Posts Tagged: beyond


7
Jan 13

Living in a shallow grave

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Hello… welcome back… Happy New Year.

A statement in my last blog entry has been haunting me.  I said that worry robs your life of life.

How sad, but unfortunately all too true.  There are millions of people living in this world who are living with no life.

Something happened to me about five years ago.  I am not exactly sure what but I do know that it was a God thing.  I decided that I did not want to live my life in a shallow grave.

A person in a shallow grave is one who lives in and settles for less than what is available to them.  I believe more and more, and my heart rejoices more and more with the reality that there is so much God has given for us to experience and enjoy HERE and NOW not just in the hereafter.

Yes, as a Christian I knew I would go to heaven and all would be good.  But little did I know that God desires for us to experience life to the full – NOW.

I am not talking about deeper Spiritual insights or tingly feelings.  Yes, those are available and I like those things too, but I’m talking about something different.

I wish I could bring to memory the event or moment that sparked the notion that life had more to offer than what I was settling for.

Here’s the amazing God thing.  I already had a very good life.  It was neither boring nor unfulfilling.  But something sparked an inner ember.

Something struck an invisible soundless note that resonated in my spirit.

All I knew was that God was calling me to a higher place.  It had nothing to do with money, job nor possession.  There was a stirring to things outside my comfortable snug world.

I am sure some you are reading this and are bored out of your mind thinking this guy is weird.

But there is someone reading this that is feeling a stir.  Something inside is rising up and taking notice.

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We long for more but dare not believe that more is possible

- Penelope Stokes

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You don’t know what, but there is something inside that knows or wants to believe that God has more for you… and He does!

That is why I started this blog journey three years ago.

Something or someone was calling me to more.

As I said earlier, I had a wonderful life up to five years ago.  Since that time it has been amazing.  It doesn’t mean simple… but simply amazing.

I have taken risks, started things (like this blog) that I would have never attempted.

All because I listened to a zephyr call to something more.

No, life is not perfect.  Yes, I still have my challenges and setbacks.

But I can honestly say that I no longer live in a shallow grave where my life has no life.  And the amazing thing is that what I have experienced is only the beginning.

This is my invitation to all of you weird people out there that feel a stir at what I am saying.  The voice you hear is not mine.

I am only the instrument that invites you to more.

I hope you join me as I continue the journey.

If you are really serious I encourage you to read the first couple of months of blogs from 2010.  All you need to do is go to the archives on the right side of the page and check them out.

Ciao.

See you Thursday.


5
Jan 12

Best Tip for 2012 – Don’t listen to any tips

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Howdy, I’m glad you decided to hang out with me today.  With any luck I will have something to say that will make your visit worthwhile.

I would be really happy if my blathering causes you think, challenges your assumptions, or simply makes you laugh.  Any of these are good things.

In my first blog entry of the year I had some tips on how to make the best of any “fresh start” you wanted to make for the New Year.

I am embarrassed to say this but I did something that I personally really, really dislike… I created a list of tips.

Lists of tips really bug me because in my mind it gives the false impression that substantive life change is easy.

I cringe when I see something that promises the impossible such as…

  • Fame and fortune in 12 Days in Five easy steps
  • Four ways to make your cat less independent
  • Three simple tips to keep Steelers fans from being so obnoxious

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Talk about impossible!

Now to my credit I never implied the “fresh start” tips were easy or quick.  It was my attempt to give people a starting point.

I wasn’t intending to write a follow-up to the blog but honestly I kept being pulled back to one of points that I feel needs a little more attention.

It was tip #2 Make Changes for Yourself.

Hopefully I will not over complicate it or on the other extreme wear us all out by beating it to death.

I feel the need to press the issue because the most success in change comes when a person’s primary motivation is to do it for themselves… “I need to do this for me.  Because it’s the right thing.”

There is no question that pleasing others or regaining their respect and love is an incentive… but it cannot replace the power of doing it for yourself.

If the change is for you then you do not become disillusioned if people don’t respond the way you want or expect.

