Saturday, May 5, 2012

Renew and re-frame...

In a time flagged by stress, work, change, growing concern over safety, security, and general well being, and an overarching hyperactive intensive sense of swimming against an ever-increasing current...I get the sense that I am being bombarded with messages that are not congruent, not all accurate, and generally not leaving me feeling healthy in where I am in my life. For those that are English majors...that was a run on sentence...and I know it...and yes...I posted it anyway LOL.

Point is...I feel overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed. By what you ask?

By being financially in a great deal of trouble...almost 1/2 a million dollars of debt when counting in student loans, house debt, car debt, and credit accounts, by a growing feeling of being out of control because of both things I can control and things I can not control, by having children whose health I have worried about for 30 years now and still to this day worry about daily...and starting all over again with little ones, by a job that I feel stuck in because of not being able to pass one stupid test...and the serious state test I have to pass and the next attempt at it which will be coming soon, because of playing in 3 bands and making basically no money but having some stress relief because I am playing and performing...but it taking an incredible amount of time away from my family which I don't feel good about especially when it isn't giving back in a financial own health which is not great and the series of "conditions" that keeps adding up in my list of unhealthy attributes...I am amazed at how high I function given what my list is and the stuff I do...

There is more but that is a lot of it...and yet...with all this and more...I still do what I do to try to be the best I can be every day...I work hard at being a good person...a good man...a good father and husband...and sometimes feel like a I'm a miserable failure at it all...but I still try...I want...WANT to be upbeat and positive...I try hard to look at the good and re-frame the negative into lessons to learn from and try to feel any forward motion that I can find the good...and choose that healthy perspective. I do try...verb...

So that I can go forward and find that sunset...that rainbow...that bit of dew on a leaf...the wave crashing to shore...the breeze on my face...and the song from a sparrow...the beauty of God's world and word to help me get out of this muck and breathe with fresh air and see with renewed eyes...and believe in the good and the be healthy...and to be alive...truly alive. I am sick in a lot of ways (mostly between my ears)...but I live a good life with my family, music, marriage, and effort. So that I will not be miserable by being overwhelmed. That's tough...but that's the call.

We all have crap in our lives that we live with and stuff...issues that we need to deal with. It truly is what you choose to do to in any given situation that will determine where it takes you. There is a litany of possibilities that one can direct themselves to and it will be what and how one engages the circumstance they find themselves in as to what they will learn...what they will get out of it. You always have a choice...some sort of one...even if it isn't a preferable choice there is always "something" one can move one's self forward.

And so it is...and so will I.

Friday, March 18, 2011

In the current...keeping one's head above water.

I started this blog with an intention and a point.

The intention was to put what I believe and I think out there to the universe and share it with the world while inviting some discourse and sharing of ideas with anyone who cared.

The point was to teach lessons...from my perspective of course...and share what I could with any of you who may read this, as well as maybe learn something from anyone who cared to chime in. Turns out not very many wanted to chime in except for one...and that was fun...but I was kinda hoping for others to give input and teach as well as give opinions...thus the name of the blog.

I have not written in this blog for a good long time...I missed 2010 altogether LOL. There has been much in my life that has left me feeling very much the student rather than the teacher in the last year plus...and looking back...I think that is a poor excuse...albeit understandable.

I and my family have been through a great deal in the last year plus...which if you are interested in...I would invite you to read about in my other blog (link is to the right)...but suffice it to say last year we have had my son who is 27 currently go through a double lung transplant and two subsequent surgeries and in and out of the hospital more times than I can count, the birth of our youngest child (and my last) Elijah, a benefit concert that allowed me to meet, perform with, and spend a day with my favorite guitarist in the world Phil Keaggy, our daughter start kindergarten, me complete my hours for my license and test only to fail by 7 questions and have to wait 6 months to try again, and me getting back into playing music professionally in a big a whole lot more.

So I should have been blogging all along and I feel bad about not writing because I know writing I apologize for hiding out and turtling...but I am back now and I intend to get better at keeping both blogs up.

Today my son is attending college and much more healthy, my youngest son will be 6 months old in 2 days from now, and I am plunging back into study to retake my first test for my license, and I am playing in 2 bands and gigging again. Like always there is wife will likely lose her job this year because of budget cuts and we are going to take a big hit until she can find another job...but there is a part of that which I feel grateful is hard...and it is scary...but I do have faith that God will show us the way and take care of us to take care of ourselves...and hopefully take care of others while we are at it.

