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.