Why Not You?

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My daughter, Kelsi, and I spent some time at dinner looking up famous authors and their net worth. We started with some of our favorites:

  • Elizabeth Gilbert — $25 Million
  • Veronica Roth — $30 Million
  • Nick Hornby — $22 Million
  • John Green — $5 Million
  • Nicholas Sparks — $30 Million

Then we decided to look up the net worth of some of the richest authors we knew of:

  • J.K. Rowling — $1 Billion
  • Paulo Coelho — $500 Million
  • James Patterson — $430 Million
  • Stephen King — $400 Million
  • John Grisham — $275 Million
  • Stephanie Meyer — $125 Million

I suggested to Kelsi these authors are no different than her or me. They took ideas in their heads and put them into a story. People bought their stories, loved them, then their stories were made into movies.

It all started with some simple idea that floated around in their heads until they wrote them down. Oh sure, they had to catch a break and have their first book fall on the right agent’s desk; but if they never finished their first book where would they be?

Along those lines, Kelsi said a quote that stood out to her in Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert was: “Done is better than good.”  So we talked about getting our first books out of the way and moving on to what our Muse has for us next. Then I asked Kelsi:

“Why Not You?”

She has five chapters of her story, Finding Me, online with more than 2,300 views and a ton of positive comments. The first chapter alone generated over 1,500 views in just the first couple days.

As Kelsi continues to work on her first book (of many) and as I continue to work on mine, it’s important to remember that every author I mentioned earlier started with a first book. Which reminds me of another favorite quote from Elizabeth Gilbert:

“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner–continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you–is a fine art, in and of itself.”

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Do you have any “fine jewels that are hidden within you” to share with the world? Could you be one of the success stories I mention in a future post?

 

Why Not You?

 

Peace my Friends!

 

~Travis

 

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The World Needs Your Gifts!

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What keeps you from your gift?

What stands in the way from offering your gift to the world?

What can I say to convince you the world NEEDS your contribution?

I don’t consider myself the world’s greatest writer.  I am fully aware of my shortcomings as an artist.  I am in no way standing on some imaginary authoritative pedestal trying to arrogantly hand out my knowledge you are somehow lacking.  On the contrary, I am eager to see your greatness and I’m also eager to watch that greatness transform our world.

Even though I know my own limitations and abilities, thankfully I am aware enough to know I MUST offer my gifts and talents to the world.  I have lived the better part of my life ignoring my gifts, denying I had any gifts, and not believing the people who were brave enough to speak truth into my life about my gifts.  But eventually I finally woke up.  I finally realized that I am a much better person when I am using my gifts.  I spent years denying my gifts and ignoring the call to use my talents .  I was miserable.  I sank into a deep depression. I packed on weight in an effort to find joy in something, anything–even if it was food.  Then, eventually, I came to understand my creativity brought me joy.  My gifts unlocked something in me that has remained free ever since.

I have chosen to be an open vessel.  I am willingly allowing my gifts and talents to be used by the Universe for whatever reason it sees fit.  I unknowingly (or knowingly) named my blog Mysterious Flow because who can know for certain where our ideas come from?  I have simply made myself available for Life to speak through me.

There are so many things I write that doesn’t get shared in public.  I don’t expect that every time my pen touches the page it’s going to be read by thousands  and shared around the world.  Truthfully, I’m not attached to the outcome of my writing.  As soon as I release something into the world, that piece is no longer mine to hold onto.  Certain artists realize this easier than others.  Just because I gave birth to an idea doesn’t mean I have to follow it to the ends of the earth to protect its honor.

I have learned an important lesson: When I realize and believe the entire world is perfect this very second, that releases me to not be attached to the outcome of my writing.  My focus is taking care of my heart, my gifts, and my soul.  Another lesson I have learned is to take my ego out of the process.  If I post some writing that gets fifty readers, that writing is no less important than what was read by five thousand readers.  When I know my job is to simply keep writing, not to worry about the outcome, then I am focused on the right priority.

I will write for the rest of my life.  I believe someday my writing will provide an income enough to change my current place of employment, but until it does, I will keep writing just the same.  My allegiance is to my gift.  My devotion is to my Muse.  I am not unrealistically heaping pressure onto my writing that it has to help me quit my job.  Those unfair and unrealistic expectations wouldn’t serve me or my gifts or the world.

