Flashes of Light…


unnamedThere is no such thing as an ordinary life. Each one of us, uniquely made and different, have something to contribute to the world. We have the opportunity to offer what we alone do best and from whence we have no rival. In order to escape the mundane, the mediocrity, the humdrum that plagues the world, we have to find those flashes of light that lead us to our true purpose. And, while our purpose is inside of us, we need the light from the outside to guide our paths.

We all know that the sunshine does something positive to us. How many difficulties are immediately resolved in our minds just because the sun is shining? Gloomy days, also a part of life, remind us to seek the sunlight. Similarly, gloomy thoughts remind us to look for the light that warms and comforts us. Days, weeks and years spent in gloomy thoughts lead us unwillingly to the pain that is a life with no purpose, no point. Yet behind each dark cloud is the light that is always present, waiting for us to recognize it and embrace it. Our job is not to produce the light, but rather to seek it until we find it. The light that guides us is found in flashes of insight and understanding.

Those insights; the subtle beckoning of a change in direction or a suggested change in our thinking are all around us if we start paying attention. They show up in those moments of repose or when we admire the lifestyle of another person. It’s found in the gentle appeals to something better inside of us; some more sublime, sweet way to exist. The reason men and women fail to see the light is because they get trapped in some mindset, some hard, fast , habitual way of thinking that falsely presumes what life is and all that can be accomplished or enjoyed. The problem is that we but half live our days functioning by rote instead of seeking the new and profound in each day. Each day offers us the opportunity to live anew with fresh experiences and learning, but we’ve become so accustomed to our routines that we cannot discern it. And while the routines are necessary, they also serve to cut us off from a full life.

It seems many people as they age settle into certain patterns of existence. The days blur together because they are lived without inquisitive thought, without new learning, but instead with mindless repetition. Young people, still consumed with the idea of life, actively seek new experiences with a mind still bent on gaining a better view. Aging is not the issue, but rather the amount of time that has transpired to inculcate certain habits of thought. The light has not become less available, it’s just harder to see with a fixed mindset. The light becomes diminished with our insistence on thinking we already know, thus closing us off from all that we do not know. It’s not easy to break certain habits of thought, but break them we must if we wish to fulfill our experience of life.

The true joy of living is not often found in hallmark events, but in the mechanics of every day life. The proposed destination is not the only part of the process. Learning to enjoy the journey is the paramount experience. The life that God has given us is infused with rich variety and opportunities for discovery and each day is pregnant with the possibility of new learning. For this reason, we have to unchain ourselves from our habitual behaviors. Get up at a different time. Choose a different route to work. Instead of arriving home from work to occupy the couch and the television for the evening, go for a walk in the park or meet friends on a weeknight instead.

One great hold back to a fulfilled life, offering your best “you” to the world is that tyrannical insistence on being whom everyone already thinks you are. People, in their attempts to classify and categorize us, assign us to some place in life usually described by a word or two. Instead of becoming more and more a rich cumulation of experiences, we allow ourselves to be assigned as, “the comedian” or the “drinker” or the “hard worker” when those aspects simply point to one portion of our existence. My wife exhorted me to stop posting pictures on Facebook of me drinking wine as over time I became defined as, “the wine guy” falsely assuming wine to be the point of my existence. And while I definitely have an affinity for fine wine, my greater affinity is for a passionate, experienced filled life.

At the end of the day, each of us have the privilege to be exactly whom we choose to be, not held in by the group’s assessment. The magnificent uniqueness of who you are is encouraged and fanned by your experiences of life. Be the person you desire to be spurred on by those flashes of insight and refuse to be locked into to some minimalist viewpoint of who you are. Choose to walk a path designed for you and for you alone. Break free from the stumbling herd and live the days of your existence exactly as you desire to live them. Listen to music that inspires you though no-one you know enjoys it. Make plans and goals too lofty for your present mindset and enjoy your incredible journey of becoming.

Your life is way too short to be anything less than exactly what you want. It is your one shot my friends, and the determining factor always was and always will be you.

