finding the Holy Grail, but how will you know until you’ve really tried?

You can help speed up the process of change or you can wait for it to occur naturally. Either way, a change is coming — it’s a law.