Beauty From The Mountain

One of the joys of good health is being able to walk. On a trip to the United States of America, I had the privilege of walking up two Phoenix, Arizona peaks. The first was the Camelback. The mountain range is so named because of its similarity to the animal. The small vertical span lies within the heart of the city. The walk is two-and-one-half kilometres to reach the summit of the camel’s ‘hump’.

It is not a straight walk to the hump. There are several natural obstacles that must be overcome. It is not an average walk for average persons yet obtainable for all average persons who want to extend the boundaries of their comfort zone.

Reaching the top, we were rewarded with a wonderful full circle view of Sun Valley. Seeing four million people in one area with room for many millions more was hard to comprehend—especially when I was viewing the equivalent of New Zealand’s entire population in one space.

Having conquered Camelback, I was keen to take up my cousin’s offer to trail-blaze a path up another mountain not usually climbed. My brother, cousin, and cousin’s seventeen year old son all set out for our adventure before the sun was up over the horizon. We reached the area of our endeavour, and began walking through the desert to reach the mountain’s base.

We walked two-and-one-half kilometres before commencing our ascent. We had set our sights on the sole communications tower. Its lofty position atop that mountain challenged us to touch it.

So we climbed.

Our biggest difficulty was time. My brother had to fly out that afternoon. We were racing against a turn-around time. That is the time when we have to turn around in order to get back on time. Our goal was to reach that tower before the turnaround time expired.

As we climbed, we passed wildlife and beautiful desert vegetation. There were occasional stops to chase lizards and look for snakes, but as we climbed higher, we knew the snakes were less likely to be present. Our attention began to be focused on the view.

The higher we climbed, the more insignificant human dwellings became. We did have to stop for rests. Water is a very important part of desert exercise. On one such rest stop, we calculated we would be able to reach the peak before our turnaround time. We were so excited! We set off with renewed vigour.

The thing about climbing peaks in the midst of a range is that everything looks different once you are in the midst of those peaks. The closer you get to your goal, the more obstacles become apparent. At one point, we realised we lost half-an hour minimum by climbing to the right around a pinnacle instead left up a wash. Not to be detoured, we pressed on even harder to reach our mark before the turnaround time.

The higher we climbed, the more difficult it was. Our bodies began to feel the forty-plus years of wear and tear. It would be no excuse to quit; just a realisation that we had to pace ourselves differently from the seventeen year old trail-blazer.

As we were close to conquering the crest of our chosen mountain peak we were troubled by the loss of sight on our objective. It had been some time before the communications tower was in our view. We sent our robust teenager ahead. His father shouted out to him, ‘How close are we to getting there?’ The answer was not what we expected.

‘About three hours’.

My cousin and I exchanged anxious looks.

‘He can’t be right’ I recall my cousin declaring.

The three men rested for the final assault. We were standing nearly straight up as we laid down against the mountain. The height was producing some dizzying views. The hot, dry, thin desert air receded even further from our lungs. We then set out.

My brother was the first to see what the teenager was talking about. We climbed the wrong peak! If we had gone left up the wash we would have been on the right path. However, our chosen route took us up a false peak.

We finally saw the communication tower from our mountain peak, but not the peak we wanted. From the ground, our conquered peak was directly in line with the same peak upon which the tower stood. From the ground, they appeared as one. They obviously were not. My brother looked at the situation and asked, ‘Anyone got a mustard seed?’

It was a reference to the statement by Jesus Christ that if you command a mountain to ‘Move’ it will be thrown into a sea of water. Well, that mountain didn’t move, and we had to begin our descent. Our turnaround time was reached.

We snapped pictures of ourselves on the peak we ascended. The views were awesome. We could see over and beyond the mountain peak climbed the day before. We were very high. Mountain top experiences are captivating. They hold you in place and make you realise how insignificant one person is in the midst of Nature. It is difficult to comprehend the relevance of an individual when staring at such vastnesses.

This particular mountain top experience inspired me to do some research after returning home to New Zealand. I was fascinated by my brother’s reference to the words of Jesus Christ. They are part of a literary classic known commonly as The Sermon on the Mount.

Whether or not those words were even spoken on a mountain has been debated. What is universally accepted is that its message transcends time giving relevance. The opening remarks of this immortalized discourse have become an unofficial Manifesto for Judaeo-Christian cultures. Societal members without religious associations attempt to live by these immortal words. They inspire every one of us to strengthen our inner being and identify our core values. Jesus Christ challenges us to a higher calling beyond the daily routine.

