Open up your eyes

Open up your eyes

Open up your eyes and tell me what you see.  “I see the computer screen!”  Yeah yeah yeah, smarty-pants.  Open up your life to those around you and tell me what you see.  “I see my hot co-worker!”  Jeez!  Why are you reading my blog at work?  Actually, never mind….read away, heck, send an e-mail out promoting my blog will you?

I digress….

I have found in the past few weeks that we, as a society, tend to close ourselves off to those around us and get ‘tunnel vision’.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  There are times when extreme focus needs to take place.  For example, running a marathon, cramming for an exam, reading Examine The Glass, etc, etc…

But what happens?  Well, sometimes you might be SO focused you forget about some peripheral stuff.  For example, stretching your legs, typing that report for the other class, reading Examine The Glass, etc, etc…

You get what I’m saying?

You’ve heard the old saying, “The stronger you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers…”  Well, it’s from 1978…I believe Leia Organa said it to Grand Moff Tarkin on board the Death Star.  Yep, most of my famous quotes come from Star Wars….deal with it!  🙂

Well, it can be applied to life in general as well.  The more your focus on one task, the more other tasks will be forgotten or neglected.  So, open your eyes.  Live in the moment…but don’t get LOST in the moment.  Always keep the big picture in mind when living day-to-day.

I can guarantee that if keep your eyes open to new possibilities, you will find new possibilities.  Broaden your horizon and take it all in.  Less things will ‘slip through your fingers.’  I promise.

Examine.

Time Heals All Wounds…?

Time Heals All Wounds...?I’ve been thinking about the word legacy today.  How is legacy defined?  What will our legacy be when we’re gone?  Does it even matter?

More personalized, how does the legacy of a thought or an action define how we perceive others?  Does that perception change over time?  Does time, actually, heal all wounds?  Maybe, maybe not.  The choice is yours.

Are you defined by one moment or a series of actions?  Do you define others the same way?  I would like to believe that one simple action cannot, or should not, trump all others.  There are exceptions, of course.  A heinous crime cannot be overlooked by a series of good deeds.  But a mistake should not always the basis of judgement when looking at the big picture.

Remember that no one is perfect.  If perfection, in a human being existed, we would be able to reproduce it on a mass scale.  But it does not.  Mistakes happen.  Lapse in judgement happens.  If it happens once or twice, it should be noted, but forgiven….if it happens continuously, that makes it a pattern….a legacy, if you will.

Take a look at your relationships, at your friends and acquaintances and decide for yourself how you really ‘see’ them.  This past week, we celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He has his great quote about the content of our character.  THAT should be what our legacy is about.  Take in the BIG picture.  Don’t judge every miniscule effort, but the actions as a whole.

Examine.

Inspiration

Inspiration

Let me tell you about my 2012 so far.  Two weekends ago I went to Disney World and supported the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research.  I am the coach for their Rally Athlete program, which trains normal people like you and I to complete endurance events, namely a half and/or full marathon.

As a part of this weekend, I met with 11 people who I had previously only communicated with via e-mail.  I was able to put faces to name and running style to human beings.  These are people who have been training for 20 weeks to complete a 13.1 or 26.2 trek through the wonders of Disney World.  Not only did they train to do this, but they raised over $10,000 for Childhood Cancer Research.  Inspiring.

While we were there, we partnered up with two other organizations, St. Baldricks Foundation and Caleb’s Crusade against Childhood Cancer.  All total, I think we had over 40 participants in the races, raising even MORE money for a great cause.  Inspiring.

Last weekend, I kicked off our Rally NW team in the FREEZING cold, windy and rainy day. We had around 40 people show up…they listened to me jabber on, ran a 5K and listen to me jabber some more, all the while shivering and probably cursing me under their breath.  But they did it…why?  They are raising funds for Childhood Cancer Research.  Inspiring.

