Friday, August 22

Wants vs. Needs

Have you confused your wants with your needs? I think it’s something that a lot of people do. I’m sure that at some point, everyone in the world is guilty of that. It would fit for something like that to happen when you are young and then you grow out of it and into a responsible kind of adult.

But, that doesn’t always happen. I see people that come to believe that their WANTS are in truth their NEEDS. This ultimately causes a huge problem for life. Especially as some needs get shuffled around for the new needs that come around.

There are people that spend grocery money on lottery tickets or alcohol or shoes, etc. They mistakenly believe that these transient wants are in truth, needs. We have cases where children are being neglected and families broken apart by this delusion. Sadly, I think that there are lots of people that suffer from this.

But…do you think they realize what they are doing? I’m betting that they don’t. I mean, what kind of person would willingly replace their families NEEDS with their own personal WANTS?

So…couldn’t we all be in danger of having wants for needs? Is that a possibility in even the best of hearts? Again, I’m betting that yes, it is possible. But those that know keep an ever watchful eye on what they call needs.

It’s a matter of asking yourself, every time you act, “Am I doing this to fulfill my want, or my need?”

So, let’s go through all the things that you have listed in your life as needs. C’mon…I know you have a list. :-)

Look at the reasons why you have something listed as a need and try to see if it REALLY is something that you need for life, either for you, your friends, or your family.

There are, of course, easy ones. If you play the lottery (I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it!) then you need to make certain HOW you are playing it. Are you spending money that is NEEDED elsewhere or have you simply set aside a little bit in your budget for it? You DO have a budget, right? :-) OK…that’s a whole ‘nother post.

If you can look at what you consider as needs in a logical and realistic way, then you CAN decide, all on your own, whether or not you’re under confusion. If you have a family, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. After all…”Two eyes are better than one.”

So, we’ve slimmed down the needs list and gotten everything squared away. Right? But, we still have all these wants left over. And some of them are REALLY big wants. What about them? This is where a beautiful blessing comes into play…patience. :-)

I’ll wait for the groaning to stop…life isn’t about immediate gratification. In fact, some of the WORST things in life happen immediately. In order to keep your house in order, you MUST learn that some things just have to wait.

There is a reason why consumer debt is at an all time high and the average person has $6-10K worth of credit card debt.

Patience is a virtue that brings peace and happiness to those that follow in its ways.

Come, sit with me and let’s just wait for a bit. Your WANTS will still be there in the morning.

Thursday, August 21

Life is Pass/Fail…

Everyone is used to being graded. We are graded on everything from the time that we toddle off to school till…well, the day we die. And some of us might even be graded on how we die. We live with the standard grading scale. A, B, C, D, F…It’s something we all know in a glance. If you’re an A player…well, we all know that you’re good. And if you’re an F…we all know that you suck. :-)

But does any of that matter, really? Of course, by now, you should all know what I’m going to say.

Of course it doesn’t matter! There are no grades in life…It’s a pass/fail kinda course.

There is no middle ground in this life. No sitting on the sidelines and watching how the action develops. None of us are commentators on the game of life. You are on a side. Do you know which one you’re on?

You are either in this game or getting run over by those that are in the game. Now, I’m not saying that life is a game…let’s all pass GO and collect $200. But there are fundamental rules for life. For example, you can’t jump out of an airplane without a parachute and expect to live after plummeting to the ground. I’m sorry; it just doesn’t work that way.

“But I don’t want to play a game. I just want to live a peaceful life.” Right? Wrong. By making the choice to not play, you have still made a choice. And the sad fact is; you made the choice to give any power and control for your own life, over to someone else.

Now, I don’t want you to run out and start trying to control anyone or find power over the masses. That’s not the point. Playing the game of life means that you have power and control over yourself. After all, you is the only person that you really can control. :-)

Most of us will spend our life actively giving the control and power of our lives over to just about anyone. We live according to what our parents want, or think we should do and be. Or we find that “special someone” and promptly put every bit of our power into their hands. We ask them to be responsible for our every need. Our happiness, our success, our very self esteem. In some cases it just crushes that person. Sometimes, it just crushes us.

Damn it! I want you to wake up! I want you to step onto the field of battle and take you RIGHTFUL PLACE! Where is your rightful place? It’s that place where YOU are the one in control. The place where YOU have all your own personal power at your fingertips. Where YOU are the one responsible for your life.

There is no cramming for life and hoping that you squeak by with a C. There are no make ups and no incompletes in life. This is a live run. And, unfortunately, there are more people that are choosing to not play, than those that are choosing to live life to the fullest.

Yes, you WILL get hurt. Sometimes, you may even be out of the game for a bit to recover. But, just like the winning athlete, you must get back out onto the field and make every second count. So, call the play, throw the winning touchdown…and knock the fucker right out of the park.

