Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lady Antebellum - "Hello World"

Lady Antebellum - "Hello World": After you read the column on what truly matters in life, watch this video (just click on the title and it will auto pop up in another box) -- I hope the collaboration can deliever your own "Hello World" ...

Life's True Importance

Distractions. Our 21st century world is chalked full of them. Power hungry, wealth chasing, technology addicted, loss of focus distractions. When’s the last time you had a real conversation with someone that did not involve rushing; 17 things left on the to-do list, its past nine at night, and you can’t seem to devote the time that truly needs to be given. How many times have you lost it – screamed, cried, said things you regretted out of frustration; you leave broken pieces in your aftermath, and try to pretend it can heal on its on time. Employing sandbox behavior with a lame attempt at trying to fill your voids with addictions and diversions thinking our consumption of life in this manner can surely give us our needs. When in reality, all of our unfocused, self consumed, intolerant mentality is like a cycle of downward spiral. Sooner or later the veil to the unseen will be lifted – and when we are not distracted anymore, we can find an entirely different world than we know. One of regret.

I’m guilty of becoming lost in my own interference. Working when I should be playing, talking when I should be listening, thinking of the past when I should be moving forward. I get caught up with routine and neglect the spirit of today. When I do stop on my path of overachievement, the guilt is hard to swallow. I become acutely aware of the aftermath of my distraction – of those I have neglected, and worse, those I have pushed away. At some point, we are all guilty of living this way. Becoming lost in our one tracked world, always believing there will be more time … more chances … more opportunities. We live in denial believing the people we put on the back burner will still be there when we want them. We live in denial thinking our choices won’t have consequences. We live in denial imagining we can repair bridges burned. That denial can be an extreme comfort, but it’s also powerless when we are forced to open our eyes. Forced to realize there is not always time.

Consumed by stubborn thoughts, when we shift our focus solely on our own wants and desires, we are neglecting the truly important aspects of life. This behavior can push people away, and in pushing blindly, we may not realize until after it’s too late. This behavior can leave us breathless when we thought we would always have time to say goodbye. This behavior could leave us with regret and wonder. This behavior could take away our true dreams – the sound of their laughter. The touch of their embrace. The daily routine to pick up the phone, when we have time, only now to remember – this time, they won’t be on the other end of the line. We don’t think about what our life would be like if we succeeded, without them. And that’s the ironic twist to this behavior – you need to be sure before you push so hard - the people you may want in your life, may just do just that – go away. And in an essence, we succeeded. They are gone.

Whether it’s intentional or not, we lose focus on the important matters in life. The hustle, the bustle, the chaos and temporary fixations are a nice distraction – but they will break you. Our lives need to be stripped of the 24/7 plug in we have ourselves chained to and take the energy we use beating ourselves down, and put it back in our lives in more appreciating places; with our loved ones. So I ask you -- take a walk. Clear your mind of distractions. Leave the cell phone at home, and on this journey, talk to God. Ask for grace. Ask for wisdom. Ask for guidance on how to remember what living is for. It’s not the dollar, or the trophy, or the plaque on the wall – what you do with your life is only part of the equation … it’s who is in your life that is the important part. Don’t lose sight on that. And if you have, here is your reminder that now is the time to gain it back.

Believe

Hi, my name is Chrissy. I am a 29 year old who still writes a letter to Santa each year, and places in the mail to the North Pole (with no return address, don’t need the postal service knowing where I live).

Hi Chrissy.

Why do I still write the letter? Because I still believe. Granted my belief does not constitute that a man will come into my home, while I am sleeping, and leave a Mercedes under my tree. However, my belief is so much more.

I believe in the true wonders of this world that our fragile minds are incapable of grasping. I believe in the powers of those unseen; God, angels, love, romance, faith, wisdom, hope, dreams … I believe in all that we are unable to touch, yet have the power to move us to tears; unable to see, yet have the power to enlighten our lives.