Inspiration can be found on many different levels, in many different ways.  I’ve just mentioned several examples of what inspires ME right now.  It inspires me to keep volunteering and dedicating my time for a cause greater than my own.  Not only that, but it inspires me to make sure I keep my priorities in life.  It motivates me to keep my balance so that nothing in my life progresses at the expense of another part.

Take a look at what inspires you.  What keeps you going?  Obviously something does, as you are reading this, thus keeping going.  I have often found that the simple act of charity goes a long way.  Whether what you give has monetary, sentimental or time value, it is giving something to help others.  This in turn, helps you keep perspective on what you have.

Be grateful for what you have.  What you HAVE should inspire you.  Inspire you to get more or to give more.  Oh, and here’s the big secret…the more YOU give…the more YOU inspire.  Someone or something inspires you….you, in turn inspire someone else…the cycle keeps going.

Pay it Forward?  Examine and find out…

The Lesser of Two Evils

The Lesser of Two Evils

Happy 2012 to everyone!  I hope the holidays treated you well.  I hope you thought of others and thought of yourself.  I hope that 2012 brings you a new year of happiness, new adventures, new beginnings and no regrets!

The beauty of the new year is it gives you an ULTIMATE chance to start over.  Right?  Right!  Take a look around you and see if you need to change things up.  Take a look at your life and see what great things need to be expanded upon and what evils need to be purged.

This leads up to today’s topic…the Lesser of Two Evils.  Funny expression, really…but widely used.  Just remember, as the shirt says above, the lesser of two evils is STILL EVIL.  So, I then ask, why choose either?

If you’re faced with a situation where both outcomes are negative or less than appealing.  Why not go a different route all together?  Sure, I know this isn’t always possible…sometimes decisions need to be made in a snap-worthy fashion…but not all times, and I’m willing to gather, not MOST times.

You know what it really is…the decison is EASY.  A lot of times, a “lesser of two evils” situation is pondered because the outcome is fast and dirty….gets near enough the results you want to make it attainable.

Well, don’t let this happen to you!  Make 2012 a NO EVIL year.  Okay…let’s be real.  A LESS EVIL year!  Purge the negativity, Enhance the greatness.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Volunteer more
  • Go outside and walk/run/jog three times a week
  • Save all of your spare change for a month and treat yourself to a movie/mini golf/bowling/etc.
  • Reach out to a family member you haven’t talked to in a while and see how they are doing (ON THE PHONE)
  • Take a weekend trip to the other side of your state.
  • Snuggle with the one you love!

There, take that and run with it!  NO EVIL on that list, am I right?

Examine the Glass!

‘Tis the Season

'Tis the Season

You’ve heard the cliche’, it is the time for giving.  The time for others.  Well, as important as that is, make sure you take care of yourself and your family too.  These are undoubtedly hard times.  But there is good all around us.

My favorite movie around this time is “Love Actually.”  It sums up this season in it’s opening monologue with the statement that “Love Actually is all around.”  I LOVE that statement.  It’s there, you just need to look for it.  If you’re open to it, if you look for it, you’ll find it.

If you’ve found it, try to share it.  Don’t force it, but put it out there.  Good vibes abound.  I know, I know…there is a lot of stress during the holiday season.  ALL the more reason to focus on the little things that make your life happy.  No matter how much people try to deny it, there ARE things worth living for….though through the stresses of the time and the memories that abound during this season, they can close themselves off.  If you know someone like this, be there to comfort.  If you ARE one of these people, realize that people have the best intentions when they try to approach you.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook “Can i just have a ‘do over’ today?!” to which I replied “Yep! Most of us call it ‘tomorrow’! :)”

Very simply….tomorrow is our chance to make right what went ‘wrong’ today.  Expand it….next year is our chance to make right what went ‘wrong’ today.  Okay, that’s a bit grandiose…how about, next year is our chance to improve upon our lives.  How?

Well, if you’ve been reading this blog, you know the answer to that….

