Understanding Life Is Not As Important As Accepting Life


real life
Thinking back to when I was a teen the only time I have ever been defeated was when I gave up, it may have seemed that I failed however the only time I truly failed is when I stopped trying.

For most of my adolescence I loved to ride BMX and some flatland, urban freestyle riding was my absolute favorite. It was not very popular with the local Police department or campus Police but my friends and I loved it, the rush of outrunning a car that undoubtedly didn’t want you there was exhilarating. Oh and for the record, we were never caught!

I clearly remember a few times I saw an obstacle I wanted to try and clear, in particular was a chain  going from one post to another separating an alleyway, it was about 36 inches high, just high enough to keep bikes and motorized vehicles out. My goal was to clear it, well that was the goal. I think I fell 5 times before making it and I also plainly remember all the times I didn’t make it. I still have scars on both of my shins, knees and elbows from all the times I didn’t make it. It was just part of riding, blood and pain was just part of the fun. I can also tell you there wasn’t one obstacle that I set out to clear that I gave up on after falling, especially after falling. Yes I have scars on my body to remind me of all the attempts I was unsuccessful at, but I never failed, I never gave up.

“Being defeated is often a temporary condition, giving up is what makes it permanent”. – Marilyn vos Savant

Life works the same way, we all have scars, we all have pain and we all have struggled. All of our lives translate to one of two options, to keep trying or give up, and that decision to continue or give up is by far the hardest decision to make.

Once I set my mind to completing something I also focus my heart, emotion and energy on it. I’m not the kind of man who knows when to quit, at times to a fault. Often resulting in physical injury or mentally pushing my limits too far.

“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it”. – Charles R. Swindoll

Life is a journey and we are all on together; friends and even family will come in and out of our lives. Some stay for years, some leave for a while and come back and they’re all in our lives or not in our lives for a reason. Learning why is not as important as learning to embrace everyone that is in our lives while they are here and to allow them to share their lives with us.

I have been through a lot in my life, too much to even begin to explain now, and guess what? So has everyone else…  We are all fighting our own battles, have our own struggles, addictions and limitations. Learning to show a little compassion and have grace for one another is by far the biggest change I have ever made in my life. We are all in this together whether we like it or not, learn to forgive, learn to let go and learn that sometimes you do not need to understand, it will change your life.

Advertisements

When Life Changes, Listen


image

My natural tendency in life is to look at the “big picture”. To look further and further into the future, planning out my steps and seeing how my future looks.  What that does is forces you to miss out on the opportunity today has to offer. I had a plan for my life, and life has changed so much.

I still have a plan today, my plan is just much different than I had expected. No expectations, flexible schedule and focused on today.

My plan was to get married, have 2 children, a dog, fenced in back yard on a lake, boat rides, enjoying sunsets from my deck and living happily ever after.

About 15 months ago my vision for that life was lost with talk of divorce, and now everything has changed.

What I had “planned” became something that I thought would never happen. In the process of getting on my feet I learned something very valuable, life can not be planned and nothing in life is a guarantee. That means my life is far from over and I have the opportunity to see how life can be different, well I’m listening.

I have been learning to appreciate the little things much more.  In the past they almost seemed to be meaningless to my bigger vision, I was so wrong. My plan has not changed however how I get there has. Having appreciation for the little things are what give the direction for the bigger things in life to come into focus.

“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts”.
– Alan Cohen

I planned to raise my daughters here in Portage, MI until they graduated and move out to a lake house near Portage. The girls would always be welcome as they grow into their own lives.

Well I may need to set my vision to accommodate a few more people than I had intended originally. I have 3 more amazing girls in my life than before.

I have been dating an amazing woman and during the process of rebuilding and finding my way back to my feet I fell in love.

She has two beautiful daughters almost the exact same age as my daughters. The relationship we all have is beyond pleasing to my heart and a breath of fresh air. It’s the little things that I have always needed to see; Today I see what is right in front of me and although I never planned for this I thank God for showing me my life can fall apart and can still continue on.

