Are you Plugged In!!

Ever have that strange feeling that you’re plugged into the Universe?

You have a thought, then you find out others are thinking it too?

You think about someone and then they call you?

Ever since I’ve beenThe Daily Love following The Daily Love (thank you, you know who you are) I’ve felt more plugged in. Many of the times I write a new post, my inspiration comes from reading a post on there. Well today’s no different. I was taking a break to write in my journal, yup I said I have a journal, don’t judge; then again if you do I don’t care.  Ok let me stay on topic before I go off on a weird tangent. I read an article titled Weird Relationships and Loving what is by Liz DiAlto that was aligned with what I had just written in my journal. One of the lines she said that got me thinking was:

How can I love you all exactly as you are, be there for you in the moments we share and let you go when we hang up the phone, close out emails, and log off Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?


 

I had previously seen somewhere that it’s a good practice to be able to tap into your emotions, come to think of it I had probably read that on the Daily Love too. In another entry a few days ago I had made a note to be conscious of my inner feelings and emotions, to allow myself to feel. Instead of taking my emotions as invalid, to take them as an indicator of what’s going on inside my body. In that entry I also talked about allowing myself to take credit for things I do well, and to not admonish myself too badly for the things I don’t do well. In a way I wanted to use positive thought to put myself in a better state. If memory serves me right, that was learning to focus on positive reinforcement, instead of the negative voice in your head. I already have an EGO that tries to make me think little of myself (in this instance the EGO is the small voice who tells you you can’t …)

This train of thought followed up my previous post about Going All In, to give my work, life and relationships my all. To recognize that everything I do will require work, there’s no easy button to get the outcomes I desire.

In essence, by learning to plug into what I’m feeling, I can be more honest with myself. Instead of pushing certain emotions to the back of my mind because they don’t confirm to a certain view. Learn to listen to them, after-all those emotions are how my heart feels. Although I’m talking about tapping into my emotions, what I’m not saying is to be like a flag in the wind, to be blown to an fro with every slight breeze. By incorporating aspects of my mantra, 1. Don’t take things personally 2. Don’t make assumptions 3. Always do my best. This also allows me to also tap into what others around me are doing.

From the Article  Weird Relationships and Loving what is by Liz DiAlto, if for some reason you didn’t follow that link, here are her strategies:

1. Stop judging how we feel by first allowing ourselves to feel it instead of pretending we don’t. There is no should or should not when it comes to feeling – it’s all valid.

2. Notice the difference between OUR FEELINGS and the way other people’s reactions to our business make us feel. Meaning, if you feel something that isn’t “normal” or “common” by societal or cultural standards – don’t let the reaction of others make you feel wrong. Again, there is no right or wrong when it comes to feeling.

3. Communicate openly and freely, remembering that the true connections in our lives will make it through honesty and openness, in fact they will thrive in this kind of environment.

Life is complicated, I hope this brings some peace and clarity to the muddiness. I hope this finds everyone in good spirits, and if you’re not perhaps this could be a light in your dark day. After-all even a dim candle makes a difference in a dark room, don’t credit me for that one, I’m pretty sure someone much smarter first said it.

Plugged In

 

Is it a Good idea to push the Easy Button!!

Easy Button

 

I’ve been on a particular theme for the past few weeks now, and it seems it’s not time to let go of it just quite yet. It’s the notion that I have to be willing to put in the work to reap the benefits. Not surprising the sermon from church added a few more layers to my flow of thoughts.

Have you ever been in a challenge that was so tough you didn’t think you could get through it on your own, and you finally asked “God please help get me through this!” But to your dismay the problem still persisted, and in some cases it got worse before it was finally over? It left you feeling drained and completely exhausted, do you find yourself asking how come you still had to go through the problem. So a few questions for you to consider, because for me I think it’s a matter of perspective. When faced with challenges, do you believe that they are there to cause you to fail? Do you believe that sometimes you face challenges because it’s building you up for something greater to come? When you asked for help to get through the problem, did you actually want to get THROUGH it or AROUND it.

