Posts Tagged: gift


15
May 12

Foil on the head and a pocket protector

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Hi there… good to have you visit.

I don’t know about you but my life feels like a movie sometimes.  I’m not talking about a life that’s like an action movie or romantic comedy but the storyline of the quirky person who has some strange gift.

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Side Note: Yes, I’m sure that you can rattle off all kinds of titles of famous movies involving quirky gifted people.

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For me it’s more like the kind of movie where a young kid would see math formulas magically come together in his head and then just naturally blurt out the answer.  Or a movie where someone has a strange gifting that is manifested in their lives in strange ways.

Yep… I’m the quirky weird guy that wears a pocket protector, pants that are too high, plaid shirts, glasses and foil on his head.

Just kidding, just kidding.  I don’t have a pocket protector.

But strangely enough I do feel out of the ordinary sometimes, or weird may be a better descriptor.  My weirdness is definitely not mathematical but more philosophical in nature.

Instead of a formula mysteriously coming together in my head when presented with a math problem, it is words or ideas swirling around taking shape when I hear a thought provoking statement or an insightful quote.

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Side Note: Frankly, this may not be all that special.  It is probably something that is fairly common.

Although it may not be all that special it still fascinates me.

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It happens pretty frequently but there seems to be no rhyme or reason to when it occurs.

I may have heard a concept a hundred times.  But all of a sudden something fairly mundane can explode and set my head into motion.

When it happens, it’s like a movie in my head.  Ideas start popping and examples seem to flow.

All in all it’s pretty cool.  But the problem is… what do I do with it?  What purpose does it serve?  Seriously.

When I wrote this last sentence I was reminded of a kid I worked with once.

In my first real job out of college I worked in for the State of Texas with kids that were mentally and physically challenged.

There was one kid who had a lot of issues.  He was legally blind and mentally challenged.  He barely operated at a functioning level.

Although he barely functioned, I would put him in the Idiot savant category because he had an amazing gift.  You could give him any date in history and he could tell you what day of the week it fell.

I would blurt out a date – June 5th, 1952 and he would mumble in hardly legible words… tursday.  Yes, I know Thursday is misspelled but I wrote it the way he said it.

I thought it was fascinating… but the problem is, what can you do with a quirky gift like this.

So I ask myself the same question about my quirkiness.

You may be wondering what set me off on this topic.  It’s fresh because it just happened again.  I was watching an interview with the golfer Johnny Miller and he was talking about his life.  Then he made the following quote.

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What you accomplish in life is not the greatest measure of success but what you’ve overcome.

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For whatever reason this simple quote triggered all the connecters in my head to spark.

I’m sure most of you are wondering what was the big deal about the quote.  Good question.  I have no idea but it set thoughts in motion.

Maybe this quote is something I will unpack a bit more in the next blog.

But my question for you is what triggers your head?  If something does set your mind a blazin, why that thing?

Think about it and let’s talk about it tursday.


15
Mar 12

Buried Treasure

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Hi, thanks for hanging out with me for a while.

I have been reflecting on my last blog entry and I felt the need to press in a little further on the impact one can have by bringing dignity to the menial.

I still think some of you out there are thinking that I am making more of this than it deserves… maybe, but I don’t think so.  There is something here our world needs to hear.

If you didn’t read the last blog I encourage you to scroll down the page and take a quick look at the story of a garbage man.

Ervin Sievers was a man who elevated a menial task… brought honor to what most people consider the worst of jobs.

In the sentence above I was going to say, “Ervin Sievers was an average person who…”.  But I decided against it.

He may have been seen as average (even below average) by society’s standards and uppity notion of what one should aspire to.

But in the bigger things in life… he was anything but average.

What’s interesting to me, and most telling, is the fact that here we are fourteen years after Ervin’s death, in an obscure blog talking about his hard work and pride in what he did with his all too short life.

There are literally millions of people who have died that were significantly more powerful and wealthy yet have not been an inspiration for a blog entry.  They have taught us no lessons.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are millions of people who work hard and have pride in what they do.  But there are few… very, very few… who elevate and dignify a menial task (that most see as being beneath them) by taking pride in their duties and doing it well.

I am no different than anyone else.  I have a tough time motivating myself to do things that I consider to be beneath me.

But this one thing I can say… I greatly value and appreciate the tasks or positions in an organization that most people consider menial or even trivial.

There is a repulsive arrogance to those who consider their role or job being superior to the grunts who do the support stuff.

