Every Person We Meet Holds Within Them a Lost Piece of Ourselves

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Every single person we meet seems to hold within them a lost piece of ourselves.

I came across this idea a while ago and some days it really intrigues me and other days it really frustrates me. Let me say it again:

Every single person we meet holds within them a lost piece of ourselves.

Some people give you this lost piece of yourself freely without you even having to ask. These are the friendships that blossom from the start and grow deeper and broader with each encounter. These are the friends bold and brave enough to speak truth into your life. These are the loved ones who know your faults but keep reminding you of your greatness. These are the genuine ones, the real ones, the easy ones.

The reason they are easy is because the key that unlocks that lost piece of yourself you have been missing is LOVE. For your close friends and loved ones, it’s natural and easy. The love flows freely both directions and you help one another unlock lost pieces effortlessly.

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For others, it feels like we have to hire a professional locksmith in order to get to that lost piece of ourselves they hold locked inside. But the mistake we sometimes make is we write someone off too soon. We forget that LOVE is the key to unlocking that lost piece of ourselves.

How many times in your life have you cast someone aside initially only to discover later that you really love and appreciate them? It’s so easy to mentally discard people from our lives.

Maybe they think or believe differently than us.

Maybe they are too liberal or too conservative.

Maybe they cheer for an opposing team.

Maybe they are related to your ex (or maybe they are your ex).

Maybe they cut us off on the highway, stole our parking spot, or forgot to shut their high beams off.

Maybe they are refereeing our child’s game or coaching the other team.

Maybe they subscribe to a different religion or no religion at all.

I want to tell you an important secret: No matter who that other person is, they hold within them a lost piece of yourself. You see, your opinion of them—and your reactions to them—are nothing more than your own projections of yourself.

I have struggled to learn this lesson time after time. I continually forget that my annoyances with the “other” are really undiscovered annoyances with myself. This is a tough pill to swallow when there’s someone I vehemently oppose or despise.

Relationships give us the greatest joy on earth and can cause the deepest sorrow we have ever experienced. There’s no greater example of this than going through a divorce or a serious breakup. Almost every ounce of our energy gets thrust into debasing the other person. We feel so violated and so distraught because the other person held within them the lost piece of ourselves, shared it with us for a while, and then we believe they withheld it again. They then turn into a bastard or a bitch because they knowingly withhold what they once gave freely. It’s their fault! All theirs! We tend to forget we’re also the bastard or bitch that withhold from them as well.

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We also forget that LOVE is the key to unlocking that lost piece of ourselves—not hatred and dissonance.

How would your interactions change with friends, coworkers, family, strangers, acquaintances, and loved ones if you truly grasped this idea?

Every single person we meet holds within them a lost piece of ourselves—LOVE is the key that unlocks it.

 

Peace my Friends!

 

~Travis

Speaking Up, Steve Jobs, and My Role

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There have been so many crazy—crazy in a good way—thoughts running through my mind lately.  It seems impossible to categorize them all. I’ve been having so many conversations with people about different topics; and yet, all these topics center on one subject. Whether I’m talking about food and diet, farming, television, politics, my corporate job, or church and religion; the topic undoubtedly comes back to frustration with the way America has progressed.

All you have to do is scroll through Facebook for five minutes and you’ll see countless posts about how America is progressing in a way that neither side is happy about.  Have you been a part of progression and felt deep in your gut it wasn’t really progress?

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Maybe you felt like you should say something but nobody else spoke up so you kept your mouth shut. That reminds me of when I was in school. I was hyper-sensitive about being the only kid that didn’t understand the assignment so instead of raising my hand and asking the teacher to explain it again, I would sit in silence and look around at my peers like I knew exactly what was expected. It wasn’t until my late 20s and 30s that I realized what made the smart kids smart. They asked questions. They were engaged in the topic. They immersed themselves in the process of learning. So what if the rest of the class thought they were stupid, they wanted to get it right and they knew several other kids would benefit from their questions. By admitting they didn’t have all the answers they were moldable and able to learn from their teachers.

