Monday, March 08, 2010
Steve was orphaned at birth. He spent the first eighteen years of his life in orphans homes. At age eighteen he joined the Navy. After four years in the Navy, Steve used the G.I Bill to become a gemologist or as we call them, a jeweler. Steve lead a comfortable life in a major Midwestern city until the day Sadie called.
Sadie was one of Steve’s “high end customers.” After forty years of marriage Sadie and her husband were getting a divorce. Sadie had caught her husband in the back seat of their Lincoln with a young lady of questionable virtue and a significant amount of marijuana. In the divorce settlement Sadie was now the proud owner of an industrial manufacturing company. She didn’t know anything about running a company nor did she want to. So she called the only person she really trusted, her jeweler.
Sadie’s instructions were clear. Get the place ready to sell. Since her husband’s interests lied elsewhere for the past five years or so things weren’t in great shape. Steve, by his own admission, didn’t have a clue. He was a jeweler.
He told me years later that he tried very hard to employ basic common sense. Apparently it worked. Eighteen months after taking over the company was showing a profit and all of a sudden Sadie didn’t mind owning a manufacturing company.
I asked Steve one time what motivated him and he shared with me that his life was a series of challenges and just as soon as he would deal with one challenge another would pop up. He had no family, no real friends when he was growing up.
He opened his desk drawer, smiled at me and pulled out a sheet of paper.
“I found this when I was in seventh grade. I am not sure who wrote it but you can keep it. I have plenty more.” He said.
A copy is hanging on my office wall. I have sent it to countless friends over the years. I share it with you this morning because it seems so appropriate in our journey towards health.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will.
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill.
When the funds are low, and the debts are high.
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns.
As every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about.
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow.
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you can never tell how close you are.
It maybe near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit.
It's when things seem worst
That you must not quit!
Steve has been dead for close to five years, but I wont ever forget his lesson. Have a good Monday
Sunday, March 07, 2010
I decided to change my workout music yesterday. I was getting tired of listening to the same stuff. It’s not that the music is bad but when you have 1,256 songs on your IPod you can choose from a wide selection. So as I am walking around the track I decided to go old school --- Kansas. I had always liked their music and it has a good beat. Maybe it was where I was emotionally yesterday but the words to the first song, The Wall, caused me to literally stop in my tracks. It went something like this:
“I'm woven in a fantasy, I can't believe the things I see
The path that I have chosen now has led me to a wall
And with each passing day I feel a little more like something dear was lost
It rises now before me, a dark and silent barrier between
All I am and all that I would ever want to be”
Okay, so I am not your average run of the mill, sweating to the oldies sort of guy. I’ll bet I have heard that song a hundred times and never really listened to it. And please don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about gloom and doom. Quite the contrary. As I finished my exercise here is what I came up with, and it caused me to smile.
If you had told me a year ago that a forty five pound weight loss would be number four or five on the list of things I was proudest of I would have suggested you go get drug screened. I am very happy with my progress, so far. I am happier about the person I am becoming. I am becoming John. I am slowly, but surely getting rid of those things that are keeping me from being and doing all the great things I want to do. I believe my self awareness is what is driving my healthier life style. I have always believed in this but I never knew how to put it all together. But as I listened to the song a few times I realized that there was this wall between” All I am and all that I ever want to be.”
No blame. That’s hard not to do. I have to let go of the blame and I have to realize that things were as they were just as they are now as they are. No one is too blame for being unhealthy other than me. No ones to blame for poor habits
other than me. No one is too blame for all the excuses, except me. There is a wall.
I went to church last night and I thanked God, for that minor revelation. I saw, as I prayed “What I needed to do.” Or so I think.
Just about that time my inner voice spoke four words: “A Moment of Faith.” Between me and you I hate it when that happens.
The wall comes down during that one moment of faith when I made the choice to just have faith just let go. It was God saying “Give it all to me John. You can’t handle all of it anyway.’
Inside of me there was this uncomfortable silence. I had always thought an entire host of angels, saints and assorted holy people would show up at this moment and cheer. Instead it sat before me, a decision. I heard this voice tell me I was loved no matter what.
“All I am and all that I would ever want to be”
So I let go. It is really hard for me to explain the next few minutes. I felt this tremendous sense of release along with this awesome feeling of awe. I just sat there and it was like everything was okay. Then I got scared to death. Then I started crying. Joan is used to me crying so she just patted my arm. The lady on the other side of me probably finished Mass in the next county.