Take back everything that you have given away and make the absolute most of your life. Control it, live it, and feel the power of each and every second that you draw breath.

Like my best friend says…”If you’re still breathing, you’ve still got a purpose to fulfill.”

I’m cheering for you! Now…go be the hero in the game of life!

Wednesday, August 20

Surviving the Storm

This one today is kind of appropriate, given that I’m here in Jacksonville…watching the Lady Fay stomp up the coast towards me. :-)

So, my question for today is…How do YOU survive your storms?

Do you run and hide and hope they blow over?

Do you stand tall and fierce and try to shout down the storm?

Do you look for someone else to come and give you shelter?

Or, are you just being blown around, bouncing off anything that happens to get close, praying that you’re not too banged up after the storm stops?

So what do we do when the storms of life come raging at our doorstep? Battering the walls and attempting to scour away all that we’ve worked so hard for. Sometimes it seems that the storms never let up. That we go through life with a thunder cloud hovering right over our heads. But there is calm in every storm, a brief respite from even the most terrible of rains. And it is in those, sometimes very brief, moments that we can find our way through.

I will be the first to say that in the middle of the storm is not the time to figure out how to survive it. When you are fighting against the lashing rain, you MUST be able to fall back onto those things that are your solid foundation, your core, deep inside. I think that is why so many of us are simply swept away by the storms. We lack that solid, firm footing that will anchor us and keep us safe.

What is that core that will allow us to weather and survive the storms of life?

Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.
- George Sand (1804 - 1876)

George Sands has the start of it. I believe that the core that will get us through are the very traits that we hold in the highest esteem. Courage, Honor, Compassion, Love, Integrity, and Faith. If you have a grounded understanding of what each of those means to you and how they each fit into what makes you, you; then you will have a core that no storm will shake.

So, let me tell you want each of these means to me, that way it might help you figure out what they mean to you and adopt them into your deepest self.

Courage – is believing in yourself and standing firm for what you believe.
Honor – is not compromising what you believe in and living in accordance with your beliefs.
Compassion – is living from your heart without condemnation or judgment for yourself or anyone else.
Love – is wanting the best for everyone in your life and actively working to see it happen.
Integrity – is living a life that encompasses your core without compromise.
Faith – is believing in the goodness in yourself, others, and God.

Now, this is just for me. If you don’t like it than figure out your own definition. The important thing is to start living from your core and making it an indistinguishable part of who you are. Most people walk through this life never finding their core. They are simply content to exist on automatic pilot. Watch them. The storms will always rip through their lives, like the pig that built his house from straw. :-)

Be one of those that stand out from the masses. One of those that turns their face to the storm and laughs and watches the rains sweep by, knowing that they cannot be shaken.

Besides…I think the rain tickles my cheeks.

Tuesday, August 19

Peaks and Valleys

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present.
- Babatunde Olatunji

Peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys, peaks and valleys…That seems to be a fairly good description of just about anything in nature. Especially humans. We go from the high peaks to the deep, dark valleys, with very few of us keeping a summer home somewhere in the middle. It’s almost like we like the exercise of running from the bottom to the top and back down again.

So…in the words of my inner child…Why? :-)

Why do we go from highs to lows and seem to race from one to the other? Can’t we just level out?

I’m sure that there are LOTS of reasons for this crazy pattern. Some $4000/hour shrink could probably articulate it a bit better than me. So, just bear with me for a bit. Or rather, think with me for a bit. :-)

What is a peak for you? I know that the easiest definition for me is that a peak is the culmination of one of my goals, hopes, or dreams. That is a GREAT time. Everyone feels great when they achieve a goal they set. The confetti is thrown, the crowds cheer, and you throw your hands up in victory. Or, maybe that’s just me…but you get my drift. And then what? What happens after you’ve gained the victory? Do you look around and find the next goal, or dream to knock out of the park? I bet you do. I do too.

But I’m thinking that the most likely “next step” is a slackening, of everything. You stop pushing yourself as hard as you were. You tell yourself that you deserve to just stop and take a rest. That you’ve been working SO hard and now, you don’t have to. After all, you won right?

At that point, the slide down the mountain begins. It’s not something that we notice at first. I don’t think that most of us realize it at all. We just end up back at the bottom, looking up at the top of the mountain, where we just were.

“How the hell did I get down here?” That’s usually the first question we ask. And, only very rarely, is the answer: “Oh, yeah. I sat on my ass and let it all fall to pieces.” But then, I think that’s just human nature. We don’t usually look inside for the answers first. We can eventually get into that habit, but for the most part, we look everywhere BUT inside.