I began to wonder about the way we learn as adults and I realized many of us still have that same fear of raising our hands or opening our mouths. When injustice is witnessed we keep our mouths shut because we don’t want to be the one that spoke up. When our kids demand cereal or cookies and milk for breakfast we oblige them because that’s the way we were raised. “It’s obviously good for them because it says there are lots of vitamins and minerals right on the front of the box. And kids need calcium so they have to drink plenty of milk to grow up big and strong.” If our kids demanded cocaine and a shot of whiskey before running out the door to catch the bus we might be concerned; but why are we not concerned when the cereal, cookies, and milk have the exact same effects on their brains as the cocaine and whiskey would?

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To?

It’s understandable to assume we are making our own minds up about decisions that we make. We feel confident in our ability to choose what shirt to wear and what socks to put on. These are decisions that we make and nobody controls that. We plan ahead when we grocery shop and have discussions as a family about what meals we can expect to prepare throughout the upcoming week. “The kids have games Tuesday and Friday night so we need to have some easy-prep meals those nights.” We run through fast-food because it seems more convenient in the moment completely ignoring the long term effects these food-like substances are having on our brains and bodies.

We sit in big houses mostly empty, communicate with our loved ones from separate rooms via text, and smile at the comfortable stranger while passing in the hallway. We say we love each other because that’s what families do when in reality our actions prove otherwise. I remember a time when our family got together with other families all the time. Our social lives were lived in community having ongoing relationships with different people almost every night of the week. A lot of that has been lost in the busyness and chaos of our current situation.

When you grow up, you tend to get told the world is the way that it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world and try not to bash into the walls too much. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: And that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that are no smarter than you. And you can change it. You can influence it. You can build your own things that other people can use. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is just there and you’re just going to live in it versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it, and once you learn that you’ll never be the same again.

The words you read above were quoted from the movie Jobs—a portrayal of the life of Steven Paul Jobs. I must admit, even though I use an iPhone and my children have nearly every gadget Apple has invented in their lifetime, I didn’t know much about Steve Jobs. I heard about his Type A personality and his passion to change the world and compete against the giants of IBM and Microsoft. A friend of mine who read his biography told me about some of the crazier things Jobs did that made him infamous.

The quote above struck me because most of my life I felt as though I was told what to think. “Input, Output, what goes in is what comes out. Input, Output, that is what it’s all about” All these years later I still hear the words from Psalty the Singing Songbook. Eventually I learned that if you’re in the business of training parrots then the Input, Output method works marvelous; but in the case of raising children we owe it to them to teach them how to think instead of what to think.

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Imagine what our children could accomplish if they were told life has no limits and truly grasped that concept!?! Half the battle of growing up was simply figuring out how to assimilate with the world around us. Once we figured out how to assimilate it felt too exhausting to tackle the bigger questions of why things were the way they were. Just passing my Social Studies test and finishing my Science lab were stressful enough. The history behind the world’s currencies, the motives for world dominance through geographical pillaging, the creation of thousands of religions, the reasons behind our current calendar; these were all issues I never knew existed. I simply assumed life was always like this. Once I wrapped my mind around the fact that humans created the world we are currently living in astounded me. Every single decision for the way the world is run today was made by a human who said it should be done that way.

Sometimes an error humans make is assuming their findings about truth and wisdom is true for everyone. Instead of unity, this grave mistake does nothing but divide. If you discover truth for yourself and want to share it with the world, that’s wonderful. Some people might hear of your truth and agree with you. But don’t impose your truth on the rest of the world as the only version of truth. Even someone that experienced the exact same truths as you might interpret them differently and find different meanings as a result of the same truths. When you attempt to force your truth on others, the original truth that was intended for your growth becomes distorted. When you force your truth onto others, you have closed yourself off from learning more truth. You hold tightly to your truth as a possession. Instead of an orientation of truth as being, you choose an orientation of having. Being is limitless and ever-flowing. Having is limited and numbered. An orientation of having leads to wars, church splits, divorces, and all kinds of human suffering.

