Posts Tagged: awareness


18
Nov 11

Are you a swinger?

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Hi, welcome back.

First of all, don’t let the title scare you.  I’m not talking about that kind of swinger.

Secondly, I am in a much better mood than I was on Monday.  I feel pretty chipper today.

Side Note: Humm… do you ever wonder where words or phrases people use on a regular basis originate?

Chipper… Why chipper?  Oh well, at least you know what I mean.  By the way, if anyone is aware of the origin I would love to know.

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I find it interesting that we as humans can have so many different moods – many, many kinds of moods.

There are good moods, bad moods, calm moods – you name it, we have it.

Whether you realize it or not, while sitting there in the glow of the computer screen you are in a mood.  Maybe it’s calm, impatient, negative, happy, etc.  None-the-less you’re in a mood.


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Do any of you remember the old Mood Rings?  They worked well huh?

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You can learn a lot about a person (or yourself) by the types of moods they generally have and what causes the moods.

We all want and like good moods.  The ones that cause the damage are the bad moods, so that will be where I spend most of my time focusing.

There is no question that I have my good days and bad days, but for the most part I am generally in a pretty good mood.
Some people’s mood soar back and forth like a six year old on the playground swing, while others gently sway like a porch swing.

I had a friend one time tell me that he was even tempered – always in a bad mood.

Now before I start meddling, let me first say that I believe that there are two basic categories for moods – legitimate and chosen.

Legitimate moods are those that have their basis in something physiological or (I say this with much reserve) circumstantial.  We have little or no control over these moods.  We do have some control over how we exhibit the moods, but not so much the mood itself.

Chosen are the moods that we have due to life situations.  These are completely within our control.

Side Note: Stick with me and don’t skim read.

I know this is a bit boring or seems elementary but I can assure you that your nose will be tweaked before we finish.

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This is where I start meddling.

I believe in the core of my being that 90% of our moods are chosen and the remaining 10% are honestly legitimate.

Now here’s the big lie.  We honestly believe that the majority of bad moods we are in are legitimate category when in reality they are chosen.

We choose a mood because it serves a purpose.

Huh?  Yep, serves a purpose.  The purposes are as varied as people and moods.

For example, for some it validates that we are unhappy about something, or it reaffirms what a crappy person we are because of something we did or didn’t do, or it’s a way of punishing someone because we didn’t get our way.  You name your own poison.

Another way you can tell that it is a chosen mood is how quickly it changes.

Think about it.  Have you ever been in a crappy mood and crabbing around all prickly?  Then someone you like or admire (or want to impress) comes in the room you immediately change your mood.

At that moment you just chose another mood.

There is one more point I need to make.  It is important that you not confuse frustration with a mood.  For example, I am frustrated that I am late getting the blog posted.  I’m frustrated but not in a bad mood.

If I want to be honest, there have been times when a lot less has happened and I chose to be in a bad mood.

Well, I hope you’re in a good mood now.  If not… your choice.

See you Monday.

Ciao.


10
Oct 11

Your point is…?

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Hi there, welcome back… bubble boy.

In case you’re wondering about this bubble boy nonsense you need to take a quick look at the last blog entry.  It will get you up to speed on all of this bubble stuff.

I may not know much, but I do know that you typically don’t want any sharp objects around bubbles or balloons.

You notice I said typically.  When it comes to fun stuff you don’t want anything to pop your bubble.  We have to guard and protect those things.

We tend to shy away from the sharp piercing things in life because, simply put, they hurt when you bump into them.  They destroy plans or upset your little world.

But there are times when sharp objects around your bubble may be the greatest gift you can ever receive.

Bubbles in reality are pretty fragile.  It doesn’t take much to poke a hole in our protective cover.

But here’s the scary part.  After years of protecting our fragile bubble something sinister begins to take place.

The bubble, without warning, gradually hardens and thickens.  What was once a delightful, colorful, bouncy bubble has slowly transformed into an opaque shell that entraps.

Where once a pin prick could shatter the confines of the bubble, it’s now mocked by its inability to cause enough discomfort or distraction for consideration.

