Category: Transfer of Power

Life Is Not Complicated, bad behavior does not get a pass….

This is a little out of the ordinary for me. I do my best to avoid ever writing about topics that are too subjective or personal. There is nothing worse than a blogger who exploits the keyboard just to sound off on some judgmental rant. This does not do anyone any good. As a writer I respect the power of words.

DSC_1525However, over the past few weeks, people very close to me have asked how I am able to remain so resilient in the face of the adversity I face each day (and have faced throughout my life). And I am not just talking about passing acquaintances. These are men and women who are very dear to me… who trusted me enough with their concerns and their pain and who really wanted to know, how I cope. Look, I am not a superhero by any stretch. I am no better than the next person and I will never pretend to be. Things bother me, I get offended, I get disappointed and I find myself praying for strength. But no matter what is going on in my life; no matter what hurts me, causes me to be irritated, angry, disappointed… no matter what takes me to that negative head-space, I always make a conscious decision NOT to live there. I refuse to stay where I am unhappy. I refuse to engage people whose sole purpose is to aggravate me. I refuse to dwell on what is going wrong, what didn’t get done, who is saying or thinking what about me. I’m just not going to do it. And neither should you. Because while you are sitting there, stomach in knots, head pounding, stressed out, not eating, worrying about what “they” are doing, “they” are pretty much just doing themselves. Not thinking about you. At all. So basically, the only one hurting is you. Is it really worth it? You have so much life to live. You have children, relationships, aging parents, bills, dreams. Why compromise your time and energy on people or circumstances you either (A) can’t do anything about or (B) don’t have your best interest at heart? I mean think about it… Once you get past the emotional aspects of your discontent, and focus on the reality, chances are you will realize you are wasting precious time.

I am not saying it’s easy, I am saying it’s necessary! Granted, I was raised this way. My parents and grandparents did not tolerate Carlos In the Archway Let Goidle thoughts or behavior. If the action did not have a purpose or lead you in a positive direction, their feeling was “why bother?” This is how I was built. This is why I refuse to fail. This is what I want for my friends and my family. While I do not always understand the source of their pain, I hate to see them in pain. One of my favorite quotes is “Don’t let a bad day make you feel that you are having a bad life”. Yes, you will get angry, frustrated and sad. Just don’t stay there. People will disappoint, hurt, irritate, test and upset you. Don’t stay there. Plans will fall through, projects take longer than you anticipated; that outfit looked better on the mannequin than it does on you but it is too late because the event is an hour ago and you have no time to buy a new outfit (yes, this was a crisis, and I had to help talk someone off the ledge behind this one!) Take a deep breath, exhale, wear that outfit like it was tailored for YOU, and don’t stay there. Accept that you will not always deal with situations with polished sophistication (Ahem) but trust that you have the power and exercise the will to improve how you cope.

I am not preaching, judging or berating. I am sharing a life lesson that has gotten me through some of the toughest challenges. Take your life back from people, thoughts, issues, actions that should not lay claim to your happiness. You have the power to do so, you just have to believe it and claim it. Life Is Not Complicated…. We are.

Life Is Not Complicated

Life Is Not Complicated, I saw God. And it only cost me $7…

 

I just settled in at home (and finally my own bed) after a long business trip in Las Vegas. While I enjoy my role as a union delegate for SMART – Transportation Division (formerly United Transportation Union) and I get a great deal of satisfaction being an active part of the collective bargaining process, it can be exhausting. I know a lot of you can relate. The hectic daily lives we lead take a toll on our minds and body. And if you are like me, there is always SOMETHING to do. Phone calls, productions, management, promotions, relationship, fatherhood, mentoring…it never ends because the journey toward a fulfilling, successful life never ends (at least it shouldn’t in my opinion).