No matter what your position in life, there will always be people who desire nothing more than to tell you what to thinkThere’s a certain assurance that comes with numbers. By that I mean the more people we can get to think like us, the more right we feel about our position. We naturally attempt to align ourselves with people that agree with us.  But Steve Jobs salutes the ones who dare to be different:

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, about the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.


My Role

My role on this earth has eluded me for years. I have heard whispers. I have seen glimpses. I have felt breezes on rare occasions. It didn’t elude me because it wasn’t reaching out to me. It eluded me because I was deaf to its rise. I was blind to its waving hands. And I was numb to its ferocious winds. For years I was buried in my own drama. I couldn’t possibly begin to help someone else when I was incapable of helping myself. Little did I know, by putting my health first, by focusing on the here and now, I have an impact on others.

My day-to-day routine is anchored in my ability to be aware. My relationships are affected by my presence—with them and with myself.

My role on this earth has eluded me because for so long I felt I wasn’t worthy of speaking my message. It eluded me because I allowed my mind to be drug along as if in a wild river without even a passing thought about the present moment. I was always living either in some far-off distant future; or I was stuck in some drama of the past. Little did I know the power of the present moment! Little did I know that a great life is accumulated by ferociously staying present in the NOW! The only real peace in life is found in the now! By being present, by being aware, by being who I am; in this very moment, I create peace, joy, and contentment.

I have discovered my role on this earth is to learn and write what I have learned. As a writer, I will devote the time I have left on this earth to learning and writing. As long as I never forget my role — learning and writing about what I learned — then I can count on many fulfilled years in my future.

I need not worry about my brand, i.e. not worry about the topic, I need not worry about the audience, I need not worry about praise, publicity, or publication. I do need to focus. I need to focus every minute on showing up. I need to show up every second in the moment. Live in the now! By living in the now, I write from a place that all wisdom is stored. Whenever true beauty is shared with the world, it originated from the Now. When I read words that penetrate straight to my soul, those words were born in the Now. The present moment holds all beauty and wisdom in her hands. As a saint doles out food to the hungry, the Now awaits with full hands to distribute wisdom to those the seek her.

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In this moment life is exactly as it should be. I lack nothing. I want for nothing. I have a better life than countless kings throughout history who could have used their power and riches to have anything they wanted. I am truly blessed and truly thankful! Why the universe chose to bestow life upon me is a mystery but I won’t leave here disappointed! I will learn and write, learn and write, learn and write.

The first half of my life was spent learning. Learning how to be in this world, learning how to survive in this world, learning proper etiquette and how to navigate. Now, as I am nearly halfway through my journey on this large rock, I am prepared to share what I have learned.

Peace my friends!

~Travis

I Hate My Job! . . . . and . . . . Three Ideas for Awakening

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As soon as you rise above mere survival, the question of meaning and purpose becomes of paramount importance in your life.  Many people feel caught up in the routines of daily living that seem to deprive their life of significance.  Some believe life is passing them by or has passed them by already.  Others feel severely restricted by the demands of their job and supporting a family or by their financial or living situation.  Some are consumed by acute stress, others by acute boredom.  Some are lost in frantic doing; other are lost in stagnation.  Many people long for the freedom and expansion that prosperity promises.  Others already enjoy the relative freedom that comes with prosperity and discover  that even that is not enough to endow their lives with meaning.  There is no substitute for finding true purpose.  But the true or primary purpose of your life cannot be found on the outer level.  It does not concern what you do but what you are–that is to say, your state of consciousness.  So the most important thing to realize is this: Your life has an inner purpose and an outer purpose.  Inner purpose concerns Being and is primary.  Outer purpose concerns Doing and is secondary.

Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth

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As I read this for the first time I instantly thought back over my own life.  The concept of simply Being without doing seemed foreign and uncomfortable.  I had to be doing something in order to feel good about myself.  I had to:

Get the girl

Pass the test

Make the basket

Get the job

Have the children

Build the house

Buy the car

Watch the show

Cheer for the team

Attend the service

Get the degree

Mow the lawn

Secure the loan

Work the overtime

Make the sale

Tell the funny joke

and God knows do everything else under the sun.

