Monday, December 15

Living My Life…

“And I’ve tried
To be like everybody
But that’s not my style.
Life on someone else’s terms
I’d like to
Escape this life for a while.”
– “Last Chance Dreams” - Dirty Shannon

How often do you find yourself living your life this way? Living based on someone else’s expectations of you. Living your life a certain way, just to fit in with everyone else. Trying SO hard to not stand out of the crowd.

That is NOT the way to live!

Your life is meant for you, to be lived by you, and no one else will EVER be able to live it for you. We all seem to fall into this mindless trap at some point or another. We give the power of our life and the ability to truly live to someone else.

We allow another person, that can’t see or feel our hearts or souls, to make the decisions of what’s BEST for us and our life. Now, in all honesty, there is a part of ourselves that IS conditioned for this behavior. We’re taught from an early age that there are people that know what’s best for you. That would be our parents. The problem comes when our parents don’t teach us to stand on our own two feet and live our lives. It’s a hard thing for a parent to do…letting go. But eventually, whether you want it to happen or not, letting go will happen.

The question for every parent is…have you prepared your kids to let go and fly on their own?

The sad fact is; we as humans are SO good at avoiding responsibility for our actions, that we’d rather have someone else deciding how our lives should go. It’s almost more comfortable that way. And it certainly gives us someone to point at when life doesn’t turn out the way we want it to. But you want to know something? You have no one else to blame but YOURSELF!

With the New Year fast approaching and this being a time for resolutions and renewals, I hope that everyone can make the resolution to themselves to start, in small ways, to live your life on your own terms, for yourself, being true to your heart and soul and not giving your life’s power away to ANYONE else. Stand on your own two feet, be responsible for your life, and live a responsible life. Any other kind of life will leave you wanting, lost, and frustrated down to your very soul.

God only gave you this one shot, this one life, grab hold of it with both hands and don’t let go. Make it your own and be proud to live the life that you’ve been given.

“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, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. 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

Now is the time to rise to your feet and discover what YOUR life is meant to be like. Take back your power and live from your heart.

And when you shine, shine with everything you’ve got!

Tuesday, December 9

Tryin' So Hard...

“I’m tryin’ so hard,
To stop tryin’ so hard.
Just let You be who You are,
Lord, who You are in me.”
– The Altar and The Door - Casting Crowns

Have you ever felt this way? That the harder and more that you try, the further back you seem to be. That whenever you work your hardest, you seem to slide the most.

I’ve been told many times, that when I try to be funny, I suck and come off as, well, a jackass usually. :-) But when I’m not thinking about it, when I’m NOT trying, those are the times that I can get people rolling on the floor.

So why is it that the harder we try to BE something, the worse we seem to do at it?

I think it’s because when we TRY too hard to be something, it’s not natural. It doesn’t flow out from us. We try to force what we think we want and in forcing it, run it straight into the ground. Nature doesn’t usually like to be forced. Our nature is no different. We can make changes and grow and all that, but it’s a process that takes time. Rushing it, or forcing the result we want, simply ends with us looking like jackasses.

So what’s the point today, really? That’s what you’re all thinking right about now isn’t it? :-)

The point is this…

Can you let go in order to become the person that you were made to be?

Before you give me that knee-jerk answer of “Yes, of course!”, I want you to think about it for a bit. I’m not talking about giving up sweets, or watching less TV, or any of that inane bullshit that we like to make our New Year’s Resolutions. I’m talking about honestly being able to give up yourself and what you believe and think you know, completely, in order to see what the REAL you that’s buried inside is like?

Now, that’s a bit different of a question, isn’t it? See, it’s the end of another year. Or rather, the beginning of a brand new one. We’ve talked before about our masks, and our core, and how to really be better people working together to make a better world. Honestly, you could do all the work, build and create and become the best person you could, but if you don’t let go first, you’re simply building on top of what you’ve had before.

The end of a year is always a time of renewal and recommitment. We close out the year and look to the next with joy and hope and celebration. Let’s look to this new year as a time to start our own “becomings” on fresh ground. Let go of what you’re holding on to. Spend the last part of this year, NOT trying to be anything. Just be and see what you find of yourself. Listen to your heart and your spirit and JUST BE.

Let go of who you THINK you are and take a look inside to find out who you REALLY are. When your heart, spirit, and core are in alignment, then you can truly become the best person you can possibly be. And in order for everything to sync up, you have to let go of all the garbage you’ve been holding on to, all the bad images you have of yourself, all the negative things that you’ve been told about you. Wipe it all away, let it all go, and build on the solid ground of your heart and spirit.

Any idiot can run around reading a millions books on being a better person. Putting layer upon layer upon layer, right over the problems that have always been there. Let’s clean house before building a better you.

Remember the old saying, “Work smarter, not harder.”

See you at the top.

Thursday, December 4

Tis the Season

Have you ever stopped and really thought about the Christmas songs that we sing? They all seem to bring the thought that Christmas time is the time for us to finally be nice, and happy, and loving towards one another.

Anyone else think that’s a total crock of shit?

I mean, c’mon…only ONE time of year we try to bring out the best in ourselves? That’s almost like saying that you’re a faithful religious believer when you only do something about one day a week!

I remember when I was in college I wrote a fictional paper about Santa Claus. I can’t even begin to give you the details, but the thought was this…

Santa Claus is not so much a person as a feeling that we all have the capability to have. It’s not something that should be relegated to a portion of one month of the year, but rather, shared with everyone every day of every year.

So tell me…do YOU try to be a little bit nicer during the Christmas season? Maybe still working to make that nice list and not the naughty one? :-)

Now, I don’t have anything against Christmas, exactly. But I think there’s something here that we’ve all lost focus on. We teach our kids to be nicer during the Christmas season, instead of being nicer all through the year. We tell them that if they’re “good” then they’ll get more stuff under the tree. Hey…sounds like bribery to me!

What would happen if we took the Christmas holiday away? Would we have to find SOMETHING to replace it with, just to keep that miniscule spirit alive? Why? Why does it take a fat guy in a red fur coat to make us be a bit nicer and happier in life?

Bottom line…IT SHOULDN’T.

If you’re religious, Christmas isn’t about stuff or elves or Santa, it’s about a baby that was born to save Mankind’s Spirit. If you know the holiday’s history, you know that it’s about drawing together as a community to take care of each other and RENEW commitments and help one another.

If you’re not either of those things…listen up! :-)

You’ll hear a lot about Christmas Spirit. When we’re all supposed to love a little more, and laugh a little more, and help a little more. But the Christmas Spirit isn’t something that stops on December 25th. It’s a constant thing that is ALWAYS present in everyone’s heart. Don’t wait for some store to tell you to take it out and use it. Don’t wait to be guilted into the Spirit because you haven’t done anything with it for a whole year. Make it a part of your daily life.

Be Santa for someone every day of the year. Love a little more each day. Help a little more whenever you get the chance. Make every month and every day Christmas for you and someone else.

Watch the difference that starts to happen in your life. Your Spirit will start to rise above the normal shit that life brings. You’ll be happier, every day. Your little slice of the world will become a more loving and brighter place. And you just might actually see reindeer fly. :-)

So, let me leave you with quotes from my two favorite Christmas stories.

“And the Grinch’s small heart grew THREE times that day!”

“And I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight…

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

Wednesday, December 3

Dichotomy of Humanity

“And all
Of my Demons
Would see this
And run!”
– “Last Chance Dreams” - Dirty Shannon

Remember those old cartoons? You know, the ones where the character has the little angel and little devil on either shoulder. Sometimes they would end up arguing, and maybe even getting into a fight themselves. I don’t think that’s very far off from the truth though. We all have those inner battles that we fight. It’s a constant struggle between good and evil, right and wrong, light and darkness. And sadly, it’s battles that aren’t always won by good.

Every single day we face another battle. Do you keep the extra cash that the cashier gave you by mistake? Do you let anger, fear, or hate cloud your judgment or opinion of something? Do you take out a bad day at work on those waiting for you at home?

Millions of choices every day come down to this simple inner struggle. So how do you deal with it? Is this a struggle that overwhelms you or do you know how to surf this particular wave? Chances are, most of us are simply trying to make it through this day and not fuck things up too badly. Not a very good way to live, don’t you think?

So how do we win this inner struggle? Or CAN we even win it?

There’s no magic wand, no special formula, no cure-all that I can give you to suddenly make you CHAMPION EXTREME. The simple truth is, you will fight this battle each and every day you draw breath on this planet. What you’ve got to figure out is how to win more of those battles than you lose. And believe me; you will lose some of the battles. But listen to me…that’s OK. You’re human, not perfect.

