How To Know IF You’re Seeing Things Correctly!

All seeing eye Max Pixel

Image courtesy of Max Pixel

I’m a mixed breed! Accepting that is as pure as it gets for me. Giving up trying to be a thoroughbred, of any kind, has freed me from pining about pedigree.

 

Recognizable Specificity

I don’t fit everywhere. Thankfully, I no longer want to. The assumed task of pleasing everyone is an indomitable endeavor. And, I have never been content forfeiting me. Approval can be fleeting and laden with hypocrisy. When other people celebrate you, only because you accommodate their desires, conflict is inevitable. Peace of mind can’t happen in your absence.

I know people who listen to only one type of music. That just doesn’t work for me. Rhythms and lyrics affect me, like all mediums do, and I want to have a say in the feeling I’m experiencing when I’m listening, reading, or observing. I’ve learned to appreciate difference, any single point of view could never account for my multiple channels. I have a simple requirement, I insist on being lifted up.

I avoid things that bring me down, make me conscious of negativity, or disrupt my intention to reside in a state of harmony. A single focus doesn’t mean narrow in scope. Paintings, books, science, nature, an ambient restaurant, a small child, or a cloud formation are just a few of the many opportunities for tranquility. Life is full of beauty.

Every vibe isn’t virtuous. Anything that causes me to turn-on myself has slipped past my radar. I know immediately if I’m berating, belittling, or hating on me I’m  suffering vision impairment. And, whenever I’m flirting with consternation, pouring out wrath on others, smoke is in my eyes. Clear vision builds you and others.

CORRECTIVE LENSES

Anger has never had 20/20 vision. I speak from experience. I was angry for much of my life. I plunged into being angry at my anger. Much of my anger was justified. But here is the problem; anger, left to its own devices, blurs vision. We can be upset for good reason but, unless we are willing to turn our passion into purpose, we are left to stew in destructive heat.

Eye exam staff sargent Jason McCasland USAF

Image courtesy of SS Jason McCasland via USAF

Anger is not an invitation to hate, though it is often interpreted that way. It is, in fact, a call to action. Anger is a compliment of trust. Its simply requesting our attention. Desiring to show us a way forward. Giving us opportunities for growth. Providing insight to our unique set of challenge solving skills. Anger chooses us, to make something better.

Being betrayed and violated is disturbing. Almost as troubling as personal dysfunction. When we are done wrong… (Hey, it happens, and will undoubtedly happen again) its decision time. Just because someone decides to live in the basement is no reason to move out of the penthouse. We can be thankful that we won’t be investing anymore of ourselves in things we don’t want in our lives.

As Maya Angelou so ably instructed, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” I believe in forgiveness, redemption, and second chances; I couldn’t be here if I didn’t. But disrespect and broken trust leaves little to build on. Repairs are possible with collaboration. I try to remember that what people do is not as important as why they do it.  Understanding that what happened might be the best there is in the moment.

When I resist the temptation to cause pain and intentionally strive to serve my mission, serving others, that’s how I know I’m seeing things correctly.

How do you see it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Determine The Questions To Ask!

question-mark- pixabay.png

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

It was a friendly environment and the speaker seemed warm enough. I was about to ask my question when… what if it’s a stupid question? The popular adage, “the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask” won’t actually protect you from uncontrollable sneering. I decided to forgo the chance at enlightenment, opting instead, for self-preservation.

THE BUFFET TABLE

The constant barrage of voices vying for influence, in our minds, can be daunting. We can grow weary and become vulnerable. Or, we can become frustrated and dismiss potential opportunities to increase understanding. Whether we slip into one of these, or some other immobility, we can’t ignore the lingering desire to learn. Being “in the know” is empowering. Questions abound but are only virtuous if they lead to solutions.

What scares us is the thought of feeling belittled, inadequate, or incompetent. Wanting to avoid negative feelings can be a strong driver. I disagree with the old saying, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”  While fear has a place of honor,  it is often out of place. Questions are a key component of any progressive strategy. I question myself first, then I test my answer in the form of a question to others.