I set about searching for a practical application in the twenty-first century. This series is a result of that research. It focuses on sermon opening known as The Beatitudes. Beatitude is a technical term. You won’t hear the word in your TV conversations or evening socials. Every industry has its own set of words which are understood by insiders and ignored others. Beatitude is one such term. The Western religious world has a tendency to create technical terms with Latin origins. Our language imported the term from the French béatitude that in turn was assimilated from the Latin beatitude. In all languages the term means blessedness. The closest we use this term in everyday life is when someone sneezes: “Bless you!” And therefore beatitude is a declaration of blessedness.

There are nine different sayings that begin with the words “blessed are…” Scholars have assigned the term Beatitudes to describe these sayings. Each one of the beatitudes presents a desired virtue. The outcome of internalising these virtues is understood by the equivalent in Solomon’s writings, “happy is the man…” The Beatitudes teach us what is worthwhile in life to pursue. The items listed by Jesus contain the place for the greatest happiness to found on earth. The eighteenth century American experiment recognised the pursuit of happiness as an unalienable right of each human soul. It resulted in a revolution altering the face of human government. More than 200 years later happiness is still being pursued. What if you could find it right now?

Jesus equates divine blessing as happiness. His sermon teaches you how to find that happiness. The Beatitudes are a map to find peace in your Self. Exercising these virtues is a pursuit of happiness. In its spiritual context beatitude is a divine blessing on a person pursuing the stated virtues. As such it is a priceless revelation on how you can live a fruitful life!

Abundant living; a stronger inner being; purposeful decision making; all of this awaits YOU! I hope you too will admire the timelessness of the ancient Prophet’s message and share with me the beauty from this mountain top experience.

[reprinted from sermon series originally delivered in Auckland, New Zealand, 2005]

Embracing Altruism

Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. – Martin Luther King Jr.

Altruism is devoting yourself to the welfare of others. Its opposite is egoism. Egoistic persons habitually value everything solely through self-interests. Egoists are selfish; Altruistic persons are not. Ethics embraces the principle and practice of Altruism.

In March 2015, a debate ended sourly inside the West Auckland suburb of Titirangi, New Zealand. A couple bought a piece of property to develop. They wanted to build their dream home. To fulfill their dream required local government consent to cut down a tree. The tree was a “young” Kauri about 300-400 years old. The Council consented. That is when the fireworks began.

A polarized society responded. On one hand were those who believe in individual property rights. They believed freedom was being attacked. On the other hand were those who believe that native fauna of that vintage belong to the people not individuals.

The couple abandoned their dream and the tree still stands. It is a testimony to ethical dilemmas.

If we replaced the word “tree” with “child” there is no debate. There are strong values shared on both sides that children are to be protected to preserve our future. So is it fair to replace “tree” with “child”? Only to highlight the ethical dilemma.

At the heart of the dilemma is altruism versus egoism.

  • If you believe in the protection of property rights to the fullest, you will express altruism differently. You will champion the individual as representative of Society.
  • If you believe in the protection of resources to the fullest, you will express altruism differently. You will champion the resource as belonging to Society and not individuals.

I will leave the “rightness” of the outcome to your thoughts.

Altruism preserves for a greater good. Egoism deconstructs for individual purposes. When we replace “tree” with “child” it illustrates the power of Altruistic motivates.

The Kauri removal debate illustrates how ethics are not created in isolation. New Zealand as a Society was forced to consider what it valued as the greater good. The couple adhered to all the rules of law yet Society deemed its written law did not express a value they held to be above the law.

I appreciate that perhaps ethics should not change a value because of others; if something is good it is good no matter how many agree or disagree. However, to deny the input of Society is to elevate the individual’s selfish understanding. The result would be as described long ago, “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

I am not advocating Society’s right to change values; I am arguing that the values are discoverable in the midst of Society and that the alternative is open to narcissistic exploitation. I realize Society is not a Person but a collective of people; it is Community.

Community is positive. It invokes feelings of happy social gatherings. Ethics is not meant to be austere; it is an accepted guide to healthy interactions within the Community.

The masses are protected when individual elitists purporting a greater good are stripped of sole determination of “what is good”? It is interesting how such individual’s definition of “good” seems to advance personal agendas.

