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A view from the top – where the possibilities are endless!

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I went to NYC for the first time in 2006. As a child I had decided since New York was cold and full of people, I wasn’t too interested in going there. I always figured I wouldn’t feel safe, and I would get lost. I decided if I had to pick a big city to live in, I would pick LA. A good portion of this decision was based on the fact that I loved sunny weather, and all of my favorite TV shows were filmed in LA. But, even so, when we were embarking on the trip I was a bit apprehensive.

We were only going to be there for about 48 hours. And my only goal on the trip was to make it to Rockefeller Center to see the tree. I’ve always loved Christmas trees, and when they are all lit up I can sit and look at the lights for hours. It’s calming to me. We drove into New Jersey, and made our way to NYC via the subway, and our train stopped in Grand Central Station. When we got out into the night lights, I found myself feeling unusually comfortable. There were people everywhere. It was three days before Christmas. It was cold and rainy but not freezing out. And the whole time I was there, I was continuously surprised at how at home I felt. There are more people in a two block radius than there are in my entire state. But something about it just fit.

When we got down to the tree I remember just thinking to myself, if it weren’t insanely expensive or I were a millionaire, or I figured out a way to get into Columbia to go to school, I could totally live here. People weren’t rude. They were simply on their way to wherever they were going. And we were as well. We didn’t get lost. There was nothing scary about it. When we went to the Top of the Rock and looked out over the city, it was a truly beautiful sight. We could see the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. The bridges were lit. There were red and green lights for the season. You could see life. For miles and miles. You just knew there was life all around. It was lively, and encouraging, and you could feel the energy in the air. You could see all of the different avenues of possibility that were right at your fingertips. They are simply waiting for you to stroll their way.

Sometimes it’s surprising what we find when we go places we never really wanted to go. I never wanted to go to NYC, yet it took one quick trip for me to fall in love. I never wanted to write a blog, but this has turned out to be one of the most encouraging experiences I’ve had in a long time. I never wanted to pursue my dreams, because there was a chance I would fail, and I didn’t know how to handle that, yet this journey of writing and publishing and reaching people with something I believe in has been the best experience I’ve had despite its frustrations.

Potential is what we continually seek in life. The potential for something new can feel exciting, if not unnerving. It feels like hope, and we need hope. We need the potential to reach our own potential. We want to feel accomplished and productive. We want to feel like we can achieve something worthwhile. All of life is tied to potential, and sometimes if we change our point of view, and we try new things – even those we really don’t think we want to, it can change our lives in the most wonderful way. Whether it’s writing a different type of story than we had envisioned, taking a job we didn’t think we wanted to have, traveling somewhere we aren’t really interested in going, there may just be something in those experiences that change our lives for the better. So don’t forget to be open, and try to envision what life could be like with a view from the top, where potential is visible all around.

More about potential and learning to utilize it.

Up to the Mountain – When it seems the world is against your dreams

and this is a different version, but one that I love:

There is a song called “Up to the Mountain” by Patty Griffin. She wrote it thinking of what it would have been like for Martin Luther King, Jr. to have seen what he saw – to have his dream. He had gone Up to the Mountain, and seen how wonderful everything could be. But the world had other plans. He faced opposition everywhere he turned. He had to fight and fight and fight from the moment his dream began. Nothing came easy. He got worn down, but he never gave up on seeing his dream come to pass.

We all have dreams. We all have those moments of clarity, where we are up on that mountain top looking out over and where we can see our dream come to pass. It’s like the world falls into place. We know at that moment in that time we have something worth offering. Something in us tells us that we have the capacity to achieve it. But what happens afterwards is often times not that easy. We’ve seen where we want to go, but it seems that no one else is interested in us going there.

We receive opposition from all sides. It’s confusing. It’s heartbreaking even at times. It wears us down. One of my favorite things that I’ve heard people say when it comes to religion is that “even Jesus wasn’t allowed to perform miracles in his hometown.” People in our lives know us in the way that they know us. The adults around us know us as the children we were. Our friends know us as the people we were when we met. Our family knows us as we were when we were little. And those things are very hard to break. People’s ideas of who we are tend to be quite strong. And in general, we aren’t interested in those around us changing. It’s hard to handle when the people around us become “unpredictable.” We have certain patterns that we all work in. We have roles for everyone in our lives. And we usually like for those roles to stay the same, whether they are good for us or not.