The interesting thing I have learned about declaring I am a writer and believing in my gifts and talents is how much easier the process has become.  I sit down to write–often times I have no idea ahead of time what wants to come out of me–and as long as I keep my pen moving, ideas begin to flow in from nowhere.  One idea after the other floods my mind and bleeds onto the page through my pen.

When I fully grasp my ideas come from a mysterious place that I have no control over, there is no pressure, there is no reason for my ego to sabotage the process.  I simply have to show up.  I have to carve out the time and quiet place to allow the idea to be born.  There is no manipulating or gimmicks or fancy marketing scheme.  Ideas long to find a conduit to be born through, I simply offer myself up as that conduit.

Often times, when I sit down to write, I find myself lost in all time and space.  I become wholly present.  Time stands still–it’s heaven on earth.  There is no past, no tomorrow, only the very moment I am in–the Eternal Now–moving my pen across the page.  The same Life that fills my lungs and pumps blood through my veins is the same Life that moves my pen and fills my mind with ideas.  Who am I to question this Life?  I just show up.  I show up expecting to be wowed!  I show up already in awe of the whole process.  But, most importantly, I show up.

I say all this to say you have gifts and talents the world needs to see.  Whether you’re a writer, painter, singer, musician, gardener, potter, knitter, iron worker, quilter, sculptor, or builder, the world is waiting with baited breath for you to display your gifts.

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The world NEEDS your gifts!  The world needs your strength.  The world needs your vulnerability and bravery.

Many of you instantly know what your gifts are the second I mentioned it.  People have been complimenting your gifts for many years now.  So for you, the difficult part is not discovering but creating space for your gifts to grow.

If you are unsure of your gifts and have the assumption you have nothing unique to offer the world, your task may require a little more cunningness.  Not knowing is just as exciting as knowing though.  Not knowing means you get to embark on a wonderful adventure full of wonder and discovery.  Just as Frodo didn’t return the ring to Middle Earth in a day, and Luke Skywalker didn’t defeat the Empire in a day, taking the journey of discovering your gifts doesn’t happen overnight either.

You may have to search for it, earnestly, honestly, much the same way Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew piece together their mysteries.  I sense it will be much easier than that though.  I believe if you asked the Universe to reveal your special contribution to the world, and then pay attention for the next couple weeks–I mean really pay attention–then your mystery will be solved.  You will hear it loud and clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt.  The Universe will respond.  Ask, listen, wait, pay attention, then receive!  When you know, you’ll know.

Of course, here’s the tricky part.  You’ll hear loud and clear what your gifts are then you’ll drag your feet, not believe it, ask for more proof, procrastinate, take on another responsibility that eats up all your free time, and basically anything else other than what you heard from the Universe.  Oh sure, you’ll flirt around with the idea, maybe even take a class or buy some supplies, but really you’ll wait.

You’ll wait long enough and pretty soon your gift will haunt you.

The haunting may not hover over your every thought, but it will patiently wait for you.  You will have a nagging feeling to fill every quiet moment you have with some kind of noise because it’s during these quiet times that your gift will try and grab your attention.

The interesting thing about our gifts is they will wait a lifetime for us if they have to.  They never give us a bunch of crap because we took so long.  The minute you realize you’re ready, your gift simply rolls up its sleeves and gets to work right along side of you.  There’s no angry rebuke, no chastising, just a beautiful co-creation begins to unfold.

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Have you ever received a gift of art from a small child?  Maybe they drew a picture with crayons and gave it to you full of pride and love for you? Chances are, you loved their gift because it came from their precious little heart.  You didn’t say their gift was terrible because the stick figures of people and pets weren’t the right shapes or sizes.  You didn’t crumble up the paper and throw it in the trash.  You probably hung their gift in a very public place.  You know their gift came from their heart so you proudly shared it with anyone that walked by.

Now that you’re older, what makes you think your gifts are any different?  If you shared your gifts with a childlike excitement–and without judgment–then the world will see your heart and respond with the same enthusiasm as a parent who receives a gift from their child.

