LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

This was a post from an inspiring blog I follow. I thought not only was it well conceived and written, but also contained a valuable message to people and businesses. Trust is a precious vessel, and once it is broken it is possible to repair, but the reconstructed article will never have the glory, perfection, and value of the original.

Be encouraged!

ASPIRE. MOTIVATE. SUCCEED!

Photo of Michaela Cruz- Ungos

By Avdhessh Arya

 

In 2011, a guy approached me for a business opportunity. We met in a five star hotel in Delhi.

He presented me a business plan (some sort of multi level marketing), which, apparently, was being joined by many high profile people (or so he claimed) like actors, models, and people with influential backgrounds.

 

“Why should I join this?” I asked.

 

“See,” he replied, “You can earn lots of money by joining this business. Only sky is the limit.”

 

“And what is it that you are selling?”

 

He introduced various products and services to enhance people’s lifestyle, health and prosperity consciousness. Then he showed me some fancy looking bio-disc kind of thing, which, if used regularly, can boost body’s immunity like anything. (I doubt that)

 

I asked him if he has something useful – something that is

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Heart of HHG

Head, Heart, & Guts. Could it be this is all we need to be truly successful in every area of our lives? Might it be possible to reduce all the variance of life down to something so simple it could be covered by three diagrams I lifted off of Google images?

Well it might not provide you with the opportunity to become one with everything in the universe, but I’m willing to state it could radically revolutionize most of our lives in a way we never thought possible. Even though I really had to evaluate a lot of disgusting photos to find one that covered Guts without provoking a gag response, I believe these simple drawings portray EXACTLY what we need for a successful life. A life of transformation for us privately and for the businesses we own or work at.

This is the second of a three-part installment. I have arranged these drawings in a certain order, because I believe it is the order they need to be accomplished. Let’s take a look at the Heart.

This is the Wikipedia definition of Heart; 

The heart is a myogenic muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system (including all vertebrates), which pumps blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions.

This isn’t the heart I am talking about.

Here is another Heart definition;

Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson first showed the world that women can rock when their band, Heart, stormed the charts in the ‘70’s with hits like “Crazy on You,” “Magic Man,” “Barracuda,” “Straight On,” and so many more. (off of www.heart-music.com)

Again, not the Heart I am referencing.

This is more like what I had in mine when I write about the Heart;

“…the emphasis of knowledge and emotion is centered in the heart.”

I am not thinking of the heart as a blood pumping organ, nor a Seattle based 80’s band, but as a place within us where our emotions reside. A place we tend to guard. It is the place where we nurture and grow our hopes and dreams. I like to think of it as the place where passion is born.

When Googling the internet this is what you get for passion;

or

While I have nothing against either expression of passion, neither is the exact type I am writing about. The passion I am writing about is described by Merriam-Webster online as:  a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept. I like that. “A strong liking or desire for or a devotion” is EXACTLY what I am mean. Devotion is a very strong word, it conjures up thoughts of religious fervor. Now I understand how that thought can send many to move the cursor to the little x in the upper right corner, but hear me out.

Your passion will motivate people to devote their being to your cause. The deep-seated, singular desire to do what it is you want to do. This comes quite easy for me, because I am a type-A personality. This didn’t work for me when I was standing in a dimly lit bar, late at night, plying myself with alcohol and drugs, while planning my next crime. It was when I got my life turned around and began to focus on health, success, and sharing with others, I found it to be a godsend. The very thing which enabled me to destroy a large portion of my life is what provided me with the passion to create not only a new me, but to also help others.

Once you find the one thing in life you truly want to do, your TruePath, you will discover your passion, your desire, and your devotion will flow like water down a mountain side after a spring shower. Your passion will run over obstacles. It will flow around impediments. It will create a new course when others are dammed up. Your passion will drive you to find answers. It will cause you to create your own opportunities. It will provide you with what you need to get up and do what needs to be done.  

I hope reading this last paragraph left you a little breathless. I wrote it while holding my breath. I get so excited about what I’m trying to convey to you as a reader that I forget to breathe. 

At LifeRevelation we call this the InflamedAche. Yeah I know it borders on corny, but you never forget it. All of us have at one time or another had some type of inflammation. As an ex-ultra-distance runner and now an ultra-distance cyclist I am intimately acquainted with inflammation and aches. Yet the all consuming scream for attention is exactly what I feel when I sit down to write for this blog, or when I work on my book, or speak to an audience who can’t wait to hear what a guy with my past has to say.

Find your TruePath and the InflamedAche of passion will come…just be ready.

Be encouraged!

 

 

Head of HHG

Head, Heart, & Guts. Could it be this is all we need to be truly successful in every area of our lives? Might it be possible to reduce all the variance of life down to something so simple it could be covered by three diagrams I lifted off of Google images?