So, now we’re back in a valley. Slogging through the muck and grime and struggling to put one foot in front of the other. It’s hard to keep moving. We are tired, sometimes hurting, volatile, and usually simply a mess. Direction and drive can be in complete absence. Yeah, you all know. Being in a valley sucks. It’s hard to be there and no one WANTS to be there, but once you’re there, it’s SO damn hard to get out.

And…eventually, you do get out! You get that breath of fresh air and start to claw your way back up the mountain. You have a GOAL again. You can feel your drive coming back and the energy rushing through you. You are on a mission now!

And then the whole trip starts over and over and over again. It’s tiring to just type all that out. And I KNOW that you can imagine how it is to live that way…let’s face it…you DO live that way.

But…my question still stands…Why? Why do we live this way? Maybe we just need the challenge to get us into gear and do the work for the achievement. Maybe we gain a sense of satisfaction by overcoming and regaining the mountaintop.

There is neither happiness nor unhappiness in this world; there is only the comparison of one state with another. Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss. It is necessary to have wished for death in order to know how good life is to live.
- Alexandre Dumas (1802 - 1870), The Count of Monte Cristo

I think that we simply don’t know how to set our goals so that we are continually climbing and keep the upward momentum. We have this innate need for goals with definite ends. I guess that way we can point to it and shout out “I have succeeded!” But what if we had a lifetime goal? One that kept us moving each and every day towards that highest peak. Sure, we might take a short breather every now and then. Survey our surroundings and then get back to the climb. Every stop would be higher than the last. We could eventually get a bird’s eye view of our entire life. Just imagine where you could go, if you kept your eyes turned upwards and followed them to the mountains conclusion.

Look, I’ve found a mountain that’s high enough. I’m going to start climbing. Feel free to use my rope and join me on the mountain.

Monday, August 18

First Rule of Flyin’

Mal: "Ain't all buttons and charts, little albatross. Know what the first rule of flying is? Well I s'pose you do, since you already know what I'm 'bout to say."

River: "I do. But I like to hear you say it."

Mal: "Love. Can know all the math in the 'verse but take a boat in the air that you don't love? She'll shake you off just as sure as a turn in the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughtta fall down...tell you she's hurtin' 'fore she keens...makes her a home."

Love. There is SO much that’s been written about love, that it’s almost impossible to bring anything new to the table. But I’ going to try anyways. :-)

What kind of love is it that keeps the ship in the air? A Love of self? Maybe for some people. A Love of stuff? That definitely fits a lot of people. A Love of someone else? Most people fit this one I think. But is any of that enough to keep the boat in the air when things are going wrong? Looking at the world today…I’d have to say no.

So what, then, is going to keep us going strong when life sucks? How about this…a Love of Life. Some people may call it God, others Allah, some the Tao, and if you’re in AA, it’s your Higher Power. For now, I’m going to call it a Love of Life. A far reaching love of everything that can be encompassed in this existence we call Life.

Now I’m not talking about a touchy feely, “love the one you’re with” kind of Love of Life. I’m talking about the whole enchilada. Loving every part of Life, all the people that are in Life, all the things that happen in Life, everything, down to the smallest detail. I believe THAT’S how you keep the boat in the air.

It’s not that you won’t be knocked around by the winds and turbulence, it’s just that you will roll and swift with it all. If you realize that THIS Life is what you’ve got and that EVERYTHING that has gone before and that will come after is forging you into the person you are…then you’ll stay the course.

So, what am I talking about with this Love of Life? Does that mean I have to love everyone? I’m pretty certain that I ‘m hearing that thought out there. :-) And…I can’t give you that answer. Sure, it’d be great if you were able to love everyone. That makes for a more peaceful life. But I’m not so naive as to think that most of us can do that. But there is something about learning to be happy with your life, even in the midst of a horrendous storm. After all…I can probably think of some people that have life much harder right now than you do. I know, I know. That doesn’t really help in getting to the Love of Life point of view.

All I can tell you is this…no matter what is going on in your life, or how hard it is or has been; you are where you are for a reason. You are who you are because of what you’ve gone through. And you will be who you will become because of what is coming. So, love it all. Even the hardest things that are thrown your way. Then you can face anything with a smile and know that you can turn any situation into something beneficial for your life. That’s how a Love of Life keeps the boat in the air. It provides its own updrafts.

Eventually, someday, you might even find that YOU are the boat and that it’s your Love that is helping you to fly.

Anyone besides me believe that they can fly? I’m not crazy, nor do I jump off things flapping my arms like crazy. :-) I just believe that someday, I’ll learn to fly and finally be free to go where my heart truly desires. And when I get there, I know that I’ll be home.

See you in the skies!

Make my way back home
When I learn to fly
Foo FightersLearn to Fly