Creativity longs to work with you.  Your gift is waiting with baited breath for you to join her.  She can’t wait to share all her ideas with you.  She doesn’t pressure you though.  She simply offers her idea and then waits.  If you agree and run with it, she’s ecstatic.  If you don’t see it, then she patiently waits and maybe offers an alternate idea in the meantime.  There is no ego with Creativity.  She never takes offense and she’s always ready to serve you any way possible.

What keeps you from your gift?

What stands in the way from offering your gift to the world?

What can I say to convince you the world NEEDS your contribution?

I think Marianne Williamson said it best in A Return to Love:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

You playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Peace my Friends!

 

~Travis

I DON’T KNOW

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I don’t know.

Three simple words.

Three simple words with many different implications.  At first glimpse, someone who says “I don’t know” too often appears to be ignorant or unable to commit to a position.  Maybe their “I don’t know” carries a lack of experience with it.  In a culture where it seems every scientific discovery has been found, “I don’t know” almost has a lazy feel to it.

The last time you asked someone a sincere question with a deep desire to know them better and they replied with an “I don’t know,” what was your response?  Did you want to grab hold of them and shake their knowing out of them the way you shake a coconut out of its tree?  Did you find yourself wanting to answer their “I don’t know” the same way you would answer a fill-in-the-blank question on a history exam?  The right answer is out there–you most certainly know it–so why can’t they know it?  You just want them to think; to apply themselves and work out their knowing muscle the way a bodybuilder sculpts their body with weights and resistance.

Isn’t it interesting that with loved ones we always know what’s best for them when they say, “I don’t know?”

I don’t know.

Three simple words.

In The Second Book of the Tao, Stephen Mitchell says on page 94:

You can’t talk about the ocean

with a frog who lives in a well:

he is bounded by the space he inhabits.

You can’t talk about ice

with an insect who was born in June:

he is bounded by a single season.

You can’t talk about the (Unknown)

with a person who thinks he knows something:

he is bounded by his own beliefs.

The (Unknown) is vast and fathomless.

You can understand only by stepping

beyond the limits of yourself.

(the word Tao changed to Unknown for clarity)

I’m certain you have encountered someone who knows what is best for you during the “I don’t know” period of your life.  Everybody is willing to shove their agenda down your throat when you “don’t know.”  Talking to someone who is bounded by his own beliefs adds more confusion instead of bringing clarity.  Dealing with these people who “know” can be exhausting and counterproductive.  Be cautious of the person in your life who always claims to “know” what is best for you.

When I was younger and more full of myself, I was certain I avoided the “I don’t know” mentality.  Whether it was the big issues of religion, politics, morality, poverty, or race; I thought my views were solid as concrete and steady as steel.  There’s an interesting transformation that happens as one progresses through their twenties and thirties.  No matter how secure you are in your beliefs and knowing, life always has a way of disrupting your certainty.

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I don’t know why heartbreak visits your front door.

I don’t know why your dreams turn to nightmares.

I don’t know why you weren’t protected as a child.

I don’t know why your innocence was robbed from you.

I don’t know the secrets to our existence and our origins.

I don’t know why your relationships have imploded.

I don’t know why your business failed and left your family vulnerable.

I don’t know why evil seems to come in waves while goodness arrives in whispers.

I don’t know what tomorrow may bring–for me, for you, for my loved ones.

I don’t know the vast and fathomless Unknown from where I came.

I don’t know the vast and fathomless Unknown for where I will return.

I don’t know why my failures turned out to be blessings.

I don’t know what causes a father to turn away from his family.

I don’t know why a mother would reject or abandon her children.

I don’t know why I love you this very moment.

I don’t know where hatred and discrimination come from.

I don’t know why some wounds never heal while others vanish within hours.

I don’t know why the past bleeds into the present without our permission.

I don’t know why cheaters win and bullies flourish.

I don’t know the fastest way to healing, the shortest distance to peace, or the simplest route to joy.

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It may sound counter-intuitive, but as I began to question everything I thought I knew; I realized that I knew very little!  It’s a very humbling place to arrive at.  Just as Stephen Mitchell said, “You can understand only by stepping beyond the limits of yourself,” I had to be willing to admit I may not know–and that my loved ones who were so certain may not know either.  I opened myself to infinite possibilities and have arrived at an amazing destination–I don’t know. What at first felt to me as a sign of weakness or ignorance to not know has since turned into the fertile soil where my ideas are allowed to grow.