Well it might not provide you with the opportunity to become one with everything in the universe, but I’m willing to state it could radically revolutionize most of our lives in a way we never thought possible. Even though I really had to evaluate a lot of disgusting photos to find one that covered Guts without provoking a gag response, I believe these simple drawings portray EXACTLY what we need for a successful life. A life of transformation for us privately and for the businesses we own or work at.

This is the first of a three-part installment. I have arranged these drawings in a certain order, because I believe it is the order they need to be accomplished. We will begin with the Head.

The head is a synonym for brain. First of all, we have to conceive of it. So what is “it”? “It” is the what we want to do. It is, as I once wrote in an earlier post about wolves, our TruePath. My TruePath is writing this blog and speaking to individuals and businesses regarding where and what they want to do. For a person to discover their TruePath is not a difficult undertaking. For a business to find their TruePath often takes more time and in-depth questioning before it makes its appearance.

So how do you as an individual unearth your TruePath? How do you climb inside your head to find out what it is you truly want to do in life. How is it, with everything you keep stored in your brain, you can alight upon the one thing that goes ding-ding-ding and lights and fireworks go off?

You can’t do it with all the voices announcing what it is that is important. Every voice thinks they are the most important. They don’t want to get overlooked. It makes no difference if it is your husband wanting “his” time with you; or your children demanding mac-n-cheese for the fourth night in a row; or the boss who demands that your real job is only to make him look good, do it and you will get the raises you want, don’t do it and you will find out what it is like to look for a job in the worst economy this nation has seen in sixty years. There are voices that tell you how much you should weight; what suit you should wear; what car you need to drive; what causes you should support; who your friends should be; how they should treat you; what you want; why you want; ad nauseum.

The voices need to be quiet for a while. So how do you do that?

You are in control. Too simple you say? Doesn’t make any difference. It is the truth. Some things are like that. Every once in a while…truth is truth. You are in control, not the voices, not the demands, not the responsibilities…it is you. You are in control. Do I need to say it again?

YOU ARE IN CONTROL.

If you don’t believe it, you are wrong. One of the blogs I follow is www.toughmotivation.wordpress.com by Kati Nelson. This is what Kati writes about her blog:

I like all that motivational, inspirational, lovey-dovey stuff just as much as the next person, but life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes motivation hits you the best with a nice slap in the face.

I pretty sure she means that with love. It is the reason I follow her. So here is my (loving) slap in the face to you:

YOU ARE IN CONTROL.

Quiet the voices. Go someplace where the noise goes away. Get quiet. Get still. Relax.

Now think about what it is you REALLY want to do in life. If money was no object; if time was no object; if responsibility was no object; if he/she was no object; if they were no object; if it was no object.

What would you do?

What comes into your head?

Be honest…no matter what is it (I am agreeing at this point we are all adults with mature thought processes which means we are not wanting to be a porn star or just marry some rich person who is about to die) you want to do?

I did this with my wife and she had difficulty thinking of only one thing. She wants to paint, sculpt, write music, sing… But while one thing eluded her, it was clear she wants to be creative.

Same with me. I don’t have one endeavor I want to take on, other than change the world. I want to change the world by writing this blog, and by writing a book, and by speaking to business leaders, civic leaders, change motivators, and three-year olds waiting for milk and cookies. I want to change how people view themselves. I want them to see they are capable of far more than they ever thought possible.

So what is it for you?

Maybe you want to work in a camera shop. Maybe you want to educate your children. Maybe you want to be a nurse. I have no idea, it could be anything. But the truth is, within the confines of the those billions upon billions of cells folded up in your brain…you know.

Write me and let me know what it is. Let whatever it is you want to do get out. Type it in the comments section. No one will know but us. I’ll even keep it secret if that is what you want. But let it out. Call it by name. Say it out loud.

You’ve just taken the first step.

Be encouraged!

Honesty

 

 

 

Maybe one of the hardest thing in the world to be is honest. Not to shade anything. Not to take away any part you don’t like or to add to any part you do like.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. There are over 900 Ted Talk videos on www.youtube.com. They range over a huge array of different subjects such as :

art–brain–channel–dance–education–food–gratitude–happiness–introvert–jill bolte taylor–kidney–motivation–neuroscience–octopus–play list–quantum physics–religion–sixth sense–technology–universe–vulnerability–women–x–yoga–zimbardo

You can find talks on failure, orgasms, public speaking, puppets, and weight. You can also find talks about apples, lies, regret, and youth.

But what you can not find is a talk on honesty.

On Google if I search “honesty” I am rewarded with 18,200,000 possible places I can click to read about honesty.

