Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Most Ordinary

Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Recently, I've been reading a lot about the idea of False.  In a past post, I wrote about how there was no one I was dying to meet; a post about creating false stories of other people and learning to see people truly.  These Falsehoods are pervasive and tend to seep their way into other areas of my life and mind.  

Valentine's Falsehoods

1.  I can't write a book because I haven't had any "extraordinary" experiences.
2.  This person is a much better writer than I.  I should just read his/her work instead of creating my own.
3.  I wish I could work more like that person, I feel incompetent in comparison.

What purpose is served by looking at another and saying to yourself, "I'm less because I'm not like them"?  I have to remember that these people are nothing more than a combination of ordinary experiences and they only seem extraordinary because I haven't seen their journey.  

Magicians are only exciting because you haven't learned the trick.  


In response to...

We are our most potent at our most ordinary. And yet most of us discount our “ordinary” because it is, well, ordinary. Or so we believe. But my ordinary is not yours. Three things block us from putting down our clever and picking up our ordinary: false comparisons with others (I’m not as good a writer as _____), false expectations of ourselves (I should be on the NYTimes best seller list or not write at all), and false investments in a story (it’s all been written before, I shouldn’t bother). What are your false comparisons? What are your false expectations? What are your false investments in a story? List them. Each keep you from that internal knowing about which Emerson writes. Each keeps you from making your strong offer to the world. Put down your clever, and pick up your ordinary.

(Author: Patti Digh)

Monday, June 27, 2011


The secret of fortune is joy in our hands. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
If my Intuition had an incarnation, I imagine he would look like the following:

My intuition is a young man; at that age where imagination and reason co-exist harmoniously.  He looks identical to me; full lips, bald head, clean shaven, chocolate brown skin and eyes.  No glasses adorn his face because its his nature to see life clearly.  His eyes dance as he walks around with a knowing smile as if he alone is in on some grand joke.  He is dressed simply; wearing only a plain white t-shirt and shorts with no pockets because he always has what he needs.  He prefers to walk barefoot, but since we are eating in a restaurant he's wearing a black pair of the five finger shoes.

As we sit down to eat our Chicago deep dish spinach and sausage pizza he gazes at me intently.  He looks at me, through me, for an uncomfortably long time before he calmly says, 

"We work well together, you and I.  Since before you knew who I was, you followed me and my path and your steps have been true."  

He leans forward and looks at me again, his chin resting on his thumbs and his steepled fingers against his lips.  
His voice takes an urgent tone as he says, 

"Remember, do not see me in everything.  I do not exist in all places or in every decision you make.  While every experience has lessons to teach, do not cause yourself avoidable suffering.  Do not confuse following me with following Chance.  I see things clearly, Chance walks blind."  

In response to...

If you could picture your intuition as a person, what would he or she look like? If you sat down together for dinner, what is the first thing he or she would tell you?

(Author: Susan Piver)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Courage to Connect

Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
I used to be the guy who had an answer to questions like this.  In college, I would see those people that everyone knew and say to myself, "I need to meet that person."  Eventually, I would meet them and in many cases befriend them, only to come to the realization that they were, in fact, also human. duh.  Nowadays, I just connect with the people that motivate me to want to connect.  There is no longing for an opportunity, especially no dying for one! 

To quote Jubei from the popular anime "Ninja Scroll", "No matter where you go, people are people."  
So Wise.

In response to...

Who is one person that you’ve been dying to connect with, but just haven’t had the courage to reach out to? First, reflect on why you want to get in touch with them. Then, reach out and set up a meeting.


Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

One trait that my life has made abundantly clear that I do not possess is discipline.  Don't worry, I've come to accept this.  If you live a life without discipline, it is essential that you have an abundance of positive energy and enthusiasm or you will accomplish very little.  Thankfully, I've been blessed with both in ample quantities.

One trick for me to get more enthusiastic about my work is to have it truly be my work!  I'm not self-employed which means that much of "my" work is given to me or guided by my supervisor. My strategy was to wait to tell my boss what I was working on.  Doing this allowed me to ride my enthusiasm towards creating my vision rather than my supervisor's.  **warning** This doesn't work in every scenario!