With pressure from friends and family to participate in groupthink (I encourage you to look up groupthink on wikipedia after finishing this blog), I have graciously and deliberately chosen to step back and say I don’t know.

I don’t know.

Three simple words.

“I don’t know” can be lonely because our culture demands certainty while our ego fights for our rightness.  Certainty is like that belt you wear that’s too tight or the straitjacket that’s impossible to escape; whereas “I don’t know” is open, free, and malleable.

You know what I have come to truly love about “I don’t know?”  People are always eager to share with me what they do know.  People open up to me about the most bizarre and amazing things and it’s not because I’m some guru who has all of life’s answers.

“I don’t know” is also where my source of creativity originates.  “I don’t know” is the humble invitation I give to my Muse.  “I don’t know” is moving the pen across the page and inviting the beautiful Muse to sit and stay awhile. She just needs to know she’s invited and that I care for her as much as she cares for me.  She doesn’t like to be used or taken advantage of any more than I do.  She wants to be in a partnership.  She wants me to woo her and in return she will woo me with the words she whispers to me.  She wants to dance with me and feel my hand on the small of her back.  She longs for me to give her goosebumps then she’ll reciprocate by giving me goosebumps through the words I string together on the page.  “I don’t know” is the space where she desires to meet me for a very sensual and intimate exchange.

So where are you at on the “I don’t know” scale? Do you arrogantly hold on to your certainty as a possession? Do you ignorantly subscribe to groupthink and willingly lose your individual creativity, uniqueness, and independent thinking? Are you open to the possibility that your worldview may be wrong?

I don’t know.

Three simple words.

With all there is to be confused by in this universe, with the Unknown being vast and fathomless, and with my long-winded argument to accept the “I don’t know;” there is one thing I am still certain about.  There is one certainty that transcends all worldviews, all politics, all religions, and all family dynamics.  So what is my one certainty in a life full of “I don’t know?”

One simple word.

Love!

Peace my friends!

~Travis

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Guilt Sucks!!

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OK, so here’s what is going on with me: I’m wandering around the house feeling guilty for not doing several things at once. I feel as though I need to exercise, I feel as though I need to be writing, I feel as though I need to go buy some clothes for Hawaii, I feel as though I should go get a haircut, I feel as though I need to call my friend from Boston, and I feel as though I need to be cleaning the house. This overwhelming feeling leaves me paralyzed. While I struggle to decide which important thing I should be doing, I end up doing nothing. In order to work through this guilty feeling, I have decided to at least write about it so I’m doing one of the things I said I feel guilty about not doing.

It’s crazy; I sit and watch the clock tick away and I’m guiltier by the minute. I read for a little bit this morning, then made breakfast and sat down for a half-hour show and all of a sudden it’s after 10:00. Next thing I know, I’ll be off to get my son from school at 4:30 and I haven’t completed anything I planned on doing all day. That is not how the day has to go though. I can do things differently. I can write for a while, and then take the puppy for a walk, then clean for a while, then get my son from school. It all can be done with the time I have. As long as I stay out of my head long enough to not get sucked into some vortex of self-pity, I can do what I need to do today with my time.

Interestingly, I find myself yearning constantly about being a successful author who writes life-changing material for people to read. I dream about having long blocks of time to be able to pour my heart out on blank page after blank page. If only I didn’t have my day job I could become rich and famous for putting all these funny and quirky ideas that have been clanking around in my head like marbles in a pump into a readable format for the masses. Instead, I’m a poor helpless victim because I can’t spend the time writing that I wish I could. If only life were fair, I would be able to write every day in my boxers while sipping on coffee in the morning and red wine in the evening. While I’m at it; if life were fair I would be able to eat anything my poor little heart desired without having to deal with the emotional baggage that is making me overindulge in the first place. I should just be able to crinkle my nose like I Dream of Genie and all my issues would be solved. Right?