Dictionary.com defines through as: in at one end, side, or surface and out at the other; from one to the other of; over the surface of, by way of, or within the limits or medium of.

For a Biblical perspective, we read in Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;  when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. – ESV

Sometimes if we’re not clear of our intentions it’s easy to have a misunderstanding. From the 2 references alone above, we see that getting through a challenge means that the challenge will persist, but you will survive. In contrast going around something means that we avoid it completely. When we ask to get through a challenge, do we actually mean we’d like to get around it? I know that with myself included what I’d like to do is get around the challenge, but also gain all the benefits as if I had endured it. Do you find that you sometimes adopt this philosophy too?

For me with every new challenge I face, it’s my belief that it’s preparing me for something, or perhaps there’s a lesson to be learnt, we just have to be open to it. In the past week I feel that I’ve increased my overall satisfaction and happiness with my life because I changed my perspective.

  1. I’ve stopped looking for the Perfect … I’m learning to embrace what’s actually in-front of me. If it’s something I don’t like, then move on to something else. Don’t get too hung up on what I don’t have.
  2. Understand that if I desire something specific, that I will have to work to get it.
  3. Remember that sometimes things don’t happen in my timing. Take for example the universe, I know there is debate about how long it took to create it depending on who you talk to; but it took time to make everything we see. Sometimes things may not come when I expect them to.
  4. Everything happens in due time. You don’t learn how to ride a bike the very first time you get on. It takes time patience and practice. If I want to become an expert, I can’t expect to do so without putting in a lot of time and devotion.
  5. Recognizing that I will always have support and guidance, I just have to be willing to accept it. No matter the obstacle, I have faith that if I’m to overcome it, I will have the help I need. Sometimes some challenges aren’t meant to be conquered, they are supposed to humble us.  

Life is messy and complicated, the future isn’t guaranteed, but what is guaranteed is that there will be challenges. We live in a world of opposites, having a positive attitude doesn’t mean you won’t have a negative attitude from time to time. Similarly once you find happiness, it doesn’t means that you can’t be in despair or pain anymore. Remembering that helps you to get in the right frame of mind, to know that things will always get better. As someone who writes, I see so many stories of others who have chosen to not let bad things effect them. I read a story last night about a young woman named Sara, here’s The Story of Sara Fry. Sara has transcended her illness and is literally living life to the fullest, if anone has the right to complain, it’s Sara. Yet she is choosing to not let an illness stop her from Living, we should all take a page from Sara’s life.

If I could be granted one wish in life, perhaps it should be to have courage like Sara Fry.

 

 

You have to Work Hard first, then you can hope for Success!

Hard Work

I always seem to hear inspiring thoughts and quotes from many people around me. For some time now I’ve been getting this feeling that I could be doing more than what I am now. People around me keep telling me I shouldn’t discount what I’ve already accomplished, but still I feel I should have more. I wrote about this in a previous post, how the pressure from my family and background has left me feeling like I should have accomplished more in my life. You can find my previous post here: “Taking a Stand to find my Happiness. I was browsing Facebook yesterday and came across a post where Mike Rowe, the guy from Dirty Jobs and various Ford Trucks commercials, answered a few questions from a fan about finding the right career. The fan seemed to have a question most of us can identify with, how do you find the right career, take a look at the full response: “A Fan Asks Mike Rowe For Life Advice…”

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Mike RoweGet yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.
Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you. Good luck – Mike Rowe

This last part of Mike’s comments really got me thinking, perhaps this is part of what I’m experiencing. Success seems like such a loaded term, but in today’s age of things being fast and instant, could the idea of “Delayed Gratification” be a lost life skill? I want to find success now, but do I have to put in the hard work too? Why can’t life just give me what I want? I’ve been here long enough, I deserve to get what I want! I want to put in as little work as possible and reap the max rewards, I’m entitled to that am I not? Ok so I’m being facetious about all those things, but it’s still a hint of truth behind it, I want to do as little work as possible but still expect or even feel entitled to get more than I’ve put into it.

