Sunday, September 19, 2010

I am what I am

I remember a darker time. This time I was wrestling with myself. For some odd reason I was acting, doing, and being a person I was not happy with. I was not fulfilled. I was not proud. I was not challenged. I was not happy.

I remember mentioning that it was like I was peering in at myself trapped inside the glass confines of a fishbowl. I would pound on the glass trying to get my own attention and scream, “Why the hell are you doing this to yourself?!”

I in turn would scream back, “I DON’T KNOW!!” and then I would turn my back and walk away, returning to the negative behaviors.

What I see upon reflection is that I became separate from myself. I lost my identity. I was no longer whole.

At times of trial, we must be able to make sure we pull ourselves together by pulling ourselves together. We must be able to know who we are and what we stand for. We must be able to melt our strengths into one being; to be able to gain the momentum that only a collection of positive forces can create. We must select and focus on the best in ourselves and not focus on our shortcomings.

What I now ask myself is am I trying to take “progressive action” or “restorative action”.

In “restorative action” we must take a peek in the rear view mirror. A peek. It is where we clean out or closets determining what must stay and what must go. This allows us to intercept old behaviors and replace them with new ones. We make room. We feel good. We feel lighter. We must observe what has not served us well and perhaps where the holes in our map may have been. We restore.

I do feel that both observations are necessary to occasionally “tune-up” our lives from time-to-time. However, I feel it is best to first gain strength and momentum so that the gravity of past deeds do not depress our accelerator. I like to take “progressive action” first to get going before going back to plug the leaks.

One of the best ways I have found in moving forward which also assists in our restoration is to remember who we are. If we can visualize us standing tall and stand as the perfect models of what we wish to portray to ourselves and those we serve, we can have a better grasp on where we are going. We implant our values back into our field of vision. If we identify and prioritize our values and what we stand for, we will rejoin with who we are as well as who we want to be, inversely leaving our old behaviors in the dust.

Recently I was talking with a friend who had some “closet cleaning” to do. He lamented that he was embarrassed by some actions he had partaken in and the perceived damage it caused to those he loved. He said he was ashamed to make amends as his behavior was not significant and in the nature of a “Smith.” (Names changed to protect the innocent.)

I mentioned that in retrospect the person he was holding the apology and love from probably missed and forgave him by now. He was punishing himself long after the other had moved on further robbing him of his identity–separating him.

I mentioned that if he were to stand tall (literally) and visualize what a “Smith” stood for, would it be being a man and taking responsibility? He replied yes. Courage? He replied again yes. Integrity? Yes. Valuing others feelings? Yes. Making Amends to those we owe them to? Yes. Overcoming fear? Yes. (All these questions leading to the obvious solution.)

He remembered who he was and wanted to be. He had a plan. He could move forward. This step also allowed him to do some “restorative” work as well.

If we reconnect with the person we know we truly are–(sometimes buried under the garbage of our thoughts, labels, past deeds) and who we deserve to become, we can capitalize on our collective selves. We can channel all the strengths that lie dormant behind the prison of our own fears and separateness.

Once we connect with our true selves and our true value systems, we not only hold the key, but can shove it in the lock of our self-made emotional prisons freeing ourselves to do the work we need to do to move forward.

Ask yourself “Who you are.” Really take inventory. Use affirmations, and if you do not have one, steal Popeye’s: “I yam what I yam, and that’s all that I yam!” Stand tall and reconnect with your values that state who you are and deserve to be. I seriously doubt that a can of spinach will do the job on this one.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Decide to make a decision

Nothing great has ever been achieved without first making a decision to do so. A decision becomes a personal and intimate contract with ourselves to accept nothing less than the obtaining of our goal.

Decisions are simply a desire set in motion.

I used to be guilty of thinking that a decision could not be made until I had all pieces of the puzzle. I need to have the before, the middle, and the ending in full mental grasp before embarking on achieving its completion. Often some of the greatest journeys, some of the boldest adventures occur and unfold as we are standing upon the bow with our arms held high and wind blowing in our hair knowing not where we are headed. It is the thrill of the unknown that validates the trip. We must first make the decision to get on the ship.

Inversely, at times we may have too much information. We may find that we already have a notion of how the adventure is going to unfold. We allow fear to bond us into inactivity. Our decision making ability clouded by assumptions based solely upon the outcomes of past circumstances. Our greatest educator? Experience. At times our greatest adversary? Experience.

Our lives change the moment we make a decision. We make a commitment to alter our course, adjust our sails, and embark on a new direction. Decisions are also activation of progress. Progress can be observed in the thrust of a tsunami as well as the movement of a glacier. Both are undeniably powerful, both can have enormous ability to move any obstacle, the only difference is at the speed at which they travel, however once in motion, they will both achieve noticeable forward progression.

