JEEP LIFE AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS
"Not all those who wander are lost"
The older I get, the more I realize what’s important. I just turned 47 and although there is a part of me that cringes at the idea of that, I can’t say I don’t like where I am in life. It's kind of funny thinking back just a few years and remembering how much I thought I knew.
Staying physically healthy for example. We all get the importance of staying healthy by now right? The big difference for me is at 27 the workout was the focus. At 47, health has become about the importance of nutrition and the way our bodies use the fuel we eat. A good workout is definitely needed, but staying active and using your nutrition as a catalyst to maximize your effort is really the difference of mediocracy and success when it comes to health. Sure, the professionals have been trying to tell us that the entire time, but come on...who listens to the professionals at 27?? :-) (Personally I switched to a plant based diet. shoot me an email if your interested in learning more).
Spirituality also shifted from discipline based on a belief system to a real understanding of the importance of love and grace, for ourselves as much as for others. My twenties and thirties were spent running around the world getting nowhere fast trying to make the world a better place. Now I realize that although the "sheep dog" is a necessity in this world, we can impact our families and friends, who then impact our neighborhoods and communities which will in turn impact our country and world right here at home by loving, enjoying, being kind and selfless, showing forgiveness and trying to be the best person we can be every new day. We save the world when we teach people what love is, who God is and what a greater purpose feels like.
Mentally...well that is often what crushes us. When we are young we conquer the world leaving a path of ruin with the people we hurt in the process. As we age we make a shift and become our own worst enemies by allowing our insecurities, ego, and hardheadedness make us do things we know we shouldn't do leaving again a path of ruin with the people we hurt along the way. When we get to the age of doubt, "what ifs", and "never had the chance to do", we need understand those feelings are natural and healthy in a lot of ways. We need use our midlife thinking as a gut check on how we are living today, NOT how we did or didn't live in the past.
Ok, here's how it works. By staying healthy and by living spiritually we are prepared for the moments of doubt...and they will come. The problems don't begin with the thoughts alone, they begin with what we do with them. With a strong body and healthy spirit, we are much more prepared to identify and replace unhealthy thoughts with healthy ones. That process works in any order too. A strong mind and healthy spirit will help you stay discipline with keeping the body in check and and a strong mind and healthy body you can lay out the platform for your spirituality to get back on track when it's derailed.
The glue thats sticks all of that together though....LIVING IN THE PRESENT! If we dwell on the past we break. If we are always looking for what's next we miss it, but if we take the moment that we are in right now and understand it is literally the only moment we are guaranteed, we can make the most of it.
Life is an adventure. It's the most challenging, most difficult, most painful and most rewarding adventure we will ever have too. Never stop exploring, never stop learning and never stop living. A wise person once said...be the person your dog thinks you are.
The older I get the more I realize that good friends are hard to come by. Unfortunately it seems the conditions of a relationship swing more and more towards who you can be and what you can do for someone else. That’s pretty darn sad if you think about it.
Good news folks...we don’t have to be that way AND we certainly don’t have to surround ourselves with folks that are more concerned about only having a relationship with you on their terms.
First and foremost realize that we need to be good friends to have good friends. Don’t expect others to treat you better than you treat them. Be honest with yourself, are you a good friend? Are you the type of person the genuinely likes to give more than receive? The type of person that actually likes to help others?? If not, guess what...your probably the problem here. We attract like minded people and if we are selfish and shallow then we will attract selfish and shallow too. So, it’s gut check time.
Second...are we so insecure that we are willing to except people using or treating us badly just to feel like we have someone? Is lonliness worse than being in a bad relationship with someone? It most certainly is not. In fact, I would go so far as to say although we need people, we also need solitude. That only works if we work towards being the people that we want to be. It’s very difficult to except that insecurities drive us all from time to time and it’s even more difficult to work on identifying what those insecurities are, figure out where they stem from and finally put the work in to get past them. To be a great friend and to have great friends that is exactly what we need to do though.
Lastly...understand that every relationship you have has to have conditions and boundaries. That’s not a bad thing. Conditions will help keep perspective and boundaries will help keep us from either taking advantage of or be taken advantage of in our day to day lives. If we keep healthy conditions and boundaries we are never left feeling guilty or used. We will not impose or cause someone to feel bad either. A good understanding of healthy conditions and boundaries will save us from doing what can potentially ruin what took years to create within ourselves and others.
Look, we are all imperfect, we all make bone headed decisions that hurt the people in our lives. We all do say and do stupid things and we all hold resentment towards the people that wrong us periodically...well hopefully it’s only periodically. That said...although we have to realize the importance of needing to be good friends to have good friends, we need to battle our insecurities in life to have and maintain healthy relationships and we all need to keep healthy conditions and boundaries with every relationship if we want them to keep growing, the foundation to having and being in any great relationship is forgiveness.
The deadliest mass shooting in modern US history happened last night at the Route 91 Music Festival in Las Vegas. Fear tore through the crowd as people ran for their lives while a 64 year old man rained bullets down on the crowd from the 32nd floor window of his hotel room. In the end...over 50 dead, over 500 injured and the rest scared by the memory of this hoffific tragedy.