Contrary to pervasive confusion, answers are not hiding. I’m convinced answers wait patiently to be discovered.  They are positioned in merited investigation. Whenever I’m struggling with advancing toward my aspirations it’s always because I’m not asking the right questions. Intuition is at peek performance when it suggests highly personalized interrogation. We benefit significantly when we realize the gift of the question that just won’t go away.

PORTION CONTROL

The people who stock the buffet have no responsibility for what we put on our plates. One of my favorite saying from Maya Angelou is, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I get her meaning. Completely. However, I’ve had to tweak its power.

What we feel is the result of the invitation being extended. How we feel is the result of the invitations we accept. Nobody can make us attach to a feeling. In order for any feeling to resonate it has to be met with agreement. If someone hands us a helping of negativity and we “know” what they’re saying isn’t true, we can turn down the invitation. If we think there’s some truth in what’s being said, we are likely to overeat junk-food.

Partial truths are loaded with hidden calories and lead to unwanted weight gain. Our positive thoughts, and good intentions, go straight to our waste-lines when they are not allowed to flourish in healthy feelings. In my quest for personal excellence, I have come to understand, my well-being is not only found in what I’m eating but in how much of it I’m devouring. I try to ask only those questions I actually want the answers to.

DIGESTION

Our world is filled with limitless information and yet, solutions remain aloof. The endless chatter seems fermented in knowing exactly, what the other person needs to do, to make things better. When remedies beg for something more we need to ask a different question. I refuse to let anyone, by coercion or otherwise, take away my right to inquire.

The noteworthy work of aligning our good intentions with our prevailing feelings demands we know the value of questions. When my best answers don’t change my trajectory, I rephrase the question. If my findings don’t improve things for me, and those around me, I find another question. Being in the dark gives me heartburn.

I determine the questions to ask based on whether or not things are working the way I want them to. The most important questions are the ones you ask yourself!

Any questions?

I demonstrate my Q & A journey in my book: If Only I Had A Dad,  http://amzn.to/2lMHJ9t

 

 

 

 

 

What You Can Do Without A Father!

The gash on my innards was remarkable! It affected everything about me.  My lack of understanding led me to misdiagnose who I really am. Every time I retold my story, adding polish and pizzazz,  I increased the strength of the lies. I was open to trickery and manipulation. Thank God for false teeth.

father & daughter by apdk flickr

Image courtesy of apdk via flickr

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

My grandmother put me on a chair thinking I would watch her through the window as she hung the clothes on the line. I was a year and half old. Instead, I climbed over two wash tubs and into the wringer washing machine. Mimicking her, I stuck my hand into the wringer. Half way up my arm the wringer kept spinning, round and around, burning a nice scare into my forearm. She came in to find me face down in the water.

As my body grew the wound on my arm grew too. I’m use to it, of course, but everyone who sees it wants to know what happened. Being the consummate communicator that I am, I fashioned a story of a trip to New Orleans where as a young man I wrestled alligators. Toothless, mind you. Getting pinned underneath the ferocious creature, his rough skin tore up my arm. Hey, I convinced quite a few, before I would come clean!

Things happen to us and they stay with us. Childhood issues become adult problems. We make up stories because they sound better than the truth. We learn to talk about it in a way that garners sympathy to avoid the questions we don’t have answers to. What we really want is to find resolution for our dilemmas.

The first step to coming clean is to admit there’s nothing wrong with you. Our thoughts and feelings might be askew but that’s not who we are. The issues that often plague us didn’t originate with us. We deal with generational and cultural dynamics that must be taken into account in order to be intentional about resolving inner conflicts.

I had a hole inside, the shape of my father. His abandonment of me caused an emptiness that sprouted and flourished. Permeating every segment of my life. I gave myself an unconscious pass. I didn’t know, for many years, the root of my anguish. I artificially inseminated with sex, substances, rock & Roll, and religion and nothing birthed peace of mind.