What was once a nice comfortable place to protect ourselves has now become a narrow box that leaves us no room to grow or move.

I don’t know about you, but I have had my share of things that have trapped me over the years and I can tell you from experience… a simple pin prick is much more attractive and tolerable than the sledgehammer required to get someone out of their shell.

Some of you may be saying that you like your shell and you have no desire to get out of your familiar, predictable, tiny, narrow, box.

OK, suit yourself… but fair warning.  Life has a way of taking a sledgehammer to our world.  This is not life’s way of punishing us but releasing us.

Hopefully this blog is a little pin prick for some of you and pops your thin bouncy bubble.

For others, I hope this little speck of dust of a blog turns out to be a tiny seed.

Don’t giggle at the notion of a dust particle seed.  You never can tell what happens when those pesky seeds get inside.

See you Thursday.


15
Aug 11

Mulch Anyone?


Hi, it’s great to have you hang out with me for a while.

I went to Starbucks this morning to find my muse for the blog.  All I ended up with was a non-fat latte, blueberry scone, and a lighter wallet… but no muse.

Muse, like most good things, I have come to learn cannot be contrived.  Special life gifts such as this are NEVER contrived… only recognized and then acted upon.

I believe that there are hidden life treasures all around if we are looking for them.  We have to be open and alert.  It is sort of like a cosmic Geocache hidden for us to discover.

Side Note: If you don’t know what geocaching is then you will need to google it.  If you don’t know what google is then you are in a heap-o-trouble.  Ask a second grader.

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These life gifts, blessings, or whatever you want to call them, can happen anytime and show up in surprising ways.

I wrote about one of these surprise encounters in a blog in March of 2010.

An Interesting Event:

I was just interrupted by a knock at the front door.  I was a bit frustrated because the knock caused me to break stride in my flow of thought on this all important blog of mine.

I opened the door, there standing before me was a very nervous, awkward young Boy Scout (about 11 would be my guess).  He was appropriately attired in his scouting shirt patches and all.  He was going door to door selling mulch for his troop.

I was stilled.  I knew immediately that this was not to be a casual, “No thank you.”

When I first saw him his eyes quickly shifted from my face to my chest and then made their way to my feet.  This is where they stayed most of the time except with an occasional glance upward as comfort allowed or the sales pitch demanded when presenting the brochure.

His father was standing a couple of feet to the side with that… you’re on your own but I’m here to help you posture.

His non-verbals spoke clearly of support… and also protection.  Not physical protection but the kind of protection you give to a child that seems to have been on the “outside” and who knows the ramifications of being so.

The blog… my interrupted flow of thought… my frustration, quickly were put in their place because there was something beyond my here and now.

The VOICE!

The voice calls us out and calls us to.  This time it was “to”.

You see, this journey is not one of selfish insight.  It is a journey of wholeness.  And wholeness is never selfish.  The voice always takes us out of self, never toward self.

The “Be Prepared” scout did not need me to be patient or attentive as he explained the benefits of purchasing mulch in bulk… but I was.  I believe it made his stop at the next house easier.  And that’s important… especially if you are one who has been use to struggling.

I never want to allow the noise of life (or this blog) to hide the gentle call.

There is a voice… constantly calling… voice beyond view that beckons us to something.

How is your hearing?  If you aren’t open you will miss amazingly great and precious opportunities to grow… or touch.

Ciao.  See you Thursday.


23
Jun 11

To Believe or NOT to Believe… That is the Question

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Howdy, glad to have you visit.

We continue the saga of the arm tattoo.  I am sure that when the picture was taken of the arm tattoo the person never dreamed that a series of blogs would be written.

Side Note: If you are just joining us or you haven’t visited in a while you really need to take a look at the picture.  After you see it you will understand why.

Just scroll down the page four blogs to the June 9th entry.

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Dissecting the Arm Quote: (continued)

“Being told you are a worthless piece of shit and not believing it…

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It’s interesting… every time I type and read this quote I am repulsed.

