Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Shhhhh… Keep It To Yourself

September 5th, 2012 by Steve

I am often amazed when I start out a new project or take on a new challenge and excitedly tell my friends about it just to have them immediately talk me out of it or tell me how hard it is? There seem to be so few people who genuinely get behind you to say ‘go for it’ or ‘good for you.’ I am left wondering why do people so readily trash our dreams?  Even more confusing is the fact that, many times, it is the people closest to us that are so negative.

I should clarify that I’m not talking about those openly negative people who see the bad in everything. Most of us know to avoid them as best we can. I am talking about a more subtle version of negativity that seems to be far more common. When I started making changes in my life, so many of the people closest to me (other than my now wife) seemed to fight the changes.

I went from beer drinking bar fly to someone more focused on fitness and healthy and all my bar fly friends kept making comments like “it won’t last” or “you won’t succeed.”  They said it in a joking fashion and were close friends but they did not think it possible. When I went from single to dating to married I heard similar advice from single and married friends “you’ll never go out again” or “now you’ll never have any more freedom.” When I had my first child everyone had advice. My wife and I did our best to be as natural and healthy and give the best care to our daughter and again everyone said “A natural child birth is impossible” or that my wife would not last long breastfeeding or we were too serious taking classes to be better parents.

Everyone had an opinion and it was rarely as simple as saying “good for you go for it.”  As I thought about it, I realized that it has to do with energy and the level of people’s consciousness. Our lives are a direct reflection of the people we were up until now. The choices we’ve made have led us to where we are today and accordingly the people around us are a reflection of who and what we were. So if I would go out to watch the games and drink beer with my buddies, it should not shock me that they did not understand someone who became something different. They were a reflection of the beer drinking, sports watching, couch potato me not the healthy eating, running, athletic me. When I changed they resisted it and were negative because they had not changed. The same goes for all the other major changes in my life.

People seem to resist change because it takes a great amount of energy to leave the space you’re in. Further they either don’t understand or don’t like to see people who make the change because it shows them something they want but haven’t put the time and energy to get.

What does this mean for those of us that want to change and keep changing for the better?

Well first don’t say anything. I’ve found it is so much easier when you don’t tell people you’re dieting or dating someone new or taking on a new challenge unless you know they are those rare friends that are always supportive. I’ve found that if I just go about my business and focus on what I want for my life and keep it to myself soon enough people see the change and wonder why I’m so happy. Along the way I meet new people that match the new change I’ve undertaken. They are always supportive and match the energy and life that I am seeking to attain and help me get there sooner.

I’ve found that goals are much easier to reach this way because you don’t have the negative influence from your friends that surrounded the old you and their negative energy doesn’t work against your new positive energy.

Along the way you will find great friends and partners that always want you to succeed and constantly strive to succeed themselves but until you get there I say “Shhhh keep it to yourself” and let the world figure out why you’re so happy and what has changed.

Practical Intention

 

Is it in our nature to be dualistic and argue?

June 7th, 2010 by Steve

Today, politics seems to be the talk of the town. There are people who love or hate the course the country is taking. I often hear the arguments back and forth from each side.  It always struck me as funny that people assume you like the opposite side of what they’re arguing against. For example, I was listening to a conversation between two friends where one was unhappy with the current administration’s policies. The person he was arguing with assumed he therefore loved the previous administration. I started wondering why do we always break up into opposing sides? We tend to divide into ‘for’ and ‘against’ camps but rarely into any degrees of separation.

Very few of us seem to be able to truly stay neutral. We divide into Democrat or Republican, Religious or Atheist, Fit or Fat, Mets or Yankees. Why do we always seem to pick one side and fight the other? Why can’t we like something from this camp and something else from that camp, too? Why can’t there be 5 choices or 15? The answer, I think, is that whenever something powerful comes around people line up with it or against it. It is nature’s law of balance.

Can this dualistic view be our natural tendency and, if so, is it our job to grow past it?

When a powerful leader comes along does nature seek a balance to even out the person’s influence? Does the fact that he or she influences so many and brings such change cause the strong opposition that seems to face him or her? Our current President, Barack Obama, is changing our country in significant ways. President Bush before him changed our country in different ways. Both are powerful men and have changed the course of this country. Each had diehard supporters and outspoken opponents.

The opposition usually comes from a place of disagreement with the path the leader is taking. Opponents of Obama do not like the Healthcare bill or corporate bailouts. Opponents of Bush did not like the “War on Terror” or his take on Medicare. When I listen to their arguments, it seems in the end that people either like or don’t like the person rather than the idea.

The hot topic these days is healthcare and I hear conservatives who argue about the entitlement programs, while many of these same people receive Medicare and Social Security. So is it really entitlement they dislike or is it the man himself? On the other side of the fence, liberals would argue against the war in Iraq but frequently are the same folks who urged President Clinton to get more involved in Bosnia and help those people. So did they really dislike the war or the man?

I see the same pattern with any influential person or idea; we are drawn to or away from it. Either we love the rich or we think they are privileged and were given everything. We feel for the poor or we think they are lazy people who should work harder. You rarely find someone who is just in the middle and has no opinion. I know many people who bite their tongues but whose real feelings come out in private conversations.