So, how DO you win a battle that never ends? How do you make it through each day winning more than you lose?

Well, the first thing you HAVE to remember…is that you have around you people that love you and care about you, regardless of what the day’s battle tally is. I think that this is the ONLY way you make it to tomorrow in one piece.

Once you forget this, then you find yourself alone and trying to deal with the battles by yourself. It’s then that you start to lose more often, until eventually, all you see is the little devil on your shoulder and his voice is the only one you can hear. Then you fight that last battle, and sadly, you’ve already lost.

You need to have a solid core, faith in yourself, and a belief that you are loved. These are the things that help you to win each battle.

Your core is your guide, your basic compass. It’s what leads you through every day, keeping you pointed towards the best you, you can be. In order to follow that core, you have to believe in yourself. You have to be able to trust your heart to make the right choices to keep you going on the right path. And without love, nothing ever seems to work right. No matter how dark your day gets, if you know that someone loves you, just for you, you can get through it. If only to go home and see that person smile with love when you walk through the door.

We all fight, some harder than others. Sometimes we might need a little help in our daily fights. That’s OK. Like I said, you’re human, not perfect. All you have to do is reach out a hand and help will be there. No matter who you are, where you are, or what you’re going through. Help will be there.

Now, smack that little red bastard off your shoulder and let’s go have some fun. :-)

Wednesday, November 19

The Chains on Freedom

“When your world's crashing down
like you've lost every round
Stand your ground
And ring the bells of freedom”
– “Bells of Freedom” - Bon Jovi

“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

It’s the beginning of one of the most powerful documents ever written. It lays out the basic assumptions of an individual’s rights and freedoms. When you think about it, you can’t help but have a big rush of feelings and thoughts. Hold on to those for a second and walk with me on a related topic.

Freedom…we all want it, right? No one would willingly place themselves in slavery or servitude…would they?

Take a look around, in fact; take a good look at your own life. Let’s see exactly how “free” you are.

Can you pick up and leave whenever you want? Probably not.
Can you knock down your house and build a glass shack on stilts? Not if you live in a neighborhood community.
Can you open your front door and let your dog run around the neighborhood? Doubt it.

But, really…that’s not the kinds of freedom I wanna talk about today. :-)

I want to see you all freed from the chains that you have willingly placed around your own spirits. The chains of your mistakes, you personal judgments, your weaknesses, your suffering. These are the true things that keep you from being free.

We are weighed down with all the shit from this world and, as if that wasn’t enough, we continue to heap it on ourselves. And every chain that we add, while it seems to fit us so well, is simply locking our spirits and heart down closer to this world.

Remember…this world is only meant for one purpose. That’s to keep you from focusing on the important parts of life. Heart, Spirit, Love…these are the important parts of life. Everything else? That’s just the shit that keeps you from living a true, whole life.

Now, if I had a magic skeleton key that could drop all your chains at the same time and free your heart and spirit to fly…I’d be freeing you right now. But, unfortunately, there is no such silver bullet. It’s a process, one that requires a bit of work.

See, the only one that can take the chains off of you, is you. Hey, you put ‘em on…you take ‘em off. :-)

The hardest part is going to be actually recognizing the chains that you wear. See, we wear some of them for SO long that we come to think of them as an integral part of our lives. Sometimes it takes asking another to help for you to see that you wear them at all.

The good news? What? You want GOOD NEWS? :-) You CAN do it. There is really nothing that can stop you if you decide that you WANT to be free.

It will take some dedicated self-searching, self-awareness, and openness, but you CAN unlock every chain that you wear. Remember that you don’t HAVE to do this alone. The people that love you can become a great source of help in picking these damn locks. Sometimes, they can make the work easy and share the burden of lifting those chains from your neck. That’s why they’ve been placed in your life.

So tell me…what truths do you hold to be self-evident? Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Or are you going to aim a bit higher?

How about Heart, Spirit, and a whole life free from the bonds of this world?

Yea…I think that might work for me. See ya on the other side!

Monday, November 17

Extreme Crisis…

“Walking in the footsteps
Of society’s lies
I don’t like what I see no more
Sometimes I wish that I was blind
Sometimes I wait forever
To stand out in the rain
So no one sees me cryin’
Trying to wash away the pain”
– “Keep the Faith” - Bon Jovi

Everyone has moments of hopelessness, despair, disillusionment, or even simply being lost. There are lots of things in our world today that compound those feelings and make them last longer than they have any right to.

Firstly, let me say that those feelings are NORMAL. The human spirit moves in cycles and waves. We all experience highs and lows throughout life. Again…that is NORMAL!

The problems come when we start to spend an inordinate amount of time at any one extreme. Yes, even spending all your time at the extreme of happiness is NOT good for you or your spirit. Life is meant to be a flow, a give and take, that will bring you through and help you to be a whole, well rounded person.

The danger of our world today, is not in spending all our time on the happy-side…it’s spending all our time on the sad-side. We have a great amount of anger, despair, sorrow, pain, etc, in our world. It seems that everyone is affected by it to some degree. Hell, we’ve generated a multi-billion dollar industry just servicing all the new pills to try to keep people away from the “Dark-side”. Damn…where’s Obi Wan Kenobi when you need him! :-)

Now...does anyone in the crowd believe that taking more pills is the answer to this situation? Good. See…the medications DO help. And I’m not taking anything away from the meds themselves. I actually think that they can and are a god thing. We have, however, become a culture that is more focused on medicating the symptoms, rather than treating the actual problem.

So…what IS the actual problem? And how can we treat it?

Those are the 100 Million dollar questions right there. Depending on who you talk to, you’ll get a variety of answers. Even from all the supposed “experts”. There is simply no consensus on what the hell is going on with people.

How is it that a suburban soccer mom can quietly and calmly snap and drown all of her kids? Or, seemingly normal people pull out guns and start shooting people before turning the gun on themselves? Or, perhaps the 12 year old that’s delivering her 12 year old boyfriend’s baby?

This isn’t a normal crisis that people might have the skills to deal with. This is a crisis of the Heart and Spirit. And we as a people are woefully unprepared to deal with that in any way.

We almost seem to have lost the capacity to “Love one another”. The most common responses are anger, frustration, rage, and even violence. And even IF the response is love, compassion, empathy, then it’s not usually received at all. It’s almost as if we can’t accept those feelings from another person. We’ve been SO hammered and beaten by all the “Dark” emotions that they have become our norm!

It’s amazing what a person can get used to, isn’t it?

We have example all over. The abused spouse that stays with the abuser. The level of injustice that is accepted by some people. The loss and need that goes unmet for LOTS of people.

I really can’t give you a total package solution. I wish I could. All I can give you is the way I believe we, as individuals, can work to make things better.

I believe that it all comes down to love. Plain and simple. I’m not talking about love for your immediate family and a few close friends. I’m talking about love for EVERYONE. From your immediate family to the random people that you meet every day. Express love for EVERYONE. Whether it’s a smile and a friendly “Hello”, a warm hug, or maybe a kiss at the end of the day, express love.

We have become so mired in the shit. We are deluged with it all the time, newspapers, TV, radio, it’s everywhere. Goodness, love, happiness, joy…these things DON’T sell. You won’t find many uplifting stories reported by ANY news agency. Tragedy and misery are the money makers.

That leaves it up to each of us to take the stand and make our small slice of the world a brighter place. If each of us could make our part of the world a loving, accepting, caring place, then the Spirit of the world could be changed. I’m not saying that it’ll be easy. You’ll be going against the norm for just about everyone. It might take a while for people to see that this is how you’re going to treat them and figure out how to respond in turn. It’s a slow process, but they WILL learn to respond. And by teaching them, you’re expanding your circle of love in the world.

Don’t be dejected if someone tries to take advantage of your love and compassion. Some people will always try. Just smile at them and let them go on their way.

So, I’ll leave you today with a simple thought that’s hard to pull off…

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, November 14

Make like a tree…

Ok, so I was lying on the back of my car the other day…yes…I said laying ON the back of the car. :-) And I was thinking. OK, really my mind was just free floating and wandering. As I lay there looking up at the sky, I noticed that the tree I was laying under blocked out portions of the sky, but not all the same portions. See, there were layers of branches, some higher, some lower, and they each blocked out a certain part of the sky.

That got me thinking about people, and life. It seems to me that WE as people live a lot like trees do sometimes. We filter our lives and our feelings and our thoughts and everything else through a giant set of layers that block out certain things. And eventually, we get what we call Life.

