Loving Yourself Is The Greatest Revolution

Self-love

It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self love deficit.
― Eartha Kitt

If you keep avoiding self love, the Universe will keep sending you people who also avoid loving you, hoping you get a f*cking clue.

Our external world (the people around us and the situations we live in) will always be a mirror to our internal world, what is going on inside.
What does that even mean?
If we love ourselves, we will not be able to tolerate living in circumstances which don’t support that belief.

And the opposite is true.
If we don’t believe we are lovable and worthy, we will choose people and situations which support that.
That’s why the people we choose are such an invitation to our growth and what we need to focus on.

This is also why poisonous relationships can’t exist in our lives if we don’t believe on some level we deserve them.
They mirror what we believe about ourselves.

Loving yourself is the greatest revolution.
m
www.montywinters.com

9/11/01 – A Turning Point in LIFE

Turning Points in LIFE
September 11, 2001

I was day-trading stocks at the time, so I had three monitors and CNBC on TV at my desk. It was there that I watched transfixed as the horrific day of infamy unfolded in real time.

Personally my life sucked. I was going through divorce, moving a business to another location, and now I would soon receive confirmation I lost two friends who worked at the World Trade Center. I remember talking with friends in NYC days later, and hearing their shocking eyewitness accounts of watching people jump to their deaths prior to the collapse of the towers. I felt myself spiraling into depression. Yeah me.

Having dinner with a psychiatrist friend a few weeks later, he noticed I did not seem right. And of course coming from a psychology background I could tell through his questions he was checking off indications of severe depression. I was open and tried my best to be authentic and forthcoming. He told me that I was off the chart and pleaded that I start taking an antidepressant. I knew exactly what antidepressants would do, they would help take the “bad feelings” away and that was what my psychiatrist friend wanted for me, I knew that. I initially resisted, but in the end accepted his prescription for Zoloft.

Two weeks into my prescription (it takes awhile to get into your system) the medication took effect. The bad feelings were gone, I was able to work and function again, but it was more of a numbness. I didn’t feel the bad feelings, but I also realized I was not feeling a lot of the good feelings either. The kicker was I was having a “hard” time (pun) getting an erection. Shit. Trust me, as a member of the “single, red blooded male who likes sex” population, that was BIG. That was my turning point. I flushed the rest of the Zoloft down the toilet. I knew what I had to do. In reflection, that was the last prescription drug I have ever taken.

I launched into a physical workout schedule, started studying nutrition, personal development/self-awareness, and my spiritual journey. I have always been one to fly in the face of “You cannot do this”. My goal? Get back in excellent physical shape, create the best version of me possible, get back to my roots in counseling, and become a “Life Coach”. This was October 2001. I was at 6’5″, 280 lbs., not bad if you were sacking QB’s, but not good after you hang up your cleats. I gave myself until New Year 2002 to get down to my senior high school playing weight of 235. I lost the weight by Christmas. I celebrated by taking myself to Negril, Jamaica for my birthday in January. I had the best time of my life.

Yes, in the midst of the chaos/horror, 9/11 was a turning point for me.

Flash forward to 9/9/2006:

My mother had passed away in ’05, my father moved in with me, and we had moved to Sunset Beach, NC. We were the “Odd Couple” but hell, we lived at the beach now, there was no whining for me. Pop was transitioning through the loss of his bride of 56 years, it was slow. I had started my web design company, NetInFused, and was also enjoying my new career as a professional life coach. We had a 3 bedroom condo, it was a Saturday, and were taking in a party to meet my next door neighbors. 

That’s when I met Al.

Al and his wife lived below me. I could tell by their accent they were New Yorkers, I love NYC. Al’s wife was a hoot, she took a liking to me, we connected. Al, on the otherhand was friendly, but very quiet. And the quiet was strange, I immediately sensed that Al had some deep unresolved pain. Oddly, it reminded me of postwar PTSD effects. I would soon realize that I was on target.

