Stranger Than Fiction!

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Toughie the Ghost Cat

clip_image002He showed up on Halloween, the last of our trick or treat visitors for the night. At least that’s what we thought when we heard the scratching at the door. But it wasn’t a tot. It was the toughest, roughest tomcat we had ever seen, huge and mean and downright unpleasant. He didn’t ask to come in. He just walked in as if he owned the place. That’s when we made our mistake. We fed him. “What a cute kitty”, said Margo. Was she wrong.

We named him Toughie. We had wanted a pet for a long time. But Toughie certainly wasn’t our pet, or anyone’s pet. He was strictly a loner. He stayed with us two days and then vanished. During that two days we developed a mutual affection. I learned to pet him and even spar with him, which he loved. After a few painful and bloody lessons I learned to put on a thick coat and heavy leather work gloves during our sparring sessions. He was one ferocious animal. He was scary even when he was being good. He was a monster when enraged.

Toughie was also the clumsiest cat I have ever known. A complete disappointment to anyone who thinks that cats are naturally graceful. When he jumped down from the back of a chair the whole house shook. He would walk along a shelf knocking off memorabilia as he progressed. We learned to clear all the shelves when he was visiting. But we always welcomed his visits.

After that first two day honeymoon we didn’t see Toughie for a while. Then he came back, covered with new scars. It was wise to keep away from his scars in our sparring sessions. He would go for my face when suitably annoyed.

But we loved him. More than that, I developed some kind of weird spiritual connection with Toughie. He would come to me in my dreams. We would be fellow alley-cats, prowling the local alleys and backyards in search of food, sex and trouble. We found a lot of every one. These were very unusual dreams. I found out what it was like to be a wild animal, aggressive and totally amoral. A hunter of mice, rats, other cats, small dogs, birds, whatever. I tasted the blood of the prey, felt the excitement of the hunt and the kill. I can feel the pounding excitement right now as I tell you about all of this. These new tastes and habits started to affect my waking life. I became much more aggressive at work, got a promotion. More aggressive in my marriage with a lot more fighting. Margo was not pleased.

I really missed Toughie when he was gone. Whenever he came back I became alive. We had become close friends, both in our sparring sessions and in our shared dreams. I loved him truly. He was the brother I had never had.

Toughie visited us three or four times. And then he disappeared for good.  He was gone.  I found myself prowling the local alleys and back yards looking for him. I even put up “cat missing” posters. No response. Even my dreams of Toughie stopped. I grieved for him.

And then, one night, there he was in the most realistic dream I have ever had. I could see everything in fine detail, smell the smells, hear the sounds, and feel the thrill of the hunt as we coursed through the neighborhood together. Then the sharp crack of a .22 and Toughie’s scream as he fell to the ground dead. I woke up sobbing, filled with grief. Margo asked me what had happened. I told her. She told me to stop being an idiot.

Early the next morning I woke up to a scratching at our door. A soft scratching, but unmistakable. I opened the door despite being terrified.  I had to know. There was nothing there. Well maybe something, but so fast and so blurry that it seemed like my imagination.

The next night we were awakened by the crash of knickknacks falling off our mantel. We figured that there had been a small earthquake. Not true.  No explanation.

Then the dreams came back. Not all the time, just occasionally, like Toughie’s visits. We would go prowling together and I would taste blood and thrill to the chase. We actually talked with other, not quite in spoken language but clear enough to exchange thoughts and concepts. Enough to know that Toughie has a mission. He wants to teach many people what it’s like to hunt, to taste the prey’s blood, to feel the excitement of the night prowl and the nocturnal adventures of the alley-cat. So be in touch with your dreams tonight, and listen carefully for the faint scratching at your front door.

What Was Your World Like When You Were A Child?

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What was your world like when you were a child? Can you remember? Sometimes it’s hard, but I want you to truly put your mind to it.

Try to remember a time when you were happy, a time when you were really excited about something. Maybe you were looking forward to your father coming home, or a treat from your mother. A loving glance or a hug. Maybe playing with a pet. Try to remember a time when you felt really happy. Maybe it was just being alone, and playing all by yourself. When was the last time you felt this same sense of pleasure? Can you remember? Once again, put your mind to it. Accept whatever answer comes to you. It’s possible that you have never ever again experienced that same sort of happiness. It happens.

Here’s something very important for you. You can be every bit as excited and enthusiastic as before, and you can do this often.  It’s an art form, and it’s one that you can learn. Start now by imagining that scene from your childhood, that time of total immersion in your moment of pure pleasure. Then repeat this wonderful game any time you wish.


What can you learn from this simple exercise?  Think about it for a little while.  Notice how you can affect how you feel by consciously directing your thoughts.  Now here’s something to really think about… maybe you are doing this all the time!

