Posts Tagged: journey


25
Oct 12

The Extraordinary Ordinary

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Hi again.

The other day I was talking to a person that thought they were made to do something special.  They are here for more than to just live.

I don’t think that is out of the ordinary.  Most people believe they are here for a purpose.

The problem is, most of the people who feel this way spend their life looking for something extraordinary to do or accomplish.

They are searching for the “Big Splash” moment where they realize their existence.

I fully believe that we all are made to be exceptional.  But few will have a big splash opportunity.

Our opportunity to be extraordinary… is in the ordinary.

This is not a cute play on words.  I am very, very serious.  Too many have believed the lie that one’s impact on the world comes in headline form.  Not at all.

It’s ordinary people being faithful in the seemingly ordinary that makes an extraordinary impact on our world.

All around us are wonderful examples of the quiet unsung heroes that are changing their small part of the world… making it better than the way they found it.

These are quiet strong people who are giving, loving, serving, healing, teaching or nurturing without the fanfare of society.  Yet they are the foundation of our society.

A couple of years ago I shared a video about such a person.  Her name was Susan Izatt.

A few years ago a reporter by the name of Steve Hartman did a series on CBS news called Everyone Has A Story.  I loved it.  He would take a dart and throw it at a map, go to that town, pull a random name out of the phone book and interview them.

Susan refers to herself as boring and has nothing to offer.  Take a look at an extraordinary ordinary hero.

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Do something heroic… simply heroic.

See you Monday.


19
Oct 12

What’s in a name… more than you think!

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Hi, my name is Jerry Rushing.

I’m sure that it was pretty easy for you to figure out my name without my needing to inform you.  Pretty obvious huh?

Just so you know, I did not plan to name my blog after myself.

Side Note: Stick with me as I talk about the name of my blog.  Believe it or not I will be making a pretty important point.

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Three years ago when I was thinking about writing a blog I had a friend volunteer to set it up for me.

I jumped at the chance for him to create the blog structure because first, I didn’t know how to do it and second, he has a top business blog on the web.  What could go wrong… right?

I figured he would title the site with something that would be both discrete and compelling.

Little did I know he would title it with my name… talk about feeling exposed.  I was hoping to talk about life stuff and stay anonymous.  But in hindsight I believe it was a “God Thing”.

Side Note: True confession… I have never really liked the name Jerry.  Rushing is ok but the first name of Jerry never did anything for me.

It doesn’t feel like a strong name to me.  Maybe I should change my first name…. hummm….  How about “Steel” or some other strong romantic novel leading man name?

I don’t think so.  I’ll just stick with Jerry.

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Now the interesting thing about my name is that if you Google my name you will find that the first Jerry Rushing who pops up is a quasi celebrity.  He was a former moonshine runner that the Dukes of Hazzard was based on.

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The real “Jerry Rushing”

Wow… Jerry Rushing a moonshine runner.  Neither his celebrity status nor his moonshine reputation has ever effected me.  Who knows, maybe my reputation has effected him.

But what if you had a name like Charles Manson, Saddam Hussein, or Jerry Sandusky.  OUCH!

The catalyst for this blog entry is because of a story I heard about a fellow named Jerry Sandusky.  Only his first name starts with a “G” not a “J”.

Gerry Sandusky is a sports commentator for the Baltimore Ravens.  Because his name sounds like the infamous Jerry Sandusky of Penn State Football he has received all kinds of hate mail and threats.

The point of this blog is not to talk about the challenges a person has because they share the name of some horrible person.

The point of the blog is how Gerry Sandusky has handled the situation.

Gerry Sandusky was encouraged to change his name or use a middle name to avoid the backlash of the horrible things the other Jerry Sandusky did.

But he refused.  He wanted his name to stand on its own.  He was not about to let the evil of someone with the same name to corrupt his.  He felt he would be compromising who he was and who his father was if he changed his name for his own personal convenience.

Gerry Sandusky had the right perspective about the situation at Penn State.  He said that he’s not a victim.  There are others who are the true victims.

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I’m not a victim, I’m inconvenienced.

- Gerry Sandusky

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People of character are able to rise above the nastiness of their surroundings.  There is a sacred quality to good people.

Gerry Sandusky redeems the name that Jerry Sandusky destroyed.

Well-done Gerry.  You’re a great example for us all and especially for your children.

I’ll be back on Monday.

Ciao.