Al’s wife pulled me aside at the party. “Do you know who my husband is?” I said no.  “My husband is Albert Turi, Deputy Assistant Chief (F.D.N.Y.). He was at ground zero during 9/11. He lost 343 men that day. This coming Monday will be the 5th anniversary, Al is having a really hard time.” I thanked her for sharing the information. I was instantly taken back to that day.  I felt his pain, I felt my pain. I remembered my turning point. Al and I did not talk anymore that Saturday.

Monday, September 11, 2006. 5th Anniversary of 9/11

I walked outside my condo sometime during the day and noticed Al walking . We greeted each other and then I put my arm around him and said:

“Al, I feel your pain. I lost two friends at the WTC. I am sorry for the magnitude of your loss. Thank you for your service and incredible bravery five years ago. You are my hero.”

Later, Al would share with me things that I could not fathom about that day. He was there, one of the first to arrive, was in the basement, heard explosions, and witnessed both collapses. He shared with me some deep shit. I will never forget it. I was emotionally and physically moved. We cried together. Another turning point. After that I never took LIFE for granted again. A few months later, Al and his wife left the beach and moved back to NYC. I lost touch with him, but will always remember our moments together.

Close to 3,000 people died in the World Trade Center and its vicinity, including a staggering 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City police officers and 37 Port Authority police officers who were struggling to complete an evacuation of the buildings and save the office workers trapped on higher floors.

9/11/2001
A Turning Point in LIFE.
Live and Love, like there is no tomorrow.
Utmost honor and respect, forever.

m.
#neverforget

A Gift For My Daughter

Kristin Brooke Winters

Today is my daughter Kristin’s birthday. She turned 28 and I have really enjoyed viewing old family pictures while reflecting on so many precious memories in her life. I am proud of the incredible young woman she has grown up to be. She is wise beyond her years, has a compassionate caring heart, and is truly beautiful inside and out. I read this letter recently and thought it would be a great gift to give Kristin on her birthday.

(This letter was originally published in a syndicated newspaper column by Harry Browne. It was dedicated to his 9-year-old daughter.)

It’s Christmas and I have the usual problem of deciding what to give you. I know you might enjoy many things — books, games, clothes.

But I’m very selfish. I want to give you something that will stay with you for more than a few months or years. I want to give you a gift that might remind you of me every Christmas.

If I could give you just one thing, I’d want it to be a simple truth that took me many years to learn. If you learn it now, it may enrich your life in hundreds of ways. And it may prevent you from facing many problems that have hurt people who have never learned it.

The truth is simply this:

No one owes you anything.

Significance

How could such a simple statement be important? It may not seem so, but understanding it can bless your entire life.

No one owes you anything.

It means that no one else is living for you, my child. Because no one is you. Each person is living for himself; his own happiness is all he can ever personally feel.

When you realize that no one owes you happiness or anything else, you’ll be freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be.

It means no one has to love you. If someone loves you, it’s because there’s something special about you that gives him happiness. Find out what that something special is and try to make it stronger in you, so that you’ll be loved even more.

When people do things for you, it’s because they want to — because you, in some way, give them something meaningful that makes them want to please you, not because anyone owes you anything.

No one has to like you. If your friends want to be with you, it’s not out of duty. Find out what makes others happy so they’ll want to be near you.

No one has to respect you. Some people may even be unkind to you. But once you realize that people don’t have to be good to you, and may not be good to you, you’ll learn to avoid those who would harm you. For you don’t owe them anything either.

Living your Life

No one owes you anything.

You owe it to yourself to be the best person possible. Because if you are, others will want to be with you, want to provide you with the things you want in exchange for what you’re giving to them.

Some people will choose not to be with you for reasons that have nothing to do with you. When that happens, look elsewhere for the relationships you want. Don’t make someone else’s problem your problem.

Once you learn that you must earn the love and respect of others, you’ll never expect the impossible and you won’t be disappointed. Others don’t have to share their property with you, nor their feelings or thoughts.