When we are able to identify the ramifications of our beginnings we are able to focus on our endings. The scars will always be there but the pain doesn’t have to be. We don’t have to implode, repeat self-destructive habits, or remain chained to propaganda. We are not wrong to see what’s right. It’s wonderful to work together, to correct errors, with the people who participated in the mistakes but, it’s not required.

OUR POWER IS IN BEING WILLING TO FATHER OURSELVES

My father died without me ever getting to know him. I needed him to change my life I was in serious trouble. Let’s get real; whether your father is dead or alive moving on is your responsibility not his. We can’t hate on our fathers without hating on ourselves and becoming like them as a result.

Angry by Katmary on flickr

Image courtesy of Katmary via flickr

My third step father was the most miserable human being I ever knew. He was angry and bitter. Jealous, insecure, and competitive. I could go on with an endless list of negatives. At times, I hated his very existence. I only lived with him for a few years, leaving home at fifteen, but, I was influenced by his behavior.  I was not happy when some of his characteristics showed up in me.

Managing dysfunction doesn’t provide a path to change. I learned, the hard way, that what you hate is deficient. It’s what you love that’s fruitful. Spending time trying to alter the thinking, attitudes, and actions of others are obstacles of distractions. We can’t rewrite our own stories when we are preoccupied with the stories that other people are holding on to.

Transformation happens when we change our feeling, of being defective or damaged, to a feeling of being whole. A primary function of fatherhood is to validate children. If that wasn’t executed we have to take matters into our own hands. We give ourselves permission to rise above broken trust. If we don’t we’re apt to be a continuation of the things we despise.

Here’s the kicker, our fathers may be locked in their own fatherlessness. They may not be capable or willing of being any different. We have to make a choice about what we will do separate from them. When we accept our own value we are able to affirm ourselves, gain clarity, and establish a sense of worthiness. We then start attracting people and things based on a new paradigm.

LIFE IN THE FATHERLESS LANE

I was always excited to listen to him talk. He was someone I highly respected. I loved his concepts. Then he said this: “You don’t get what you want in life – you get what you are”. I didn’t want to be friends with him anymore. I thought, he couldn’t mean that. How could that be true?  I immediately began to wrestle those words to the ground. Guess what? Those words are frightfully correct.

In the sanctuary of our private worlds reside the potential for everything that is possible. What we believe about ourselves determines what we experience. How we see ourselves is how we see everything else. When things didn’t work out the way I hoped it wasn’t because they shouldn’t, it was because they couldn’t. Everything in life operates by principle and not by luck.

Fathers are impact players. When our fathers are missing or fail everyone involved is affected. Even if we lose a father by premature death his absence has consequences.  We are either very thankful for who they are or very hurt by who they weren’t. Good or bad we deal with the circumstances surrounding our relationships with our fathers.

Fatherless men can be unsure of themselves, acting timid or overcompensating. Living in a conundrum to love women without stealing their power and struggling to mentor their children without abuse. Women without fathers can battle low self-esteem, fear abandonment, or develop negative coping skills. Men and women can operate out of greed rather than contribution. These are only a few of the many pitfalls we can fall into and there are exceptions to every rule.

sunset victory by couguar on flickr

Image courtesy of couguar via flickr

I failed miserably before I succeeded. I experienced setbacks in love, life, and vocation until I dealt with my father issues. Don’t worry about what is behind you, be concerned with what is in front of you. And, don’t fret over people who choose to only see your past. That’s all about where they are not where you are. There’s no need to fear moving on.

All adversity has optional outcomes. We can choose to be the victim or the victor! 