Harnessing my enthusiasm is also tied with doing work that matters.  I can't get revved up to alphabetize folders... unless those folders would save the life of a child!  Part of the meaning I take from life is tied to the work I do.  I want my work to impact people.  Seeing how my work can touch someone's life makes me want to create an experience they won't forget.

I understand that sometimes you just need to work where ever you can get a job, but if you have the capacity to choose, why work somewhere you don't get excited about?

In response to...

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” is a great line from Emerson. If there’s no enthusiasm in what you do, it won’t be remarkable and certainly won’t connect with people on an emotional basis. But, if you put that magic energy into all of your work, you can create something that touches people on a deeper level. How can you bring MORE enthusiasm into your work? What do you have to think or believe about your work to be totally excited about it? Answer it now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You Know

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Every day I realize that I don't know much about anything.  There is literally more information created in the last 20 years than ever existed in human history, so I don't feel bad about that fact.  Despite how little I know and the sheer volume of info, I make it a daily point to explore new ideas, read various perspectives, and reinforce those few things I do know.  The process of gathering new information always ends with two questions "What do I know about this?" and more importantly,  "What do I know about me?"

If you think about it, "What do I know about me?" is really the fundamental question.  Let's face it, escaping information would require herculean effort.  That's asking that you not take a weekend digital sabbatical, but get exiled from the digital world!  Quite frankly, Twitter is growing on me, I'm quite fond of Facebook, and the internet, well, the internet makes my soul smile... so, I am NOT leaving.  The only filter I have is knowing myself.  Am I critical and stable enough to read or see a new concept/idea without arbitrarily assigning expert status to the presenter?  On the other hand, can I give these ideas a fair chance to influence me if they contain truth?  

If everything you're exposed to causes you to change your ways,  you're standing on shifting sand.  While improving your life is a possibility, it's haphazard at best because many of your changes won't stick.  It's those that are critical, without being cynical, that create the lasting change; forming new habits to foster intentional growth. 

In response to...

We live in a society of advice columns, experts and make-over shows. Without even knowing it, you can begin to believe someone knows better than you how to live your life. Someone might know a particular something better – like how to bake a three-layer molten coconut chocolate cake or how to build a website – but nobody else on the planet knows how to live your life better than you. (Although one or two people may think they do.) For today, trying asking yourself often, especially before you make a choice, “What do I know about this?”

(Author: Jen Louden)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Speak Less

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know I. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
I've been part of Trust30 since it started.  I've reflected on the prompts, written the posts, and read several other participants posts as well.  Despite all of that, it wasn't until I started to write this post that I realized that I have been sitting on, thinking about, dreaming about, discussing... essentially doing everything but writing!  I would write for a couple of days, then stop.  Start again later, then stop.  The funny thing is, for the longest time I didn't know why.

Several of my older posts came to mind, particularly the ones about fear and failure, and I realized (you can see where this is going) that I was afraid of failing.  At some level I didn't think I had anything to say; I haven't lived the life that the authors I follow have.  I haven't had similar experiences that motivated me to read their stories.  I would dream big and falter at how far I'd have to go.

This post has been a reminder that most often the things that stop us are internal.  We defeat ourselves before we start and sabotage ourselves as we progress.  Recently, a blog buddy of mine, Denise, wrote about having a "dream-inspired moment" and those are exactly what dreams are made of.  

In response to...
I once received a fortune cookie that read: “Speak less of your plans, you’ll get more done.” What’s one project that you’ve been sitting on and thinking about but haven’t made progress on? What’s stopping you? What would happen if you actually went for it and did it?

