Monthly Archives: July 2012
I love the Olympics. In general, I enjoy sports, and I appreciate the competitive nature, even if it’s simply competing with yourself to become better. But the Olympics are different. Everyone who walked into that stadium tonight is an Olympian. For the rest of their lives, no matter what, they were Olympians at the 2012 Olympics in London. It’s truly an amazing accomplishment.
The Olympics provide a very unique opportunity for everyone who competes. At that moment when the games open every single Olympian in that stadium has a chance. They have the chance to be considered the greatest competitor in their sport at this moment in time. Every single person there has hope, even if the odds are against them. Underdogs will win gold medals. Upsets will take place. Someone who was never supposed to win will, in fact, stand atop a podium with their anthem playing at some point in time in the next few weeks. And it’s all because they took a chance, and they kept on working.
One day someone decided they liked soccer. One day someone decided they were going to try to run as fast as they could. One day someone decided they could probably balance on a 4” beam. And then they made that choice again, and again, and again, until they came to the point where they were in a class of their own. They stood at the top of their game. They put forth the work, years of work in most cases, to see their dream through. They had successes and failures. They had promotions and setbacks. They had points where they felt like giving up. Points where life was overwhelming. But each day, they made the choice to carry on. They made the choice to try again. And to try again after that. And with every choice and every effort, they made their dream a reality.
Nothing great comes easily. You don’t get to a point where you produce your best work until you put in the effort to learn, to grow, to push yourself through, to fail, to rise, to persevere. One day we choose to try. It is our starting block. But we must follow that start with a strong step forward. And we must repeat those steps again and again and again if we want to cross the finish line in front. We cannot get to the top of the mountain unless we are willing to climb. And unless one day we choose to try, we will remain stranded with the crowd, never even making it to the starting line. So what better time to choose to try, even if it’s just a crazy dream? The greatest competitors in every field started off the same way.
My break ended up and will continue to be a little longer than I had anticipated. This week I’ll be spending the majority of my time at my grandmother’s visiting with her as the one who usually takes care of her won’t be doing so this week. So I’ll again only have access to dial-up internet and my phone. Neither are conducive to blogging. But I will try to keep up this week as much as possible… I’m terribly behind on reading everyone’s posts which makes me a little crazy, because I really enjoy them and I like to be sure everyone knows I didn’t forget them! So I apologize!
But I wanted to say since we are starting off a new week, just like any other, let it be great. We have the chance to do what we can do to spend time with those we need to spend time with. To pay special attention to the things we’ve continually put off into the next day and the next week. To not only be there but to truly be present in the situations we are engaged in, because it’s so easy to just be there, but not really be there. I get that way a lot, and I’m trying to remind myself to pay attention. To truly engage and enjoy. We have the chance to help someone, to share with someone, and to make someone smile. So let’s make it a point to make the world shine a little brighter this week for those around us, and to shine brighter ourselves, simply because we know the light lives inside of us. We can be the torch that lights the flame here. And that is what will help make our dreams come true, too. Maybe we aren’t Olympians (which I very honestly have always wished I could be one), but we can inspire and encourage just the same. We have greatness within us. So let it shine
Yesterday we left the house for lunch with the sun shining, and returned a little over an hour later to a flooded street that I couldn’t make it down. We didn’t get home until late last night when the waters finally receded. It was an unexpected turn of events.
I had a lot planned for yesterday, a good portion of which involved my computer and looking up stuff for school and for work online. Instead, Jack and I went to my grandma’s where the only internet option is dial-up for a computer that was bought somewhere around 1996. Sometimes it does turn on, though. And you can get a decent game of solitaire in when it does.
So instead of all my plans, we visited with grandma. And it was nice. I think it was easier to accept a break because I didn’t actually have a choice. It was not possible for me to do what I felt I needed to do. I had to take the time to do something else. I didn’t have an option. And, although today I feel behind, and I woke up in the middle of the night worried that I was behind on what I needed to do (if anyone knows of a great job…feel free to let me know – or if you know how to get a lot of people to buy my book, that works too!), I also feel glad that I had to take that break.
Sometimes it seems that I’m ignoring some of the things and people I don’t want to ignore. I think for so many of us our days are quite busy. And maybe that’s why I keep going back to patience lately, I’m not really sure. But it’s hard to fit everything is. And it is overwhelming trying to schedule in all the things we need to schedule in. But sometimes when the rain comes, it’s actually coming to provide a break. To provide some solace. Or to provide a new opportunity we hadn’t thought of or had time for before. And if we have no other choice, we can take the time to play in the rain, and see where it leads us. It’s interesting how much we love and want to play in the rain as kids, and as adults we spend so much of our time trying to avoid it. Maybe the rain makes a mess and can be cold or stormy, but maybe it’s there so we direct our attention to all of the things we aren’t paying attention to.
