LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Moving On Up!

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As many of you know, I am writing a book about the lessons I learned while running 3160 miles across the United States. The tentative title is Running Across America & Down Other Roads. I would like to announce that I am the little guy at the top of the diagram above who is doing the Happy Dance. Actually I am not represented on the diagram. I am somewhere in between “I Will Do It” and “Yes, I Did It!” I think my position could best be described as “I Am Doing It.”

“I Am Doing It,” isn’t all that bad of a place to be. I have overcome the “I Won’t Do It” phase. It only took about sixteen years for me to finally be victorious. My basic reason for struggling so long at the base of the stairs was because I had this love/hate relationship with what I had accomplished. No doubt, running across this incredible country of ours is the greatest physical feat I have accomplished. However, for years when people discovered what I had done, I was met with one of two responses: 1) That is awesome, tell me about it. or 2) Hmmm, I wonder if dinner is ready.

Either folks wanted to know every detail starting with why and finishing with how or they didn’t want to hear another word about it. I loved explaining to people all the ins and outs of the run, but response number 2 left me bewildered, feeling awkward, and, in the interest of complete honesty, a little hurt. Overall it left me not wanting to talk about it, because I never knew what the reaction was going to be.

My wrestling with fear of success/failure kept me from moving for years. As I realized (I am a very slow learner) that people’s response should not be the governing factor on how I live my life, my writing began.

Once I got started the rest of the steps went by easily. I figured out how to organize my research, thoughts, ideas, various journals, notes, photos, and recollections. Susie-who is the world’s greatest organizer-pitched in and got me going on the right track. Publishers got interested and now I’m writing, editing, and immensely enjoying the process.

But I want to ask you, Where are you at on the steps? What are the reasons for where you are? What will it take to move up a step? What holds you back? Why not move today?

Let me know.

Be encouraged!

Virtue #11–Caution

http://onlyhdwallpapers.com/fun/monsters-humor-caution-desktop-wallpaper-414112/

The author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables, Victor Hugo once  stated“Caution is the eldest child of wisdom.” If we consider Caution to be a warning against danger or evil, then Hugo’s statement takes on considerable importance. Caution begins to shoulder something more than “street smarts” or “gut feeling.” It assumes the pretext of practical consideration. It casts off the charade of  impulse and whim, assuming increased weight and contemplation.

It seems in today’s fast paced, frenetic, time is money mode of operation that Caution would appear quaint, like the wearing of a pocket watch for men or a Victorian lace collared blouse for women. It might be practical, but it isn’t something cutting edge metropolitans would ever be caught dead doing. Business is all about moving forward. If you aren’t growing, you are dying. Speed is of the essence. Caution has been left in the dust.

Maybe when considering love Caution tends to be thought of as more relevant. Rarely do we hear the call for a relationship to move faster. It is here Caution is thought to be…well almost a virtue. “Go slow.” “Give this some time.”, we are encouraged. Suddenly Caution is our friend. It will protect us from rash and hasty actions, which we might learn to regret in the future.

Caution’s value skyrockets when we have children. Every child hears, “Slow down there.” and is asked “What is the big hurry?” When we kiss them good night, pull the covers up around their little faces, and creep toward the door, the prayer on every parents heart is, “Please God, let them grow up slowly.”  Caution is our watch word when we take them to the park, or to the mall, or to school, or on a date, or watch them play sports.

As I look around our world I wish we would exercise more caution. Caution: in how we operate our vehicles on the interstates, how we enter into romantic relationships, how we think, how we talk to our spouses, how we interact with our neighbors, how we conduct our business, how we choose our beliefs, how we rule our nation, how we decide to use our military, how we live our lives.

I understand too much caution and we become immobile. We can’t reach a decision. We become the proverbial deer in the headlights. We need to swing through the trees, holding on to the branches, and howling loudly, but let’s make sure we don’t turn loose of one branch until we have a firm grip on the next.

Be encouraged!

Time Is On My Side

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Time is on my side, yes it is.

Time is on my side, yes it is.

(Time Is On My Side by Jimmy Norman and made famous by The Rolling Stones)

Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in the International System of Units. It traditionally has taken two different forms. The first being the calendar and the second form being represented by the clock. For the purpose of this post we will be focusing on the clock.

