Today


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Have you ever sat back and thought of all the events that you have experienced throughout your life? From the great conquering life changing events to the appalling events that keep you up at night.

Think of the lessons that have been learned or not learned and the outcome of the circumstances and the hold they have on your life today.

How did it impact you?
What did you take away from it?
What are you carrying with you?
How many years have you been carrying it?

This year has started out with a bang, and so far has no signs of letting up. With that said how many of you automatically thought negatively about the statement “this year has started out with a bang”? I usually do, however today I feel differently.

See our preconception is to view life’s struggles as negative. That is not always the case, some events can be eye opening and have a huge positive outcome as long as the choice to view the outcome is not flooded with the past events.

I recently had a scare in my life that was just that, an eye opener.

What do I want for my life? How do I want to live?
Who do I want to be and who do I want others to think of me as?
In my life I have never been faced with a chance of my life never being the same, which has never been spoken about from a doctor’s point of view, and as if it was an option. I was told after sitting in the Emergence Room for 4 hours in the worst pain I have ever experienced that surgery is the only option. The outcome after surgery were less than pleasant as I went in to the hospital as a fit and healthy 34 year old man. The chances of returning from surgery with a colostomy bag, normal diet or even a hard stool ever again were the options I had been faced with and the chance that they caught the issue in time will change the percent of fatality.

One minute I am getting ready to go to the gym and 5 hours later there is a chance my life could end and will most likely be change forever. That was March 11th and I am sitting here against the odds that I heard that night.

My eyes have been opened and I see how fragile life is and how the fears in my life control the direction I choose to travel in life. 

Today a clam is over me, the anxiety of “what’s next” was left on the operation table in the hospital and the free feeling of choices are spread out in front of me like a menu at a restaurant. The choice is to live today and worry about today. Today I feel great, today I am alive, today I have a beautiful wife to share my life with, today I have two beautiful daughters that love me and today I choose to not worry about tomorrow.

This year is going to be amazing, I see the doors and there are many choices, yet for the first time I hear a calm voice guiding me through one door after another, one amazing door after another. I have learned I am a “dip my toe in the pool” kind of guy, constantly weighing the options of everything I’m faced with.

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything”. Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

There is some truth to letting everything go and to stop controlling or attempting to control everything. It’s no wonder so many people are an anxiety medicine. We are lead to believe that only if we have the right house in the right neighborhood, the right car, the better job and the right clothing only then we can relax and begin to live. The entire time putting off the life we are living right now for a better life that will never come tomorrow.

Today I choose to jump in, today I choose to live. Find your strength today to let go and jump in.

Does it sound better to wake up one day and regret everything you didn’t do or to sit back and think of everything you have done?

I Am, I Become


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The last two weeks have brought me to my knees with pain and to tears with the scare I could have left my wife and children alone in this world.

The setback in my life has been eye opening and has brought me to a place that I have kept dark for too many years. Tha fact of, I am not invincible.

I have always been hard headed, no denying that. Now I see why, my hate for people trying to tell me how to live, what to do or what not to do only fuels me to destroy the limitations in my life. I do hear the advice, I am thankful for support if it is done in love.

“Scott you will never amount to anything, you will never become anything more than what you are, worthless”.. This is not self talk, no that was much worse. This was what others told me as a child and I battle the same old war from my youth as an adult.

Why? Why do I listen to them still to this day, playing over and over in my head like a skipping CD.

My love to remain in pain (because it is comfortable) fuels my drive to break cycles and limitations that are put on my life and that I put on myself. Life is painful enough without inflicting more on ourselves.

Today I set an unreasonable goal to walk a mile, so in pain I begin to feed into my desire to break my limitations.

I will walk a mile!
I can walk a mile!
I did, I walked 1.5 miles…

I am sad to be here, a mile, I wouldn’t flinch at a 2 mile run before hitting the weights and now a mile is all my body has to offer.

I am thankful that I am recovering and that I remain a father and husband to a beautiful wife and family. It’s the self talk that sets me back in my chair with tears in my eyes. All I have done to be healthy, eating clean, working out, positive thoughts and praying has gotten me to a new level of refinement.

I continue to seek deep inside and to filter who I am from whom the world tells me I am.

I am a leader, I am powerful and I have been humbled by what God has done in my life over the last month. Even with this setback I am excited to see where my life will go in 2015.

I am, and I become are the words I am telling myself in 2015..