Wikipedia describes honesty as “a facet of moral character and denotes positive, virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, and straightforwardness along with the absence of lying, cheating, or theft.”

So why can I find over 18 million clicks on Google, but absolutely nothing on TED whose very reason to exist is to present Ideas Worth Spreading? Isn’t honesty an Idea Worth Spreading?

Perhaps it is easier to write about honesty than it is to get up in front of a room full of people with the video cameras rolling and talk about honesty. It might be somewhat less stressful to stroke the keyboard than it is put our face before a possible audience of several hundred thousands and be identified with honesty.

Or it might be none of the above. It might be something entirely different. But I wonder what?

All of us have had the experience of seeing something advertised, but once we’ve purchased it, found it not to be exactly the wonder product we expected.

We’ve all been faced with situations where we have manipulated the truth to the point where CSI couldn’t reconstruct the case.

Let me be more personal, I have lied about stuff for no apparent reason. Once when I was working with a gigantic manufacturing firm I made the mistake of slamming down a container of loose parts. One of the parts bounced up and struck me in the nose causing me to look like an animal had been slaughtered on my face. Blood was everywhere. A co-worker immediately came up to render assistance and asked the obvious, “What happened?” My answer was somewhat less obvious, “I don’t know.” The co-worker looked at me like I had lost my mind. How could blood be running down my face and soaking my shirt without me having the faintest idea why? Then the plant manager came over and said, “What happened?” Once again rather than say the obvious, which was I had stupidly slammed down  the parts resulting in the temporary rearrangement of blood flow from the inside of my body to the outside, I said, “I dunno.”

Years later I came clean to all the participants in this escapade and admitted I was just too embarrassed at my own ignorance to be honest. We all laughed and each one told similar stories of lying through their teeth rather simply admitting they had been careless.

Yet how indignant I can become when a giant corporation tries to put one over on us trusting customers. Or let a politician be anything less than completely honest and I am on the soapbox proclaiming a need for honesty in Washington, now.

I can’t rail against the crimes of others until my own house becomes slightly more law-abiding. So this is the beginning of my one man crusade to improve my own small bit of humanity. I am going to tell the truth. In a future blog I am going to talk about how telling the truth is like brain surgery, but for now just let me say it begins totally with me.

Of course, I am praying my little heart out that my wife does not ask me about the new makeup she bought.

Be encouraged.

 

Insanely long post…enjoy!

 

My last blog was an opening into my life. I want to open the window just a hair more, so please bear with me. I promise to get back to awe-inspiring (lol) commentary soon.

This is an excerpt from a book I am writing about my run across America. A few years ago I ran 3,160 miles from Pacific Grove, CA to Rehoboth Beach, DE. This transcontinental run was the thrill of a lifetime. Susie drove the sag vehicle and did everything else in the whole world like bill paying, laundry, finding food, coordinating logistics with our run co-ordinator who was operating out of Waco, TX, getting gas, getting us to media outlets on time for interviews, having the oil changed, finding host families homes in the pitch dark out in the middle of the desert, and keeping me relatively happy and sane. While everyone oohs and aahs over me running across the United States, the true hero is Susie. Without her there would have been no run. I actually had the easier part.

This is a description of my first attempts at trying to run. I hope you enjoy and feel free to laugh out loud whenever the mood strikes.

Oh I should also mention this entry is insanely long. Not the quick 300 -500 word note. This puppy runs over 3400 words. So if you have anything you need to do…go do it. Then grab a cup of coffee, or soft drink, or maybe a local brew (and a sandwich if you are in the mood), put your feet up, lean back, scratch where it itches, and settle in for long read.

Oh gosh one more thing before we get going…Please send me some comments. As noted this is from a book I’m writing and I would like to know what folks think. All I ask is that you be kind…since I’m the sensitive artist type…lol.

Be encouraged.

A Few Years Ago

One day Bryon came rushing up to me with this preposterous idea that if we wanted to be real men (and we desperately did), then we needed to run this incredibly hard race he had heard about. It was 7.6 mile long and called the Siberian Wilderness Run. The race was run on the first Saturday of the New Year regardless of the weather conditions. I was to later discover the race was laid out over a reclaimed strip mine outside of Danville, Illinois. Since then I’ve learned this also wasn’t exactly the highest test of true grit and testosterone that Bryon had described it to be either. There are much harder races held around the country. However, at the time, to a couple of guys, whose idea of running was considering quickening their walking pace if caught in a thunderstorm, this seemed like the testosterone running equivalent of climbing Everest.