Belief is a powerful tool and one we often neglect to use. Within belief, we have the capability to chance our rational, our way of life; when used, belief allows us to shape our minds to control our future. Santa Claus represents a time in each of our lives where we truly believed in something. Each Christmas morning we would wake in such a deliberate haste to run to the living room, find the empty plate of cookies was replaced with a mound of gifts – each box and bag containing our hearts desires … and believed that Santa listened to us. That while we slept he visited our homes, and left joy under our trees, and in our hearts. How magical was the feeling of Christmas … how magical is it still.

Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus is my favorite Christmas read. When read, it gives a gift within its words … the renewal to the power belief can have in your life. To believe in something gives it meaning; and placing that meaning in your life gives you direction.

As Christmas is soon to pass us by, take the time to believe again … After all, Santa lives in our hearts and will continue to do so as long as we believe …
Yes, Virgina, there is a Santa Claus

And the Oscar goes to ...

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." —Sir Winston Churchill

Life has a way of going on, even when you are not ready for it.

Like a slap in the face I was hit with heartache. Not unexpected, but nonetheless, the stung hurt. I remember it clearly – a Sunday morning, I was awoken from a restless sleep to a ding that a message was waiting for me to read it on my phone. The words I took in were like sharp needles for my eyes to read, and my mind to wrap around (and if you know me, you know I loathe the very thought of a needle, so only fitting that the message to me was delivered wrapped in a tiny buddle of such a piercing sensation). I remember a tingling feeling in my nerves, gasping to regain breath, a whiplash of emotion from angry to sad, from pain to confusion. And just like that, the damage was done.

Life holds pain of great magnitude. And the trouble with such pain is that we can get caught up in it. Finding no pleasure, waking up crying, forgetting what it feels like to truly laugh without the fake smile that accompanies. Moments have the power to change us – to give merit to the meaning “jaded”, “cynical”, or even worse “loss of faith”. Faith in the realness of giving yourself completely only to be rejected and discarded like yesterdays news.

The bad news? Life indeed will showcase these moments and try to demand an Oscar for such a performance.
The good news? You have the power to highjack the performance and when the dramatic music plays, it will be you that has to prepare and deliver an acceptance speech for best supporting actor.

In this world, with open hearts and minds, we give ourselves completely and without conditions. I have the tendency to love sometimes too much, but never enough. I would rather be true to myself and my feelings than to hide behind a wall of regret and wonder. Does it mean I won’t fail? Obviously not – my heart has been broken more times than I care to keep count. But with that pain comes reassurance that I gave myself to the point where that person, or life choice, or decision, or moment touched me in a place in my soul deeper than I thought capable. And within that pain there is a discovery to another layer of yourself; a layer needing to show more of what is next on the laundry list to work on. Addictions, obstacles, choices – making it evident that in our mistakes there is learning in healing.

When you find yourself broken, know that new light now has an opening to shine in. Allow it. Does that mean hold in your feelings? No. Cry. Scream. Vent. Get angry. Throw things. Hell, break things (within reason, that expensive China will only lead to a whole other form of heartache). But once those emotions are out, let new ones in. Healing. Love. Spirituality. Comfort. Console. Peace. Come to terms with your grief in your own time, just as long as you do … Don’t let the pain of yesterday take anything from the pleasure of tomorrow. When you get slapped in the face, damn it – slap back. Don’t back down, don’t give in. Face the hurt with courage and a resolution that this too, whatever the source of the pain, is something you can and will indeed overcome. You will indeed learn from. And you will indeed walk away from, enlightened and stronger, and perhaps, with your very own Oscar.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

From Thanking, comes Thinking, which Delivers Opportunity

Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I’m certain he was a genius, summing up idyllically everything that most of us feel on any given day. Each of our lives blessed in countless ways, yet struggling to fight battles, some yet to be named.

With Thanksgiving recently passing, of course I did my fair share in partaking in the traditions. Cooking (a pickle tray counts), baking (someone will eat that pie if they are hungry enough), football (one word – godilovethatsport – it’s a word, sound it out), eating (apparently lions are not the only mammal capable of consuming 15% of their body weight in one sitting, and then be satisfied for days), drinking (cheers!), time with family / friends / loved ones (life truly does not get much richer) and last but not least – giving thanks.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays in the sense that for the most part, it’s a relaxing commemoration in honor of thanks. In our household, the day has been known to typically be pressure free. A day filled with volunteering some years, others with numerous stops at friend and family member’s homes. Each Thanksgiving has without fail delivered the delicious goods – the traditional trimmings not complete without my all time love, green bean casserole. Some years we hit the front yard for a friendly game of football, which somehow turns into something of the non-friendly nature involving curse words and tackling, proceeded by grandma breaking out the medical kit – side note/ challenge: hey cuz, I still have that scar, and still demand a rematch whenever you’re brave enough.

