Monday, January 10, 2011

Now this is a tale of a fateful trip...

I always said Gilligan’s Island would be a great place to be if I could get used to the taste of coconut. Isolated, lush and green, a lagoon; what more could I ask for? Of course I would have to choose a few friends, and I do not think I would choose a couple with a trunk full of money. In today’s world they would simply have a wallet full of credit cards, and I do not know too many “Lovey’s.”

The reason for my aspirations usually comes after a time of tragedy. Mass shootings, politically charged rhetoric that inspires exclusion or separatist thought, ecological disaster, you know the icky, big stuff. I would profess, and still do, that it would be nice to be able to escape it all, to simply go to a beautiful place where these thorns could not grow in my garden.

I would accept the restricted diet of fish and limited produce for the peace of a hammock between to palms, a hut, and many hours of unmolested reflection at the water’s edge. Maybe the diet would solve my expanding waistline as well, and the hunting/gathering would become sufficient exercise.

But then I think: “There would not be much social stimulation (I like people), and I do not need many material things, but how many toys can you make out of bamboo and palm fronds? I mean I would need an outlet to plug in my iPod for charging.” Also, there could still be hurricanes, another oil leak could reach my shores, and I cannot escape the bias of my own thoughts. No man is an island, plus I would not want to eventually have a volley ball as my best friend.

As we often seek a remedy or escape from that which harms us, frightens us, or tears us asunder, I find that I am often looking for the “caped crusader” to come to the rescue. “Who is going to make this right?” “Where is the cosmic Maytag Repair Man?” “Who is going to stop the insanity?”

“Anyone...anyone??!” (We then hear the crickets...)

I then find that I hold a majority of the potential for change. I myself can drop the proverbial “pebble in the pond”, and stare as the ripples retract concentrically outward reaching far shores.

My world is simply a reflection of myself and how I see it.

When I say, “The world sucks” often proves me correct.

When I say, “People today are crazy”...they often act in such a manner.

When I say, “Life is rough”...I meet quite a bit of adversity.

However, when I tell myself, “The world has beauty and promise, contains an abundance of compassionate, intelligent, and beautiful people who are willing to take on the same challenges as I, so none of us are alone”, I find my burdens lighten.

Same world, same people, same life–different perspective. My choice.

I have three simple tools in my tool kit. They like a hammer, screwdriver, and duct tape can fix most any a household dilemma.

First–awareness of the things I tell myself. When I am carrying out my own dialogue, I must become aware of things I tell myself. Am I critical or hopeful? Do I want to be my own coach or adversary? Am I using destructive dialogue coming out of a bullhorn reminding myself of my past failures, or am I using a motivating tone reminding me to get up, brush off the dirt, and attempt the important things again until I get it? This is a choice. Where I stand in the world and how I reflect upon my position in it is a choice.

Second–the questions I ask myself. “Why are you such a loser?” is not the best way to try to motivate yourself to overcome your shortcomings. When I ask myself questions like this, amazingly I have many, many answers. Most of them are rooted in past behavior. Behavior I no longer can do anything about. Why? Because it is PAST behavior! When I ask, “How can I make today better than yesterday?” Or, “How can I be a better person, husband, wife, employee, citizen, etc.”, interestingly enough, I get answers here too. These answers usually come in the context of things I can do in the present and will affect my future. The opportunities presented to me in this life appear often in direct proportion to the questions I ask myself.

Finally–the window I peer out into the world is one I place before myself. What we focus on is what we see. If I constantly focus on death, pain, belligerence, debauchery, suffering, madness, loss, and hatred, guess what I see? If focus on people making a difference, compassion, growth, ingenuity, progress, and miracles, yes–miracles; I will see them too. Same planet–different worlds.

The greatest thing about these global changes that affect the masses is that we already have them, it can change the world for ourselves and others, and the shift occurs the moment we dedicate ourselves to the changes we wish to see. They can work as personally or universally as the intentions we use to activate them. We cannot change the world until we start upon the changes within ourselves.

Yes, it can be challenging at times. If you want a good workout on these principles, turn on the news. There are many people who are willing to spiritually spar and test our resolve. It is empowering to know that my armor thickens with my recall of these ideals. However if this is a bit hard, the S.S. Minnow always is an option.


Jason said...

I always thought it would be fun to be stuck on an island by myself (or with a few others) but I think I'd need the assurance that I'd get home again. You could never recreate that (Survivor doesn't count).

A positive outlook sure does help. My pet peeve lately is when people call people in general "stupid", blame society or, more specifically, claim people "suck at driving". They somehow are distancing themselves from these people but in fact are generally just another part of the problem.

Kevin Kato said...

Hi Tony -

First time reader of your blog and happy to have stumbled into it. Great stuff, and spot on. Focus changes perspective changes everything.

'Why am I such a loser?' is an extreme sentiment but I'd say we have a tendency to bemoan our own failures and shortcomings - I know I do at times. But hey we are human and imperfect and best off if we focus not on the faults we all have but on the abilities and talents we do have - and all of us have some. Yeah this may sound a bit hackneyed but put into practice the power of your focus becomes beautifully apparent.

A guy by the name of Dr.Dan Baker wrote a book called 'What Happy People Know' - maybe you've heard of it? Should be required reading throughout the school system as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, I'll be delving into your stuff more. Keep the good stuff coming!


Kevin Kato said...

By the way, I was always partial to Maryann.

ladaisi said...

Your post is, as usual, extremely helpful. Especially the bit about being careful concerning what one tells oneself.

We have worlds to shape.

Ladaisi Blog

Tony Anders said...

Thanks as always for the kind comments - Thanks also Kevin for stopping by. I will have to pick up that book as I have not read it, and I love a good inspirational or eductional read. Ladaisi - a pleasure as always!