Calling all dreamers & believers

Today, we got support from my cousin in Elkins Park, PA – one of The Tax Divas, Kerri Conners-Matchett. Thank you, for your role model and inspiration cousin, and also for your donation to empower our voice and our vision. Help us grow our purpose. Please make a donation today. Even a gift of $1 has the power to change the world.

Live in the Moment – An Alabama High School Track & Field Championship Tale

Mindfulness is the underlying moral of this tale.

Huntsville High School (HHS) State Track Champions.jpg
Photos of the boards that hang in the gymnasium at Huntsville High School in Huntsville, Alabama to memorialize and celebrate the school’s state champions.

I cannot recall exactly when it occurred but at some point back in 1988 while a freshman at Huntsville High School I set three goals for myself: 1) graduate from the place; 2) get a date with this beautiful girl in my homeroom who was named Tracy Yarbrough; and, 3) while it seemed an unreasonable long shot for a tiny freshman who literally was only 102 pounds soaking wet with football pads on holding a 10 lb dumbbell, the first time I set eyes on the big red boards hanging in our school’s gym that I wanted to be in that club. I wanted to be a state champion high hurdler.

Obviously, I had to have this on my resume, not for any other reason then that my father was one of the most heralded high hurdlers to ever run for Abington High School in the suburbs outside of northern Philadelphia. This third goal made the list because I live the life of a junior, as a child not only did I have to look up to this godlike figure and role model, but I had the glorious joy of also carrying the great man’s name. This formula can possibly create a marvelous environment for a healthy competition where the younger seeks to overtake the elder and the elder seeks to maintain as much of their advantage for as long as they can.

We are only going to focus on the third goal here, in case the pictures were not a spoiler. But I will share that although both took what seemed like years, I was able to accomplish both goals one and two. Fast forward to May 1992 and the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Class 6A Boys Outdoor Track & Field Championships held somewhere in central or southern Alabama. Over the course of the previous four years I had committed myself to the goal of being the best high hurdler I could possible be.

Persistence, hard work, and dedication definitely pay off and while I now only stood at 5’7″ tall and weighed a slight 147 pounds I had the fastest qualifying time as we were set to run the finals of the 110m high hurdles. I was in the middle of the track positioned in lane four as a result of having the fastest qualifying time in the preliminary heats.

The table was set for me to win the Alabama state title. The entire universe had organized the events so my dream could come true. I would be a state champion and my name would go up on those big red boards in the school gymnasium. It is probably important to interject a regular mantra offered to me by my mother, “stay focused.” It is important that she was always telling me that I had to stay focused because decades later I would receive a diagnosis of adult ADHD and most likely had a touch of good ole childhood ADHD as well. When discussing this point with my mother years later, she chimed, “Baby, they didn’t have any names for what you had when you were a child, so we just did the best we could.” Little did I know, my mother’s admonitions would come into play in the finals of the Alabama high hurdle championship race that very day.

Crouched in the starting blocks I cleared my mind of all thoughts coiled every muscle in my body and awaited the signal of the starting gun to burst into action. Bang! I exploded out of the blocks due to the combination of my explosive start and abnormally quick reaction time to the sound of the starter’s pistol.

From the first step out of the blocks I was in full command of the race and firmly shot forward into first place as we cleared hurdle number one. One, two, three, step. One, two, three, step. I raced over hurdles one thru eight running a smooth clean race, victory was close at hand. At this point there was literally nothing and no one that could interrupt my triumph, no one that is, except me.

prelims of 110m HH at the Huntsville City Track & Field Championships
A photo published by the Huntsville Times in 1992 showing Don leading over hurdle number one in the prelims of 110m HH at the ’92 Huntsville City Track & Field Championships

As I cleared hurdle eight and approached hurdle number nine I couldn’t see anyone in my peripheral vision and I couldn’t feel the presence of any other competitors. I felt victory was mine. And here in this critical moment of high stakes competition I opted to commence a vivid daydream montage featuring post event festivities.

First, that evening when we returned to Huntsville, (we would be rushing back to attend our senior prom), I saw myself surrounded by my fellow Crimson Panthers mutually adulating in my win. The scene morphed to those big red boards and the new 1992 entries, including Don West 110m High Hurdles. It was glorious. It was worth all the sweat and the pain. The days when I pushed myself so hard that I was compelled to throw up the high quality vittles that were served up to us in the HHS cafe. Did I mention this was all happening as I was in the process of finishing a race that takes less that 15 seconds total from start to finish.

