Growing up I was raised by my mom and sister the majority of the time. So I have always had a more sensitive side as well as a respect for women. That sensitivity and respect has been tested over the years. I’m definitely guilty of mistreating and undervaluing women among other people from time to time. It stems from insecurities and honestly just a lack of knowledge/experience. In today’s world we see so much mistreatment not only towards women but towards humanity as a whole. It’s as if we have forgotten that we are all connected and here on this journey together at the same exact time. Coincidence? I believe everything happens for a reason and we can control/guide our futures. At times I feel lost and out of balance. Then I connect with someone, feel grateful and humbled. I know it’s hard to stay awake in life when sometimes it just feels easier to close your eyes. I am here to encourage you to push through and keep your eyes and heart open. This year my wife and I chose words we want to focus and work on. My word for 2018 is vulnerability. Without vulnerability how can we truly connect? How can we truly live? How can we truly thrive? Vulnerability= Connection= Fulfillment
Worrying about something before there is something to worry about. You are basically anticipating the worry. This is how I’ve lived most of my life. Worried about the future events that haven’t happened and may not even happen. I feel this directly relates to being mindful and being grateful. We all know life has its ups and down as well as its many challenges. We may get news we weren’t expecting or did not want to hear. We might miss out on an opportunity or fail at something. I’ve always believed and have been told that’s just life. That is definitely a vague statement, but what if I told you it was also an untrue statement. Things do and may happen that are out of your control. That is a small part of life but it is not life. Life is how you react. How you pick yourself up and deal with it. Life is a mindset. Life is constant growth and work. I’m not saying you can’t be upset or angry with certain situations in life. That is a normal human reaction. We need to feel those emotions and acknowledge those feelings. Just do not let them consume you or define you. You are not your feelings, emotions or hardships. You are you! You are doing the very best you can with the tools you have been given. You just may need to pick up some additional tools and perspective. There is not one tool for every job just as there is not one way to live your life. I invite you to step out of the anticipaworry box. Look around, take a deep breath and think of what you are grateful for in your life. No need to pretend. You can be grateful for something but not necessarily love every part of it. For example, I can not stand the traffic in Southern California and what a waste of time it is. But I am grateful I have a car to drive in that traffic and a job that day to be driving to. Being grateful doesn’t take away or change the fact that I am upset about sitting in traffic. It just changes the conversation in my mind. Once you change the conversation in your mind, you start to change the conversations in your life. Then your life begins to change. That is not the answer but just one tool to help get us through the rougher parts of life.
It’s interesting how we make such big life decisions without any real experience and at times on a whim. When we buy a car we maybe drive it once or twice then purchase it. When we buy a home we don’t even get to sleep there before making the biggest purchase of our lives. When we are in our teens or early 20’s we are told to pick a path or a career for the rest of our life. It just seems strange to me that we are supposed to pick our passion/profession at such a young age and just blindly stick the course. As I sit here writing this and honestly feeling anger and dissatisfaction in the way our society works. I start to think… does this really even matter? I feel I’m doing exactly what got us here and is keeping us here. I’m giving away my power, my peace of mind and happiness to a thought and these items which really don’t have anything to do with my quality of life. A car is a car. Although some cars may be more expensive or “nicer” than others, which depends on your perspective. It is still just a tool to get you from point A to point B. Same with a house. Does it really matter as long as you have shelter. A clean and comfortable place called home. Even a job or a career can be changed at any point in your life. With that being said, are we going to let these things or the people around us dictate our quality of life? I say it’s time we took our power and our lives back. It’s time we take a step back, slow down and get back to what’s really important to us. It’s time to do what feels right for you and your family. You can start today by being grateful for the life and the things you do have. Pause, take a breath and just observe the miracle around you. The moment you start treating everything as an opportunity and a gift you will begin to see your life transform around you. Happiness is the journey not the destination.
We spent a few days up at the beautiful Lake Arrowhead, CA with some family. Even on vacation in an amazing place I find myself worrying about the past and the future. Not being present enjoying the gorgeous scenery and the time with my family. I don’t know about you, but I usually seem to get distracted and caught up in my thoughts about work, stuff I need to do or just silly unnecessary baloney. It really takes a pep talk with myself to snap out of it and realize that this moment right now is what I need to be focused on. The work. The stuff. The baloney. It will all be there waiting for me. Dwelling on them does nothing but create anxiety and an absence from the moments happening now. One thing I’ve noticed is the pep talks get shorter and easier the more I do it. So next time you feel yourself distracted and not in the present moment just focus on your breath and remind yourself that this moment right now is all you need to focus on. We may not be able to slow down time, but we can be more focused and present with the time we do have.