Examine the Glass

Update

Update

 

Just a quick post wanting to let you all know what I am still here.  Sorry for the lack of posts as of late.  Been busy, the holidays are here and spending time with my wife and son have taken the upmost priority! 🙂

Also, I’ve been hashing out ideas for my book…I have a long flight coming up in the first week of January, so I might see if I can hammer out a few thousand words and get the ball rolling.

That being said, I’m looking for some “preview” readers…any takers?  Mom, if you’re reading this, you’re already on the list! 😉

Happy Holidays everyone!

Rememberance

RememberanceI would like to start off by thanking ALL who have served our country.  In whatever capacity you served, you have made it possible for me to live my great life in this great country.

I come from a family of veterans.  My grandfather was a veteran. My father is a veteran.  My uncles, cousins, in-laws and friends are/were veterans.  But for this post, I would like to share a story about my grandfather.  It provides insight into the man he was and one of the many reasons my son’s middle name shares his.  This is an excerpt from an article written by his (at the time) step-son back in 2007:

Early this past Thanksgiving morning, under a slate-grey Oregon sky, my step-dad passed away. Having battled a particularly virulent form of cancer, his death was not unexpected, but it came on the heels of something far more remarkable, an action that revealed the core of the man and the generation to which he belonged.  

Burt was 86-years-old, a WWII veteran of amazing resilience and fortitude, and, even within a few weeks of his death, a man of nearly constant motion. Refusing a wheelchair or even a walker, he exemplified the “can-do” spirit of that generation by fashioning a crude but effective walking stick, replete with a hard plastic tip. He could frequently be heard thumping around the house and outside. My mother called it his “pogo stick.”

On the morning of Nov. 11, mom was in the kitchen when she heard the familiar thumping on the sidewalk outside. She was shocked. Burt had been going downhill for weeks, and every step—in fact, nearly every movement—brought agonizing pain. What could possibly impel him to walk outside now? 

Looking out the kitchen window, my mom saw something that brought tears to her eyes.  There on the sidewalk, facing the house, with a face wracked by pain and his left hand holding on to his “pogo stick” for dear life, was Burt. He brought his right hand up to his face in a classic military salute, giving homage to the flag that mom had put out only moments before. After this somber ritual, he quietly shuffled inside. There was no fuss or fanfare, and neither he nor my mother spoke about it. For my step-dad, it was the quiet last gesture of a proud man.

I miss my grandfather.  As I re-read this, I can clearly see it happening as if I was there.  It truly exemplifies the kind of man he was.  The discipline and dedication that he showed through his life not in a small way influenced my aspirations as a man.  I was blessed with two great male role models, my father and my grandfather.

Both Veterans.  Both heroes.

Make sure you thank a Veteran today.

Examine.

 

Reactions

Reactions

Split second reactions.  Knee jerk reactions.  How many times do we do this?  How many times do we make a snap judgement about something we have seen or heard?  More times than we would like to admit, I’m sure.

Now, how many times have we looked back and said, “Gee, maybe I didn’t know the whole story” or “I wish I hadn’t reacted that way”.  Probably even more times!

With the fallout of the Sandusky grand jury report, the factual involvement of legendary coach Joe Paterno is a very sad thing to witness.  The facts are there.  He knew SOMETHING and did very little about it.  Subsequently he was fired.  What was the reaction of the students?  Look at the above picture.

They rioted.  They rioted because they were outraged at the firing of a man who knew another man was sexually assaulting young boys, and did not take the APPROPRIATE action.  Now, I know that if MY head coach was fired, and I didn’t know all of the facts, I would be pretty PO’d and ready to stand up for said coach.  That’s what the students did.  I would like to believe that they were just “not informed” enough to know the FULL story at the time of the riots.

I’m sure, in time they will look back at this and say, “Gosh, maybe I shouldn’t have tipped over that van.”  Students went to jail last night.  They will have a scar on their record and the regret of a mindless action for the rest of their lives…..all because they made a snap judgement and got caught up in the moment.