Needless to say, this was a major violation of my mother’s edicts throughout my childhood to stay focused. As I reached the mid-point of crossing the tenth hurdle my victory montage was rudely interrupted by something in my peripheral vision to my left. The kid in lane five was closing fast. I snapped to it in a flash and commenced to finishing the business at hand as I touched down from clearing the tenth and final hurdle now with a kid pulling up fast right next to me. We raced to the finish line both bending as far forward as we could without tumbling over as we reached the tape. A photo finish.

After the race it took a long time for them to announce the winner. A council of officials was concerned and these men poured over the photograph of our finish. Finally, our team’s head coach, Coach Fletcher and I walked up to the official’s booth. There the officials allowed Coach and I to look at the photograph and we both swore that it could be called either way from our viewpoints, to us the photo looked to be a tie. Well, if you looked closely at the photos at the beginning of this post you already may have noticed my name does not appear anywhere on those big red boards. The powers that be ultimately did not see a tie, rather they awarded the race to the other guy, saying, that he defeated me by one one-hundredth of a second. His winning time was declared to be 14.62 and my disappointing 14.63 was awarded second place and unsatisfying all-state honors. All that hard work, all that dedication, spoiled because I failed to stay focused. It was a hard and painful lesson to learn.

Stay focused my friends.

Christmas Musings 2019 – from Da ‘ville

Don’t let them change ya, oh
Or even rearrange ya
Oh, no

~ Bob Marley, “Could You Be Loved”

 

This has been one AMAZING year for the Dubbs! I am grateful and thankful for my family and all the individuals who have contributed to this year’s journey. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!  I write you this missive from the kitchen table of my parents in Huntsville, Alabama on a lovely Christmas Day. (It is unusually warm for Christmas in Alabama – the windows are open… etc.)  I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it home to my parents’ place for Christmas this year, but I stuck to the plan… and things worked out.  Like the leader Hannibal from the 80’s tv show The A Team, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

Yesterday, was my first day back in Huntsville after a year-long absence and I was greeted by several family members visiting from Philadelphia including my Dad’s older brother, my Uncle Gary.  Gary, and his partner John, enthusiastically inquired where we could screen a home video from 1992 that was made during the graduation party held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after I completed my time at Huntsville High School.  As a legacy specialist the video recorded by my Uncle John is a priceless treasure trove of family history, images, and most impactful of all, the voices of loved-ones who have long transitioned from our earthly plane.

Tears rolled down my cheeks as I listened to my Dad’s mother wish me congratulations, offer me a blessing, and proffer up a reminder that I am to always remember the sacrifices necessary to build the man, as well as an edict to share the knowledge and learning acquired in my future endeavors.  Well, 1992 was 27 years ago, and the journey has been vast and deep, starting ten days after the party that I mention here, I found myself laying in a top bunk at the United States Navy’s Naval Training Center in San Diego, California for a nine week edition of U. S. Navy Boot Camp.

My father has always taught us, “Plan your work and work your plan.”  I did just that Dad, and as a result I am able to share Christmas in person with you this year.  A blessing wrapped up in a child being obedient to the wise instructions gifted by the parents.

May the Universe Bless you and yours.  May the Ancestors smile on your endeavors along the journey.  May the world know the wonders of your character by the works you leave behind.

Merry Christmas.  Happy Kwanza!  And all the most meaningful experiences and lessons for us all in the year 2020.

From James E. Faust

Originally posted on the AmazingThoughtz blog 12/20/2019

“A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being.”

~ James E. Faust

#quote #JamesFaust #gratefulheart #greatness #gratitude #foundation #virtues #prayer #faith #courage #contentment #happiness #love #wellbeing #stone1 #humility #service #legacypyramid #amazingthoughtz #amazingpath

Photo: Keeper of Beauty © 2019 Don West, Jr.

Location: Hallway of the Iberostar Grand Bávato Resort, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
📸 Settings: 1.78mm | 1/25 sec | f/1.9 | ISO 200

#hallway #IberostarGrandBávaro #shotsbydubbs #photography #travelphotography #traveljunkie #travelenthusiast #dubbswanders #puntacana #playabavaro

What Is Your Spirit Animal?


In certain spiritual traditions or cultures, spirit animal refers to a spirit which helps guide or protect a person on a journey and whose characteristics that person shares or embodies. It is also metaphor, often humorous, for someone or something a person relates to or admires. (from Dictionary.com)

There is a quiz you can take, (that I have no affiliation with), that can help you if you don’t already know what your spirit animal is, find it here.