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My success is not due to any personal superiority over other people.
- John Philip Sousa

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There is no question that some jobs and roles require unique skills and carry significant responsibility.  A person should be compensated accordingly… they deserve it.

Allow me to give a real life example of what I am talking about.

I have the privilege to work with lots of different leadership teams to help them become more effective in their roles of leading the organization.

One of the issues we typically discuss is the necessity of understanding the significance of all the varied tasks in the company that tend to be classified as support or mundane in nature.

We go a step further and press the most important leadership insight, genuinely valuing the contribution of these positions.

This topic becomes an important leadership discussion because appreciation for the perceived mundane is fundamentally in its crassest form, a business issue.

The companies where the workers feel genuinely valued are more successful in the long-term.  And besides that, it’s just the right thing to do!

I drive the point home by asking a series of simple questions.

Question

If you (the top leadership team) are gone for three days and the janitorial staff is gone for three days…

  • Who will be missed the most?
  • Which will have the greatest impact on morale?
  • Which will have the greatest impact on productivity?

The point becomes obvious.

This in no way suggests that leadership isn’t important, of course not!  A company would not survive nor be successful without the leadership dealing with the high level decisions and oversight that move a company forward.

All I am saying is that a person who does the less desirable jobs well is a treasure worth their weight in gold and should feel valued.

See you Monday.

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Every man I meet is in some way my superior.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


5
Mar 12

Would you rather be a Genius or Smart?


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Einstein was smarter than he looked.

I am not saying this to be funny or cute.  And no, I am not making fun… not at all.

There is definitely something deeper to my statement that has relevance to our lives.

He looked every bit like a scientist.  But the exceptional thing about Einstein is that he was able to translate his amazing intellect (you notice I didn’t say genius) into very practical, real life insights.

This may sound odd but there is a big difference between genius and raw intellect or brainpower.

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Andy Warhol is the only genius I’ve ever known with an I.Q. of 60.
- Gore Vidal

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I think we have automatically and mistakenly associated genius with the gift of raw intellect.  This is logical of course because for years those with a high IQ (140+) were referred to as being genius.

I contend that genius is much more prevalent than we think.  In fact, the number people who are genius is greater than those gifted people who possess raw intellect measured by a high IQ.

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Side Note: Psychology is now using the term gifted instead of genius.

  • 85 to 114 – Average intelligence
  • 115 to 129 – Above average; bright
  • 130 to 144 – Moderately gifted
  • 145 to 159 – Highly gifted
  • 160 to 179 – Exceptionally gifted
  • 180 and up – Profoundly gifted

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You may be sitting there saying, “Okay, this is interesting information but… so what?   What does all of this genius – gifted stuff have to do with me?”

Hold on… here’s the quote that stirred this blog today.

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Everyone is a genius.  But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

- Albert Einstein

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Yep… Einstein was much smarter than he looked.  An insight like this demonstrates that he had much more going for him than just being smart.

The quote makes me wonder how many people have been relegated to the fringes because they may not be considered gifted intellectually.

The sobering question is, what amazing genius are we missing out on because people don’t think they have anything to offer?

I shared this poem over a year ago but I think it really fits.

The Average Child

- by Mike Buscemi

I don’t cause teachers trouble;
My grades have been okay.
I listen in my classes.
I’m in school every day.

My teachers think I’m average;
My parents think so too.
I wish I didn’t know that, though;
There’s lots I’d like to do.

I’d like to build a rocket;
I read a book on how.
Or start a stamp collection…
But no use trying now.

’Cause, since I found I’m average,
I’m smart enough you see
To know there’s nothing special
I should expect of me.

I’m part of that majority,
That hump part of the bell,
Who spends his life unnoticed
In an average kind of hell.

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Genius is essentially creative; it bears the stamp of the individual who possesses it.
- Madame de Stael

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Find your genius… we need it.  Our world is less without it.

See you Thursday.


16
Dec 11

The Missing Head

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Hi, me again.

My wife and I just returned from a two week cruise and I am fading back into reality.  That’s why I am posting this blog entry a day late.

I tried to write yesterday but… to no avail.  My body was willing, my hands were moving but my head was no where to be found.

As I reflect on yesterday I can clearly see that my body was home but head was still on the cruise ship.

But fortunately (I guess), today the clouds of reality are beginning to form and some semblance of rational thought is wiggling its way to the surface.

I believe more and more that it is important to step away from the hum drum of life.  Life, if not careful, becomes a slow grind that consumes us and dulls our senses.