Unfortunately, life isn’t always fair and life does require something of me. I have to actually show up. I’m not going to randomly get a call from John Grisham’s agent one day and hear: “Yes, hi Travis, this is Agent Jim Doe, I understand you want to be a writer? I can’t wait to read everything you have been writing. You have been writing haven’t you?” That phone call is never going to happen unless I actually have been writing and writing enough to have something to offer the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been writing. But if my goal is to be a world-renowned author will I ever get to that point by only writing a paragraph or two every day? Sure, over the course of thirty years I might actually have enough to piece together a decent book, but if I want to enjoy the rewards of a fruitful writing career I have to go at it a little fiercer than a couple of paragraphs per day.

Given the struggle I have with my guilty feelings I mentioned earlier, I won’t become a successful author if I won’t sit down to write on the days I have extra time to sit down to write. Those are the days I can fill page after page until my ears are going to pop since the ideas are flowing fast. But truth be told, if I am dedicated to becoming an author, I need to write every spare moment I can get. I need to give writing so much focus that I can’t think about anything else when I’m awake except writing. If I’m not writing, when will I be able to write next? When I’m falling asleep, what do I plan on writing about when I wake up? Every spare moment I can steal away for the process of writing needs to be utilized in order to become the next great American author.

I may never become the next great American author for many reasons that will never be fully understood. Some authors don’t have the privilege of seeing their ideas supported during their lifetime while other authors experience waves of success that may seem undeserving in comparison. Nonetheless, whether success comes during my lifetime, after I’m dead, or not at all I must sit down and put my ideas on paper.

One of my favorite authors is Eric Hoffer because he worked as a longshoreman in San Francisco by day but wrote nearly a dozen small books throughout his lifetime. He wrote a book that became a bestseller called The True Believer: thoughts on the nature of mass movements. His book was written in 1951 and attempted to answer how people could willingly give themselves to mass movements whether they were meant for good or evil. After Hitler and the Holocaust several people in the world started asking themselves questions about how we could treat one another so despicably. Hoffer did his best to describe individuals who gave themselves completely to mass movements. He says, “Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves. The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready is he to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.”

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I picked Eric Hoffer as an example because he worked full-time while he wrote his ideas. His sole income didn’t come from his writing and truth be told he probably didn’t make very much money from the books he did publish. Interestingly, though, this full-time longshoreman, part-time author, died in 1983 but his ideas live on many decades beyond him. When I think about being an author who may or may not sustain a respectable income from my ideas, I succumb to the fact that the income I receive is not my main concern. Sure, being rewarded for slapping the keyboard day after day seems like a fair and novel idea but the reward is in the life that was changed that I may never even know about. Decades, even centuries, could pass and the idea that I was brave enough to put down on paper could make a difference in someone’s life and could change the world for the better one person at a time. I may or I may not change the world, but if I don’t at least try I will never know.

Now that I have settled the writing part of my day and one of my reasons for guilt, I can move on to taking the puppy for a walk. Life is good.

My Favorite Authors — Part 1

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Frankl

 

In his world-renowned book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl says: “What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a Worthwhile Goal [caps and bold added for effect], a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”

I believe what Frankl says is true for several reasons. First, I have witnessed the outcome of this in my own life. Whenever I find myself anxious or depressed due to some tension in my life, it’s most certainly a result of neglecting my Worthwhile Goal. I have experienced the “call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled” and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt the direction my life is going. But once in a while—more often than I care to admit—I find myself forgetting my Worthwhile Goal. If I know this about myself, why let life’s tension and stress get me down?

Recently, my wife asked me if I knew what was my biggest deterrent to living out my Worthwhile Goal. Initially, I didn’t have a great answer for her but after pondering her question for a day or two I came back and told her “Drama.” Drama with her, with my children, with my ex, or with friends and family puts me into a place of forgetting my Worthwhile Goal.

In a poetic and innocent way, she simply stated, “Well, there’s always gonna be drama.”

Touche!

She was right, and Frankl is right as well. Taking away the tension or stress isn’t enough for my life to have meaning. The days when I wake up with a sense of purpose have nothing to do with tension, stress, or “drama” that might have spilled onto my lap. Whether I have to go “punch in” at a job that’s not very fulfilling, work through difficult family issues, or spend my entire day getting lab work done at the hospital; my days are always filled with meaning as long as I take one step closer to fulfilling my Worthwhile Goal.