So Life actually becomes distilled and patchwork as we take out pieces to suit our own filters. I think that’s why certain moments in our lives become SO powerful to us. We experience them without all our filters on.

The sad thing is that you can’t simply deal with all the filters at once and be done with them. See your filters a formed in layers, with each layer unique and different in every way from the other layers. We have layers from every phase of life, baby, child, teen, young adult, adult…etc. We have layers from momentous moments in life, weddings, deaths, births…etc. And we also get layers from those events that seriously impact our lives, mental status, emotional status…etc.

So what does this mean for us? Think of it like life coming through a decanter. Bits and pieces of it get filtered out and you either don’t acknowledge them or don’t deal with them. It also means that in order to start pruning your own personal tree, you’ll need to deal with things that happened all throughout your life and at all the various stages you’ve been through.

The good news in all this? As you strip away each layer’s filter, you can start to get more from the sunshine of Life. And as you start to feel more of Life, it makes things a bit easier when you go to deal with the remaining layers.

Have you ever seen a Master pruning a Bonsai tree? They shape it into the form that it already has. They trim and prune and shape to bring out the beauty that is within. That’s a great image of what you’re going to do here. Your tree has simply become overgrown. We don’t take care of or deal with things as they come, so now we’re standing under the branches of a tree that just might be blocking most of Life’s Sunshine out. The only way for us to reveal our own inner beauty, which exists within each of us already, is to take up the clippers and start pruning your trees branches and letting the light come in.

Wednesday, November 12

Faith of the Heart…

“'Cause I've got faith of the heart
I'm going where my heart will take me
I've got faith to believe
I can do anything
I've got strength of the soul
And no one's gonna bend or break me
I can reach any star
I've got faith, I've got faith, faith of the heart”
– “Faith of the Heart” - Russell Watson

Ok…in the last couple posts, I’ve tried to nail jell-o to the wall. So…let’s be done redecorating for the moment and talk a little bit about how to withstand the waves of shite that will pound over you in this life. :-)

Think you are ready to brace yourself through it all? You might be. I’ve met several people that have an innate ability to weather shite. Of course, they are few and far between. If you happen to resemble the rest of us in this life, then you are woefully UNprepared for, not only the sheer volume but, all the various directions that life will be slinging shite at you. It’s almost like being in the zoo, surrounded by monkey cages on all sides. You never know where the next volley is going to come from.

Is there ever REALLY any way to prepare for the things life throws at you? In all honesty, no there isn’t. How do you prepare for the unexpected death of a friend or loved one? Or perhaps the loss of employment in a single income family? Or even, the hostility and anger that MOST people walk around with boiling right under the surface?

We tend to learn things through repetition. Science tells us that it takes being exposed to new information 3 times before we will completely retain it and it will be usable to us. OK…but the above situations REALLY don’t lend well to repeat performances.

So, then how DO we prepare for the awful things that tend to happen in life?

Well, it seems that the stronger you are in yourself and your core, the better you weather hardship from any source. But I don’t think that’s enough. I think that there are PLENTY of people out there that have pretty good self esteem, and confidence, and all the other things that come from a solid core, and yet, they crumble when something terrible dumps on them. They drown, just like everyone else.

I think it’s because they don’t have a solid Heart. They don’t have that Faith of the Heart that will get them through the absolute worst that life can throw at you. See, Faith of the Heart brings things that a solid core can’t even begin to match.

Peace, comfort, hope, emotional strength, compassion, and many other blessings. These are the true tools to get you through the wave after wave of shit from live. Without a firm foundation of Heart, then the worst that life does will rip through your Heart and soul and leave you fluttering in the breeze.

“OK,” I hear you thinking, “How do I get this Faith of the Heart?” Well…see that’s the trick here. :-)

Faith of the Heart comes after, and really at the same time as, you build a solid core for yourself. One CAN build upon the other and nurture the other along. Your core is all about who you are, in and of yourself. Faith of the Heart is the relationship that you have with your Heart and Soul and THAT interaction with the rest of Life. (Hey, I NEVER said it’d be easy. I KNOW this shit is complex!)

To develop one without the other, while possible, is probably going to hurt you more in the long run, as you’ll come to believe that you can handle anything that comes down the pipe, only to find that your weakest link will be the one life leans on the hardest.

To develop them both, you have to come to understand that YOU are not the ultimate power in Life. There is something greater than yourself. That’s where you’ll find the interaction of Heart and Soul and the power to unify everything into your own life. That’s when you can stand tall and proud, secure in your ability to handle life on any terms it would like to play. And you can proclaim, just like one of my favorite songs…

“Seen all the screaming and fighting
Lived through the screaming and lying
I'm fine, you can't deny
I'm unbreakable
I'm invincible
Come on bring it to me
Cuz I'm always gonna be
Come on give it to me
Cuz I'm always gonna be unbreakable”
– “Unbreakable” - Bon Jovi

Monday, November 10

Happiness is…

“Have you ever felt so out of place
That the smile on your face
Was to keep from cryin
I don’t know how we get so out of touch
But I don’t want much
Just to find out
What happiness is”
– “Happiness Is” - Verve Pipe

Ah yes…today I’m going to try to tackle another of those pesky nonspecific, emotional, nailing jell-o to the wall, feelings. :-)


Ya feel it? Ya know what it is? Ya think?

So, let’s get Mr. Webster’s minimal contribution out of the way first. Shall we?

Happiness is a: a state of well-being and contentment: b: a pleasurable or satisfying experience.

Yup…well, that’s not much help is it? Well-being and contentment or a pleasurable, satisfying experience…OK…so, then even bad sex could count as happiness. Right?

OK…all kidding aside…what the hell is happiness? I mean, it’s part of the American Way, isn’t it? So how can we pursue something that we haven’t a clue as to what it is? How do you know when you’ve got it? And more importantly, how can you keep this fickle bitch around for longer than a few moments?

We’ve all experienced happiness. Don’t even try to tell me you haven’t. Oh, I’ll grant you, it may have been a LONG time since you feel you’ve been really happy, but we all know the feelings that happiness brings. There’s the warm glow that surrounds your heart. The smile that simply appears on your face. You feel at peace and as though you were a part of something SO much grander than your own self. For the moment…you’re on top of the world. Then, of course, the world yanks you back down to the ground and your happiness skitters away like rats abandoning a sinking ship.

Does it HAVE to be this way? What is it about the human condition that prevents us from living in a state of happiness for our entire lives?

The answer to the first is easy. No, it doesn’t have to be this way. It IS possible to have happiness as a constant companion. (And you don’t have to be “special” for that to happen either!). The second question in brief is simple to answer, but it’s much harder to detail and put into practice.

The problem that we as humans face each and every day that is a stumbling block to our continued happiness is, in truth, ourselves. We live as though we deserve to be happy and deserve for everything to go as WE plan it. K…let me tell you a little joke here.

Do you know how to make God laugh? Tell Him YOUR plans for the day.

Life very rarely works out the way we plan it. Why? Well…there are these plan disrupters called “other people” that just go around waiting to fuck up every plan you make. :-) It’s called life and we all live within the same environment when it comes to life. Your actions affect everything around you, as do everyone else’s actions. There is contention when actions result in contrary results. And, sadly, we humans are proud and vain enough to believe that our way is the best in most all situations.

I’ve talked before about trying to live life without any expectations. That’s a big challenge, but it’s got some far reaching results if you can succeed. One of the biggest is a lot more happiness in your life. Expectations are like the big white elephant in the room. No one wants to talk about them, especially if they aren’t being taken care of. And a pissed off white elephant is nothing to laugh about. :-)

We have had some AMAZING examples of people that have moved past the need to live with expectations and I believe that they truly had happiness as a constant companion. Even when they went through more serious shit than you or I will ever deal with. Who are they? To name a couple right off the top of my head…Gandhi and Jesus.

Gandhi lived a life that was in all honesty, beyond the mundane of this life and world. He was profound in his dealings with all others. Sure, he wanted the best for everyone around him, even those that were attacking him, but he only expected them to deal with their own shit in their own way. He lived his life with an easy peace, tangible grace, overwhelming love, and pure happiness.

Jesus knew what His path was to be and how it was going to end. I thank God that I don’t. And yet, He still lived and loved and only wanted the best for those around Him. Even the men that would eventually kill Him. Read a bit of His story. He lived with total peace, unconditional love, and complete happiness. He smiled easily and always had kindness for everyone.

