Thursday, March 17, 2011
About four times a year I get a chance to spend two days with a group of managers and their labor counterparts. The purpose of the meeting is exploring common values and makes their companies stronger in the marketplace. I really enjoy these occasions because I get an opportunity to lead a group of people who are steeped in tradition using nontraditional methods. On one occasion I split them into groups of five, gave them a huge piece of poster board and each a box of crayons and I asked them to draw an image of their perfect company. If they had to sell the idea to a group of investors what would it look like!! I bring this up because when I got out of bed early this morning I was still searching for a theme for my next encounter. (I have until Monday!!!) Then it hit me. We spend a lot of money and a lot of time in many ways accenting how different we are. We could probably spend a fraction of that resource exploring how much we have in common.
I don’t know about you, but every time I meet someone I do a real quick evaluation and comparison of myself to them. Are the more attractive than me? Are they smarter? Are they lighter or heavier? Usually I come up on the short end of the stick when I play this game. Being overweight for the past ten years has taught me that if I am not careful I can end up having an exclusive pity party for one. I can fixate on how different I am from other people, how much better they are, how much more together they are from me. The list goes on and on.
I don’t know about you, but when that happens to me the inevitable occurs. I feel like giving up coz after all, I’ll never be you. I know, I know, why would I want to be you? But I still play that game from time to time. You are brighter, more energetic and happier………. Just ask me!!! I examine myself and I come up lacking.
I don’t know about you, but I spend a good deal of time looking at other peoples weight loss tickers and exercise programs and beating myself over the head and making really silly and unfair comparisons between myself and you!!! It’s insane isn’t it, the amount of resource I invest in determining how different I am for you? Instead of really being sincerely joyful about my differences I usually find a way to turn them into yet another reason for me to get down on myself.
I don’t know about you but I believe we have a lot in common. You faithfully log in each day and you do the things that are necessary to create a healthy life style, for you!! You are a kind, caring and supportive person who would drop what they are doing to help a person in need by a supportive Spark Mail, Goodie or blog comment. You think nothing about sharing your time with other Sparkers. You know the successful journey is a slow one, and it’s full of hills and valleys, triumphs and failures. You never fail to provide a moment of joy or tenderness for someone else who is in need.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s silly sometimes when I look the tremendous amount of love and encouragement I have the opportunity to provide for other people and instead I focus on how much more attractive or smarter they may be from me. I worry about our differences instead of learning form what we share in common. If you took our collective paths and drew them on a sheet of paper theyd resemble a three year old gone mad with a marker. They are so very different yet so very much the same.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time I concentrated more upon the things that you and I share in common rather than the very few differences that separate us. In the long run me and you will be much more successful.
Have a great Thursday and help me celebrate US!!!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I have spent the last eight Monday evenings with a very special group of people. Like me, each of them has devoted their lives to helping people in some form or fashion. Through the marvels of Go To Meeting. com I have been able to listen to and share with people in Europe, Canada, South America and the USA. Each of us took turns sharing our journies and our experiences. Rest assured that I was so proud to be able to share some of you and how you have impacted my life in such a postive and very loving way. We stayed together much longer last night then we had planned, close to three hours, and when I woke up this morning I wrote them each an email. As I wrote it, many of you, paraded through my mind and I felt the same warmth and love. Below is the text of that email. Many of you already know this is my mantra or creed, but to honor you today as well I thought I'd share with you.
I woke up this morning feeling somewhat bittersweet. It’s the kind of feeling I always have when a good friend comes to visit for an extended period: You know the day will come when they have to leave for home, you just never believe that day will come. How do you thank such an amazing group of people for sharing the most precious commodity they have, the gift of themselves?
The only way I believe I can honor each of you collectively is to tell you I believe that as I have gotten to know you that you embody my core values. With each person I coach I share the following thoughts with. Thank each of you for proving me right!!
1. “You are who you hang around with.” – Successful people find other people of the same mind set, heart and spirit to associate with. They are people who share the same values and thought. They are people who will challenge you to grow in ways you never dreamed you’d grow in.
2. “You are worth all the effort you put into yourself.” – All the blood sweat and tears, the angst, the indecision and every “icky-sticky” thing that goes along with our personal and spiritual development is worth the effort simply because you and I are were created by a loving God and we are the reflection and embodiment of that great love.
3. “You deserve to be successful.” – Never let anyone hold you back from reaching out to grab hold of what you want from your life. It may be difficult and at times you end up wondering just how you’d get there, but it is your right to be successful, regardless of what anyone else tells you. You are an amazing collection of thoughts, emotions and dreams. WE deserve to be exposed to the amazing wonder of creation that is you.
4. “You are what you believe you are.” – AA says “Fake it till you make it.” This is a variation on that theme. If I believe I am powerful, wonderful, loving………. You fill in the metaphor, then I indeed am.
During the course of our time together I have come to learn how much each of you is a perfect example of these principles. I have shared your journeys with people as a sign of hope that they too can be everything they want to be and so much more.
