What a night! So many things going on in my world right now, and last night was another truly wonderous night.

 

My wife Chris and I took an acting course with my friend Regina Schneider at her Acting School, Take2 Actors Studio. It was an 8-week course, and while I have taken a class before with Regina, it was Chris’ first class, and was a definite departure from her comfort zone. Last night was the Showcase, where all the students performed their scenes, Chris and I closing out the evening with our [performance from Beyond Therapy by Christopher Durang. Chris was awesome!!!

 

It is times like this I get to take a step back and just reflect on where I am and what I am doing. I do this a lot lately, because the changes and activities I am engaged in now, the direction my life is going, is so hugely different from where I would ever have imagined not 3 years ago. And it all started with taking a step, albeit a small one, outside of my comfort zone.

 

Now, I have journaled my journey over the years and shared many of the events with you, but the overwhelming feeling right now, and one I really want to share is how much different life can be, when you acknowledge your fears and anxieties, and take action despite them. Now, I am not saying throw caution to the wind and do things that are dangerous (without proper precautions), but how many of the things that we say “oh, I could never do that” could we actually do, and how would our lives change afterwards?

 

Image result for The truths that we cling toPretty grandiose statement, huh? Do something you didn’t think you could do and your life will change. Let me explain.

 

I frequently quote from Star Wars because it has so many prolific quotes, and the underlying themes are such ready material for inspiration and hope. Obi Wan Kenobi says to Luke on one occasion you‘re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” Read that a few times and just let it sink in. Focus on the words “truths” and “point of view” in particular.

 

If you think about it, most, if not all of the decisions you make in the course of your day are based on your point of view – your “perspective”. Things you learn, things you did and the results that came from them, things other people told you, beliefs and paradigms created when you were young as to who you were, what you did, what you were capable of. All of these things combine together to give you the picture and perspective of the world from which you create your truths and make decisions. How YOU see the world (your perspective & truths) will determine how you react to it (your choices and actions). Change your point of view, and your perspective will change.

 

Many years ago, okay, maybe 3 or so, if you asked me if I could perform in front of an audience, my answer would be a quick, yet absolute – NO!!!!! When you asked me why, I would tell you a few things:

  1. Oh, it’s just not my “thing”.
  2. I don’t have the nerve to do that
  3. I tried it when I was a kid in grammar school and it was horrible ( I didn’t actually, I had to sing in a chorus in first grade and just mouthed the words, but absolutely hated it – and that memory lasted from 1972 to 2015)

 

Now, the first item may be something that we have said on more than 1 occasion, and while it may be true, have you actually considered it, or are you just responding reflexively to something that makes you uncomfortable? I will be honest; I would say that initially to dismiss something that caused me anxiety – like acting or speaking in public.

 

The second item is really just a reaction to fear and anxiety. Instead of acknowledging the fear and exploring the opportunity or activity, you immediately make a decision that is difficult impossible to change, and will dismiss the consideration before it ever had the chance to be honestly see if there was truth or not. And, again, to be honest, I used this excuse as a reason not to try acting as well.

 

But the last item is the most important for our discussion today. How many of the “truths” that you cling to are a result of ideas, beliefs, patterns of behavior, and experiences that happened to us when we were young – like for me, when I was 6 and had to sing in the chorus.

 

We create the persona of who we are based upon our own beliefs and visions of who we are. But where do those beliefs come from? Why do we accept them as absolute and without reproach? Why do we reflexively say we can’t do something, be something, or have something because it does not “jive” with the vision, perspective, and point of view of who we are?

 

Before 2015, I was neither a public speaker nor an actor. Now, I do both. The opportunities I have now, the way I look at things, the very way my life is going right now, is completely different  that where it was back in 2015. Things that “weren’t my thing” or that terrified me, I now do regularly, in front of audiences of varying sizes, and have opened my mind to endless possibilities and I am doing things I never thought possible. My perspective and point of view has changed and so have my truths. It’s inevitable, because I am now looking out at the world as a person who has acted and performed – I cannot see the world the same as before, because the world, and myself, are now different. And yet, all it took was 1 small step, 1 minor course correction, 1 Degree of Difference from what I was currently doing, to make that change.

 

Just remember, there is a difference between “truths” and “facts”. Facts are hard and firm, can be absolutely proven, and stand the test of time and scrutiny. 1 + 1 will always equal 2. “Truths” on the other hand, are subject to points of view – your point of view and when you open your mind to the possibility that your “truths” may not be “facts”, you open yourself up to a whole new world of possibility, and a world you that you may find satisfying beyond your wildest dreams.