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“Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out.”

- Anton Chekhov (1860 – 1904)

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The strange thing about life is that… it takes on a life of its own.  Yes, I know what I just said was a weird statement but true.

It is critical that we periodically take time to recalibrate.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t confuse recalibrate with refreshing our body.

We can give our body a rest and a break with a good vacation, but recalibration is when we intentionally test the lives we live… test for distortions.

Let’s face it, we work hard to control of our life.  There’s nothing wrong with that in principle.  We just want things in life to go the way we want them to go.

The problem is our perception of life can become distorted.  The life we then pursue is the perception not the reality.

You can choose your own poison but let me give you a personal example.  There are some people (uh, me for example) who believe they have to be on the “go” all the time… even on vacation.

I get bored easily, so on vacation I am constantly doing something or going somewhere.

This worked really well until about the ninth day of a fourteen day cruise.  I started to be bored and being in the middle of the Atlantic didn’t provide many options.

But then something happened.  I was forced to go to a different level of vacationing.  I was forced to slow down… and it was a good thing.

I found myself actually just sitting on the deck, doing nothing, and loving it.

Yes, I know that people are naturally different and some “go” more while others “slow” more.

All I am saying is that so many people believe life is to be a certain way and discover that it was a distortion.

Here is a wonderful truth.  Life naturally tries to recalibrate.  It is like a “reset” button to reconnect us with what’s real and important.

But it only takes effect ifwe are open and receptive.

I have always enjoyed the “GO” times… but now I appreciate and value the “SLOW” times.

Ciao.


3
Oct 11

Dancing Shoes and a Flamingo Under My Arm

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Howdy… Welcome back.

The title?  Yes, I know… weird… but creating it made my head feel good.   It was sort of like pop rocks for my brain.

I was dry, very dry.  It has been an extremely busy week and I have been in a day long draining meeting.  The thought of trying to write a blog made my head implode from the vaccuum.  There was nothing.

But I leaned back in my chair and said a short prayer and… pow… the randon title.

Frankly, I am kind of weirded out just writing about it.  But at least words are finding their way from “who knows where” through my finger tips on to this page.

It would have been so easy just to blow off this whole blog thing and veg in front of the TV.  Afterall, I deserved the break.

But some journeys in life are not easy.  If we really want to go somewhere exciting the easy route is not an option. 

The easy route… humm, it sounds good when you’re tired… but I couldn’t do it.

Now don’t get all impressed that I pushed through my tiredness and wrote this blog.  I am not sure why this blog is different than most things in my life, but opting out was not an option.

TRUE CONFESSION

If you want to know the truth, I am pretty lazy.  Historically I have, metaphorically speaking,  preferred the lawn chair to a lawn mower most of my life. 

I am not proud of the fact that I mastered  the art of vegging at an early age.  But it is true none-the-less.

But if you are tired of where you are… and willing to open yourself to a different call (other than the call of the couch and nachos) then life will become a bold adventure. 

In the past I would have never pushed through the tiredness and empty headedness and worked on something like a blog. 

But when you become willing to listen to the constant call from just beyond the wall your world begins to change.

It has been a very, very good thing.

How about joining me on Thursday for some more travels.

P.S.  Just because I pushed through the tiredness doesn’t mean I will write a lot.  Anyway… I gotta fix some nachos and grab my lawn chair.

Ciao.


25
Aug 11

Hearing a cry is a good thing.

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SLAP!   Whaaaaaaaaaa.

Believe it or not, that’s a good sound.  Those of you who read last Monday’s blog know exactly what the slap and cry means.

I wrote on Monday about the amazing gift of new life stirring deep within.  I was not talking to expecting moms.  I was/am talking to any of you that sense something within trying to struggle its way to life.

It could be a book you have been wanting to write, a new idea for a business, a change in your attitude that has held you back, maybe it’s rebuilding a relationship that has been hurtful, or possibly it’s just trying something different that is totally out of your comfort zone.

Whatever is stirring within you, it is life waiting to be birthed. 

This blog for example stirred about eight months before it finally came to fruition on January, 2010.  Why a blog… I have no idea.  All I knew is that something stirred and I knew it was important for me and my growth.

For some of you my next statement will make total sense.  It will ring true on a deep level.  To others you will read it, tilt your head and go, huh?

It was a stirring that I knew, someway and somehow, would be life changing if I nurtured it and acted on it at the right time in the right way.