Did you just hear a little voice in your head? Did I lose your attention for a second? Were you making a judgement about the empty space above? Well, I’m here you to tell you that’s okay. It is okay to acknowledge that little voice in your head. Just don’t always take its advice. It is okay to let your mind wander. Just gently bring it back to this moment. It’s okay to have and feel judgement. Just know it’s not always real or relevant. We are human and this is life. We are not perfect. Next time your mind wanders or that little voice in your head speaks up. Acknowledge it. Then choose what to do from there. However you choose to proceed, be gentle and present.
As a father being a son has more meaning. I can now begin to grasp the attachment and the love my parents feel towards me. People say that your children will eventually blame you for something. For me this was true. I would blame my parents for my short comings and emotional stresses. My parents divorced when I was very young. I remember the arguments at night. Staying with my Dad every other weekend. This was very hard and confusing for me growing up. It really didn’t give me a chance to develop a strong bond with my father as a child. I also know it was hard on my father because I always missed and cried for my mom when I was without her. I could not even imagine not being able to see my child every single day. Now as an adult I know they did the best they could and they had their own issues to deal with as well as their children’s issues. They were carrying the similar titles and demands around with them just as I am today. Having these realizations later in life does not make it any easier. It just brings some clarity and compassion. Although it was and is a tough situation I would not change it. I am a big believer in everything happens for a reason. I feel I would not have waited until I was thirty and emotionally ready to marry the woman of my dreams. I may not have met my wife, although something tells me we would have been drawn together at some point in our lives. I possibly would not have my beautiful daughter. Thinking about all the things that had to go wrong for my life to go right really makes me emotional, humbled and appreciative. I am beginning to tear up as I type. Rather than ignore or fight these emotions. I am acknowledging them and appreciating them. Our emotions and feelings are what make us human. To me that is one of the keys to living a positive, meaningful and present life.
Being a father is a title I am proud to have. Being a parent in general is truly a blessing. I was recently talking to my wife about how in most relationship you grow to love a person over time. The more experiences and time we share the closer our bond. When it comes to our children the love and bond is instantly there. It is a feeling you can’t quite explain. Maybe because it is so many feelings all at once. For me I experience love, joy, fear and worry daily. The love and joy I have come to know well and rarely acknowledge because those emotions are comfortable for me. The fear and worry are on a whole other level. I try my best to avoid and dismiss these feelings. Lately I have tried a different approach. I allow the fear and worry to be present and I allow myself to be present. Then I ask myself why I am feeling this way and is it truly what’s happening or going to happen. 99% of the time I am just projecting or creating a vivid story in my head. This has been truly life changing, being present and soaking up every moment I can with my daughter really amplifies the joy and love in my life. Next time some uncomfortable feelings come your way try acknowledging them and asking yourself why. You do not have to like these feelings but they are there and they will pass. They just pass easier when we remain present and acknowledge them.
Getting married is a huge life event and big commitment. Not only is it a big commitment, it is a choice. No matter what denomination you believe in you make a commitment and a choice during the ceremony. Here is a bit of a different outlook. Here we are newly married. We are now legally bound together. We are now committed to each other. I personally looked at marriage as nothing more than a contract signing followed by a party. Everyone is just there for the free drinks and food, right? I thought it was nothing more than another step in my life. It took me some time but I realized it was more than just a commitment or a step forward in life. It was a choice. We chose to marry each other and we choose to stay married every day. We did sign some documents and have a big party afterwards. But it was different and so much more than just a life event. We were surrounded by our closest friends and family who had been there through the ups and downs of our relationship to this point. It was really a special day. A day that changed the way I saw things forever. Although I am very committed to my marriage and love my wife deeply. Commitment always and still sounds like a choice mixed with an obligation to me. I choose my wife. By choosing her as my life partner I feel it takes us deeper than commitment. Deeper than legal documents. Deeper then love. I believe a marriage as well as all relationships are like a recipe. It takes a lot of little things added up to make a beautiful dish. The same is true for relationships. Although every recipe isn’t the same for everyone, I do believe it takes more than love and commitment to make a relationship last and thrive. Some days may be easier to make that choice than others. For me, even when times get tough I remember we are only human and that I am responsible for my own happiness. Probably most of my own sadness as well. If I can offer any advice, it is when times get tough just think back to why you chose and continue to choose this person. Also take responsibility for your own feelings. Only you have the power to make yourself feel sadness or happiness. Do not blame each other, work together because you are a team with a common goal. What is that goal for you?
