What’s Inside of You Part II

It’s been a tough couple of days friends. Some people that I am close to and that I even admired have been less than stellar in their actions towards me and I even got a case of the blues behind a former girlfriend. Pain, is something that exists in all of us whether we want to admit it or not. But here’s an idea: how do you deal with the pain will greatly determine more about you as a person than you could probably ever imagine.

The poet Khalil Gibran said “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” Beautifully stated but if taken at face value, then some of us should have senses of understanding which are completely without shells. I’ve known friends and family members who have endured immense hardship and extremely terrible instances of loss and trauma in their lives. Their lives seemed to be for the drawing and nurturing of pain. But I also began to reflect on my life and how I dealt with the many instances of pain and loss that I have endured. There has been great growth and learning in so many of those times when I hurt terribly.

What has also amazed me is that I have learned that when certain types of pain, conflict or loss begin to show their ugly heads in my life, I can look carefully and see what’s about to happen and even if the pain is unavoidable, I can do enough to grow and learn from the resulting anguish. But here is where I don’t mean to sound preachy but this point is important friends. I made a conscientious effort to learn from instances of pain. You see there is an old Buddhist saying that states, “Pain is unavoidable but suffering is optional.”

I simply work really hard and choose not to succumb to the truly negative and deeply damaging effects of pain. If a person wrongs me and it hurts emotionally, I can stay angry or I can work on letting the pain go. That doesn’t mean however that the cause of that pain is not address at some point. The other thing I learned from this approach is to discuss or highlight what caused the pain and work on fixing it. So this idea does not equate to taking everything someone does on the chin, so to speak, and just be everyone’s doormat. But I simply chose to find a way to always grow from pain, which can stunt or halt anyone’s development.

So I close with this idea: What’s inside of you may be pain but what you do with it and how you deal with the pain can speak soundly to the type of person you are and what kind of person you will become. Pain is not the only thing that’s inside of you and it should not be the strongest element within you either. Growth, maturity and learning should definitely be prominent within you.

Your life is a gift my friends; share it generously and wisely.

What’s Inside of You Part I

I just had a great conversation with one of my best friends from high school. We were in a rock band when we were teenagers and he was a phenomenal drummer then and he’s even more amazing now. The interesting thing is that in our conversation today, we discussed how much we love music. We can listen to the same album from our high school years and marvel at the guitars, the drums and the different hooks and turns in each song. He and I still marvel at the arrangement of certain albums, the production value and just how great we feel from the songs.

What I love about these moments more than anything else is that we don’t dwell on pointless nostalgia and remembering when we were that age etc. We just love certain types of music and we simply never stop living in that love of the music and experiencing the joy it brought us. So even as we’re older now, our hearts and souls will love music and the joy of playing and listening to it.

The reason I titled this post “What’s Inside of You Part 1” is because as many of us grow into adulthood, we focus on letting go of childish things or fanciful musings from our youth. In fact, we often forget that those elements we are supposed to get rid of from younger days actually keep us grounded and remind us of whom we are. Take a moment my friends. Look at those things from your younger years and embrace what they gave you then and how they can keep you going now. There are so many wonderful things within us but we seem to stack one on top of the other just to make sure that we’re seemingly growing. Take the time to see what you’re pushing down and out of your life first before you bury it or try to throw it out.  So before you throw them out, just take a moment to see what’s inside of you first.

Until next time, your life is a gift, share it generously and wisely.

Finding Inspiration

How many times have you been in need of a pick up, a little inspiration and a touch of motivation? Be honest! Some days, it’s simply a struggle to see the beauty and light on the brightest of days. You may not have a depression issues; you’re just in need of a little “pick me up” and caffeine won’t cut it.

Well I want to tell you that what we may need to consider is looking at the simplest of items and occurrences in our everyday lives for inspiration. Consider the design and structure of a simple leaf. It uses the amazing process of photosynthesis to help it live and the collective of leaves on a tree aid in the processing of carbon dioxide into oxygen. Amazing when you think of it actually. I was watching children play the other day and realized that so many times, young children are in wonder of the simplest things and everyday events that we as adults take for granted.

Watch as children are in wonder and awe of an escalator or an elevator. From their perspective it seems that you in an elevator, you press a button and the whole world magically changes while we simply see it as going from the 5th floor to parking level 1.

Look to children and even seniors at times, when you need inspiration. It’s sadly ironic that it is at the beginning and the end of our lives that we experience the greatest joy, wonder and “ah-ha” moments of life’s seemingly mundane occurrences. Truthfully, there is great joy and inspiration all around us; we just need to be open. Keep sharing and growing dear friends and be the inspiration you seek.

Your life is a gift – Share it carefully and generously

Stretch Yourself

Lately in my Japanese jujitsu class, Shihan Torey has been implementing new and more “challenging” warm ups. While I see myself as something of an avid fitness practitioner, these new warm ups are tough. I don’t want to tell Shihan that as painful as they are and given their difficulty I actually like them. Am I able to perform all of them well? No but that’s the best part for me. Imagine that three or four days of the week you go to a class or an activity where you know that despite the days’ difficulties (whether personal or professional), you knowingly face an obstacle. The question I ask myself is how can we get better if we don’t challenge or “stretch” ourselves as my speaking mentor Les Brown likes to say.

It’s so easy for us to constantly do so the same things over and over and become comfortable. But the more I look at my life, I realize that I have only improved or evolved because of my efforts to venture into new territories and endeavors. As Osborn said “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” For me, I have been at times pushed, prodded and cajoled into doing something different and new. I don’t like these tactics for getting me to do new things but I am grateful that someone cared enough to push me to do something new. As a result, I have grown and attained new skills, knowledge and passions. More importantly, it seems that I have also made new friends and grown my circles of influences.

So I ask you, “What have you done lately to stretch yourself?”

Learning from anyone

My dad taught me something a long time ago that I could learn from anyone as long as I was willing to listen. That thought resonates with me till this day. In my time in education and life, I’ve learned so much from so many people. I am amazed at how a simple conversation in the elevator provided a wealth of insight regarding a problem, an event or just some wisdom to an average day.

Oddly enough, children will sometimes ask questions of me when I teach martial arts classes that make me think. Their innocent queries can provide me with the realization that perhaps I have a persistent frown on my face or I seem troubled and they can sense it. I can even recall times when wait staff at restaurants helped me through friendly advice just because I was open to talking and willing to listen. It seems that the key to learning then, is openness and willingness to learn, listen and grow.

I hope that this post finds you well, happy and perhaps open for some learning today. Until next time friends, your life is a gift. Share it generously and wisely.