LifeRevelation

Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Archive for the category “aggression”

Perspective

http://likeadayoff.blogspot.com/2011/02/fork-in-road.html

In the distant past, Susie and I were having an argument. It was one of those adult relationship type of arguments, where you furiously disagree about something, and it reaches the point where you stop communicating.

We were on our way to see a play. Whatever we were squabbling about, each of us at the moment thought it was dreadfully important because we were in misery. For those of you who live alone in a cave (obviously with an internet connection), this occurs when you thoroughly despise the idea of hearing another utterance from the one you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with.

I had parked the car and we were walking toward the theater. Of course, we did not walk close to one another. In fact, we showed no indication at all we were madly in love with one another and would willingly, without hesitation, lie down on our lives for each other, if it ever came to that. At the time, each of us was completely assured of our own rightness, which in the universal adult relationship code means that we could not touch, nor look at one another as we walked, to do so would have signaled weakness, and that was not going to happen. We pondered how the other could so stupid and still figure out how to combine breathing  and the act of putting one foot in front of the other, at the same time. I’m sure as we made our way in the midst of streaming foot traffic, the air around us chilled a few degrees due to our icy indifference of one another. As couples walked by us, I am certain they secretly thought, “Please God, don’t let our relationship end up like those two.”

We continued to walk along in perfect venomous lockstep, when suddenly Susie stopped. This only focused my anger even more. In a nanosecond I was running through my mind various sarcastic questions I could shoot at her for this unexplainable moronic behavior. As I was lost in this train of thinking, I heard her say, “Look, we are at a fork in the road!” I tore my thoughts away from the flawless verbal comeback I had already decided upon and followed her gaze to this silver-colored fork lying in front of us on the sidewalk. We stood there for a moment like we had suddenly been touched in a game of freeze tag…then we looked at each other and burst into silly giggling, snorting, and overall cackling.  We laughed like two little kids…and then suddenly…everything that had gone on only seconds before was gone.

We collapsed into a full body embrace. In the middle of a busy sidewalk, in downtown Indianapolis, I held the love of my life as tight as I could. We kissed long and hard, grateful for the touch of one another’s lips. We walked the remaining blocks to the show arm in arm, with her head gently resting on my shoulder.

To this day, neither one of us remember what we were arguing about.

Take a moment and think about your angers, your worries, the elements of life that drive you to fear and/or frustration. We all have them. They are quite real. They cause us pain and stress. They rob us of the life we want. Many times they literally steal away years from us. They imprison us and hold us captive, just as real as any hand cuffs or leg shackles.

I don’t know why a simple fork in the middle of the sidewalk, in a busy city, would work such a miracle. Nor do I have the exact wisdom or knowledge to step you free of everything that holds you captive. But I did learn something that early evening so many years ago…whatever it was I was worried about then…and everything I’ve been worried about since…needs to be put in perspective.

Be encouraged!

Advertisements

All the Same

While you, dear reader, may not be able to tell, I usually spend considerable time thinking, researching, and sharing my ideas with Susie, before I sit down to write. I’ve found, for the most part, this keeps me from running off on some half-wit tangent. Susie says this also makes it easier for her to converse with her friends, because she doesn’t have to spend hours defending my posts.

I think she means it as a compliment.

This post is somewhat different, because while I have given it a lot of thought, I haven’t done much research and I’ve kept my comments to Susie to a minimum. So I hope this post doesn’t cause much distress the next time her friends and her get together. This one comes more from the gut.

Let me start with a story.

Several years ago I was asked by a friend’s wife if I would be interested in mentoring at risk and behaviorally challenged children in the public school system. Although they were wanting to reach children of all ages, I would be working specifically with elementary students. After she answered several questions for me I thought the idea had merit and agreed to become a mentor to twins of a single mother. The twins had a slew of issues and while I am no trained child psychologist my biggest contribution would be as an in-room monitor who would work with each of them to keep them focused during the school day.