 

Now, one more quick point. In no way am I suggesting that there will not be anxiety or fear when you “explore the possibilities”. When I went into the acting classes, saying I was anxious was an understatement. But I took the step anyway. I took action despite the anxiety and continued the steps with the anxiety. Eventually, your mind will realize you can do this, and while I still get anxiety today when I perform in public, it is one that is easily managed and does not hold me back. If anything, it inspires me to give my best performances, and that is an unforeseen gift that I never would have experienced had I given in to my fear and anxiety and never taken the step.

 

So, that’s my story for this week. If the opportunity presents itself, challenge your truths, especially when you find yourself saying “that’s not my thing”. Maybe it is, you just don’t know it yet.



Exciting Things On The Horizon…actually a little closer than that!!! YAY!!!


Well, I’ve been quite busy over the last few weeks which would explain my absence from the posting, but that will change shortly.

So, what have I been up to? Well, I have been putting the final touches on some programs I have rolled out and am getting ready to main street them, which, for me is very exciting (aka anxiety – lol!). Difference this time is I am stepping forward, through my apprehension and anxiety and launching the programs.

I’m excited because I have joined 2 networking organizations, IBO (www.meetIBO.com) and NCE (www.nce trade.com) and both are very excited to be bringing my seminars, workshops, and presentations to their members…They are both VERY DIFFERENT networking organizations and if nothing else, check them out just for curiosity.

I am going to be rolling out a HABITS WORKSHOP coming up. It will normally be $50, but for you, my Beta Testers, it will be knocked down to $35. It will be a 3-week (21 day) challenge to set goals and change habits, and will pull from both Going Your Way (the FREE Method) as well as 1 Degree of Difference. There will be a dedicated Facebook Private Group, a Tracking Program (which you can continue with after the 21 days is over, leaderboards (if done as a group) and a whole bunch of other features (1 may be a prize for the best results)….want more info or participate? Check out my Lead Page below (I also put that here so you can help me test it and make sure all my connections work – I promise not to bombard you with emails (I hate that anyway)

https://my.leadpages.net/shared/KaX3wNvxJJQGvsSSaQyWj3/mBcA5hCSC6pktTxQSTdzr2/



Watching the Wheels Go Round and Round…


…and getting nowhere 🙂

I was at a networking group meeting the other day and one of our members was providing a presentation on habits. One of the tips provided regarded increasing productivity in your area of interest and the need to “minimize distractions, including opportunities, that steal your attention” from getting to your desired outcome. This struck a chord with me, because I have become well aware, of late, just how profound an impact this can have on achieving your goals.

 

As many of you know, my wife Chris and I went through a “transition” lately with our son joining the military. It was just one of a handful of things that came up that made the time chaotic and emotional, eventually becoming what we now just refer to as “May”. As challenging a time as that was, requiring me to “scale back” on the projects I was working on, that hiatus gave me the opportunity to reflect on the different things I was working on, when the time came to start getting “back in the game” again.

 

I looked at where I was right now, and realized just how close I was to achieving the initial goals I had set up regarding speaking engagements and training seminars and workshops. I could see the finish line, or should I call it a “check-in point” because progress is never “finished”, but rather evolves over time into new goals and objectives. But as I saw that check-in point, I didn’t feel I was getting closer. I was doing a lot of activities, helping many people, yet not getting closer to my goals. How could this be?

 

Have you ever been on a treadmill or stationary bike (or at least seen someone else on one), either in real time or on a video? I am going to venture a guess and say “of course”. Well, you see the person exercising, breaking a sweat, burning calories, increasing the heart rate, yet physically getting nowhere. The display shows that 1, 2, or 20 miles have been travelled, yet the actual body has moved no more than 1 foot forward or back the entire time.

 

Now, you can say that is not the goal of the treadmill or stationary bike, to move physical distances, and you would be correct, but understand the concept I am trying to convey here. When you are in pursuit of your goals, you will meet many people and come across even more opportunities. Both of those will be good things, and definitely will help you improve your skillset; but do they actually help you get to where you were going? Let’s say you got on the treadmill with the desire to physically get somewhere. The exercise is good for you, the distance it says you traveled definitely feels good, all of the benefits of running and keeping in shape are being addressed. You can get off that treadmill and feel accomplished and satisfied that you did something good and made yourself more physically fit for when you get to where you want to go; but you have gotten no closer to your goal in that process. You have made lots of movements yet made no progress. Do you follow me?

 

Now, I’m not saying that improving your skills, health, or mental state are not important aspects of reaching your goals; they absolutely are. However, there is a point at which they become distractors and start to hold you back, or at least prevent you from getting closer to your goals. Do you need to understand electrical theory, and the operation of electrical circuits to turn on a light in a room? Of course not. Is it helpful information? Sure. Necessary? Not so much for what you wish to accomplish; turning on a light in a room.

 

As you work on the goals, results, dreams, aspirations you have, always ask yourself a few questions.

  • Is this activity going to help me get closer to my goal?
  • Am I doing it because it is necessary, or because it makes me feel good?
  • Is this something that is delaying me taking the “next step”?
  • Am I intentionally delaying my “next step”? (perhaps a little fear or anxiety at play here?)

 

It is easy to get caught up in distraction and at time it can really feel good and you can even justify the activities. But you need to keep your eye on the bigger picture, the goal or result you are looking to achieve. What you seek is ready and waiting for you. It is up to you to take the steps to get you closer to what it is you seek. The distractions are enticing, they feel good, they reward you with a sense of progress, but it is false progress. You may be stronger, leaner, and smarter, but you are not closer to what it is you seek.

Remember,

Progress is Movement,

(but not all movement is progress)

 

What are you doing? Is what you are doing serving you? Empowering you? Getting you closer to what you desire (your goal)? If YES, keep moving forward. If No? What are you doing??? Why???

 



Sometimes…You Just Won’t Feel Like It!


Most of you know my wife Chris and I went through a major life change recently with our son enlisting in the Army and heading off to Basic Training. I shared my story about that on an earlier post, but it did present an opportunity to experience something that I haven’t experienced lately, and serve as a reminder that while you cannot control what happens to you or around you, you can absolutely control the choices you make and how you react to those things.

 

Most of you know when I speak at presentations, or even post here, I always talk about motivation and momentum. Making small changes, 1 Degree of Difference from what you currently are doing, to change your results. I talk about taking those steps, stepping through your fear and anxiety, and just pushing the edges of your comfort zone; unless you are brave enough to just blow down the door and run right out, then more power to you.

 

But what about those times when you “just don’t feel like it”.

 

You don’t feel like making the changes you were so motivated to make just days ago. Don’t feel like working on that project, going to that class or seminar, or even don’t feel like going out with friends after work. That’s a tough place to be in because many times it isn’t that your upset, discouraged, or stuck. It isn’t something that came up that is preventing you from taking action and it isn’t someone telling you you can’t or you shouldn’t. It is just that you don’t feel like it. Maybe you have the “blah’s”, perhaps it is just the nuisances of life distracting you, or maybe it is fear or anxiety presenting itself as this “funk” but regardless of why – you just don’t feel like it. What’s a person to do?

 

Sometimes, you just need to do it anyway. As Nike says “Just Do It!”

 

It isn’t easy, and you are convinced, maybe even committed that you do not want to do it, but sometimes (actually, most of the times) you need to just pick yourself up and do it – even when you don’t feel like it.

 

Most of the time, changing your results and pursuing your goals are relatively easy. The things you want to work on go your way, and as I always try to emphasize, the things you want usually will come easily, if you just go with the flow and  let “life” guide you along.

 

It’s like putting a raft in a river. Do you put it in and immediately start paddling upstream,fighting the current? Or do you put the raft in and go with the current, using the paddle to steer the raft to where you want to go. I think you’d agree, going with the current is far easier.

 

That doesn’t mean there won’t be times where you have to work hard to steer the raft. Perhaps even have to take it out of the water and walk it around an obstacle or waterfall. You may not want to do it, you may not want to put the work in, you may not feel like carrying the raft, but if you want to get where your going, sometimes you just have to do it.

You won’t feel the motivation to do it. You won’t feel inspired to

take any action. You may even justify stopping. It’s at these points where you just have to get up, grab the raft, and work your way along the route you have chosen. Eventually, the motivation and inspiration will return, like the sun after a summer thunderstorm, and you will be so happy that you did, and your goals and dreams will be even closer than you imagined.