All my activities weren’t bad in-and-of themselves–I still do many of the same activities now.  But I turned to these Outer purpose activities as a means to gain Inner purpose.  As you can imagine, it never worked.  I constantly had my thinking backwards.  I thought I could do, do, do and that would lead to Being.  I let my mind run my life and struggled to ever find any balance or satisfaction.

“Your inner purpose is to awaken.  It is as simple as that.” Tolle goes on, “You share that purpose with every other person on the planet–because it is the purpose of humanity.  Your inner purpose is an essential part of the purpose of the whole, the universe and its emerging intelligence.”  When you first hear that, it doesn’t feel right so you disregard it.  At least I did.

“It certainly cannot be that easy, can it?”

“All I have to do is awaken?”

“If I awaken and that is my inner purpose, how can that change my life or the world in any way?”

“I am awake!”

Your mind is probably going in a thousand different directions as to why this can’t be true and your ego is certain to protect your standard mode of operation you’ve been living with for so long.

Spinoza said Joy is man’s passage from a lesser to a greater perfection and Sorrow is man’s passage from a greater to a less perfection.  In his book, To Have or To Be, Erich Fromm explains it like this: “Joy, then, is what we experience in the process of growing nearer to the goal of becoming ourself.”  Or, to put it another way, Joy is the result of seeking your inner purpose of awakening.

I have struggled off and on for years not being satisfied with my job.  On many occasions I nearly made the decision to quit and pursue a vocation more suited to my gifts and talents.  I’m sure if I did quit I would have been just fine finding a different way to make money.  But thankfully I didn’t quit my job.  I say thankfully because if I quit, I may not have learned the lesson that my inner purpose is to awaken.  When I made my job responsible for satisfying my inner purpose, I felt frustrated, lacking, and unfulfilled.  But once I realized my job was my outer purpose and my inner purpose was up to me to fulfill, then I could go about my business of awakening on my own time separate from my job.

The process of awakening is a slow and ever-evolving process.  I spent many years in therapy and began to dissect my thought processes one at a time.  I walked away from my comfort zones in order to intentionally weed out any beliefs that didn’t serve my inner purpose.  Rather than blaming my upbringing, or other people, or circumstances beyond my control, I found greater purpose in focusing on my reactions to things.  I’m a fairly laid back person anyway, but for me, learning to simply be, instead of react, turned out to be my best response.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I was an expert at figuring out what was expected of me and giving people what they wanted, but I did not always acknowledge what it was that I wanted.  With every fruitless search for external gratification, I lost touch of my own intrinsic happiness until I finally set my sights on my inner purpose.

Awakening doesn’t mean that I have “arrived” and I’m somehow superior to those not considered awakened.  Awakening, to me, simply means I show up every day–I listen when spoken to, I strive for awareness in each moment, and I’m open to the mysterious flow of our existence here.  Awakening means I bring my true self to every encounter instead of relying on my alienated self or one of many false selves.  By being real, I am free to grow.  Awakening means I let go of my regrets, shame, guilt, and accusations and instead I accept what will be will be.  I attempt to let go of my attachment to any outcome and find joy in any circumstance.

Interestingly enough, as I turned my focus on my inner purpose of awakening, my outer purpose shifted into alignment with my inner purpose.  Instead of hating my job, I actually began to enjoy myself there.  I found purpose and contentment in an environment where bitterness and begrudging once resided. The joy that I experienced in my early-morning writing and meditation snuck into my lunch pail and accompanied me throughout the day.  The constant wrestling with ideas in my mind while I was at work shielded me from the petty gossip and never-ending drama that unfolds there.  Some days I added fuel to the fire just for shits and giggles but I could easily detach myself from taking any of the drama too seriously or too personal.