In my apparent small narrow world, it is hard for me to grasp that there are people who intentionally impose this destructive of a message on another person.  I know it’s true, but still hard to grasp because it is so foreign to me.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to crawl into that person’s head.  The hate, anger and blackness must be immense to spew such a vile message with the intent to destroy.  Baffling.

Sorry, I got sidetracked from the positive lesson for us all to learn.  We have talked about the messages we all receive (“Being told you are…”); the types of messages we receive (“…a worthless piece of shit…”); and the decision point of what we do with those messages (“…and…”).

Today we look at the decision.  The decision of this person was NOT to believe the message.

Do you realize how difficult it is NOT to believe a repetitive negative message?

It’s sad but true; the nature of humans is to lend more weight to negative messages than to positive.  It is the way we are bent.

I am sure each one of you can bring to remembrance a critical statement someone made more easily than a positive statement.

Who knows, maybe I am the only sick person on this earth ship that focuses on the negative too quickly.  What I do for a living requires me to be in front of people in a training or facilitation role.  If the session has evaluation sheets you can imagine what I look at first.

As you can guess, all the evaluations are jammed pack with carefully crafted messages about how amazingly wonderful the session was and how they sat in awe of my incredible skills.  Of course there are the four or five evaluations that are covered with hearts, XOXOXO, and “I want to have your baby” sentiments.

Just kidding, just kidding.  Yes, I get compliments but I immediately go to the criticisms.  I like to say that I want to improve my skills… but it may be more of a morbid curiosity.

The point is, we naturally lean toward and gravitate to the negative.

Every one of us has a decision to make… a choice.  Do we believe the message?

The person with the tattoo made a decision.  A decision NOT to believe the message.

It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.

- Anthony Robbins

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Side Note: I can’t believe I just used a Anthony Robbins quote.  I am literally sitting here with my mouth open in amazement.  But the quote is good and it fit.

I am sorry to all of you who are Anthony Robbins fans but… I just can’t stomach him.  I don’t know what it is but there is something about his teeth and smile that I find kind of spooky.  And loose the goatee.

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Now here will be the real test.  When Anthony Robbins reads this blog, as I am sure he will, he will make a decision about what I said about him.

Since I am an internationally known blogist (I assume that is a word) and what I have to say is so piercingly accurate, he will probably crawl off in the corner for a good cry.

That is, unless he believes his own quote.  The messages and events don’t shape us… it’s what we decide to believe.

I will talk more about beliefs in the next blog on Monday.

Ciao.


19
May 11

A Scene of Contrast

Hi, welcome back.

Writing a blog has its challenges.  The two challenges that seem to dog me the most are the two “T’s”… Time and Topic.

As you can tell from my last blog I have been doing some traveling and when I’m on the road my routine is totally out the window.  So the terrible “T’s” are more pronounced.

Because I continue to believe I am to write this blog the time issue is something I just address… I make the time.  We make time for what’s important.  This will be a blog topic some day.

The “Topic” challenge is ongoing.  I was uncomfortable starting the blog because I wondered if I had anything to write worth reading.  So I struggle with topics.

Most of the time I have to intently keep attuned to the world around me to come up with something worthwhile.  Then there are those times when a blog topic slaps you right in the face.  Today is one of those days.

A remarkable thing happened.

Yesterday I continued my travels for the week by taking a flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles.  While waiting at the gate to board it was the usual scene.  People were non-chalantly hovering close to the gate casually jockeying for position so when their seating zone was called they could jump.  It is sort of like runners crouched and set in position waiting for the gun to fire.

But then something caught my eye.  It was as if two foreign worlds were colliding.  Standing next to a pillar was a monk.  Not a Catholic monk but what I am not sure… Buddhist, Hindu, who knows?

It was like a movie when suddenly there is silence and everything gets fuzzy except the focal point at the center of the picture.

The monk was a thin dark skinned young man (late 20’s would be my guess).  He was slight of build and had a shaven head.   He was wearing a muted purple robe that although seemed to drape casually, one could tell it was wrapped with deliberation and purpose.  It was obvious that he was seasoned in his attire.   Sandals were on his feet and a brown canvas bag on a long strap hung from his shoulder completing the picture

He had a pleasant look to his face but avoided eye contact.  This will sound odd, but although he was there… he was not there.  It was like he was in a bubble that was suddenly removed from its place of origin and appeared in a foreign environment.