As far as this blog is concerned...consistently the most viewed lesson that I have written...or blog if you one written about "meaning making machines". I get hits from that title from all over the world and I have to say the concept and idea comes from Landmark Forum which I attended many years ago. I used the information in my daily life and teach it to others through classrooms, groups, and individual and family counseling. Along with Systems Theory it is one of the more important concepts I have written about. I did want to address this though considering I didn't give credit where credit is due in the earlier I do this now.

My that with learning and growth, development and forward movement, we will all begin to be better to each other and ourselves. All in due time...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A question of choice

The least resistant path is what we often choose...and I am guilty of this as the next high horse here LOL...but often this choice is to our detriment. Not always...but often...we find the path of least resistance...a one way street to something we didn't want...only we didn't know we didn't want it until it was too late...

I have so many experiences in my life that...with hindsight...I look back on and see clearly that I chose to go against my gut...against instinct...and paid a price for it...big or small...

I would think that after a time or two...I would learn to do the right thing....that being...listen to my instinct...because it does serve me well...and I am often right...but I also...often....don't listen.

I don't know if that instinct is God talking at me or if it is something else...all I do that when I don't follow it...listen to it...I regret it...9 times outta 10.

So why is this such a hard concept to follow and do? If I have a gut feeling about something...why don't I just follow that instinct? It is very much like I don't trust myself. Me says...hmm....

I know all about building trust with others. I teach it and preach to and when to and when not to...learning to trust ones self...though...this is more difficult...and I find...sometimes...I am too close to the situation to see things clearly.

Maybe it is because of all those past mistakes that I am hesitant...looking back on past failures to gauge my ability currently. This seems very inefficient to me and just simply...stupid. I mean....wouldn't it be better to look at past successes and accomplishments to judge myself against? Wouldn't it be more prudent to focus on those strengths and fix my gaze on what is right with what I have done? Wouldn't it be more efficient to concentrate on the step in front of me rather than on constantly going back to my past? I personally think the answer to all 3 questions is a resounding YES!

That is not to say that you should never look at past failures because one can learn from them, to know one's weaknesses so as to create a balance and a path of personal growth, or to examine our history in our lives as we go along our path to better keep the context of our lives in focus as well as the moment...these things are all important...but...success and failure are both teachable moments, opportunities for growth, and a chance to change something in us that is inadequate, dull, or otherwise lacking.

So I assert both perspectives are important...however...which is more important to our growth and further healthy development? In other words, what is more important to focus on? Are we to focus on the past, future, or remain in the present? Is the past a self-indulgent theme and pushes us to overcompensate? Is our future a rich tapestry of possibilities, none of which are real until we actually arrive at that moment? Is our present moment the only thing that truly matters because all that we are and all that we will ever truly a moment of time?

As I watch my 4 year old daughter Sarah sleeping this afternoon on our couch...feeling hot with a fever from the flu and recovering from the beginnings of a pneumonia found day before yesterday...and looking like an angel...with Hawaiian music softly playing on the stereo...lulling her into sweet dreams of big mountains, soft breezes, and warm blue and turquoise waters teaming with life...native to all the world and filled with laughter and joy...I have my answer.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Listen first

I am a firm believer in only making threats that are fully intended on being kept. In other words if you are a person that could not use a weapon against another...even if you carried one...then you should never carry one.

If you are someone that is unsure if you could use a weapon against someone else...but you carry one would have to make that decision in a split second as to whether or not it is actually possible for you...which is an unwise position to put oneself in.

If you are someone that is quite sure...given the circumstances...that this is very real and possible for you to do...then this is a reality for you and you have decided it to be so.

I believe that you should never pull a weapon on someone unless you fully intend on using it...or at least are ready to if need be.

It is interesting to me how people often do not consider consequences in their lives when it comes to their words and behaviors. Many times people will put themselves out there and at ways that they may not even realize that they are doing. Sometimes they put others at risk by their words and behaviors without understanding the risks involved.

Example...A child is told multiple times to stop a behavior in the home...they don't...and the result is they "accidentally" break something. Because of mom or dad's repeated warnings their reaction to the crash is emotional and swift. Why did you do that...what is wrong with you?

That last question is a statement as well as a question. The kid is saying to themselves....wrong with me? I didn't know anything was wrong with me....something must be wrong with me.

Did mom or dad mean to screw with their child's self esteem and self-definition? Of course not...but could they have anyway? Absolutely they could have.