(Author: Laura Kimball)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Facing (and Fearing)

Greatness appeals to the future. If I can be firm enough to-day to do right, and scorn eyes, I must have done so much right before as to defend me now. Be it how it will, do right now. Always scorn appearances, and you always may. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's so much easier to follow our mind.  The path is already clear before us, many others travel with you, and success is very clearly defined.  There is much on the line when one decides to follow their intuition.  You can never be quite sure where you'll end up,  Others, ignorant of the heart's journey, will look upon you with scorn in their eyes.  Lastly, you'll endure much of this alone.  For all of that, it's the path of the heart that makes people great.  

When the brain leads, your steps are ordered and planned.  You worry less because you can see the process.  The heart's method is less apparent because the path is veiled.  This obscurity will make some people freeze, losing faith in the heart's way.  The intuitive path asks that you see clearly and at the same time walk blindly; having the clarity to know when inaction is caused by waiting for the right moment/opportunity or fear and the faith to walk into the fog without knowing what lies beyond it.

The people I've met in life who follow their intuition seem to be more grounded.  Following your intuition is a process of revealing values.  Though the path you walk is uncertain, your concept of who you are gains focus.  Also, not knowing where you're headed forces one to rethink the concept of a good or bad situation and trains you to instead ask why you're there.  This critical look at experience helps one to see meaning in positive and negative situations and to remain stable in turbulent and calm times alike. 

Following your intuition is not for the faint of heart.  In my eyes, its designed to make us more resilient, capable of walking with others or alone with equal competence.  

Can you let go long enough to see what you can become?

Trusting intuition and making decisions based on it is the most important activity of the creative artist and entrepreneur. If you are facing (and fearing) a difficult life decision, ask yourself these three questions:

1) “What are the costs of inaction?” I find it can be helpful to fight fear with fear. Fears of acting are easily and immediately articulated by our “lizard brains” (thanks Seth) e.g. what if I fail? what if I look stupid? If you systematically and clearly list the main costs of inaction, they will generally overshadow your immediate fears.

2) “What kind of person do I want to be?” I’ve found this question to be extremely useful. I admire people who act bravely and decisively. I know the only way to join their ranks is to face decisions that scare me. By seeing my actions as a path to becoming something I admire, I am more likely to act and make the tough calls.

3) “In the event of failure, could I generate an alterative positive outcome?” Imagine yourself failing to an extreme. What could you learn or do in that situation to make it a positive experience? We are generally so committed to the results we seek at the outset of a task or project that we forget about all the incredible value and experience that comes from engaging the world proactively, learning, and improving our circumstances as we go along.

(Author: Dan Andrews)

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Abide in the simple and noble regions of thy life, obey thy heart. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I need to go a different direction with this post.  It seems self defeating to spend so much time writing about the future, while today floats by unnoticed and unappreciated.  Being a student of philosophy, this prompt immediately made me think of Epicurus, a Greek philosopher, who said: 

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not, remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for"

Dreams are important.  I can't deny that, nor would I try.  That being said, a line must be drawn.  A line between what is and what might be.  How long can we spend focusing on the things we don't have before what is within our grasp loses its luster?  Spending my life and mental energy chasing an idea or ideal is not only unfulfilling, but also entirely unsustainable.  When does the cycle end?  Is success/happiness then the process of always reaching for a new benchmark, goal, or standard?  If we continue to obsess about our perceived "lack" we will fail to see how full our lives really are.

In response to...

Write down your top three dreams. Now write down what’s holding you back from them.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Invent the Future

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'll have a wife and 2-3 kids and 3 ferrets.  My family and I are living in a suburban home.  It will be the ideal location because it isn't far from a major city or from the country.  Yup, even my house is in the middle of two extremes.  

At this point, I will be working in a teaching focused higher education institution.  I'm not sure what I'll be teaching, but I'll love it and my students will be engaged because of my enthusiasm.  I'll also be involved with students outside of the classroom.  We would meet for dinner to discuss ideas and talk about life.  I would also be writing a successful blog that is largely followed by student bloggers; another venue for the marketplace of ideas to occur.

My invented future isn't too complex.  Regardless of what I do, I want my impact to be focused on people.  I'm not concerned with being renowned for the impact I have; but hope to not to be forgotten too quickly and remembered with a smile.