Of course it is nice and wonderful if those you love or care about respond the way you envision… that is icing on the cake.

But in it’s purest form, the response or lack of response of others is irrelevant to your journey.

You step out because you are called to higher things.  We are not called or destined to lower things.

Yes, we have all settled for things beneath us… but that is not the end of our journey.

I really admire those of you bold enough to make a “fresh start”.

The courage to start, and restart for some of us, means that your eyes are not fixed on the moment but the reality beyond.

Very, very cool.

I want to encourage you on your journey.  Hang out with me if you wish.  I’m on a journey too.

So tighten your boot strings because we’re in for a walk with some hills as-well-as flat spots.

See you Monday.


8
Aug 11

“One small step for man…”

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Howdy… welcome back.

Last Thursday I talked about the difference between “To” and “FROM”.

If you have no idea what I am talking about I encourage you to read the last blog.

If I say so myself, the blog I wrote was a bounty of amazing insight and astounding wit.  They were exquisitely woven together in a well choreographed dance of words that took the reader to another place and left them craving… no, dare I say, demanding for more.

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Side Note: How did I do with my first attempt at self aggrandizement?

Uhhh, not me is it?  It was fun to write but I feel stupid reading it.

OK, please don’t ask where the last couple of paragraphs came from.  I have no idea.  They just popped out my head on to the screen.  Scary huh?

Oh well… back to my humble hole where I peck away at my little blog.   Hopefully there will be some semblance of meaning and thought.

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The purpose of the last blog was to emphasize the importance of knowing what is driving our decisions.

A BOLD PROMISE

Today, I want to focus on the most important aspect of our journey.  It is the thing that WILL transform your life.  I am as serious as I can be and I am not exaggerating.  You will never be the same.

It is the step that changes your life… “your step”.

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“If you don’t take a step you won’t end up somewhere else.”

. . – Me

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You cannot get to where you want to go and stay where you are.  It requires action, a step of some sort.

Whether you are drawn to a higher place or you are pushed out of a lower place, it requires a step.  Albeit small, it still requires a move.

I don’t know about you, but there have been times when I wished that God would just zap me and miraculously I would be different or be at a different place.

Don’t get me wrong.  There is no question in my mind and in my experience that God does some miraculous things.  But it always requires a step… even if it is a step of faith.

Tired of where you are in a certain aspect of your life?  Then get off your ass (My wife suggested something tamer like butt… but it was just a bit too calm for me).  Just feebly standing up is a step.

Now no one guaranteed it would be easy… usually it is not.  For me personally, waking up five years from now and being in the same spot is more horrifying than the fear of the first few steps.

“I never worry about action, but only inaction.”
Sir Winston Churchill

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For years I hung out in the same place with little or no growth.  On some level it was easy but the call of “what can be” became a siren song I couldn’t ignore.

It took months for me to wade through the morass of where I was and the thought of writing a blog began to emerge.  Why a blog?  I have no idea, because as most of you know… I am not a writer.  All I knew is that it was the right step for me.

But something was unleashed when I finally took the big step.  That step began to open me on several different levels and has had a broader impact in more ways than I know.

But my big step only came after a desire to be in a different place, a willingness to do something different and a multitude of micro steps.

Are you tired of where you are?  Is there something stirring deep within that is calling you to higher things?

I think you’re ready to give birth to a new phase of your life.

OK, take a deep breath… push… take that step you think you should take.

See you on Thursday.

Ciao.


14
Jul 11

Strength in the Struggle

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Wow, as I poke at this word resistance, it continues to take on a variety of shapes and meanings.

In the last blog entry I talked about having resistance to forces that are trying to shape and mold us.  Today we take a look at resistance from the opposite direction.  The resistance we are faced with and feel when we are trying to advance or move forward.

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. . I was introduced to a book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.   It is a very interesting read.

Although this book initially targeted creative types who struggle with the blocks that hinder the creative process, the simple universal truths apply to every aspect of our lives.

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Pressfield spends a significant portion of the book on the reality of and the struggles we face in life with the constant force of resistance.