Another example...husband and wife are not getting along and are arguing. Emotions escalate, both are emotionally reactive, and one threatens to leave or to divorce. Is the threat real or is it just a threat? Does it matter? matters a great deal. Again...I am a firm believer in not using threats unless they are a direct and firmly clear warning of an action....nothing less. So threatening to leave or some misguided way of scaring or manipulating is just plain careless and really...not very smart. I do not believe it would get one what they really want.

Throwing those words out there should ONLY come if it is a firm fact and it is your intention to actually go through with it...otherwise you are being mean, vindictive, and manipulating. One other thing about this "threat" is it becomes meaningless if it is used uselessly so the partner would not know if it were real or just another manipulation. This is not something that a true "partner" would do.

If threatening people were a healthy thing to do there would be healthy positive consequences that would come from it. Most of the time however...threats are often a way to manipulate, bully, and basically be mean to people.

I personally think that the healthy thing to do in situations where I want to express something and I am emotional in the to make an informational comment that is not slanted in a threatening manner and then excuse myself until I am calm and rational. I have not always been in this space...there was a time in my life when I was less mature about these situations...but nowadays...I make a real effort to keep my emotional reactions in check so that I can think my way through moments where my emotions rule. It isn't easy...and no one is perfect...but I believe if a person is putting in the effort...then anything can be accomplished.

Maybe the key is to focus on what is healthy instead of being right. I mean we can all fight to the death to try to get someone else to see how right we are and how valuable our opinion and our point is....but it only makes the other person defensive and angry...and they won't listen to us or find what we are saying what is the point really?

If you want to be heard...cramming your point down someone else's throat is a sure way to not getting listened's pretty much a guarantee. If you want to be heard...then I would suggest you try to hear the other person usually goes much better that way. It took me until the last several years until I learned this...but in my experience listening first is the better route to go.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Modern Day...

I've found the world of blogging to be fun and interesting...playful and compelling...seriously opinionated and ultimately a healthy way to interact and express with the world...even if not completely is honestly...and for me...and for those I enjoy reading the is release...and a way to share yourself.

What I think I find the most interesting is the disconnect. It is a virtual world surrounded by long distance relationships and people that we are connected to...but at the same time disconnected with...and by being physically disconnected...there is an intimacy about it that previously was only known by letter writing...which was mutually time consuming and exciting. The time spent waiting for that letter...that response...was invigorating and aggravating...suspense laden...and thrilling. There was an essence of that wait that we have obviously lost...and I am not wholeheartedly happy about that loss...a piece of me feels less for the absence of that wait. I am not saying I regret having Email, instant messaging, and the Internet...but I am saying, as I have said before, everything has a cost...and sometimes that cost is difficult to register until one steps back and looks at the big picture.

So there is a physical disconnect in our communication as well as a bridge to bring us back together. I sit here writing this blog and thinking about this disconnect...and the bridge that leads me back to you reading this...and considering the possibility that even though we have lost that wait...and that anticipation for that letter or telegraph...that the gains somehow improve our lives more than the loss of the wait. immediate. Realism is king and seeing what is going on around the world is currently possible. We have now watched war being waged in real time...multiple times. Recently the president mentioned the arrest of a prominent figure (Henry Louis Gates) of a major university (Harvard) trying to get into his own house through his own front door after returning from vacation...and arrested on his own porch...for getting upset because the police were giving him a hard time...about getting into his own house. I don't know what the man said...or exactly how he acted...towards the police officers...but it does make sense to me that it would piss the guy off...if I put myself in his would be upsetting to me as well. Of course this is even putting the race issue at the side. But in the insanity of the blitz of information and the speed that it flows I see something healthy, as well as something very unhealthy mixing in with this.

Communication is our greatest tool and with the weight of the responsibility that it bears we need to ensure and use our freedom of speech tempered with the accountability of our message. But because we write this and then hit a button and fire it off...there is very little rumination of information. So we need to be careful of looking at what we produce and keeping it worthy of our time...and the time of others. Scrutinize what you put out there and we will all feel better about it...and I will try to do the same.

All in all I guess the ability to get a thought out there instantly is a good long as there is responsibility that comes along with it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


In the last several months...I have continually been reminded how fragile our lives are and how close to the brink of serious disaster at worst...and serious best...we all every given moment.

I guess this kind of started with the Sandra Cantu disappearance and murder last March...the little 8 year old girl in Tracy California who was abducted, molested, murdered, and stuffed into a suitcase and left in an agricultural drainage ditch where she was found by farm workers...the accused murderer is a female Sunday school teacher.

