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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Focus on the simple things

A couple quick announcements:

1.) Thank you everyone for all the feedback you have been giving me on my recent videos I have been posting on Youtube.  I am going to continue to do this and ultimately what I my channel to become is a mix of motivating, inspiring, and funny videos that will help you live a richer and more fulfilling life.  If you have not checked out my Youtube channel yet, do so by clicking here: and please subscribe while you are there. :)

2.)  I have a photo up on the MSNBC "It's a Snap Travel Photo" section.  It is a photo of Stonehenge, please check it out and if you feel so inclined vote for it:

Last week I posted a video about a guy who was dying of cancer.  The video and his story were very powerful.

   Check out the Video Here

I spoke a bit about his story in last weeks Ustream chat, but it is powerful enough and the message is important enough that spending a few extra minutes on it is certainly warranted.

Eric's story is essentially this:

Several years ago he was diagnosed with cancer and was declared terminal.  But he beat the odds and survived.  He began sharing his story via Youtube.  Life continued on and eventually the cancer came back.  Now at 28 years old, with a wife and family that loves him, Eric is going to die.  He has tried every treatment and fought as hard as he could.

When I first watched this video, what amazed me about it was the simplicity of life.  In the eight minute video life was summed up like this: Live or Die, and this guy clearly wants to live.

We complicate our lives so much.  And in the process of complicating them we lose focus on the most important point of life, to live.

During Eric's final goodbye video, I did not hear him once mention some of the things that society has deemed to be so important:  there was no mention of the car he drove, the style of the clothes he wore, how much money he made, or the latest he said she said celebrity gossip.

I can only conclude that someone on death's door is not going to miss the above?  How can that be?  We spend so much of life, so much of our precious time and energy worries about, stressed about, and ultimately pursuing these things, why?  Why spend so  much time on that which is ultimately not that important?

What Eric talked about in the end is the same story I have heard from so many others that have been close to or experienced death through a loved one... the things that are most important are friends, family, the people who love you just for you.

Life in its most simple form really boils down to this: live or die.  And each and every day that we are still breathing we have a choice to make:  Live and do something proactive that brings us fulfillment and happiness, or Die a little and wallow, pout, be-moan our circumstances in life.

Trust me I am not in any way trying to make small of some of the most painful experiences in life.  What I am trying to say though is that even when the worst possible things happen in life we still have choice, to either become and ultimately be consumed by the pain, or acknowledge that the pain is a part of life and focus on those little every day things that make us smile that make us laugh.

After watching Eric's video I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on the little joys of life that make me happy: the sun, clean air, taking pictures of flowers, the sunset and sunrise, exercise, looking at the stars at night, rejoicing with friends for their successes etc...

The little things, no matter how small they may seem right now, in the end they really are the biggest things - the things that make up the substance of life.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,


Thursday, August 16, 2012

When Protecting is Really Hindering

Hellllooooo everyone! 

I hope this blog finds you in the midst of an exciting, action packed week! :)

A few announcements:

1st, it is FINALLY time for a Ustream chat.  It has been a long time coming and I have definitely been slacking.  I will post the exact time later today, but it will be sometime on Sunday. Plan on Sunday evening Europe time, Sunday morning PST time.

2nd, I am offering a promotion for the Exercise Accountability Group.  If you are a current member and refer two or more people to the group, you and each of those two people will get a month's membership free.  For more info about the Exercise Accountability Group, click here:

3rd, Once you finish reading this, you have to promise me that you will smile and then smile at someone else. :)  Deal?  Ok cool, now that the formalities are done on to the blog...

Funny how life works.  I had typed about two paragraphs for this blog and then deleted them because they were garbage!  They really were! :)  I started talking to a friend of mine and the topic of protecting came up.  As we talked more and more I decided that it presented the perfect blog topic. :)

I don't know about you, but I have a history of trying to protect people.  Ive skipped being straight forward and up front time and time again because I do not want to "hurt someone's feelings."  Of course what inevitably happens is that the person's feelings are hurt more because you would not be straight up with them.

Why do we do this?  Why is it that humans feel the need to try and protect one another?  Is it a survival instinct and an instinct to be strong?   Or is it the exact opposite, is it a weakness, a fear that we have, one that leaves us to scared, or not strong enough from the start?

I personally believe it is a weakness that we try to disguise as a strength.  I do not know one person that would prefer to have a conversation, or live a life full of smoke and mirrors.  Protecting someone is like pulling a band aide off slowly, it takes longer and hurts more.  Versus just pulling it off quick, feeling the pain, the moving past it.