For more information on personal transformation pick up a copy of my book,

If Only I Had A Dad: Finding Freedom From Fatherlessness. http://amzn.to/2lMHJ9t

 

 

 

 

5 Strategies to Maximize Life Lessons!

Life Lessons mRio on flickr

Image courtesy of mRio via flickr

I heard the lady sitting next  to me, on the bus, say to her companion; “You live and learn.” I’ve heard that saying many times before. I’m certain I’ve said the exact same thing on a number of occasions. Who would disagree with the obvious? But we all know people who seem to be stuck. I’ve been there myself. Not able to extrapolate the gracious and generous message being sent to me.

IDENTIFYING THE POINT

The body is designed to heal itself. When it doesn’t, something has gone wrong. The argument is a strong one; most medical practices treat symptoms not causes. And the side affects of treatment can be dire. Symptoms are an invitation to change something we’re doing or not doing. Ignore the message and most likely we will receive a stronger one shortly.

When I joined the Marines, in 1974, I maximized the physical fitness test conducted in basic training before graduation. I was the only one in my unit to do so. I was considered undersized. So, they made me eat double portions to gain weight. I’ve often joked that the government is responsible for my undesirable growth later in life.

When my military service was over my physical activity diminished. I stayed  involved in sports, initially, but lifestyle changes slowly brought me to less and less exercise. I ignored my diet, eating whatever I wanted without regard for where I was headed. I didn’t heed the gentle signs my body was sending. It took a heart attack to get my full attention. Could it have happened if I did a better job of taking care of myself? Absolutely. But it is also a possibility that I could have prevented or delayed it.

Many good decisions follow bad ones. What if we made better choices in the first place?Part of our reality is the artificially induced connectedness of technology. For all of our efforts to gain intimacy through social media platforms we are more isolated than ever. We ignore the benefits of authentic relationships with other people and, more importantly, with ourselves. The feeling of missing out has, you guessed it, caused us to miss out. We don’t get quiet enough, long enough, to receive the vital signs of emptiness.

MISIDENTIFYING THE POINT

Shame is the elephant in the room. While it’s true that we don’t get what we want, in life, we get what we are, we need to clarify the adage. We don’t get what we deserve we get what we feel we deserve. Positive thinking has many virtues. I’ve submitted to the practice of thinking good thoughts for many years, even speaking positive things, and lived with a feeling that contradicted my best thoughts.

Feelings attracts thoughts that reinforce feelings. And feelings dictate outcomes. Positive thoughts, by nature, are trying to change the way we feel. If the feelings are dominate, the thoughts, no matter how noble, will fail to bring about difference. This understanding has changed my life. Nobody can make me feel anything I don’t agree with. If someone says something disparaging to me, and I think it’s true I will feel the negativity of what was said. But, if I know it’s not true, I’m empowered to not feel a thing.

THE POINT OF AN AHA

From childhood until this very moment I have received a continuous flow of Aha moments. Many of them never converted to defining moments. I’m driven to communicate. I will immediately start sharing any and every revelation that comes to me. Sharing is good. Right? I would give away what I captured in my mind before I captured it in my heart. The results were sometimes excruciating, as I watched the wisdom change the feeling in other people while my feeling remained the same.

I’ve lived much of my life feeling damaged. I held on to what wasn’t working with a better thought bouncing of the walls of my mind. Clinging to my feeling prevented the insight from taking root. Powerful thoughts, which were working to align me with truth (I’m not damaged) couldn’t become foundational because my feeling kept shooing them away. Core beliefs are not only what you think – they are what you feel, about you. If we don’t change our feeling our mind and heart will continue to be at odds with each other.

When we possess the feeling of what we want to obtain, as though we already have it, our thoughts will rush to accommodate us.

APPRECIATING THE POINT

Oh what tangled webs we weave when, in fact, we are deceived. (slightly altered) I have an innate dislike for the saying: everything happens for a reason. It gets used like it sets us free from figuring out what we need to know. If we choose a conspiracy theory as our guide we insure a repetition of life experiences. If we can’t dissect what happens then what happens is meaningless.