The reality is, life has a natural headwind.  Any meaningful movement faces opposition.  Pressfield writes…

“Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled.  But it can be felt.  It’s a repelling force.  It’s negative.  Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.” (page 7)

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How true.  I feel resistance every time I write this blog.

I have come to accept that resistance is the nature of life.  I heard someone say one time that the only trouble with life is that it is so constant.

The more powerful reality is that the resistance is felt when moving forward … especially anything noble or good.  It is nice to have this belief validated in The War of Art.

Pressfield says that resistance comes when…

“…any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity.  Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower.  Any  of these will elicit resistance.” (page 6)

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“Resistance obstructs movement only from a lower sphere to a higher.  It kicks in when we seek to pursue a calling in the arts, launch an innovative enterprise, or evolve to a higher station morally, ethically, or spiritually.” (page 17)

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Yes, moving forward can be tiring.  But oh the amazing things you see and experience.

This blog was started on the premise that we are made to move… journey.  We are not made to sit, atrophy and rust.  Yes, that is the easier path.  It is downhill and you have tailwinds to make it even more effortless.

I started this blog journey by talking about hearing a voice (no, not the kind of voice you need medications for). A voice beyond where I was, started calling me to more.  I scaled the comfortable walls I had built… peeked over the top … and saw things to do and territory to take.

Nope, it hasn’t been easy.  But when you begin to move, something is released that makes it all worth while.

I don’t know where you currently feel resistance, but you can be assured the resistance is a signal that you’re moving in the right direction.

On Monday I plan on talking about the other alternative… taking the path of least resistance.

Later.


21
Mar 11

Pack or Unpack?

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In the last blog entry I tried to unpack why I was stirred by the phrase “to move forward you must surrender something”.

Today I feel the need to poke around on the topic a bit more.  I am not too sure why I feel I want to continue the topic.  Maybe there are some more insights to capture or it could be just an intellectual dance of morbid curiosity.

I do believe part of the stirring of the phrase is directly tied to the beginning of my blog journey well over a year ago.  To move forward in my life I had to be willing to surrender something.

Side Note: If you are interested in how all this got started, my first couple of blog entries in January of 2010 will give you a pretty good flavor for the journey and the angst I experienced.

On the right side of the page are the blog archives.  Just click on January 2010.

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To move forward there is always the sacrifice of the present.  In the last blog I referred to the Law of Displacement.  The fact that if we want to add more then something must go… good or bad.

Sometimes it may mean giving up good things to experience something better.

Giving up something good is tough. The nagging question is, if I possess something good now, how do I know for sure that what I am shooting for is going to be better?

The answer: You don’t know for sure.  That’s the adventure of life.

Now let’s be real world here for a second.  I am not talking about someone who willy nilly discards good things on an “all in” bet of life.  We are not talking about the fickle adolescent whims of likes and dislikes of things in our life.

So the question beckons, why would we give up a good thing?  We do it because something or someone is calling us to more.  That’s the adventure.

Deep calls to Deep.  I am talking about deep divine stirs that cause us to lift our eyes above the present to realities beyond our line of sight.

If we are open there are times in our lives we sense a compelling call to beyond.  We don’t fully understand it, but it’s there and it’s real.

We can choose to disregard the call and continue a “good” life and possess the good things.  No one would blame us and we have every logical reason not to step out.  The only thing that will nag is the haunting question of… “What if?”

Or we step out and experience the thrill of a heeded call.

It is the kind of step that sucks the breath out of you in a mix of both fear and anticipation.  For me it was mostly fear.

We have been talking about giving up good things.  As strange as it may seem, I don’t think the sacrifice of good things are the most difficult.

This will sound weird but I tend to believe giving up bad things is the greatest challenge and requires the greater courage.

I will talk about that on Thursday.  See you then.


13
Jan 11

One Last Kick

Hola.

I had a burrito last night and I guess it effected me more than I thought.  I know, I know… weird.