Today I am full of joy and appreciation for everything and everyone I have in my life.

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are”. – Marianne Williamson

My life is not measured by the house I live in, the car I drive, the boat I own or the job title I hold. It’s made up of all the little moments I can share with the people I care about the most. I have lost a lot through the last year, one thing I have seen the biggest change in is my pride. The pride in everything I had before. What I truly need can’t be bought, it can’t be taken or forced. It is given for free, naturally and generously. Looking back at the past I no longer see mistakes I have made, I see lessons I needed to learn, lots of lessons..

Look To Find Yourself


image

I have been looking for myself for a very long time, who am I, what do I need, what do I want and when will the change happen? I thought I knew myself, unfortunately all I saw most of the time was what others projected back at me like a mirror. I became who they believed I was, I have been lucky enough to have others like me for the most part.

When it comes to love that is where it gets tricky, I have always been selfless, so I that believed, maybe at times too selfless and yet I found myself using it as a support system. There were many times I gave only to receive, the very opposite of how it should be. This is a confusing topic on its own to say the least, our entire life we are tough to give without expecting sometime in return yet every day we go to work and give hours for a wage, and most of life itself is based on the balance between give and take.

I had a warped vision of what I believed love was, I believed that love was filling something in someone else that was missing.. Not at all, it’s finding someone that is fully capable of living and side by side sharing your life bonded to them through respect and freedom. Everything else falls into place. Trust, commitment and intimacy are not found in what you do for someone, it’s found in freedom and acceptance of who they’re already.

Love allows your beloved the freedom to be unlike you – Attachment asks for conformity to your needs and desires.
Love imposes no demands – Attachment expresses an overwhelming demand – “Make me feel whole.”
Love expands beyond the limits of two people – Attachment tries to exclude everything but two people.
– Deepak Chopra in (The Path to Love)

I have always thought that I was meant to be in a relationship with someone that I needed to complete or they needed to complete me. This was also the measurement I used to gauge the “quality” of the relationship. The more “complete” we were the better the relationship was. It wasn’t until I was alone and fully alone did I understand what I have heard all these years about my thought process. If you cannot be complete on your own you will never compliment a relationship.

“A loving relationship is one in which the loved one is free to be himself – to laugh with me, but never at me; to cry with me, but never because of me; to love life, to love himself, to love being loved. Such a relationship is based upon freedom and can never grow in a jealous heart”. – Leo F. Buscaglia

This is all new to me, I have found myself more in the last 18 months than in the 34 years. I see how my thoughts were not focused on the right areas in my life and what I did focus on was nothing I could change. I am not broken, I’m not in need or looking for someone to complete me, I am a perfectly complete human created to be exactly who I am. I truly believe this now and the feeling I have from that is overwhelming at times.

How long was I wrong? Is a question I often ask myself.

“True learning is not about facts, but about conscious appreciation of the experience of living”. – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

I found that when I stopped looking for someone to complete me I began to learn who I am. Searching my faith and listening for that quiet whisper I ignored lead me to where I am today.

For once I see how important listening to the voice of our heart is and learning to have strength and courage to move on it has opened up an entirely new life, it’s only the beginning.

Before My Feet Hit The Floor, I Knew Today Would Suck


image

I got up yesterday and before I even put my feet on the floor it hit me, today is Father’s day. The one day I get to soak in all the glory of being a father yet in my mind, today has been tainted. Yes it was my choice to see it this way and a great example of me feeling sorry for myself. I got up, fed my girlfriends dogs and had my breakfast. As I continued to have thoughts of self-pity running through my head I sat there and listened to music for about 30 min. My mind racing with how much I missed my family, I missed my girlfriend and her girls, my own girls, I missed the time I wish I spent with my parents, and one year almost to the day of a failed marriage.  