The image is a picture my youngest daughter colored for me, it has an entirely different meaning after all we have been through. I love you Haylee, Alexis and Sandy.

Fight or Flight


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Have you ever been late to class? That feeling of walking in after everyone has clearly been asked to begin an assignment. The adrenaline that rushes through your body, the 100’s of thoughts that make your mind race, the feeling is fear. What are they thinking? I look stupid. I feel like an idiot… There is a very high chance that everyone in that room has felt that same feeling at one time or another.

Understanding and learning to accept that you are not alone and that the others in the room are most likely thinking “man I know that feeling” rather than “what an idiot.”

Stepping out in faith takes courage, determination and faith and is usually met with some form of resistance and most of the time we are the resistance we face.

Recently my wife and I were asked to do just that, act in faith and join a team dedicated to the transformation of lives through self focus groups, marriage re-focusing groups and leadership trainings. It was a shock to be asked to join such a strong team (thinking of myself as VERY average to below average) I at first said “yea right” in my mind and then it hit me, we are all average in our own ways, we are all weak at something and we are all strong in other areas.

We set out on this journey a little over a week ago when we attended their Leadership Transformation Training and at that time we were asked to join in on the training they are offering in California. Being from Michigan it seemed scary to travel across the United States away from our family, away from our responsibilities and away from our comfort zones to receive this training. So the thoughts and excuses began to pour in and in my mind I began to back slide into the “I’m not good enough to be on this team”.

Why me?

Do they realize how messed up I am?

Do they know I struggle in most areas of my life?

So in faith I say, “Yes, they know I’m a mess and that is what makes me acceptable.” I am real, I am brave enough to talk to complete strangers with openness and honest emotions and create a connection and safe place to begin the process of healing. I am fighting the old thought process and stepping out into a new area of my life.

In April (next month) we will be traveling to California to receive training and take part in an amazing opportunity here in Michigan as part of a team dedicating ourselves to walking with others and through our life experiences showing them how to overcome and persevere through the storms of life. I am honored to have the opportunity to receive this training and grateful to be a part in seeing others grow. We can sit and complain about everything life brings into our path or we can learn to equip ourselves with understanding of what to do and how to do it.

I am learning it is much better to seek understanding as to why we do what we do rather than blaming our circumstances (that most of the time we create) for the struggles in our lives.

“It is so easy to become preoccupied with what is wrong in your life,
while just taking for granted all that is wonderful.
Take time today to think about all you have to be grateful for.
See the good in life. “– The Storm of Life

My Mind is a liar


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“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie

Understanding what is “truly happening” in your life destroys fear and sheds light into the existence of fear itself. Darkness cannot live in the presence of light, cold cannot overcome the force of heat and fear has no foundation through understanding.

“If you fear; seek understanding and the fear our minds tell us will begin to dissolve.”

The stories our minds tell us are (in most cases) far worse than the reality of a situation.

This last year I endured some of the greatest challenges I have ever faced in my life and I found that when my mind and body wanted to retreat and hide from what I was faced with opened up and allowed for the perfect opportunity for my inner voice to begin to speak lies. Lies that “in my mind” fit and were truth, only fueling my mind further to create scenarios that were never true. Our minds are amazingly powerful and complex yet like a machine only designed to do specific functions, to absorb information and process into actions..

The lies I told myself created me to become someone I had never been before, someone I feared to become, and someone I will never become again. I became a shallow, angry and bitter man, a man I felt hopeless to change.

I started to re-think what I told myself over and over throughout the day. Covering everything with open communication and facts about where I was in life and what needed to be done and today I am in the process of rebuilding what “that man” destroyed.

It is important to surround yourself with a community of others that love you enough to be honest when you are being an idiot and to be strong enough to stand against you if necessary; I am blessed to have just that. A support group made up of friends, family and co-workers that care enough to speak truth into my life and a wife that never backed down or let go. I am thankful for everyone in my life and have had a huge desire to further my impact in the lives of others.

We are here to walk through storms and learn to understand how to overcome with the intent to help others with their storms. I see my storm behind me, I still hear the rumble of the thunder and the smell of rain and I survived to rebuild and become who I am becoming.

“Seeds of great discoveries are constantly floating around us, but they only take root in minds well prepared to receive them.” – Joseph Henry

Prepare your mind to allow the seed of understanding to take root. Closed minds will never think new thoughts and hardened hearts will never accept vulnerability, find strength in vulnerability.

