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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Therapy

Therapy

Therapy is spending the morning playing with my son and teaching him to crawl.  Therapy is playing Nintendo Wii with my wife.  Therapy is watching my beloved Seahawks, even when they are taking a beating.  Therapy is demolishing a wooden flower box with a sledge-hammer that my dog chewed up.

Actions that don’t seem they would fill the same day in one man’s life, but that was my life yesterday.  Needless to say, yesterday was a very therapeutic day for me.  It was a hard week, a busy week, and yesterday was just what I needed.  It allowed me to step back, examine my glass and realize that no matter how hard, busy or hectic my week is, I have comfort around me.  I have surrounded myself with people and things that not only make me happy, but add meaning and joy to my life.  My wife, my son…they are my therapy.

What’s your therapy?  Don’t have any?  Time to get some.  Whether it is spending time at a firing range or a golf course.  Whether it’s reading a book or knitting a sweater.  Whether it’s baking a cake…or eating it (in moderation, of course).  You need a release in life.  I can attest to you the significance of relaxation and how it makes all of the hard things in life melt away, at least for the moment.

My therapy today is running with a new pair of shoes that I got this weekend.  Getting back into shape, preparing to meet my fitness goals that I have already set for 2012.

What’s your therapy?  Examine your glass, find out…

Changes

ChangesChanges….changes happen to everyone.  My life changed recently.  Hence the absence from Examine the Glass.  I got a new job!  Nope, not a motivational speaker yet, though I would like to thank everyone who asked if that is what I moved to….it honors me that you’ve read enough of this blog to realize that IS my dream…and it will happen, just not quite yet.

Nope, I just moved to a higher, more fortuitous position than what I was in.  This career move has been in the making for a couple of years now, but the economy, flooded job market and the addition of a baby into my life made it hard to actually make the move.  Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong, in general, with my last employer.  My future was just not with them.  They recognized it and the transition was as pleasant as it could have been.

So…the point.  Well, changes happen.  If they aren’t happening, you must look inside to find out why.  If you want something, work for it.  Get yourself on the path.  I firmly believe that if someone wants something bad enough, they will make the appropriate moves to make it happen.

It starts with belief, it continues with effort, and it culminates with execution.  Stages of change.  Increments of change.  Take baby steps.  Nothing will change overnight (unless you with the lotto, which I didn’t tonight DARN!).  Don’t expect the change to take place fast.  Nothing worth having comes as easy as that.  Patience and persistence is what makes the world go around, so work it!

Examine it…the Glass that is…and see what you can change about it.  Go forward and be that change.

Scars and Demons

Scars and DemonsGuess what?!?!  Everyone has them.  Scars, fears and demons are all these things we like to lump together as “emotional baggage.”  And yes, we ALL have it.  Some say it’s an unfortunate part of life.  Well, I tend to disagree…

As you know, the whole point of this site is to take a look at things from a different perspective.  Scars and demon are, in and of themselves, not a bad thing.  It’s all in how you deal with them.  To break it down, it is as simple as how you know to not touch fire or hot things.  One time in your life, you probably tried to pick at a candle, or put your hand on a hot stove, or ironed your clothes while they were on (yep…I did that….I mean, it just seemed MUCH more efficient at the time!).

Did the burn leave a mark?  A physical one, maybe.  An emotional one, definitely.  This goes for ANY type of emotional scar.  Being hurt emotionally is MUCH harder to deal with being hurt physically.  But a similar principle applies to both.  With time, wounds heal.  Well, as long as you let them.  If you have a cut and keep picking at it, it won’t heal, or it will heal abnormally and leave a mark.  Which will then, hopefully, remind you not to pick at it so it heals quicker next time.

Emotional scars are no different.  With time they will heal, but you must let them heal.  It will take self-reflection and honesty.  Try to reconcile what happened to make the hurt occur.  It is NOT always or completely your fault.  Sometimes it’s not your fault at all.  You need to recognize that and accept it.  Stop blaming yourself.

I had a friend who carried a lot of baggage around with him.  We went to middle and high school together and became close friends.  His mom and dad divorced when he was very young and his mom remarried.  After visiting his house a few times, I could tell that he and his step-dad did not see eye-to-eye.  In high school, I obviously didn’t know as much about life and the little intricacies that make up life, so I was not in the position to step in with him.  What I did do, was stay his friend.  Offered him to come over and stay with me if need be, which he only took up once.  We used to carpool a lot together, talked about a lot of things.

His defense mechanism, as I found out later, was to fabricate stories.  Stories that he thought made him look good.  Stories that also made him look like a victim, so he would garner pity.  I called him out on a couple of these things.  I know I was probably harsher than I should have been, but I was also a teenage boy and that is one thing that teenage boys do to each other.  We rag on each other whenever we can.  But it doesn’t matter because the male populous is an impersonal one, so we forgive easily.

We ended up going to different colleges.  I stayed near home, he moved to Montana.  Whenever he would come home, we would get together and he would have stories.  Stories and stories….

In our third year, I get an e-mail from a friend of his, sent to all of his address book saying that he committed suicide.  No note, no warning, just hung himself in his dorm room.  Needless to say, it rocked me to the core.  I was in shock and didn’t believe it.  In all of his “fabricated stories” this took the cake.  I was in such denial that even when a group of friends and I went to his funeral, I was convinced that the young man in the coffin that we all saw together was NOT him.