1
Oct 12

Hitting the Wall

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Wow… at the end of my last blog entry I said I would see you on Monday.  I had no idea it would be Monday week.  It has been ten days since I posted.

I am not so grandiose to think anyone was pining away wondering what happened to their twice a week dose of Rushing meanderings and nuggets of nonsense.

But for some reason I hit an invisible wall that I can’t explain.  Yes, I had an incredibly busy week… but that never stopped me before.

It’s been weird because I have been very disciplined about posting.  Since January 4, 2010 I have posted 279 entries – two a week.

I posted twice a week as a commitment to myself.  That’s why I always end the blog with a day as a means of personal accountability.

I do this because my history before 2010 was to start grand noble things and then have them fizzle out.  Then they would get shoved into the jam-packed mental closet with all the other discarded initiatives.

Don’t get all smug and self-righteous.  Everyone has one of those mental closets.  You know the one.

It’s the place in your head you avoid but when you are forced to go there to hide things away, you have to slowly and carefully crack the door just enough to shove whatever it is you’re trying to get rid of.

You close the door quickly so nothing tumbles out then hope and pray the door holds to prevent all the crap from tumbling out.

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Everyone has a closet or room like this… its cluttered with stuff we don’t know what to do with but we need to have some place for it so the rest of the house can be relatively neat and tidy.

But writing this blog is one thing I will continue to do.  This will not end up in the closet of fizzled promises.

It’s not because I think any of you will be upset or disappointed.  I don’t believe I have anything to say that will change the world.

But writing this blog… changes my world.

So I am going to persevere.

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Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.
- Victor Hugo

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There may be one day when I decide that writing this blog is over.  That will be ok.

But I will not and must not let it die a slow undignified death.

I don’t know why this week has been weird.  But it has.

The thing I have to be on guard for is my morbid need to understand why this past week disappeared.

I am giving myself permission to let it go.

So, I will see you Thursday.

Ciao.


21
Sep 12

Character or character?

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Howdy… welcome back.

I’m sure that many of you had to look twice at the title and tried to figure out what it meant.

One is a noun and the other is an adjective.  Humm… I’ll make mine the noun.

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Side Note: If any of you knew me in High School you would be shocked that I even alluded to the parts of speech.  Let’s just say that English and dissecting sentences was not my forte.

My wife is probably laughing that I even attempted to use the term noun or adjective.

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I wasn’t planning to talk about the importance of Character until I saw on YouTube a clip from the movie The Bid Kahuna.

Yeah… I know… I didn’t see it either.

But after seeing the clip I definitely want to check it out.

Take a look and we’ll talk more.

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I can’t think of a much better compliment than for someone to say they trust me.

As you know, trust and character are so much more than just saying things that are factual.  It’s when a person trusts who you are, not just what you say.

There is such safety and comfort knowing that you are dealing with a person of Character.

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Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
- Abraham Lincoln
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This may sound odd but there is something sacred about Character.

A person of Character has a depth and a strength that need not be spoken.  It’s just there.  It is exhibited in consistent action not words.

Character is not something you are born with.

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Talent is a gift, character is a choice.

- Larry Brown (Basketball coach)

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It is a choice.  It is developed.

This topic begs questions of myself.

Who am I?  Would people say that I am a person of Character?  Can people trust who I am as a person?

Some of you reading this blog may be known for the adjective character  vs. the Character that is a noun.

But that need not be your identity.  If not careful we can lock ourselves into a lie about ourselves.

The reality is, we have all made mistakes.

There is no question that to rebuild Character takes time and consistency.

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Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
- Helen Keller

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As I said earlier, it takes time.  And people may not trust us for a while.  But it is important to remember; we change for us, not others.

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You can’t talk your way out of something you acted yourself into.

- Stephen Covey

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Thanks for checking in.

Ciao… see you Monday.


13
Sep 12

Look at it my way!

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Yep, I’m back.

For those of you who are regular readers (both of you), you know that I have been pretty good at posting a blog twice a week – but not lately.

But you have to admit, although my postings have been erratic as of late, my commitment to mediocrity has not been compromised.  That was supposed to be a joke.

Today I am going to talk about perspective.  WooHoo, how exciting is that!?

On the surface this topic may seem pretty mundane.  I encourage you to read on because you will find it much more boring than you may think.

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Side Note: Yes, I know.  I am in a very strange mood this morning.

Not funny… just strange.  But read on anyway.

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But on a serious note, I am continually amazed how two people can experience the same reality and walk away with two totally different perspectives.

