Keep Discovering More Things You Love To Do

My name used to be “HAVE TO” Freeman.  In junior high and high school, I lived my life in a way I thought I SHOULD to be well-liked, to be successful, to be one of the cool kids and, as I grew up, to be one of the cool adults.  I had a long “SHOULD LIST”for being a highly successful man and was determined to follow it.  (I still have this “SHOULD LIST” in the back of my mind.  But am much less determined to follow it these days.)

What is on your SHOULD LISTfor being a highly successful adult?

As I love to say in this blog, (along with the love and teachings of my parents and many others), Laughter Yoga, hatha yoga, creative writing, and countless miles of walking are some of the miracles that have allowed me to move from experiencing a life of disability to experiencing a life of radiant ability.

Part of the miracle of these activities is that I Love To Do Them.  However, none of these activities were on my “SHOULD LIST” for being a highly successful adult.

For example, I have been known to take fourteen hatha yoga classes a week at Pilgrimage of the Heart, the studio where I’m a member.

Do I do this because I wake-up in the morning and think, “Oh there are so many things I would rather be doing, but I better go to two yoga classes today because people say it’s supposed to be good for me.  I SHOULD REALLY GO!”

No, not at all!  I go to two yoga classes a day because I LOVE yoga, I LOVE the benefits I see from yoga, I LOVE the studio I go to, and I LOVE my teachers and my fellow students.

Yoga has become a miracle in my life because I have done it over and over again.  IN A WAY YOU COULD SAY I’VE ALLOWED YOGA TO BE A MIRACLE IN MY LIFE BECAUSE of MY PARTICIPATION IN IT

Another part of this miracle is that yoga brings me JOY AS I DO IT.

We can work hard at achieving health and achieving our dreams by doing things we think we SHOULD do.  The world is full of endless ideas, and endless things that have worked for other people.  People might tell us that we SHOULD do such and such to achieve such and such result.  But the only SHOULD that actually makes us do something is the SHOULD we tell ourselves.

Each one of us is ultimately responsible for finding the activities that we love to do, the activities that bring us both joy and the results we want.

I’ve found that it can be unsettling to pursue the things we love to do because it often challenges and can change our definition of what it is to be a highly successful adult.

As you move from your “SHOULD LIST”to your “THINGS I LOVE TO DO LIST,” I found that life can change and expand in unpredictable ways.  These changes can be exciting and at the same time occasionally daunting.

To keep in mind the direction I want to go, rather than “No Pain, No Gain”, my motto has become “FIND JOY, FIND GAIN.”

The journey from “No Pain, No Gain” to “FIND JOY, FIND GAIN.” is the journey from “I’m doing this because I SHOULD” to “I’m doing this because I LOVE TO,” the journey from struggling with your life to loving your life, the journey from being your own SHOULD-maker, to being your own MIRACLE-maker.

This journey can be a life-long adventure.

Have fun!

Game of the Day

What’s currently on your “THINGS I LOVE TO DO LIST?”

What is your next step to finding more of “THE THINGS YOU LOVE TO DO?”

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com

Friday One Minute of Excitement

How long has it been since you just walked and laughed?

Click on the link to watch the video for a one-minute inspirational blast!

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com. 

Friday One Minute of Excitement!

Do you need an emotional energy boost?

Watch this video!

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com. 

The Bottom Line Is Joy

Without happiness, our work can become the serious mechanics of making money instead of the joy of making a living.  When times get tough at work, often one of the first things we cut from our day is our satisfaction.  We replace satisfaction with stress, frustration and the like.

I’ve started reflecting upon this question:

Are we more productive and creative at work when we are happy or when we are miserable?

Some days when I’m working I notice that I can indeed become stressed out, frustrated and unhappy.  These feelings have actually occurred more often than I like to admit.

And the funny thing is that part of my training has included becoming a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and Teacher, as well as, a Laughter Life Coach.

One would think that these three credentials would inoculate me from creating miserable days at work.

However, I have found that even these great credentials don’t save me from miserable days at work; rather it takes constant practice to create joy and bring it to the job.

At work, we can play and have fun, while being productive, if we keep practicing and practicing.

This practice is important because being miserable not only limits our quality of life but our ability to be creative and achieve results.

While the circumstances of our work may be challenging, we have the power to create these circumstances as playful and rewarding, rather than miserable.  We can move from feeling like a victim of our work to being the joyful hero of our work.

The key is the daily practice of creating ways to play and laugh at work while still being productive.

So let’s all create happiness, quality, results and a strong bottom line!

Game of the Day

How can you create happiness at work even when the circumstances are challenging?

The View

When my wonderful friends Dan and Jill came to visit for the All-American Laughter Yoga Conference, I had the opportunity to show them my apartment.  After that, I immediately took them up to my building’s rooftop deck that overlooks downtown San Diego and The Big Bay.

Dan said that he would always be up on the rooftop savoring the view and watching planes fly overhead on their way to land at the airport.

I changed the subject, not wanting to admit that I had not been up there for months, even though the rooftop deck is literally a two-minute walk from my apartment.

I felt like a person who owned a Beverly Hills mansion with an Olympic sized pool and hadn’t used the pool all summer.

What are the breathtaking aspects of your life that you often don’t make time to fully enjoy?

We can become achievement junkies constantly looking towards the next achievement in life and never enjoying the view from where we are.

Living in an apartment with a rooftop deck is very exciting and part of what I achieved when I moved to San Diego.   However, unless I make use of my building rooftop deck by savoring and celebrating it, I do not allow myself to feel the power of this achievement.

