Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Purpose of Life

I woke up this morning with thoughts of how my day would play out today. The things on my to-do list that need to be checked off before moving on to other bigger & better things.

I also woke up in state of concern as the most amazing thing happened to me last night. I was in my backyard with my dog Chelsea hooking up the water hose to the sprinkler to irrigate my lawn. As I walked past my deck, I heard a little chirp and what at the time I thought was a mouse scooting across to find a secure hiding spot. I walked over in the direction it was traveling only to find that it was a baby finch that couldn't fly.

After a few minutes of pursuing it, we each found ourselves in game of "cat & mouse" as this little guy repeatedly escaped capture. Finally, success as I gently tossed my shirt over it and picked it up. 

As I put this baby finch in an old birdcage I had laying around, I felt bad, confused but yet relieved. Bad & confused because I didn't know if it became separated from it's nest and/or mother or where it came from. However, I was also relieved knowing that it was safe and out of harms way. God knows what might happen to this poor creature. Since it can't fly nor fend for itself, I now have been granted the responsibility to do the right thing and care for it.

I know this baby finch was in a state of panic, stress and afraid. But once it was in the cage and had time to settle down in it's new surroundings, I could see that it became more comfortable - closing it's eyes, puffing itself up which is a sign on contentment. 

I guess the moral behind this whole thing relates to the feeling of being uncomfortable until you get comfortable. Many times in our lives we often find ourselves in situations where we get out of our comfort zone. We start over-thinking the situation, making more of it than we should, we panic and think the worst. After a bit, things may start settling down and we start realizing that things aren't too bad after all. We learn to adapt, grow, learn and take the proper channels to take our lives to the next level so that if we face other uncomfortable situations of life, we know how to best handle them accordingly. Regardless of any situation, consider this - no matter if it's good or bad, we will ALWAYS have a moment of clarity which provides us with the ability to prosper, the potential to gain wisdom and the capacity to elevate our sense of integrity. 

This morning I logged on to my Facebook account and read a quick story that my friend and colleague Brian Grasso, founder of FTR Nation, posted - which happens to be today's guest blog. After reading his story, I was inspired and able to relate everything he said to my story above. 

Oh.....and for the record, the baby finch was doing fine this morning as I was hoping it would be. And it sure did look comfy too! :)

Thank you Brian for sharing your insights and one of your many personal stories which we can all learn from.

Enjoy today's guest blog! 

I first learned to box when I was about 4 years old. 

My grandfather would take me out to the backyard and show me how to stand properly. 

How to guard my jaw and throw a punch while fading my head out of the midline. 

I started taking it more seriously at the age of 12.

That’s when I first laced up gloves and got into an actual ring with an actual opponent.

The purpose of life, my grandfather would tell me, was to step outside what’s comfortable.

Put yourself in places of unrest until they became relaxed, second-nature and simple.

The purpose of life, he would say, was about learning how to become fearless by never letting your doubts dictate what you believe you can or cannot do.

The first straight right that landed flush on my nose brought tears to my eyes. 

But not just because the nose is particularly sensitive… Because I was crying.

When you get hit for the very first time, it stuns you emotionally.

And it’s not even about how hard the shot was. It’s about the bad intentions that were behind it.

Someone, in this case another 12 year old kid, was trying to hurt me.

There was ferocity in his eyes and mal-intent in his actions. He wanted to harm me. Cause pain in the hopes that I would either fall, give up or require being rescued by a white towel being thrown into the ring from someone my corner.

The thing is, it didn’t hurt as much as it emotionally bewildered me.

I wanted to run. Seek comfort and security. Find a happy, quiet place that was familiar and just sink into it.

But with my grandfather watching, I pressed on. Uncomfortable as it felt, the purpose of life, so I kept reminding myself, was about being uncomfortable from time-to-time.

You know what’s interesting? After a few weeks, it stopped bothering me to get hit. 

I’m not sure you ever really enjoy it, but after the initial shock of it wears away (and that doesn’t take very long) it kinda becomes second-nature. No big deal, really.

This story just got me thinking about how many people sit on their dreams.

Store their true life passions away because they’re too afraid to try.

Too timid to fail.

Too scared to get started.

Because it feels uncomfortable.

But here’s the thing… Starting now, is like a catalyst.

Once you just get moving, you’ll begin to get used to the ‘shots’ of being uncomfortable. And after a while, it will become no big deal, really.

The secret isn’t in trying to create security before you start.

It’s about taking the first shot.

After all, the purpose of life should make you uncomfortable from time-to-time… 


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses

Yo yo! What's up everyone? I know, I's been a long time since my last post but I'm back.

"What's been happening in your life AR?" Well, a lot to be honest with you. As much as all of you can relate, 'life' all around me has been happening - both good and bad.

In the past 2 months or so, I have lost some people in my life. Not getting into too much detail, a couple of relatives of some close family friends lost their loved ones a month apart from each other. Just this past Friday, I lost a cousin to cancer.

It's been a rough few days, weeks, months dealing with the loss of life - especially for people you love & care about. I know it's made me appreciate every waking moment, every breathe I take, the ability to get up and see the sun, the time to be able to spend with family & friends, the ability to smile and create memories, the ability to live life!

The other day I was taking my dog Chelsea for a walk. What's funny is that she always seems to present to me a "teachable moment" every time we go about our walk. A moment that I could easily apply to my 'busy & chaotic life', which I know most of us live.

This particular day I was thinking that we needed to complete our 30-minute walk in a timely manner - no more, no less. It had to be 30 minutes!

As we walked, I found myself marching in front of her at a steady but brisk pace. I also found myself giving her more tugs on her leash that normal. As I was on that 30-min. pace, she was more on the 60+ min. pace.

"Chelsea, let's go!"

A tug on her leash......then she followed behind.

A few seconds later another tug!

"Chelsea, c'mon! Let's go!"

Again, we marched forward a few feet more. Then another pause.

As I looked back, she was just doing her thing - a thing that all dogs do - sniffing everything!

Why the heck was I so focused on the 30-minute time limit?

What was my reasoning for being on such a tight timed schedule?

It made no sense at all. I mean, this was my personal time. Time spent doing what I wanted to do.

All my dog wanted to do was go for a nice stroll, enjoy the scenery, take in life, enjoy our time together and 'stop and smell the roses'!

You see, everyday we often seem to overlook the SMALL things in our lives that have a HUGE impact. We're always too busy or have no time! We're always on a tight schedule. We seem to have an excuse for not following through. We'd rather create negative vibes with one another, making faces and pointing fingers rather than taking responsibility for our actions, decisions, and choices. Whatever happened to taking the time to talk to someone you don't know? After all, isn't that the way friendships are created? We'd rather make enemies and piss people off rather than embracing the fact that we're all unique & beautiful in our own way and respecting each other for who we are.

Below is a video that I stumbled upon that I think can personally create change for the better of mankind - for creating & establishing wonderful and meaningful relationships - which ties in with the things I just mentioned above. Sit back folks & enjoy these next 12 minutes and 50 seconds. Look, listen and absorb everything this video has to present in hopes that you can create change for your life as well as for someone else.

We all have a story to tell. It's just a matter of sharing it with those folks who are genuinely interested in taking the time to hear it while appreciating the breathe of this so-called thing called 'LIFE'!

And while you're at it, don't forget to stop and smell the roses!

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln