Archives for August 2015

What’s really special about the Special Olympics

The Special Olympics World Games happened in Los Angeles last month.  It was the largest sports and humanitarian event of the year bringing together 6,500 athletes and 2,000 coaches representing 165 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and 500,000 spectators.  Personifying courage, passion and perseverance.

Click here to watch the video we produced showing all this inspiring event! Below are three powerful lessons the athletes taught me and Parisa about what life feels like when you come from a place of love, learning and leadership.  We are so grateful to have worked with such beautiful, kind souls.

Lesson #1: Be eager to learn. No matter their physical or intellectual challenges, every athlete shared their enthusiasm and openness when learning something new. People didn’t shy away or close down when they were challenged or outside their comfort zone. The majority of the workshop participants didn’t know about Qigong, but as they moved and mimicked what I was doing, their smiles grew bigger as they grew more confident and calm. When you’re eager to learn, you’re fearless.

Lesson #2: Practice gratitude: As I looked around at the thousands and thousands of people sitting in the stands, competing on the field and waving from the sidelines, joy was everywhere. Have you noticed that all happy people love sharing stories? Athletes and families swapped stories about winning, losing and lessons learned. All of us are grateful when we’re surrounded by like-minded people who offer encouragement and belonging irrespective of who is wearing gold, silver or bronze.

Lesson #3: Accept, celebrate and include others. The long-time oath of the Special Olympics is “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Each of us is blessed with special gifts and special limitations. How we celebrate those differences shape who we are as individuals and who we are as a community. All of us win when we accept, celebrate and include people different from us; our world and our heart grow larger. You know why? You’re perfect just the way you are. We’re all on the same team, playing the same special game.

How to be the change you want to see in the world

“A large majority of the surgical cases coming to me should never really have come. Wrong moral and mental attitudes created functional disturbances in the physical organism and then became organic or structural disease.”

— edited excerpt from How to Change Your Life by Ernest Holmes, Dr John M. Berry former Chief Surgeon and Superintendent of Clifton Springs Sanitarium (New York, 1909)

Every action is preceded by a thought. And every thought fuels a positive or negative emotion. That thought-emotion-action cycle is pretty much your life. Mine too.

Luckily, you can actually train your mind into “right thinking” so what you do, how you feel and who you are benefit your mind, body and spirit. When we train our minds to be peaceful, we also better Serve our loved ones and the world around us.

If you’re reading this post right now (thank you!), you’re likely someone who cares about improving themselves and their world. You’ve got a big heart – and the world loves generous, kind people like you. The whole wide world thrives when we open our hearts and fix our eyes on what we want to change.

In Chinese medicine the heart houses the mind. A weak, closed heart equals a weak, closed (often cruel) mind. Here are five practical tips for strengthening your heart so you can go out there and be the change you want to see in the world.

Practice self-awareness. Mindfulness begins with just one conscious breath. Connect with your conscious observer by watching your thoughts without judgment. Relax and release negative thoughts. Savor thoughts that feel positive and life-affirming. The lowest, slowest emotion is fear. Fear closes your heart. Love opens your heart and your life to others.

Discover your “why”. When you know why you’re doing something (e.g., going to work, parenting your child, quitting sugar) your likelihood for success goes up BIG. Life is supposed to be joyful. Change your mindset, change your life. Find a positive big-picture reason so you’ll feel inspired to keep going.

Create healthy relationships. You know who they are. Crabs in the barrel try to bring you down, down, down. Negative people are toxic, especially if they’re related to you! Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your dreams. When you’re without company or friends, honor the realization you are never alone. You’re an integral, never-to-be-seen again piece of the puzzle.

Cultivate positive habits. Yet again, Gandhi says it best: “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”

Show self love and self care. You teach people how to treat you. If you don’t know how to forgive yourself, how to celebrate your successes, how to show respect and love, guess what? You’ll attract people who treat you just as badly as you treat yourself. (That’s not blame, that’s law of Attraction.) Find activities, interests, fascinations, hobbies – “stuff” – that fill you with wonder and joy. When you’re enthusiastic and inspired, you are one with spirit. Have fun, spread joy, rest and rejuvenate. Repeat.

One by one we will become “everyone”. And when everyone practices these tips, the world will be a different place. For now, commit to watch your mind, honor your heart and always try your best.

Today and always we pray for peace and harmony for you and the entire world.

Love and Gratitude,

Chris & Parisa Shelton and the Morning Crane Team