My spirit animal is an imaginary hybrid of my own creation, a la, Napoleon Dynamite’s “Lyger”. The “American Long-Crested Eagle” is a majestic and noble bird enriched with heritage and tradition. Unlike the birds it is modeled on, the American Long-Crested Eagle can hunt from both the perch AND from the wing making it one of the world’s most versatile and deadly aerial hunters. It is a medium-sized eagle 🦅 and of unusual intelligence and curiosity.

Mythically, the American Long-Crested Eagle is also a shape-shifter, and is known to take the form of a lion 🦁, and rarely that of an elephant, when it chooses to roam the earth from the land. So, inquiring minds want to know, what’s your spirit animal?

Learn more about the Eagle as a spirit animal.

The Eight Dimensions of Holistic Wellbeing

Article originally published February 13, 2018, on The Legacy Insitute’s blog.

(This article was updated on 3/10/2018 to add an eighth dimension to the pyramid, the financial wellbeing dimension was added as level four.)

8 Dimensions of Holistic Wellbeing - WHT

We recognize that our purpose here on earth is greater than doing things or collecting things. Here at the Legacy Institute, we seek to provide our practitioners a holistic set of tools and information to empower them in increasing their clients’ happiness and satisfaction with their life’s journeys. The search for balance in life leads one to examine their holistic wellbeing. Holistic Wellbeing is the pursuit of continued growth and balance in the eight dimensions of wellbeing. A lot of people think about “wellbeing” in terms of physical health only. The word invokes thoughts of nutrition, exercise, weight management, blood pressure, etc. Wellbeing, however, is much more than physical health. Holistc wellbeing is a full integration of all six dimensions of our physical reality, as well as our mental and spiritual wellbeing. It is a complex set of interactions that when balanced together leads to quality of life.

Holistic Wellbeing is commonly viewed as having eight dimensions. Each dimension contributes to our own sense of wellbeing or quality of life, and each affects and overlaps the others. At times one may be more prominent than others, but the neglect of any one dimension for any extended length of time may have adverse effects on overall health and often is the cause of “dis-ease.”

Exploring The Eight Dimensions of Holistic Wellbeing

Level 1 – Environmental Wellbeing Dimension

Many people focus on the grander scale of the environment when discussing this particular dimension focusing on cleaner air, oceans and conservation efforts. We like to think of it in a much more personal sense. We define our environment as the places where we spend our time. This does include the oceans and the great outdoors, but more directly we see it as our bedrooms, homes, offices, cars, etc. These are our personal environments. Environmental wellness is an awareness of the unstable state of balance in our homes and communities as well as across the entire earth and the effects of our daily habits on the physical environment. It consists of maintaining a way of life that maximizes harmony within our homes and throughout the earth and minimizes harm to the environment. It includes being involved in socially responsible activities to protect the environment. It starts will cleaning and organizing our personal quarters.

Tips and suggestions for optimal environmental wellness:

  • Explore the Chinese principles of Fung Shui for your home and/or office
  • Deep clean and organize the place you spend most of your time
  • Stop your junk mail
  • Conserve water and other resources
  • Minimize chemical use
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Renew your relationship with the earth

Level 2 – Physical Wellbeing Dimension

Physical wellness encompasses a variety of healthy behaviors including adequate exercise, proper nutrition and abstaining from harmful habits such as drug use and alcohol abuse. It means learning about and identifying symptoms of disease, getting regular medical checkups, and protecting yourself from injuries and harm. Developing such healthy habits today will not only add years to your life but will enhance the enjoyment and quality of those years.

Tips for optimal physical wellness:

  • Exercise daily
  • Get adequate rest
  • Use seat belts, helmets, and other protective equipment
  • Learn to recognize early signs of illness
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods
  • Control your meal portions
  • Stop smoking and protect yourself against second-hand smoke
  • Use alcohol in moderation, if at all

Level 3 – Emotional Wellbeing Dimension

Emotional wellbeing is a dynamic state that fluctuates frequently with your other six dimensions of wellbeing. Being emotionally well is typically defined as possessing the ability to feel and express human emotions such as happiness, sadness, and anger. Our clients have found wellness in this dimension more attainable when once they recognize they are the Observer of their own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Having an awareness that you are not these things and separate seems to promote wellness. It means having the ability to love and be loved and achieving a sense of fulfillment in life. Emotional wellness encompasses optimism, self-esteem, self-acceptance and the ability to share feelings.

