20May 2015

We are all pushed everyday. We are either pushed by external forces (bosses, spouses, peer groups, etc.) or by internal forces (our beliefs, morals, boundaries, etc.) These forces tend to define our world and decide the world in which we live.

If you are a citizen of the United States that does not sound like living in the land of the free does it? Where in the equation is our freedom exercised?

A lot of people would say that the freedom comes in the choices we make. We choose to accept that specific job, we choose to marry our partner, we choose whom we hang out with. Conversely we choose our beliefs, we choose our morals, and we set our own boundaries.

But is that the real truth? Is that where our freedom lies?

I don’t believe it is. Freedom doesn’t come from making choices that fit within the social paradigm (for external choices) and the majority, if not all, of our morals and beliefs stem from what we were taught as children. That is not much of a choice at all.

So there we stand day in and day out being pushed in different directions by forces we were truly free to choose. That’s why you are at home on Sunday at 7 o’clock and your throat gets tight as you start to think about work the next day. That’s why you get that pit in your stomach when you do something your Father wouldn’t approve of.

When you are not capable of freely expressing yourself and plotting your own course your body will tighten up and it will resist. It will make you worry, get you sick or just in general stress you out. Long story short it breeds a gnawing feeling of frustration that you cannot shake. No matter how many raises you get or how great your life looks on paper.

You’re out of balance and out of control and being pushed down a path you didn’t truly choose.

freedom

So what do you do? How can you counteract these feelings? It’s simple and totally counter-intuitive advice… but the key is you need to stop resisting.

Imagine the external and internal forces I described are the rushing water of a river. Anything that tries to resist a river eventually erodes, that’s why river banks widen and rough rocks slowly become smooth and round. The more you try to fight the current the more you slowly get beaten up.

Instead you need to go with the flow and let the river take you downstream and eventually the river will fork and you can choose a new path. When life is overwhelming you the instant response is to CHANGE EVERYTHING and you just want to make this monumental shift but that is too hard and you can’t accomplish it. Sure you may try for a little while and fight it but eventually you’ll give up because it was just too hard a task.

What you need to do is say to yourself “Ok, this sucks and is totally not what I want but I can’t do it all at once” once you admit that it will take time you can begin to make small course corrections. Making tiny decision after tiny decision to alter your course then when the opportunity presents itself you will be able to change your path completely.

If you adopt this mentality you will start becoming aware of when those moments of resistance appear. Allowing you the opportunity to actively make a choice not to fight it and adjust accordingly. It is the subtle moments in life paired with the right action that will bring you where you truly wish to go.

Life is every changing and it rolls on and on. If you try to fight with life you’ll never be happy and you’ll never be in control of where you are going. If you embrace it and go with the flow you’ll start looking out at the horizon and see all the different paths you can take along the way.

12May 2015

This week’s quote of the week comes from William Daniel’s character Mr. Feeny in the final episode of Boy Meets World who said…

Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do Good

Since I first heard that quote it became one of my life mantras. It instantly resonated with me and seared itself upon my heart.

Until recently though I never truly understood why, in the past year or so though I have really come to understand what that quote represents to me personally. It relates to my purpose in this world which is to help people find out who they truly are and allow them to dream. Continue reading

06May 2015

How do you share your story with the world?

An intensely personal question, without doubt, but one I struggle with regularly. 2015 has been a crazy year from unexpected surgeries, a falling out with a close friend, brutal weather and most importantly my search for purpose.

All of the things I mentioned above brought about some intense soul searching and delving into my past. It involved talking to countless friends and sharing snippets of my story with them. The past ten days I’ve shared the full story with a couple of people and the response I received was incredible. Continue reading

04May 2015

This week’s quote of the week comes from author and Professor of Psychology at the University of California- Riverside, Sonya Lyubomirsky who said…

All that is required to become an optimist is to have the goal and to practice it. The more you rehearse optimistic thoughts, the more ‘natural’ and ‘ingrained’ they will become. With time they will be part of you, and you will have made yourself into an altogether different person.

I choose this quote because it represents my life experience. In 2010 I was at the end of the line, my world was spinning out of control and I was consumed day in and day out with negative thoughts.  Continue reading

29Apr 2015

Like the steady cadence of a row master’s drum would push ancient Phoenician rowers to power their trireme through the waters of the ancient Mediterranean sea, our words will power and push us throughout are lives.

They are a very powerful tool. Words spoken, written, or thought can shape the very core of who we are, what we stand for and how we stand for it.

Without them we would be silent to the world.

Without them we wouldn’t be able to think our thoughts

Without them all expression would dissipate from this world like fog on a mirror.

There is no doubt in my mind that words are one of the most important parts of human existence. They shape everything yet quite frequently we don’t use them properly.

We may so too much, say too little, say what we don’t mean, say what we do mean at the wrong time or in those really grand moments say the perfect thing at the perfect time to the perfect person. But that is just what is said out loud. The spoken word in and of itself can end friendships, spark relationships, incite countries to war or begin a civil rights movement.

Whew… that is a lot of power!!!

For just some itty bitty words? 

If words can transform the world in that way, if they can alter the entire landscape of a country, a relationship… what can they do to you? On the inside?