Guilt and vulnerability. Two words and feelings that usually do not go together. In my own life guilt has consumed me. It has ended relationships. It has hurt those that I love. Most of all it has hurt myself and shaped the way I interact with people daily. Guilt does not always mean that you have actually done something wrong or hurtful. For me guilt comes from not feeling adequate. Not being able to meet someone’s needs or wants. Not being able to relate or understand someone’s feelings. Guilt has many forms. I find when I come from a place of guilt I become more defensive and close minded. The guilt does not allow me to be vulnerable. When I am vulnerable I can get my feelings/point across in a respectful and positive manner. I can actually connect with people. When it comes from a place of guilt… look out!
There is a saying, “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. My wife always laughs at me and wonders where the heck I learned all these old sayings. I guess I was just lucky enough to encounter some wise old souls in my lifetime.
Treating people with respect and being vulnerable really does create a positive interaction the majority of the time. We can disagree or have a different point of view without feeling guilty. We can still relate and connect even though we do not see eye to eye. There was a quote I found from The Huffington Post website from a blog written by Charlie Maffei. (I will post the link below at the end) The quote goes: “Being nice to nice people is great, but being nice to those who are not nice to you is how the world becomes better. We should not want to defeat or humiliate those we don’t agree with but to win their friendship and understanding.” I know from experience that it is not always easy. Some people have some outrageous point of views. But that is the beauty of being human. We all have a different experience of life and life’s little situations. We do not always have to agree with everything and everyone. But we should at least be open and vulnerable enough to listen and try to understand. We can simply take some thing positive or what works for us from a conversation or article. Then simply just let what you don’t agree with or understand go. I feel if we just tried to understand other people’s views rather than argue we would learn a lot more about them and ourselves. So I invite you to really listen and be vulnerable next time you have a conversation, read or watch something. You may not succeed every time and that is okay. It is about trying, being aware and recognizing what guilt and vulnerability mean to you.
I do not agree with or relate to everything in the article in the link above. But I did take away something positive and it was very enlightening to see a different point of view. Just as you may not agree with or relate to everything I write about. But my hope is that something you read or experience sparks you to find peace in your guilt and comfort in your vulnerability.
It has been about 3 years since my last post. Over the last 3 years I have accomplished a lot. I am set to be married to my fiancé of 6 years in about 26 days. I have grown a successful company after many years of struggle. With the help of my fiancé we purchased our first home which we fall in love with over and over every single day. We have traveled to many beautiful places and spent a lot of time with our loved ones.
After reading my above paragraph I look back and remember so many wonderful memories. Yet I still can’t help but feel stuck and in a way unfulfilled. It is like my spirit has been yurning for more or something different. Don’t get me wrong I am very happy with my current life, home and beautiful fiancé. The only way I can explain it is the feeling of something is missing. I find myself constantly saying”there has to be something more to this life”.
The last 3 years I believed I was taking time for myself and building a lasting legacy. When in reality I was stuffing my feelings deep down and doing whatever it took to succeed at the expense of everyone else around me. I have always been kind hearted and generous. Over the last few years I started to feel disconnected and alone. I had literally suppressed every emotion I had felt.Which led to issues in my personal life and business life.
About a month ago I was about to liquidate my company, sell all my possessions and disappear away from everyone I ever knew. The pressure of life and the pressure I put on myself had finally reached a breaking point. I found myself rude to people I cared about and I ran my company only in my best interest with out regard for others at times. Luckily I finally started listening and feeling some of my emotions. I had hidden my passion for spirituality and nature for fear of being different or unliked. Which in some cases only made me more unliked. I feel as human beings we have this urging connection with each other. As much as we try to fight it or be different from the rest, there is always a feeling deep down of unity and compassion.
I meet a lot of people daily who appear to have life all figured out and that are fearless. Once I actually connected and listened to people I started to realize the majority of us have the same concerns and fears. Whether you are a homeless person on the street or a multi millionaire with everything you could ever want. It becomes very apparent that we are all searching for something more.
I still have a long journey ahead of me and I will do my best to continue posting on this blog. Being open, vulnerable and acknowledging my emotions is not really my cup of tea. A few wise people have told me that sitting in that “uncomfortableness” not only helps you grow as a person, it also can lead to ideas and things you least expect.
Life is simple, when we get back to basics… We get back to life.