Challenge: Ethics finds definition of value outside of the individual. Why do I believe my definition of good is correct? Does my understanding of good mutually benefit Society?

Barriers to Success

Do you know what yours are?

Ready to eliminate them for good?

FREE EVENT!

Wednesday, January 4th 7:15pm –8:45pm

Three amazing coaches share their gifts of knowledge, experience, techniques and transformation!

Join us in the courtyard at:

Ellie’s Health And Energy Center

3095 State Street, Suite B, Carlsbad, California

This will be an afternoon of amazing inspiration with experiential learning. Drinks, snacks, and homemade sweets will be provided.

Please RSVP to reserve your spot! Ellie 760-415-3560

or contact through www.ElliesHealthAndEnergyCenter.com

Words Create what Thought Imagines

Chapter 1 – 56 Notions of Success (Xlibris: Auckland, January 2015)

Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits. – James Allen

It is a privilege to empower persons from different cultures. At the time of this writing, I am contracted as a Corporate Trainer to a major Insurance Corporation. It is wonderful to empower persons from all backgrounds, equipping them with tools for success.

Being based in Auckland, New Zealand, it is rich in culture. One out of every three persons living in Auckland was born outside of New Zealand! It is also home to the largest population of Polynesians in the world. Every week I have new persons from different parts of the world united before me. They all want to be successful.

English is a second language for many of these aspiring business owners. This fact alone challenges me to be ever learning as to how best communicate success principles. My favorite way to get their attention is by using the following statement:

“This is where Christians and Witches agree!”

Polynesians in particular are embedded with a culture of Christianity. The statement arrests their attention—and even more so the attention of the many Christian ministers sitting in my workshops.

I love it!

The context of my statement is introducing the concept of “magic numbers”.

Sales is a numbers game. You work out how many prospects you contacted; calculate the ratio of presentations given; and then count how many closes you made. Learn those three numbers and then put pressure on the system. It takes the pressure off your prospects and yourself.

Where I am currently contracted, the magic numbers are 30-20-10. 30 appointments each week produce 20 presentations of the products. 10 of the 20 presentations average out to be sales. Those three numbers work like magic.

I appreciate Disney and Harry Potter might have tainted our idea of magic. We expect to wave a wand to receive instant results. True magic, however, promotes belief and intent as key to results. Your intentions are of utmost importance! And, of course, whether or not you believe there is a power within you or beyond you to produce the results. That is why I say Witches and Christians agree: both accept faith and heart attitude are required to “move mountains.”

There is a mutual understanding that created results begin in the mind.

Christians teach God desired to create the worlds and thus spoke them into existence. Creation, by their teaching, is a direct result of spoken words that were first conceived as the Creator’s intent.

The first notion of success begins inside of you. What is it you want to create? What is your idea of success? How will you define success? What is the project you wish to complete? You are already thinking about what you want to create. Your intention is to do it. Now believe you can!

This is why daily affirmations are so important. Every day you should audibly “affirm” something positive about yourself, your intent, and your belief. Christians do this by memorizing texts from their bible. Affirmations are encouraged by Jesus where he taught:

Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, “Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea;” and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Mark 11:23

This eternal mother principle of fertility, beauty, happiness and productiveness begins inside your heart. It proceeds from your heart out through your mouth. It leaves your mouth and becomes a reality. It works like magic!

Each notion of success you read ends with a related affirmation. You are encouraged to adapt them for yourself. Every morning state them audibly. You’ll be amazed what it does for you “inside and out.”

Affirmation: I am abundant with unconscious power.

Read more free chapters on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

The Feeble Cony

The other day I was driving through the parking lot of a hotel property and saw an amazing sight. In the midst of America’s 8th largest city, there was a wild rabbit forging for food. Obviously it hopped away as soon as it saw my moving vehicle. What amazing survival skills!

It reminded me of a Proverb preserved by King Solomon:

The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks. — Proverbs 30:26

Conies are rabbit-like creatures with no tail and naked ears.  The biggest difference is in their feet.  Conies cannot burrow into the ground. That is why they live under the clefts of rocks in high hills.  Imagine: feeble rabbits living among mountain lions and wild goats!

Coney on High

If a rabbit can survive with its bounce through life, surely we can endure the emotional fires that scorch our daily routine? Spiritual persons are often viewed as “weak” minded by the materialists. Yet the same onlookers mysteriously wonder how we find such strength! They are blinded to the source of our strength: the inner Wisdom of Christ.