I enjoyed the work and kept meticulous notes as to what worked and what didn’t during various situations. I shared these notes with others who were involved in the program. The program became a company and the company started to grow. New mentors where hired. Programming directors, financial analysts, therapists, and others were added to the payroll. Strict rules were put into place. The roll with what is happening and go with the flow was eliminated. Structure and order became the only way. Owners and management began to dream about earning substantial money. They began to curry political and corporate favor. The ideas others and I had become part of a program that was touted as having an incredible success rate. Metrics were put in place. We were all coached on how to write our reports so Medicare would pay. Students graduated from the program reportedly cured of their issues.

Except there was only one problem.

The kids weren’t healed. They were better. They were making progress. They could function for longer periods of time without having a physical outburst, but they were a long way from being what anyone would call healed. It wasn’t that they were bad kids. Or even that they were mentally deficient. They simply had been born into horrible situations. Their only guidance in life had been through the TV they were set in front of from birth, because the changing patterns on the screen kept them from crying or they imitated what they saw when they left the living room for the streets. They yelled, screamed, cussed, and fought just like they saw the gangs do, except they were in the third grade.

But it didn’t matter. In order to keep the money flowing in they were diagnosed with a DSM Code by a staff child psychologist, then pronounced healed when they got near the end of time that federal funding would pay for their care.  One size fit all, except we weren’t talking about clothing, we were talking about children with feelings, emotions, and in need of real, true, honest love.

I bent and broke all the rules. I went home with the kids I worked with and talked to their parents, when I could find them, and whoever else I could find when the parents weren’t anywhere around. I prayed with my kids. I took them places like museums, libraries, art galleries, backstage at theaters, and anywhere else I could think of, to expose them to a bigger world. I paid for everything out of my own pocket.

Then I got caught. I was warned. I didn’t change I kept on doing everything. I got caught again. I was told to change. I said no. They said my services were no longer warranted. They sent two large men to escort me out of the school. They told the principal I was under investigation for wrong doing.

When we find something that works, people want to turn it into a program. They want to monetize it. They want to streamline it. They want one size to fit all. They want to make it all the same.

Well I don’t want to. My experiences with the children is only one example. In my life, and in yours, there are hundreds of examples. This is one of the reasons why I love the blog world. Each blog is different. The content is our own. We aren’t constrained in what we say and how we say it. I’m not given to using lots of provocative or foul language, but I’ll always defend your right to, even if I am hoping you won’t.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, it isn’t well researched, nor have the words been carefully chosen, they just rolled out of my heart, and hopefully into yours.

Be encouraged!

Refining Life…Side Benefits

This is part of a post from http://thebettermanprojects.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/an-inspirational-snack-2/. As we all progress down the winding and twisting  road of life let us do so with kindness, compassion, and love.

Be encouraged!

Motivation?

Motivation?

The relationship between visits to seek.com.au and Web conferences

http://www.themaninblue.com/writing/perspective/2006/10/11/

Does this look familiar? I think we can all see ourselves in this graph. We are running low on motivation, then we go to a conference/seminar/retreat  and suddenly we are on inspiration steroids, without the nasty side effects, unless you count being slightly over-the-top annoying to your co-workers. Then the reality of the job/family/personal relationships start to encroach on our stimulating high and we begin a downward trend. At first, we tell ourselves it is alright. There is a reason nothing grows a mountain tops, it is unreasonable to believe we could be highly motivated all the time.

We slip a little more, but we are busy and it is difficult to keep track of this all the time.  We’ve got commitments, there are reports, job issues, kid’s soccer and dance, significant others who aren’t quite as supporting as we would like, and before long our motivation has sunk back to where it was before our big event.

This is one remedy:

Trying to maintain innovation motivation using constant Web conferences

http://www.themaninblue.com/writing/perspective/2006/10/11/

The trouble with this concept is you end up going to every type of motivational seminar you hear about, you read the top motivational books, you subscribe to the motivational emails, and you end up driving yourself batty trying to stay on top of your game.

We need to stop the merry-go-round and get off. I believe there is a way to avoid the roller-coaster and still keep our drive and passion running high. I know there is a way to enjoy the benefits of inspiration and enthusiasm without it becoming another burden in life to deal with. The reason I am convinced of this is because I have utilized it in my own life. I have been able to eliminate the erratic up and down flow of emotions. I have discovered a method of smoothing out the rough patches and maintaining the energy and excitement.