I am not talking about differences in taste.  For example two people looking at a piece of art and having differing opinions as to its beauty or quality.

Differing tastes are not problematic to me.  In fact, I think that our differing taste about things is one of the greatest gifts of God to His creation.

Wow… the variety for us all to enjoy in different ways… how cool is that?

This would be a great topic for a different time, but not today.

Seeing things from a different perspective can be somewhat amusing, like the pictures I have sprinkled out in this blog.

It’s fascinating how a simple twist of position can totally distort reality.  How very clever and creative.

The issue of perspective I am talking about are life issues.  The types of situations that aren’t amusing nor fun.

Everyone has experienced times when something happened and you and the other person(s) involved engage in verbal fisticuffs because you saw the same event differently.

This is when frustrations heat up and tensions rise because you know what you saw and heard while the other person is adamant about what they saw and heard.

The communication gets heated and of course you know that their head was up their ass because if it weren’t they would agree with you.

The only problem is, they too are questioning the location of your head also.

Yes, situations like this are very frustrating and totally suck the sweet out of the day.

Now to make a negative topic even worse, there are no easy answers.  Nope.

This is life. Sorry, but true.

Wow, I sound negative today don’t I?  I don’t mean to be because I am not a negative person.  But I am realistic.

Yes, there are days that are difficult because of situations like I just discussed.

As I said there are no easy answers but I do have some opinions that hopefully will help.

Difficult situations like this either make us a better person or we become bitter and more locked in to our point of view.

Struggles in life sharpen us, educate us, and develop us… if we are open to it.

Every one of us has been programmed by what we’ve been taught or by life experiences.  Some of our perspectives are perfectly accurate… but frankly, these are fewer than we may think.

The majority of our perspectives have varying degrees of distortion.  And some are totally distorted.

This is how we learn and grow… going through the tough times.

Yes, I like to write about the kittens and rainbows of life where we walk away smiling coated with a happy mental salve.

But life’s tough times make life… life.  Personally I don’t like the negative things but I am thankful for them.

See you Monday.

Ciao.


3
Sep 12

A different look at shoes

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The blog today may seem a bit morbid… but it is not.  Not at all.

A friend of mine has only a few weeks to live and is in Hospice care.

When the topic of death surfaces most people avoid it because it’s unpleasant.  We have a natural self protection instinct that keeps our minds from going in that direction.

Somehow we believe that if we don’t think about death it might delay the inevitable.  Fanciful thinking.

Although my friend is facing death we had an extraordinary talk about life.

It is life that I wish to talk about.  There were several things that struck me about life during our conversation.  It is these insights I would like to share.

Our view of life is from the context of life.  Life is all we know.

We look forward and charge the hill of life.  We identify our goals and mission and advance forward the best we can.

A person who is dying views life from the perspective of death.

Unless a person has had a serious encounter with death we cannot fully understand life.  We the living may think we understand… but we don’t.

But I did get a taste of it while visiting my friend.

Relationships and conversations with people who are nearing death are on a different level.

Our time talking together was simple and unguarded.  We laughed, swapped stories, talked about life and death, and ordinary things from an extraordinary perspective.

This is the kind of communication that I believe God intended originally in the Garden of Eden.

Simple, unguarded, open, powerful.

What struck me too was the beauty of the details we the living miss.

As we visited my friend talked about the things that bring him joy.  Interestingly, the things that brought the most joy from a death perspective of life were things he never thought of while going through life.

I asked him to give me an example.  He said the animals on the bottom of kid’s shoes.

Huh?  Animals on the bottom of kid’s shoes?  Please repeat that.

As he shared the details I knew exactly what he was talking about.

When his oldest adult daughter was about two he would transport her everywhere on his shoulders.

She would run to him, jump in his arms and then with the father’s strength that two year olds only know he would throw her on to his shoulders.

After she was safely on his shoulders he remembers grabbing one of her feet hanging next to his chest and lifting it up and look on the bottom to see which animal she was wearing for the day.

This is something he never really thought of at the time.  But this is a view of life from a death perspective.

The joy of life is the small stuff.

His mind did not race back to the career advancements, the deal made or the new car he drove.  Joy was found in a little girl’s shoe.

As we go through life we easily get caught up in career, bills, decision… life stuff.  At times things become so looming that it is overwhelming.

Added to the cacophony of life stuff there seems to be a constant unseen weight.  These are things beyond our control that adds to the already weighty pressures of life.