This scene of striking contrast was facinating to observe.  When his seating zone was called he slowly and calmly walked toward the ticket agent.  This alone was an obvious sharp contrast to the herd of cattle that stampeded as if popped with a cattle prod when the announcement sounded.

To my chagrin he boarded in zone three while I was relegated to the herd in zone four.  To my surprize and delight the monk was seated on the same row across the aisle at the window seat.  The striking contrast remained.

As the flight progressed I would try to discretely look over to see what he was doing.  He sat upright in a proper sort of way with his hands folded on his lap and looked forward.  I noticed that he held a small blue box in his hands.  It was a Tiffany blue color.

Up to now it was just an interesting story about a scene of striking contrast.  But it was at the airport in Los Angeles that the amazing incident occurred.

I will try to capture the scene and make sense of the significance of it on Monday.

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5
May 11

The Sky is Falling

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Howdy.  I hope you’re having a great day.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that I have a crappy day every now and then.  Don’t worry, I feel pretty good today.

When I do have a bad day it is not because I am worrying about something.  I don’t tend to be a person that worries that much.

Fair warning, since I am not a worrier I will most likely offend you worriers out there today.

I barely finish the last sentence and my insensitivity is already kicking in.  Here goes… frankly I don’t understand why people worry about something that hasn’t even happened yet and, chances are, will never happen.  This baffles me.

We all know people who seem to focus on the “what ifs”.  Now like most things there is a continuum of worriers.  From the worrier that expends extra energy to the person consumed and fearful about the “what may be.”

“I have had a lot of troubles in life.  Fortunately most of them never came true.”

-       Mark Twain

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Believe me when I say that I am not making fun or light of worriers.  I just don’t understand them.

Now there is a difference between worry and appropriate concern about a current reality.

For example, there are things that concern me such as the economy or family issues.  It is on my radar screen and I take appropriate action but I don’t worry about the “what if’s” of life.

Worry can be a slippery slope into a whirl of negative emotion.  It’s odd to me how something that will most likely never happen, dominates and clouds the moment.

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”

-       Charles Spurgeon

This is the sad thing.  Worry about the future corrupts the present.

I probably don’t worry because I love myself too much.  In the past when I have spent time worrying I found that it took a lot of energy.

Being a person given to laziness it felt like an unnecessary expenditure of energy… and depressing.

Saving Face: Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t blow off responsibility.  I just don’t worry.

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The gap in logic for me is that worrying does not alter one single aspect of the issue being worried about.  It doesn’t change a thing.

I am sure the person worrying is wondering why someone like myself doesn’t worry.  They probably think that if I understood the magnitude of the issue I would be worried too.  They feel I just don’t grasp the situation.

Or worse, they think I am a calloused insensitive slug that doesn’t care about global warming, the end of the world coming in December of 2011, radiation from the damaged nuclear power plants, burning incandescent bulbs, water from the tap and eating meat.

Humm…on second thought, they may be right.  Maybe I am a calloused insensitive slug.

Anyway, for your worriers out there let me just say… forget it… I have no idea what to suggest.

Signing off.

The calloused, insensitive slug.

See you Monday.


29
Mar 11

The Payoff

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Hi there.

I’m not sure what happened, but I fell off the earth yesterday.  All I know is that I had to attend a meeting and somehow and somewhere the blog fell out of my head.  I think it has to do with the Law of Displacement thing I talked about a couple of blogs ago.

Sorry about the delay… my bad.

Last Thursday I talked about the difficulty of giving up negative things in our lives.  I ended by saying that there is a payoff for keeping negative things in our life.

I tend to believe that we don’t do anything (positive or negative) without some kind of payoff.

In many ways we are just like animals.  We do things for a reward.

With animals it’s pretty simple.  They concentrate on food, sex and sleep.  For our animal friends, food is usually the greatest motivator, except for maybe a couple of times during the year… if you catch my drift.