The thing is, if we are going to achieve our dreams, we are going to have to fight. And sometimes we are going to have to change our situation. We have to leave people behind who don’t understand and who aren’t supportive. Not necessarily in a way where there is no contact, though sometimes that’s the case. But in a way that allows us to feel free to go forth in our journey to accomplish the things we need to accomplish to live a life of happiness that is fulfilling. People will come in and out of our lives. Few will stay for the long haul. And even fewer will allow us to change and grow.

When that opposition comes against us, we have to be willing to fight. We have to go back up to the mountain, and remember that there is something out there worth fighting for. That our lives and our dreams are worth fighting for. We are worth fighting for. Our happiness matters. Our desires matter. And we are the only ones who can accomplish them. So keep fighting. Keep working. Keep climbing back up, no matter who tries to knock you down. You have it within you. So keep taking chances and grow!

My Book

Know Your Worth and Live It

“I am a human being. Nothing human can be alien to me.” – Terence

One of the most important things we can do for ourselves, I believe it to be the single-most important thing we can do is: Know your worth and live it.

Seek out truth. Don’t believe something simply because someone says it is so. Be proactive in your quest for knowledge and growth. There will be conflicting opinions on everything, including from people you trust. Remember the importance of being an individual who has the capacity to take in what you’ve heard and discern truth from fiction.

And one of the greatest truths to remember and live by is that you are worthy. Feel free to not take me at my word and to instead look into it, explore it. Research it. We have to search into who we are and why we think and feel the way we do. What makes me believe I am not worthy? What makes me choose to believe myself undeserving of the happinesses* I seek, instead of believing that I am deserving of these things? We judge ourselves so quickly. Why are we not allowed to be a humans who are human? People who make mistakes, but are not ruined. People who fall down, but are capable of rising to the occasion, also. Not perfect, but always worthy.

Our feelings of self-worth impact just about every decision we make, even the mundane. If we look at the truth and understand that we are inherently worthy and being human doesn’t remove that, then we can rise more often and help bring others up with us along the way.

If we have self-worth we can see our dreams and believe in them.

If we have self-worth we can see our future and know we are capable of achieving it.

If we have self-worth we are able to know that we will falter, we will fall, but we can and will get back up and still be capable and someone of worth.

If we have self-worth we are able to redirect a path that didn’t work out as expected. We can change direction, but not give up or settle.

If we have self-worth we can see ourselves as who we want to be. We can see the best of what we have to offer and work towards becoming that person a little more every day.

We mostly overlook worth. We fail to realize just how important it is to each of us as individuals and to all of us in our humanity. We must take the time to stop and observe our actions and who we are. How are we contributing to our own well-being? Do we let our lack of worth lead us using fear? Or do we look to the truth and let the knowledge that we are worthy lead us to the life we want to lead? Always search for truth. Let it set you free to be who you want to be.

*Yes, I know happinesses isn’t a word, but Jack uses it that way and we do seek multiple types of happiness so it makes sense to me.

(You can start your research here if you’d like.)

Know Your Worth and Live It

“I am a human being. Nothing human can be alien to me.” – Terence

One of the most important things we can do for ourselves, I believe it to be the single-most important thing we can do is: Know your worth and live it.

Seek out truth. Don’t believe something simply because someone says it is so. Be proactive in your quest for knowledge and growth. There will be conflicting opinions on everything, including from people you trust. Remember the importance of being an individual who has the capacity to take in what you’ve heard and discern truth from fiction.

And one of the greatest truths to remember and live by is that you are worthy. Feel free to not take me at my word and to instead look into it, explore it. Research it. We have to search into who we are and why we think and feel the way we do. What makes me believe I am not worthy? What makes me choose to believe myself undeserving of the happinesses* I seek, instead of believing that I am deserving of these things? We judge ourselves so quickly. Why are we not allowed to be a humans who are human? People who make mistakes, but are not ruined. People who fall down, but are capable of rising to the occasion, also. Not perfect, but always worthy.

Our feelings of self-worth impact just about every decision we make, even the mundane. If we look at the truth and understand that we are inherently worthy and being human doesn’t remove that, then we can rise more often and help bring others up with us along the way.

If we have self-worth we can see our dreams and believe in them.

If we have self-worth we can see our future and know we are capable of achieving it.

If we have self-worth we are able to know that we will falter, we will fall, but we can and will get back up and still be capable and someone of worth.