The clock has never been my favorite unit of measurement for time. Probably due to the fact that in the past I was late for everything. Years ago I learned a trick for defeating this deficit in my character make-up. I began to set my watch ten minutes ahead. Although in my mind I understood what I had done, the reality was if I looked at my watch and discovered it was time for me to be somewhere I would immediately begin to move heaven and earth to get there. Of course, I still had ten minutes, but my mind would overlook reality and simply begin issuing commands as if I were late. Later, I turned all the clocks in my home ten minutes fast and have eliminated my lateness. Susie is not particularly fond of this method of brainwashing, but after twenty years she has adapted. Only rarely now does she ask, “What time is it in the real world?” In the interest of full disclosure, one night while she was sleeping I got up, tipped toed around to her side of the bed, and set her watch ten minutes fast as well.

Back in 1977 two social psychologists, Dan Barton and John Darley from Princeton University, set about conducting an interesting experiment involving the interpretation of time. They approached Princeton seminary students who were preparing a speech on the parable of the Good Samaritan. Each student was told either: A) He is late, that he was actually expected in the lecture hall a few minutes ago, and that his instructors are waiting for him. or B) He has plenty of time, but might as well start to go over now.

As each student headed to the lecture hall he passes a person slumped over and coughing profusely, obviously in need of assistance. Of course, the person is an accomplice of the researchers. With no one else nearby the seminary students are confronted with a decision. While going to give a speech about the Good Samaritan, who stopped to deliver aid to a hurting individual when no one else would, do they stop to help or do they go on to their lecture. The only difference in the two groups is the time pressure. One group believes they are late, the other thinks they have plenty of time.

The majority of those who believed they had plenty of time stopped to render assistance. Of those who believed they were running late 90% failed to stop.  All students involved admitted they saw the individual slumped over and understood he needed help.

Allow yourself to slow down and look around. Are there people in your family, your work place, and/or your group of friends who might be “slumped over” and in need of help? Are we missing anything? Could someone we know be telegraphing pain, hurt, stress, worry, and/or fear and we are missing it? Reduce our speed, quiet our thoughts, and remove the blinders from our eyes and take a closer inspection of those we interact with on a daily basis.

Let me know what you find.

Be encouraged!

Time is one of the seven fundamental physical quantities in the International System of Units.

Politics

I am not one who enjoys proclaiming his political views. I know there are those who find it fascinating and God bless them, but I am not of their ilk. I have my opinions and for the most part I prefer to keep them to myself. Airing my thoughts in public I find to be counter-productive to what I hope to accomplish in bringing people together in peace. Politicians no longer (if they ever did) speak for me I don’t find comfort in either the right or the left. There are elements of both I like and a good deal more that I don’t.

But while I was playing catch up  after a weekend of interviewing acrobats, fire eaters, sword swallowers, glass eaters, contortionists, unicyclists, trapeze artists,  and a couple of other unique performers (trust me this is a whole series of posts in and of itself) I came across Terri’s blog at http://terri0729.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/mondays-military-honors/. The snapshot above was one of many about those who serve in the military for our country. My official disclaimer is I am somewhat biased in my opinion regarding the military. In my youth I was a hippie and not inclined to be supportive of those who served, but life often has ways of turning a person’s thinking around. Our youngest son is career Army and there is not a prouder parent in the United States than this old hippie.

Take a moment to think about this information. Perhaps there are some things that should drive us into the streets, waving our placards again.

Be encouraged!

A philosophy we could all live by.
Be encouraged!

What about God?

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Every Once In A While…

EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE

WE DO IT RIGHT

Every once in a while, we as human beings get it right. These photos encouraged my to continue the crusade of human decency and kindness. I hope you will not only be uplifted by them, but also remember what little it takes to be encouraging to another on the journey. The following is copied from http://themetapicture.com.

Be encouraged!

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funny-faith-in-humanity-nice-people

cool-people-being-nice

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You Don’t Always Get What You Want

http://edwardrecommends.com/people

What if getting everything we want…right now…isn’t a good thing? Is there a possibility that, at least for some things, waiting a while might be a good thing? Say for instance, being promoted. Could it be beneficial to stay in your current position for a while, get really good at it, study where you want to go, devise a plan as to what you will do when you get there, then get promoted?

Does waiting for something add value to us? Does it cultivate certain talents that are useful? Is there something in the process of waiting that is a positive life lesson?

At some point I will be writing a post regarding patience as a virtue. Does the delay in gratifying our wants help strengthen patience?

http://cheezburger.com/3057568512

There is a famous study done in 1972 by Dr. Michael Mischel at Stanford University involving marshmallows. The study used a group of kids from the age of four to six. They were given a marshmallow, but told if they did not eat it until the researcher returned (fifteen minutes later), then they would get another one. They could however, eat the one they were given at any time, but then that is all they would get. The idea being instant gratification with the one in hand or delayed gratification with two. Six hundred children participated and one-third were able to hold out for the entire fifteen minutes and received an additional marshmallow.