Now, don’t think I’m saying that theirs are the only ways to a life of happiness. But understand that the world’s view of happiness (Money and stuff) won’t cut it for lifelong, lasting happiness. I think that the parallels between Gandhi and Jesus (peace and love) are the real source of complete happiness. Find yourself, work for peace in your life, and learn to love unconditionally. These are the keys to happiness. And they are DEFINITELY within your reach.

Be sure to wave, I’m the guy over there that is happy and smiling like an idiot. :-)

Thursday, November 6

Love is…

Ah…love. It’s what we all want right? Love. Amour. Liebe. Dragoste. It’s known all around the world. But really…can YOU tell me what love is?

Oh, I’m sure you can list off the FEELINGS of love and when you’re in love. But can you tell me what love is?

Let’s go back to the amazing Mr. Webster…

Love is… (1): strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties (2): attraction based on sexual desire: affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3): affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests

Yup…there you go. I’m done now. :-)

There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of songs written about love. There are love poems, love stories, love movies, “Dummy” books on love, guides, workbooks, retreats, ad nauseum. The interesting thing is that no one seems to agree on WHAT love is. Webster just now defines love as affection and attraction. Is that it to love? Is love REALLY just a hormonal response to another person or thing?

In typical Webster fashion, he’s defined the term logically. Unfortunately…Love is anything but logical.

“Hard to get
Impossible to hold
Straight and narrow
Like a burning fuse
In a long cold dawn
By the side of the road
A hopeless case
A perfect thing”
– “Love is” - Allanah Myles

It seems that for the human heart, love is simply a mass of contradictions and confusions. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of logical or even understandable reasons as to why a person feels love for someone and nothing for another. It’s this confusion that makes love such a difficult thing to nail down. Just like nailing jell-o to the wall. :-)

Maybe that’s part of the power of love? Maybe it’s BECAUSE we can’t know exactly what it is that we yearn for it so completely?

“If you could come up with a clinical definition, it wouldn't be love.” – SN

So what’s YOUR experience with understanding love? I know SOME of the ways people describe it…inner happiness, a wanting for another to always be there, a sharing of every part of yourself with another, and even pain, tears, and sadness.

“They say it’s a blessing, they say it’s a gift
They say it’s a miracle
And I believe that it is
It conquers all, but it’s a mystery

Love breaks your heart
Love takes no less than everything
Love makes it hard
And it fades away so easily”
– “Love is” - Vanessa Williams

A mystery, an unknowable, a convolution of conflicting emotions and thoughts…yup, it’s jell-o on the wall. :-)

Love isn’t sterile, or really definable, I think. It’s different for everyone and can be the greatest blessing, and yet, also the greatest weapon. It’s a grand combination of all your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, wants, everything that makes you, you. Love…true, unconditional love, is something that involves an entire person. It can’t be separated into component parts, because love can’t be broken into pieces. You can’t just think love for someone anymore than you can just feel love for another person. Contrary to what the world wants you to believe, true love doesn’t come in shades and degrees. It is whole and complete and simply a beautiful thing to experience.

I pray for all my readers that you find and experience unconditional love in your life. It’s a hard thing to come by, and most of us don’t believe it when it does show up. Keep your eyes open and give love unconditionally when you can.

And remember…I love each and every one of you too.

Wednesday, November 5

Miracles Happen…

It doesn’t matter what you believe in, if it’s God, or Buddha, Allah, or a Divine Power of the Universe. There are some things that can really only be attributed to a Higher Power. Don’t believe me? Let me tell you a story then…

A guy and his wife are getting a divorce. Sometimes it’s nice and sometimes it’s just hell between them. More the latter than the former. The man goes to see a lawyer, knowing that things will go badly for him and his kids if he doesn’t get help. A couple years ago, the man was trying to get some advice and only 1 out of 12 returned his call. So, he goes to the one that he talked to before. He feels good talking to the lawyer, and finds out that she is the BEST in town to help him, but ultimately, it comes down to money. Money that he does not have and really has no way to get.

Having faith, he starts to call his friends and loved ones.

“Can you help me?” he asks them all.
“I’m SO sorry. I would give you anything that I had, but I have nothing to give you. I will try to find something and some way to help.” They all respond.

All but two. And they said, “I have an idea. I will help you find a solution.”

And they went to work on the problem.

The next day, he gets a call. “We have taken care of the money for you. There were no problems. And were happy to be able to do this.”

So, now the fight begins. Without any doubt in his heart, the man makes the arrangements to protect his kids. More and more comes out and when he thinks about it all, it scares him to his core. But he knows that God is on his side, how could he not? There was nothing that he could do on his own, and yet, everything has worked out. So, every day now when he wakes up, he says a prayer of thanks to God and when he sees his friends and loved ones, he thanks them and God that they are in his life.

Every single day, miracles happen in this world. Things that have no logical explanation. Some put these things down to chance, or coincidence, or luck, or fate, or whatever. And if you simply can’t bring yourself to believe that there is something greater than yourself, that just might be looking out for your happiness and willing to help you out, then that’s your choice. And a perfectly valid choice too.

As for me? I don’t think that I’m the greatest power in my life. I believe that God is infinitely more powerful than me, and He wants the absolute best for me in this life, and He will actively work to help that come about.

I love you all…regardless of what you believe in and I pray that everyone that reads my writings gets blessings by the armful!

So, today I will leave you with a prayer. Not mine own, but a prayer from Mother Theresa. May every word of it be true in your life.

May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us

Tuesday, November 4

Footprints in my Heart…

“One step I make an imprint
Two steps it's a commitment
Three steps I'm not done yet
Draw my other leg up and the pace is set”
– “Imprint” - Double Drive

Friends, acquaintances, random strangers, people are brought into your life all the time. Do you notice them? Or are you like most people, so deep in your own shit and mired in all your problems that you are completely unable to see when someone steps into your life?

Nothing in life is an accident or coincidence. I don’t believe that. Your life has a purpose and everything that is in your life or going on in your life is there FOR A REASON. No matter what it is, or how shitty it may be, everything has a purpose in your life.

Most times we only figure out the reason when it’s gone or we’ve gotten through it. Sometimes, some special times, we are given the reason early and can appreciate the things in our lives in the present. And sometimes, we simply do not know and maybe never will.

So what about the people that you meet and greet every single day? Most would probably fall into the category of acquaintances or coworkers. People that you see and say hi to, maybe even talk to for a while about this and that, but honestly, you don’t REALLY know. They all have a purpose. If you think back on the people that you’ve known, maybe you can see the purpose for some of them. Maybe their purpose was to provide social comfort or simply a laugh. They are all important to your life; otherwise, they wouldn’t be in it.

How about your neighbors? Do you know them? Can you say hi by name to them? Sadly, our world seems to have adopted a policy of personal isolationism. Something that was unheard of only 30 years ago. And yet, those people are there in your life for a reason as well.

And the REALLY important people in your life? Family, close friends? Of course we can see that THEY have a purpose in our lives. We know them and their lives, what they like, what they bitch about, everything. For some, we couldn’t imagine a day without them IN our lives. Even if there are days we DON’T want them in our lives. :-)

Just as everyone in your life has a purpose…so do YOU have a purpose in everyone’s life that you touch. Think about everyone that you have contact with and take a moment to see if you can figure your purpose for them. Then make it a point to BE that purpose for them. And if you can’t see your purpose, then just BE for them. In whatever way you can.

The point of life is not in how much you GET from it, but rather, how much you GIVE to it. The saying is…”Give and ye shall receive.” Also, what comes around goes around. Some call it Karma, some call it God, I call it…love.

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away!! Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Monday, November 3

All F’d up…

“How could I be so happy
And still feel so messed up inside
I've broken all the records
For the unhappiest man alive”
– “Million People” – DoubleDrive

Given that we ALL wear masks to some degree or other, this particular feeling shouldn’t be anything new to you. I see SO many people walking around laughing and smiling and acting like they haven’t a care in the world and life is the best it could absolutely be. I’m not surprised by that really, or the fact, that I would bet you, that at home, or by themselves, their smiles fade and the laughter dies as they struggle to figure out what is going on and how to make it through one more day.

So what do we push onto every one of the unwashed masses suffering this way? Pop another Prozac and take another Xanax and push every feeling you’ve ever had away.

Now…I’m looking and seeing that anti-depressant and sleeping pill prescriptions are off the chart and we’re making the companies millions and millions in the process. So, at least THEY’RE happy!

I’m pretty certain that this isn’t how we’re supposed to be living life. And if this fits you…STOP IT! You can’t be living the life you want or in the ways you want to or are meant to deadening yourself to your life. Now, don’t think I’m saying quit everything. I’m not a doctor, but I KNOW that you can hurt yourself more by stopping cold turkey. But you should try to consider getting out from under the burden and weight of such a false coping mechanism.