As feeble as it may seem this is my attempt to say thank you to each of you for the warmth, joy and love you have brought into my life.
Blessings to each of you
I hope your day is full of love and blessings my good Spark friends
Monday, March 14, 2011
We blow right past those warnings don’t we? You know the ones that say we should exercise five to six days per week and take a day off for our bodies to rest and rejuvenate. But we know better don’t we? That exhortation is for sissies and slackers, not for me!!! I’m a warrior, a champion and a king. The rest of you can take a day off because I have to be faster, better and stronger just to keep up. And……….. Given popular and conventional wisdom working harder than uhm say YOU will help me reach my goals much quicker.
I had a neighbor who used to say we are all in the same church; we just sit in different pews. It was a quaint way of saying that we all have the same issues we just manifest them differently. If you give me truth serum I’m gonna tell you I wanna be thin in the worst way because being thin opens the door to being accepted by all those people who never accepted me, etc. etc. Maybe you word it another way but we are all desperate. We are desperate to be part of the so-called mainstream and we will do anything to get there. Oh, well we couch our desires in acceptable words and phrases and then proceed to blow right past the warning signs. In my darkest moments of despair I often ask myself am I running towards something or away from something. Sigh. It’s a slippery slope some days.
I took yesterday off. No exercise of consequence. I have to tell you it was tough. The little voice in my head kept saying “Go to the gym, go to the gym.” or “It’s nice out, go ride your bike or take a walk.” We hung out yesterday. We did clean out a closet that was threatening to take over a bedroom, but mostly we hung out. I caught up on my reading, looked to see how some of the bushes in the yard had weathered the winter, but mostly did nothing. It felt good.
Relaxation has become a four letter word. Usually it is packaged around five day trips to Cancun or Dublin and I’ve never met anyone who took those “relaxation vacations” that didn’t come back in need of a sedative. My BodyBugg exhorts me to keep moving.
My Achilles heel is the weekends. I can stay focused on my goals Monday through Friday but when Saturday comes around it’s “Let the good times roll.” This weekend I made a very conscious effort to stay within my plan and found it to be a struggle. As the day went on I became more tense and irritable. I ran all those scripts in my head trying to convince myself it was okay to privately endow the girl Scout troop selling cookies up the block. “It’s not fair!!!” “It’s not my fault!!!” Blah, blah, blah and yada, yada, yada. It was exhausting.
I took yesterday off. I ate well within my calorie limit and allowed my body to regain some of its momentum for a busy week ahead. I was amazed how good it felt and how guilty I felt in doing it. Kindly, I told my inner self to deal with it and get over it. It is when I had my “ah-ha moment.” I am, within reason, taking Sunday’s off. I need a day that doesn’t demand anything from me. I need a day to simply sit in the family room, or in a few weeks sit on the deck and just enjoy what is front of me. Yes, I’ll probably throw in a load of laundry or two. I’ll clean up what needs to be cleaned up, but for the most part I am going to cultivate the lost art of relaxation. It’s part of the balancing act I go through, thanks in part to the great people here at Spark. Great people like you!!!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
They are often over looked, taken for granted, remembered occasionally with an email, a card or a prayer. They exist in the back ground, like pleasant music, we know they are there but don’t often feel the need to acknowledge them. They cause us to laugh, to smile. They move us to tears with their unselfish acts of kindness and thoughtfulness. They are often the glue that binds the rest of our lives together. We share our deep dark secrets with them because we know they won’t ever judge us. They are our BFF’s, our pals, our buddies, our friends and they are a very important part of our journey.
Health is a balancing act. It not only requires that we pay close attention to the physical factors, but that we begin to undergo and emotional transformation inside of ourselves that opens me up to the world and allows it to not only see my beauty, my splendor, my foibles and flaws but causes me to allow you, my friend to love me and to honor me. Yup, most of us are really good at giving friendship. We can rush to the rescue of every disaster known to person kind and be ready to eagerly assist. Let the tables turn and it’s a horse of a different flavor, so to speak.
I have learned it is easy for me to give and darn near impossible for me to take. Some place, in the maze of confusion that often resembles my thought process, I have come to believe that I should give, give, give and that if my score card tallies up correctly at the end of it all I’ll get some sort of eternal reward. Givers are noble and takers, well takers, they are just slackers, weak people, not much back bone……. All that rot. It’s how most of us were raised. God loves a cheerful giver………..
I read somewhere, recently that the single largest act of vanity occurs within me when I do not acknowledge your out stretched hand. I shake my head and turn away. I can handle it myself!!! If I acknowledge your affection it means I am weak.
All of this laughable because real health is a balancing act between our body, our minds and our souls. When I accept you as my friend I am asked to do something we have a hard time with – trust you. I have to believe you are going to love me, care for me and even though it means you may have to get upset with me from time to time, have my best interest at heart.
I cannot be a friend unless I allow you to be mine. The wisdom you send me daily is the wisdom that fortifies me and makes me want to continue this journey. I have learned many things in my time here at Spark but the most valuable asset I have is you my friend.
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