Again…this is something we all do.  Maybe this can serve as a wake-up call.  I’m taking NOTHING away from the victims in this scenario.  Rather, I’m looking at, and treating it as such, a separate incident.  The riots and the damage are a blaring example of a “worst case scenario” of snap judgement.

So, bring it home.  Take it down.  Examine your glass and see if there are times that you committed the same harsh judgement, maybe without cause.  When something happens, don’t judge…think.  Examine.  Once you’ve seen it from at least one other point of view, then react.  More and more, if that happens, mistakes won’t happen and regrets won’t be made.

The riots yesterday made me lose a bit of faith in humanity….until I realized that they just weren’t thinking.  It doesn’t excuse it, but it sort of explains it.  Hopefully this can serve as a reminder of what can happen.

Examine.

Lessons from my Son

Lessons from my SonToday I saw a picture on Facebook, it said “No matter how old you are, no matter how badass you think you are, when a toddler gives you his ringing toy phone, you answer it.”  Brilliant!  I LOL’d and it got me thinking about my own son.

No, he hasn’t offered me his ringing toy phone…we’re not at that stage yet.  He’s still in the explore-bang-eat thing stage.  One thing about my son, is that he is VERY curious and VERY inquisitive.

When you hand him a new toy, he will examine it, turn it this way and that….bang it on the ground a couple of times and maybe even stick it in his mouth.  Once he has determined its worthiness, he immediately waves it up and down and plays and laughs and has a jolly good time.  It’s an amazing process to watch and makes me wonder at what point do we as adults lose that sort of process?

You know what I mean.  There are too many examples of people leaping without looking.  Flying by the seat of their pants and falling hard.  What if we examined each aspect of life as closely as my son does his.  Yes, there ARE toys that don’t make the cut.  He places them down and pays no more attention to them….EVER.

What happened to our cautiousness?  I’m not talking about being paranoid, I’m talking about thinking things ALL THE WAY through.  Weighing the pros and cons.  Determining if it’s the right or wrong choice.

Every decision you make, has implications well beyond today and tomorrow.  It affects not only you, but those around you.  Weigh them carefully.  Bang them against the ground…..but go ahead and skip putting them in your mouth.

I mean really…you don’t know where it’s been. 😀

Examine.

 

Broken Glass

Broken GlassSo after my last post, a friend of mine on Facebook said “My glass is broken.”  Without going into too much detail, she lost her daughter to a rare and aggressive form of cancer back in June.  I know what she is saying.  Though I can’t imagine how she feels or what she’s going through, I understand what she is saying.

How does someone pick up the pieces of their life when tragedy strikes?  How do you go on, day-to-day, when there is something inherently missing from your life?  A hole in your heart that will never be filled.  These are things that people go through and face everyday.  How?

Let me turn it back around to the metaphor of this website.  What do you do with a glass that is broken?  Do you keep it around?  Do you keep drinking from it?  No.  It has become unsafe.  No matter how much you loved that glass, you throw it away and get a new one because you know it now can hurt you.  The parallels here are undeniable.

Now, don’t misunderstand, I am not saying that my friend needs to throw away the memory of her daughter.  Because THAT is not the glass.  Remember, the glass in your life is your perspective, your point of view.  If something has happened that permanently skews your perspective and you find yourself in a funk, it is as easy as changing said perspective.

Easy…yeah, I said it, but we all know that it is NOT easy.  Nothing about what I write about in this blog is easy.  Again, if it were easy, there would be no need to be reminded.

Back to the question at hand, what happens when the glass gets broken?  Throw it out, get a new glass.  Focus on all the good that is around you.  Memories may hurt, but they will only hurt as long as you let them.  Don’t push good people and good things away, bring them in close.  That simple act will start you on the course to recover from the hurt you have suffered from.  If you don’t like the results of certain actions, do what you can to incrementally change those actions.

Simply put….the action lies within you.  Others can help, but you choose how you want to face life.  Face it with clear eyes and an open heart.

Examine it…