Some of you, as you read this, feel the baby kicking.  Whatever it is moving inside is something that you intuitively know is life changing and you need to nurture and act on it. 

For others of you reading this… the rumbling inside is just the burrito kicking in.  Take an antacid and make a quick trip to the bathroom and you’ll be fine.

But those of you who know that what’s going on inside of you is more than a burrito at work… listen carefully.

GOD ALERT!!!  This is a heads up to all my friends who may not believe as I do about God and his involvement in our lives.  Remember, I don’t expect you to believe as I do.

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I believe in the core of my being that anything that is life giving is from God.  He plants a seed deep inside of something that he knows is good for you… important for you.

This new life stirring will change your life… if you nurture it and give birth to it.

Important Side Note:  What I am about to say is pretty heavy.  I will be referring to a very controversial topic. 

I am not trying to make a political statement or make an argument regarding the topic.  I am using it as an illustration.

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OK, back to God and the seed he planted.

We don’t create life.  Only God can give life.  We cannot give life to something… but we can kill it.  We can cause the death of that life by choice or by neglect.  Either way… it is life lost.

I personally think that most of the time the life lost is by neglect.  We ignore the reality of life stirring and allow it to wither and dry up. 

There’s no effort required, no tending to the seed, no risks to take, no rocking of your comfortable boat, till there’s no more moving… and no life.

I do believe sometimes we choose to terminate the life… we intentionally abort the stirring. 

We either don’t want the hassle or we believe fatal lies.  Lies such as, I could never do that, I am not smart enough, I don’t have the talent, etc.

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GOOD NEWS!

There is good news, terrific news, wonderful news. 

God has a lot of seeds in his bag and does not give up on us.  He is continually throwing seeds in our direction. 

I say… Thank goodness.  Because I know that I have killed plenty of seeds in my life.

If you are open and receptive more seeds will come.  Don’t worry about the seeds of the past.  Thinking about the lost seeds is like putting Round Up weed killer on the new plants.

Let the past be and nurture that tiny seed that you sense is starting to germinate.

See you Monday.


22
Aug 11

Oh my, I felt it move!

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Hello again.  Thanks for poking your head in for a visit.

It is my hope that I say something that makes you think, causes you ask questions, or maybe helps you to crystallize a thought that has been stirring inside but the complexity or its fluid nature resisted articulation.

I find one of the amazing gifts of life is when I read or hear something that captures the essence of a belief or thought that has been struggling to find clarity. 

It is as if that person breathed the breath of life into that thing struggling to be birthed in my life.

Humm… think about it… powerful imagery… a new idea or insight birthed into our life.

Most things in life are mysteriously and majestically woven together in patterns.  The birthing process is one of those miraculous patterns that is laced through all aspects of life.

The birth of something is not the beginning.  The birth is the start of a new phase… but not the start of its existence. 

Birth is the point where that something is brought into the light after it is to a point where it is complete enough to live. 

But there was a whole lot going on before it saw the light of day.

At some point there was a seed that impregnated a fertile spot in our heart or mind. 

A seed cannot pierce that which is hard or non-receptive.  For some of you this may be exactly what you want – hard and infertile to prevent something new growing inside.

You like where you are, or you are fearful of what might grow if open to new things.

I am not being judgmental of where you are because I have been there too.  But I do know this.  When a person does not have life stirring in their inner being they have sealed the fate of their existence.  You will never go beyond where you are.

You may be ok with where you are, that’s your decision… but you need to know… this is as far as your life will go.

It takes work to be fertile.  It requires effort to stay open, soft and receptive.  Some may be afraid that if they are open that some seeds of weeds will be sprinkled in and begin to root.

Yep… that’s true.

The richest genius, like the most fertile soil, when uncultivated, shoots up into the rankest weeds.
-David Hume

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Weeds grow into something harmful only if you are lazy.  So it does require work.

But you need to know that dealing with the weeds are worth it when you enjoy the fruit of your labor. 

Oh the amazing possibilities… what gifts for us to enjoy.

For me, I can say this from experience; it is a very blessed feeling to feel life stirring inside.  As many of you know I have written a lot about the stirrings inside that caused me to take bold steps in my life. 

Believe me… it has been worth it. 

I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like for a mother to feel life stirring in her womb. 

It is both miraculous and exciting because, you know that at just the right time that thing stirring within will be birthed. 

After it is birthed a new process begins with its own challenges and rewards. 