“The dream you are living is your creation. It is your perception of reality that you can change at any time”. – don Miguel Ruiz

Not 24 hours before this crap morning I wrote a blog (Who Do You Think You Are) and in this I spoke about exactly what I was doing, self-pity and depression and it hit me.. I am a hypocrite

How can I write something and not 24 hours later fail at exactly what I wrote and worse expect others to trust or believe what I write?   

Completely out of spite for the current feelings, I went to my Real Life page and re-read my last post, yup thats what I was doing, exactly what I said not to do!

I had to get out! I got up got my gym cloths around took my pre-workout and very undecidedly drove to the gym to fight the feelings of depression that I so comfortably sat in. I Changed the music I was listening to into something a bit more upbeat, got on the treadmill and skipped my warm up completely and just ran! Fighting to hold back my emotion, “I can’t cry at the gym”.

I ran faster and faster until I was almost sprinting. I ran 3 miles and it wasn’t satisfying. So I thought “I know what will work” weights, heavy weights. I focused on my workout, what body part I was going to do and began to forget all about what I was feeling not one hour before. It worked!! A total of 6 miles Between the gym and Celery Flats (a local walking trail), and about 45 min of lifting cured my day, I ended the workout with a selfie, yes a selfie, oh and I posted it on Instagram and Facebook just to remind myself of this day next time I am feeling sorry for myself. Yes it’s the picture to this blog.
 
Yesterday my truth, opinion of myself and my situation were distorted. I had to get out of the house and fight what I was telling myself. The day did a complete 180 and I ended up having a great Father’s day. It took action and dedication to get over the hump of unhappiness that I was experiencing.

Life is what we see it, it can be beautiful or it can be ugly. It’s a choice we all make many times a day.   

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth”.
– Marcus Aurelius

Be cautious of what you “know” to be true and look deeper into what you tell yourself. Today is a new day and with that comes a completely new challenge, be careful not to carry yesterday’s garbage into today.

Who Do You Think You Are


image

Take a look at the flower, it’s the same flower half lacking color the other half in its full color. How do you see yourself?

I was recently approached by a friend and they asked me if everything was ok.  Puzzled, I said “yes, I’m doing good”, why do you ask? They explained how they read one of my posts in Real Life and thought they should see if I needed anything.

I explained to them that not all of my posts I publish are what I am going through at that moment. Sometimes I feel a desire to write from a different perspective. Like being on the other side and knowing how much I needed to hear what I write. With hope that it will help someone that needs to hear from someone that has been through it, survived, got back up and continued on with life.

“Your best friend and worst enemy are both in this room right now. It’s not your neighbor right or left – and it’s not God or the devil – it’s you”. – Edwin Louis Cole

We are our own worst enemy.  What you tell yourself holds far more power than what others may say. Yes it may hurt to hear anything negative about yourself and will surly not help your self worth. However it has no power compared to what you believe true about yourself.

I have felt unworthy of love, I have felt there is something wrong with me and I have seen how over time that will begin to destroy your self image. I have sat in self pity and self hate, depression and at one point thought I would be better off dead. This was NOT influenced by others, on the outside I was loved, friends trying to spend time with me, loved ones wanting to see me. However on the inside the battle raged on, worthless, unlovable, broken, out of shape, bad father, just not someone worth anyone’s time. Our mind will destroy who you see yourself as from the inside unless we learn to fight back. Prove your mind wrong, exercise, show yourself you’re not worthless, you are loveable and you are one of a kind.

“Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition, is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have”. – Dale Carnegie

Today I know I am very worthy of life, love and to help others that are in a dark place.

If you are in that dark hell and can’t find a way out start by getting out of the house, walk, listen to music, get a punching bag, find water and sunlight. Whatever it takes to get moving!

The first step to becoming depressed is isolation, we were not made to be alone, we are ALL social beings. Yes some more than others and in different ways. What you tell yourself will remain relentless until you prove it wrong.  Make today beautiful, I’m thankful for being on the other side of that and have no interest in returning. I control my mind now, you can too. 

When You Are Alone


image

I can’t begin to tell you how many days I have had to get up and fight to smile over the last few years. If I had nothing to look forward to in the future I struggled to find a reason to be Joyful.