Tips for optimal emotional wellbeing:

  • Tune-in to your thoughts and feelings
  • Cultivate an optimistic attitude
  • Seek and provide support
  • Learn time management skills
  • Practice stress management techniques
  • Accept and forgive yourself

Level 4 – Financial Wellbeing Dimension

The financial dimension challenges us to master our economic landscape. In this dimension we seek to develop satisfaction with both our current and our future financial situations. Financial Wellbeing includes our relationship with money, skills to manage resources to live within our means, making informed financial decisions and investments, setting realistic goals, and learning to prepare for short-term and long-term needs or emergencies. Part of this dimension includes an awareness that everyone’s financial values, needs, and circumstances are unique. Most express a need to expand their knowledge of financial matters and understanding of the tools available to find mastery in this dimension.

Tips and suggestions for optimal Financial Wellbeing include:

  • Develop and stick-to a balanced and written budget
  • Learn to understand and apply the Rich Dad Poor Dad Cash Flow Quadrants
  • Make and execute a plan to eliminate your debt
  • Consult a financial professional for advice and guidance
  • Continue your financial education through live seminars, webinars, YouTube videos, books, magazines, etc.

Suggested Resources/Reading for Financial Wellbeing:

1. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

Personal finance author and lecturer Robert T. Kiyosaki developed his unique economic perspective from two very different influences – his two fathers. One father (Robert’s real father) was a highly educated man but fiscally poor. The other father was the father of Robert’s best friend – that Dad was an eighth-grade drop-out who became a self-made multi-millionaire. The lifelong monetary problems experienced by his poor dad pounded home the counterpoint communicated by his rich dad. Taking that message to heart, Kiyosaki was able to retire at 47.

2. The Richest Man in Babylon

Beloved by millions, this timeless classic holds the key to all you desire and everything you wish to accomplish. This is the book that reveals the secret to personal wealth.

The Success Secrets of the Ancients—
An Assured Road to Happiness and Prosperity

Countless readers have been helped by the famous “Babylonian parables,” hailed as the greatest of all inspirational works on the subject of thrift, financial planning, and personal wealth. In language as simple as that found in the Bible, these fascinating and informative stories set you on a sure path to prosperity and its accompanying joys. Acclaimed as a modern-day classic, this celebrated bestseller offers an understanding of—and a solution to—your personal financial problems that will guide you through a lifetime. This is the book that holds the secrets to keeping your money—and making more.

Level 5 – Intellectual Wellbeing Dimension

The intellectual dimension encourages creative, stimulating mental activities. Our minds need to be continually inspired and exercised just as our bodies do. People who possess a high level of intellectual wellness have an active mind and continue to learn. An intellectually well person uses the resources available to expand one’s knowledge and improve skills. Keeping up-to-date on current events and participating in activities that arouse our minds are also important.

Tips and suggestions for optimal intellectual wellness include:

  • Take a continuing education course or workshop
  • Learn (or perfect) a foreign language
  • Seek out people who challenge you intellectually
  • Read, Read, Read
  • Learn to appreciate art in all its forms

Level 6 – Social Wellbeing Dimension

Social wellness refers to our ability to interact successfully with our global community and to live up to the expectations and demands of our personal roles. This means learning good communication skills, developing intimacy with others, and creating a support network of friends and family members.

Social wellness includes showing respect for others and yourself. When we see those we interact with as mirrors of ourselves, we have opportunities to grow and develop a deeper understanding through what we see. Contributing to your community and to the world builds a sense of belonging.

Tips and suggestions for optimal social wellness include:

  • Cultivate healthy relationships
  • Get involved
  • Contribute to your community
  • Share your talents and skills
  • Communicate your thoughts, feelings and ideas

Level 7 – Spiritual Wellbeing Dimension

Spiritual wellness involves possessing a set of guiding beliefs, principles, or values that help give direction to one’s life. It encompasses a high level of faith, hope and commitment to your individual beliefs that provide a sense of meaning and purpose. It is willingness to seek meaning and purpose in human existence, to question everything and to appreciate the things which cannot be readily explained or understood.

A spiritually well person seeks harmony between what lies within as well as the forces outside.