Conies are cud-chewing animals much like cows! Personal development is possible by “chewing” on inspirational writings. Be sure to spend time each day reading. It is a key to your success. Listening to expositions of such readings with others is like a safety net. That is because there is strength in numbers.

You see, conies remain vibrant by living in flocks and herds. An individual cony is more likely to escape an attack if it is just one among many targets. Predators often grow confused when confronted with multiple targets. The spiritually-minded need to remember that their inner health is dependent on assembling with like-minded persons. Like the cony, we are designed to be connected. Relationships are a key to our survival.

Conies under Rock

These “feeble folk” have a wisdom every one of us should emulate. They teach us how to dwell in those Divine high places!

Book Signing Report

Thank you everyone who supported me during the Book Signing! And a special thanks to Ellie’s Health Center for the cookies!
 20160814_190444408_iOS
Book signings are always fun; however, today’s was very special. Steve already had his own copy of the book, 56 Notions of Success. He brought his book along to be signed. That was very cool.
20160814_191700927_iOS
Steve with his now signed copy
Carlsbad Village hosted its 14th annual art festival. It is a lot of fun. The streets are closed down for artists and craftspersons to sell their talent under rented tents. A local bookstore positioned right on the feature way invited me to use their sidewalk area. It was a great time to meet lots of people…. and dogs! At times you would sware it was a dog show!
If you missed out you can go to amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com and order your book today. Follow “56 Notions” on Facebook and stay informed  about the upcoming sequel:
56 Notions of Ethics.

“Business is Business” is Bullocks

The following is an excerpt from upcoming book, 56 Notions of Ethics

A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world. – Albert Camus

One of the most difficult attitudes to deal with in business is the attitude that there is a difference between business decisions and personal decisions. I know you’ve heard it: “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” The statement is given as if it is an axiom of truth.

It could not be further from the truth.

Underlying the statement is a belief in two sets of ethics: one for business relationships and one for personal relationships. Ethics are ethics! There are not two different standards for behavior. People are people. Whether the context is business relationships or personal relationships, both are dealing with acceptable conduct between persons.

There simply is no such thing as “business ethics”.

Nor is there a difference between business relationships and personal relationships. Business deals with people. That makes its relationship “personal”. What is being exchanged is more than money for goods: there is an exchange of value based on trust. People are willing to release the fruit of their hard earned labor when they trust they are receiving something of equal or superior value. The relationship, even in a business context, is literally a personal one.

I was once called to a meeting as a witness. A particular sales agent we will name Silvia was caught in the middle of a controversy. Her high performance encouraged management to ignore details of previous sales. However, this time, it appeared Silvia had forged signatures on a contract.

When questioned, Silvia confessed that the signatures were not that of the applicant. She justified the outcome by stating her managers wanted high production that week. They instructed her to “do whatever it takes” to meet her target. In her mind, she was being true to her instruction. She was being a team player. A matter of legality was inconvenient. The law existed only as a guide, not a rule.

In many ways, Sylvia was a product of her environment. Her company lacked ethics. They had no enforced culture of accountability except that of the law. That meant agents had no rules to operate by within the context of their job, “so long as it was legal.”

John Maxwell, in his work titled, There Is No Such Thing As “Business” Ethics, explains that when an organization is dependent on the law as its standard for ethics, that organization is morally bankrupt.

The Company was guilty of thinking Sylvia’s personal actions could be separated from the Company’s business decisions. They were caught out because both had the Law as a backstop. That meant “anything goes” on the playing field until the ball hits the backstop. It is like trying to play softball without rules.

A business without clearly identifiable values to which they are held accountable is a business morally bankrupt. Success is not fulfilling a selfish goal, it is adding value. Value to the lives of others as well as your own. Values are created in the context of society not selfishness.

Many sales persons create their own values in a vacuum. They justify unethical behavior believing it is a path to Success. Reaching a position of success does not entitle you to unfettered behavior. It actually does the opposite. The more successful you become the more you need to be held accountable.

Truly successful organizations create a Code of Conduct and hold themselves accountable. Such public action creates trust and enforces value in their market relationship. Ethically-based value is more powerful in the marketplace then newly earned Success.

Challenge: Ethics incorporates an unconscious power created by relationships. Do I use that power to add value in the lives of others? Or do I use that power to promote my personal agenda?