This whole idea of awakening may seem foreign to you.  If it does we could talk about it if you’d like.  Otherwise, here’s three ideas for your own awakening:

  1. Consider the difference between your inner purpose and your outer purpose.  In what ways have you been unjustly making your outer purpose be responsible for your inner purpose?  It wasn’t until I realized the importance of my inner purpose that I began to give it the attention it deserved.  Let go of the idea of awakening as only a Buddhist reference.  Awakening, Being, Presence, Aliveness, True Self, etc. are all deeply spiritual references and can be applied to any religious preference.
  2. Consider the different ways you stay distracted.  Instead of turning to your phone, TV, or novel reading, open up a pad of paper and write down your thoughts.  Journal about your uneasiness or discomfort of sitting still with yourself.  Is there too much pain your hiding so you don’t want to be alone with yourself?  Putting your ideas and feelings on paper where they can be wrestled with is a wonderful step towards healing and awakening.
  3. Consider a regular practice of meditating.  Meditation was difficult for me at first.  I could only start with five minutes without going crazy.  Eventually I grew to love that quiet time where I completely shut off my mind and focused on nothing by the air that filled my lungs and diaphragm, and then on that same life-giving air as it left my body.  You don’t have to sit a certain way with your hands in a special pose; just get comfortable, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing while everything else melts away.  As your mind shoots a million different thoughts at you, simply see the thought and let it go the way you would see a butterfly land on your knee and then let it fly away.  Don’t judge yourself for having too many thoughts–especially at first–because the mind is very difficult to silence until you get comfortable with it.

As always, any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to comment, call, or email.

Peace my friends!

~Travis

The Little Boy, Authentic Self, and a touch of TMI

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Do you ever wish you could soak in all of the world’s wisdom in one day? In one week? One year? In a lifetime?

As I sit in my office and I look at my bookshelf behind me, I’m moved by the wisdom that resides in my house.  Men and women who took the time to put their ideas out into the world.  Human beings who decided to make a difference.  They sat at their desk or their kitchen table and they purposefully wrote down their ideas to share with all of humanity.

Some authors state that what they wrote about wasn’t really what they had in mind; but instead the ideas simply flowed through them as though they were basically the vessel for the idea to be born through.  They talk as though all they did was take dictation for the idea to share itself through them.  It makes me wonder what ideas want to be born through me or through you?

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When I think back on my life, I rarely find much to regret.  I have lived a joy-filled forty-plus years on this planet and have many fond memories.  Sometimes I turn the clock of my memory way back to my childhood and watch an insecure young boy trying his darnedest to figure life out.  I wish I could report to that little boy to not give up on himself or on seeking wisdom and eventually he would figure life out.

That little boy was resilient!  He was handed a rule book for how he was supposed to conduct himself but unfortunately that rule book was blank.  So that little boy decided he would pay attention and try as hard as he could to fill the rule book himself.  Certain things he did were met with a harsh scolding so he wrote down his behavior in order not to do that foolish act again.  Other times his behavior resulted in spankings so he tried real hard to not forget those rules.  The little boy eventually filled the rule book up pretty full and learned when to talk and when not to talk, when to be funny and when to be serious, and the final most important lesson he learned was to make sure he was everything everyone else wanted him to be.

With that lesson firmly in place, he lost all contact with his authentic self.  For a long time, that young boy did nothing but try to survive by being whoever he needed to be just to get by.  He had genuine glimpses of his true authentic self and even attempted to share that part of himself with his family and teachers.  But more times than not, being authentic was strongly discouraged; and usually with a belt.

That little boy didn’t give up though.  He kept playing the parts he was expected to play.  He said what he was supposed to say, did what he was supposed to do.  But in the back of his mind he still held out hope that one day he would throw away the rule book he so carefully filled.

Eventually when the little boy became a teenager, he realized that some things were worth breaking the rules for–mainly girls.  The seductive and sensual taste and smell of the opposite sex caused the young boy to rethink his position on keeping ALL the rules.  Surely he could relax on some of the rules for his own enjoyment as long as he skillfully continued to APPEAR he was on the straight and narrow.

When that young, robotic, rule-keeping boy discovered the female body, something in his heart woke up (Okay, thanks Captain Obvious, yes I know something else woke up too).  But instead of feeling guilty like before when he broke the rules, now he felt more alive than ever.  His experiences catapulted him to a whole new level of personal satisfaction that could never be attained by just sticking to the rules.