I am not the rose colored glasses type of person. I am not trying to make this all sweet and surgery. It was inside of me another moment of awareness and peace. Without being disrespectful it was a holy moment.
I offer this to you not as a “Look at me aren’t I wonderful sort of moment.” I offer it as a sign that no matter what happens, no matter how often we stumble fall or fail, that one moment of faith can sustain us for a long time. I was faced with a decision. I want to be healthy and happy and I want to help other people do the same. I will never be perfect but as I learn to use my gifts and talents, I can become a ray of hope to others
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Before I write this morning post I want to stop and thank those of you who posted responses to my blog on healing yesterday. It is my normal practice to respond individually to each person with a short note. However, lol, I did not get home from my trip last night until close to 8pm and I was tired. So please accept this universal thanks for all of your support, your comments and especially your love.
Sometimes I think I would rather feel just plain old miserable as opposed to feeling “off.” As I said yesterday I hadn’t been with Karen for awhile and while I wasn’t really anxious, I wasn’t my usual confident self. You might say I loathed what I thought might happen. At any rate, things got worse before they got better. When I walked into the office yesterday, Karen’s secretary commented on how good I looked, wanted to know what I was doing to lose weight. I told her how much weight I had lost and she did a sort of fist pump and said “Go John.”
Karen was standing in her office door and made a scowling motion with her face. Her secretary looked at me and whispered, “Sorry!!!” I took a bit of consolation in the fact that I am not the only person Karen has a hard time getting along with.
I am not sure what I was expecting to happen yesterday. My goal was to get through the day civilly. I had this nagging feeling inside of me that there was something here I was supposed to learn. I was just missing it.
I had lunch with one of Karen’s coworkers. He and I hadn’t talked in a long time. He lost a family member recently and is going through some serious health issues. He told me once that outside of his family I know more about him than anyone else. So as we sat and ate our lunch, he just let everything spill out. As I listened to him I began to think. “How damn selfish you are, John.”
I mean, I am worried about some very small and petty ongoing argument I have with someone and this guy is stuck in a well of despair. It made me recall exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
My motto has become “Helping Good People Become Better” I do that by bringing hope to people in situations where they may not see the hope. That’s my “gift.” I gave up trying to figure it out a long time ago. I just do it.
I took my eye off of the ball. I was so worried about Karen and what she’d say or what she’d do that I’d miss that I may have missed a lot of opportunities to be present to other people who’s need to heal was just as great as mine.
I went back to our afternoon interview session and I wasn’t worried about anything other than the six people I was charged with interviewing, and yes they took a little longer than normal because I made a very conscious effort to be present to those people who were sitting across the table from me and not worry about what Karen thought. I felt whole. I felt like I had done the right thing.
On the way home it struck me that I will never change the way Karen thinks or feels, all I can do is be present. All I can do is in the truest sense of the word, love.
While there is a lot of water under the bridge and while I don’t think we will ever be best buddies I think I can look at her as the child of God she is and begin to heal that hurt inside of me.
The humor God presented to me is that the real healing here has to come from inside of me. Then I am more capable of being present to other people.
"Just love and let God worry about the rest."
Friday, March 05, 2010
I am all for fresh beginnings, out with the old, in with the new. A lot of us get ready to do that this time of year. We call it spring cleaning. Time to shake all the musty, stale things out and open the windows to let in fresh air; air that not only invigorates us but gives us a new perspective on life.
Sometimes we have to go in the basement, crawl under the stairs and dig out an old box or bin that has been there awhile. Mostly we have forgotten about it. We haven’t been in the basement for awhile so we haven’t planned on adding it to the spring cleaning agenda. Another issue sends us to the basement, maybe it’s a hammer or a screw driver and we see that old box sitting in the corner and we sigh, and maybe screw up our face a bit and curse the fates.
“I forgot that was there.” We think about it all day, pretty vexed that we have to add it to the list and we lay in bed at night and toss and turn a bit because we have to deal with it. It wasn’t part of our plan.
I met Karen about four years ago. A client promoted her and hired me to train her in her new job. Karen is capable, competent and very bright. She has a grasp of technical issues that is amazing. She doesn’t like people. She doesn’t like me.
I spent a year training Karen. It was the worst year of my life. I found that when we were in a group or a meeting with other people Karen went out of her way to make me look bad. She would mimic the way I spoke or my mannerisms. When she would make a mistake she would tell her boss it was because I hadn’t taught her something properly which in most cases was a lie, plain and simple. Fortunately I had a huge bank of credibility with this client and Karen’s attempts to discredit me back fired on her. We finished our year together. I said all the right things but as I walked to my car I prayed Karen never walked in front of me while I was driving.