Tips and suggestions for optimal spiritual wellness:

  • Explore your spiritual core
  • Spend time alone/meditate regularly
  • Be inquisitive and curious
  • Be fully present in everything you do
  • Listen with your heart and live by your principles
  • Allow yourself and those around you the freedom to be who they are
  • See opportunities for growth in the challenges life brings you

Level 8 – Occupational Wellbeing Dimension

Occupational/Vocational wellness involves preparing and making use of your gifts, skills, and talents in order to gain purpose, happiness, and enrichment in your life. Oprah instructs us to seek to find our bliss, the thing that brings us joy, and then seek to find a way to make money or monetize whatever it is that brings you such joy. The development of occupational satisfaction and wellness is related to your attitude about your work. Achieving optimal occupational wellness allows you to maintain a positive attitude and experience satisfaction/pleasure in your employment. Occupational wellness means successfully integrating a commitment to your occupation into a total lifestyle that is satisfying and rewarding.

Tips and suggestions for optimal occupational wellbeing include:

    • Ask yourself if you would do anything at all with no limitations
    • Consider what your life’s journey has prepared you for that is unique
    • Create a vision for your future
    • Choose a career that aligns with your personality, interests, and talents
    • Be open to change and learn new skills

Now that you have reviewed all eight dimensions of holistic wellbeing what are the first things that come to mind? What are you going to do differently in your life to achieve more balance and wellbeing? Do you have a better understanding of how everything in our entire world impacts our holistic wellbeing?

Our Deepest Fear

Last week Marilyn shared with our Life Coaching group a wonderful piece by Marianne Williamson from her 1992 book, “Return To Love.”  Many people inaccurately attribute this passage to former South African President Nelson Mandela due to his inclusion of its wisdom in his Presidential Inauguration Address.  


Our Deepest Fear

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Stone #2 – Industriousness (1st Cornerstone of the Pyramid)

Success travels in the company a very hard work. There is no trick, no easy way.

~ Coach John Wooden, Creator of the Pyramid of Success


Below Coach Wooden discusses the two Cornerstones of the both his Pyramid of Success and Don’s Legacy Pyramid,™ Industriousness & Enthusiasm.

“I think anyone’s success depends on working hard, Industriousness and Enthusiasm, enjoying what you are doing.  You can’t work your best if your not enjoying what you are doing. No way can you force yourself to.”

Interested vs. COMMITTED – A Real Life Tale

Today, I was intent on being a part of our 11am Advanced Life Coaching Group with Marilyn Jhung at the West Central Mental Health Center, (WCMHC), in Los Angeles, California.  Because I am staying in Orange County, California, in order to achieve this task today, I first needed to take three buses in Orange County to the Irvine Train Station, where I would take a train to Los Angeles’ Union Station.  From Union Station, I would conclude my journey by hopping two buses to Crenshaw Blvd & Stocker St., where I can easily hoof it up to the little red brick building we loving call, WCMHC.  I check all the various schedules and lay out my transpo plan.

Here is a recapped synopsis of my day so far:

6am – wake up 20 minutes before my 6:20 alarm.

6:01am – look out the window to see the most Amazing dawn.

6:50am – leave the house.

7am – arrive at bus station for 7:10am bus. Realize I am at the wrong station. Began to jog the 0.9 miles to the correct bus stop arriving at 7:09am, just in time to catch the bus.

8:10am – Exit second bus.

8:30am – Take a bus stop selfie and notice same route go by on other side of the road.

8:40am – Jump on 3rd bus to head to train station to catch 8:52 train. The last northbound train of the am.

8:45am – Think to myself, we should be there already AND nothing going by outside my window looks familiar.

8:47am – Exit the bus realizing I have missed the last am train to Union Station.

So, NOW comes the query inside my heart, AM I INTERESTED OR COMMITTED?

Here is the set-up, I had already spent $22 bucks on a useless train ticket. I am sleepy because I stayed up late working on my current book project. I check Uber to see how much it will cost, because I still have time to make it if I am COMMITTED.  Uber has a driver three minutes away and wants $74.53 to make the trip.  I haven’t had any breakfast and I feel even more sleepy thinking about how I only have a few more than $75 in my account today.  What will I do?

I ordered the Uber. (I am literally writing this piece from the back seat right now.)  I went all in. I put my money 💰 where my COMMITMENT is, I put it toward making it to our group.

Bottomline, I am COMMITTED to my role as a Volunteer at WCMHC.  What are you COMMITTED to?

UPDATE:

10:55am – Group calls to ask if I am gonna make it today. I say, on my way.

10:57am – I walk in the front door of WCMHC. Tell everybody, Mr. West is in the building!!!”

#MissionAccomplished #Winning