Viktor E. Frankl might know a thing or two about what he’s saying here. If you don’t know, Frankl was plucked from his life and thrown into Auschwitz and other concentration camps. Finding meaning and purpose amongst such dire circumstances seems unfathomable. Frankl rightly quoted (and lived by) the words of Nietzsche: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Don’t you find that true in your own life?

On the days when there’s no drama, no time clock, or no stressful appointments or obligations we should all be stress-free, right? Yet, are we? There is a sense of relief when stress is absent but there is also a nagging feeling beneath the surface if we’re not pursuing our Worthwhile Goal. Once again, the absence of tension or stress does not equal Meaning.

What about you? Are you struggling and striving for a Worthwhile Goal? If not, do you find yourself anxious or depressed at times? Have you considered that “a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled” by you could be the answer to your questions?

I believe many of us know our Worthwhile Goal but it gets lost along the way. Take a step today to get it back! One step forward is far better than standing still. Make that phone call, write that letter, inquire about opportunities you’ve been pondering.

Man’s search for meaning is unique to every person. I can’t tell you what your Worthwhile Goal should be any more than you can tell me mine. But I do believe we can speak truth into each other’s lives so I’m encouraging you to figure out for yourself what is worth striving and struggling for. You won’t regret it.

Drop me a line if you’re unsure and want to talk about your Worthwhile Goal. One of my goals is helping other people figure out theirs.

Feel free to comment as well.

Peace!

 

~Travis

What I’m Learning . . .

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I’m learning a lot about myself and life these days.

  • I’m learning that it’s okay to ask for what I need.
  • I’m learning that my dreams don’t magically come true without hard work.
  • I’m learning that my impatience or annoyance is more about my inner state of mind than it is about the one doing the annoying.
  • I’m learning that some people struggle being real and genuine and that’s okay.
  • I’m learning that I also struggle at times with being real and genuine and that’s okay too.
  • I’m learning that being vulnerable is risky but it’s also where the fertile soil is for personal growth and loving.
  • I’m learning that in regards to my diet and health, I’m either progressing or regressing: I’m rarely ever simply maintaining.
  • I’m learning that as a writer, writing doesn’t happen on its own.
  • I’m learning that the best of intentions are rarely ever good enough apart from taking action.
  • I’m learning that procrastinating rarely ever leads to greatness.
  • I’m learning the ability to follow through is more difficult than the rush of brainstorming.
  • I’m learning that time spent on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram does not necessarily count as online research.
  • I’m learning that my wife has the patience of Job most days and she truly fits the description of the better half.
  • I’m learning that sometimes the person in the most need of my love is me.
  • I’m learning that staying aware and present can be difficult when there are so many distractions.
  • I’m learning this world can provide me with awe and wonder every day if I slow down enough to look.
  • I’m learning that peace and contentment originate inside myself regardless of my environment.
  • I’m learning that my children teach me way more about life than I could possibly teach them.
  • I’m learning the answers to life’s questions usually come to me easier when I’m not so desperate to know them.
  • I’m learning that I’m never done learning as long as I’m alive and I’m totally cool with that!

I’m curious what you’re learning lately? Will you take a minute to comment and share?

 

Peace,

~Travis

PS. I’m learning that life is more enjoyable when I don’t take myself quite so serious.  😉

 

Learning

From Love to Hate

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You know the story, I really don’t have to spell it out for you. The lovely young couple are eyeing each other from across the room. One finally gets enough courage to break the ice and within what seems like minutes, they struggle to remember their lives before they met.

Tell me, O people, tell me! Who among you would not wake from the sleep of life if love were to brush your spirit with its fingertips?

Who among you would not forsake your father and your mother and your home if the girl whom your heart loved were to call to him?

Who among you would not cross the seas, traverse deserts, go over mountains and valleys to reach the woman whom his spirit has chosen?

What youth would not follow his heart to the ends of the earth to breathe the sweetness of his lover’s breath, feel the soft touch of her hands, delight in the melody of her voice?”

Kahlil Gibran
The Beloved

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Their relationship progressed faster and smoother than anyone they have ever been with. Cupid must have been smiling down the day he introduced them because this one is a match made in heaven. Within a few days, they both can’t believe how different everything seems. Colors are more vivid, flowers smell sweeter, food tastes exquisite, heck, their morning breath doesn’t even stink!