Julian Treasure: How to speak so that people want to listen

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A very good presentation on the power of speaking and the virtues that will see that your words will always ring true. A must see video for all! http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_how_to_speak_so_that_people_want_to_listen

Have you ever felt like you’re talking, but nobody is listening? Here’s Julian Treasure to help. In this useful talk, the sound expert demonstrates the how-to’s of powerful speaking — from some handy vocal exercises to tips on how to speak with empathy. A talk that might help the world sound more beautiful.

Sound consultant
Julian Treasure studies sound and advises businesses on how best to use it. Full bio

Self Confidence

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choose-happinessBy David Lee

When you are confident within yourself, you move through life with relative ease. You know that your happiness and your emotional state is your own responsibility, and you survive the daily problems and insults that surround all of us without getting overly upset. You are sensitive to the other people in your life, but you understand that their problem behaviors are their own property, and you can usually remain at peace within yourself even when the people around you are doing anything but.

When you are not confident within yourself, you find yourself almost always seeking the approval of other people. You model your entire life around pleasing others. You derive your feelings of self-worth from what other people say about you and how they treat you. Not a good thing to do, as it sharply limits your success and happiness, and puts you at the mercy of other people’s craziness.

Self-confident people tend to be more successful in their careers and in their relationships. They certainly have easier lives than people who lack self-confidence.

What determines your self-confidence? Do you walk your own path, or are you cautiously gauging the reactions of other people? How did you get the way you are?  You probably know the answer already…it’s how you were raised, what happened to you while you were growing up.

Were you given a reasonable amount of independence as a child?  Were you encouraged to explore your own world, have the friends you wanted, allowed to play in the way you wanted, encouraged to be open in your feelings and opinions? Or were you criticized for all kinds of infractions, forced to follow the dictates of your parents in practically everything, and strongly condemned for commenting on the way you felt about things and about your parents? Perhaps you had to follow a rigid schedule of lessons, tutoring, and activities which your parents chose for you. Perhaps you were virtually ignored, with only occasional interactions with your parents. You knew that no-one really cared about you.

Your self-confidence training continued after you started school. What were your classroom experiences like? Were you bullied? Were you the last person chosen for the team? What kind of grades did you get?

These childhood experiences mold your brain into behavior patterns that last your entire adult life, unless you choose to do something about them. Your Self Confidence (Audio) recording brings you a way to change your life by changing your programming.

Your brain developed while you were growing up. Certain areas developed and others didn’t. I’m talking about physical parts of your brain…little chunks of grey matter that can be measured and probed with modern medical equipment. Your neural pathways developed at this time; the interconnections between various parts of your brain. If you lack self-confidence, and wish to develop it, you must put in the time and effort to allow physical changes in your brain. That’s why it takes a while, and that’s why it’s not easy. Changing your brain patterns is like improving your body by going to the gym…it takes a while and a lot of persistence.

Most of your behavior patterns are buried in your subconscious mind, that part of your mind that is outside your normal awareness. Improving your self-confidence means making changes in a part of your mind that is largely invisible to you. This makes the process even more difficult.

Fortunately there are ways to deal directly with your subconscious mind. Even more fortunately, the recording that comes with this article (Audio) is one of the most effective methods. The instructions and suggestions on your recording go directly into your subconscious mind, and create power benefits as you listen over a period of time.

So far I’ve covered the basic principles of self-confidence. For more information, here’s a very complete article on the same subject: http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/?page_id=191

This article is published by Counseling Center at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Audio recordings for the previous sessions:

Welcome to the TrueFortune’s Blog! “Your Path to Well Being and Better Living” with Dr. David Lee

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#livehappy – Universal truth… we all want to be happy.  We all think we know how to do this.  So that’s what we do.  We do the things that we think will make us happy.

Sometimes this works.  A lot of the time it doesn’t.  Because the usual roadmaps to happiness are biased.   They are misleading.  I’ll be happy if only I make enough money.  Or achieve enough success.  Or win that tournament.  Or get those awards, have a huge house, learn enough skills, and own his and hers Maserati’s.  We live in a society of money and power, fame (or notoriety) and scientific progress.  We grow up immersed in this broth of wealth and prestige and progress, so we naturally believe in these principles. 

It’s a mistake to pursue happiness, even though it’s our constitutional right.  Happiness firmly resists pursuit.  But it’s possible to set up your life so happiness is likely.  Like tending a garden.  You don’t prepare the ground, toss in seeds, and get instant results.  You have to maintain an environment that is conducive to growth.  The same for your life. 

There are definite steps you can take to bring happiness and peace of mind into your life.  They take time and determination.  Stay tuned in for more information.

Your task is to find happiness and peace of mind in a world that is increasingly full of challenges.

My task is to help you in this difficult endeavor.  We can work together. 

– David Lee

clickhereYour Path To Happiness Begins Here!