Oh well, back to the topic at hand.  Just so you know, I am not going to keep hammering away at the issue of being stirred to step toward things beyond us.  What started out as a fairly simple and friendly New Year’s kick in the ass to motivate you probably feels like a full blown kick the crap out of you beating.  I hope not.

I do have just a few more points to cap off some of the thoughts that have been bouncing round from Monday’s blog.

As you can easily see, I am pretty passionate about living my life where it can be vs. where I am.  Please forgive my redundancy but I am not talking about feel good activities that are salve for the doldrums.

I am talking about God gifts just beyond our view and grasp, waiting and available if… IF… we are willing to be open, step out and risk.

Some may think this is a cruel game God plays, like a carrot placed just beyond the reach of a hungry mule as an impetus to provoke progress.  It could not be farther from the truth.  The stretch beyond is part of the gift.

Stepping beyond where we are is NEVER comfortable.  If it were easy it wouldn’t be worthy of the effort.

The exciting thing about this process is that I know I am growing and going in the right direction because of the amazing reality that I am becoming comfortable being uncomfortable.

Just so you know, I am not saying there is anything wrong with being comfortable.  We spend our lives trying to build a better life, have a better home and nicer things.  That’s okay.

But I also know that some of you need to become uncomfortable being comfortable.

There is a time to comfort the afflicted and a time to afflict the comfortable.

- Robert Graham

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But there is a dark side to comfort.  If not careful comfort becomes our focus.  We doggedly pursue comfort and success is measured in those terms.

The feathered nest of comfort over time causes our eyes to drop from beyond the horizon to focus on the petty prickly things that irritate and disrupt.

So YES, I do want to poke at you, to kick you in the ass and cause you to lift your eyes a little higher, beyond the clouds of the here and now and consider the possibility of more.

If you feel poked you may be wondering where to begin.  Well, believe it or not you’ve begun.  The very fact that you feel poked is God’s tap on the shoulder.

Some of you may be wondering how you know this is from God and not the ramblings of a nut case under the influence of a burrito.

Side Note: Let me say that God uses very strange things to get people’s attention.  If He can use a talking mule in the Bible it’s not beyond Him to use Burrito Boy.

I am remarkably humbled if God does decide to use my feeble writings to begin the process of moving you to more.

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Back to the question, how do you know it is from God?  I can get all theological and hyper-spiritual and unfortunately that’s what a lot of you would want.  Most want some tingly confirmation in your Spirit as you tilt your head waiting to hear the booming voice of God.

Uhhh… don’t hold your breath.

We really have a tendency to make “God things” much too complicated.  It is much simpler than that.  Just look at where something takes you.  Look at the trajectory.

Things of Divine origin take us up, beyond ourselves, out not in, and we are better for it.  Things not of Divine origin take us down, feeds our baser nature, spirals us inward and self serving, and we end up worse off.

In the first blog of 2011, I quoted an excerpt from my very first blog (January 4, 2010) so I want to end this New Years kick in the ass with another quote from the same entry.

January 4, 2010 (excerpt)

“I’m getting ready for a journey.  This is not your typical trip with suitcases, tourist brochures and cheesy sunglasses.  The journey is into the unknown, beyond the self I know and this blog is primarily the vehicle.

“The journey is beyond the safe confines of the walled garden of self.  The familiar, safe, cozy world I live in.  But my comfortable world has been disturbed.  Something (or someone) is calling from beyond the wall.  My head is tilted and my curiosity peaked.

“I’m not sure where I’m going.  I’m just going.  All I know is that I’m supposed to go on this walk.  Don’t ask me how I know… I just know.”

Maybe 2011 is your year of journey.  Hopefully, part of your process will be hanging out with me and we can encourage each other along the way.

See you Monday.


27
Sep 10

Uncomfortable with Normal

Hi there. 

I embarked on a journey January of this year… a journey to step beyond the comfort of the normal into the risky unknown.   You notice I said the comfort of the normal not that my normal was comfortable.  I’m sure that last statement made you tilt your head and go “huh?”  Let me try to explain.