I was asked one time by a slightly skeptical individual if I was a motivational speaker. When I replied I was he had a look on his face like I had fallen directly into his trap. With as much disdain as he could muster he said, “So motivate me?” I looked directly into his stare and said, “I can’t.” He looked like the cat when the mouse gets a way. He stammered back, “Whaddya mean?”

I ran through much the same scenario as I have outlined above and then said, “Only you can motivate you.” At that point he was intrigued enough to forsake the testosterone fueled attitude and we began to talk.

I told him how all the words and encouragement in the world don’t mean anything until the individual begins to act. There must be a decision. There must be action. There must be follow through. Only when we make a choice to change our ways can our circumstances change. Thinking all the right thoughts will help and reading the books by the most influential motivational speakers will assist, but nothing will happen until you make a decision.

I have gone from deceiver to achiever, dope to hope, and mess to success. I did not do it by reading or hearing or thinking, I did it by getting up off my sofa and acting on what I knew to be true. I added fuel to the fire and turned up the flame. Turning the criminal life I was leading into a life of benefit to others was no overnight sensation. It was hard, continual work. There was a lot of sweat and tears, and then more sweat and even more tears. When the going got tough (and it always will, at some point) I lowered my head and kept going. I was not about to give up no matter what. I knew what was behind me. I had no desire for my past to dictate my future. It was full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes. There was no exit ramp. There was no time out area. There was no alternative, except to move forward. The options list had been added to the fire. Now maybe you don’t have the drama I had or maybe you have more, it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters except getting up and doing something. There are no excuses. There are no reasons. The only thing left to do, is do.

Is changing your thought pattern beneficial? Absolutely! Is reading inspiring books good? You bet it is, I’m reading inspirational material all the time. Is associating with others who share my desire alright? Yes it is, I have surrounded myself with people of integrity, who share my vision for changing the world. Isn’t all of that enough? No it isn’t. You’ve got to take action. All of those ideas will help, but until you take matters into your own hands and implement everything into your actions, your emotional state will remain flat, or worse, continue in a downward descent.

Will you have fears? Yes you will. Will you get scared? Yes you will. It will be so bad at times that your insides liquefy. You will get headaches. You will sweat profusely at times. You will think you can’t go on. You will want to quit. You will want to give up. You will cry. You will yell. You will curse. You will hate it at times with every ounce of your being. You will imagine death to be easier (it is not). It will be both mental and physical. But keep moving forward.

Does this sound like the old coach revving up the players for the big game. Yes it does! Why? Because it works, pure and simple. Actions change our lives. It isn’t rocket science, thank God or I would never have gotten it. What it is, is plain old fashion hard work. I know that isn’t popular, there is a reason why there is a glut of “labor saving devices” in the market. But it can’t be avoided. An alcoholic must go through withdrawals. The same is true for any type of drug addiction.  The withdrawals are painful, uncomfortable, and sometimes feel like hell itself, but they work…and they are unavoidable.

Forging the life we want isn’t always sweet chimes, white fluffy clouds, and incense. More often it resembles a hard day of baling hay. The sweat stings your eyes. Your nostrils are clogged with the thick dust of hay. Your arms feel like they will fall off. Your mind goes into tunnel thought. Your back is made aware of a whole new level of searing pain, but at the end of the day, when you look up in the loft and see it full of stacked bales, the pride you feel is overwhelming. A sense of job well done. Nothing automatic about it. You worked for it and have the proof of your labors.

Forge a new life. Set yourself free. Work for it. Feel the sting, the ache, the desire. Know in your mind it is more important than your next breath. Feel it in everything within you. Unleash yourself. Cut the chain and run. Run until your lungs burn like hot fiery pokers have been shoved down your throat. Feel the exhaustion. Feel the power. Feel the freedom.

Live the life you want. Whatever that is. Is it being in the center of the road? Is it the road less traveled? Is it the road traveled by your friends, family, and loved ones? Is it not even a road? Is it a path? Is it just two points strung out on a distant map in your mind? Is it uncharted territory? Is it a deep and rolling sea? Is it a small babbling brook? Is it hunkered down in a home you love as much as anything else on earth? It doesn’t matter what it is…live the life you want.