For so long I put my happiness in the hands of others; my loved ones, peers, circumstances and even the weather. It was just too easy to adapt my day to the day of those around me or blame it on the rain.

I found my power when I had to stand alone. I would never have had the opportunity to see this had it not been for the events that took place over the last couple of years. So I choose to see God’s hand in this and not be a victim.

“Our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances”. – Martha Washington

Today I can say that when I wake up my joy is fed by my love of being alive, healthy and able to do the simple things that I took for granted. I can see, I can hear, I can walk. Think about losing any one of those. I have so much in my life that I completely dismissed and have taken for granted on a daily basis. I have a great job, daughters that love me, nice vehicle, I’m healthy, and independent and I have also found a wonderful woman and am in love. The best part is she does not complete me, I am perfectly equipped to bring 100% into our relationships.

“The trick is in what one emphasizes,
We either make ourselves miserable,
or we make ourselves happy, the amount of work is the same”. – Carlos Castaneda

It’s about choices, you can see pain and suffering or you can see the blessings in life. Like the quote above, it’s the same effort.

This last week I have been absolutely alone, no girls, Jennifer is away on vacation and I am at peace. In the past I have struggled to be alone. The difference is I do not need anything from them. That allows me to be a blessing in their lives not a drain.

Learning to stand alone has been the best experience I have ever faced.

To those who feel they need someone in their life to make yourself complete, ask yourself one question. What will you do when you’re alone?

I am planning on spending every day thankful for everything I have in my life. Nothing is forever and nothing is guaranteed in life. Enjoy it while it’s here, you never know when life will change and you will have to stand alone.

Love hard and deep, forgive often and live with passion. Enjoy the little things in life!

What is an Abundant Life and How Do I Find One


image

Abundance: The quantity or amount of something; a very large quantity of something.

“Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance”. – Epicurus

What is abundance and how does it impact our lives?

That is a question I have been asking for pretty much my entire life and it’s not something that can be answered, it’s a daily, sometimes hourly reminder that the life I live could be so much worse. Look around, there’s always someone in need if you’re willing to look past the concerns of your own life enough to see them.

What if you got up thankful for just being alive, thankful for your health? What if you started every day with a smile? Sure there will be bad days, learn to not sit there and say “well this is how today is going to be” try to let the crap go and see something good in the day. The way we think will determine the outcome of the path we choose to take and the people we surround ourselves with help guide that path.

Here are a couple choices I am making today. Changing these two comments will change how I see what it is that they are referring too.

“Today I get to go to work” or “today I have to work”
Tonight I get to see my girls” or “I have to take care of them again tonight”.

“Our journey into consciousness of wealth begins with the realization that we have already arrived”. – Michael Beckwith

I am beginning to see that we never arrive, we never reach the carrot at the end of the stick, and that is the beauty of it. Life never reaches a destination, if it has then you are beginning to prepare for death. That might be a bold statement, just think about it for a minute. When you find what it is you’re looking for you will do one of two things.

1. Look for a new goal to better something in your life

2. Become stagnant and think that your current situation in life is how it’s going to be for the rest of your life.

I have seen both and unfortunately I have spent a lot of time focusing on the 2nd and struggling to see the 1st!

I try to be optimistic as much as I can and I slowly and naturally drift back into the blah feelings of “this is how it is going to be”. For years I have sat with that feeling and guess what I have gotten from it? I have gotten exactly what I have put into my life, little to nothing in the form of bettering my life or those around me.

I was approached by a co-worker recently and what he told me was an inspiration and huge shock. This entire time I thought to myself “I need this guy around me every day, his energy feeds me and motivates me” and what he said took me by surprise.

He said “the energy you have brought to work every day keeps me going and seeing that you went through everything you have in the last year has shown me that you can fall hard and get back up, and even be happy again”

I learned something in that; I have a choice that affects everyone I come in contact with, not only my friends and family, everyone. I can give power or take power, be a positive influence or a negative drain on their lives.