There is comfort with the known.  The known has a familiarity and predictability.  You know the lay of the land in your life.  It may not be good but you know it and have learned to navigate the waters in which you live. 

Humans naturally avoid the unknown and to top it off we tend to fill the unknown with the worst case scenario.  That’s why so many stay locked in place because the devil we know is better that the one we don’t know.

What amazes me is that people will live for years in a (figuratively speaking) emotionally vegetative state

Just so you know, my life wasn’t terrible… it was quite good.  In fact I had a very good life.  But discomfort began seeping through the cracks.  The discomfort was the awareness that I was living so very far below what God had for me.  There was so much more for me to experience and enjoy if I were willing to step out of my little comfortable world and take a few risks.

“Awareness is like hugging a porcupine, the closer you get the more uncomfortable you become.” 

                   – Me

 

Awareness is a powerful motivator to take you to into the joyous unknown.  But you have to be willing to become aware.  Here are a few things that helped me become more aware.

  • Read things that stir and stretch you
  • Expose yourself (not that kind of expose) to different things.  If you are a sports nut, go to a ballet.  If you are an “Arts” snob, go to a rodeo.  Yes, I know these are weird examples but you get the point.
  • Ask God to open your heart and mind to new experiences
  • Engage with people that are different than you

 

After a while, if you are sensitive, you will notice something stirring… coming to life.  You know when things are coming to life when thoughts and ideas that seem out of the blue begin poking around the edges of your heart and mind.  Things like, taking a course, listening to different types of music, etc.  These are like little tender shoots that need nurishing.

Very, very cool indeed. 

Awareness is necessary but not enough.  Once awareness has blossomed you must be willing to take a step.  Action is the key.  This is the point of courage to step out into the unknown, with no guarantees, and take a risk. 

Think like a man of action, and act like a man of thought.
-Henri Bergson                   

 

Taking a few steps takes you to new exciting places.  My few steps have paid off in amazing ways. 

So… why not join me on the journey and take a few steps. 

Later, Thursday.


20
Sep 10

Unfinished Starts

Hi there. 

Did you happen to see the video at the end of the last blog entry?  If not it is well worth a couple of minutes to scroll down the page and take a look.  It is a wonderful true story on finishing the race.

I think I may have given the wrong impression on the issue of unfinished starts.  If I am honest with myself I may have inadvertently thrown some of my baggage onto your cart by accident.

Side Note:  Throwing our baggage onto other peoples cart is something we all do without intent.  Our baggage is such a part of us that it just bumps into all kinds of stuff.  This is normal (not good necessarily but pretty normal).

The bigger issue is if you let my baggage stay on your cart.  That is, if you recognize it.  We all know a lot of baggage looks the same. 

 

I probably gave the impression that anything that you started and didn’t finish was a bad thing.  I don’t believe that’s totally the case.  There is something to be said for trial and error. 

In my humble opinion, here’s the nut of the issue (for me at least). 

There are two opposing facts.  There are things you want to do (or be) or called to do (or be) and things in our lives or surroundings that hinder us from getting there. 

This is the marathon race… the moment you see where you can be and set out to get there.  The ways of getting there may be many.  This is the trial and error.  The failure is not being successful in the myriad of things you try to move forward but in giving up the race.

Side Note:  Be open to trying something again that you had tried before.  I think that there is a right timing for certain things.  What you tried a few years ago and cast aside now may be the time to try it again.

 

I do believe though that there are some initiatives that rise to a different level of significance in the race we run.  It’s one of those things we know in that deep part of us that this particular endeavor will be a major mile marker in our journey.

To me this blog is one of those things for me.  I just know that this initiative for me has breakthrough potential.  So I am not as casual to cast it aside when I’m tired or discouraged.

So I will see you Thursday.  Fight the good fight and keep your baggage off my cart.


17
Jun 10

Too Far To Turn Back

Howdy.  It’s me again… I survived full disclosure from the last blog. 

The only thing that I am concerned about is if any friends of mine who read the blog wondered if I thought they were boring.  Not at all.  It’s my friends who don’t read my blog who are boring.

