The unapologetic, raw, unedited interpretation of living life. Each of us is the artist of our own life, constantly remolding, reworking, and roughing out the details and applying what we've learned to the changing canvas. There are no do-overs, no take backs...just rough cuts that release what lies inside us.

I saw the angel in stone and I carved until I set him free. - Michelangelo

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pursue What Matters Most

A quick look at your Facebook News Feed or Twitter stream will tell you a lot about what matters in the moment.  Just as quickly, those 52 comments or 87 likes will be but a blip on a timeline.  Our emotions are triggered for but a moment and then all is forgotten and we move on to the next "top story".  

What outlives those fleeting moments?  What stays behind and how do you and I live beyond our lifetime and make mark in the world?

Much of what we do on a daily basis seems to be a simple process of going through the motions, yet this denies the value of the human spirit and the purpose for which we were created.  To deny we have innate needs to be more than what we are is a reflection of a suppressed spirit, one perhaps scarred by past mistakes or broken trust or misguided focus.

Isn't it interesting two people can work the same task but have completely opposing motivations for doing it?  I am brought back to the story of two brick layers.  One man was asked what he was doing and he replied, "I am laying bricks." The other brick layer replied, "I'm building a Cathedral."  Our perspective changes everything...

The great heroes of yesterday left behind a legacy:  we still study them in history books, watch videos of their greatest speeches, recite their speeches, and model ourselves in efforts to be who they were to others.  The great heroes of today are still finding their dream, still asking the tough questions, and still carving out their masterpieces.  The great heroes of tomorrow have yet to be born, but what do all of them have in common?

They pursue what matters.  Those individuals have purpose.  Their hearts overflow with passion.  They love better so others can live better. 

Heroes leave behind no question unanswered because they possess integrity, they live generously - they leave nothing behind but the legacy of a dream realized and a life well lived.  You don't know who will live better because of it or what generation will find hope as a result of the life you lived.   

Live Better and pursue what matters so tomorrow can be filled with the impact of your dream.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Extraordinary Life Begins in You

For many in our world, a better tomorrow will never come.  Not because the opportunities aren't theirs for the taking and not because they weren't shown the way.  For these, life will remain a dark place with seemingly no escape.  They have not learned to live...

This post has been on my heart for just under a year now and felt the push to share it with you today. 

I am not an expert in Psychosis, nor do I proclaim to have interviewed, surveyed, or done case studies on such matters.  I lived it.  I lived in the abyss and so I can only write as a testimony to what I know and how I managed to climb out from the catacomb and into the Light.  What follows is simply my philosophy on how one goes from a place of self to a place of grace.  How one grows from living for now to living better.

Think Better: better begins within us, in the place deep inside the secret alcoves of your darkest secrets, most private thoughts.  Call it your inner voice or your conscientious.  There, you know your real self.  Over time, this part of you is either shielded or released by the identity you form over time.  Your identity forms through social interaction, your environment, and the very thoughts you interpret from those interactions. Much the way a sculptor releases a beautiful form from stone, one must pull back the thick toxic layers to find true self. 

The expectation is this process will be painful, emotional, perhaps discouraging.  Dig deeper.  The threshold to truth is only reached through persistence, support, and accountability.

Feel Better: Our emotions and perspective influence our heart and soul. The better we feel about ourselves, the more empowered we are to reach out to others. The ability to Be better seems real and possibility.  This is by far the pinnacle of better awareness.  Once the state of feeling better is reached, one goal is accomplished, the other areas of one's life begin to change.  The course shifts and our thoughts drive action.

The pursuit of better living begins in our passion to live better.

Live Better:  Once balance is found between thought and heart and the physical being, one possesses the tools to make a lasting impact, causing a chain reaction within you, within your home, within your neighborhood, school, city...the world! 

I still think about "the Dark Ages" and wonder how I existed in that cold, hard place for so long.  What still astounds me is not only the extraordinary transformation of mind, heart, and soul, but also the speed with which it happened.  Once the layer of truth was reached in my mind, I was able to embrace a real sense of who I was to be, what I had live for...I was free to live. I did not walk away from where I was, I ran!  Each step promising to be better than the last, never to return the same as I was before.

Find your inner truth.  Find your best self.  Be Better.

Think Better. Feel Better. Live Better.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Your Life is what you Choose

At one point or another, we walk the blade of indecision.  Afraid if we commit too quickly, we would fall flat on our faces, afraid the risk would be too great.  The reality is you cannot escape decision making; not making a decision you have decided to take no action and leave yourself open to someone or something to make the decision for you.  You probably have stories, I know I do of a time when you decided to not decide and the outcome set you back.  Let's face it, this isn't a good plan for your family, your business, or your life.

Decisions aren't a surprise: Decisions begin deep within our thoughts, buried in a heap of experiences, lessons learned, and tossed among our hopes and desires.  Think about the last time you had a tough choice to make, chances are there were a few triggers along the way leading you to the final moment when everything came to a point when you needed to choose one way over the other.

Decisions are born from struggle:  Struggle is not meant be something we should fear or run from.  This is the place inside us where we reach a little deeper than usual, where we really test our understanding of reality, wrestle with our values, and question our selves.  No matter how overwhelming or insignificant you make think your struggle is right in this moment, there will be a decision leading you out of it.  The question is not what, but when you will make it. 

Decisions provide a way:  I should just rename this bullet the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.  No decision is perfect because you are not perfect! ( "The truth shall set you free!")  If you are a parent you know how this works because it is part of what keep you waking up every day.  I made two amazingly perfect decisions in my life: marrying my husband and becoming a mother of two amazing kids.  The Bad is a great deal of decisions I have made before and since then, yet Grace brought me better days.  The knowledge we aren't perfect hit the hardest during the Bad.  The Ugly is the beautiful mess we sort out everyday just in time to appreciate it more than anything else in the world. 

We make decisions everyday.  We're surrounded.  You can choose to move forward, focus on a goal, and take control or you can wait and watch a lifetime pass you by.  The truth is you will have to choose either way.  First think better, then BE it!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Pursuit Requires Endurance

Eight months from those first ideas scribbled in a notebook, Thirty days to contemplate, plan, and anticipate...20 hours and 15 minutes into the New Year and I am enjoying the bittersweet taste of a slice of humble pie.

Occasionally, actually more times than I'd like to admit, I have a stroke of genius that doesn't see the light of day. I do a lot of thinking, visualizing, and planning. This past year, I finally began to take some changes. 2011 was all about risk and taking some bold steps toward a realized dream. Truthfully my last post of the year was all about making it reality! Time with family and myself way from the hustle of making other dreams happen has an interesting way of proving just the appropriate dose of reality. I realiazed I was trying to microwave my dream! The decision was still on to begin fast-frying my life's calling. Seems silly now, but at 12:39pm today, it wasn't such a pleasant bite to swallow. But the truth is this- you cannot microwave a dream. Dreams need to slow cook, marinate. They need time.

Over the past several weeks I read a devotion about endurance: "Remember that God's blessings are found not only in "great possessions", but also in suffering and delay." As a runner, I can appreciate the word endurance, it must be built up over time, it takes patience, dedication, intention, and purpose. It requires a goal, planning, and preparation.

I could see the top of the mountain, but forgot about the climb.

God knows what lies on the other side of our mountain. Endurance gives us the discipline to ensure the mountain is ours to climb and we learn from it along the way.

There are a few more cuts to be made into this stone mountain to release the masterful work I am called to do. The year has just begun. Have you found your mountain? What step are you taking to make the first cut in 2012?