Maybe I’m just WAY out there, but I believe that life is meant to be experienced. And unfortunately, we can’t pick and choose the experiences we want to have in life. We have to take the great, wonderful, and awesome with the bad, horrible, and painful. See, life isn’t about NOT feeling things, but rather, understanding HOW to feel things.

Most people feel things in their life. Happiness, sadness, joy, peace, anger, pain, love, etc. But they also don’t know HOW to feel those things.

How do YOU feel your life?

Do you let your feelings and experiences run like a train over you? Oftentimes leaving you broken and trampled in its wake? Guess what…I bet you do.

And that’s NOT how it’s supposed to be. Life isn’t a railroad looking for the next target. It’s a wonderful river that will carry you through to the end, yes, and soak you to the bone and probably make you shiver with cold sometimes, right before floating you through a beautiful sunny patch. It’s the experience that brings you joy and wonder and pure amazement.

So…how do we do it? How do we make it through life and experience everything that life will give us and not become a chunk of road kill along the way?

I believe that it comes down to acceptance and faith. Acceptance to know that, yes, life will hand you shit as well as cake sometimes. That’s just the way life is. It doesn’t mean you’re getting picked on, or singled out. Sometimes, life’s a bitch that way. But you balance that out with faith. Faith in the belief that YOUR life is ultimately supposed to be for YOUR good. Faith that even if and when the bad times come, there is always good waiting for you.

I know it’s not easy; I would NEVER lie to you like that. But I think it’s a way to live unfettered and free from anything that will keep you from the fullest experience you can possibly have.

“Take my hand and walk with me, the best in life is yet to be.” - Anonymous

Friday, October 31

I believe I can touch the sky…

We have all heard that the way to succeed in life is to just believe in yourself. By show of hands…how many people think that’s a load of bullshit? Good…I see that I’m not alone in this.

Why is it such crap to just say “Believe in yourself”? Because MOST people simply don’t, or have other issues and reasons that keep them from believing in themselves.

Trusting yourself and your own heart, if you’ve been hurt in anyway, is one of the hardest things to do.

See, when we run into a situation and come through it with pain and hurts, we do something really kinda interesting. We stop trusting our own judgment and the feelings in our heart.

It’s not real difficult to understand why we do this. See, we like to believe that we are right in our decisions and choices. It’s human nature to want to be right. Hell…we will fight like animals in order to be right. So when it all comes crashing down and we can’t deny that we were wrong, well, it makes us doubt our own core and heart. If this happens in a great enough degree or a great amount of times, our brain starts to learn that the heart and spirit can’t be trusted with decision making.

Once we enter into a lifestyle of not trusting our own heart and self, it becomes SO much easier to not trust other people. We also start to hesitate and doubt in any situation where we are the responsible decision maker. ESPECIALLY if those decisions involve relationships, love, or other people. Matters based on the heart start to become situations that people come to fear. We pull away, or build walls, or even “hit back first”.

But in all honesty, believing in yourself is REALLY the only way to have a great life. However, we need to do some prep work to get you to the point where your life CAN be good because of your heart.

The first thing you need to do is to clean out all the garbage that you’ve been holding on to. All the past relationships and “failures” that weigh your heart down. You should try to start looking at every “failure”, not as a negative, but rather as a “not meant to be”. The ONLY failure that you can have in this life is to not learn from mistakes that you and /or others make. If something ends, and even if it ends badly or painfully, it’s not a failure, if you learn from it.

So take all your crap and throw it out the window. Stop holding on to them like keepsakes and let’s start thinking in the right direction. The right direction is forward, with the best direction being the here and now.

Next, let’s come to an agreement. You, your heart, and your feelings are NOT bad things. Granted, they may have been naive and inexperienced, but they are not bad. Inexperience changes, that’s why we keep learning. The problem now becomes, how do you get back to a place where you CAN trust your heart and believe in yourself?

That’s the REAL issue. It’s not a matter of just saying you believe in yourself, it HOW do you get back to that point. We have ALL started out trusting ourselves. There’s not a person born that starts life not trusting themselves. So, we ALL can do it. Right?

The easy advice…start with small things. The BEST way to start building trust in yourself is to start keeping your word on EVERYTHING. It seems that basic honor and integrity doesn’t hold for most people anymore. You say you’ll call later tonight, and then are just too tired. Sorry! You are teaching yourself that YOU can’t be trusted. If you commit to something, regardless of how big or how small, YOU MUST KEEP THAT COMMITMENT! Trust me…it gets easier the more you do it. Then, your brain will relearn trust in yourself.

The hard advice…well, when it comes to those really big decisions of the heart. The ones where the potential for hurt and pain are the greatest…you just might have to take a leap of faith in yourself and trust. I’m not going to say that it’ll be easy or that you might not get hurt. But YOU decide to trust yourself and if you get hurt, don’t worry, you will survive and more importantly you will learn. The more experienced your heart becomes, the more wise it will be.

Don’t be afraid to trust your heart. Oftentimes it’s smarter than you think.

One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart for it was perfect. There was not a mark or a flaw in it. Yes, they all agreed it truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen. The young man was very proud and boasted more loudly about his beautiful heart.

Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said, "Why your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine."

The crowd and the young man looked at the old man's heart. It was beating strongly, but full of scars, it had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in, but they didn't fit quite right and there were several jagged edges. In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing. The people stared -- how can he say his heart is more beautiful, they thought?

The young man looked at the old man's heart and saw its state and laughed. "You must be joking," he said. "Compare your heart with mine, mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears."

"Yes," said the old man, "Yours is perfect looking but I would never trade with you. You see, every scar represents a person to whom I have given my love - I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart, but because the pieces aren't exact, I have some rough edges, which I cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared.

"Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away, and the other person hasn't returned a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges -- giving love is taking a chance. Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the love I have for these people too, and I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting. So now do you see what true beauty is?"

The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling hands.

The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young man's heart. It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges.

The young man looked at his heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man's heart flowed into his. They embraced and walked away side by side.

- By Walter Wangerin

Thursday, October 30

Have a Nice Day…

Ohhh, if there's one thing I hang onto,
That gets me through the night.
I ain't gonna do what I don't want to,
I'm gonna live my life.
Shining like a diamond, rolling with the dice,
Standing on the ledge, I show the wind how to fly.
When the world gets in my face,
I say, Have A Nice Day.
“Have a Nice Day” – Bon Jovi

Sounds like a great attitude, doesn’t it? Can you REALLY say that you live your life the way you want to? Or are you like most everyone and tied to SO many things you don’t want and never wanted that you have no idea how to break free and find that life that you’re supposed to be living?

I think that everyone goes through this feeling at least once in their life. Count yourself lucky if it has been only once for you. Some days you just look around at your life and wonder, “What the hell happened? This isn’t at all like how I dreamed my life would be.”

So what do you do at that point? If you’re like most people, you look around yourself and try to find all the safety and security that you can in the way your life is currently. You rationalize that even though you hate your job or the work that you’re doing, at least you HAVE a job and it’s stable and secure. You might look at your family and convince yourself that you can suck it up for them and be a good provider. There are a millions excuses and justifications that we use to hide ourselves from the reality we are in.

What’s that reality? You are unhappy with where your life is right now and afraid of the changes that are required to get the life you want.

“You will remain where you are until the pain of staying put exceeds the pain of changing.” – MD

Take a moment and reread that last quote. It’s a powerful one if you REALLY think about it. See, as humans we respond to one of two stimuli, and there are ONLY two. I’m sure you can guess them if you think about it. The stimuli are Pleasure and Pain. The funny thing is, pain is ALWAYS more powerful a motivator than pleasure.

So what’s your pain threshold for your life right now? What would it take for you to decide to make a change in order to be happier and more satisfied with where you are? For most people, it’s something HUGE, like the loss of a job or the death of a loved one. ONLY then will they look around with unclouded eyes and try to see the path to making life better and happier for themselves.

But what if you could do it BEFORE something tragic happened? Well, the honest answer is, you can, but most people don’t change until the pain is great enough. I want you to stop living a life of pain and start living a life full of happiness and TRUE contentment. That means that you’re going to have to do some honest, blunt self evaluation. Then you can develop a plan to get you from here to there.

Now, I’m NOT advocating that you quit that shitty job that you hate, or divorce your spouse, or ANYTHING else. In fact…I’m going to tell you to not take any action at all for right now. You can’t make any significant change without first figuring out WHERE you want to be and HOW to get there. There are a few steps that you MUST do in order; otherwise…you’re going to be stepping into a train wreck.

