Archive for July, 2013

Big confession coming up.

My formative years were spent trying to prove to everyone that I was awesome.

I did things that would make people turn around and say, “Check that guy!”

I pushed the limit and used success as an excuse. I was a go-getter. A goal setter. The real motivation was to increase my persona to a point that the real me wasn’t visible.

My attitude was that if I did things better than others, they would see me in a different light. What was actually happening was that many other people were trying to do the same thing. Hundreds of us trying to be someone else.

 

Empathy

Only problem was that I didn’t know this. No one took the time to tell me that deep down everyone is pretty much the same. Even so, I probably wouldn’t have listened anyway.  But times change. Everyone grows older and matures. Actually, everyone grows older but not everyone matures. You have to read the signs. The difficult part is that we live our life going forwards but learn by looking back. What you have to do is connect the dots and decide your next plan of attack.

So that’s what I did. I took a helicopter to the ceiling and stopped to think. Then I made some changes. Some big. Some small.

So now, I have finally achieved something better. I look at myself now and don’t think that I’m awesome. I look back at a mixture of my achievements and failures and say to myself, “You’re a good guy.” That’s all – just a good guy.

It took a while, but I am glad I’m here.
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Submerged

Life passing you by?
Missed opportunities?
Waiting for something that never comes?

None of these really capture the brevity of our life, and the power of appreciating what is happening right now. The picture shows what happens if we stand still. Our problem, is that we don’t stand still enough. We are too busy chasing life that our appreciation for what is happening right now is missed in the confusion.
The chair shows us that the experience is there for us to appreciate. All that is needed is to stop.

Think back.

The value in life comes from the moments in between our experiences. It is there that our brain catches up with what is happening and appreciates the experience. We are usually too busy dealing with an event to know if it is important or not. The trick is to pause. To halt mid stream and decide if you are making progress. More importantly if you’re still in the right river.

Problem – All too often we end up fulfilling someone else’s goals. Working on their agenda. We end up being intoxicated by their appreciation. Now this isn’t bad. It may be our goal to help others, but not at the expense of our own happiness.

Solution – Remember we can only really lend a hand to others if our foundation is steady. And that takes concentration, usually in the midst of stress.

I read a story of a lone sailor in the Atlantic who had burnt himself whilst cooking . The cabin caught fire and burnt his hands. Intense pain. He moved away from the fire, through the forward hatch and leapt into the ocean at the front of the boat. Immediate pain relief. Burning problem solved. The catch was that the boat was still moving and he was by himself. As the boat sailed past him, he knew he had one chance to catch the aft railing before he was left to drown.

The fact that I repeat his story tells us he made it.

What an adventure. What a near miss.

The picture below is of me crossing a footbridge in the Himalayan mountains. I stopped, let a Nepalese woman and her daughter walk past and took in the view and the experience. I remember it clearly even though it was 29 years ago. I paused and took the situation in. Moments like this made the trip memorable.

Nepal

So if life is more important than a holiday, why is it that the effort goes into trips and adventures?

Our life should be the high point, the holiday should be the rest period.

“The best thing we can do for the poor is not to join them”, I hear you say. Agreed. But what happens after this?

There is no problem with chasing accumulation.  Just don’t jump into the water to save the burning sailor. Otherwise there are two sailors needing saving.

The chair will wait, but not forever.

So exactly how real are our feelings?

Our feelings are just the colour we paint the world with.
“People who are constantly happy are just walking around in their own little dream world, in a bubble”
Well, we all walk around in a dream world don’t we? As we only exist in our own mind, it is our perspective that brings us happiness or sadness. 20 years ago I didn’t stand still for a decade as I was happier when I was working, training or just plain busy. That was my reality then. Since my heart surgery in February, I look forward to stopping and feeling. Sitting in my feelings. The near death experience has coloured my perspective.
But can we find enlightenment without trauma?
We can certainly find depression without a trauma so why can’t we find happiness?
The natural human condition is that we find a reason for our feelings. We feel bad so there must be a reason. 
If a person looks hard enough, they will substantiate any feeling.
 
So, choose your feelings. Look on any situation and make up a reason to consider the event a positive one.
 
Easy. Don’t think too hard about it. You will be getting in your own way.
 
Here is the latest video of me training 16 weeks after the operation. Don’t let anyone tell you something is not possible.
Determined