Sunday, February 28, 2016

Weightlifters Thrive On Pain – Maybe We Should Too

Olympic class weightlifters must go through brutal training in order to achieve greatness in their sport. They must purposely expose themselves to great pain and risk on a daily basis.  In every workout they must push themselves to their limits and risk injuries.

The training must produce pain.  If it does not, then you are doing it wrong.

I’ve realized that just like the weightlifters, nothing difficult is ever achieved in life unless you purposely expose yourself to risk and pain.  This process is supposed to hurt, be difficult, and be uncomfortable.  If it’s not, you’re either doing it wrong or not trying hard enough.

As I pursue trying to achieve success as an author, it is painful, it is risky, it is uncomfortable.  This has recently caused me to complain and make excuses, but the weightlifter never complains.  He understands the challenges of The Road and literally presses on. 

It’s time for me to keep pushing, keep pressing, and expect and accept the resulting pain.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

When Crawling Is All You Can Do

I find myself in a six-month period in which I published my first book, was quoted in the print version of the Wall Street Journal, and organizations are flying me to exclusive resorts, so I may impart my knowledge to them.

I don’t say this to brag, I try not to even think about it, because things are moving so fast.  However, I do state it here to give you a perspective on the distance I’ve traveled.

Six years ago I had been unemployed for over seven months, with absolutely no prospects.  I wondered if my useful time on The Road was ending.  I had been knocked down. I was hurting. I was weak. I felt worthless.

I was struggling to crawl forward.  It was so difficult, I wondered if the effort to crawl back, the first step in getting back, was even worth it.

When we are crawling, we have a different perspective of The Road.  You see just The Road and nothing else, you are too close it.  You are looking down and you are not able to see the potential that is available down The Road.  The crawling is hard, it hurts and at times your breath is choked by the dust of your broken dreams.

But you have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run, and run before you fly.  And I am so glad that I kept crawling.

So if you are crawling right now, you keep crawling brother and sister, as hard and as well as you possibly can.  Because The Road is long and there is still much for you to do.

And for us who are faring better, if you see someone struggling on this journey, please stop and lift them up. Dust them off and remind them that better things are possible down The Road.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ellen's Story (Part 3) - Living Beyond the Pain

The second important thing Ellen with learn from her tragic experience, is a strong sensitivity to emotional pain in other people.  Unfortunately, you can’t understand and know this, without going through the intense pain yourself.  It is a pain so ravaging that you would not wish it upon your worst enemy.  It hurts so bad and so deep, that it is at times unbearable.

On the other side, you show more empathy to people in pain.  You also are much more hesitant to be the cause of pain in someone else.  Because of the tribulation you have encountered, you become less selfish, you become more caring, you are transformed into a much better person than you were before.

You also are better able to comfort others in distress.  You have experienced the worst and survived.  You have been to Hell, and returned.  Your sensitivity enables you to know what do, know what to say and know “how to be there” when someone needs you to be there.

Some people would say that is the reason why you went through the tragedy, but I would still say there is no reason for something this horrible to be bestowed upon anyone.  There cannot be a purpose behind this.  It is more the result of what happened. A result we do have control over after the utter helplessness of the awful event.  You see, we must all travel on The Road even after tragedy strikes without warning, but it is how we walk that makes the difference.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ellen's Story (Part 2) - A New Perspective

Ellen has suffered the unexpected loss of her baby.  She has experienced enormous pain that has shaken her to the core.  Her soul has been ripped open.  While she can’t do anything about was has already happened, there are some concepts that she needs to understand which are important to in the recovery and restoration process.

The most important learning, is that you have a new perspective on everything.  You have lost something that is invaluable and not replaceable.  This enables you to understand what is truly important on The Road.  What things warrant your attention, your affection, concern, interest, focus and treasure.  This is an incredibly valuable trait to attain. 

You will now view everything in life through the lens this event. It becomes natural, you won’t even realize you are doing it.  It impacts how you view life and therefore how you live life.  You will be able to keep calm when others panic because you know what a “life and death” situation is and what it is not, because you have literally experienced it.