Because for every word we speak… there are hundreds or thousands of words thought. Our minds are constantly running verbalizing things that only we can hear. The words we think force us into action or inaction. Those words can bring us up or tear us down.

Unlike the spoken word, which can be stopped mid-sentence, or deleted from the internet, or pulled down from YouTube, the words in our heads don’t stop. In fact they typically repeat!

We form mantras and beliefs that will run over and over again whenever we encounter certain situations. Those mantras control our feelings and our emotions. They make us happy or sad, positive or negative, angry or blissful.

Words… mere words…

So what are we to do? We can’t stop thinking, we can’t stop speaking. That would mean we are dead!!!

What we can do is be mindful of them. Correct our inner monologue. Cut out the words that hurt us, the mantras the hold us back and replace them with the opposite.

The wars that a spoken word can cause pale in comparison to the wars that rage within our own bodies. There isn’t a person here who hasn’t felt the vitriol of their own negative self-talk.

It can be crushing but it can be fixed. I was the victim of it, for years. It got to the point where I was so depressed I thought my life was completely valueless. All because of the words I was speaking to myself and the words I was speaking to others.

It had to stop. I had to stop. So I decided to change. I reached a point in my life where I knew I could either go on “living” the way I had (which wasn’t living at all) or I could say “ENOUGH! NO MORE!” and become someone else.

So that’s what I did. One morning at a time and one Tweet at a time. That’s how I changed my words. Everyday for one year I would wake up, clap my hands and proclaim “TODAY IS A GREAT DAY” and then I would tweet a positive message out into the world.

That’s it that is all I did for one year but it built something with in me. It built a foundation of positivity to create a new life upon. With those two small actions every morning I became a positive person. I quieted the negative self-talk and BELIEVED the positive self-talk.

It was as if I was an 8 year old kid and had woken up in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory… the world around me was now delicious and bright. It was a magical place full of wonder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words are powerful… they can start wars, they can end wars.

For me… 5 spoken words and 140 written characters every morning saved my life.

What are your words doing to you?

22Apr 2015

Last night my favorite band, Yellowcard, was in town. I’m obsessed with this band and their music, pretty much every song, just speaks to me. They’ve been around for 15 years and there is hardly a week that goes by where I’m not listening to their albums. Suffice it to say I eagerly anticipate whenever they are touring and when I found out months ago they were coming to my city… I was on those tickets faster than Speedy Gonzalez. 

Moments

This was my 6th time seeing them live and every time they melt my face off with just a purely awesome show. Last night they didn’t disappoint. I got lost in the music and the noise and the atmosphere. One of my closest friends on the planet came in from California this week and went to the show with me. So everything was aligned for a good night, a good memory, a kick ass concert… all of that makes for one of life’s great “moments”.

What I have found from attending Yellowcard is this presence of self. Everything in my life focuses down to just that moment, with the band on stage, a friend by your side and your emotions being evoked by some of the greatest lyrics ever written (in my biased opinion!) When I attend these shows all my problems fade away, I don’t worry about waking up for work tomorrow, I don’t worry about my medical bills, my student loans, my family or any other issues going on in my life. 

All there was is me listening to the concert, fully present in what was happening in THAT moment. The feelings that make me feel alive RIGHT THEN. Its perfection, nothing else that has happened or will happen to you matters. You just have that very moment. THAT is what life needs to be about.

Living YOUR moments. Taking every single day and making sure you are doing or feeling something that makes everything else fade away. 

Now it’s easy to pinpoint concerts or the first kiss with your boyfriend or girlfriend, your child’s first steps, etc. as moments where everything else fades away. I use my concert as an easy example to show the feelings and emotions behind moments. 

The truth is that every single day, if you start to pay attention to it, you can find moments that make you come alive. If you can’t find them… you can start to make them! Take your passions, take your loved ones, take anything that really matters to you and incorporate it into your daily life. 

It doesn’t have to be a big grand gesture either. There is a great story Randy Pausch tells in his book, the Last Lecture. If you don’t know who Randy Pausch is he was a college professor who was dying from terminal cancer. He knew he only had a certain amount of time left to live and he dedicated it to spending it with his family, not worrying about trivial things (such as receiving the correct change), and spreading his message before he passed away.

In the book he told about a time when he was driving in his convertible, late stages in his cancer, and a song he loved came on so he just started belting it as loud as he could and rocking out, fully losing himself for those few minutes. He was by himself, not a single other soul around. As he was singing a friend of his happened to pass him and see him with this giant smile on his face, head bobbing to the music, wind blowing in his hair and enjoying his life to the fullest.

This friend knew that Randy was dying and when she saw got home she emailed him to tell him how amazing it was to see him so happy when he was facing so much adversity. Randy was really moved by this and yes his battle with cancer was a struggle and sometimes you have to put on a brave front. But this friend had caught him in what he called “an unguarded moment”  where she saw him as he is, a fun loving happy man, even in the face of terminal cancer. 

That’s the message I want you to take out of this post…

LIVE YOUR MOMENTS

You never know what may come down the road, and what has happened in the past is gone. Focus on the moment and enjoy it. LIVE IT to the fullest.

Be Happy!

Be Love!

Be YOU!

Life is too short for anything else!