Here are my takeaways after reading that article about how to find a perfect career:

  • Success isn’t’ about the perfect … landing in your lap. Sure there are stories out there about someone finding the perfect job after just a short search. But those stories are the exception not the rule. Success for most people comes after long years of hard work, so if you want to reap the benefits, you’ll have to endure the time it takes to plant the seed, watch it grow, nurture it, and then wait for it to bloom.
  • In life the reality is that anyone who has something good, has worked hard, very hard for it. Whether that’s a relationship, a job, or just life itself. An ex-girlfriend told me once “sometimes you don’t find the perfect person, but someone who’s willing to put in the work, to make it work.” Now what I’m not saying is that you stay in a situation that is completely wrong for you. Instead find something that works, something that with time and the right resources will eventually turn into what you’re looking for. Princes and Princesses only exist in Disney Movies, and for those select few who are Lucky, they’ll find the perfect match. Perhaps that’s why it’s called “Luck” not everyone has it. So don’t look for the perfect … instead find the one that has potential to turn into something that’s great. Ok now I hear what you’re saying, sorry it took so long to sink in.
  • Life is a mix of working with what you have, and putting in the work to get what you want. There are people that say “I’m a screw up, I’m not good enough…, I’ll never achieve …” That’s a lie they tell themselves so they can remain in that state. As humans it’s in our nature to constantly improve and work on both things and ourselves. If this wasn’t’ true, we would not have evolved, and there won’t be a new craze or device to do things bigger, better, faster. Self improvement is part of our DNA, so if there is something we’d like to improve about ourselves, we’ll have to put in the work to accomplish it.
  • It’s easy not to put in the work when faced with a challenge. So what if you face a new challenge, do something about it. Although success is relative, meaning that each person has a different definition of success. Successful people do have one thing in common, they worked hard, and with time and lots of hard work, they were able to accomplish their goal. So if I’m to be successful I’ll have to put in the work, that’s whether it’s my career or my relationships, I’ll have to work hard to get the kind of future I desire.
  • Despite what I learnt for this article, I still believe one thing though, sometimes some things aren’t meant to be accomplished. Sometimes challenges are meant to show us that we have limits, and they humble us. Although we’d like to keep people in our lives, some people are only here for a season. Sometimes some people and jobs aren’t right for our soul, they will only bring us heart-ache, and those are the ones we have to learn to let go of.

Although this doesn’t radically change my view of life, it has made me think about the way I approach certain things, especially a career. For some time now I’ve questioned whether I’ve actually put in the work, or am I just thinking that I’m entitled to certain things. I’m not completely convinced that I haven’t been guilty of just sitting back, and hoping that something will fall in my lap; feelings of entitlement have made me lazy.

What about you, how would putting in the work change the way you look at your life and relationships?

Would that radically change your life, or is it the slight course correction you were looking for?

He is Risen!

Jesus is Risen

 I was planning to spend the day perhaps at the beach, going out and being out and about. Unfortunately I’ve had a long few days and I’m tired. While others are out enjoying Easter I’m recovering from my long week. All’s not lost, because as I sit here I started thinking about Easter, and the message I heard in Church yesterday. While I generally don’t lift entire parts from the Church message, I’ll make an exception this time, the academic in me is screaming plagiarism.