1. Evaluate what the problems are.
2. Decide what you want to change.
3. Determine what end result you are going to shoot for (Now is NOT the time to be timid!)
4. Figure what steps you will need to take to get to your goal.
5. Break each step into smaller steps that you can feel more comfortable with achieving
6. Get to work on your plan

For example, if you don’t like your job…then you will need to figure out WHAT job would make you happy. Then you will need to brainstorm the steps you need to take to get a job like that. Do you need more or different training? Do you need to go back to school? Do you need to move?

Once you have your steps written down then you can start to work on each step. It may be that you need to look into financial aid, loans, and grants if you have to return to school. You will also need to find a program that you can do and that works for your schedule. You might need to start making some contacts in the field you want to move into. NOTICE…nowhere here do I mention that you quit your current job and hope you can make ends meet until you can get another one.

Approaching change with a plan will give you a sense of comfort and also a means to keep track of your progress towards your goal. You can keep moving, even when you might start feeling like you’ll never make it to the finish line.

Remember…YOU CAN DO IT! It takes putting one foot in front of the other and believing in yourself but eventually, you’ll reach that finish line and hear me cheering for you. :-)

Tuesday, October 28

This shit is HARD!

“Old souls have much wisdom. Some days I feel like I know so much. Life seems so easy. And other days I wonder why it’s so hard. Those are the days I realize I have so much more to learn. Yet “they” say experience is the best teacher. And of course I always find it much harder to practice what I preach.” – MD

Life is a journey. I’m sure that you’ve heard that before. However, no matter how many times you may have heard it and no matter how many times you’ve rolled your eyes at the person that’s speaking, it really is true. Life is something that every day you travel through. You see beautiful sights, hear wonderful sounds, feel happiness and sadness, joy and pain, and try to absorb as much as you can to take with you. We are all just tourists here. We try to learn how this world works and how to make the best of our life, but we are only passing through.

I think that’s why it’s SO hard sometimes to keep walking in the right direction. It’s almost like we’re all ADD and SO easily distracted from our journey. We find ourselves snared in the thorniest brambles and so far off the journey’s path that we can’t even see it to get back.

I really do think it’s kind of funny really. See, I write this every day (OK, OK…ALMOST every day) and I feel that in my heart and soul, I’m usually giving good thoughts and guidance. And yet, I have my own issues and dragons that are currently living in my life. I try to use what I write and live the way I KNOW I should, but sometimes, I just can’t make myself take my own guidance. :-)

I think that’s normal. At least, I HOPE it is. And so I don’t worry about it. I know that at one time, I was SO far from my journey’s path, I think I was in a different country! But I had a great friend that was willing to take the time and come find me. Well, he did find me and he pulled me out of my brambles and helped me to find my way back. I can never thank him enough, and I know what he’d say to me. “I am just doing the right thing.” God love ya JC, I always will. :-)

So, knowing all this, how do I live? I WANT to be the best I can be. I WANT to follow my journey to the grand conclusion I know is waiting for me. But the last thing I want to do is lose my path again. I have learned from experience that it only hurts when I leave the path.

But there’s no magic formula for this. We don’t have an instruction booklet for life. No one REALLY ever teaches us how to live this journey. So the question, again, is what do we do? HOW do we make this work?

I know I’m not perfect…life would be SO much easier if I was. :-) I know that I still step off my path every now and then, but thankfully it’s not very far off anymore. I’m usually able to get back pretty quickly and usually all on my own. But I know that that doesn’t really help anybody else. And just as my best friend says…I wanna do the right thing.

So let’s get some ideas for staying on the path. :-)

• Begin each day fresh. This means you need to let go of yesterday’s crap and be in the moment. If this is hard for you…just realize that yesterday’s BIG shit will probably find it’s was into today. :-)
• KNOW what you’re doing. Remember that this world is the deception. It’s the neon lights that are meant to distract you from your journey and what’s really important. So the “what” you’re doing isn’t necessarily the job you’re at or the people you’re with.
• Gather around you people of similar spirits. I’m not saying that you need to dump all your friends, but friends have a certain amount of influence on your life. So the more friends that you have that are in line with HOW you decide to live your journey, the better and easier it will be to live it.
• Take time each day, during and at the end, to focus yourself. Spend some time with just you and honestly look at where you are and what you’re doing. It’s OK to see that you’re getting off track and admit that you made a mistake or whatever. Don’t beat yourself up here, just acknowledge and adjust.

Remember that you WILL step off the path. It’s all our natures. Just think of it as life’s reminder for why you stay on the path in the first place. :-)

So take a second and look around where you’re at. Is it thorny and prickly? Do you see me over here trying to get your attention? Walk towards me and let’s get you back onto the right path.

Friday, October 24

Help! I'm drowning...


I’m drowning in a sea of tears
The waters crashing all around
Were shed by me for years.

I wipe them away
Pretend they don’t fall
But know they’re here to stay.

I try to drown them with drinks
And running like mad
My heart is still broken, I think.

How can I heal?
And take this pain away.
How can I heal?
And bring back clear blue days.

No one can help
And heal this heart of mine
I walk this path alone
Until the end of time.

But I’m not alone
Though my heart says I am
They walk right here beside me
If I just reach out my hand.

Instead I close my eyes
Convince myself I’m alone
As my tears continue to fall
On this path that’s made of stone.

So I walk on my path
With tears in my eyes
When will my heart not hurt?
When will I not cry?
BCA ‘08

OK…so it’s not a pretty and uplifting poem. Sue me. :-)

It is, however, the truth of how lots of people live their lives. They believe that NO ONE else could ever possible understand or have gone through what they are going through right now. That is complete bullshit.

You are NEVER alone. EVER! And sometimes you have many people that will stand with you and help you through whatever is going on.

Let’s leave the past where it belongs…in the past. There’s NOTHING you can do about what has already happened. What you CAN do, is learn from it, grow because of it, and be a better person today.

Stop…take a look around you. You might find someone that will take your hand and walk with you through this mess we call life. You never know, until you look AND reach out a hand and try.

So c’mon…I’m the one standing over there waving at you.

Thursday, October 23

How-To: Lose…

I'm a computer geek; just ask anyone who knows me. In the computer world, we have instruction manuals for just about everything. We call them How-To's. They usually give you a step-by-step formula that you can apply or modify to diagnose, fix, or understand just about anything in computers.

Today…I'm going to give you a How-To about losing. :-)

Why? Because I don't care WHO you are, WHERE you come from, or WHAT you do…at some point, you WILL lose. No one spends his whole life with nothing but success.

But, why learn how to lose? What's the point?

Simple. Once you learn how to lose, you can weather it more easily when you DO happen to lose, and you'll be better able to turn your loss into a success.

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

We spend hours and hours and even days and months learning how to succeed. Our self-help section of the bookstore is weighed down with tome upon tome of thoughts on how to succeed. Hell…it's a billion dollar business now. So, we ALL know that success IS possible. Funny thing is…we never learn how to lose and not be broken.

So many people, when they fail, simply give up or allow themselves to be derailed or broken. I think that it's a result of our Age. We expect EVERYTHING to work right the first time, in only about 30 seconds. Most people have lost the idea of working till you succeed.

NOTHING in this world, or nothing good, comes easily and without work on your part. Struggle is a guarantee in the race for success in any area.

The idea in general is to adopt the same mentality as a baby. If you ever get a chance, watch a baby learning to walk. He will fail 100 times and NEVER give up. He simply tries again and works, until he succeeds.

When asked if he would give up after 'failing' 700 times to create the filament for the light bulb… Edison responded that he did not fail, but instead discovered 700 ways that didn't work. For me, each failed build brings me closer.

Every failure is a time for you to learn. You look at what happened, what you did, how you planned, etc., and the next time, you are able to put that learning into practice and come closer to success. Let's look at a few thoughts about a losing attitude.

• Accepting that failing isn't the end, but rather a stopping point to reevaluate
• Willing to try anything and as many times as it takes to succeed
• Not locked into any particular mindset
• Happy, because they know that one more wrong option is taken off the table

Remember that the ONLY time you ever lose is when you quit before you succeed. No one can force you to lose; it's a choice that you make for yourself. Chose instead to fight…until you break through and stand in the sunshine of success.

"It's a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired, you quit when the gorilla is tired." - Robert Strauss

Wednesday, October 22

Keeping up with the Joneses…

We’ve all heard the saying and everyone puts a negative connotation on it. But is it ALWAYS a bad thing?