Whether we wear a raincoat, build a tent, or dance in it, there are certain things that are made truly special only by the rain.
“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd…Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery, and death…and yet…I think…this cruelty will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”
Anne Frank, “The Diary of Anne Frank
“As I walked out the door toward my freedom I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred, and bitterness behind that I would still be in prison.” Nelson Mandela
While I was looking around online today I came across some quotes that directed me to the Unconditional Love Facebook page. While I was there, I noticed these two quotes. And even though I’ve seen them both several times, for some reason I felt compelled to share them today.
When I was in class getting my undergraduate degree, we had a guest speaker, Dr. Edith Eger, come and talk to us. I’m not going to go into the whole story because it’s long (it’s in my book if you’re really interested), but when she spoke to us, it was her words that sparked that recognition that happiness is a choice and it was a choice I should, could, and was going to make starting then. I had always known happiness was a choice, but I was never able to make it before then. I wasn’t even able to attempt it. I was 23 at the time, and about to graduate from college.
I had a penchant for feeling guilty about the fact that I knew I should be thankful and doing more with my life, but I didn’t feel like anything would come of it if I tried, and I used all of that as an excuse not to. I stayed unhappy, I stayed safe never trying, and I let all of the anger and fear and guilt that I felt control me. I chose to let it control me, because I chose not to try to change it. I let it be my excuse. I let it be my life.
The greatest thing that has happened to me was that moment when I realized that we are all unique. We all have different things to overcome and different things to accomplish. And comparing my struggle with anyone else’s (everyone else’s in my case) wasn’t helping me at all. I shouldn’t feel guilty because my plight wasn’t as great as others. I shouldn’t ignore the fact that I should be effected by the things that did happen to me, even if I didn’t feel like they were as bad as someone else’s. And I shouldn’t let the things that did happen make me feel like I wasn’t worth anything and couldn’t do anything.
We are so complex and we have lots of mixed emotions about ourselves and about our lives. But we can’t let those things destroy our potential. We can’t let them interfere in who we are to become. When we go to bed at night Jack and I say a prayer of thanks for “all that we are right now, all that we can be, and all that we are going to become.” We are where we are. That is what it is. Where we are at this moment in time cannot be changed, but where we are going can. We simply have to let go of all of the stuff that is holding us back. No comparing our journeys, no letting the way others have treated us bring us down, no letting the things we have done in the past stop us. We are where we are. We just have to be willing to start from here. We can’t start anywhere else.
While helping Jack clean up his toys today, he looked at me and said, “we sure have to keep cleaning don’t we?” And I said, yes, and thought about how we constantly have to do the same in our daily lives. We have to keep putting things back into place, especially in our heads. We take things out, they get stumbled upon and thrown in the other room. We forget to use them. We let other people in. They bring different things to the table. Some good, some bad. And it’s easy to get off track and stay off track.
There’s a line from Home Alone 2, (the one where they visit the big Christmas tree in NYC, probably why my love for the tree grew drastically as a child.) and the line goes, “I don’t think people mean to forget, I think they just forget to remember.” Or something to that effect. When I saw the movie this past Christmas, that line stuck with me, because it resonated as very true. There are things that I am not trying to forget. In fact, I’m trying quite hard to remember. But I have lots of priorities in my life. I have lots of things I have to attend to. And I’m the only one who can attend to them. They cannot be passed off to another for help, and in many cases they cannot wait. So I make a mental note, but then something happens, and I forget.
We take things out, but we forget to put them back. And that’s why it’s so important to get into the habit of putting things back in order. Routines help us to know what to expect. They make part of our day somewhat more predictable, and that allows us to not have to be on guard as much as we would be without it. Our energy that would have been diverted elsewhere, is now free to go where we would prefer it to go. We gain back a say in what it is that we are thinking about. We bring back some organization to what was otherwise akin to scattered chaos. We bring back focus to what we were trying to remember. Each morning we have to start off remember what we plan to do that day, how we want to spend our time, and working on ways to accomplish it. We have to remember that we want to have a good day. We have to remember that we were going to try something new. Remember that we are working on becoming who we want to be, and that we have the chance to become that person in our actions all day long. And then we have to try not to forget to remember all day long.
People may come in and out throwing us off track. Work may change. Life may happen. But no matter the case, if we build into our days something to remember and we work towards putting things back into place all throughout the day, then that will become our habit. And keeping things clean is a good habit to have, especially inside our heads!