Love You Better


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As humans our desire is to connect, to love and to be loved, it is a necessary emotion and basic human need.

It is also one of the most commonly misguided and misused words in existence. To say the words “I Love you” in some cases have no more weight than to say “hello” when answering the phone. It is thrown around too often and confused even more with many other terms that are used on a daily basis.

(Definition of Love)
An intense feeling of deep affection and a great interest and/or a pleasure in something.

I have a hard time saying the words “I love you” to just anyone, even friends as a gesture of closeness I struggle with replying when told I love you. With the exception of very few individuals I try not to use the words unless I am looking for a deeper connection knowing it is appropriate to my marriage and family. My desire to love better and to focus the love I currently give is warped by the worldly view of what love is. Love is commonly seen as romantic, full of desire, a longing for someone and at times needy, I guess in the wrong situation could be.

 

Using the text of the bible as reference the word (Love) is used 100’s of times and looking at the translation over the years has increased. With the reference as the bible being a guide for our lives the translation proves the increase in the use of the word.

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The word has become a more acceptable word to use and the “novelty” and depth of the word has been dulled down to simply another phrase used in our day to day conversation. Well, that doesn’t sit well with me; I like the words I speak to have meaning behind them and the meaning to connect with an emotion in others, so I choose to use my words as wisely as I can. I say the words I love you every night to my family and over time have seen the words becoming a “routine” with our children as they quickly respond “Love you too dad”.

My goal is to love better not learn a new way to say the words.

To show and be an example of love so when I communicate the words there are actions backing up my words as a measure of love.

I desire to love you better, a vow to love deeper, to seek endlessly and to overcome the worldly limitations I face.

Examination of Life


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“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; …Forgive them anyway.”- Kent Keith

Looking at some of the synonyms of the word forgiveness, I fail in the fight to achieve any level of forgiveness in my life: pardon, Mercy, absolution, exoneration, exculpation.

Pondering the depth of what it means to forgive is overwhelming at times and in some cases feels unachievable. To forgive means to let go of (in some cases) the only thing holding a relationship together. Yes, I said it, sometimes our lack of relationships can reach a level of toxicity and having a toxic relationship is better than not having a relationship at all (or so I told myself in the past).

I fall short in the forgiveness department yet expect forgiveness for myself. I have no difficulties cutting others from my life or “giving them what I feel they deserve” however true forgiveness is hard to accomplish for me.

Growing up forgiveness was not practiced or expected, (what was done was done and it was what it was) and the consequences where held as surfactant punishment and forgotten about yet never forgiven. The offence was stored in a mental file that had 24/7 access for judgment of future problems.

So how do I deal with forgiveness today? It’s simple, I don’t or should I say I didn’t …

I have a file of my own that I fill with the offences of others and passively drudge back up at my convenience as a weapon of leverage. I am learning what “true forgiveness” is and how it is applied in my life and I have seen a pattern as I learn, the closer I hold you in my life the harder it is to forgive. It is an uphill battle between my forgiving and forgetting and I confuse the two all the time. Looking at this verse below I struggle to absorb the depth of what is meant and fail miserably at reaching it.

“Then came Peter to him, and said,
Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me,
and I forgive him? Till seven times?”
Jesus saith unto him, “I say not unto thee,
Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
– Matthew 18:21-22

In the perspective of a healthy relationship that is also desired to continually grow and develop into something more, forgiveness is to achieve selflessness and everlasting love for one another. To forgive is Letting go of the harmful act and shredding the file as opposed to storing it away to be used in any way at a later time.

I have so many to forgive and I hope one day I am also forgiven for my actions.

Today I start by forgiving myself and letting go of the self-harm and disregard for myself as a man, father and husband. Next is a huge list of individuals that need to be filtered and plucked from my life as weeds of fed as flowers…

Fish In The Tree


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I rest in the light of forgiveness. I forgive myself and others for that which is done (and better left undone) and also that which is not done (and better if done). I give myself permission to enjoy this moment without guilt. I freely release all uncertainty, regret, and fear. – Mary Anne Radmacher

I like this quote, it fuels the desire for the beginning of change in my heart and sparks new thoughts in my mind.

In the past I set unachievable expectations for others and (when) they fail I say to myself “see, I knew they would do that” only to continue my self-pity and push them away more. My internal view of myself is maturing and my view of others is improving because of the changes I have begun to make in my life. If you feel in your heart that someone will fail you, in your mind you will begin to search for facts to validate your thoughts and it is inevitable, people will fail us so it is setting ourselves up to be right about our thoughts of others.