In response to...

My favorite quote of all time is Alan Kay: ‘In order to predict the future, you have to invent it.’ I am all about inventing the future. Decide what you want the future to be and make it happen. Because you can. Write about your future now.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wholly Strange and New

It's not often that I immediately have the answer to one of these prompts dancing at my fingertips!  

My moment hasn't come, but I look forward to the day of its arrival.  At some level, I'm following my father's path; not his footsteps, but his direction in life.  I think I will truly start cutting my own path when I become a husband and father.  Of all the ways one can define success, I believe that creating a loving, supportive environment for my future wife and kids is tantamount.  

My dad is an excellent example of what a father/husband can and should be.  He worked hard and played equally as hard with my siblings and I.  I learned a lot about manhood and fatherhood from my dad.  Even though he is a shining model, my methods of expression of love and support will be distinctly different.  I can't be the man my father was, but must learn from his example and choose my own path.  

Currently, my life is pretty selfish; I live alone, no pets, no girlfriend and yet I know I have a lot to give.  When my time comes and I put those hats on, I'm sure I'll wear them well and build a great family.  In my mind's eye, I see me holding my first born, the moment when my wife and I stop being the married couple and become a family...  

Wow.  Definitely wholly strange and new.  

When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name;—— the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Remember the moment when you stopped walking a path of someone else, and started cutting your own?

Write about that moment. And if you haven’t experienced it yet, let the miracle play out in your mind’s eye and write about that moment in your future.

One Thing

Do your work, and I shall know you. Do your work, and you shall reinforce yourself. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Write down one thing you’ve always wanted to do and how you will achieve that goal. 

I think there are two different extremes of people (this is a gross simplification btw).  One type is the doer, they imagine a destination and start walking, until they reach it.  The other is a thinker.  This person, to quote some Mos Def, is wrestling with words and ideas and the process of thinking is the journey to who knows where.

I state this because many of the things that prompt me to say, "Geez, that would be cool to do" do not inspire me to action.  Often I'm content to imagine what could be and move on to think about something else.  This isn't to say that I don't accomplish anything, but rather when something moves me to action, it also moves me to completion.  So, in my mind, if I haven't done it yet, I'm either waiting for it to be revealed to me, or its already a done deal.  

Very intangible, but its how I work my mojo.  

Today showed me the importance of taking risks.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Alternative Paths

When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name; the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

In this exercise, look at your current quest and ask, “What alternative opportunities, interpretations and paths am I not seeing?” They’re always there, but you’ve got to choose to see them.

I'm a big fan of personality assessments.  One of my favorite assessments is called StrengthsFinder.  Out of 34 themes of talent, this tool selects your top 5 strengths.  My test results showed my number talent to be Adaptability.  The description of this talent is, "They tend to be “now” people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time."  I illustrate that aspect of me because not only am I open to new opportunities, I actively seek them out.  

Much of my life, up to this point, has been a process of opportunities presenting themselves and me taking full advantage.  I often feel as if I've been placed somewhere rather than choosing to go; my heart and mind working in concert.  To repurpose a little bit of Christian Scripture, my heart picks the path and my mind devises the way.  Seriously, what fun is a journey that moves in a straight line?  

Today I rediscovered the Art of Doing Nothing.


I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Think of a time when you didn’t think you were capable of doing something, but then surprised yourself.  How will you surprise yourself this week?
I Can Do Everything!
It would seem that I don't get surprised easily. That isn't because of amazing resourcefulness developed by  studying the ways of MacGyver. When I stretch myself, I tend to ask a little help from the Big Guy; whether I fail or succeed, there's a lesson to be learned.  Oh, Big Guy is my nickname for God... Yeah, we're that tight.  
All that being said, I can't honestly say that nothing surprises me.  Whenever I learn that something I said or did inspired someone close to me to change I'm always pleasantly surprised.  It's so amazing to me to see the seeds that you plant in others suddenly sprout, without ever knowing you touched them in that way.  It's especially impactful to me because I was never the example growing up; how I lived wasn't exemplary.  I can't really say that how i live today is exemplary, but it has its bright spots.
So, how will I surprise myself this week?  
Let's give it a week and be surprised together.   