It’s interesting the way things from the past have the capacity to hold onto us. The things people said or did that we play in our minds over and over again. Whether it was something good or bad, it remains ingrained. Evolution-wise it’s necessary for us to remember things, and more so for us to have certain impressions that are lasting. There are things that we have to know to carry us through. Whether it’s for safety purposes, for happiness, or whatever the case may be, we have to be able to recall that information so that we know what decisions we make.
Yet, as people say all of the time, our thoughts hold us captive. Our thoughts that we think every day govern how we function. They take up a large portion of our time. They guide us. And this makes understanding what our thoughts are, and why extremely important. Maybe nothing is binding, maybe our thoughts are not concrete, maybe the self is ever moving and changing (someone was arguing this with me recently), but none of those things make it any less real to us. None of those things make it any less important to be aware of the fact that our thoughts, the way we process information have a direct effect on what we do in life and how we contribute to it. And contributing, doing something purposeful in with our lives does matter.
We are a part of something. Maybe no one knows exactly what, maybe some people do. No matter what, we are an extension of a universe that is expansive. And we are probably a part of even more than just that. All of the things in this universe have a role, and so do we. What we have the ability to do as humans is to look both outward and inward at once. We can look at who we are inside and we can look at who we are outside of ourselves. We are here, and we have no choice but to belong. So then we have the question, what can we do? What is the purpose? We exist, but what goes beyond mere existence?
When two people connect, something goes beyond existence. When two people interact, the force between them grows stronger. Whether it’s engaging or repelling, it’s strengthening. With each interaction we have the chance to grow ourselves, grow another, and grow a connection, grow love or grow fear. And what we grow depends largely on what we think, how we process and interpret what’s going on. So this week we have to pay attention to what we grow. Is it love? Is it fear? Are we encouraging? Or are we condescending? Helpful or disengaged? Do we have proper priorities? Or are we letting it simply pass by? July is now halfway through. Time doesn’t take long. So how are your thoughts holding you?
(P.S. I hope you guys have an amazing week! And that this is your week!)
Stevie Wonder – Superstition via YouTube
It’s Friday the 13th! Well, there’s only about a quarter of the day left here. But, still. When I was little I used to love Friday the 13th’s because at school we would do fun different things, like color pictures of black cats or sing scary songs in music. And I decided that I liked the day. Which is strange, because I was always fairly superstitious. I didn’t step on cracks, except when I was feeling really daring, and I always had tremendous concern for my mom afterwards. I didn’t mess with mirrors, and when one of mine broke I was highly concerned I would actually have bad luck for 7 years. I wonder if the cell phone/ipod screens that show your reflection count? If so there are a lot of people who should probably be concerned these days. Maybe that’s what’s wrong now? My ipod screen has been cracked for the last 3 years. My point is, I decided I liked 13, because we had fun days at school, and at the time, I was really interested in becoming a teenager. Thirteen was the lucky number that was going to make me a grown-up almost!
Do you have superstitions? I really like learning about them. It’s fascinating how it just takes one time of great luck or terrible luck for us to form a superstition. We may never take a route again or we might always choose a route simply because of the outcome one time. But superstitions never work every time. Good or bad. And we may be missing out on the good things simply because we decided that route was a bad one years and years ago. Maybe the road has changed. Maybe things have improved. Maybe there’s an interstate now to get you to your goal sooner and you don’t know because you’re unwilling to try.
It’s so funny to me, because there are places I won’t go and things I won’t do a certain thing because people I know tried it and failed. And though it’s good to heed the lessons of others, sometimes we have to try for ourselves. Sometimes we have to overcome those little (huge) superstitions just to try it out and see. Simply to take that risk. Because you’ll never get anywhere great in life without making a few risky moves! So enjoy your Friday the 13th’s! I will be watching a comedy tonight, because well, scary movies scare me. So I don’t watch them!
I took Jack walking today, and we ended up out during an extremely hot point in the day. Originally there were lots of clouds around, but when we arrived they had all disappeared. We walked a little bit, and took even more breaks. He had a wonderful time, and I watched all the runners and cyclists as they rode around.
From all I could see the heat was pretty stifling. I remember when I was younger how much more energy it took to play games in the afternoon instead of in the evening. It didn’t stop us from playing, but I would dare to say that most of us held our stamina longer and made better decisions when we weren’t trying to win games in the oppressive heat. And this is true of many situations.
Sometimes we have to push through the heat. Sometimes there are no other options. But there are more times when if we would just wait it out and let the heat die down, even just a degree or two, it makes all the difference. Having the patience to not try to fight the fire is hard. We don’t know how long it’s going to last or what it might burn up in the process. When we are standing back and just watching from the sidelines, that urge to do more tends to kick in. We feel like we just have to do something. We have to fight through it, and make things happen right now. We have to stop it. We have to fix it. We can’t just sit there.