After plenty of time has gone by, he realizes he can’t live without her so he ends up asking a fairly important question while squatting on one knee.

Within seconds, everything changes. She can now prepare for what society has told her will be the biggest day of her life. Suddenly, there is nothing in her life more important than the climactic moment when she will . . .

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The weekend of the big day comes and goes like a tornado; leaving the In-Laws and Parents left to sift through the wreckage while the lovely couple sails off to some exotic location.

Usually months and maybe years go by before something seems to shift. Pretty soon those long conversations and romantic nights are less and less. She’s getting anxious and he just wants to be left alone. They both know there’s something boiling beneath the surface but neither one of them want to say it. Especially him! You kidding me, he’s keeping his mouth shut!

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No matter how difficult times got at least there was always one place they could make the magic happen. Unfortunately, the magic has decreased to the point where the rabbit isn’t getting pulled out of the hat enough. They might as well give the rabbit long term disability or a fully vested retirement as much as he’s getting pulled out of the hat! Before long, even their most sacred connection destination turns into a trivial trouble as well.

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She doesn’t understand where things went wrong. “He’s changed!” she tells her closest allies. “All he does is watch sports and play those stupid games!” The connectedness and passion fades and she’s left wondering if she might have made a mistake. “I deserve better! This isn’t what I signed up for! He better give me some attention or else I’ll have to find some attention somewhere else!”

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He can’t take her anymore! “She has gone crazy! Why doesn’t she just leave me alone and let me be myself like when we were dating. She was so much more relaxed and patient before we were married. Now I feel like she’s riding my ass every second of every day!” The more pressure he feels from her the more he turns to sports, games, buddies, and beer. He just wants to have a good time. He never realized she would change so much. “If she would have just stayed the same everything would be fine.”

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Before long, the big D word gets brought up. Here stands a person you loved with all your heart and all your soul and all your might. You planned on spending eternity together and now you can’t stand the sight of them. The things they did to you are enough to make any grown adult sick! They have hurt you in ways you wouldn’t expect from your worst enemy. What did you ever see in them? How could you put up with them for so long? They aren’t even that good looking!

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OK! Let’s break into the story right here for a second.

Can you hear the long desperate story you begin to tell yourself and your closest friends? You tell yourself this doom and gloom long enough that you start to believe every rotten thought that strolls between your ears.

How did you get from falling in love to hating their guts? The answers to this are easy enough to answer. The how isn’t the important part, though. Remember Eckhart Tolle from my previous blog? You can choose to dwell on the past or worry about the future and this will surely destroy your present! No matter what has transpired in the past, what your situation is like in the present, or where you think your future is heading, you can have peace right this very second! Breath deep, focus on the Now, plug in to the Mysterious Flow and your life will change instantly.

You are not a victim! You have the power to live your life any way you choose. You are strong, confident, gifted, loving, and amazing! You just forgot for a little while, that’s all. You have focused so much of your energy and attention onto all the things your partner wasn’t doing for you that you took your attention off yourself. Your physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health has suffered because, at some point, you decided to shift your focus away from your own well-being.

Do you have any idea why most couples who split up always end up hating each other? (When you find out will you please tell me so I can blog about it?) 😉 They hate each other so much because when you’re in a relationship you serve as a mirror for your partner. When you lash out at your partner you are really lashing out at yourself. Remember, they are your mirror! The thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions you have for them comes right back to you and looks you right square in the face. If you can get out of your own way for a minute and start to show empathy for the person in the mirror, you will start to see the relationship blossom again. Stop accusing your partner of selling you short and take some time to take care of YOURSELF! It is not your partner’s responsibility to make you happy. You give all your power away to that person when you allow them to control your emotions. You have the power! Use it!

Yes, I realize that some situations are difficult. “But you have no idea what they did to me!” Doesn’t matter! Let it go! I once heard that bitterness is like drinking poison and then expecting the other person to die. Duh!! Let it go!

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In closing, my wife and I recently watched the movie, The Descendants, with George Clooney. He finds out while his wife is in a coma that she was having an affair and was planning on leaving him. His desperate attempts to come to grips with it all was an enjoyable process to watch. If you are into chick flicks as I am then give it try. You’ll enjoy it!

Have a great week!!

~Travis