Sunday, August 29, 2010

What're you gonna do about it?

The other day a group of friends were talking of the challenges we all face when something disrupts us–robs us of our “serenity” if you will. It is going to happen. We are a social species with free-will, and with that comes the frequent happenstance of an undesired situation entering our space.

Often it can seem like there are these “peace assassins” out to snipe us at any given moment. I had often spent a fair amount of my life assuming I was so cosmically important that the planets aligned, the gods convened to decide on how to disrupt me, and then they would send their minions out to pull off this dastardly deed, but now not so much.

Fortunately it takes a bit more nowadays to put me in the ditch.

I have become blessed with a few, but important realizations that carry me through this bumpy road called life.

I’m not that important! I am not so important that people got up 15 minutes early to pull in front of me in traffic and slow down. I am not so important that the little old lady with sixteen weeks of coupons, who finally got a ride to the grocery, got in line in front of me and forgot ketchup and needs to go get it just to see if I would come undone. God does not hate me and therefore did not decide to make it rain on my day off. My kids do not cry and fight to upset me. That is just their nature.

I may not be important, but I can have importance. One is a title I want others to pin on me, one is a title others want to pin on me.

Am I trying to own something that does not belong to me? I used to love to jump in the mix. As stated in my first point, often times we can see how easy it is to try to own a situation that does not belong to us. As it can be trying to smile through life’s little hiccups, it is also important to not go looking for a challenge. Often things do not happen to us as much as happen near us. We were just standing too close to the crap. Sometimes the only thing we have invested in a situation is proximity and timing.

Maybe we are trying to disown something we should personally tackle. Are you a claimer or a blamer? It is often much easier to find out why someone or something else is to blame for negative situations that befall us, but if indeed we have our role in it, we will eventually have to answer for it. The avoidance of a situation is often far worse than the eventual confrontation of it. It is like having a bully say, “I am going to kick your ass...someday!” Every day is a fearful challenge until we get closure from confronting that which haunts us. Often we cannot deal with the entirety of a situation, but we can answer for our own part in the play.

Remember this: “Nobody can piss us off without our permission!”

How much power are we willing to give to something no matter how trivial or monumental? What value are we instilling on the situation, opinion, or person that is creating the perceived disturbance? The more time, energy, and focus we place on the disturbance, the more we validate it as “worthy” of our undivided attention. Are we going to live our story or live or life?

As certain issues do require proactive opposition, they do not need to be made into any more of an assault than they really are. Maintaining your cool is Kryptonite to any a problem or person quickly diminishing their power over you.

So live life my friends and to the little things be damned! Find your path to happiness and share the path with others. To those of you who choose to stay still and whine, please keep your mouth shut as that just pisses me off. ; )

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm not afraid to be scared

I guess I am ready to be scared. It is kind of a rush actually. Normalcy and complacency have run their course and it is time for transition. I think it is healthy to be a little scared from time-to-time. As much as certainty nourishes us, so do we grow from the unforeseen. Do I really want to know what is around every corner? I think not.

Being scared has an exhilaration that starts the heart. It works our emotional muscles. It shakes us and rocks us off the comfy spots on our couches. It is like our first roller coaster ride where upon rising to the click-clack of the cart moving upward, we know we are either going to throw up or throw our arms up and squeal like a child wanting to go again.

Life hands us challenges. Usually neutral in how they are served, but we can often victimize ourselves by how we label things. We can perceive that things are insurmountable, disrupting, and unfair. Through this fear we become scared. Scared is still okay. We have often been scared, but we often forget what lies on the other side of transcending fear: skill, strength, understanding, leadership, and sometimes peace to name a few.

Remember how long the street looked when you first teetered on two wheels? Remember how long the hallways looked when you first entered school? Did you forget your locker combination? How about the two words that changed your life forever: “I do!” Were you certain of your abilities as a spouse? How about parenting? How did you feel as you stared at the backside of a backpack walking away from you for the first time as your child entered school? Ever lost a job? Gone broke? Overcome illness, addiction, loss?

Still here? Still standing? Wiser? Stronger?

Sure there are enough things out there that are “horrifying”: war, famine, and a multitude of things that we humans need to get a wrangle on. However it is funny that the horrifying things often test our resolve in other ways and are often not as perpetually disrupting to our day-to-day existence. At least I hope not.

I want to be scared. I want to feel again what it is like to grow, to overcome, and feel strong. It is how I feel on the other side of scared that makes me feel empowered, connected, and alive!

Are you scared of anything now? Can you envision how you would feel on the other side of it? What will you gain? Can you use it to the greater good of those around you? It is also comforting to know we have all been there.

Like a child who is afraid of the dark, it is often our opinion of what lies ahead and not the reality which is our greatest adversary. I will try to keep my opinions under wraps so the battles diminish and my will grows exponentially.

To life’s little “Boogey Men” out there I say “bring it on!” “You’re not so tough!”Just please leave the light in the hallway on for me until I fall asleep okay?

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Am I getting smaller? Recently I have felt that I am. Often times not by my own choice. I wish it were because of a successful diet. However it is a reduction of a different kind.

As I look around I see alot of ways that we can be reduced. I wish it were more so a practice of simplifying, yet it is not. Often times it is a bit more destructive than helpful. Let me explain.


Our ability to reduce someone through opinion is one way we can reduce a person. We can take an entire human and the sum of their total existence, their behaviors, their thoughts, their soul, and reduce it into a simple statement; most often a judgment.

“The fat one.”

“The mean one.”

“The stupid one.”

The disabled one.”

“The broke one.”

Our attempt to label and position another can indeed become a testimony to our ignorance. I refuse to judge a situation, person, or circumstance by one singular component any more than I would judge an entire song by one note. People can try to pin labels on us however we do not have to wear their “stinking badges.”

Have you ever filled out a financial statement?

It is odd how an entire sense of self-worth can become attached to our net worth.

“Wow! I have become the sum of the contents of my home, and the digital contents of a couple bank accounts.”

Society has a number they like you to hit. This number can affect an opinion of you as well. If I buy a new couch will you like me more? How about if I add a zero to my bank statement? Am I reduced to a simple number? Does my sense of identity have to fluctuate with my daily balance?


It is often funny how much effort, over a long period of time, with a vast culmination of experiences come together to create a title. We can hold many titles: Doctor, Mommy, Daddy, Corporal, and Manager; the list goes on. Often many find solace in settling into the title as opposed to the sum of the experiences that got them there. Does the title bond you to the masses expanding you, or does it reduce you?


Often I have felt when in the middle of an undesired circumstance that I could easily reduce my life, my opinion of myself, and my titles, to one simple label. I could say “life sucks”, or “this is horrible”, or “it will not ever get any better.” Not only did I reduce myself, but I also narrowed my scope of reality. Many times we have to get certain life issues further behind us to allow us to look in the “rear-view mirror” and see the bigger picture; we can see that the things we curse often bless us. Expanding our focus diffuses reduction. Expanding our perspective expands our life.

When I find I am attempting to reduce myself, another, or a situation, I must remind myself that as I look back, everything, and I mean everything that I once perceived as negative has paid off eventually. Whether it is through knowledge, patience, or simply experiencing what not to do I have benefitted. I also learned that most often reducing my focus takes away my ability to see not only the greater picture but the important life lesson. Life is like a Monet painting, sometimes we have to step back, really look, be patient, and let it show us what we are supposed to see.

We are all more than one label, one moment, one opinion, one number, and one consequence. If we expand our focus, become patient, and broaden our perspective, we can truly see the messages we are supposed to see. The only time reduction is a really good thing is if you are making a sauce. I hope both your life and your sauces are flavorful.