Sunday, August 6, 2017

Super Hero Training Part II - The Power of Personal Action

image via Google

Life comes in waves, and with those waves come the highs and the lows. Some of us who struggle with physical depression feel these waves more acutely than others. Whatever your mental strength, you will, at some point in your life, walk into a situation that seems hopeless. In contrast, you may feel like you’re at the top of your game, unstoppable, and all-important. The key is to find your balance. You are not all-important. You are not invincible. You don’t know everything. But, you are important to some people. You do have power. You do know some things.

You may think, “All I do in life is (fill in the blank).” When you are feeling down, you may shrink yourself to the point where you feel like an ant, just a tiny little insignificant insect in a huge world. This is, so some degree, true. You are just one in 7 billion. You are most likely not in a position of power that will cause any immediate significant change to the entire world. You probably have not created a life-saving medicine, built a sky-scraper, or done anything to radically change the world for the better. And even if you have, the things you have done will most likely be forgotten. People have a terrible time remembering their history!

Don’t hang your head, though! While you are not the most important person in the world, you are important to many people. Those who are closest to you, those who see you day to day. Your family, your co-workers, your friends, these are the people whose lives you impact every day. When you take care of yourself, and do your best to be respectful in your home, your family will likely respond well to you.

Every time you make a meal, do the dishes, do your chores, listen to each other, you are ensuring that your “corporation” is running smoothly. If you take it a step further and put your own desires aside, listen to your spouse, kid, or sibling as they talk about whatever (and really engage!) you are becoming a super hero.

At work, when you get things done on time, go the extra mile to communicate, take responsibility for mistakes, and treat others with understanding, you are becoming a superhero. If you suddenly dropped everything, and neglected all your duties, your neglect would have serious consequences. Imagine that you are a rather unimportant secretary at a large law firm. Even if most all of your duties seem menial, if they are not completed, the company might suffer mightily at your hands!

You often have power that you don’t recognize because it is not flashy or amazing. It is the power of personal action. When you make a mark on the world by any action, it will affect those around you for better or for worse. Whether you are a plumber, a chef, a teacher, or artist, your work is important to someone, and by your action or inaction, you have the power to change the world one moment at a time.

At the end of the day, your interactions with other human beings will be the only thing for which you are remembered. Do not use people. Be genuine. Your work is not what you are. The way you work, the way you live your life is what you are. Your personal action is your super power.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Voices Around Me

Sometimes it seems
I am not only me
But a sea
of faces
of voices
of lives
All trying to reach the surface
All gasping,
All reaching,
All trying for air,
Just a breath away,
Waiting at a moment's notice
To break free
and be truly alive,
Biding their time,
Waiting to arrive.
I become restless
as though I have a thousand feet
As though I've lived a million lives,
For haven't I?
Through the faces I've seen?
The things you've all told me?
Haven't I shared all your experiences?
My pen shakes in my hand,
such a weighty thing I'm entrusted with,
To tell your stories,
Accurately,
To capture the moments
Indefinitely,
To freeze time
Upon pages
For future generations.
This is why I like all your voices around me.
Live your lives,
Tell me your stories,
Don't stop talking,
Fill the air with your beautiful voices
That I might hear them,
Feel their warmth and their light
Their sorrow and strength,
So that I know just what you want to say
In the pages of your lives.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Superhero Training Part I - Why It's Important to Make Your Bed

Rarely do I dare to disagree with my mother. She is always right, I mean, always, to the point where it is almost freakish and would be considered annoying had she not saved my bacon on so many occasions! Recently, we were discussing the importance of teaching children to be tidy, making their bed in particular.

My mother has always said that a neatly-made bed leads to a neatly organized room. While I saw some sense in this, I just couldn't bring myself to believe that teaching your children how to make their bed was an all-important thing. I argued that children can learn responsibility and neatness in other areas of the home, that their own room can come be a sort of a "messy haven" if they choose. My mother disagreed.

I have a confession to make... I hate making my bed. I just do. I shouldn't! I am an adult with adult responsibilities, and at this point I feel like I should be able to make my bed without a second thought. I do make my bed, but maybe not as often as my mother would like... I guess I still haven't gotten over that "This-is-going-to-get-messy-again-so-why-bother" phase. It also doesn't help that I am not a morning person...
I have discovered through talking to several people is that I am not alone. Many friends and acquaintances my age and even older seem to have a hard time with keeping themselves organized. Why is this? Lack of parental insight? Personal preference? Laziness?

As to parental insight, I can attest to the fact that my mother was almost excessive when it came to neatness, so that was not a problem for me. Between messy or neat, I actually prefer things tidy. My mind feels freed to think, and when everything is organized it is much easier to complete tasks and projects. I pondered things for awhile, and realized that my desire for a "messy haven" was born out of laziness...

Laziness kills creative energy and productivity. Especially as an artist, when you are the sole manufacturer of your work, an idea without follow-through is actually a dangerous thing. Coming up with ideas can lead you to believe that you have done something when really, nothing has been brought to life. These are stillborn ideas, miscarriages of the mind.

Oftentimes, when I hit a mental roadblock, I allow tasks to slip by undone. Sometimes this is done out of fear, but sometimes it's due to laziness. I would rather not, and so I don't. This, of course, only leads to greater problems down the road. So, how does this tie into the importance of making your bed?

I realized today that making your bed is not just making your bed. It is doing something you don't want to do, a forced productive action, a discipline. This is the reason the military is so perfectionist when it comes to the barracks! Since human beings tend to have an extremely difficult time being self-governing and self-disciplined, any small training ground should be seized as an opportunity to strengthen oneself! If I want to become a "superhero," or in other words a reliable, trust-worthy, life-giving person, I must have follow-through on the smallest tasks.

So, as always, my mother was right... Needless to say, I will be enforcing a neat and tidy bed rule with myself from here on out!

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