I want to keep the friends and family that feed me with positive energy around, it feels better to have a worthy outlook on life. Even further, try this and you may be surprised. The next few people you meet actually listen to them, don’t just give them the “hey how’s it going” as you walk by. Take a minute and talk, with eye contact and intent and see how differently the conversation goes.

Image by my oldest daughter Haylee Jenkins

My Life in a Nutshell


image

My life in a nutshell, stripped down, music so loud it drowns out the world around. Telling the past “you have no grasp on what tomorrow brings”. The life in front of me is a blank page.

Every page is written with the same 26 letters. It’s about how we chose and use the letters to connect with one another.

I have been blessed with the art of organizing the 26 letters to touch others.

My life in a nutshell, crazy busy, fast paced and confusingly brilliant, and who I chose to share my life with is a small group of hand-picked individuals that share the same unspoken language of emotion with me.

My life in a nutshell, has only just begun, again. Broken down into many segments, it is full of emotion as I sit and organize these magical 26 letters. My mind bombards me, “will anyone understand, will someone hear my words, will I reach their heart”. My heart pounds with anxiety as I dig into the depths of my chest before hitting publish. Every time, I quietly tell myself “I don’t write for them, I write for me” and in the process touch something in someone else.

My life in a nutshell, I’m still trying to figure it all out most of the time. I have to say it’s blessed far beyond what I ever expected. I get a chance to feel love again, so differently and to write on a brand new page. Touching my daughter’s hearts differently than in the past, I’m so thankful for the quiet words I hear; “Scott, you have a lot of pages to go” now go and enjoy writing the next pages of your life.

My Lack of Respect


image

I would like to tell you I have always had respect for others, that’s not at all true. As a child I was a bit strong willed, full of energy and even unruly. As I grew older my respect for others only diminish.

Growing up I didn’t have many rules or guidelines, it was just the way my mother raised me. I was free to fail or succeed without much in the form of consequences,  so when I was approached by someone of authority I was very resistant. My mom trusts me to do what I want, why should I listen to you..

As the trouble in my life began to become a concern, I began to blame it on my mother. “it’s her fault, she didn’t raise me good enough” and this carried on into my late teen years as the trouble became life changing. I held that lie until my early 30’s and for many years didn’t speak to her only fueling the lie I told myself.

“Cease lying to yourself, and stop telling yourself stories about why you behave the way you do. Stop blaming your behavior on other people and take responsibility for your emotional reactions”. – Sheri Rosenthal

I never had much respect for anyone and lately it has hit me, I also rarely allowed respect in my life. I didn’t value respect enough to care if I had someone’s respect or not. It was lacking in my life for so long that I confused respect for courtesy.

I can be courteous to someone I just met that is not yet gained my respect, yet struggle to respect those who should have it. I am courteous and until the last year failed to see how important respect is.

It was absent in my childhood, teen years, young adulthood, and until now my adulthood. It was missing in my failed marriage, how I raised my children, and how I treated my supervision.

Over the last two year’s I have felt the bottom of my life and reached new heights.

I have also found respect and I was given respect when there was no reason it should be offered to me. I remember the exact moment it was given and it has opened my eyes to how much I lacked respect in my life, until now.

I no longer blame my mother for how I was raised, she did the best she could. Just like I am doing for my daughters.

I no longer blame my shortfalls as a father on my father for not being there to show me how.

I no longer use the excuses I held onto for so long as a crutch to excuse my actions.

I found respect when I didn’t deserve it and I have learned how important it is in our lives and in our relationships.

I have a respect for my current supervisor that makes me want to push what I believe I can do.

I have respect for my girlfriend that I have never felt between a man and woman.

With respect comes peace and a calm that I have not felt in my life. It allows trust to grow and love to flow and it calms the words that fill my mind.

“The greatest obstacle to a Joyful Life
is your “story” about your life.
Your story is filled with perceived needs and obligations, and littered with resentments and regrets”. – Jonathan Lockwood Huie