If they do, it’s because you’ve earned these things. And you have every reason to be proud of the love you receive, your friends’ respect, the property you’ve earned. But don’t ever take them for granted. If you do, you could lose them. They’re not yours by right; you must always earn them.

My Experience

A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything. For so long as I’d thought there were things I was entitled to, I’d been wearing myself out — physically and emotionally — trying to collect them.

No one owes me moral conduct, respect, friendship, love, courtesy, or intelligence. And once I recognized that, all my relationships became far more satisfying. I’ve focused on being with people who want to do the things I want them to do.

That understanding has served me well with friends, business associates, lovers, sales prospects, and strangers. It constantly reminds me that I can get what I want only if I can enter the other person’s world. I must try to understand how he thinks, what he believes to be important, what he wants. Only then can I appeal to someone in ways that will bring me what I want.

And only then can I tell whether I really want to be involved with someone. And I can save the important relationships for those with whom I have the most in common.

It’s not easy to sum up in a few words what has taken me years to learn. But maybe if you re-read this gift each Christmas, the meaning will become a little clearer every year.

I hope so, for I want more than anything else for you to understand this simple truth that can set you free:

No one owes you anything.

~ Happy Birthday sweetheart. You rock. I love you.

xoxo Dad

The Story of Life

Life Story
Your life. Your story.

Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there, to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson, or to help you figure out who you are or who you want to become.

You never know who these people may be..

Possibly your roommate, neighbor, co-worker, long lost friend, lover, or even a complete stranger..

But when you lock eyes with them, you know at that very moment they will affect your life in some profound way.

And sometimes things happen to you that may seem horrible, painful, and unfair at first, but in reflection you find that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realized your potential, strength, willpower, or heart.

Everything happens for a reason.

Nothing happens by chance or by means of good luck.

Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness, and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul. Without these small tests, whatever they may be, life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere. It would be safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless.

The people you meet who affect your life, and the success and downfalls you experience, help to create who you are and who you become.

Even the bad experiences can be learned from.

In fact, they are probably the most poignant and important ones.

If someone hurts you, betrays you, or breaks your heart, forgive them, for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious when you open your heart.

If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, not only because they love you, but because in a way, they are teaching you to love and how to open your heart and eyes to things.

Make every day count.

Appreciate every moment and take from those moments everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again.

Talk to people that you have never talked to before, and actually listen.

Let yourself fall in love, break free, and set your sights high.

Hold your head up because you have every right to.

Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don’t believe in yourself, it will be hard for others to believe in you.

You can make of your life anything you wish.

Create your own life and then go out and live it with absolutely no regrets.

Most importantly..

If you LOVE someone tell him or her, for you never know what tomorrow may have in store.

And learn a lesson in life each day that you live.

Perhaps my friends..

This is “The Story of Life”.

~ m

This Is Your LIFE 

Get the LIFE poster here.

Your Story Isn’t Over Yet – You Matter

Your Story Isn't Over Yet

Your Story Isn’t Over Yet

Stop focusing on all the things you don’t know how to do and start cultivating the things you do know how to do. You have something beautiful to place in this world. Don’t keep it buried inside your soul because you are afraid it’s not good enough.

Stop caring about what is good enough and just do your thing. This life my love is your only one. I say that so often because I want you to understand how fragile your story is. How in a blink of an eye it ends.

While you have this time I want you to fill up your book of life with pages of creation, laughter, joy, and love. I don’t want to watch the pages pass by. Each one blank because you were too afraid to mess up the words. Too afraid to share something. Too afraid of who would see and what they would think.

You have something inside of you that this world needs. Someone on this earth needs your words, messy or not and your story to continue their own. Your story matters. The life you live makes a difference. What is important to you could shine a light so bright it could heal someone’s soul. Isn’t that reason enough to try?