As I was thinking about the Easter holiday, I wonder how many people are celebrating it as the resurrection of Christ? Why is it now about Eggs, and Bunnies? The answer to those questions takes me to a place where I wanted to examine the Historical references of Fed-ex truckJesus and his life. There is a central point here, while there’s large disagreement among historians, they all seem to agree on a few facts. They agree that Jesus of Nazareth was real, and he was crucified. Where they depart is the resurrection, and that’s a central part of the Christian faith. Without the resurrection, we’re not redeemed, and our sins aren’t forgiven. If Jesus didn’t die for our sins, and wasn’t resurrected the third day, then our faith is a lie. It’s interesting though, historians don’t disagree that his body can’t be found, they disagree that he was resurrected. That’s interesting to me, it reminds me of that old saying, “seeing is believing.” If I told you there was a hidden sign in the Fed-Ex symbol, would you believe me. Have you ever seen the arrow on the Fed-Ex truck? Belief is one of those amazing things, once you see it and believe it’s there, it’s hard to un-see it. That’s how I feel about my faith, I’ve seen God in my life and I believe he’s there, and now it’s hard to un-see him. For those who don’t believe there is a God, it’s mostly because they don’t see him. In the case of the sign on the Fed-ex truck not because you don’t see it means it’s not real, trust me it’s there and it’s obvious to me, but not because you don’t see it means it’s not real.

So why was the message from church so profound? For a reference read Luke 24: 13-34, it’s the story of Jesus on the road to Emmaus with a few of his disciples. This story took place the day after his resurrection. Just like the example of the Fed-ex truck, his disciples who should have obviously known him, didn’t recognize him. As my Pastor Steve summarized, there could be a few reasons for this:

  1. Heading the Wrong Direction (verse 13): When you’re focused on sin and the carnal desires of our human nature, it’s hard to see God in everyday situations. Sometimes even when he’s right in front of us, if sin is our central focus in life, it’s hard to see God.
  2. Consumed with our Lives (verse 17): Sometimes life is busy, with work, family, bills, kids sports practices etc. Life gets too busy and God becomes secondary. Life is complicated and we inadvertently forget to put God first.
  3. Personal Agenda for God (verse 21): Do you pray for God’s will in your life, or do you go to him with a list of demands praying “Ok God make this happen.” Are our lives modeled after God’s plan for us, or is it OUR plan for what God should do in our lives?

This story is a great example of perhaps why it’s impossible for everyone to see God. There’s historical evidence for his life, Science and medicine has thought us more about the conditions surrounding his death. While there is still skepticism about whether he actually died, if you examine the evidence for yourself, common sense tells you it’s impossible to survive such torture. What you’re lift with is the truth, and some people see that and refuse to believe.

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. Only a fool despises a parent’s  discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise – Proverbs 15:2;5

Another way of seeing that passage is to think of it this way:

  • A wise person hears the truth and adjusts their behavior: Presented with the historical and biblical evidence for Jesus, they choose to believe that he’s real, and they adjust their behavior. They stop living a life of sin, they live a life that is according to the bible, and they’re intrinsically motivated to do it. They choose to live a life that’s not filled with sinful desires. Additionally I find it interesting that there are secular laws also pointing that some of the sinful acts noted in the bible, are harmful to human coexistence.
  • A foolish person hears the truth and adjust the truth to their behavior: When presented with the same evidence, dismisses it, not because they don’t believe it, but because it doesn’t support the life they already follow. Take for example living a life of partying and drinking, drugs, sex and all other desires. Some may hear that the bible strongly prohibits that kind of lifestyle, so they choose not to believe, why because they’ll have to stop that life. It’s interesting take any celebrity that has embraced the life of partying, sex, drugs and the likes. Even society thinks they’re on the wrong road.

So as you spend this Easter Holiday, are you celebrating it by hunting for Easter Eggs, or are you embracing that Jesus is real. Are you believing that he died on the cross for our sins, and that he was resurrected! Since historians don’t disagree that Jesus lived and suffered, then WHY would anyone endure this torture. As a side note think about the beating he received, and what it would be like to be crucified, it’s a brutal scene. Sorry hope I didn’t ruin our Easter meal.

Seeing is believing

As one Season ends, so another begins!

Starts and Finish

I started to do something different before bed this past month, I’ve started to let music play as I slowly drift into sleep. Aside from being relaxing it’s a good way to calm my mind, and to shift my thought to other things. As I was slowly drifting off last night the DJ was talking about something that made me sit up and listen more closely. I’m paraphrasing here,Life is a constant cycle, death doesn’t mean the end, even the seasons change, so we should learn to acknowledge that some of the struggles in our life will change to triumphs.  As I said it made me sit up, because she was right, although life is sometimes a struggle, in most cases it’s not a perpetual struggle.