It was him.  It was hard.  Almost 10 years later, it is STILL hard.  I think of him often and think about what, if anything, I could have done to help.  In some small way, he may be a founding reason for this site.  Not sure, that’s for a therapist to find out I guess! 🙂

So, after that joyful story, what’s the point?  Don’t fabricate.  Don’t disillusion yourself.  BE HONEST with yourself and your friends.  There are those around you that can help you deal with your “baggage” if you need it, but deal with it.  I can only imagine how long my friend suffered emotionally before he finally broke.  It makes me sad even writing about it, but it’s now a part of my life.  It’s something I get to live with and deal with and hopefully use it as an experience to help others.  Yep, that was a self-blogging prophesy there.

So, after a wordy and darker post, I’ll call it a night.

Examine the Glass, get help if you need it, but more importantly be honest with yourself.

Confidence, It’s All Inside!

Confidence, It's All Inside!When I was in middle school, we had numerous fundraisers.  You know the kind.  Sell candy, sell magazine subscriptions, sell this, sell that, sell your soul….well, okay, we didn’t go THAT far.  But hey, in order to get that free trip to Victoria, B.C. in 8th grade, I would do just about anything!

I remember one time, selling magazines, when I wanted to be the top seller!  So, I hit all of the easy targets…my parents, my neighbors, my family.  Except that, when I called one of my uncles up, and asked if he would buy a magazine, he asked me for my pitch.  Well, I didn’t know what a pitch was, other than something that happens in baseball.  Turns out my pitch was, “Umm, do you want to buy a magazine?”  SALESMAN OF THE YEAR, FOLKS!!!!

Anyway, back to my demanding uncle.  He said that he would LOVE to buy a magazine from me, but I would need to come up with a pitch.  When I did, I was to call him back and pitch it to him.  If it was good enough, he would buy a magazine.

Honestly, at this point, I was ready to just move on to my next family member who would just buy from me, no questions asked.  But, something clicked.  Something about what he said, made sense.  So, I sat down with my #2 pencil and wide-rule paper and made my “pitch.”  Now, this story would be AWESOME, if I still had that pitch and could give it to you.  But I don’t.  So, this story just gets to “mediocre” level.

So, what’s the point?  Well, it turns out, my uncle gave me a swift kick in the rear, opened my eyes to a new sales technique, and you know what?  I was top fundraiser that year.  AND the next year.  AND I got to go to Victoria, B.C.

See, what he did, unknowingly, was give me an opportunity to grow.  To build confidence.  This confidence was always inside of me, it just needed an outlet.  And selling magazines at age 12 was the magic trick!  That confidence is still inside of me and it is what propels me through life.  I’m NOT afraid of what is to come, because I am confident in myself and in my ability to take whatever comes and deal with it accordingly.  No need to Examine THAT Glass, because I already know it’s well more than half full!

So, what about people who may not share this confidence?  Is there a way to BUILD confidence?  YES!  Believe it or not, everyone has it inside of them, they just need to bring it out.

So, here’s the plan.  When you wake up in the morning, set a small goal for yourself.  And I mean SMALL.  Like, I’m going to skip that soda at lunch today.  Or, I am going to smile at every stranger I see today.

If you ACHIEVE that goal, reward yourself in some way.  Or just congratulate yourself and take pride in knowing that you’ve just accomplished something you set out to do.  What’s going to happen is little by little, day after day, that “small” goal will get bigger and bigger.  Eventually you’ll start changing things in your life that you have wanted to for a while, but never thought that you could.  But now you KNOW you can.  Duh-Da TADA!  CONFIDENCE!

No no no….don’t thank me.  Thank my Uncle!

Examine the Glass, make the change.  You won’t regret it!

The Importance of Friends

The Importance of FriendsI grew up as an only child.  Furthermore, I grew up on a street with only one other kid my age.  Actually, only one other kid period.  Until 7th grade, when set of brothers moved in down the street.  One of those became by best friend.

But, being an only child, and not having a plethora of playmates, I was had two roads ahead of me…one of being a shy, solitary guy, the other being an extrovert, “take no prisoners” friend gatherer.

So, that’s what I did.  I made it my personal mission to either befriend or acquaint myself with as many people at school as possible.  Heck, I was elected class Treasurer in 8th grade.  Still not quite sure how that happened with my inability to correctly pronounce the letter “R” and stuttering, monotone speech, but I did.

I wasn’t part of the “popular” group in high school, nor was I a “jock.”  I guess I could have been a “nerd” but I really don’t think I was too far into that either.  I was a “floater”, and as such, I drifted through high school without any conflicts.  But I built a great friend base.  How did I do this?

Well, I threw parties!  Okay, so I made friends just being myself.  But I did throw parties!  Twice a year, I would have my friends over to my house which was on a lake.  We would play pool, play darts, play the latest Nintendo system or computer games.  We had a hot tub and a fire pit.  The party usually started at noon and ended at midnight.  I had Papa Murphy’s pizza and Costco soda!

In a word, they ROCKED!  I LOVED my parties….and I think my friends did too, as they showed up twice a year, like clockwork.  Mostly they were the same group, with an extra boyfriend or girlfriend added into the mix here or there.  But it was fun.

I would like to say that I stay in touch with many of those same friends.  And for the most part I do.  Thanks to Facebook, it’s very easy.  I check up on my buddies, I like to see how they’re doing.  Someday, I would like to throw another party, for old-time sakes….of course, now we have wives, kids and families in general to think about, so who knows what will happen.

The point is this.  I needed family, more family than just my mom and dad, because siblings weren’t in the picture.  My friends became THAT family.  So, if any of my old friends are reading this, THANK YOU for being there.

So…if this rings true to you, and even if it doesn’t, reach out to an old friend.  It’ll warm your heart and theirs.  A win-win if I’ve ever known it!