Bryon stressed our need to train properly for this event. Since it wasn’t run until January and this was September I figured I had an adequate amount of time to whip my body into tip-top running shape, whatever that was. Now Bryon and I were also, as guys tend to be in this type of environment, extremely competitive. There was absolutely no way I was going to let Bryon beat me in this race. Do or die, I had no idea how, but he wasn’t going to get to the finish line before me.

So I began to train. However I had no idea what was the proper protocol for training to run a race. Actually, I didn’t know anything about running at all. My entire running experience was comprised of one month of running on the cross-country team my freshman year in high school. During that time I missed as many practices as possible, took every shortcut I could when we practiced, and finished dead last in both of the races I ran. Not exactly a stellar career in running. No one would have observed my running stats and predicted anything other than maybe a career on the debate team. But this was different. Bryon was also going to be running. My pride, ego, and manhood were on the line. When we were in the gym I made sure I lifted what he lifted, for as many reps as he did. Even though he had me beat by almost fifty pounds I was completely focused on not being outdone. As far as running was concerned I figured if you put one foot in front of the other enough times you would eventually get to where you wanted to go. All I had to do was master it faster than Bryon and I would be home free.

There was a closed road next to the apartment complex where I was living. This road was exactly one mile long. So I thought I would begin my training by running the length of this road. That would be a mile. Having not a clue, I more or less thought this would be a respectable distance to begin with and besides I didn’t have any way of measuring something shorter, so a mile it would be.

Earlier I mentioned it was September. The city I was living it at the time has a weather phenomenon called precocious enough, “The Dog Days of Summer.” The name hearkens back to Roman times. According to the bastion of latter-day knowledge, Wikipedia, the Romans associated the hot sultry weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the “Dog Star” because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Traditionally the Romans sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days to appease the rage of Sirius, believing the star was responsible for the hot humid weather. (I can tell you our little brown and white-haired Jake the Wonder Dog is greatly relieved this is no longer commonly practiced.) This weather pattern can be wicked. Instead of enjoying temperate, cool fall weather, you actually are laboring in ninety degree temperatures similar to the dead of summer. Humidity not wanting to be out done by the temperature, tries to match it. So you are left with ninety degree temperatures and ninety percent humidity. Get out of your air-conditioned car and before you can make it into your office you are soaked in sweat. Truly beautiful. This was the weather I started training in. And since I did not know anything about how to properly train I ran without any water.

The first day out I ran the length of the road which was a mile. It was then I discovered the first flaw in my training program. When you run a mile away from your home and you believe you are done, well you aren’t. You are a mile from home. This requires running back. So I ran back. As the sweat ran directly down my forehead, stinging the bejesus out of my eyes I learned the second problem with my training program. When you run without water, in ninety degree weather, in ninety-two percent humidity, you can get very, very thirsty. I stumbled back to my apartment, clawed open the front door, set the temperature to cool the apartment to 50 degrees, and fumbled around with a glass, ice cubes, and the faucet for about five minutes before getting enough water in the glass to drink, then downing it as fast as possible. I repeated this sad, inefficient method several times until I was saturated. After about a dozen glasses of ice-cold refreshing water I hobbled into my bedroom using what little tiny bit of muscles in my legs that would still respond to mental stimuli and fell down on the bed into a deep and wonderful sleep. After several hours I awoke to discover problems three and four with my training program. After you have run it is not a good idea to remain immobile for several hours. The muscles constrict and absolutely do not want to be stretched back out. They respond with an amazing quantity of screaming pain. At the time I was making this remarkable discovery I was also experiencing the fourth training problem. Do you remember me telling you when I came in I had turned the thermostat for the air conditioner down to 50? Well it worked! The temperature in my room was 50 degrees and apparently in an effort to conserve warmth I had drawn my body up into as tight of a ball as possible. I had lain down while still wearing my sweat soaked t-shirt and shorts which were now frozen solid and encrusted in layers of salt. This incidentally did nothing to help my muscles when I tried to stretch them out. So with great concentration I fought my way into the living room to turn the thermostat up to 90. Then I made my way down the hall moaning, groaning, shaking, stumbling and falling against the wall on the way to the bathroom, where I turned on the shower water as hot as possible and got in clothes, running shoes, and all.

That was day one of running.

All I knew about exercise was that in order for you to get the full benefit, it must be progressive. In other words, you can’t simply do the same thing over and over again and expect to make gains. You can’t lift the same weight, the same number of reps and expect glorious bulging muscles. You must alter the intensity, or the duration, or something to make each effort a little bit more difficult. So since I had run two miles the first day I figured three would be good for the next day. Now I imagine as you read those words you are starting to get this Cheshire cat grin on your face due to you recognizing the obvious. Because you realize that if I run down and back that is two miles, in order to run three miles I would need to have figured out a way to measure a half mile. But I hadn’t done that. I am a firm believer that only a little bit of running can make you stupid. So once again I’m running and I get through the first two. As I turn into the third mile it dawns on me that I will still be a mile away from my apartment when I’m done with the three. So I gut it out and run back for a total of four miles. And let me tell you, if you think you are thirsty after two miles of running in the Dog Days of Summer, well four miles will practically kill you. But at least I was getting somewhat smarter. I had turned the AC down to 68 when I left and resolved it would go no further. I had put several glasses of water in the refrigerator and I had promised myself I would take a shower once I got home and not lie down but meet a group of friends for dinner.

