Posts tagged ‘moving forward’

September 10, 2012

Breaking Rhythm

Hello all,

Long time, no post.

No Excuses, only explanations.

The main reason that I fell of the blogging wagon was that I broke my rhythm. I was blogging most of the way till June, then the school year was over.

At the end of the school year, I had some time for vacation. At the end of June we had a fantastic camping adventure in the state of New Mexico. A few weeks later, we had another funtastic family trip camping and Leo Carrillo State Beach.

Since I work for a school district, I have about a month of “free time” per year. One would think that someone with more free time would have more free time to write. However, writing no longer fit into my rhythm. When I was camping with my family, I was fully engaged with them and I did not feel it was appropriate to try to find wifi in some remote location to feed my blogging habit. When I got back from camping, I choose either to surf with my friends or spend time with my children. Blogging just did not fit into my summer rhythm.

I have no regrets for fully enjoying my summer. At this point, I acknowledge that my blogging habit was an essential habit for me to learn from my daily life lessons. I have been back at work for more than a month and I have found myself slagging into my dreaded old rhythm of complaining about life circumstances. Over the last 6 weeks, our family has experienced many set backs with regards to external events involving healthcare, unforeseen financial obligations and dealing with people with a less than ethical nature. I will not go into details in this blog since I have tirelessly told these stories over and over again to the people around me. I have realized that spewing “my tails of woe” have lead to little social benefit or significant problem solving. The only thing that sharing the details of my perceived injustice has been to reinforce my chosen responses of getting angry, resentful or even a little depressed.

Tonight, I found myself reeling from a snarky comment in a work-related e-mail. I realized that I have to change my rhythm. It does me no good to collect stories of misdeeds. It only does me good to collect and reflect on the things that are going well in my life.

Tonight, I will close with a list of some of the many things that I am grateful for:

  1. My family is safe and secure
  2. My wife is awesome, creative, supporting, loving, kind and generous
  3. My children both have huge hearts and have taught me a great deal about being loving
  4. I love my home and my home is safe
  5. We have the ability to spend time with our children
  6. Our extended family is always willing to be supportive
  7. We all have friends that love and support us
  8. I have a lovely back yard that my children have fun playing in
  9. Although my 2 sons are close in age, they are great loving brothers and they rarely fight
  10. We are able to have sufficient food on the table on a nightly basis
  11. We have enough money to buy gas for our cars
  12. We have the luxuries of having a TV and more than one computer
  13. We live near the beach and we are able to frequently enjoy going there
  14. Our children have enough toys, books and games
  15. I have a job that I enjoy
  16. My wife does excellent work for our community
  17. My wife is a fabulous artist who has helped create a beautiful home for us
  18. We have cars
  19. We have phones
  20. We have the ability to spend time with our children

I know that I could keep going on.

I also know that this may be the roughest writing that I have produced in a while.

For tonight, I do not see the value in perfection

Tonight, I see the value in gratitude!

Here is to moving forward to a rhythm of hope, forgiveness, generosity, understanding, patience, perspective and love!

All the best,

Andrew

March 4, 2012

A Goal Setting Activity

Now that we are starting the third month of this year, there is a chance that we may have drifted away from our “New Year’s Resolutions”. We do not need to wait for a New Year to create or re-focus on our live goals.

One exercise that can help guide you towards moving forward towards your life goals involves a folded piece of paper.

One the left side of the paper, write “old” and on the right side of the paper write “new”. Under the “old” column, write down all the things that you want to move away from or all those things you do not want to experience any more.

On the right column of the paper, write the opposite concept to the items on the left side or what you want to move towards. For example, if the left side of the column listed “debt”, the right column would read “abundance”.

After you compete this exercise, tear the paper down the middle. Take the left side of the paper, crumple it up and ceremoniously throw it away. These are the things you are DONE with! On the right side, you have a list of things that you want to focus on.

The “old” and” new list exercise can be taken further.  For each habit that you want to change, write the attribute of what you want to change as well as the feelings that you want to move away from on the left/old column. As before, for each of these items, write the opposite of each word on the right/new column.