In 1988 a follow-up study learned that among those who had been able to delay gratification were described by their parents as being highly competent. In 1990 they discovered the delay gratifiers had significantly higher SAT  scores. I’ll write more about this study in a later post, but isn’t it interesting this simple test was able to predict with amazing clarity the life difference between the early gratifiers and the delayed gratifiers.

So might we best served to slow down or even delay, the gratification of our wants. I am sure there are a multitude of life analogies to be drawn. I’m going to start with holding off preparing myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…but not for long.

Be encouraged!

This is a great one…I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Be encouraged!

allaboutlemon-All Around, In, And Out Of My Own Universe

THE GINGHAM DRESS

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston , and walked timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President’s outer office.

The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard & probably didn’t even deserve to be in Cambridge .

“We’d like to see the president,” the man said softly.

“He’ll be busy all day,” the secretary snapped.

“We’ll wait,” the lady replied.

For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away.

They didn’t, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.

“Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they’ll leave,” she said to him!

He sighed in exasperation and nodded…

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Virtue #10–Chastity

Image Detail

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Years ago there was a rock band that played in the Midwest. Their name was Sex Sells Magazines. I liked the name because I thought it was true. Sex does sell magazines. It is also used to sell every conceivable product and service in the world; from toothpaste, to computers, to statistics. When I google  “sex sells”  I discover 5.7 million sites, of which a few are worth viewing.

It certainly is not news to anyone today to learn the use of sex as a marketing strategy. It has permeated every social strata and media stream. We are inundated from birth ( book entitled, Sexy Birth) to death (Sexy Death an alternative, gothic, industrial rock band from Stockholm) with concepts and images using sex to hype the sell.

But this basic act is anything but simple for us humans. We are familiar with its use as a vessel to display our most profound level of love. Unfortunately, there are those who have also used it as a method of degradation, control, confinement, addiction, and power. Sex never fails to be a much debated issue.

Most of us, at some point in our lives, will experience some type of sexual issue. Today, more than ever, the threat of sexually transmitted diseases looms large. The AIDS epidemic has taken the lives of millions and in some cultures destroyed the family structure. Unwanted pregnancies, abortions, birth control, sexual orientation, and age of consent all remain hot topics of discussion.

But what about the opposite side? What happens when we look at chastity? It seems, since it is connected to sex, it is just as inflammatory. During my research for this article I read numerous articles, books, and white papers arguing the pros and cons of abstaining from sex. Opinions ranged from; it is the answer to the humanities moral dilemma to it is ignorant and the very consideration of such an outdated concept is convincing proof of the proponents lack of intellectual reasoning.

I have found myself on both sides of this argument. At one time in my life I reasoned that “hooking up” was no big deal. After all, we were two consenting adults and what we did in private, as long as no one was physically hurt, was no one’s business. During another point, I became convinced chastity was the preferred course of action. The act of casual sex was demeaning, no matter how well intended, and was the root cause for many of society’s deepest moral pain. Of course the lines are rarely drawn so neatly. There are as many grey areas as there are people to talk about them. Everyone has an opinion.

So why in the midst of conflicting views, cultural differences, and wavering sexual orientation is chastity considered a virtue? I think the answer lies in the heart of the individual. Within each of us something extraordinarily unique that separates us from the rest of animal life. The process of sexual coupling is the most intimate act we are capable of initiating. Something transpires in the fulfillment of sex that enhances our humanity. It creates a bond between us that is traceable only in our souls. It is the mystical creation of one being. True sex is the result of true love (which is itself a current hotly debated subject, ad infinitum). It is a sacred commodity, not to be bought and sold, or passed around like a jug of Boone’s Farm. Sex is the creation of something greater than the two are apart. Chastity protects and guards the soul-life force from being used as a pawn in the brokering of heated desire in exchange for a temporary, shallow, non-fulfilling sense of satisfaction.

No doubt the comment section of this post will light up as readers share their thoughts. That is good. Open discussion of any issue is a sign of health for a society. I encourage each of you who have read this to take a few minutes and share your opinions. This was not an easy subject for me to write about ( a supreme understatement). As I noted above, my views have changed dramatically as the result of personal experience. While I have no desire to detail those experiences suffice it to say they have left deep tracks in my soul.

Be encouraged!

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