 

These times are tests. They challenge you to see if you really want what it is that you are looking for. Do you really want that life you are looking for? Are your drea

ms an

d desires worth that little extra. Can you push through the times when you lack motivation and inspiration, the times when you lose the vision, and the times when you just don’t feel like it anymore?

Your answer needs to be YES!

 

Why? Because most people give up right before they were about to have a major breakthrough towards their goals and dreams. Don’t stop believing in the dreams you have. Remember, the journey is what makes you into the person capable of attaining the dream – it is part of the process.

 

And just remember one thing as you think about all the things I just shared with you. When I sat down to write this – I didn’t feel like it. And yet now, as I close out my thoughts, I feel the motivation and inspiration coming back – I feel glad to share my thoughts with all of you. And I also am excited to get back to work on the goals and dreams I have for myself, because I realize, they are closer than ever. Time to get busy!!!  HOOAH!!!

 

 

 



Ordinary World…Not So Much…


When did I become an Army Dad? When did we become a military family? It seems like, in the blink of an eye, we went from a “typical” suburban New York family, my son James back at home after graduating college, working a few towns over and starting to go in his own direction, my daughter Kerri going to the college James had just graduated from. Chris and myself had secure jobs that allowed us to do most of the things we wanted, and we just moved into a new home that ticked off a few items on our bucket list – life was just humming along com-fort-a-b-l—-y. Uh-oh,…I should have seen all of this coming!

 

I have much respect and pride in those who serve our country, and had considered it in my distant past, but never found the inner courage to take that step, so I understand, and truly respect, those who do. My Dad served back during the Korean conflict, and my brother did a few years as an officer in the Navy, but for all intensive purposes, military service and life was not on our radar.

 

But then there’s Kerri’s “significant other” Joey. (He’s too old to be called a boyfriend, and he’s just an outstanding person and we are fortunate to know him and his family). He’s going to West Point Military Academy. Hmmmm, where is this relationship going??? Well, a request to stop at the ROTC table at a college Open House answered that question.  Cadet? My daughter is a Cadet now? She’s in the Ranger Challenge? What the heck is Land Nav and FTX? Confidence climbs and Weavers? Wow, she has turned into quite a confident young woman! What do you mean James wants to enlist!!! Kerri’s getting a Leadership award? When? Where? What do you mean James leaves tomorrow? Oh wow, Kerri got an ROTC scholarship for the next 3 years! Wait…when can James call, when will he be back? WAIT!!! What’s going on here!!!

 

As Duran Duran would sing in Ordinary World; “Where is the life that I recognize?”

 

How’s that for a summary of August to May? And that feels about how this all went (read that last paragraph quicker and that feeling gets more “real time”- lol!)

 

But here I am again. I didn’t write much the last week or so as I navigated a wide range of feelings from every corner and aspect of the emotional spectrum. Times of such intense pride and joy to the depths of profound sorrow and emptiness and everything in between. My truly fabulous and outstanding wife Chris got to share this “journey” too (fun, fun!), and thankfully we have each other and have/will navigate through this change and find the new normal…get acclimated….comforta-b-l—-e, and then inevitably more change will certainly come.

 

You all know me; heck, many of you call me “Mr Outstanding” because if you ask me how I am, that’s how I reply. But this past week, yes, I was less than that. But you know what? It’s ok. As i’ve said in the past, we can’t always be outstanding, or fantastic, or great. Some days will come and you will be less than that – sometimes much, much less. Guess what? All that means is that we’re human.

 

Now, I always say you can’t choose what happens to you or around you, but you can choose how you react to it, and I still completely advocate that point of view. Sometimes, like for me last week, the choice is to stop, pull back, regroup, and get your bearings. Re-establish your foundation. Sometimes you need to take that pause, and that’s ok. It’s not a bad thing, it’s not something to apologize for or feel bad about; it’s just life at times, and sometimes you just need a breather – so breathe 🙂

 

The key point is not to live there, in the pause. There is a difference between experiencing emotions and living there.  Yes, I felt immense sorrow and a profound emptiness to my very core, but I didn’t focus on that. I thought of James, what he was doing, what he would go through, and, of course the things we did together before that day he left for Ft Leonard Wood. Did that make me sad? Absolutely, but my thoughts and focus were on James, not on the emotions. Where focus goes, energy flows and my energy was going to my thoughts of James and the changes going on, not the emotions of how I was feeling. If I focus on the changes, I will get through them; if I focus on the emotions, I will get more of them, and that’s not a good path to be on.