Humans are more complex.  We are able to think, reason, analyze, and logically sort through options.  We can create things out of the abstract, and to top it off we have a conscious.  We delineate between right and wrong, and good and bad.  All of this makes things much more complicated.

The good things about these amazing gifts are we can rise above our baser nature.  We are not relegated to a stimulus response life where we are doomed to function solely by our instincts.  These gifts provide freedom to choose.

But like any good thing there is some negative fall-out.

As I said earlier, these gifts make us much more complicated.  Because of these capabilities we can fall into the trap of taking abstract bits of information and form totally erroneous assumptions and act on those faulty beliefs.

Yes, life is simpler with animals.  They just eat, sleep, have sex and occasionally fight if threatened.  Interestingly, animals don’t have the emotional baggage or hang-ups we humans have.   They have no concept of a low or high self esteem.

Now what does this mean in respect to having a payoff for our actions (or inaction)?  What is the payoff for people to hang on to negative things?

This topic is far more complex than a quick blog entry can remedy.  But the intent of the blog is not to provide easy solutions but to us think.

Payoffs

For illustration and to make this real world I need you to identify something negative that has been pestering you for a while.  Ok, have something identified?  I will throw out some payoffs for you to consider.

Immediate Gratification: This is the most obvious of the payoffs.  This is the one that taps in to our most base nature.  The payoff is the immediate presence of pleasure or the elimination of pain.  The focus is primarily on what I want NOW… pleasure or relief.

Immediate gratification quickly translates in not addressing the hard issue with your spouse; taking the drink for pleasure or escape; buying something for yourself when bills are piling up; eating the cupcake; or going out when you need to study or work.

Immediate gratification was the easy one.  Now we get into the more subtle and insidious payoffs.

Validation: This is hanging on to something negative in your life because it validates a faulty belief about yourself.   These are beliefs such as, I’m a failure; I will never overcome this issue; I can’t handle this; I’m no good; I don’t deserve better; etc.

Pride: This is the twisted notion of hanging on to something negative because changing announces that you were wrong.  Or even worse, you are weak and not in control of your life.

I do not wish to over simplify very complex issues.   Nor do I believe my few blog paragraphs will be the “silver bullet” of change in a person’s life.  But hopefully I have increased your awareness and made you think.

See you Thursday… yes Thursday, not Friday.

Ciao


10
Mar 11

20/20 Blindness

Hello, welcome back.

It’s hard to believe but today is blog number 121.  I have people ask how I come up with stuff to write about… frankly I’m not sure.  Stuff just pops in my head and I go with it.

Some people may call it being lazy by just making up crap.  I call it being serendipitously creative.  You call it one thing, I call it another.

It’s funny how that happens in life.  We see someone do something that’s irritating or goofy and wonder why they don’t see it.  How can they be so blind to something so obvious?

The weird thing about it is that people may be saying that about you.  “Who me?”  Yes, you.

Humans have a unique ability to shut out or avoid things that are negative.  To complicate the situation more is that we have the remarkable ability to re-frame things to make them look and sound better… even be seen as a positive.

Confused yet?  Let me share some examples that may make things a bit clearer.

Others see you as aggressive – you see yourself as assertive

Others see you as stubborn – you see yourself as opinionated

Others see you as judgmental – you see yourself as observant

Others see you as passive – you see yourself as cooperative

Others see your children as spoiled – you see them as being independent

Others see you as lazy and making up crap – you see yourself as serendipitously creative

Obviously my point is that we see ourselves differently than the way others see us.

The big question is how do we know what’s true.  For example, how do I find out if I am actually too aggressive or if the other person is a whiny quiche and tofu eater who is overly sensitive to people who speak up.

Side Note: Just kidding about the quiche thing.  I like quiche… but it has to have chunks of bacon.

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If I am really interested in growing as a person I have to be willing to face truth.  To find truth I have to be open… not gullible… open.

Open means that I am willing to take the information in and honestly test it.

This begs the question, how do I test this information for truth?  It is rather simple, not easy, but simple.  It’s not easy because it requires honest examination.

To test information you must look back in your life and honestly compare it to things you have heard before form different people over a period of time.

This is key – different people, over time.