But opening up about something that makes me look bad isn’t something I typically do.  But I’m on a journey beyond where I am.  I know that it seems odd to some who read this blog… especially people who know me.  Actually, I have a great life, I am very fulfilled and by the standards of many people pretty successful.

How well you are doing isn’t the proper measuring rod.  It is how much are you capable of?  And how much more there is that you are letting slip through your fingers? 

I am determined not to take the easy way.  I have had several people say that they admired the fact that I am writing a blog (especially writing two entries a week).  I am very appreciative and thankful for their kind words.  But if there is something a person is called to do (and I truly believe I am to write this blog) then there can be no other option but do it. 

The compelling quiet whisper that invaded my heart and head is relentless in its firm gentle way.  It is the quiet whisper that is calling me to venture beyond my comfortable world into the risky business of the unknown.

So I continue to press on… and let me say… it has made life much more of an adventure.   The final verses of Robert Frost’s Road Less Traveled are right on.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.
…Robert Frost

 

Traveling the path into the unknown and unfamiliar is risky, time consuming and demands investment.  It takes a lot of effort to start and effort to maintain momentum, but the ongoing investment is eventually transformed into passion.

“At some point, turning back is not an option.”

 

When is the last time you tried something for the first time?  Is there something stirring from within that demands attention? 

Hopefully this little blog is challenging you to lean in closely to the voice trying to get your attention.  Life is too short to ignore the “what if”. 

I am sorry if I am sounding a little preachy… I don’t mean to be.  I do want to encourage.  

What is the one small thing that you think you are to do that you’re not doing?  Is there a call you need to make, letter to write, a person you need to forgive, to let go of the failure you hang on too, read that book, go to that church, write that song, or release the rock that you have carried for too long.

For me it was to take that first step beyond the safe wall of self and write this blog.  Thank God I have.

See you Monday


20
May 10

Back to the Mountain

Howdy.

Did you notice that my writing accent took on a distinct down home twang since we’re back on the trail?

Side Note: No need to say it… weird, I know… you just have to bear with me.

I have been at this blog thing for five months.  It has been a very interesting journey so far, but not easy.  I have heard that anything substantive and worth doing isn’t easy.  I tend to agree.

That’s one of the reasons I feel pretty good about writing this blog.  It’s sure not because I feel I have set the standard for literary excellence.  But it’s because historically I have tended to be pretty lazy and take the easier way.  It’s sad to say and embarrassing to admit it, but it’s true.

That’s one of the things that I finally had to face up to.  Lies and excuses will keep you trapped in the purgatory of mediocrity.  I was going to hell of mediocrity but pain produces action.  Purgatory is a state of nothingness.  You’re not good enough to experience the excitement of risk and joy of success, but you’re good enough to avoid the pain of failure.  Like I said… nothingness.

I really can’t say what has stirred over the past few years but thank God something has.  Now you can get a glimpse of why this blog was a big step.

I pray (don’t worry, I’m not going to get all churchy on you) that something I share may pierce the shell that either protects you from outside things, or traps you from getting out.

Once again listen to the voice beyond the wall (Blog # 1 & 2) calling you to something more.

“Men go out into the void spaces of the world for various reasons.  Some are actuated by love of adventure, some have the keen thirst for scientific knowledge, and others again are drawn away from the trodden path by the lure of little voices, the mysterious fascination of the unknown.”

-          Ernest Shackleton, Explorer (1874-1922)

Side Note: If you have never heard of Ernest Shackleton I encourage you to read the book Endurance.  It is an absolutely amazing true story and of courage, perseverance and heroism.

You cannot have discovery unless you have the unknown.  Yes the unknown can scare the hell out of you.  Mediocrity is the home of the known.  No risk, no fear, no discomfort, no life.

That’s the beauty of listening for the siren call.  Hearing the call captures the imagination and the fear of looking bad or fear of failure is overwhelmed by the fear of losing out on something great.

Listen… Do you hear it?  I do, what a joy.

See you Monday