 

Sure, they say don’t be sad that it’s over, be happy that it happened, but that wasn’t happening last week; but this week – i’m getting there. I smile more, I share more, I read and learn more, and soon the “new world” we will find ourselves in will be “OUTSTANDING” once again!.



No Matter Where You Are…There You Are


I remember when a United DC-8 crashed in Portland, Or. back in 1978. They had a landing gear problem, and as the captain flew around working on the landing gear issue – the plane ran out of fuel and crashed in a Portland suburb. I can remember a flight I was flying one night over Long Island, NY. We were approaching the airport and me and my friend (another very experienced pilot) were tinkering with the computer trying to get it to display in a particular way. Everything seemed fine, until I could no longer make out the runway, and after a few seconds of disorientation, realized we had gotten very low while still far from the airport.

 

Both of these stories, while complex in detail and situation, all come down to one major item; a loss of situational awareness.Getting so caught up in a problem (the landing gear) or a distraction (the display) that you lose sight of where you are, what you are doing, and where you are headed.

 

Notice I said where you are headed rather than where you are going. “Going” is a destination. “Headed” is a direction. 

 

There are things that happen in our lives that can distract us from our goals and dreams, the plans we have made, and the things that we want to do. It could be the loss or change of a job, an argument, or even a simple comment passed by someone else. It doesn’t necessarily matter the trigger, but what happens next is the problem. We start to dwell on it. We start to go over the event repeatedly in our mind, thinking of what was said, done, or what occurred, and then start emotionalizing it.

 

I spent 33 years with a mindset, beliefs, and patterns of behavior that did not serve me well. Self-doubt was high, and self-confidence was very low. It didn’t take much of a comment or action to send my mind into a spiral downward, bashing myself and everything I did. As I have said before, your mind is powerful beyond measure, but that does not mean it is always a positive thing. Your mind can be your staunchest ally; but also your greatest, and most powerful foe as well. The greatest hurdles we face in life are those we create in the mind. 

 

Now, as a man in my 50’s, I have the benefit of not only hindsight, but understanding as well, and can see the role my mind, beliefs, and patterns of behavior played in how my life developed in the earlier years. But knowing that, realizing that, and even sharing all those experiences with you, does not erase the old pathways in the mind from years long gone. They are still there and can be easily triggered.

 

There are days when things come up and I can feel my mind starting to take off, dwelling, sometimes even obsessing on the thoughts and situations that have happened, or may not have happened. I can feel myself being drawn into the funnel, the chaos. But I have learned to recognize that, catch it early, and at a minimum – stop the momentum. Whether it is a simple comment to myself acknowledging the pattern I have started and breaking it, or at a more severe level, plunging my index finger into the desk (or whatever other hard surface is available) and saying “Delete! Delete! Delete! to force my mind to stop thinking about what I am thinking – to pull myself back into the here-and-now and stop the spiral that leads to nowhere good. That “delete” step may seem odd or strange, but it works for me and that is all that matters; so find what works for you, and put it to use.

 

The whole point here is, as my title suggests, “No matter where you are, there you are”. Dreams, goals, and desires are important to determine where you are going, but you always need to be “present and aware” to know where you are actually headed and determine if that direction will get you to where you want to go.. Times will come up when things around you will distract you and the mind will try to get you into the “What If” mode, allowing you to entertain a whole assortment of ideas and outcomes that have not even happened yet. How about this? “What If”…we accept what has just happened, and take that next step from where we are, right here and right now.

 

As I say, you can’t control what happens to and around you; but you can control how you react to it. In my FREE program, the “F” stands for Foundation. This step involves determining the results you are getting. Not why you are getting them, not reliving all the things you did wrong to get them, just the results, just the facts. What is happening right here, right now and where am I going to go next, from right here, right now? After all, unless you are a multi-dimensional person, that’s all there is; right here-right now.

 

So, right here, right now, I wish you an Outstanding Day and do something different today. Make 1 small change. 1 Degree of Difference from what you are currently doing, change where you are heading so you can get to where you really want to go.

 



Take the Long Way Home – That’s Not Logical…


Two classic titles from a band I grew up listening to in the 70’s and 80’s  and still listen to today. It brings back memories of a distant past, and shares a message that only until recently have I come to truly understand.

The Logical Song came out back in 1979, and for whatever reason, the words (or some of them) resonated with me. The on line in particular that stood out was “I know it sounds absurd, but please tell me who I am”. Growing up, that was one question I didn’t realize I couldn’t answer. Ahhh, the wonder of hindsight!.