I know you are scared. And I know the fears have become walls so high and thick they seem unbreakable. They are not. Don’t let them deceive you into thinking you are a meaningless nobody. Tear those walls down. Let your faith and belief rip every brick out of your way. You were born a treasure and you will die a treasure. Fear doesn’t change that. Doubt doesn’t change that. Scars don’t change that.

Don’t look at the big picture. Don’t focus on how far you think you have to go. Don’t think so much just do it.

Just pick up that pen and write something. Write anything.

Grab your camera and take those photos. Let the world see what you see.

Take that class you’ve been wanting to and learn something you want to learn.

Draw. I mean it just draw. Don’t think of what it should be. Let your hands and the paper guide you.

Do something. Create something. Share it with me and the world.

I believe in you. I believe in your story.

And I believe your story will help someone tear down their own walls and let the light in.

Your story isn’t over yet.

I promise.

~ m

The Dance

The Dance

A beautiful poem to celebrate 2014, from a favorite writer of mine:

I have sent you my invitation
the note inscribed on the palm of my hand by the fire of living.
Don’t jump up and shout, “Yes, this is what I want! Let’s do it!”
Just stand up quietly and dance with me.

Show me how you follow your deepest desires,
spiralling down into the ache within the ache.
And I will show you how I reach inward and open outward
to feel the kiss of the Mystery, sweet lips on my own, everyday.

Don’t tell me you want to hold the whole world in your heart.
Show me how you turn away from making another wrong without abandoning yourself when you are hurt
and afraid of being unloved.

Tell me a story of who you are,
And see who I am in the stories I am living.
And together we will remember that each of us always has a choice.

Don’t tell me how wonderful things will be . . . some day.
Show me you can risk being completely at peace,
truly OK with the way things are right now in this moment,
and again in the next and the next and the next. . .

I have heard enough warrior stories of heroic daring.
Tell me how you crumble when you hit the wall,
the place you cannot go beyond by the strength of your own will.
What carries you to the other side of that wall,
to the fragile beauty of your own humanness?

And after we have shown each other how we have set and kept the clear, healthy boundaries that help us live side
by side with each other, let us risk remembering that we never stop silently loving those we once loved out loud.

Take me to the places on the earth that teach you how to dance, the places where you can risk letting the world break your heart.
And I will take you to the places where the earth beneath my feet and the stars overhead make my heart whole again and again.

Show me how you take care of business
without letting business determine who you are.
When the children are fed but still the voices within and around us shout that soul’s desires have too high a price,
let us remind each other that it is never about the money.

Show me how you offer to your people and the world
the stories and the songs you want our children’s children to remember, and I will show you how I struggle
not to change the world, but to love it.

Sit beside me in long moments of shared solitude,
knowing both our absolute aloneness and our undeniable belonging.
Dance with me in the silence and in the sound of small daily words,
holding neither against me at the end of the day.

And when the sound of all the declarations of our sincerest
intentions has died away on the wind, dance with me in the infinite pause before the next great inhale of the breath that is breathing us all into being, not filling the emptiness from the outside or from within.

Don’t say, “Yes!”

Just take my hand and dance with me.

~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer, “The Dance”

You Just Never Know

You Never Know

You just never know if:

  • Someone has just been diagnosed and is thinking about all they have to lose.
  • Their lover just texted them to say, “It’s over”.
  • He wakes up every day thinking he’s about to fail, fearing that everyone else in the world knows something that he doesn’t.

You just never know if:

  • She’s in the middle of a divorce and is about to go on stage.
  • Before he was your driver, or your waiter, he was a doctor in his homeland.
  • Their spirit was fractured as a child by unspeakable things.
  • She is frightened.. All the time.
  • He resists life itself.. All the time.
  • They are frail from lack of love.

You just never know if:

  • They’re faking loving the heart-hollowed life they fought so hard to make.
  • Chemicals are coursing through them in destabilizing ways.
  • She hasn’t slept through the night in months and months.
  • They’ve experienced a loss that will leave a gaping wound for the rest of this incarnation.
  • Today is especially hard and they’re doing their best, while they wish for just a little more than what they’ve got.