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

 

Complacency is Not Your Friend…


ComplacentMy wife and I were privileged to spend the weekend with our good friends Bob and La Detra White at their beautiful home in North Decatur, Georgia. We were there to celebrate Bob’s 50th birthday milestone and what a celebration it was! We socialized at the hotel; enjoyed a catered Georgia brunch; were entertained by a fantastic singer with accompaniment in their home; traveled in the deluxe party coach to do some wine tasting and enjoyed a delicious dinner gathering in a private room. And that doesn’t even include the special times we enjoyed with their family and friends who were successful in their own rights.  I remember walking around their incredible home with Bob as he explained the various wood choices they made and the details they chose for the ceilings and walls. Then there was time we spent with La Detra as she explained her consulting business and how she learned to compete and demand the best for herself and her family. And in the midst of all this, I couldn’t help but think to myself, wow – these folks got it going on!

Successful people seem to have one common trait amidst a hundred competing ideals. They refuse to settle for what life begrudgingly offers and choose rather to seek out the best. It’s as if they have learned to discern the dividing lines and limitations people put upon themselves and consciously seek after things beyond those illusionary boundaries. They told La Detra she could never go Harvard and now that same Harvard grad is living the life; a life she chose and not one that was chosen for her! Did it take hard work? Absolutely! Were there hard times? Of course, as anything worth having has a payment required to achieve it. But one thing her success didn’t include was complacency…

You might not have seen it clearly enough yet, but complacency is not your friend. Complacency is marked by words like, “good enough” which in themselves aren’t bad but will never get you to your full potential. I mean have you ever wondered what you might accomplish if you pushed past those imaginary lines and went beyond those self-defined limitations you have put on yourself? What could you really do in this life? Curtis Bunn, published author, and my riding buddy on the party bus told me that it took him seven years to write his first book. Yet he rose above whatever held him back and wrote that first book! Now with a number of books on the market and a publishing contract for more books in hand, he enjoys his own success by refusing complacency and pressing toward things that matter; for his own life that he has chosen for himself.

We all start out in life with a hidden treasure of skills, aptitudes and abilities in our hearts; waiting, asking, begging for expression. And when we were young we heard those urgings distinctly and sought to pursue them. Then, something got in the way of those ideals and we started to hear those promptings less and less. We found out that we could get to “pretty good” quite easily and settled… I mean, after all, we are doing pretty well compared to some people, right? We have our basic needs met, don’t we? Why should we supply more effort if 60-70% got us this far? Why??? Because if 70% got you this far, imagine where you could go if you bumped that effort up to 90%. Imagine what you might bring to the world if you decided to go all in instead of saving something for later? Imagine what you might be able to do if you stopped being afraid to try?

Complacency is, therefore, the great killer of hopes, dreams, ideals. It moves in with stealth like a burglar and takes away your confidence; your passion; your enthusiasm, and does so without you even being aware of it. It convinces you day by day that how you are living is okay. It gets you to rationalize away your God-given talents. I mean who are you to seek so much? What have you done to deserve that life you’ve always imagined? And what does “little-ol” you have to offer? I’m guessing far more than you have even contemplated to this point!

Most folks are waiting for some inspiration. But here’s the funny thing about inspiration; inspiration is waiting on you! Inspiration isn’t something that comes to you by fate when the stars align or when good luck finally turns in your direction. Inspiration arrives when you are ready to receive it; when you have finally decided to do what you know you are capable of doing. And in that moment; that blessed moment, it floods in like a torrent and suddenly the day has no end.

This life is far too short to waste away your days on the couch wondering what you could have been. Why not push yourself out of your comfort zone and see what you can do? Your age isn’t a factor, nor can it be when you have unrealized dreams in your heart. Instead you owe it to yourself and our Great God that gave you those talents to reach beyond yourself and accomplish. Go all in, heart, soul, mind and strength! You can do it; you must do it!

Complacency is not your friend, but success is and she is waiting for you on the other side…

Go get it my friends, it’s waiting for you!