I’ve been really struggling lately with the realization that I won’t be home and able to spend as much time with my wife and daughter. For those who don’t know. We sold our home in CA and moved to AZ in July last year. This move was thought about for years but also there was a lot I never thought about. Since Charlotte was born 23 months ago I’ve been blessed with being able to be home the huge majority of the time. Something most fathers and some mothers do not have the luxury of experiencing. I’ve been present and able to create a unique bond with my family which has allowed us to grow and become closer. It makes me think about the impact this will have going forward. The impact on me is profound but I’m curious the impact on my daughter. Based on current situations I’m not sure the next child (when we decide to have one) will get the same time Charlotte received. It’s kinda like a real life experiment with real life results. I try not to project to far into the future but as I get older life seems to leave me with more questions than answers. I find myself questioning whether providing a certain lifestyle and certain luxuries are really going to matter. Or if my time/presence is more valuable than any object or lifestyle I could provide. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I’m not looking for sympathy as I know how fortunate I am just to be here. In my heart I believe my time/presence is more valuable than anything but I constantly struggle with the balance aspect. Where is that line… when and where should I cross it?
It’s interesting to me how we grow to love people but with our children it’s instant. There isn’t a honeymoon phase or first impression. Just pure and utter love. There is something beautiful about it. It makes me think about love in my life. Whether it’s giving or receiving. I’ve always had a hard time telling people I loved them. It did not mean I did not, it was just uncomfortable for me to get the words out. But like anything the more you do it the easier it gets. Now I make sure to tell people I love them. I feel this unconditional instant love I felt for Charlotte has unlocked something inside me that was always there. It allowed me to be clear on what love is to me and where love is in my life. Which brings me back to… there is something beautiful about it.
At times we may not see eye to eye. We all have had different experiences that have shaped our perspective. I believe everyone’s perspective is valuable. No matter how abrasive or pleasant it may seem. It’s in the listening, asking questions and understanding that we grow as humans. I myself struggle with this daily. My ego flares up and I get angry or just emotionally shut down. There is this need to be right and look as if we know exactly what we are doing at all times. I’m here to tell you it’s okay to not have a plan. It’s okay to not have it all together all the time. We are human beings living a life through the lens(perspective) of our hardships, our joys, our failures and our successes. That should never be discounted but it should be checked constantly by being open to others ideas and ways of seeing the world. Stop what you are doing and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and let it all out. Now imagine you are free to share your perspective without fear of rejection. Imagine you can be open and unafraid of judgement while going through your life. What does that look like? How does it feel? To me it felt like connection, a sense of relief and peace. This isn’t a test and your are encouraged to feel however you feel. I invite you to hold onto that feeling and examine it. Maybe try that in other aspects of your life. Being human isn’t just about being here. It’s about thriving and enjoying this journey we call life. I don’t know nor do I speculate what’s after this life. That’s for everyone to create and decide for themselves. I just want to invite you to make it the best journey you possibly can. Whatever that truly means to you. -Jeffrey
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.
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.