We worry about the economy, the state of the world and safety for our children.

All I know is that as my friend drifts closer to death, the things that we see as big issues of life have become unimportant.

It is the details of life that are bringing joy… tiny, seemingly insignificant details.  Details that he had not thought of for years.

Although death does take the body it need not kill our spirit or rob our joy.

We may not have much choice over the former but we have full control over the latter.

One of the greatest blessings I have learned in my life is that out of the ugliest of situations there are wonderful joys to be discovered.

Joy comes in the strangest forms.  Even the bottom of a little girl’s shoe.

See you Thursday.


28
Aug 12

The Good & Bad of Different

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Hi… thanks for checking in with me.

The photograph above is another beautiful shot of ballerina Aesha Ash.

Like the picture in the last blog, the stark contrast of a poised ballerina on the streets of New York enhances her beauty not distracts.

Being different from your surroundings forces attention in your direction.  Some people thrive on the attention of being different.

The weird thing is that many people try to be different only to end up looking like everyone one else in their crowd.  They look different… just like everyone else.

But there is more to the being different story than meets the eye.

Yes, being different can enhance your positives, but it also magnifies your negatives.

As I said earlier… different screams attention.

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Photos like this are visually striking.  Two contrasting worlds collide and makes for a great picture.

But in real life different can be a blessing, or a curse.

Being different always brings pressure.  The surroundings always try to force us into conformity.

I have several friends and have heard numerous stories where good performance in a job was frowned upon because it made all the other workers around them look bad.  They became the subject of ridicule and pressured to conform.

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Another interesting dynamic about being different is that pressure is created.  The majority always seems to press for conformity.  It doesn’t have to be intentional… difference feels pressure to conform.

Take for example the media barrage of societal expectations.  The pressure is not direct for conformity but the sheer volume of messages will beat the crap out of your self image.

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All I know is that there is good different and bad different.

I struggle just like the rest of you.

I like being different but I’m not weird… well… maybe sort of… but not much.

Well, I think I have rambled enough.

Ciao.


16
Aug 12

Feelings… nothing more than feelings

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Hi there… welcome.

In the last blog I poked around at the topic of our identity and the things that we think define us as a person.

Toward the end of the blog I made a statement that I fully believe and I would like to unpack a little more.  I said that your feelings will always default to your true identity.

Feelings reveal who we think we are and what we think we want to have or do.

You will note that I did not say that feelings reveal reality.

Feelings are powerful – very, very powerful.  They are powerful because feelings infer reality.

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“I feel, therefore it is”

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If I feel it then it must be real.  And if it’s real then we act on our assumption.

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Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.
-  Samuel Adams

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To add to the complexity our society reinforces the notion that feelings rule.  The entertainment industry and marketing world thrive as purveyors of feelings not facts.

If it feels good do it, if it doesn’t feel good don’t do it.

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God is not present in idols. Your feelings are your god. The soul is your temple.
- Chanakya
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Wow… can you believe he said that “Your feelings are your god.”  According to Chanakya then, you must obey your feelings.  How futile.

Anyway, by the way Chanakya looks by his picture I recommend he find another god.  His feelings don’t seem to be working for him.

OK, Back to the topic.

As we continue looking as society’s influence, have you noticed how everyone in the advertisement is happy, good looking and has money?

They are selling a feel good dream.  You can have this too if you wear their deodorant or drink their beer.

On the other side of the feeling coin is fear or disapproval.  They market these negative feelings to spark action.

There is another side to this feeling trap.

There is so much emphasis on feelings, that the lack of feelings carries as much influence and power as what we feel.

What we don’t feel weighs as heavily as what we feel.

For example, if I no longer feel in love with my wife then I need no longer to be faithful.  Why should I stay in a relationship if I don’t feel like I love her anymore?

Here’s the scariest reality of all.

If I don’t have good feelings about something then I must find the thing that makes me feel good.  The focus is on the FEELING not the need.

Most of the time what we need in life does not feel good.  But focusing on the deeper things in life brings a happiness and contentment that no deodorant or beer buzz could ever provide.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like good feelings as much as the next person.  I want good things.  I like to feel good.

But when tickling your feelings is more important than the foundational things of life… oh boy… are you in for a very rocky road.

We’re going to continue to open this “feelings” box.

It will be interesting to see what we stir up.

I’ll keep writing about this as long as I feel good about it.

See you Monday.