I have pushed others away for my entire life thinking to myself “they will just leave me anyway its better I cut the tie”   and time after time they did. What, should I expect something different, I pushed them away for years, and they draw a line in the sand of their life and said “enough is enough” and validating my thoughts and feeding the fire of my mind talk about not being good enough.

My thoughts have begun to change, I am enough, I am a great father, an amazing husband and a good friend. We all fail, and people will come in and out of our lives. Sometimes we choose to let others go and sometimes others choose to let us go and it is ok. Why would it ever be ok to force someone to stay in our lives or shame others to want to step out of our lives?

This is day 4 of my mindset change and I choose to be generous, honest and loving and to improve my empathy for others and the results have been a “duh, why didn’t I do this a long time ago” moment.. My relationships have begun to improve with my co-workers, my marriage has taken a huge turn and my children are responding differently to that changes I have made. All because I choose to feed myself with positivity and let it flow to my contact with others. Change your thoughts change your actions, change your expectation for others and suddenly they set a level that is achievable to reach. I read an amazing quote a while back that is begging to make sense today.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. The question I have for you at this point of our journey together is.” – Albert Einstein

We set ourselves up for failure daily and then blame others for our failure to meet a standard set in our own minds that they will never achieve.

Today I am living in the (now) and it amazes me how even the 5 second “extra” attempt to connect with another can brighten my day and put a smile on their face. I have been focusing on my engagement with others and have yet to leave feeling “let down” with how the interaction has gone. I have found that it feeds my desire to connect with others and continued relationships with those that I held at arms length before.

Metamorphose


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I had a great opportunity to attend a Leadership Training with about 15 others from all occupations, men and women, single and married, with children and without. At first I began to complain about all the circumstances in my life that have not been working in my favor, like it is the circumstances fault for not validating my actions and the sad part is at first it made sense in my mind.

As the first day continued I started to see that Jean and Jason ( the trainers) had a way of “calling others out” and as much as I didn’t want to be called out in a public setting with all the other strangers eyes glaring at me I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut. I am thankful for my openness and objective demeanor as I began to join in with others conversations and relate to others comments and stories.  

After about 3 hours (feeling like 5 hours) I started the “this is not what I had imagined” conversation with myself and was beginning to think of shutting down, being quiet and letting the 6 hours remaining of day 1 pass by. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t shut my mouth and felt lead to speak my mind (very guarded and shallow) I began to open, little by little until I poured out my heart about how I treat my wife, children and friends. I remember thinking “this is a leadership training, what does all this have to do with being a leader”?

It became a game of digging for most of us, question after question about the why and how we respond to this and why we respond to that. Jean and Jason knew exactly what to say to dig a bit deeper into what the real cause and effect to my behavior was. Like a lightbulb it struck me, I always think as being a leader associated with business and at home I’m simply “dad”.

At one point Jean said (not word for word) “You are never fake, you are you no matter where you are or who you are with, sometimes you are quiet and sometimes you are aggressive, either way you are always you”. That hit me hard because of the thoughts of never being fake, fighting smiling when I wanted to cry and being passive aggressive as I held in my anger. I was being “me” yes it was a 15 year old me, however me none the less.

Day 2, I walked in feeling almost like these strangers were family I haven’t seen in a while and we all picked up where we left off. Over the next 8 hours tears were shed and soft hidden places were burst open with nothing but love, encouragement and guidance from everyone as well as the leaders. This was an amazing transformation to my thought process and has in my mind changed the course of my life and vision for my life.

The style and content was spot on and at times heart pricking. With that in addition to the passion of Jean and Jason’s gifted speaking and with the ability to gently tug at your heart strings and even at times be bold and blunt with love. It was a great mixture of push and pull and has encouraged me look deep into who I am and re-align who I will become.

There were many quotes that hit me as we read the content and yet this one hit me the hardest, I think it explains best my struggles and why I continue to get out of my spin…

“Our intentions tend to be much more real than our actions, and this can lead to a great deal of misunderstanding with other people, to whom our actions tend to be much more real than our intentions”. – E.F. Schumacher

Attached is a link to give credit to the amazing life changing community that I believe could impact and change anyone. Thank you GAP Community for doing what you do.
http://gapcommunity.com