Death doesn’t necessarily mean the end, sometimes in their death people can also bring us amazing stories that are the catalyst forWinter to Spring change. Take nature for example, the death of a plant sometimes means it’s a chance for re-birth. A plant may die, but then it’s seed is reborn into another plant. Or perhaps the winter is brutal, and is the coldest in history, but eventually comes the Spring, and flowers bloom again. I feel that this represents the constant struggle many of us face in our daily lives. Sometimes situations are so brutal or heartbreaking, but eventually the Spring comes, eventually there’s a new beginning. This past year has been interesting for relationships, I’ve seen many relationships around me end, and I’ve even ended one myself. As one relationship dies, we emerge as a new person on the other side. Just as the old plant died off, and a new plant emerged, it’s got some of the old characteristics, but it’s also a plant that’s different. Our past relationships are not who we are anymore, we’ve learnt great lessons from them, and the parts of us we don’t like, have now been transformed into a new creation.

As the weather gets better, I see people starting new relationship, a part of me is jealous, but then I realize something important too. Life is about living, it’s about going out and being bold, and not being afraid to fall on your face. It’s also about having the right people around you; it’s about having the right people on the bus. So while Spring is in the air, and new love and relationships are being sparked, I commend those with the courage to step back out there. Those who are bold and are willing to be vulnerable, often are the ones who get to experience true happiness. There’s a certain kind of confidence that’s attractive about someone who’s not afraid to live. When you’re not afraid to explore, to make mistakes and find new adventures. There’s something about you that makes others want to be like you.

Life Elbert HubbardI like that quote because it gets at the larger point of my message, no matter what you’re facing, something else will come after that. It’s up to you what happens next. As life throws you hurdles, will you let them crush you, or will you step over them and continue to move. One of the valuable lessons I’ve learnt this past year is to continue to move forward. Of-course life is sometimes hard, but those who are truly happy have figured out that it’s not about what life throws you, it’s what you do with it after it slaps you upside the face. Here are some tips I’ve learnt form “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz:

  1. I will be Impeccable with my word– I’ll use my words to speak truth and to build people up. I will not use my word to speak lies or bad things to myself or others.
  2. Don’t take things personally- I will not let the things others do effect my behavior, especially negative things. Recognize that sometimes others are hurting, and they project that hurt onto me. So that’s why it’s especially important to not take every single action from others as a hit against me personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions- There’s an old saying “when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me. Misunderstanding are a central part of life, we all see life through various lenses, it’s inevitable that we will sometimes not see things the same way. That’s why it’s very important to ask questions, if you’re not sure of someone’s intentions, ask them what they meant. If someone says or does something that’s hurtful, tell them, it’s very likely that they didn’t even know they hurt you.
  4. Always do my BEST– Life is hard, and some days you’re not at your best. Learning to accept my limits and recognize that I have them free’s me from blame. When I say doing my best, I mean doing the best that I’m capable of. So if today I feel like laying in bed all day because I’m tired, that’s ok take the rest. When I’m rejuvenated tomorrow, then I’ll have the energy to do more, rather than doing 10% today and maybe 30% tomorrow; instead I’ll have the energy to give 100% tomorrow.

Tomorrow starts a new day, how will you define tomorrow? Are you still thinking about yesterday, is it stopping you from going out and living? Yesterday may have been a brutal winter, but eventually the spring will come. Don’t let your past define you, learn from your mistakes, and let them transform you into a new creation. As we celebrate Easter this weekend, I know that not everyone is religious, but Easter isn’t about Easter Eggs! It’s a celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Even if you’re not religious or believe in God, there can be a valuable lesson to learn there. Death doesn’t have to be that, it’s also an opportunity for re-birth, for the resurrection of a new creation. So how will you be re-born, how will you change from one season to the next? Life is about living, let’s all go out and live tomorrow.