See…I don’t think so, but only if we change how the saying is applied and interpreted.

They way that I interpret this saying is not in keeping up with the newest, slickest, most outrageous STUFF, but rather in finding those people that I can learn from and model after and keeping up with them.

I believe that EVERYONE at some point in their life needs a mentor, guide, and teacher. While we can learn a whole lot about ourselves and our place in this world, we still need someone to show us the path. That’s all a mentor is for. To teach you enough and help you understand enough so that when they show you the path, you are ready to walk it.

Life isn’t about how much stuff you have…or how pretty you are…or how young you look…or what job you have…or how much you make…it’s about how you live and what you do with your life to make the world a better place.

So, how DO you make a difference in the world? That sound like a pretty big assignment. :-)

It’s really not that difficult, really. You just need to start with your own life and your own small circle of influence. And make it important to yourself to make that small space better.

But WHAT do you do to make the world better?

Act of
ARK.” – Evan Almighty

See, we make the world a better place by living our lives from our heart and loving every single person that comes into our circle of influence.

Here are a few ideas for you to think about adopting:

• Make everyone that you meet feel welcome and accepted.
• Refuse to speak or be a part of someone else speaking negatively and badly about someone else.
• If you offer to help someone, do more than they ask for.
• Take the time to visit someone that you know isn’t feeling well.
• Smile at everyone you meet.
• LISTEN when someone is speaking to you. No more thinking about dinner during the conversation. :-)
• Take the time to learn something new about everyone you meet.

Even if you don’t “Save the Cheerleader and save the World!” you will still make an enormous impact in your own life and the lives of any others that are brought into contact with you. You WILL make a difference, no matter how small.

“The best way to make a difference in the world is to start by making a difference in your own life.” - Julia Louis-Dreyfus

One of my favorite shows on TV is “Inside the Actor’s Studio”. At the very end they always have a brief Q&A. One of the questions is always, “If God exists, what would you want Him to say to you when you got to Heaven?”

I’m hoping for Him to say, “Good job son. You made the World a better place.”

Tuesday, October 21

I’m in church…and I have to fart

This is kinda how life usually works. You’ve got several different people telling you VERY different things. See…you’ve got your body, the world, telling you to just do it. You’ve got your mind, logic, telling you that if you lean a little no one will know. And then you’ve got your heart telling you to PLEASE don’t do that to the people around you. :-)

It seems that the world and your heart very rarely, if ever, agree. Unfortunately, this tends to cause a LOT of stress and hurt in most people’s lives.

You feel out of place if you follow your heart. People might even look at you a little funny. They might call you crazy to live that way, when EVERYONE knows that this (the world’s way) is how people succeed.

But really…IS that the way to have a successful life?

Sure! If you’re idea of a successful life is simply about money, fame, stuff, whatever. If so…God love you, the world can always use another shallow and material person. After all, it’s those kinds of people that make it what it is today.

If all you live for is to satisfy the next urge then I KNOW that yours will be an unfulfilled life. See…there is SOME truth to the old saying…

“Money can’t buy love…but it can buy a WHOLE lot of happiness!”

I can’t even argue with that. Sure! Money can buy a lot of happiness. Fleeting, momentary, and shallow happiness. You can get all the STUFF that you can get your grubby little paws on. And for those fleeting moments, until you decide you need something else (about 5-10 minutes worth) you’re happy. Then what? You start the little cycle all over again. Gee…what a GREAT way to live. :-)

So what if you live to satisfy your mind and logic and make sense of everything? W-E-L-L…that may work for a while. But eventually, you’ll find a whole LOT of things that just are the way they are and don’t make a lick of sense. Then the whole idea of living for logic is going to come right down on your head. There are TOO many things in life that defy explanation and logic. SO many things that have to be taken on faith and trust. Besides…in all honesty, logic is cold, distant, and also pretty shallow. YEA! What fun! Let’s invite HIM to the party. :-)

So that leaves living for your heart…and let’s face it, that REALLY daunting. Why? Because, based on everything that we’ve learned in growing up, the heart’s choices and decisions usually don’t make any sense. At least not to us and certainly not in the immediate timeframe that we are SO used to living in. The heart is a long term decision maker. We need to slow down, get rid of the instantaneous gratification mentality, and actually LIVE a life, not just exist through one.

Living a life for your heart is about simple and pure enjoyment of every moment. It’s about loving ALL the people you find yourself around. It’s about being in tune with the world around you and the people in it, and not getting sucked into the fads and misguided beliefs that come and go. A heart life is not about rushing and cramming everything you can into every hour of the day. Its pace is SO much slower than that. There is so much that a heart life experiences and enjoys that is NEVER even seen by anyone else. That’s the pure happiness and love and fulfillment of a heart life.

Sure, the world and the smartys will call you crazy and you might not have millions of dollars and toys before you shuffle off, but oh well. The world will still be the world when you’re gone, and smartys will still be trying to figure it all out, but you’ll actually take a heart that is SO full, you can barely carry it with you.

So figure out what kind of life you would want…and, damn it, START LIVING THAT WAY!!!

“With great risks comes great rewards” – Winston Churchill

Friday, October 17

To Serve Man…

Those of you that are old enough and/or geeky enough will know that this comes from an old Twilight Zone episode. “To Serve Man” was a great episode.

Quick summary…Aliens come to Earth and begin to solve all our world’s problems. They end world hunger and war and everything else. They even give their book of knowledge to a few scientists so that they can start to understand their language. Eventually, they start to offer us humans rides off the planet and back to their homeworld. Well…it ends up that the big book of knowledge titled, “To Serve Man”, is actually a cookbook!

Gotta love it! :-)

But really…what does it mean to serve man?

I think that most people will immediately get an extreme view of serving others. They will focus on the sacrifices that have to be made and even the inconvenience of serving. See…we tend to view most things through that good ol’ negative filter.

Serving is NOT a bad or even difficult thing at all. In fact, it’s one of the BEST ways to show someone that you care and love them. And guess what? It’s probably the cheapest way to express your love for someone! :-)

Service doesn’t mean that you become someone’s slave. Nor does it mean that you become less than yourself and wait on their every whim and desire. No. That’s called slavery and it’s not at all what I’m talking about.

Sure, we all know what the definition of service is. Do we REALLY need to wake up Mr. Webster for this one? No. Service is simply assisting or doing a task for someone else. I know…that’s almost as dry as Webster. But it works.

Now, what’s missing from that definition? Do you know?

The missing part of service that makes it SO important and meaningful is HEART. Service is just work unless you put your heart into it. It’s not an expression of love if you don’t serve willingly with a good heart. If I’ve got to twist your arm and you bitch and moan the whole time…well, I’m NOT going to think that you’re doing it because ya love me. Go figure!

But how far SHOULD you take the idea of serving man? Where should you draw the line and stop?

See…that’s a completely personal call. I can’t tell you, because the line for me will be VERY different from the line for you. Granted, I believe that the world would be an incredible place if ALL people EVERYWHERE went out of their way to serve EVERYONE else, regardless. But hey…while I am an optimist, I’m also a realist. I KNOW that you’re not going to do that. And that’s OK. 

The idea is to do as much as YOU are comfortable with. And as you get MORE comfortable, you serve more. Then, you can start to affect more than just your immediate circle. You can actually start to make a bit of the world a better place.

So start with little things with the people that are closest to you. Find a chore or job that someone you love REALLY doesn’t like doing, and just do it FOR them. Tell your companion to “just relax for the night, you’re off duty.” And then make certain that they CAN relax because you’ve got everything taken care of. If you’re ready to move outward in your service, pick anyone and do something small FOR them, with a smile. :-)

The great thing about service is that YOU can feel good about doing it, for anyone. You can know that in a small way, you’ve made someone’s day a little easier and probably a whole lot brighter. Even if they don’t thank you for it. Remember service is NOT about praise for your work. In fact, sometimes it’s simply awesome to serve and not let those you’re serving even know.

It’s amazing to me how such a little thing like serving another can put a glow in your heart that you can carry with you all the time. The more you serve, the brighter you glow. It’s a good feeling…and one that you can come to like and REALLY enjoy. I know that I do.

So c’mon…let’s take care of each other and glow for a while. :-)

Thursday, October 16

Objects in the rearview mirror…

Anyone that drives knows how the rest of this statement goes. Objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are.

Does this describe you? I’ll bet you that it does…sometimes.

For most of us the past has almost a strangle hold on our lives. We live in the past. Past regret, past failures, past loves, past joys, past hurts, and on and on and on. For some people it seems that the past is more important than the present or even the future.

"Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

Remembering the past does have a purpose for us. However, most people take it a bit too far and attempt to LIVE in the past. People become obsessed with the past. They stop living in the present and fall into their past.

The purpose of remembering the past is to learn from it. Plain and simple. If you were hurt, then you need to be able to objectively recall what happened and figure out what your part was in that event. Then you can begin to understand what you can do to avoid that kind of hurt in the future. Let’s take a simple scenario…

You get burned by putting your hand on a hot burner. :-)

YOUR part in this event is placing your hand on the burner (dumbass!) So, what can you do to prevent that from happening in the future? Well…you could be REALLY extreme and say you’ll never go close to a stove burner ever again. That will make cooking a bit difficult for you…trust me. A more reasonable response would be to pay closer attention to whether or not the burner is hot and be aware of the world around you. Was someone just cooking? Does the stove feel hot if you’re close to it?

There’s really TONS that you can learn from your own past. However, it takes you looking in an OBJECTIVE way. You can’t simply take anything that’s happened to you and deny any sort of involvement in it. Think of it this way…if it happened TO you, then you were involved in some way.

”Those who remember the past tend to get the story really screwed up.” - Chuck Palahniuk

Memory is a funny thing. Very rarely is it perfect in recollection. This causes us even more problems if you remain attached and emotionally invested in events that happened in the past to you.

The only way that we can effectively USE the past for our benefit is to take a step back from it. Detach. Look on the past as an outside observer. Honestly see the mistakes that you made, or the different ways you could have responded. Then you have a starting point to change the outcome of future events.

The past truly has no hold on our lives. Its power comes from what we give it. Nothing in the past can be changed, nor can it reach into today and affect you, UNLESS YOU LET IT!

The past has no more power over you than the future does. Neither of them is the here and now, where you live.

Let’s do something together…grab the past moment that you think about the most. Look at what happened, your part in it, discover some things that you might have done differently. Now…forgive yourself for the event. Forgive whoever else was involved. And LET IT GO. Know that you’ve done everything about it that you can and let it go.

It might take a couple times to finally be able to let it go completely. That’s OK. It’ll get easier as you keep going. Now you can start to work through the past that you hold on to so tightly. The past can now be put where it belongs…behind you.

"Learn from the past, Hope for the future, Live in the present." - Ken Lancaster

Wednesday, October 15

Welcome to the New World…

We live in a time where most everywhere has been explored. Some say that there are no “new worlds” left here to explore. The only places left to us are the deep oceans and outer space. No more adventures left to have…no more wilderness to tame.

Do YOU think so?

I don’t. But I think that the greatest and most beautiful world to explore is right inside you. Your “Inner Space”. And believe me…it’s probably more wild, rugged, and dangerous than ANYWHERE else on Earth!

In order for you to be the greatest and best person you can be…you need to tame this wilderness.

Not an easy task for anyone. So, what do we do?

Most people take a quick glance and run! :-) They don’t see how this well neigh impossible task can be accomplished and rather than pit themselves against it, they hide from it. After all, they can still live a happy life? Right?

Sure! You can live a happy life without ever even setting foot into your own wilderness. In fact…most people probably don’t even know that it exists. They seem happy, don’t they?

I need you to understand a subtle difference for me. I’m not talking about HAPPINESS. I’m talking about being the BEST PERSON you are capable of being. Sure, you can be happy and an average, unfulfilled, mediocre person. But I want more for you than that. More than simply happy and content with your life; I want you to have a Heroic life and to be, as the Army says, “All that you can be”!

And for that to happen…you have to journey into your wilderness and become King.

In your wilderness you will find and face all your fears. Even ones you didn’t know existed or that you’d buried a long time ago. Any fear or feeling that you never dealt with and conquered, you will find lurking in your wilderness. And if you journey far enough, you’ll find buried treasure! You’ll find those things that are you that you’ve forgotten, or again, buried a long time ago. You will need to take ALL these things back in order to become King.

You need to take back your fears and hurts and feelings?? Yup. They are a part of you, whether you deny them or not. The only way to become King is to hold them in your hand, recognize them for what they are, and accept them as a part of you. Then you can start to rise above them. You can build good things upon them. Yes, you CAN build on fears and make something good.

Your wilderness is the WILD you. It’s the part that the world tells us to hide away and never acknowledge. Sadly, most of us are drowning in the world’s advice. It’s time to become a whole you. It’s time to truly come home.

Your wilderness holds SO much of what is really you. SO much that we never even attempt to explore.

Did you know that it took Christopher Columbus 6 rejections before he actually found someone willing to sponsor his journey? Don’t become discouraged if your fist trip into your wilderness is only to the edge, or even just a few feet in. Just know that the journey is an exploration of yourself and a quest to becoming a complete YOU.

We stand on the threshold of a brave new world, full of potential and possibilities, of dangers and pitfalls waiting to snare the unwary traveler. And yet, we journey on. We journey, not for profit, though it may come our way, and not for fame, though there are people that will look up to us, instead, we journey for our own souls, to find that which our Creator has hidden inside us, and to bring it into the light of our life. We journey because we were created to journey, to explore, to build, and to discover. Ours is the less traveled road. Ours is the unmarked path. Each of us can blaze his own path; no two are ever the same. It is not a question of how can I, but rather, how can I not?

“If not now, when? If not us, who?” – George Romney

Tuesday, October 14

One shall stand…one shall fall

It’s really a pretty awesome statement if you think about it. “One shall stand…one shall fall.” Of course, it probably works better with 50 foot tall combat ready robots stating it right before beating the hell out of each other. :-)

Really though, it could be a statement that anyone could, and maybe should, make about their own life.

What do I mean? Think of it this way. Humans were created with really two distinct “sides”. We all have that basic capacity for good (morals, ethics, character, honesty, etc) and a basic capacity for evil (selfishness, meanness, antipathy, etc). Over the course of our lives we see a kind of tug-a-war between these two opposite poles. Sometimes we are closer to one than the other and then the dynamic changes.

Notice something about the quote from above. It says one shall fall. Notice that it doesn’t say that one is destroyed. There is a HUGE difference. If we apply our good vs. evil concept, then the opposite is never completely destroyed or vanquished forever. It is thrown down, losses its power, and basically beaten to a pulp, but it’s NOT destroyed.

So, let me ask you a basic Philosophy question…Does “good” exist without “evil”? Can you have one completely and not the other?

See…I don’t think so. If you lived in a perfect world where there was no “evil” (Violence, anger, hate, greed, avarice, etc) and everything that is considered “good” was the only thing available and in abundance, how you REALLY know that it was all “good”?

I believe that “evil” and “good” provide structure in our world. They provide a balance and a gauge for measurement. “Good” can only be seen and recognized when it is thrown into contrast with “evil”.

So what does this all have to do with the dichotomy of humans?

One shall stand…one shall fall. Everyone lives life in a constant struggle. The basic struggle between “good” and “evil”. Between the two halves that guide our thoughts and actions.

For some, it’s sometimes a rather one sided fight. Usually you see it in those people that are soaked in “evil” and there is very little if any “good” inside. There are those, however, that see overwhelming “good” shining through and they make it look easy.

But for most of us…it’s not easy, is it?

Nope. In fact…sometimes I’d say it’s downright hard. We aren’t prepared for this fight. We don’t know the rules. Hell…most of us can’t even really define “good” and “evil” in a concrete manner. It’s all fuzzy for us. Based on feelings and emotions and, at times, it’s different in each situation.

Where does that leave us? We can’t define either side…we’re not ready for the fight…we’re not even really equipped for battle. Sounds like we’re the puny civilian standing in front of the charging tank. Yup…we’re gonna get smushed.

But wait…this is MY life and MY mind and MY heart! I’m not gonna be smushed by anybody! You do have a choice in all this, even if most of us don’t take it or even know it exists.

The choice is really simple. Are you going to stand up for that core that’s inside you? Will you be what your soul believes you can be?

Sounds like an easy choice, don’t it? :-) If it was, the world wouldn’t be littered with the walking dead. I believe that almost all people will answer yes to those questions. However, they continue existing the same old way they always have. They don’t do the WORK that it will take to win the battle. Oh, they are great at spending their time making a LONG list of excuses.

But the hard self-searching that is needed to discover and root out the little demons and devils, is simply too hard, too difficult, too time consuming, to be done right now. “I’ll do it later.”

Sound familiar?

The good news is that it’s really never too late to start actively fighting in this battle and trying to be better. “Better late than never.” As my Dad used to say. So get off your ass and get in the game!

One shall stand…one shall fall. Do you know which it’ll be?