 

Last night I found myself, once again, in front of an audience, reciting the lyrics to The Logical Song. It was an exercise my teacher (Regina Schneider, Take 2 Actors Studio) had us all do, except instead of singing it, we were to present it like a monologue – try it some time, it is more challenging than may be apparent.

Anyway, as she tweaked my performance, and had me recite the lyrics as if I was going through a photo album from my past, I found myself actually thinking back on my life when I was a child, and how much of that song actually applied to me; and in retrospect, may actually have some bearing on you as well.

The Logical So

 

ng is about growing up, the transition from childhood to adulthood, and the key point that is missing. We are born with curiosity and creativity, everything is possible, and the only restrictions on what we can become in life are created by not dreaming big enough – but back then, what did we know? But when education begins,  Roger Hodgson, the writer of the song says, “They teach us how to function on the outside and to be very intellectual, but they don’t tell us how to act with our intuition or our heart or really give us a real plausible explanation of what life’s about”.

As kids, we played pretend games, dreamed of growing up to be fantastic people, perhaps an astronaut or a superhero. And there was no reason not to believe that possible; until others told us that was childish or silly, or not possible. I know for me, I dreamed of being an astronaut, a hero (maybe not super, but that was ok), and of course a pilot. But as I grew older, those dreams fell to the wayside, and eventually disappeared. Why? Because as I grew up, I would be told a dream I had was not realistic, or was childish, or just not possible so I immediately abandoned it so others wouldn’t think less of me. What’s even worse, as I got older, I started telling myself those very things.

My path to conformity had begun. I spent a majority of the rest of my life becoming the person others wanted me to be, or at least what I thought they wanted me to be. It starts off slowly enough, giving up small dreams and desires at first, then it progressed into being less “creative” because creativity is not “mature”. Before I knew it, I started to become “sensible, logical, responsible, practical” and I lived in a world where “I could be so dependable, clinical, intellectual, cynical”.  I was everyone to everybody but no one to me. I had no idea who I was.

We all have gifts and talents. We all have a “true self” as my friend and acting coach Regina calls it. It is that person on the inside who longs to come out, but frequently gets held back by the reality we know as “the world”. Who is that person? Do you know? If you could do and be anything you wanted, and you had all the resources to make it so, and everyone around you would support it regardless of what it was; what would you do? where would you go? WHO WOULD YOU BE?

You see, we’re all unique as humans. We all have our specific gifts to offer the world, We all have desires we seek to achieve and dreams we long to fulfill and yet, as unique as we all are, we live in a world that rewards conformity. And the price of conformity costs us who we are in many cases. Perhaps we have this whole “life” thing wrong.  While I am not advocating selfishness or becoming completely self-centered, at the expense of others, I do believe that in order to be of service to others, we first need to take care of ourselves, and in order to do that we need to know who we are; our true selves. Do you know who that person is? Perhaps it’s time to start searching…

 

Have an outstanding day!!!

 



Spring is here; The Sun and the Storms


It may be odd, but I love thunderstorms. I can remember as a child, they terrified me to death. I would cower in my bed, holding my ears, terrified by the sound of the thunder; even though in reality the thunder should have been the least of my worries, but what did I know back then at the ripe old age of 6.

Nowadays, I’m mesmerized by the power and beauty they hold. The way the air currents make the clouds billow up, churning like a carbonated drink that has been shaken wildly and cracked open just enough to let it stir. The displays of lightning (observed from a safe location, of course), the bolts clawing their way through the skies, and the brilliant flashes that illuminate the entire sky. The different sounds of the thunder from the sharp cracks to the rolling waves of sound. The feeling of the cool wind as the gust front comes by; I could watch them for hours.

 

Life is the same way too. It is an awesome beauty at its heights, but can also be devastating beast in its depths, but those highs and lows really serve to give you perspective and appreciation, if you can look beyond the moment, which many a time is not easy.

 

Many of you can probably sense an air of melancholy in my writing today. Heck, many of you are asking “Where’s the Friday Video?” and to you all, I smile and say; not today. Today is a day to write for me (well, I guess actually I mean type, since that is what i’m doing)

 

Ask me how I am today, and you will still get “Outstanding!”. While some of that is out of habit and repetition, even when I am less than 100%, when I say it, it still makes me stir on the inside; let’s me know, as Bob Marley would sing in the song 3 Little Birds, “Every Little Things Gonna Be Alright”.

