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?