So what happened? What takes a person that starts off in the world as an innocent and pure new born child with nothing but goodness in their heart and turns them to the kind of monster that could do this? A guy with no past record of mental illness, not outrageous life of crime, rather just a guy that retired in Vegas because he liked gambling turned to the point of killing as many as possible before killing himself.
I couldnt begin to start pealing back the details of this guy or any other person that finds themself so desperate that their only answer becomes something like this. I can tell you this though...Without faith there is no hope, without hope, there is no greater meaning of life and without a greater meaning of life...a persons heart can easily become desperate, cold and hardened. Narcissism can easily become deeply routed and it becomes easy to want to hurt humanity rather than love them.
We are quickly becoming a divided nation without faith. Treading drangously close to race wars, civil unrest and ultimately a collapse. I can’t tell you what will drive a person to become a monster, but I can tell you that we are born to love God and love each other and if we would simply follow those two principles of life tragedies like last night in Vegas would no longer haunt the grieving hearts of the ones left standing.
There are two things in this world that never stop amazing me. The first are the stupid things mankind does to screw our lives up. I mean seriously...life isn't that difficult. Things are better when we are kind. Things are better when we are selfless. Things are better when we love. Who doesn't know that, right?? None the less, we still do the exact opposite of those things, and we do them often.
Anyway, the second...a beautiful sunset. It doesn't matter where I am, what I'm doing or what kind of mood I'm in,. A beautiful sunset will always amaze me. I will always find a humbling perspective and I will always appreciate the significance of God....Every time!
Maybe we should make a rule...everybody stops and appreciates the sun setting at least 5 times a week! Sounds great right?? I bet if we all did that, that first thing that amazes me would work itself out waaaaayy more often than not.
This weekend was a lot of fun. I, like most of the world went to a friends house and watched an unbelievably entertaining boxing match between boxing and MMA’s biggest stars. It was crazy to see the amount of people that are so passionate about these two guys fighting each other. The weeks leading to the fight was nuts. The press conferences, the crazy things said, all coming down to this one fight. Everyone at my party was pumped. Everyone I knew was watching the fight and social media was flooded with craziness about this event.
When the dust settled there were two professional competitors standing there. Exchanging compliments, hugging with a grin from ear to ear as one just made over 100 million and the other over 300 million dollars doing what they love to do. That's when I thought…why is it that we put so much of our energy, passion, emotion, and money into chasing another persons dream? I'm not talking about a fan of the sport enjoying the fight, I'm talking about the fanatic. The person that will get angry at another person form routing for the other guy. The folks that live for a person, event or team more than they live for chasing their own dreams.
I guess because it's easier. It's easier to live through other people's moments rather than putting in the hard work to live a life of our own fulfillment. There's no discipline needed to live through someone else. There's no insecurity to deal with, no uphill climb. There's only an emotional high or low that will fulfill and fade moments after the event ends.
What if we put our own work in to find greatness? What if we sacrifice immediate gratification at times for a bigger vision? True fulfillment will only come when we battle through our insecurities to better ourselves. True, lasting happiness comes from a constant, proactive giving of ourselves for a bigger good, a bigger purpose. We need to change our perspective and learn that greatness is found in the training not the race, and certainly not the finish line. Commit to yourself a life of doing new things, seeing new things and giving more of yourself to your relationships. You will find that when the dust settles, we will often find that our dream is found in who we are not what we do.
Today let's be different. Let's be better. Let’s all roll up our sleeves and get to work on chasing our own dream.
Call it old age or maybe life experience, but whatever it is…it's not always good.
In a past life so to speak, day in and day out I was actively participating in making the world a “better place”. With every passing day I was also killing off a little of my own humanity with it. It may seem a little backwards, but that's another story for another time.
Now I spend each day consciously making decisions that fill my mind and soul with things like peace, compassion, forgiveness, an attempt at understanding and of course love. I try and discover a bigger purpose and a better me. By doing so I am a way better of a man than I ever have been in the past. This climate we live in today is not a climate that stimulates positivity though. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I don't know if in my lifetime I've seen a more divided country and the world seems more evil than ever!
It’s in these times my heart will weigh heavy because of the state of humanity. It's also in these times I need nature most. Separated by the decisions of mankind I become free to allow creation to help me find my own grace. Grace for others, grace for myself, all very needed to navigate as a light in times of a very dark world.
It’s pretty easy to join the masses in finding a cause to hate for these days, but how about we choose to go against the grain and find one to love for instead? How about we wake up everyday and decide that we are going to make a positive difference in someone else's life. How about we deny the temptations of absorbing the hate and chaos that is so easily consumable through the news and social media channels we spend so much time screwing around on? It only thickens the calluses of our own hearts after all.
Trust me folks…a good dose of fresh air, clean skies and exploring nature will do wonders for finding perspective, refueling your mind and even in the most chaotic time society has seen in a long time, find peace.