For example, if the habit that you want to change is to stop smoking, on the left column you may list:

– Short breath

– Increase chance of heart attack and stroke

– Bad breath

– Expensive habit

– Smelly clothes

-Fear of poor health

-Dependency

– Low energy

The right column for this list may look like:

– Deep healthy breathes

– Decreased chance of heart attack and stroke

– Clean breath

– Money saved!

– Clean smelling clothes

-Confidence of health

– Detachment

– High energy

Once you throw the left/old column/list away, you are left with a positive image of where you want to move forward. Think of it as a map, you want to move a way to a better place in your life. To do so, you need to know exactly where you are going. By creating this list, you see everything you want and the actions are up to you. If you want to get to the proverbial town of

“Deep health breaths”, we know we cannot get there by going through “Smoke in Lungs” Avenue.

Another powerful step to this exercise is to have some form of statement of feeling or a mental image of how you will feel to change a habit or reach a certain goal. For the example above, we may write, “I feel awesome breathing deeply and healthily every day!” and imagine a satisfied smile on our face as we take deep long relaxing breaths.

It is best to think of things in the positive since it is easier to visualize. Although our thoughts are words, each word has a mental picture attached. A frequent example of this is the phrase “don’t think of a penguin. The more I say, “don’t thank of a penguin”, the more likely you will have a mental image of a penguin. Saying, “I will not smoke” will lead to a mental picture of someone smoking and therefore a greater chance that you may choose the action of smoking. It would be better to say something like “I will take healthy breaths every day”.  When you write your scripts for each goal, it is best to find words that appeal to you.

May you find the time to reflect where you want to go and create your goals as a road map to get there.

February 27, 2012

Forgiveness, it is within our Control

Many people view forgiveness as something that is important for another person to do for us. Many times we may hear ourselves and others request, “please forgive me” or state, “I can’t believe she will not forgive me”. The forgiveness of others is definitely not something that we can control. Although the forgiveness of others can help heal an aspect of a relationship, we can only control our own ability to forgive.

Forgiveness is an important habit /attribute for our own sense of wellbeing. Forgiveness allows us to “clear the slate” and let go of resentment and frustration. Forgiveness allows us to stop “holing on” to a perceived insult or injury.  Some people I know have stated that they are resistant to forgiving someone since they feel the act of forgiveness will encourage the other to continue engaging in wrongdoing. But forgiveness is for our own selves. It allows us to move on from a challenging situation. It allows us to dump the negative data set that we have been collecting and to change our emotional filter of continuing to gather data to reinforce our feelings of anger, resentment and contempt. Forgiveness is not forgetfulness. If someone has harmed us repeatedly in the past, we can forgive that person and let go of our emotional baggage while making the conscious decision of not letting that person hurt us again in the same way.

For example, there is one person that has been a part of my social circle for a long time. Many years ago, that person repeatedly spread gossip and rumors about me. Then, that person started rumors about other people that were close to me. Needless to say, this situation caused me a lot of anger, frustration and resentment. When I finally decided to forgive this person, my life got better. Now, when I run into this person, I no longer have a visceral emotional response. I am able to be cordial and no one in the room feels any tension. I do not actively seek out that person for validation or socialization nor have I forgotten this person’s tendency to spread rumors. What is important is that I have healed and I have moved on.

Resentment is a feeling that can cripple a relationship. Once we have started to resent someone, we typically hold onto the justification for that resentment. Forgiveness is the panacea for moving past our past resentments. Once we have forgiven that person, we can relive ourselves from the emotional baggage from that situation. This can help us objectively evaluate the situation or the relationship to determine if it continues to be beneficial to our personal interest.

Forgiveness can be valuable in situations where we know that we are the person that has made a mistake. If we know that we have made a mistake and that we are willing to do everything possible to move towards healing, forgiving ourselves can help us move forward. In this case, we can only hope that the other person can forgive us.