Saturday, June 11, 2011


These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

*Is the insecurity you’re defending worth the dream you’ll never realize? or the love you’ll never venture? or the joy you’ll never feel?
Will the blunder matter in 10 years? Or 10 weeks? Or 10 days? Or 10 minutes?

Can you be happy being anything less than who you really are?

I've been pondering these questions all day and have come up with nothing.  There is no fear or insecurity that comes to mind that is holding me back.  I completely agree that the things people often worry and stress about are, in the big picture, irrelevant.  Quite frankly, I think that's awesome.  I guess I feel that many of the things I want are, intentionally, well within reach.  

I don't dream in detail.  I keep the things I want in life as broad ideas.  For example, I know that I want to teach.  Done.  No more detail.  Perhaps it will be as a professor, adult education, a fitness class, whatever.  All of those paths aren't created equal, I definitely would prefer to be a professor and am working towards that end, but I'm flexible to where life takes me.  The important thing is that I get to teach.  Let's look at this using a relationship model.  Some people have a list of qualities for their partner.  That list is so important that good matches are thrown aside because they lack line items 4 and 5. I think that's a little crazy, but its great if you can find it.  In my mind, what it all boils down to is people wanting someone to give and receive love.

I guess my question is, what are you really dreaming about?

Today was proof that sometimes the best outcomes come from the least planning.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Divine Idea

Imitation is Suicide. Insist on yourself; never imitate. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Write down in which areas of your life you have to overcome these suicidal tendencies of imitation, and how you can transform them into a newborn you – one that doesn’t hide its uniqueness, but thrives on it. There is a “divine idea which each of us represents” – which is yours?


I may be off base here with my response but...

Who doesn't imitate?  When did imitation equate with suicidal tendencies?  I love to change things up in my life, based upon things I see, hear, and read.  That's how I improve.  It's by seeing examples of others that I see what can be different.  It's how I learn how much more I can do.  I think the idea of imitation is too broad.  I think imitation comes into play if I say, "I'm going to incorporate this into my life, just because this person (i.e. celebrity, colleague, friend) does it."  In my mind, that is a suicidal tendency.  My divine belief is that I need to continually strive to be a better man.  To do that, I think I have to imitate the things I see, not because this specific person does it, but because it has universal appeal.  Eventually, that "imitation" becomes "incorporation" as I take the good I see in others and make changes in myself to stay true to my divine belief.  

Imitation, in and of itself, is pure.  Neither good or bad.  The question is, how do you use it?

Today was a reminder that good health is an important aspect of life that must be pursued to maintain.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Your Personal Message

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is burning deep inside of you? If you could spread your personal message RIGHT NOW to 1 million people, what would you say?

Well, I do have a thought on my heart.

Practice being content.  The biggest reason that people suffer is their attachment to expectations.  We go to college and thus expect to get a great job after graduation.  We've put 2+ years into XYZ relationship and expect it to work out.  We work SO hard at our jobs and expect acknowledgement and advancement.  Then, when those expectations aren't met it shakes our very foundation!  We cry out at the storm, shaking our fists vainly at the unjust gods. But, the truth of it is, you have no right to anything you expect in life.  

See, life has different mathematics.  In our minds, Hard Work + Dedication = Success.  That seems like a solid formula.  That same equation in Life's eyes could lead you to financial failure, marriage, prison, the possibilities are limitless!  Whatever path we take, we can only see so far.  Thus the key is to practice contentment; being able to feel the lows and highs of life and knowing that they are temporary states.  Repeat- Lows AND Highs.  Some people spend their lives seeking only the positive only to find that they can't sustain it and suffer as a result.  Any extreme is exactly that.