Whatever it is, live it to the raw fullest. Be inflamed with your life. Let it consume your being and ooze from your pores. Don’t hold back and never give up. Have it stamped on your forehead. Burn it into your consciousness. Put it out front. Wear it on your sleeve. Brandish it like a double edge sword. Hold your banner high. Keep it up. Don’t give up. Keep adding fuel to the fire.

Action is the key…now get up and go for it!

BE ALIVE!
BE ALIVE!

BE ALIVE!

BE ALIVE!

BE ALIVE!

BE ALIVE!

Be encouraged! 

Be encouraged!

Virtue #4–Assertiveness

http://emotionpotions.com/emotions/12-assertiveness.html

The University of Illinois’ Counseling Center has an excellent paper on being assertive, it is entitled “Being Assertive in a Diverse World.” Excellent title and insightful content, weighing the difference between being able to express your opinions (e.g., hold your own) and going too far into aggressive behavior. Their definition of assertiveness, I believe, strikes the right balance:

“Assertiveness is the ability to express yourself openly and honestly while also reflecting a genuine concern for others. It is about having the confidence to speak your values and beliefs, and to be courageous enough to speak up when needed.”

I like that. It is succinct and to the point. Ambiguity is left for those who like to split hairs; attorneys and those elected officials who suddenly find they wished they had voted a different way on a contentious bill.

My wife, Susie, and I are polar opposites. I tend to be too far into the aggressor mode and she hates to walk on grass because she is breaking their little stems as they stretch out to the sun. She comes from a home life where the father was a raging alcoholic and a single peep could be reason enough to go in and destroy all the furniture in your bedroom. In my house, you won the argument by screaming longer and louder than everyone else. I found these debating techniques to be especially beneficial in my early days as drug dealer and as a result honed them to a fine edge.

We have learned after nearly eighteen year of marriage there is wisdom in compromise. The trick is to strike the right balance. We have found this balance originates in the heart. What are your motives? Is compassion driving your words or just the desire to be proven right? What is it you are trying to accomplish?

There is an unbelievable need in our culture for compassionate assertive behavior. Assertiveness falls in between the proverbial rock and a hard place.  Be too passive and you feel inhibited and anxious, unable to convey how you truly feel. Going too far the other way can cause a lack of respect from those you are communicating with.  The compassionate assertive person will take into account the feelings and beliefs of those they are interacting with, carefully choosing the correct words so as not to offend. They will know what to say and how to say it.

True compassionate assertiveness takes time and practice. I’ve had to radically alter my methods of communication when expressing my beliefs on a subject, more so when those I am in discussion with may not share the same feelings and thoughts. I have also failed more times than is comfortable for me to admit. Susie, as well, has learned to give voice to her feelings and emotions. She has mastered the ability to discuss nearly any situation with others and remain firm, yet gentle, in expressing her ideas. This combination has gone a long way in bring peace and harmony into our marriage.

Learning we have the right to be assertive is difficult. Developing the concept that you have the right to be heard can be extremely troublesome for some. Of course, there are varying reasons for these issues. Some may feel they cannot be themselves because of a lack of self-esteem. Others may not feel safe to “rock the boat,” so to speak, in a corporate setting. Then there is always the societal misperception that men, who are assertive, are take charge leaders, while women who exhibit similar qualities are…ahem, bitches.

As I have studied and written about virtues I continue to be struck by the tension and balance which exists in each aspect. Too little and the virtue is literally of no effect, too much and you border on being perceived as a demigod. Striking that balance is not easy. It requires continual attention to the details, as well as the big picture.

These articles have generated several comments and I hope they continue to do so. All of you have had interesting and insightful thoughts about each virtue and I have enjoyed reading them. More importantly your comments have opened ideas in my mind that I’m sure I would have never discovered on my own. So please, continue to share your thoughts, ideas, theories, recipes, money…whatever. As always I wish you the best.

Be encouraged!

Post Navigation