Day two done and I was getting a little smarter.

Day three and I was ready. I found an insulated water jug, filled it with ice and water, and set it in the shade near where I would be starting. I realized ahead of time I would be running six miles. I brought an old handkerchief to tie around my head which made me look (depending on your point of view) like some crazy Bonsai pilot or a renegade Harley rider, but at least it would keep the sweat on my forehead from running directly into my eyeballs causing me to writhe and cry out in pain. Speaking of pain. I was starting to understand why a lot of people refuse to run. I was getting really stiff and sore. Walking a normal gait was now completely out of the question. I kept my legs as stiff as possible, which wasn’t that difficult considering they didn’t want to bend any way, and then I ambled from side to side. Setting down or standing up wasn’t difficult, but the transition between the two was excruciating. I was getting to the point where I didn’t want to go out in public much, because when I either went to sit down or stand up I would scream out in loud voice like I had been forcibly hit with a blunt instrument. People were beginning to stare. My friends were beginning to shun me.

I made it the six miles on day three, but it was ugly. After the first 400 – 500 yards of something resembling shuffle-stumbling-falling forward type of gait, my muscles would begin to loosen up to the point where forward motion was actually possible without drawing attention to myself. During the beginning of this run while I was still hobbling and yelling I saw a lady come out into the back yard, get her kids, and go back into the house all the while staring at me like I might be the real life incarnation of the Night of the Living Dead. I think she thought I was trying to flee from guys in white coats. But I did it. Six miles how awesome!

Day four was eight miles, but the side effects were beginning to intensify. No longer would anyone ask me out if it meant being seen in public with me. Not only was I completely unable to walk normally, but I hadn’t slept well now for three days. The muscles in my legs were spasming so bad it was keeping me awake. I had stopped shaving because it required me to stand still while I attempted to drag a razor-sharp implement around my neck and over my face. I could no longer trust my legs to hold me still. I didn’t know what I would do if one of my legs suddenly started spasming while I was in the middle of scrapping the razor across my Adam’s apple. I could just see my friends finding me days later on the bathroom floor in a pool of blood with my throat slit open. “Poor Steve.” they would say, “Who knew? Wonder why he didn’t want to talk about it? This way is never the answer”

So there I was with legs that would spasm, jerk violently, then give out, blood-shot eyes from not sleeping, four-day growth of beard. Actually it was four days in some spots and only one day in some others, because I had tried to shave, but became so unsteady I thought I had better quit. It didn’t look to cool, but at least I wasn’t on the floor of the bathroom in a pool of coagulating blood waiting to be discovered. I was running. No wonder there were a lot of people who don’t run. Who could endure this much pain and continue to function as a contributing member of society? Oh yeah…I made it through day five with ten miles. Then I survived day six and twelve miles, using only the type of sheer gut wrenching grit that Green Beret types use in extreme training, but I had run into a problem. I was out of food at my apartment.

I thought about just calling for a pizza, but I was trying to keep my weight down and so I didn’t want to be pigging out on pizza. I just had to pull it together enough to go to the store, buy a few food items to fuel this awesome running machine, and get back so I could collapse and recuperate.