 

My son goes off to the Army next week. As a parent, I worry, but I have had all the talks with him, made sure he understood the pro’s, con’s, and risks fully, and also dug deep to find out why he was choosing this path. In the end, I understand why he is going this route, am confident in his decision making process, and while I may worry about the venue, support him. But none of that makes his departure any easier. Especially with my daughter ending her first year at college, excelling in her studies as a business major; and in Army ROTC! Yes, both my kids! I say that with a smile. They’re smart kids, considerate, intelligent, and kind and no matter what they do, I know they will make where they are a better place, and hopefully find what they are looking for. But, yes, as a parent, I still worry (yes, me!)

 

On top of that my Mom is sick, and not doing well. Time is not on her side anymore. Mom and Dad live in Florida, and all us siblings (3 of us remain) live up in the northeast. It makes it challenging, and again the distance added to the worry for my father and concern for my mother , just make for a stressful time. Did I mention my kids are going into the Army??? (LOL!)

 

But ironically enough, as I gaze at the approaching storm (my kids and parents) I also find myself appreciating all that has gone on, what has transpired over time, what they all have done and accomplished, and what I have learned and who I have become as a result. Within this chaos is a feeling of appreciation and peace, and while I know the storm will soon hit, I also know that afterwards; those 3 Little Birds will be singing… again…

 

Those of you who have read my book Going Your Way (No, this is not a plug for my book), know the struggles and challenges I dealt with growing up into my mid-30’s. I remember them well, but don’t look back on them as bad things anymore; after all, they helped make me into the person I am today. It took a lot to get to that point, many things I wish I could have done without, anguish bypassed, anxiety overflown, but yet, without them, I wouldn’t be who I am right now, doing what I do, and knowing who, and what, I know. While I don’t know what my life would have been like if I didn’t go through all of that, and it may have been wonderful as well, when I look at where I am, when I look at the pictures of me and my friends and family, when I look at the things I have done and who I have done them with, and look through the list of all of you who follow me and read my blogs, I realize just how truly blessed I am. I truly appreciate all the things I have done, and especially the people who are around me.

 

I also realize that for all of this to be, I had to let go of the past. When I look back on my childhood, how the anxiety developed, seeing how it grew and then morphed into depression, and seeing the role my parents may have played, it would be easy to hold anger and resentment; but what purpose does that serve? What good does that do me? How does that empower me? All it does is provide an external influence to blame and make responsible for where I am; rather than allow me to look internally, and take responsibility for where I am going.

 

My Mom did not have a good childhood either, as an only child, raised with challenges that created obstacles, confidence, and self-esteem issues that in many cases were never overcome and lasted all her life. She always put on the strong front on the outside. She was the matriarch of the family, and she had her beliefs and opinions about how things should be. It was the world she was born and raised in, it was all she knew, and all she had from which to base and build her decisions and beliefs on.

 

Remember, the truths we cling to very much rely on our point of view, and when I consider where she came from and what she experienced, I now understand where her point of view was coming from as well. For me, I was fortunate to recognize the issues, humble enough to accept my role in its development, and strong enough (thank God, Source, Universe…) to make the changes. Unfortunately for her, it was a step too far in some cases.

 

Both my parents did the best they could do with what they had and what they knew. Don’t we all? Nobody wants to struggle or be in continual pain or anguish, but for some of us, it is the reality we live in. We don’t necessarily think of it as good or bad, but rather just how it is – our version of normal.

 

It’s funny in a way. As these events come upon me, I am aware of the old feelings coming back, the old thought patterns and beliefs. Don’t worry, they don’t take hold, but it’s sort of like an old class reunion, with the feelings strolling in like old classmates, looking around, acknowledging the changes that have occurred, but then trying to re-live the “good ole days” when times and experiences were very different. As Yoda from Star Wars said ” When you look at the dark side, careful you must be, for the dark side looks back”. Sure, the memories are still there, the old behaviors and patterns of beliefs still remain in my memory, but I know better now. I do look back, and can feel the pull of that old life, as miserable as it was, but now, I look at it with appreciation and respect. Appreciation for how it has helped shape who I am, and respect for the power of the mind and its ability to alter reality.