But patience is a virtue. (at least that’s what they say). And in reality, in a large number of cases if we decide to take on the heat, to run into the fire, we end up only feeding the fire. It billows up. The problems grow. Now everyone is at risk, when before we were in a position to do something once the heat died down. We have to be willing to wait it out. To have patience. To remain calm. To remain in control. We have to make sure that we only fight when necessary and that we are equipped to do so. Whether you’re shouting or quiet, whether you are explaining it away or searching fervently for the answer, if you are standing in a fire you are no match for the fire. Without the right gear, without a spare supply of oxygen, without other people helping you to work to put out the fire, you’re simply standing in the fire. And that heat, those flames will quickly consume you. You won’t know which was is up, much less out. No one will understand what you are saying. But if you stand outside, you wait it out and let the heat pass, suddenly the path has been cleared for you. So don’t buy into the fury. Don’t listen to the hate. Don’t participate in storms that will only get you clobbered. Stand your ground. Know your goal. And wait for the path to clear.
Today is 7-11. Luck is all around, follow the arrows and you’ll see. What I thought about this morning was that every day has the possibility to be our lucky day. There is something good that is happening around us or even within us, that we have the chance to tap into.
Whether it exists in our head, if we are finding a way out, if we are starting a new journey, if we are staying the course, there is a glimmer of light that shines that shows us the good things are there. We are on our way to somewhere better than before. Each day as we grow and improve ourselves life has a chance to become a little bit better, a little bit more than it was yesterday. Whether we are there yet or not, whether everything around us is dark and we can only see the faintness of the light (the stars shine brightest in the dark, you know), or if we are so close we can taste it, there is somewhere great for each of us to go. There is something we can all share when we are here to enhance the lives of those around us. Be the light that shines in the dark.
Create your own luck, put in the work, and let the rest flow. Let today be your lucky day. And work to help make it the same for another. There is strength in numbers. Energy aligns. Let it be positive, and let your luck shine!
(sorry the post is so short, I’m having a meeting about this book today!)
I was going to do this post yesterday, because it’s always good to start the week off on a good note. But we had a busy day yesterday, including a morning trip to the dentist for Jack, so here it is today. Pretend it’s Monday. Or since it’s always a good time to feel good about yourself, just start now.
I have a lot of people talk to me about confidence. It’s hard a lot of times to feel confident in our decisions and the choices we make. It’s hard to feel confident in our skills. And sometimes it becomes a bit debilitating when we are unable to reconcile the fact that we are capable with the idea that there may be someone who is more capable out there. Or to reconcile the idea that we are not perfect and we will make mistakes with the idea that we should try anyway.
Confidence is something that comes from within. It’s something that tells us we should try. And when it builds up strong enough it turns that should into action, and changes the statement to let’s try. Let’s go for it. When we have that confidence all those worries start to fade. We can feel it build up inside of us, and that little switch that was on the verge of turning on comes to its tipping point. The light switches on and it shines on where we want to go and what we want to try. The other stuff falls aside into the darkness. And in the beginning it just takes a few seconds of seeing that light for us to have the confidence and courage to step into it. We take that first step.
It’s important to remember once we take that step to continue to go back to the light. We have to remember to keep trying, and that takes maintaining confidence. I think one of the main things we do to talk ourselves out of confidence is to look around at others. We look at other people and start to compare. We look at the journey others have taken and start to compare. It was easier for them. They have better connections. They went to school. They had a good job. They have more support. They know more than we do. They look better than we do. They write better than we do. There are a million things and more that we can use to compare ourselves with others and make ourselves fall short.
Everyone is different. We all have a different journey. We all have a path that to someone else looks easier. We all have things about ourselves that don’t match up the way we would like. But we are all capable. Maybe our path is harder, maybe it’s not. Neither one matters. What matters is that we try. What matters is that we go on our journey. We take our chances, and we put in the effort it takes, whatever it is, to accomplish what we have set out to accomplish. We have to be willing to stop comparing in order to maintain our confidence. We have to believe in ourselves and believe in our ability to get to where we are going. We have to believe that we are worthy of going where we want to go, because WE ARE. We have to remember that we are all just people. We all have short comings. We all make mistakes. And we all pass on chances we wish we would have taken. We’ve all had people be mean to us. We’ve all had dreams that haven’t worked out. No one’s life is perfect. So the key to making our own life become the life we want it to be is to focus on ourselves. To remind ourselves each day that we can do what we have set out to do. That everyone has struggled, and we have the capacity to get through it. We are able beings. We just have to take control and keep our confidence. We have the chance to go where we want to go, we just have to keep the confidence to make it through. And that confidence lies in us. It cannot be created nor maintained by any other person. We have to believe in ourselves first. And we should. Because we are worth it.