If we have self-worth we are able to redirect a path that didn’t work out as expected. We can change direction, but not give up or settle.

If we have self-worth we can see ourselves as who we want to be. We can see the best of what we have to offer and work towards becoming that person a little more every day.

We mostly overlook worth. We fail to realize just how important it is to each of us as individuals and to all of us in our humanity. We must take the time to stop and observe our actions and who we are. How are we contributing to our own well-being? Do we let our lack of worth lead us using fear? Or do we look to the truth and let the knowledge that we are worthy lead us to the life we want to lead? Always search for truth. Let it set you free to be who you want to be.

*Yes, I know happinesses isn’t a word, but Jack uses it that way and we do seek multiple types of happiness so it makes sense to me.

(You can start your research here if you’d like (my book)  – Barbara Walters once said, “If you care about the work that you have done, then you need to tell people about it.”)

Four truths Dr. Maya Angelou shared with the world

 

source: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/maya-angelou source: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/maya-angelou

Truth is something that can appear to be quite elusive these days. It’s very easy to find half-truths or outright lies, misconceptions, misunderstandings; they are all sitting at our fingertips. So when I find truths that speak to me, that resonate within me in a way that I know in my core this is truth, I try to pay attention.

Maya Angelou was someone I had heard of in high school. We may have read a poem or two, if so I honestly don’t remember. It wasn’t until college that I took more of an interest in her, and in reality it’s probably because I saw her on Oprah. I have a tendency to cringe when speech is seemingly deliberate. When I can tell someone has thoroughly thought through what they are saying and they say it in a very matter of fact manner. I don’t know why. But I typically disengage. So to watch Maya Angelou speak and find myself literally on the edge of my seat feeling as though I am being pulled in a little bit nearer to her with each word was extremely unexpected. She spoke in a very deliberate manner, she knew what she was saying, but this time it was different for me. She was speaking in truth. Every word was one I wanted to hear, and I was glad she spoke with such clarity both in pronunciation and in point. And since truth, as I stated can be hard to come by, I wanted to make sure I shared some of it here, by way of Dr. Angelou.

1.“When people show you who they are believe them (the first time).”

I have found this to be true time and time again. Whether it is in a relationship romantic in nature, a friendship, family members, whomever we have in our lives, people will show us who they are. If someone tells you they are mean, believe them. If someone tells you they don’t care, believe them. If they say they just want to have fun, believe them. If they cheat on you, ignore you, make it a point to hurt you, believe them the first time. They are showing you who they are, and they are making it clear they have no intentions of changing this for you. Once a person shows us what they plan to do, and we stick around, then that is our poor choice. They will easily have the chance to say, “well you already knew” and use it as an excuse. And sadly, they won’t be entirely wrong. We have to learn that being a savior is not supposed to be the same as being a victim. So staying somewhere that is harmful to us to stick it out, to be strong, because we love them and we know they love us if we could just get them to change just one more time is never an excuse. We are saving no one and in trying to do so are only creating inequality within the relationship. We must pay attention to what people tell us about themselves and have enough worth about ourselves to be willing to let it go.

 

2. “…and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well.”

This quote comes from her essay titled New Directions. And it continues along very well with the previous quote. Many times we don’t leave a situation because we’ve planned out a future in our heads. We have something, and maybe we are only holding on by a rapidly fraying string, but we are holding on. There is something in front of us. But when our vision of the future does not match the reality of our future, there is a problem. If we truly stop and look down the road ahead, which most often will look like the road behind and it in no way is a path we should continue down, we must be willing to stop and change directions. We have to let go. We have to imagine a future that is different. We must be willing to try, and not only once, but as many times as it takes to get us to where the future we are imagining has the capacity to line up with the future coming to life in our reality. Whether it’s a career change, a relationship change, or even family that is harming us, we must care enough for ourselves to forge onward towards better things.

3. “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”

And on our path to our new places we must let go of the past, lighten our load and forgive. We must be willing to admit to ourselves that we acknowledge what has happened, we understand that we were deeply hurt whether emotionally or physically, whether from and outside source or something we did to ourselves, we must look at the moment for what it is and find a way to release it. It is the only way to move forward successfully. We cannot let those moments define us. We know that they exist. They aren’t likely to be things that we forget. But they are things that we can move forward from without allowing them to control us. Forgiveness is truly one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves.

4. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

In life we all have choices that we make every day. One of the most important choices we make is how we treat others. None of us were immune to people coming into our lives and making us feel bad. As children someone hurt us. Well, in all likelihood, multiple people. Children can be cruel. Adults can be cruel. We are all humans exposed to other humans, and that means life isn’t always going to be pretty. So each day we must make a choice to treat others the way we truly want to be treated. So we must believe ourselves worthy of the treatment we extend to others. We must know that we have the chance to grow a person, to encourage them or to bring them down, and it is essential that we become growers of others. We know how people made us feel. It lasts. We remember being scared, we remember being hurt, we remember being outcast, feeling alone and desolate, that no one else understands or cares. We remember these things because they made us feel like we didn’t matter. And that is not acceptable. We cannot continue a culture of people whose only goal is to make people feel this way. We must do what we can to acknowledge and accept our own worth and love ourselves enough to recognize and grow this in others. To be encouragers and walk in light so that others may follow. So that we can all know truth.

If you need a meaningful gift or a motivational start you can find my book here.

This is an excerpt from one of my favorite parts of her Master Class with Oprah: “to be the best human being you can be” (in every situation)

 

 

We are where we are

“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.

Walking on the wire

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Many people watched a few weeks ago when Nik Wallenda walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Not long after that a man walked across the Beau Rivage, a casino on the coast here on a tightrope, as well. I went with my brother, my son and my nephew to watch the event. You don’t realize just how high up it really is until there is someone walking across it on a rope!

As we watched him I thought about how difficult it must be to keep so many things in balance all at once. I’ve talked a lot about focus this week, and in this case it truly does take an immense amount of focus. You are standing up higher than anyone around, out over the edge (one of the only people crazy enough to try this) and you have to keep looking forward while remembering what you need to do to keep yourself in check. You have to stay calm, make sure your steps are on track, change them accordingly to ensure the rope you are walking on doesn’t get too loose, and make sure not to look down.

When we are up high and walking across the rope looking down can be hard to avoid. It’s one of the biggest pitfalls we make. When we start looking at just how high up we are and how far we’ve come, it’s easy to get disoriented. Looking down and losing focus is confusing. We become inundated immediately with thoughts that take us off track. We stop paying attention to our walk, we stop paying attention to our goal, we aren’t sure anymore what our next step should be, and it’s all because we looked down.

There are lots of people down there waiting on us to fall. There are lots of reasons that we might actually fall. But we are just as capable of standing on the wire and walking our way across. The choice in the matter is ours. Do we give in and look down? Do we go ahead and give up and take the easy way? It’s a whole lot faster getting to the ground that way, but the ground isn’t really where we want to be. And falling almost always results in injury. It may be fast, and there may be lots of people at the bottom who will be happy we’ve joined them, but is it really worth it? Fighting the urge to look down is hard. We have to know the steps we are taking. And remember that the hard road, (or the tight rope) is the only way to get there. So why not take the time to stay in check while walking on the wire.

Finding focus in the silence – seeing your ideas become reality

Most of the time when we have an idea or a goal, at the beginning there is this wave of excitement and focus. We are able to make the ideas flow, we are able to put a pen to paper, and we’re off. We start on our way. Then all of a sudden it stops. The wave has landed ashore, and we’re stuck out of water. This is one of the most pivotal times when it comes to accomplishing what we’ve set out to accomplish.

It seems like when we look at others, they are on their way and their journey has been nothing but smooth sailing. In reality, it’s extremely unlikely that a tremendous amount of time, frustration and unreturned effort wasn’t put in. We don’t get to most places worth going in life simply by showing up. We have to work to get to where we want to go. If you have something to say, and something worth saying, finding an audience is the most important and most difficult thing you can do. Unfortunately, in life we can only control ourselves. We have no power over others unless they consent. Unless they are willing to show up and say, “Hey, tell me more.” And people aren’t willing to do that until you’ve put in the effort.

Maintaining focus when things are starting to fall, when you realize that the road in front of you is full of hill after hill, mountain after mountain that you have to climb over – when you realize that you are fighting uphill, and there will be times when you feel like you are only losing ground – maintaining focus here is what separates those who achieve their goals from those who let them go. It separates those who become from those who settle. It’s hard. It’s long. It doesn’t go the way we expect it to go or feel that it should go. But it IS the road to success, as long as we choose to stay focused. To find ways when there seem to be none, and to keep working when it feels like nothing is happening. Finding focus when we are hearing nothing at all, when there is only silence is the key to seeing your ideas become a reality.