Life has a funny way of calling out to your heart and inviting you to stop faking it.  Even tho you think you’re living authentically, your heart never lies.  Opportunities along the way call out to you–sometimes scream at you–and mysteriously pull on your heartstrings.

I recently read The Five Levels of Attachment by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. and he discussed this authenticity.  “There is a moment when the Authentic Self becomes no longer an abstract term, but an experience.  I believe we all experience such a moment.  It could be during meditation, while painting or dancing, working or working out, lecturing or talking, making love, eating, or playing.  It’s the moment when judgment stops and pure harmony takes over.”

You could say when that young man first experienced the long and slow touch from his high school sweetheart he also discovered his Authentic Self.  The sensual act unleashed something in him that was more than just sensual or sexual.  For the first time in forever, he felt alive!  He felt like he could conquer the world–or at least die trying.  Sure, he was experiencing new and exciting things, but more importantly, his Authentic Self was coming to life.

Fast forward five years and he was still playing the roles and living by rules that he did not write for himself.  In his early twenties, he made the assumption that he was supposed to get married. . .

. . . So he did.

After he was married for a while, they thought they were supposed to have children. . .

. . . So they did.

A couple years after that he grew sick of playing by everyone’s rules and wanted to do his own thing. . .

. . . So he did.

His actions were less than exemplary for a loving husband and father so his wife warned him she would leave. . .

. . . So she did.

He heard once a man regains his freedom he could party like a rock star and sleep around all he wanted. . .

. . . So he did.

Then he heard from a dear friend that told him he was a great guy and if he wanted a great girl he would need to start being a man a great girl would want. . .

. . . So he did.

At that point he realized he needed to start reading books and changing his life. . .

. . . So he did.

He learned all about the ego, his Authentic Self, breathing techniques, people who were revolutionary characters, how people shape their beliefs based off their accumulated knowledge, how people are human beings not human doings, how real joy and happiness can be found in life only in the present moment, and how our society and environment shape our opinions and outlooks which cause our unintentional shift away from our authentic selves.

He also learned that his relationships with women were unhealthy–He was either trying to manipulate them to sleep with him or he was . . . well, he was basically trying to manipulate them to sleep with him.  Furthermore, when it came to women, he had a tendency to pick the ones who never liked him for exactly who he was.  He always seemed to pick the reflection of who he was on the inside.  If he wasn’t happy with himself, he picked girls that weren’t happy with him either.  He attempted to heal his wounds relying on women who were incapable to offer him healing.

I’m not bagging on all the females that crossed his path or trying to blame them for his shortcomings.  He dated many phenomenal women who were wonderful people, but his mistake was taking his ultimate question to them for an answer.  He didn’t ask them directly and most of the time he rarely comprehended he was even asking them anything at all by his actions; but, nonetheless, he took his question to them anyway.

Am I Good Enough?!?!?

It wasn’t until he answered the question for himself (with a resounding YES, by the way) that he was able to steer clear from the nagging external approval he so desperately sought.

I think it’s safe to say that little boy who desperately longed to know all the rules and lived his life for everyone else’s approval has finally grown up.  Through the help of years of counseling and a decade of deprogramming, I feel more authentic now than ever.  I still have a ton to learn and a lifetime of authors yet to read, but my Authentic Self is finally in the driver’s seat for the rest of this journey.  I’ve taken that young boy by the hand, thrown away the rule book, and gave him just one rule to remember–first for himself and then for others–LOVE!!

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Peace,

~Travis

Why is choosing to LOVE so difficult???

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Maybe it’s my recent head injury, maybe it’s my growing impatience for ignorance, or maybe it’s just time I said something.  Who knows, but I’m curious about something:  Why is choosing to LOVE so difficult???

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I watched the movie Selma recently and it struck a chord with me.  I cannot fathom being a part of that movement and what it must have felt like.

I believe I have rooted out any prejudice that may have lingered from my ignorant immaturity.  Yes it’s true that racism is not born into someone but rather taught.  Children who are young enough not to see in color love unconditionally until the day they are taught to love sparingly.