You just never know.

Suspend judgement.

There is a story behind every person you meet.

Avoiding conclusions..

Can be a monumental act of love.

~ M

Relationships: LIFE According to Carl and Ellie

Up Relationships

LIFE is all about Relationships

I spent almost 20 years in the movie industry, I have watched a lot of movies.  I am a big guy but I admit, I am rather tender hearted. My kids know firsthand that I rarely made it through a Disney movie without tearing up. I used to be able to conceal it pretty good by strategically placing my children on my left and when it happened, note the word when, I would just turn my head to the right until I could collect myself. It wasn’t long before they figured me out and insisted on stationing themselves on either side. Yes, going forward I was forever busted.

The Relationships Masters: Carl and Ellie’s Lessons on LIFE

Up is the story of a lonely, curmudgeonly widower, Carl Fredricksen, who decides to escape the world’s chaos by tying thousands of helium balloons to his home and floating away to paradise—all alone. But shortly into his trip, Carl learns he’s not alone.. a stowaway, a young boy named Russell, has unwittingly come along for the adventure. And along the way, both Carl and Russell learn some poignant lessons about LIFE ..

And about the importance of Relationships.

One of the most important things we can do is to connect with other people.. and it’s easy to lose track of that. And that’s the essential message of the film, that Carl thinks he missed the real adventure in life by not going to these exotic places and seeing these fantastic sights. But in the end he learns that he had the best adventure of all..

The adventure of the relationship that he had with his wife.

I expected to cry, but I never expected to be reduced to tears in the first 10 minutes of the movie.  And now you know.

LIFE is relationships.. The rest is just details.

Are You A Happy Person? What Do They Look Like?

Happy

If you’re happy and you know it..

If you are a parent, a teacher, or remember a big purple dinosaur, I dare say you can sing this along with me:

So for future reference, if you see a child clapping, stomping, nodding, spinning, and exclaiming “We Are!”.. leave them alone, they are Happy and they Know it! And thank yourself and the big purple dinosaur for providing this clear indication for a generation of kids, and us parents.

Because later on it is not that easy.

How do you know if someone is really happy?

I observe people, it is my job. And when I ask someone what they really want, most will say they just want to be happy.

But how do you know if someone is happy?

Gandhi provided this..

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

But what does that look like?

I have studied happiness, read lots of books on the subject, attended seminars/workshops, and listened to friends, colleagues, clients, share their thoughts on this subject.

What happy people look like.

Here are 10 common qualities that I have noticed in “Happy” people:

  1. They know happiness is a choice. They understand it does not come from outside. It is a decision to consciously create their own happiness.
  2. They don’t complain. They know it is a waste of time, energy, and only produces more of a negative mindset.
  3. They never blame others. They take 100% responsibility for their actions and outcomes, or their lack thereof.
  4. They avoid toxic people, place priority on healthy relationships, and spend time with positive, like-minded people.
  5. They are more effective than most at mastering their emotions. They feel things like we all do, but are not slaves to their emotions.
  6. They embrace change, they readily adapt, they are not creatures of habit and are comfortable with the unfamiliar.
  7. They are kind, generous, and take great pleasure in helping others achieve happiness. They are happy to make others look good and do not seek personal glory.
  8. They are life-long learners. They constantly work at educating themselves, learning, unlearning, and relearning.
  9. They are secure in who and what they are. Their sense of self-worth does not come from what they own, who they know, where they live or what they look like.
  10. They talk the talk, and walk the walk. They practice what they preach. They live it.

Do any of these qualities resonate with you? Do you consider yourself a happy person?

Actually, when you cut through all the fluff, here’s the only question that needs to be asked:

Do you want to be happy?

“Yes Monty, but..”

Nope, you cannot put conditions on it..

Do you “really” want to be happy?

If you want to be happy, you choose to be happy no matter what. Period.

This is your ultimate power and freedom, no one can do for you, no one can take it away.

Choose Happy.

By the way.. You rock!