Traveling light – The importance of the essentials in accomplishing our goals

 

While I was looking around for gifts for father’s day today, I asked my son what he wanted to get for his grandpa. And he said camping stuff. I decided that sounded as good as any ideas I had, even though I think the last (and only) time we camped I was around 10 years old. Nonetheless, my dad had promised to take all of the grandkids camping this summer, and well, what better encouragement is there? So we were going down the aisles and looking for stuff, and Jack kept picking out things that were really big and would be heavy and hard to carry. I started talking to him about the importance of traveling light, and although he was able to make a pretty good argument for bringing a bike to ride on so they could carry extra stuff, it wouldn’t be enough stuff for the kayak and scooter he wanted to bring along as well. I tried to explain that sometimes it’s important to remember that we just need the essentials to get by, because when we have too much, it weighs us down. Then I realized that’s what I would write about today!

The concept applies so well to life. It’s so easy to get bogged down by everything that we carry with us, that we forget how nice and light and easy it is to travel without all the junk. Whether we are harboring fear, worry, unforgiveness, bitterness, jealousy, anxiety – all of those negatives have a tendency to weigh us down. When we get upset and end up at a dead end in life, it’s really hard to turn around and see that there’s another path – or even a way over the wall – when we are walking our path with too much weight. If we are having to drag ourselves through life, we will end up with a whole lot more scars and bruises than we will if we are able to walk upright, and run and jump and turn around where necessary.

We all hit walls. We all have bumps in our roads. We are broken down by the streets that are covered by the things that are trying to hold us back and stop us from moving. If we want to get anywhere worth getting to, we have to do so without all of the negative weighing us down. We have to feel freedom and be light on our feet. Quick to think, to see ways out. It’s a way of thinking that matters drastically. Looking at the positive. Removing the negative. Becoming adaptable and pliable so that we can handle what life throws at us. Life is never fair. But that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve and be more instead of giving in and becoming less. If life is going to be uneven, make it so that you achieve more than you think you should. Make it so that you experience more good things by doing and giving and being pliable to your situations. We can accomplish what we want to accomplish. We have to open. We can’t be weighed down by fear or any other negatives. It closes us off. It changes us, just like the positives change us. We have to choose which we want to emphasize. Whether we want to constantly struggle on our path or we want to travel light. There are already struggles we have to face. What’s the good in adding more for ourselves?

Instead, let’s travel with the essentials. The things we need to get our goals accomplished. The things that help us deal with life’s unbalanced paths, and lead us to a place of success and hope.

Using your talent for good

I was up until 4 am last night because they had a really gruesome crime scene near my town and in my town over the past few days. And that stuff makes me worry unnecessarily and excessively. I think I have some lasting PTSD from when I was younger, but I feel a lot better this evening after they caught the suspects. . And I finally have my computer back. I had to use my phone the last few days, so I apologize for all of the grammar/spelling/autocorrect errors that may have occurred!

One thing that did happen over the past few days was that I was reminded once again to be thankful for the days we have. Particularly because each one gives us the chance to do something good. To help ourselves and help others. We have the chance to use our gifts to grow and work and change the world. We have something existent within us each day that has the capacity to leave a lasting mark of love. Whether we write it, paint it, swim it, create music, lend an ear, offer true advice, or smile as often as we can, doing so makes a difference. It matters to us. It matters to others. It matters to the world. We are all significant, whether we feel anyone else (or even we ourselves) realizes it or not. We can do something worth doing each time the sun rises. Every morning is a new chance to start over, move forward, and find ourselves coming closer to where we want to be. So do not waste it. Let it be worthwhile.

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I just wanted to take a moment to thank the following bloggers for nominating me for a myriad of awards over the past few days. I tried to figure out if there was a good way to answer all the questions or how to space things out, but I decided it was best to simply extend my gratitude to each of you. You all have wonderful blogs on a variety of topics. And I really appreciate you taking the time out to acknowledge me and to read my blog in general. It’s truly humbling and extremely kind of you all. Thank you so much! Check out their blogs J

 

http://jhasmoments.wordpress.com

http://hodgepodge4thesoul.wordpress.com

http://thejottersjoint.wordpress.com

http://hometogo232.wordpress.com

http://bty14.wordpress.com

http://theblazingtrail.wordpress.com/

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