I may talk about that on Thursday.

See you then.

Ciao.

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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.


25
Jul 11

Not just for Rabbits

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Hello, me again.

I know that I may sound weird saying this (well, weirder than usual), but I love the picture of the carrots.  I think it’s great.

It very simply illustrates one of the greatest joys and gifts that life offers… VARIETY.

Yes, you are correct.  I have gushed all over this topic before but the carrots just set me off again.

Side Note: Did you realize there are nearly 70 varieties of carrots.  Who would have guessed?  There is even a carrot museum in the UK.

Don’t worry, this blog is not going to be about carrots… but in case you’re interested the web site is http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk

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OK, enough with the carrots.  But I would like to poke around a little more about this variety thing because the picture of the carrots crystallized a new insight.

I realized that I am moved by the variety that comes from nature but not from variety that comes from human hand.  Yes, we humans have created an abundance of things to entertain us and enjoy.

I am not putting down the fact that we have over a 100 different flavors of soda, 210 cable channels, an endless selection of wallpaper, or 72 reality shows to choose from.  These are all fine… well, except for any of the Housewives reality shows… give me a break.

But nothing created by human hands stops me and causes me to stand in quiet awe as does the variety that is natural

I am moved when I see a hummingbird with feathers with different iridescent colors hovering at a feeder, or a new sunrise blasting an array of color across the sky, or a multitude of variety of spices for our pleasure, or even carrots.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am pleased we have a variety of things in life to choose from to make our life easier or more entertaining.  It’s just that nature is a different dimension.

I know the list is far from complete but here’s how I see the difference between man made variety and the natural variety by the hand of our Creator.

  • Human bombards the senses, natural soothes.
  • Human feels strangely hollow, natural possesses a sacred quality.
  • Human competes for our attention, natural is just there.
  • Human is forced on us, natural is quietly discovered.
  • Human encroaches in our lives, natural expands our lives.

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Take a look around.  If you are open you will gain a newer and deeper appreciation of what we have gifted to us.

Hopefully you will see something that causes a moment of awe.

See you Thursday.  I gotta go to see if I can find some purple carrots.

Ciao.

The essence of the beautiful is unity in variety.
-Felix Mendelssohn


16
Jun 11

Bound or Free

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Welcome back.

Today we are continuing the tattoo saga that we started last Thursday.  As I told the readers in Monday’s blog, much of what I say today won’t have the same impact unless you have read the blog titled More Than Meets the Eye.  If you haven’t already, I hope you check it out.

OK, here we go, jumping into the deep end of the pool.

Messages, we are bombarded with messages.  On Monday we talked about the multitude of messages that are center to our development as a person, especially as a young child.

These early messages (positive or negative) create the framework for who we are, what we do, and what we believe about ourselves.

Dissecting the Arm Quote:

“Being told you are a worthless piece of shit…

Brutal huh?  It felt yucky just typing it.  At first I thought of toning it down by writing s#!@.  But writing it that way robbed the raw impetus of the message.

Can you imagine being impaled with a message like this throughout your life?  Unfortunately, I’m sure many of you know what it feels like.  It may not be this exact message but one just as vile… and damaging.

As you think about your life, think about the messages that have seeped through the walls of your subconscious that have impacted who you are today.

A good way to decode the blur of messages is to look at your self talk… what you say about yourself in your head.  Or examine your behaviors.  Behaviors are the physical manifestations of your beliefs.

There are two phrases I have used that capture the essence of what I am saying.

“Actions follow beliefs.”

“We look for evidence to validate our beliefs.”

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You may not have been targeted with a piercing message as brutal as the one above.  But we all have had negative messages that keep us from experiencing the fullness of life.

These negative beliefs may be subtle, but toxic none-the-less.

Messages may be things like…

-         you’re not capable

-         not lovable

-         inadequate

-         weak

-         your opinion or ideas aren’t worth much

-         not likable

-         add your own

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Negative messages we have received, and believed, become a reality that entombs us.   This trap keeps us from a full vibrant life.

But here’s the good news.  We are not doomed to live a life that is forever encapsulated in a straitjacket that restricts freedom.

To be honest, freedom does require some work on our part because most likely our actions have become aligned with the negative messages received.

Now we get to the tricky part.

There are some messages we need to ignore and release… put them in their place.  But there are some messages we need to hear.  These messages are those that provide direction on how to wiggle our way free from the confines that trap.

We will poke at this a bit more on Monday.

See you then.

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