If you are honest, you will quickly be able to recite the messages you have heard.  Things like…

… you’re too abrasive

… you’re too defensive

… you’re too rigid

… you’re too negative

… you’re too _________ (fill in the blank)

The next thing is that you have to be willing to accept truth.  If you are serious you will do more than give an acknowledging nod to truth.  You will internalize truth.

This is not an internal whipping where you beat yourself senseless because you are a bad person.  No!  Truth does the work.

Truth in its purist form is potent.  In a mysterious way truth begins to transform you.  As long as you nurture it and continue to be open, you start to change.

Uh oh, now that I have completed this blog entry for today, I have the nagging sense that I recently wrote about this very topic of seeing ourselves differently that others see us.

I hope not, but if I have, so what.

It means one of three things.  First, I personally need to hear something again; Second, it may be truth knocking on your door; or three, I’m just lazy and I’m here making up crap.

See you Monday.


28
Feb 11

What’s Reality?

I attempted writing this blog entry earlier today but didn’t get anywhere.  So I did what anyone else would do… I took a nap.  It didn’t help.   

What do you do when you have something to do and energy and inspiration eludes you?  I would like to say that I look directly into the face of the task at hand and something noble rises up from inside and I wrestle that bad boy to the mat.

Unfortunately my life doesn’t have that Hollywoodish glamour or possess the savoir-faire that other people seem to have.  For whatever reason I really struggle with stuff I must do. 

But maybe that’s the problem.  When we look at other people, we automatically attribute qualities or intentions based on what we believe from what we see.  Good or bad.

Here’s the weird thing.  Someone might observe me and admire or possibly envy the apparent ease with which I write the blog.  They may be telling themselves they could never do that because they don’t have the talent.

I have been called a lot of things in my life but savoir-faire is not one. 

Have you ever seen someone in a situation and wonder why in the world they cannot see what they are doing or how they are coming across?  It amazes me when I see people do things that are so obvious. 

Clue Phone:  Maybe we do the same thing. 

TRUE CONFESSION TIME:

Now that we have been hanging out for a while together I have a confession.  I hope this sudden burst of personal revelation doesn’t disillusion you.

I am a Reality Show junkie.  Yep, it’s true. 

I watch American Idol, Amazing Race and… Survivor.  And no, I do not watch the Bachelor or the Biggest Loser. 

To feed the cultural and intellectual part of me I watch Antiques Roadshow.   And in case your wondering, yes, Antiques Roadshow is a REALITY SHOW.  You can’t pretend it’s not just because it’s on PBS.  So if you watch Antiques Roadshow… you watch reality TV.

Now if I want to get real earthy I will watch the hidden jewels of reality TV … Pawn Stars and American Pickers.  Good TV.   By the way, these two shows can’t be too bad because they are on the History Channel.

Now you may be wondering why I bring up reality TV in regards to writing this blog entry.   People on reality TV have a camera on them all the time and we view the behavior. 

The same is true about us only without the camera.  Every day people are interpreting our behaviors and then acting on what they believe. 

Most likely most of the time people interpret the actions accurately and act accordingly.  But I also know that many times people, self included, misinterpret the actions of others and handle things poorly.

“We measure other people by their actions and we measure ourselves by our intentions.”

- Stephen Covey

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My wife and I have talked about the fact that life experience is teaching us that many people are much more insecure than we would have ever guessed.  For example, somebody does something that we interpret as arrogant when in reality it was insecurity.

With life experience one learns that things aren’t as simple or one dimensional as one thinks. 

Personally, I believe it is my responsibility to understand how I come across to others.  It’s important to know because there are subtle things we all do that sends messages to others in ways that can be totally misinterpreted. 

It is these small subtle nuances and behaviors that can create negative patterns in the way people treat us. 

Now this is where it gets messy.  You can only identify and change these behaviors if we ask and allow people to give us feedback and… AND… we be willing to listen.

The second is harder than the first because when people start to point out things we (I) tend to get pretty defensive.

Since we are not part of a reality TV show we don’t have a camera following us around.  So it’s difficult to see ourselves as others see us.  We need the help of others.