Besides racism, we all have an Us vs Them mentality.  We compartmentalize and label ourselves and everyone around us.  We are emphatically tribal.  We love those who are in our group, who think like we do and then we hate those who are different than us.  Sure, hate may be a strong word, how about this: We withhold love from those who are different, those who are outside of our tribe.

Why???

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The Golden Rule can be found in every single religious book.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  But somehow we forget that along the way.  Many people that read Matthew 7:12 and consider themselves Christian still feel justified in treating people poorly.  There is no asterisk below that verse.  There is no Black, White, Gay, Straight, Democrat, Republican, Christian, Muslim, American, Japanese.  The Golden Rule is plain and simple: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

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Whatever excuse you have for not choosing to love is a poor one.  It may cause you some discomfort at first.  You may be going against your parents.  You may have to question long-held beliefs you have grasped far too long.

The answer is inside yourself.  LOVE!

Start with those in your family.  LOVE!

Move to those outside your family.  LOVE!

Look at those in your community.  LOVE!

How about those across the country?  LOVE!

Different political views?  LOVE!

Different ethnicity? LOVE!

Different sexual orientation?  LOVE!

Consider those overseas.  LOVE!

In what ways can you open your heart?  It really truly does come down to choosing.  Do you disagree?

I choose LOVE!

Did I Shave My Legs for This???

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Did I shave my legs for this???

I’m not sure why, but for the last day-and-a-half I have been thinking about a mini-triathlon several of us participated in about four years ago. We trained for several months together leading up to the event. Many mornings we would ride our bikes into work from some predesignated location or other times we would swim or run after work.

One day after work we decided to hit a lake that wasn’t very far away. Once we were all gathered some of us eased our way into the chilly water while others plunged right in. This wasn’t a very big lake so we agreed we would swim from our current side, to the other side, then back again. The thought of being out of shape and in the middle of the lake wasn’t too appealing but I figured if I started to go under someone there knew what to do to save me. Off we went. Three quarters the way across the lake we slowed to tread water and see where everybody was. We looked all over and couldn’t find one of our buddies. He wasn’t anywhere behind us and he wasn’t anywhere ahead of us. We hollered out his name, “Maaaarrrrrkkkkk!!!!!!” (name changed to protect the innocent of course) Finally somebody spotted him not behind or ahead, but he was way off to the side. In his eagerness to get across the lake he put his head down and just started swimming. Little did he realize he was way off course. He was swimming so hard and so fast but he hadn’t looked up to see where he was. We all hollered at the same time and finally got his attention to bring him back on course. When we all made it to the other side of the lake we had a good laugh while we were catching our breath and catching some rest before the swim back across.

Back across the lake was a lot like the first trip across in that our friend couldn’t keep a straight line. He kept veering off course so before he could too far away we would yell at him to get back in line. He needed that green Fidelity line they use in the commercials to keep people on their financial goals only he needed one in the lake.

This reminded me of how we are with our dreams sometimes. We plunge in and swim with all our might and then look up and realize we are nowhere near where we meant to go. Having the courage to at least jump in and swim is the first step, but once we’re in we have to be cunning in the direction we head.

I think of my own life and the choices I have made after realizing my dreams. It seemed easier to put my head down and just swim without any direction or any focus. I thought my dreams would either just magically be realized or else I would simply forget about them. Well, truth be told, no matter where I was when I took a breather and looked around, I knew exactly how far away I was from my dreams every time. It never magically appeared and I never forgot about it. It was there staring me in the face whether I wanted to see it or not. There’s something to be said about pursuing your dreams. No matter where you are along the way, as long as you are swimming in the direction of your dreams you will find peace and contentment. Whenever you start to drift or try to forget or ignore them, that’s when the trouble starts. Resentment, guilt, anger, and frustration are always the result of not pursuing your dreams.