No military invasion has had greater precision planning than I executed for my siege of the local supermarket. I calculated how many steps to the car. I checked the best time to leave the apartment so I wouldn’t encounter any of my friends going or coming from work. I figured just this once I could park in the handicap parking by the front door. I didn’t have the requisite sticker hanging from the mirror, but I knew one look at me and they would figure it was in the mail. So after surveying the apartment complex for the best slow traffic time, I staggered out the front door. Fortunately, I was on the first floor. Had I have been on the second…well let’s just say none of you would be hearing these words now. I drove slowly and cautiously. I had visions of my legs suddenly violently yo-yoing up and down uncontrollably and before I could regain control I would have rammed my car into a church bus carrying mentally disabled children on their way to meet the Governor for a special commendation award, or careen into a fire truck on its way to rescue a mother of five from a burning building. I imagined every disaster scenario possible, and a few that weren’t possible. Then suddenly I was there. The Promised Land hadn’t looked as good to the Jews after forty years of wandering in the desert as that handicap parking spot looked to me. I had made it unscathed and without incident. Unless you count the lady walking her little dachshund through the intersection and I simply couldn’t get my leg to move over onto the brake fast enough so I laid on the horn as I dragged my foot off the accelerator and coasted by. Besides it didn’t really hurt her any to hoof it a little quicker. She looked like she could use some exercise. She should take up running. Drop that weight like a bowling ball rolling off the table. Anyway I had made it. Now all I had to do was stumble around the grocery store while bending over and clinging onto the shopping cart. I figured this move would take some of the weight off my legs and put it on forearms. My forearms hadn’t been pulling much weight since I started this running thing so I figured they could help out. Even in this battered state I still had my priorities and that included going by the magazine counter. I have read voraciously all my life. I inherited it from my Dad, along with a few other traits I believe I have already mentioned. Mrs. VanHorn, the town librarian, fanned my reading spark into a full-blown inferno when one day she said to me, “Stephen, I think there are some books over here that you might enjoy.” She lead me out of the kid’s section of the library and over to where the adult books were kept. And this was long before the term “adult books” had any type of perversion attached to it. Thank you Mrs. VanHorn my life has never been the same from that day forward. I have often told my wife, “I’ve never regretted buying a book, but I’ve been married a few times.”

So there I was in front of the magazine counter looking over the newest editions of Rolling Stone, Time, and Flex when my eyes came across a title I had never seen before. It took a few moments, but I was finally able to ever so carefully bend over and lift it up. The title was “Runner’s World”. I thought that was the craziest thing I had ever seen. And I’ve seen some crazy things. Who in the world would buy a magazine about running? I mean after all what is there to it? You take one foot and put it in front of the other, then repeat until done. It isn’t rocket science. But as I was doing my commentary in my head, my eyes spied something which shook me to my very core. I busted out laughing right in the front of the magazine counter in the middle of the supermarket. There in bold, black letters, for the entire world to see, and especially me, it said, “To avoid injury only increase your mileage 10% per week.” By my calculations I had increased my mileage 1100% in my first week.

If they ever make a film about my life (fat chance) this is the point where they will insert Handel”s Hallelujah Chorus. I swore I could hear angels singing. At last my life was saved. I could rejoin the human race. At some point, maybe even have children. I clutched that magazine like a drowning man clutches a life vest. I was saved.

I don’t know how many of you have made it this far…but I thank you. Please let me know what you think.

Be encouraged!

AH HA

  

 

   Have you ever had an “Ah Ha” experience? It is when the proverbial light bulb suddenly goes on in your brain to illuminate some concept or idea, which until that very moment, had lived in the dark. It flashes out of nowhere. One moment you are lost, the next you have a complete grasp of exactly what it is you are trying to comprehend. Usually the experience leaves you mildly delighted with yourself and is a natural mood elevator.

“A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Author & Physician

1809-1894

     This is exactly what happened to me in a hotel room inColumbia,Missourinearly twenty years ago. Most people sing in the shower, I on the other hand, changed my life’s destiny. I had stepped into the shower without any preconceived thought of altering every aspect of my life. I was just going to do what showers are designed for, take a shower. I was in a hurry. I had an appointment and I didn’t want to be late. So I turned on the water, checked it to make sure it was not too hot or too cold, stepped in, and grabbed the soap. It was at that moment the earth metaphysically turned a corner. As the mind will sometimes do, I began to think about a variety of things, all running single track, at light speed. The thoughts began to coalesce into images of my life’s actions. I started to see not only the actions, but also their affects. I began to understand the terrible results coming from my preoccupation with only myself. Not that I was spending the time staring into my navel. I was using and abusing people. I felt the searing pain I caused to those who had tried to love me. Nothing in my life mattered except making it easy, comfortable, and financially solid. I cared not one wit about the people around me, in the slang of today, it was all about me.

     Then the thoughts began to move ahead. Every time I had ever been in jail there was always this one old guy. Sometimes it was the same guy, sometimes it would be a different guy, but the story was always the same. They (the police) had popped him this time, but he was working on something (he couldn’t share the details with you, but he assured you it was good) that would be the big score. It would always be successful. It would always be relatively easy. It would always allow them to be “set” for the rest of their lives.

     Except the truth was, it never worked out. When I would see them again, they would always dismiss it by saying, “Oh yeah, that was nothing, but I’ve got a score I’m working that is going to change everything. They are not going to see me in here again.” I wasn’t old (whatever that is), yet I could clearly see our paths where one and the same.

     I could also see the long range outcome of the direction I was going. I knew either long term incarceration or premature death (my hand or someone else’s) awaited me.