After having no traffic tickets in like 20 years or whatever I get two in one week...and a couple weeks after that go to the court house to pay my fines and hit this insane media frenzy surrounding the Cantu case and then actually watch the Cantu family enter the courthouse close up and personal. I wrote about it in my other blog here if you'd like to read that...

So that is where I begin in this because it was surreal to me and actually had a fairly large and negative impact on me. I got...for just a few short moments directly...and overall maybe an hour total indirectly...very close to the flame and I felt the heat...of our press and the limelight of horrific and negative change...

That family...just weeks before that day...had no idea that this would be their life. A horrible act and event happened...and it acts as a pivot...and their lives go in a completely and wholly different direction.

Sometimes...this happens and the pivot is not horrible or evil. when we start a new job or finish our education or start a business...maybe even win the lottery...whew wouldn't that be cool?!?....we have a pivotal moment and our lives are never again the same but it is a good thing.

Some times...and I dare say more often...the pivot is bittersweet. There is good and bad mixed in to the event and/or outcome of the event which we deal with. But our lives are changed just the same.

I am dealing with such pivotal change in my life currently and it is bittersweet. My daughter Harmony...was married yesterday and she spent her last night in her room under our roof...night before last. She said goodbye last night. Now...this is a cause of celebration and my wife and I are both very happy for's an awesome thing...but it is hard for us to see her go...bittersweet...and Sarah...our 3 year old daughter is missing her sissy...even though she now has her own room all to herself...but she is by herself now too.

My having Dr's at Stanford talk to him about a double lung transplant...within the next few months...and that means it could extend his life between 5-10 years and most of that first 5 years would be with a much different quality of life for more treatments and oxygen tanks...and likely no hospital stays...unless he gets which case a common cold could kill him...because he will be on 25 medications that are trying to keep his body from rejecting the organs but also completely decimating his immune system. He says that he wants to climb Half-Dome in Yosemite and if he gets through the surgery and gets through the first year of healing....he could do that.


Change is one of the few constants that we have and can count on. Sometimes...the change is wonderful...and sometimes it is horrible...but more with so much in life...the reality is somewhere in the middle. So to seems that the subject returns to creating a balance. When something is bittersweet there is quite a bit to be able to take from it and learn...which is one of the best parts...but there is a cost to it as well. All things have a cost...even those things that give the appearance as being free...all things have a cost.

I think that the cost of a thing sometimes...oftentimes...holds more meaning than we may realize at the time...and often we pay a cost without having thought out what that cost will entail and thereby sometimes...leaving us unprepared for paying that cost. But pay we must...for in all things there is a balance.

For me...the issue becomes one of awareness and preparation...but it is almost impossible to prepare one's prepare for some even in this it is difficult. But to try to be prepared for it and to try to be ready...which I often fail miserably at...I still try though...but the purpose is in the effort and not necessarily in the outcome...or said another is the journey and not the destination...that is important and the point.

But even in is bittersweet...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Moments in the meantime...

Moments in the meantime...

Have you ever noticed how living your life keeps getting caught up in the minutia of the moments...and how even when you are totally into a is going on around you and your focus...while needed and desired in that moment...seems trivial and incomplete when you step back and take a look at that moment with some fresh eyes and a different perspective?

I listened to someone speak today about their experience...and as they were processing their feelings and the aftermath of their moment...I found myself comparing...measuring...relating...and trying to solve a puzzle with them about their experience while at the same time trying to see how I fit into the same issues and would I be if compared by the same measurement and how would I feel if facing the same circumstances? Would I have done the same as this individual given the same circumstances or would I have made a different choice...and if so...why? Along with would that have impacted me differently?

I saw a piece of what this event did to or for them...I guess it depends on how one looks at it...their uncertainty...their questioning of themselves...the guilt...and worry. I understand the fear. I get how something like the mistake they apparently made...out of a very positive intention....but none the less a mistake...made them feel like they let others down and possibly put people and organizations in jeopardy. So what does it all mean?

It doesn't really mean anything. It can mean everything. Depending on how a person views might be nothing or it could be everything and there is only one person that can make a difference like that. How do I view it and what does it mean to me? Well...what do I want it to mean to me? How does this make me look in others eyes? Will people see me the way I want them to or will they look at this as a reason to view me negatively? Could this actually underline what I already believe? Is this proof?

In the meantime...while all the questions...all the self-examination...all the is carrying on....and these on in the meantime. What does it all mean?

You decide...