Vegas 1I stayed at Caesar’s Palace Casino Hotel in the heart of the Vegas strip. Walking back and forth through the casinos, dodging thousands (literally thousands) of people on the street to find a meal that would not cost me a month’s mortgage, breathing in second hand smoke and hearing the deafening bells, whistles, alarms of the slot machines all while surrounded by the tense faces of gamblers praying for the jackpot, that one big win that will change their lives…if it ever comes, I thought I would go crazy. I needed an escape!

I drove 22 miles. I left the above scenario in the rear view and made my way to the Red Rock Canyon National Vegas 2Conservative Area. As I approached the landmark site I felt the difference almost immediately! I paid the $7 to enter and began a 13 mile scenic drive that transformed my focus. For the price of a bagel on the strip, I was surrounded by God’s work! For the cost of a small Starbucks coffee I felt his presence in the most spectacular scenery! The rock formations, the amazing colors of the mountains, the massive landscape reminding me how big and how awesome God is! It was a much needed reality check and a reminder, the important things in life, the moments that have the most meaning and power do not cost much (If anything at all). Some folks are so busy trying to fill voids and insecurities with material Vegas 3possessions and trying to keep up with the Jones’ by wearing uncomfortable “Red Bottoms” and buying mansions and luxury cars they can barely afford, that they don’t even realize the feeling they get from these trophies” is temporary. Meantime, in one simple, inexpensive drive, I gained perspective, understanding, deepened my faith and most importantly gave my mind and body a much needed rest.

Vegas 4I’ll take all that over a momentary, materialistic fix any day. When you can wrap your brain around what truly matters in life, that is when you really begin to live a life that matters.

 

Life Is Not Complicated, but when darkness falls turn your light on

One morning, I was reading some of the feedback left on my “Life Is Not Complicated, You Are” page on Facebook. I have never been one to rest on laurels, and while I am gratified with the positive feedback so far, I want to stay connected with my readers, and address the positive reactios, as well as any issues or concerns they may have. While scrolling down the page, one post caught my attention. Stopped me, dead in my tracks. It read simply, “Depression, is real…”. I was so moved by this statement, I had to log off for a few hours, just to get my bearings and refocus.

DepressionDeliverance, the chapter in LINC that addresses depression and the stigma and fears attached to this debilitating illness, was one of the most difficult chapters to write. As I explain in the book, I too had my misconceptions (and admittedly, some misgivings) about depression. Honestly, up until the moment I realized one of my best friends was battling that monster, I had not met a single person (that I know of) who struggled under the weight of this mental oppression. Once I had been introduced to depression, I realized if I wanted to help my friend and preserve our friendship, I needed to understand what the illness was all about. So I read, I researched, I asked questions…I asked a lot of questions. I learned that there were people around me who I never would have imagined were depressed. People who contemplated hurting themselves, people who retreated from “life” for days; anything to stop the suffering. I made it a priority to educate myself so that I could support my friend, and others who simply need to BELIEVE there is hope. I am not an authority on depression, nor do I purport to have all the answers. But I do know, that people very close to me sometimes live in darkness. Sometimes I feel helpless, but I remind them… they are not alone. That darkness is not permanent. However, they have to want to “turn the light on”. They have to want to pick themselves up, and find a reason to live for. Seek out the things that matter, and realize that if they disappear, others will hurt. Kids, spouses, parents, friends. One of the greatest, most valuable lessons my mom taught me, and that I discuss throughout Life Is Not Complicated is, I matter. No matter my circumstance, no matter the opinion of others, no matter my struggle and quite frankly, no matter how successful I become, nothing should define more than my own opinion of me. We need to know our worth, our value. We need to realize we deserve happiness, love, understanding. These things mean so much more when it comes from us first!

Yes, depression is painful, and oppressive, and frightening and draining. But YOU are strong, and worthy, and valuable and necessary. This affirmation should be your light in the darkness. So I ask anyone who is drifting off, and tempted to retreat into mental despair…turn your light in. Find your way back. People who love you, are waiting. People who understand are waiting. Don’t discount what your support system can do. Turn your light on.