Well, I guess I better wrap this blog entry up because The Amazing Race is about to start.

See you Thursday.


30
Dec 10

Looking Back to Move Forward

Hi, I am glad you visited me on this last blog of 2010.  With just a couple of more blinks of the eye 2011 will be here and 2010 history.

This is always an interesting time of the year for me.  Typically when New Year’s Eve approaches I become somewhat retrospective.  There are milestone points in life that, for me, force my thoughts to bigger, deeper things and the end and start of a year is one of those times.

What happens at this milestone is I reflect on the year coming to an end and then try to rate it in comparison to past years.  I don’t know why I do it, I just do.  I don’t think I am too different than most folks. 

Assessing this year was very easy.  2010 was a very good year.  It will go down as one of the better, more memorable and eventful years of my life. 

Side Note:  Just so you know, 2003 that went down as one of the worst years of my life.  It was an awful year.  I could not wait for it to end… it was a black year.

 

Sometimes people can’t wait for a year to end and others want it to hang on for a while.  But the reality is… TIME waits for no one.  We are all equal when it comes to time.  We can’t slow it down or speed it up. 

As you, I have experienced good years and bad.  I have come to find out that life is a good teacher… if we are open and willing to learn.

There are some things that I have learned that keeps this patchwork of years and life experiences in perspective.  I am sure you have some wonderful life learnings too but here are some things I think are important.

Learning One:  The most important reality to embrace is that life is not static… it ebbs and flows.  There are good days and bad days, and so on, making weeks, months, years and then seasons of life.

Learning Two:  The second reality that screams loudly is that life is a mix of things within our control and out of our control.  I can’t explain why things happen to certain people.  It just does.  Life happens. 

Beyond anyone’s control, crappy things happen to good people and visa versa.  I believe it is important to reflect on life issues to see what there is to learn but not… NOT to partake in the morbid dance of “what if”.

Learning Three:  This learning is different than the other two.  The first two are just facts that happen with or without our consent or control.

The number three reality is completely within our control.  It is the ability to choose how we respond to realities one and two. 

“Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

                        – Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

 

I believe more and more in the core of my being that how we choose to respond (NOT react) to the positives and negatives in life has a direct impact on the fullness and meaningfulness of our life. 

There is a big difference between Respond and React:  To me, Respond is a controlled action to the circumstances or situation at hand.  To React is to act without thought or control. 

My Definition of RESPONSIBILTIY:  The ability to respond… not react.

I have learned that, if things are good I am to embrace and enjoy them, but I do not own them.  I must hold the times that are good LOOSELY.   I cannot force good things forward.  I can do things to increase the odds but there are no magic formulas to guarantee good things.  Good things are gifts to be treasured and appreciated.

I find that the bad years are usually a result of a mix of bad choices within my control and bad circumstances beyond my control.  Once again, how I choose to respond becomes the central point.

The bad circumstances that are not because of poor decisions on my part are pretty easy for me to put in their proper place.  I realize that life ebbs and flows and I must take what comes and make the best of it.

THE TOUGH ISSUE

The tough issue for me is when I am faced with those situations I am in because of my poor choices or outright bad decisions.  Like most people if feel I probably deserve the negative fallout and accept my self created punishment.

Yes, there are natural consequences to bad decisions or behavior.  I personally believe these consequences play an important role in our education of life.

            “Experience keeps you from making bad decisions; But most experience comes from making bad decisions.”         - Anonymous

 

“Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.”
- Viktor E. Frankl

 

But there is a trap.  The trap where our past failures keep us anchored to the negative.  Oswald Chambers says, “Don’t let the past corrupt your future.”

I don’t know what kind of year you have had.  If it was good… enjoy and embrace it.  If it was bad… release it.  Let it go and choose to drop the chains of negative things that weigh you down.

2010 is a treasured year for me.  I don’t know what 2011 will be.  I hope and pray it will be as good as or better than last year.  I will do what I can to carry it forward… but ultimately, I must release it into bigger hands than mine.

This journey of life is a JOY.  Yes it has its very hard times… but I choose JOY.

See you next year… Monday.