Other than proving to myself I could start and finish the mini-triathlon, there were a couple other awesome moments that stand out about that day. First, our friend’s wife was pregnant and gave birth the morning of the event so he couldn’t come. Even though he was the one who razzed us and talked us into doing the event, he was the one who couldn’t be there. That gave us the chance to razz him back for years and years.

The other moment that stands out was a little different than the first. The guy who’s swimming was consistently more crooked than my 3 Wood on a hilly fairway had us in stitches. It was a picturesque morning. We registered for the event then were standing on this large hill overlooking the lake. As the fog was slowly lifting over the lake and the sun was peaking over the trees off to the east, our buddy gets all serious and says he feels a little uncomfortable. We all agreed and said we had the pre-race jitters and we were uncomfortable too. He paused for an awkward silence then asked if he was the only one who shaved his whole body for the event. We all looked around at each other then looked at him in disbelief and said, “You’re kidding!! Right?!?!?!?” Needless to say, he wasn’t kidding and we all busted a gut for a long time after that. The best part was the next week after the event when his hair was growing back and everything on his body started to itch. Every uncomfortable shift he made caused us tons of laughter! I’m not sure how much the smooth legs helped his performance that day but his smooth legs have been the subject of conversation at work for many years.

Are you on track with your dreams or are you swimming off course? Are you even in the lake? Do you need to take a breather and refocus before you plunge in again? Spend some time this week moving in the direction of your dreams. You won’t be sorry!

~Travis

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Dream

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I have devoted myself to an idea. The readers of this blog are already over the hundreds, within a short time, my idea is this blog will be read not by hundreds, but thousands. I figured something out through trial and error. I figured out that in order to be a writer–one must actually write. haha Yes, I know, profound idea!!

I came across this quote somewhere online and saved it to my phone a week or two ago. It struck me as interesting when I read it but I don’t think I realized just how moving it was until today. I love when Mysterious Flow works behind the scenes when your conscience is totally unaware Flow has snuck in.

A couple weeks ago I devoted myself to an idea to simply write more. The next step was to make it happen, which I have. Sitting down to write is almost as natural as breathing especially when you’re in the flow. Not knowing what will come out of me when I sit down to a keyboard is half the fun of sitting down to write. The process of creating is in itself a very natural human experience. In The Tao of Writing, Ralph L. Wahlstrom said it best, “Creation is both the act and the celebration of this magic, the fleeting mystery that is to be alive. Creation is what we do while we’re alive, to be alive. Creation is what we do until we die.”

Next is to struggle on it. I have had my fair share of time struggling on it. No doubt the ugly process of struggling on it has been happening for a very long time. Sometimes when dealing with our dreams the struggling happens more internally instead of any external forces. Yes, some dreams are restricted by other people standing in our way. For example, having the dream to win the Daytona 500 doesn’t happen just because you make the race. You would still have 42 other drivers with the exact same dream going against you.

But for most of us, our dreams are more personal and require us to face the next line head on: Overcome Your Fears. More times than not, when we are obstructed from our dreams the largest obstruction is our own fears. I know I have written about this long ago but I was reminded to look it up again here. In the WAR of ART, Steven Pressfield puts it better than I could, “Are you paralyzed by fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. So, if your paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.”

I love the last sentence of the picture because it is so me. Smile. Don’t forget this is your dream. Anybody that has been around me at all knows I’m a smiler. I can’t help it. It’s in my DNA to smile (unless its first thing in the morning). 🙂 In other words, smile, take it easy, have fun with this, this is your dream so it should be fun. Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to accomplish our dreams that we lose sight of the fun we set out to have.

So here’s where we are. I’m ready to smile big and dream big. My intention is to reach over a thousand subscribers to my blog. I’m not setting a timetable to it. I’m simply going to keep writing and keep smiling and let the mysterious flow take care of the rest. If you would like to be a part of the flow, I would be honored to have you along for the journey.

What is the idea you are devoting yourself to? Are you in the process of making it happen, struggling on it, overcoming your fears? If not, are you stuck? Or simply sick of dreaming because you have been let down too much in life? This is your shot! Life is what you make of it. So Smile! Don’t you forget: this is your dream! 😉

~Travis