Jesus said “Blessed are those who mourn because shall be comforted”.  We tend to think comfort is something that happens for a limited time, in the short term.  But maybe this new perspective on life means the mourner is comforted the rest of his life.  Could the pain be temporary and the comfort long-lasting?

If you keeping looking back on the event, you grow bitter.  Your pain is extended and your strength is sapped.  If you are able focus on moving forward and use whatever beneficial things you are able to extract from your tragedy, The Road becomes smooths out over time.

Fortunately, I can tell that Ellen does indeed have this new perspective and she has acquired it much sooner than most.  She is back on The Road and that is a great thing.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Ellen's Story - Part 1

My friend Ellen’s first pregnancy recently ended with a tragic stillbirth.  She is one of the nicest, sweetest, women I know, so we try to find a reason why something like this happens.

The truth is, there is no reason for this (so please stop telling people, “everything happens for a reason”).  Ellen now knows there is no reason for this.  When going through your private hell after a horrendous event, you do ask “Why me? But then you realize that there is nothing so bad you could have done to deserve something so terrible.  You then also realize that in this random, cursed, world, there is nothing so good you could have done that would exclude you from this happening either.

Yes, sometimes God intercedes to prevent the consequences of the curse.  This happens so infrequently; we call them miracles.  And why and when those occur, there must be a reason, but it is way beyond our capability to understand.

The Road at times can be excruciatingly painful and confusing. Sometimes there is no reason for the pitfalls.  We cannot understand everything where we are right now, we can only walk on.

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Road Is Ahead Of You

My friend Caroline (pseudonym) said that she was so sad on December 31 that she wanted to cry and I knew why. I sent her this private message:

Okay, I have cried on the last day of the year a few times myself and I know why you want to. You are lamenting your lack of progress and achievement in 2015. But you are sad because you are looking into the past, back into 2015. Turn yourself the hell around right now girl and start looking into 2016. That is where your future is. 2015 is gone forever and you can't change that. But 2016 is where your future is and where your hope must live, so that is where you need to be focused. This is where the victory can be. Forward woman, it is the only direction that is worth facing.

Caroline is an intelligent, beautiful, woman.  Bad choices and unfortunate circumstances have made her lose her self-confidence.  The Road will not always be this rough her, she will win is she gives herself the opportunity.  But you can’t travel forward on The Road very well, if you are looking backwards.  You can’t go back, so why look back.  The Road is ahead of you, not behind.

This is a new year, look forward my friends, look forward.  Let’s walk together down The Road in 2016.  I think I can provide some assistance. 

The Road

Welcome to The Road.  I am writing this new blog as an outlet for the more serious subjects that I need to express.  People have responded well when I have done serious posts in my humor blog (they didn’t belong there but that was the only venue available) and when I have posted these type of things on Facebook, so now there is a place for them.

We have the precious opportunity to begin this journey and someday, often unexpectedly, the journey ends. In between these events, we travel on The Road.  This blog exists to provide the help we all need at times in this journey.

You may describe these observations as wisdom, I look at them as lessons learned.  I am able to describe the right way, because I have done it the wrong way.  And because I am still on The Road, I am still learning how to walk it and I will share those insights here.
This blog will provide spiritual insights and guidance without being religious.  It is written from a Christian perspective, but will not seek to convert anyone.  There is no hidden agenda, the only purpose is to help my fellow travelers on The Road.

I’ve needed to express these thoughts for a long time.  In 2009, I lost my job that I had held for 16 years.  The Road had an unexpected turn and it’s been quite a journey.  After I delivered a eulogy for a family member in 2012, my friend Stephanie hugged me and whispered in my ear “You need to write this stuff down”.  Sometimes God speaks to you in spirit and sometimes he has a lovely women whisper in your ear.  It has taken my four years to accommodate Stephanie, but The Road is long, isn’t it?