As I was writing this post, it reminded me of a song by the lovely, India Arie entitled, "Back To The Middle"  One verse of the song says, "

You gotta take the good with the bad, and you might hit the wall
Sometimes you'll fly and sometimes you'll really fall
There ain't no way to avoid the pain, But it's
Getting burned, that's how you will learn to come back to the middle

Today showed me that a continual state of stress is harmful, but experiencing and recovering from stress allows us to grow.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Afraid To Do

The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson says: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now.
I understand that if I were to write this secret down, it would be as if I was born anew.  I could lay my burden down, leave it behind me, and almost glide into tomorrow.  Yet, despite freedom at my fingertips, I'm reluctant to reveal it.  I've carried this secret for a long time; so long that its influence, for better or for worse, has shaped the man I am today.  I could no more lay it down on a whim than remove my scars; and really, why would I?  It's not as if my secret is holding me back, keeping me down, inhibiting my full enjoyment of life or any complete expressions of love.  Rather, it's like having a Jiminy Cricket in my head, that reminds me to not make that mistake again (though like Pinocchio, I sometimes ignore).
It's not that this secret will never see the light of day.  I will, inevitably, need to share it with someone, but that time is not now and that person isn't here.  Some things are best said face-to-face, with a someone close to you, 
and not on the internet...
Today taught the lesson that I must be intentional to make space for creativity.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Five Years

There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What would you say to the person you were five years ago? What will you say to the person you’ll be in five years?

Dear Me-5,

Hey buddy!  Let me start by expressing how much I admire you.  I know that you doubted yourself and your abilities from time to time; felt a little behind because you didn't have a plan.  Well, let me be the first to tell you that you end up just fine!  You have a good job, good friends, good apartment, good books, you're in good health.  Brother, LIFE. IS. GOOD!    Some people are going to come in your life really soon who will look at you with disdain because you don't have the 3, 5, 7 year goals set.  They'll really give you the side-eye when you don't know whats happening next semester!  Don't let it bother you.  When its all said and done they'll be watching you in wonder at what you've accomplished.  They are trapped in the wisdom of the world that tells you to set SMART goals and plan, PLan, PLAN!  Me-5, you have a way of navigating Life and it hasn't led you astray.  When your heart tells you to go a direction, you go.  People can fill your head with all types of nonsense, but your heart was filled with God at birth.  Trust the messages.  Great job!  

One last thing...    You had me at hello ;)

Dear Me+5,

I just got finished writing to Me-5, I sure wish it was you reassuring me!  What can I tell you, that you don't already know?  When I wrote Me-5, I told him to trust his heart.  I pray you continued to do the same.  It's a good heart.  It's the reason that I'm having the opportunity to write you this letter.  He did fine, I'm doing fine, and I know you're going to do fine as well.  Me+5, I guess the only thing I can tell you is that I trust you with my life, literally and figuratively.  Remember to humble yourself without hiding your gifts, respect everyone around you despite their beliefs, and continue to strive to be a better man.  Rest assured, I'll be doing what I can now to help you along.  You're a solid brother!  Peace and Love!

Today I remembered that having patience with others is intimately tied with letting my expectations go.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Dare To Be Bold

The idea of “being realistic” holds all of us back. Today, let’s take a step away from rational thought and dare to be bold.  What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue? Write it down. Also write down the obstacles in your way of reaching your goal. Finally, write down a tangible plan to overcome each obstacle.

My problem has never been fear of failure.  All of my ventures begin with a process of imagination; visualizing what success and failure will look and feel like.  I have had success and failure in equal measure.  There are few things that have genuinely intrigued me that I didn't pursue to some degree.

My issue has always been with hitting the finish line; the actual "accomplishment."  The journey is more meaningful and exciting for me than the destination itself.  It's not crossing something off my list, but the fact that it was on the list that makes me happy... that gets me into trouble! 

So, it seems that my obstacle is taking something to completion.  I'm not afraid of completing things, but my interests can change pretty rapidly.  This can be a good and bad thing.  In order to overcome this obstacle, take the approach I do at my work, and find someone to partner with.  I know I bring energy, flexibility, and positivity to my undertakings, but I can only benefit from making it a point to work with someone who wants to cross it off the list.  