I could be all politically correct here and say that Karen “got on my nerves.” I’ll just be honest. I hated her. But after awhile I forgot about her, until yesterday afternoon. The client asked me to sit on some interviews yesterday afternoon and all day today as a favor to him. He is hiring a new executive administrative coordinator and he wanted my opinion on the candidates. I hadn’t seen Karen in about eighteen months.
Lest you think I am a total beast I understand why Karen reacts the way she does. It doesn’t make it feel any better but I understand. Karen is very insecure and has no reason to be. She masks her insecurity by making other people look bad.
Very subtly, she threw little darts at me yesterday. Thankfully I was only with her for about an hour. Today I will be with her for over eight hours. I tossed and turned last night. Around three am I had one of those moments. It wasn’t Karen who had the problem, it was me. I wouldn’t let go. I wouldn’t allow myself to be healed because it was way to much fun licking my wounds and looking for pity.
Allowing ourselves to be healed is tough. As much as we say we may want it, it’s tough to let go. It’s like that box in our basement we forgot about. We don’t like it but we wont let go of it.
How do I accomplish all this? That’s even scarier. To me it is simply sitting back and not controlling the situation. It’s allowing the Divine healing power to work. That means I have to relinquish control and even though I know that the outcome will be amazing, I know I’m not ready for that to occur. I still want my pound of flesh.
It’s a matter of integrity. If I am all that I say I am. If I believe the truths I believe, then I will let go and let the healing begin. In a larger sense I owe Karen a debt of gratitude. She helped me see that dark corner of my basement I’d been afraid to look at.
Time for spring cleaning.
I’ll keep you posted
Thursday, March 04, 2010
For the most part I believe I have been happy all my life. I have a strong belief the reason we all walk this earth is to find the definition of happiness in our lives. As we look for that happiness there are days we feel that we “just aren’t getting it!” As I wrote yesterday we sit in silence and scream “What’s wrong with me????” It becomes more apparent to us when we “count our blessings.” We start to review everything we have, the folks who love us, the experiences we have , things like that. There is this nagging voice in the back of our heads saying, “You know, John, you should be happy.” We screw up our face, we shake our heads and then we start to doubt ourselves, our motives, and our values. Quite the dilemma, isn’t it?
That very dilemma was posed to me yesterday by my good spark friend TAZZAT2003. She wrote in response to my posting “What’s Wrong With Me?” She said life was pretty good; she was close to her weight goal and had people who loved her. Things were going well “How come,” she asked?” I’m not happy with myself?” At first I didn’t have an answer.
Then it came to me, my friend wasn’t unhappy, she was dissatisfied. There is a big difference. If you would like me to talk about the areas of my life in which I am happy there are many. I love my wife; she is a good friend, a good lover, a good partner. I can close my eyes and smile when I think about her. I get a warm fuzzy.
I am not satisfied with our relationship. I never will be. If I decided enough was enough, it’s as good as it gets, I don’t think we would have the level of relationship we have. Don’t get me wrong, life is not a Hallmark card. We have disagreed, we have argued and I suspect we have hurt each other from time to time. I am very happy but I will never be satisfied. I think she and I can always learn from each other and be better.
I am thrilled and ecstatic that I am close to reaching half my weight loss goal. When I get to feeling a bit down it keeps me going. I go up in the closet and try on clothes that get closer and closer to fitting every week. It makes me happy. I am not satisfied. I won’t be until I reach my goal. If I started “settling” in my quest for health I would start compromising. When that happens, my goal falls apart.
Contrary to popular belief, the one that says “Let’s make it easy for everyone so I don’t have to look at the tough side if things,” being dissatisfied with life is usually a very good thing. It keeps me motivated and it keeps me on my toes.
No one has ever reached a goal in their life without a degree of conflict. If they have it’s not much of a goal. Imagine that where you are right now is represented by a circle and your goal is represented by a square. They are different in form and different in behavior. A circle doesn’t always know how a square should act. The journey is filled with conflict as we change how we behave and that is a good thing!!! What causes us to make that change is our dissatisfaction with of current state of affairs.
I fall victim to this trap so often in my life. And it wasn’t until my friend raised the whole dilemma did I start to see things a bit clearer. Yes, there are times in our lives when we are unhappy. What I’m saying is don’t confuse the two. Don’t mistake that desire to do more, be more and live a healthier life with unhappiness. If there’s a little bit of discomfort, it’s usually a good thing.
For the moment
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