As long as we remember there are no failures in life, there are only results; our decisions will not be stifled by our projections of fear or unattained outcomes. We can make the decision to get up, get going, and make life happen for us. Whether it is a diet, gaining a new relationship, shedding a less-than-healthy one, a new job, or seeking a new life path, it all starts with making that initial decision to do so. We must come to the conclusion that the status quo has run its course and it is time to venture onward. For whatever reason, we had to stop in a “port of call”, refuel, rest, and renew our navigational points, but rest does not mean retire from life. It does not mean give up. It simply means “enough of that, now onto something fresh.”

Sometimes we must also make a decision to realize that we need to surrender. Surrender not so much as throwing up your arms in defeat and being marched off by the enemy, but to let someone else drive who knows the way home. Sometimes our decisions are to incorporate the power and wisdom of others. Maybe it is to come to the realization that our past decisions were not working and must be retooled.

Finally we must also remember that it is our decisions and not our conditions that determine our destiny. Some of the greatest achievements were made by people without the potential of you and I. They did not have the seeds of finance, strength, power, status, physical ability, or courage. They simply made a decision to manifest what up until then lay dormant in their heart.

As Helen Keller had said “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

So my friends, what do you wish to change? What is scarce in your life that you wish to manifest? Where is the glory in dreaming without making the decision to reach out and grasp for that which is rightfully yours?

Decisions are the keys to open the gate to a new life.

Make a decision!

Now take the first step of acting upon it!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Happy Anniversary to me!

It’s been a year. I started blogging this weekend one year ago. I decided that blogging was at least the next step to deviate from exclusively screaming in my pillow. I know that releasing the stuff that builds up is healthy. It is also nice to realize you are not alone. I also realize the true way to diminish suffering is through sharing your experiences honestly which may help another person diminish theirs.

In one year through my writing, I have also found that the amount of readers does not affect the quality of what I write, nor my desire to do so. I have seen a handful of bloggers and people on social networks who “harvest” friends and followers. I think they feel validated more by numbers than content. I simply like to release my words. I place them on the buffet table. If you consume, great! If not, thank you for coming. It is like when you were a child blowing on the dying Dandelion–we enjoy the act of releasing the seeds, where the wind carries them to take root is out of our control.

I have spent a year examining, digesting, and pondering. I do this not to become separate, but to become one–as indeed we all are. You can go kicking and screaming while debating this, but the realization does eventually arrive. Details aside, we all suffer, we all love or want to be, we all wrestle with similar demons, and embrace the moments when kissed by the divine. We can still be alone without being lonely in knowing this.

This year long path has allowed me the blessed ability to release the toxins I used to keep inside. I can place them before me to evaluate my adversaries and through the support of others gain the necessary momentum to keep on keepin’ on. I can clean out my closet and be able to make room for newer and better stuff. I can give away the rest, and I also have many friends who are there to tell me to toss certain things that are no longer necessary, and for that I thank you.

As I have gone back through my writing over the past year, I have seen the emotional ups and downs reflected in my writing. Some were spawned by my own circumstances, and some inspired by the plight I see others enduring. Ups and downs–the peaks and valleys; it is this tempo that is depictive of life’s EKG showing us we are alive. When we are static, we are flat lining.

I have enjoyed my documenting this journey so through my words I can live on. I can travel time and space and can meet people from around the world I may not bump into at the grocery. I can heal without a doctor’s credentials, and cry on the shoulder of a friend on the other side of the planet. Hopefully my words will be here years down the road, perhaps after my passing when my kids may want to know what Daddy thought about sadness or happiness, or for my wife to reminisce about how we crossed a chasm in hard times. I can enjoy immortality, omnipresence, time travel, and most importantly through the realization of humility, I can see I am one OF a million rather than one IN a million.

Thank you friends, one and all for pulling up a chair on the deck of this cruise I have been on for the past year. Thank you for those who helped take the wheel in some of the storms. Thanks to those of you who sat at the captain’s table to enjoy the fruits of good times. To those who appeared when I pulled into your port for the first time, thanks for the welcoming when I set foot in your neck of the world. I hope the weather was none too rough and I hope you would recommend the trip to a friend.

As with any anniversary, it allows us to reflect back and savor the past years journey–to be able to hold onto the memories and take stock of the journey. It is also a chance to hit the reset button and do it all over again, just hopefully being mindful of where the potholes were.

As I posted recently on a social network status, I feel it necessary to once again repeat:

“Blessed is the man who counts his riches not by the coins in his pocket, but by the friends in his heart. I am blessed. I am rich.” ~ me

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