Let’s become our own excited visitors.  Let’s notice how amazing our lives are.

Game of the Day

Have fun looking at your life through the eyes of an excited visitor.

Positive Impact

Four years ago, I lived in Sioux Falls, SD, while Hilary Kimblin, a massage therapist and yoga teacher lived in Los Angeles.  Four years ago, Hilary and I had never met. Four years ago, Hilary did something that empowered me to transform my life.  And neither of us had any idea until this past Sunday.

Do you have any idea of all the ways that you positively impact the people around you?

This weekend I attended the 6th Annual All-American Laughter Yoga Conference organized by a joyful visionary, Sebastien Gendry.

Laughter Yoga is a unique idea where anybody can laugh for no reason.  The best way to see what Laughter Yoga looks like is to Youtube Laughter Yoga and be prepared to laugh.

The final presenters at this Laughter Yoga conference were a dynamic couple, Jill and Dan Johnson.  Their presentation was entitled, “How Always Saying ‘YES!’ Changed Our Lives.”  I was highly interested in their presentation because on a number of occasions their decision to say “yes” empowered me to transform my life.

You see Jill and Dan said, “Yes” to becoming Laughter Yoga Teachers based on an experience Jill had.  After that they said “Yes” to starting a free Laughter Club in Sioux Falls, “Yes” to organizing a Laughter Yoga Leader training and “Yes” to training me to become a Laughter Yoga Leader.

Through leading Laughter Yoga sessions, I gained my confidence and love for public speaking and through attending Laughter Yoga conferences I made the friendships that would inspire me to move to San Diego.  Basically, these were very radical changes in my life.  Before becoming a Laughter Yoga Leader, I avoided public speaking like the plague and never imagined I would move to California.

How does Hilary, who I mentioned at the top of this post, fit into this story?

I found out today that she happened to be teaching a Laughter Yoga session at a conference in California about four years ago.  Jill, who had never participated in a Laughter Yoga session before, happened to be at that conference, and took part in the session Hilary was leading.  Jill was very intrigued and when she arrived home, suggested to Dan that they become Laughter Yoga Teachers.

If Hilary hadn’t led that Laughter Yoga session at the conference, Jill might have never been motivated to suggest to Dan that they become Laughter Yoga Teachers.  If they hadn’t become Laughter Yoga Teachers, I may have never known of the opportunity of Laughter Yoga and its transformational power.

In their presentation, Dan and Jill said, “Go towards what gives you strength and everything counts.”

Hilary transformed our lives simply by going towards what gave her strength and leading a group in Laughter Yoga four years ago.

When we say, “Yes” to the things that give us strength and share those things with others, we have no idea how far that “Yes” ripples out or how many people will be empowered to transform their lives.

Game of the Day

Think of the time when you were very surprised to realize the positive impact you had on somebody.

Know that your positive impact extends farther than you will ever know.


Give Yourself the Gift of Breathing Like Santa Claus

Santa Claus seems to know a thing or two about relaxation because breathing from the belly is a great way to reduce stress.  Santa Claus probably had to learn all about stress management to be able to function.  Can you imagine the stress involved in delivering billions of gifts in one single night, not to mention that many houses don’t have chimneys anymore?

Actually, I don’t know for certain if Santa Claus breathes from the belly.  I’m usually asleep when he comes.  But I do know that Santa Claus is the king of the belly laugh.  He places his hands on his spacious belly and goes “HO, HO, HO!”  Try a Santa Claus belly laugh right now. Just place both hands on your belly and go “HO, HO, HO!”  If anyone asks what you are doing, just say,  “It’s August and I’m getting in the mood for the holidays.”

Breathing from the belly is dear to my heart because for much of my life I was a person who carried around a high level of stress.  Part of my high level of stress was due to the fact that I did not understand how breathing from the belly can deepen a breath and help a person relax.  Actually until starting to participate in yoga four years ago, I gave little thought to the way I breathed.  I had of course heard the expression, “take a deep breath,” but I didn’t think it actually made much of a difference.  I mean, I breathed the way I breathed and that was that.  But I can tell you that learning to breathe deeply from the belly has made a huge difference in my life.

Deep breathing is, of course, good to do in crisis situations like when we are stuck in traffic 12:58 PM and have a meeting we desperately need to get to at 1:00 PM.

However, one of the biggest things I learned is that the phrase, “take a deep breath” isn’t just wisdom for situations when we already feel stressed out.  The huge benefit I have gotten from belly breathing has come from practicing it when I’m not in crisis situations.  For example, lying in bed before you drift off to sleep is a very good and restful time to practice belly breathing.  Simply place your hands on your belly and focus on inflating your belly like a balloon when you breathe in and letting your belly deflate when you exhale.

Participating in yoga, laughter yoga or practicing with a video on abdominal breathing from the web can help you get the hang of belly breathing.  Also, whenever you think about it during the day, consciously try to send your breath down to your belly.  Let your belly inflate as you inhale and deflate as you exhale.

Once you practice belly breathing for a while, you will begin to feel generally more relaxed.  This is a very exciting time because I have found that being more relaxed is not only more comfortable, but also that we have a tendency to create less stressful situations in our lives.

For example, feeling more relaxed, we may naturally remember before we leave home that the interstate sometimes gets packed over noon rush hour.  So, we choose an alternate route and arrive to our important meeting five minutes early, relaxed and laughing like Santa Claus.

 Game of the Day

  1. Have fun practicing belly breathing in whatever way works best for you.

2.  Laugh like Santa Claus at least twice today.