     I staggered out of shower, dripping water across the floor, as I fell into the bed. I began to cry and weep. The hot tears flowed as though there was no end. My soul was shattered by the way I treated those closest to me. The wrenching agony I had caused. I felt gutted. There was a white-hot searing pain from deep within me. I struggled even to breathe, which was something I didn’t believe I deserved.

     It was there I made a decision as my wet body lay stretched out across the bed, with tears flowing down my face, gasping for every breath. I sat up. I took the towel and wiped off my face. With every ounce of will in my body I determined to change my life around. Whatever it took, I would do. Whatever change would be needed, I would do. Whatever whatever would be needed, I would do. There was no force or obstacle that could keep me from becoming a different person. A whole person. Someone of worth. An individual who could/would/should change.

     I don’t know the type of life you are living. Maybe you are one of the gifted ones, who has it all together. Hopefully you are not the way I was. Possibly you are somewhere in between the two. Wherever you may be in life, you have the ability to get better. You already have all it takes to move upward. Within you resides the raw materials for building something great. I’m not saying it will be easy. It won’t. I’m not saying there won’t be setbacks. There will be. I ‘m not saying all the people who are currently around you will stay. More than likely they will not.

     What I am saying is deep within the person you currently are lives each and everything you need to move forward in your life. To create the type of person you innately know you are meant to be. You can love. You can be loved. You can give and receive grace and forgiveness. You can be great. You can be awesome.

     Why you ask? Because that is why you were born! You were not born to live in addiction, angst, pain, suffering, loneliness, heartache, or anything else hurtful. You were born to laugh, smile, enjoy, have pride and self-esteem, to love and be loved, to give forgiveness and receive forgiveness, and everything else you can think of that brings a smile to your lips.

     Do it! Change your life. Change your business. Change yourself.

     Be encouraged!

More wolf stuff

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/46758369#46758369

Our good friends at Wolf Creek Habitat (www.wolfcreekhabitat.org) sent us the above site. It is from a Today Show piece about wolves. Our friends run a compassionate habitat for wolves. They interact with the wolves in a way that allows the to be exposed to man, but in no way tries to domesticate them. The wolves remain exactly what they are…wild, beautiful creatures able to instill awe.

Please check out this link. I believe it is essential that we remember and experience nature. Don’t be deprived of the life that exists all around us.

Thanks for taking the time to read. I always try to convey that sentiment when anyone comments. I love to read what you have to say so please stay in touch.

Thank you and as always…Be encouraged!

What have we learned?

I want to start this blog with a note. I write about honesty, but there is also grace. I spent a large part of my life lying. Lying about my motives and who I really was. I learned the hard way, honesty is the best policy.  Corny as it sounds, it does indeed work. So this post isn’t me looking down from the mountain top lecturing the poor fools who can’t make it. It is me shoulder to shoulder, encouraging, desperately trying to say, “Hey look these things can be corrected and we will all be better off for it.” Thanks for reading…be encouraged! With the deepest respect-Stephen Edwards.

I have watched with interest the stories of Greg Smith with his public resignation letter in the New York Times and the retraction of Mike Daisey’s monologue regarding his visit to an Apple factory in Guangzhou, China by Ira Glass on This American Life. Google either one and you can find several hundreds of thousands of sites. All of this attention prompts me to ask two questions; First, why all the attention? Secondly, what have we learned?

Why have these two stories generated such intense scrutiny? The news outlets have poured forth with in-depth reporting of the facts, op-eds of what, why, and how, and rolled out the experts to express their opinions. I have talked with several people personally, as well as electronically and they all have their own view.  But why? How did these two stories vault into the public psychic and news cycle so predominantly?

Here is where I add my own humble opinion. The reason for the white hot attention these stories are generating is because they touch on a core value we all possess to some degree. Some of us have it to a heightened degree, while others have it remarkably less, but we all have it. That value is honesty.

There is some spark within each of us that values honesty. When Mr. Smith writes in his NY Times op-ed letter, “…the interests of the client tend to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.” something inside of us resonates with a loud “Yeah!” Because we all have, at least on some level, had the experience of being treated like a walking dollar sign. I fully understand businesses’ need to make money to survive, but the need to make a profit doesn’t necessitate your company having to rape me for every nickel and dime you can squeeze out of me, then kick me to the curb, and tackle the next victim. I know the words I’m using paint a florid mind picture, but it is simply what it feels like at times. When the cashier tries to entice you to upgrade your account, every single time you are in the store or when visiting your local computer store you are repeatedly taken to higher priced items, even though you have expressed your desire to stay within a certain, much lower, price range.