One solid denominator is the point in which each year comes the moment when I stop, take it all in, and smile – No matter how chaotic or non eventful, that single day serves as a reminder of what we have to be thankful for each and every day. The value of relationships, the appreciation for our careers, the gift of warmth in our home, the array of possibilities, the magnitude of love, the gratitude towards life.

All of this thanking … lead me to thinking …

Thinking about all the different kinds of relationships that make up our lives – there are those that are new and exotic, those that are intriguing and addicting. Relationships whose work is completed and those with unfinished business. Some bring up questions, others provide answers. Some familiar, some distant, some refreshing, and some frustrating. Relationships, in all different capacities, have the power to bring us to places unexpected – heightened awareness, perspective, feelings of extraordinary caliber, of both extremes. No matter what the title of the affiliation – family, friend, lover, fiancĂ©, spouse, self – every connection provides a stepping stone to a path of opportunity in our lives. An opportunity paved with blessing …

Thinking about the worries of today. Failing, falling short, extreme frustration, just to name a few of those voices in our heads telling us that we have not lived up to our end of the bargain in this crazy thing called life. Worries that we are not good enough or smart enough or pretty enough. Some worries lead into self destructing insecurities and fear. Some force us to hide. Others find us on our knees at 2am, unable to sleep, praying for a way to pay the next bill, or to mend a broken heart, or searching to find forgiveness, or even harder at times, to deliver. Ultimately, we have a tendency to be consumed with the daily threats in our lives. Like the threat of not having enough money. Like the threat of losing our jobs. The threat gas prices are going up yet again, or the economy is going to crash from under us. The threat of being vulnerable. The threat of being weak. The threat of defeat. But when the day is over, and we take light of the obstacles we have indeed overcome, in both the small and big spectrums, there is an opportunity paved with blessing …

Thinking about the past. We keep skeletons in the closet, secrets tucked away in the bookshelf, lies buried deep. We don’t give time to grieve, leaving wounds of the past open. We deny emotions, neglecting our hearts. We blame ourselves for mistakes, regrets, and failures. We hide behind our own self-destructing insecurities and fears. All in which can manifest into the fear of the unknown. Fear of disappointment, rejection, uncertainty. While it’s true that each of us in some manner has given in to becoming gluten for punishment, I wonder when we will be done subjecting ourselves to our very own sadomasochism and say, “I’ve had enough.” And when we truly are done subjecting ourselves, and give permission to let go … there is an opportunity paved with blessing …

Thinking about the future. In your relationships, your careers, your goals and ambitions - What’s preventing you from moving forward? Is it worth the risk of keeping something that could be so detrimental? Or loosing something that could be so valuable? At any moment the decision you make can change the course of your life forever – I wish I wrote that, but Anthony Robbins trademarked it first. The most precious commodity we have is time, and my question to you is, are you going to waste it by holding on to the yesterdays – or are you going to move forward? What you add to your life is up to you entirely and completely. Shed the hurt, leave behind the pain, weed out the toxic. Make room for forgiveness, demand healing, appreciate the value of love. The best of times yet to be had can only be experienced at its full potential when the worst is dealt with. And in that, there is an opportunity paved with blessing ….

Perhaps there is not a right time, a right moment, a right answer, a right choice – but there is one day where it all seems right to consider about all of the thoughts on your mind and be left with one feeling: gratitude. Stop chasing your past, and stop living for the future. Right here, right now, in this moment while you are giving thanks, remind yourself that with all of your doubts and frustrations, you are blessed with more than ten times that in gifts. Gifts that you may not realize, gifts that you may not fully appreciate or understand - maybe you just have to go with the intuition of what’s in your heart. And in that intuition, final seize the opportunity, paved with blessing …