I definitely went a different direction, but that's that flexibility coming out! least I finished posting.   ;) 

Today I remembered that shirking one's commitments to others cheapens the relationship.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Come Alive

Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you had one week left to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? In what areas of your life are you preparing to live? Take them off your To Do list and add them to a To Stop list. Resolve to only do what makes you come alive.
Bonus: How can your goals improve the present and not keep you in a perpetual “always something better” spiral?

Asking questions about how life would change if one had the foresight to know when one would die is a critical practice.  This question forces one to truly consider what is most important.  Are you running yourself ragged trying to accomplish things, only to realize that with a week, even a year left of life all you want to do is ride your bike?  Many philosophers speak about how the regular contemplation of Death makes Life that much sweeter.  

That being said, if I only had one week left of life, not much would change.  There isn't some treasure to be found, letter to be written, project to be completed that's been burning a hole in my desk, waiting for me to make time.  I live simply enough to not have these forgotten concerns scattered throughout my life.    I'd spend my last week just as I normally would and take the time to say goodbye.  

Oh, and I probably wouldn't go to work! ;-)

Today I thought about the old phrase, "Waste not, want not" and realized that it also applies to Time.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


If we live truly, we shall see truly. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?

I've never had any desire to travel the world.  I tend to be content and plenty interested in where ever I currently live.  I'm a slow traveler, so when I visit a place, I prefer to live there for a while.  One place I'd love to spend some years exploring is Brazil.  To make sure I get there, I regularly visit websites to look for a Brazilian college or university with an open position.  I am also looking to get certification in teaching English since I don't speak Portuguese.  Maybe, one day I'll be able to make the magic happen in Brasil!

Today was a reminder that hard work produces results.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Post It Question

That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? . . . Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Identify one of your biggest challenges at the moment (ie I don’t feel passionate about my work) and turn it into a question (ie How can I do work I’m passionate about?) Write it on a post-it and put it up on your bathroom mirror or the back of your front door. After 48-hours, journal what answers came up for you and be sure to evaluate them.

Today has been a day of remembering that excess is wasteful and that one must take time to recover strength.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

One Strong Belief

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?

As a society, I think we are reasonably open-minded. Every generation that fades away leaves the following one more open to ideas, possibilities, etc. Globalization, in many respects, forces people to tolerate the beliefs of others. Tolerating something is better than nothing, but tenuous at best. When religion comes into play we see the minds close to the possibilities. One belief that I hold near and dear and believe strongly in, is the universality of God.

As our various cultures have become more global and widespread, our notion of God has narrowed. It used to be that our ancestors would see God in the sun rising, rustling through the leaves, in a thunderstorm, but now we think of God and He looks like us, thinks like us; God went from existing where ever life was to only being where we are; where we've built houses for God to live.

This belief was born during a high school discussion between me and two of my friends. One friend, a Christian, told another friend, an agnostic, that if he didn't believe in Christ then he would be damned to hell. Although, raised Christian, I felt in my soul that this belief was not of God. In my mind, there had to be more than that; another side to the story. So, my interest became the spiritual traditions of the world. I was on a search to find God's voice and hear Him whisper Truth; to let me in on the secret, which I felt, was right in front of our noses.

Thus, I spent the last 10 years exploring various faiths. My search for Truth took me to Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Taosim, animism, etc. I explored the mainstream path as well as took a look into the esoteric interpretations. I learned about the sufis, mystics, and yogis, who stated that the search for God was a search within. Today I find myself a vessel for Truth from many sources. My experience has been reading one book provides insight into a verse from another. My understanding has been enhanced by exploring how other cultures see God. If only people would dare to look, the similarities would shock and awe them.

Today has been a day of enhancing focus and moving from theory to practice.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Today In A Sentence

Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Today is about picking a path, a particular approach to a problem, and simply putting one foot in front of the other.