6
Aug 12

Giving up freedom sets you free

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I wasn’t planning on expanding on the last blog entry but I was reminded of a powerful and important truth that relates to what I had written.

In the last entry I talked about the counter intuitive notion that proper restriction or resistance allows us to soar.  Without restriction we would never reach our designed potential.

If the last sentence made no sense then I recommend that you check out the last blog entry.

The paradoxical truth that I want to talk about is that true ultimate freedom requires giving up freedom.

Now before you get the yips, this is not a political or military policy statement.  There may be some application but it is definitely not the point of this entry.

Nor is this an entry about the Spiritual or religious implications, which there are many.

I ran across something I wrote over two years ago that illustrates what I am talking about.  I would like to share a few paragraphs (italics).

I have music in me… lots of music.  There are times when I sit at a piano, placed my fingers on the keys, closed my eyes and believed the music inside would explode into melody.

But the wellspring of music within remains trapped… frustrated by its inability to find release and purpose.  There was no avenue for escape because I had not provided a path of freedom.

When younger I could have taken piano lessons.  I could have given up the freedom to do the things I wanted to do and channeled that time into a forced discipline of training my mind and fingers.  But my freedom in the moment was more important for me than ultimate freedom later.

It is said that you can tell who the professionals are because they make it look so easy.  All you have to do is look at the picture of Gabby Douglas.

I marvel at the ability of some dancers or athletes.  The freedom they have to release their body in different ways is literally amazing.  This level of freedom only comes through forced discipline.  It is the relinquishing of the freedom of the moment for the freedom of the ultimate.

Take a look at this quick video.  It illustrates the amazing beauty, ease, and elegance of a body that is free.

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Freedom… that’s what this life journey is all about.

It is through giving up immediate freedom you gain ultimate freedom.  This is true in virtually every aspect of life.

We relinquish our freedom to spend money on something we want now for more financial freedom later.

Humm… freedom… what treasures are trapped in you that are fighting to be released.

Don’t get discouraged.  Keep at it.

I ran across a great quote that encourages me.  William Stafford, (1914-1993) was a prolific and highly respected American poet.  When asked by a reporter how he began his career as a poet he said,

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“I just kept on doing what everyone starts out doing. The real question is, why did other people stop?”

Don’t stop.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

See you Thursday.


24
Jul 12

Get up and go!

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Hi… I’m glad you’re visiting.

I have started and stopped this blog several times.  It was my goal to have it posted yesterday morning but here it is mid-morning the day after.

For whatever reason this blog entry has been hard work.

I believe in the importance of work but today I am not in the mood for hard work.  I read a quote like the one below and I feel pretty good about my view of hard work.

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If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves.

- Joseph Kirkland (1830 – 1894)

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But as we all know there are two sides of any coin.  I ran across another quote that made me feel pretty crappy.

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Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.
- Sam Ewing

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Oh thanks… way to poke me in my soft spot – Character.  Issues regarding my Character always get my attention.

Well, actually I guess I’m doing sort of ok because I’m not blowing off the blog.  I have rolled up my sleeves (my nose is turned up a little) and I’m actually writing it, albeit late.

As you can see I am in a pooty mood today.  I don’t know why… just am.  I’m pushing through it.

I find that if I give in to the mood it gets worse and drags my whole day down.  There are times when the phrase “push through it” is exactly what we need to do.

I work hard at not being the type of person who needs someone to carry them.  Yes, we all need encouragement but some will suck the life out of you if you let them.

I ran across this poem which I found to be hilarious.  We have all read the poem Footprint in the Sand.  This is a little different take on the topic.

“Butt-Prints in the Sand”

One night I had a wondrous dream.

One set of footprints there was seen.

The footprints of my precious Lord,

but mine were not along the shore.

But then some stranger prints appeared.

I asked the Lord, “What have we here

Those prints are large and round and neat.

But lord they’re too big to be my feet.”

“My child,” He said in somber tones,

“for miles I carried you alone.

I challenged you to walk in faith.

But you refused and you made me wait.

You disobeyed and you would not grow.

The walk of faith you would not know.

So I got tired, I got fed up.

And I dropped you on your butt.

Because in life there come a time,

when one must fight and one must climb,

when one must rise and take a stand,

or leave their butt-prints in the sand.”

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No butt prints for me.  I may need to be dragged for a while but eventually I get going.

Hopefully this speaks to you today to not leave butt-prints.

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Have a productive day.

Ciao.