To my ears Mr. Daisey’s repeated claims that he stayed within the boundaries of truth as recognized by the theatre world, which are different from those acknowledged by the world of journalism, ring hollow. It sounds far too much like an individual caught doing something wrong, but who doesn’t want to stand up and simply say, “I lied.” I have just come from reading his blog and Mr. Daisey has gone on the offensive with Mr. Glass pointing out a number of indiscretions he believes This American Life has participated in regarding their reporting of the Apple factory issues. There are simply too many discrepancies between what Mr. Daisey says and what is truth. One of the most glaring is when he claims his translator’s name isn’t Cathy, but Anna, and her cell phone number has been disconnected and she is unreachable. Then Rob Schmitz, a reporter for Marketplace, who lives in Shanghai, went out out and found her. He found her by Googling Kathy, translator, and Guangzhou. These three words gave him her cell phone number, which he then used to call her and verify she was the actual translator used by Mr. Daisey on 2010 trip to China.  It is about honesty.

The second question; “What have we learned?” is much more difficult to answer. The backlash to both stories has already begun. Goldman Sachs sent a news release which basically said, (and I’m paraphrasing here), “What is the problem Mr. Smith? We are here to make money for our investors and that is what we do. They pay us and we produce, that is how it works. We do not apologize for making money, that is our job.” Conveniently ignoring the fact, one is capable of making money without sidelining the interests of the client.

Mr. Daisey claims he stands behind his monologue 100%. He posts on his blog (http://mikedaisey.blogspot.com/), “What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism.” One of the basic tenets of logic is something cannot be both true and not true at the same time. I was raised to believe truth is truth. 

What have we learned? I’m not sure, but this is what I have learned. The writer of the book of James in the New Testament has some good advice. He says, “Let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay.” I like that. Although it was composed over a century ago the truth it contains is still as accurate as the day those words were committed to papyrus. Just do it right. Be honest. That way you never have to look over your shoulder and the people reading your words or listening to you speak never have to wonder either.

Be encouraged.

100x WORTHY!

You are worthy of an insanely great and awesome life!

You are worthy of great children!

You are worthy of sunshine!

You are worthy of a kiss!

You are worthy of your parents!

You are worthy of peace!

You are worthy of kindness!

You are worthy of love!

You are worthy of your spouse!

You are worthy of change!

You are worthy of what you want!

You are worthy of sex!

You are worthy of worship!

You are worthy of that gleam in your eye!

You are worthy of candy!

You are worthy of time!

You are worthy of big beautiful white clouds!

You are worthy of the time it takes me to write this!

You are worthy of flowers!

You are worthy of rain!

You are worthy of diamonds!

You are worthy of laughter!

You are worthy of smiles!

You are worthy of understanding!

You are worthy of wisdom!

You are worthy of chocolate!

You are worthy of dinner!

You are worthy of silk sheets!

You are worthy of the impossible!

You are worthy of belief!

You are worthy of change!

You are worthy of exploring!

You are worthy of wanting!

You are worthy of feeling!

You are worthy of knowing!

You are worthy of quiet!

You are worthy of conversation!

You are worthy of success!

You are worthy of a future!

You are worthy of solitude!

You are worthy of a voice!

You are worthy of mourning!

You are worthy of leading!

You are worthy of assistance!

You are worthy of knowing!

You are worthy of dancing!

You are worthy of faith!

You are worthy of wine!

You are worthy of prayer!

You are worthy of light!

You are worthy of family!

You are worthy of a song!

You are worthy of wonder!

You are worthy of worth!

You are worthy following!

You are worthy of help!

You are worthy of self-esteem!

You are worthy of being!

You are worthy of writing!

You are worthy of visiting!

You are worthy of hope!

You are worthy of dreaming!

You are worthy of confidence!

You are worthy of a vacation!

You are worthy of holiness!

You are worthy of patience!

You are worthy of cuddling!

You are worthy of devotion!

You are worthy of grandchildren!

You are worthy of greatness!

You are worthy of strength!

You are worthy of endurance!

You are worthy of passion!

You are worthy of creativity!

You are worthy of singing!

You are worthy of lullabies!

You are worthy of thought!

You are worthy of character!

You are worthy of obedience!

You are worthy of wildness!

You are worthy of your own mind!

You are worthy of action!

You are worthy of my love!

You are worthy of humility!

You are worthy of sacredness!

You are worthy of the divine!

You are worthy of fun!

You are worthy of a video!

You are worthy of shouting!

you are worthy of advice!

you are worthy of possibilities!

you are worthy of intelligence!

You are worthy of money!

You are worthy of following!

You are worthy of inspiration!

you are worthy of the ocean!

You are worthy of desire!

You are worthy of liking!

You are worthy of excuses!

You are worthy of compassion!

You are worthy of EVERYTHING!

This was inspired by my wife Susie.

See what I mean…

I thought this put a nice period on my post from yesterday.

Be encouraged.

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