 

So, what’s my point here as I ramble on (Gosh I wrote a lot here!). As I always say, as do others, your past does not equal your future – unless you let it. Learn the lessons of the past, but don’t live there. Try to understand that what happened in the past was both shaped by your perceptions, as well as how you reacted to those perceptions, and in the end has helped make you who you are today. If you don’t like who that person is now, you can change it. It’s never too late, just take it step-by-step, small changes, 1 Degree of Difference from what you are doing right now (hmmm, I feel like I’ve heard that before).

 

Seek and ye shall find. If you look for the negative things in the past (and present) you will find them. How about looking for the good things instead? Guess what, just take an honest look around and you will find them. Instead of looking for all the bad things people have done or said to you in the past, how about looking for the good. They’re both there, you just have to learn to see it.

 

And lastly, just let it go!!! You can’t be here, right now, if your head is there, back then! I am looking back at the photos from last weekend and beyond, pictures with my friends Yank, Mike, Lee, Dolores, Tony, Helen, The G-Man, and all the others I couldn’t possibly mention in this post and am filled with happiness. I look around at my family, Chris, James, Kerri, Elissa, Bob, and everyone else and am filled with a feeling of love and appreciation. I look at my parents, Mom and Dad, and am proud of what they did, and how they helped make me into the person I am today. But none of this is possible, if I don’t let go of the past, focus on the negatives, and don’t choose to be positive and move forward.

 

No, I am not always outstanding. Life is not one emotion, it is a potpourri of many, that come and go like sunrise and sunset. It can bask you in its sunny warmth, or drench you in it’s torrential downpours; but in the end, it is all about perspectives and how you choose to look at it, and for me – I appreciate a good storm now!

 

Come to think about it now – YES, I AM OUTSTANDING!!! Thank you all for listening (well, actually reading) and letting me “mind-dump”. Thank you for your follows and likes, and most of all, thank you for sharing in my journey and being a part of my world! Remember, we’re all in this togther

 

 



The Sounds Of Silence


When was the last time you didn’t think about anything?

When is the last time you were able to just “be present”?

If you had to still your mind for 10, 15, 30 seconds – could you?

For today, I want to share a video of a presentation I did for a local group regarding Mindful Meditation, but more importantly perhaps getting you to realize just how out of control our minds can actually be – without our ever realizing it.

 

Here’s the video link: 

The Sounds Of Silence

 

Enjoy, and as always, let me know what you think. I truly appreciate your comments 🙂

Have an outstanding day!



Luckiest Day of the Year!!!


It’s Friday The 13th!!!

When I say that, what comes right to mind?

Most people, when I say that, get visions of black cats, bad luck, and blown plans. Everything that goes wrong, or just not the way we wanted,is blamed on this day. Every traffic light we hit, every failed project, lost key, argument, etc… all comes to fruition because of this day.

Boy, it it were up to me, I would just eliminate it from the calendar, I mean, if it weren’t on the calendar, it would be like every other day, wouldn’t it?

If it were like every other day, we wouldn’t even think about bad luck, we wouldn’t have something to blame for everything that didn’t go the way we planned, and we wouldn’t spend our day looking for (and perhaps expecting) things to not work out.

What better day to talk about, and consider how our minds and ego can manipulate and control how we view the world, how we react to the things around us, and ultimately impact the path and results we take and get.

What is the difference between Friday the 13th, and Thursday the 12th, or Saturday the 14th? Other than the physical date, and perhaps the weather, it’s a day like every other, but it is a day many people CHOOSE to focus on what can and will go wrong; and guess what? If you focus on what can and will go wrong – chances are it will.

As I have said on other recent posts; Seek and Ye Shall Find. If you go out looking for something, your mind will look for it, and your ego will translate everything it possible can to justify what your mind is looking for and will do so – even if what your seeing is not actually there. You see- here is the secret….We create our own realities!

Our realities are based upon what we are focused on. With that in mind, choose what you focus on carefully. DO you focus on empowering things and thoughts that encourage good things to happen? Or do you focus on limiting beliefs, what is not possible, or the bad things that can happen?

Choose something simple, and spend a day looking for it, and take notice of what you see at the end of the day. I think in the end, you will see things just a little differently, perhaps its only 1 Degree of Difference from what you were focused on originally, but its a new focus, a new perspective, and the first step towards creating the reality you aspire to. Look beyond the smoke and mirrors and see what’s really there, and I think you will find that what it is you are looking for, has been there all along. It was just waiting for you to notice it.

Have an OUTSTANDING 13th!!!