We are compelled to be dualistic, to be with or against. I don’t know if it is a natural tendency or a socialized one but it seems to be there in spades. When I started changing my life years ago, so many people told me I was crazy to eat the way I did, to take martial arts and to read about Spirituality. They said it was too extreme to work so hard.  They believed it was not healthy or normal. It struck me as odd that they had such strong opinions about something that had nothing to do with their day to day life.

Why did it matter to them if I trained and meditated? What difference did it make to them? The same goes for arguments about religion, sex or politics. People praise their beliefs and condemn the rest. Once I became aware of this natural tendency in me, I found myself thinking before I spoke and lost the passion for arguing.

I started to think:

Why am I arguing this point? Will I really change any minds and do I really want to? Am I being draw in to this dualistic tug of war? Why does hearing someone talk against something I believe in require me to “fight” for my side? Do I really have or want a side?

The more I thought about these issues, the more I realized that I rarely would change someone else’s mind because their beliefs were as ingrained as mine are. I did not gain any insight into the topic because I would not listen objectively. Lastly, I would become frustrated and angry wondering why people did not see my point of view which, according to me, was obviously the right one.

Nothing good would come out of my dualistic nature so I decided I had to let it go. It was a difficult road. Knowing that I wouldn’t change my mind or others’ minds, I started to bite my tongue. I was not always successful, but I kept in mind that I was doing this for my growth. Since my logic told me I could not really win an argument, I realized it was an emotional crutch. Furthermore, the arguments would foster negative emotions like frustration, anger and resentment. The negative feelings would beget more negative feelings and negative outcomes in my reality so I had to turn the negative to positive. As arguments kept coming up, I tried to remember that I want positive outcomes. Avoiding the argument would, in the end, bring to me the type of positive reality I wanted. The more I forced myself to avoid jumping into the argument, the easier it got.

After some time I noticed that I was starting to see the middle ground. I listened to people arguing and heard decent points on both sides. I was starting to see shades of grey. It was fascinating. I had found my way out of my dualistic nature. I had found a way to listen objectively and hear both sides.

Next time you want to jump into that argument, take an inventory and figure out why you want to and what you will gain from it.  I wager the answers are because it is in your nature to argue and in the end you will get nothing out if it. So why bother? Instead, let it go. You will struggle at first, but after a few months of practice you will start to enjoy listening to others who have not mastered their dualistic nature.  You may even find some peace in listening to an opinion that differs from your own without the intention of arguing or countering it with another.

When faced with that argument remember: “Listen In Peace While They Speak Their Piece.”

Steve

Looking at the Raindrops and Missing the Rainbow

May 8th, 2010 by Steve

I am a skeptic by nature, a logical thinker, a science minded person. Ever since I was a child I would take things apart to figure out how they worked. The ‘what’ and ‘how’ was so important to me. My mother still tells stories (this Thanksgiving as an example) about how I took apart the VCR one day to figure out how it played tapes, and subsequently, could not put it back together.

I don’t know when the logic bug became the definition of who I was but along the way I accumulated an enormous base of knowledge, an encyclopedia of statistics and facts. In school I favored the hard sciences: chemistry, math, physics, etc. As my education continued through college I majored in business and computer science. I was as logical and scientific as can be and I loved it.

Knowing how something worked, the nuts the bolts, the facts, the statistics became my passion. I would crave intellectual arguments where I would showcase my logical acumen and pull on my factual database to out talk my opponents. I’d decimate any that didn’t share my opinion and walk away feeling superior.

My logical nature served me well in my early life until I started delving deeper and deeper into the nature of my spirituality. Like anything else in my life, when I first started the journey into spirituality, I researched and researched. I read all the basics: Bible, Koran, Torah, Tipitaka, Vedas, etc. The research gave me the basic tenants of the faiths but nothing seemed to fit who I was, so I kept reading.

Continue reading ‘Looking at the Raindrops and Missing the Rainbow’

Use Your Natural Talents

March 28th, 2008 by Steve

I have yet to meet the person who does not have a naturally given talent or talents. Often we don’t realize what these talents are because we are looking for some extraordinary skill that we are born with. Am I a great artist or a gifted athlete or a natural leader? No? Then I guess I don’t have any natural talents. Not so fast, we all have them and just need to appreciate them.There are hidden talents we all use that we don’t consider special, because they are so natural to us.

We are always more anxious to be distinguished for a talent which we do not possess, than to be praised for the fifteen which we do possess.
Mark Twain

What does a natural talent mean? To me it means that which you do without thought or effort because it is natural. Walking is natural, breathing is natural and your natural talent comes to you just as effortlessly. This does not mean that you do not practice and use your gift, it just means that often times you’re doing it without thinking about it. When you say to yourself I want to get a glass of water you don’t think I have to get up walk to the faucet and get the water. The walking is natural, you don’t even consider it consciously in your thought process, but your subconscious mind does.

Looking at your day to day life consider what you do throughout the day. What do you do like walking or breathing? What do your friends and family always praise you about? We hear these little clues all the time: You’re such a great listener; I wish I was as good with my children as you are; How did you put that together so quickly; etc. Are you the friend everyone calls to talk to so they feel better? Are you the person who is always asked to help put things together? Are you the one always asked to organize events or throw parties?

Find that talent and understand what it truly means to your life. If you’re the great listener then it means your patient, compassionate and you probably give great advice. These talents are all suited to accomplish even greater things in life. Continue reading ‘Use Your Natural Talents’

Tags: , , ,