I hear parents talking about this all the time, about wanting to protect their kids from the cold cruel world.  But by protecting them, are you really helping them to learn and grow?  Is it not better to learn to fall down at an early age so that you can also learn how to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and carry on?  What if you are guarded so much as a child that you never fall?  What happens when you will inevitably fall as an adult?  Will you be able to get back up?  Will you even know how?

At the end of the day I think it is undeniable that the desire to protect is engrained into our DNA.  However, what is also engrained into us is free will and when it comes to protecting, it is wise to exercise your free will first. 

Stop and ask yourself, "are my actions really in the best interest of this person?  If  I do this, or approach the situation this way, will this person still be able to learn and grow?'

Be honest with yourself first before you decide on what is best for someone else.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Getting Back to the Basics

Hellllloooooo everyone!! 

Yes I am back to slacking on the blogs.  I apologize as I really do enjoy blogging.  I think I am finally starting to create enough of a routine here in Europe that I should be able to blog more often than not, yea me! :)

Before I get to that a few things:

1.) We need to have a Ustream chat.  It has been way to long.  Look for an announced date and time on the 1 Year 1000 Challenge page within the next week

2.) I really appreciate everyone who took the time to provide me with feedback about my newsletter.  I am always looking for ways to try to provide the best for you all.  I will work at implementing some of the suggested changes.  If you would like to sign up to receive my free monthly newsletter, click here:

3.) One more thank you to pass along, thank you everyone who has taken the time to look at my photography page and provide me with feedback and suggestions.  This is a new venture for me so any comments/suggestions are greatly appreciated.  Please check out my photography page here:

Well I am officially a Europe resident, specifically London, for the next few months!!  And I got to share with you all, as excited as I am to have the opportunity to be here, it has been a little tough for me to adjust.

My thought process has not been one that has been conducive to helping me adjust either, which wherever my thoughts go, my actions will follow.

I really miss my friends and clients back home.  They have all become such a part of my day to day life that it is really strange not seeing them everyday.

I miss the Ocean.  I was able to go to the countryside this weekend and went as far as the Irish Sea.  I realized as I stood there for an hour taking photos of the sunset, that I have never been away from the Ocean this long.  Being born and raised in California, the Ocean has always been there.  And as much as I talk about how much I love it and how fortunate I am to have it in my backyard, I don't think I ever really truly realized just HOW MUCH I love it and HOW FORTUNATE I really am to have it in my backyard.

I miss the Sun!  See the Ocean above.  I have to be honest, not to brag, but because it is the truth, Santa Barbara is paradise, and I live there.  I have sun and perfect temperature more than 300days of the year. Again I can say until I am blue in the face how fortunate I am to call SB home, but I take a lot of it for granted in my day to day life.   

And I miss the 100's of other everyday conveniences I take for granted: knowing where the store is, having a the ability to do laundry at my house vs. going to a laundry mat, etc...

Wow, I am sounding spoiled aren't I?  The list could go on, and I have allowed it to because I have been choosing to dwell rather than rejoice.  I have been choosing to turn my back on the everyday opportunities that are all over the place

Time for a change! 

So when I finally decided to get over myself a few days ago, things, and most importantly, my Attitude started to change

I started focusing on how fun it will be to learn the layout of a new city.  To make the foreign not feel so foreign.  I began taking daily walks in different directions and enjoying, "getting lost" in the city. 

Since I can't rely on the real Sun to show up, I sought out an artificial one.  And as fate would have it, a tanning salon is literally right around the corner from where I am staying.  8 minutes later and the golden glow had not only returned to my skin, but to my overall attitude.

Rather than dwelling on not having my car so I can run to the grocery store.  I walked to the grocery store and made an adventure out of it.  And it was a blast.  I took my camera, got to see some sights, got to exercise, and most importantly I had a lot of time to think.  And I thought about how fortunate I am to even have a car to begin with.  Then I took it a step further and thought how fortunate I am to have legs to walk to the store and money in my pocket to buy things with. 

From my front door to the store it is less than a 15 minute walk.  And by the time I got to the store I was almost floating after spending 15 minutes focusing on all the haves instead of the have nots.

As I made my less than 15 minute return trip from the store it got me thinking about how important it is to use our resources when we find ourselves in a funk.  We all have resources to call on and there is no greater resource than your own mind.  Your mind has the power to shape your thoughts, and your thoughts will influence your actions.

The positive changes you want to make, the momentum you want to build, the reality you want to create, will never happen if your mind is not thinking thoughts that will support, encourage, and inspire you.

My first two weeks here have served as such a great reminder to get back to the basics.  To stop and smell the roses and enjoy the little things in life.  I may not have the Ocean in my backyard right now, but what I do have is my mind and with that I can see any Ocean, anywhere in the world, at any time I want.  All I have to do is close my eyes and focus my thoughts.  And on that note, I think I am going to go and visit the Caribbean. :)

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,