Rejection is often redirection and not a denial. I’m now able to appreciate things that didn’t work out. I was trying to force things that were not meant for me. My desires were based on limited knowledge that led me to believe there was a singular way to go about things. That there was only one way to be in the world. What I was really doing was attempting to validate myself with infertile approval. I was sincere but confused.

The real detriment of comparison, is lose of identity. We’re subtly driven to be someone else because we think that’s the best version of ourselves. That’s just plain inaccurate. Our uniqueness is our assignment. It’s where we discover significance. I’ve wrestled with overwhelming disappointment because of the demeaning story I wrote, and lived out about myself. Good things are an indication of what’s in-store for us.

ACCEPTING THE POINT 

It it’s not fun, reconsider. We aren’t meant for hardship and struggle. The battle isn’t to acquire by force; It’s to cooperate with our purpose. From money issues to peace of mind the only conflict is what we believe (feeling + thought) about ourselves. We can separate from abuse if we are willing to stop abusing ourselves.

If I have to be you to be me I have a problem. The point of every message being sent to us is to ratify our reason for being here. Yes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again. But, let’s not do it over and over without considering why we are doing it. Determination is not the same thing as stubbornness. What works and doesn’t work is very personal to each of us. Every one of us has a reservation to the flow of life. Our mission is to find it.

If we discriminate against ourselves we have, most assuredly, missed the point!

What is your greatest life lesson?

 

 

 

The Time For Disappointment Is Now!

Winner jimpg2_2015 flickr

Image courtesy of jimpg2_2015 via flickr.com

We can’t get through life without disappointment. From disappointment in others, to disappointment in ourselves, we deal with this beast.

Perfectionism is dysfunction. I’ve been there; trying to deny my own humanity. Letting myself down. Mistakes are inevitable but, that’s not a license to abandon the pursuit of excellence. Every person has the potential to meet their best self. Peace of mind is the result of discovering, embracing, and sharing the magnificence within.

Personal shortcomings offer two predominate roads to go down. We can either wallow in despair, write self defeating stories to live out, or we are liberated to identify with the commonality of human struggle and accept the challenge to be the master of our own destiny. The naked truth; disappointment is only an invitation for more or less of the same.

For some, courage is the inspiration to rise again and again defining and redefining the interpretations of our experiences. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t dealt with the harshness of reality. The melody and lyric of every life has a sad or glad ringtone. The default setting is found in our power of choice.

Be-younger.com on flickr

Image courtesy of Be-Younger.com

When we encounter anticlimaxes in ourselves, or in others, we are granted the gift of correction. It’s an opportunity to align with principles congruent with harmony. When we see disappointment as a teachable moment, learning the lesson it presents, we advance beyond perceived limitations.

Rhetoric has a shelf-life. Familiar things can trap us. Ventures of letdown scream to board a different plane. The ability to assess events and nonevents provides a path forward. Viewing life as a journey allows for navigating the highs and lows with growth and wisdom. Arriving at improved versions of ourselves.

Disappointment often temps us with survival thinking. Causing us to emotionally camp just outside of thing we should do next. And stepping into the flow that calls us by name. The heart that has lost its passion waits to be aroused. Giving up is not an identity it’s only an identifiable trait stealing the rewards resolve bestows.

Friends don’t hurt you or make things hard for you. They don’t support you in-spite of your blemishes; they support you because of them, cheering you on to greater heights. Reminding you to reflect, redirect, and connect with the power of your own dreams. People who don’t forgive do not represent divine intention. Since all judgement begins with hypocrisy we can move on counting are blessings as we go. Leaving behind the opinions and attitudes of those who are wrapped up in themselves.

I’m suspect of anyone who doesn’t walk with a limp.  They simply can’t be trusted as the gatekeeper of providence. We don’t all have the same issues but issues have we all. It’s a tragedy to forfeit the education disappointment affords. It’s not about what’s left of your life, it’s about the rest of you life.

euphoria by h.koppdelaney on flickr

Image via flickr.com courtesy of h-koppdelaney

Whether we are confronting severe betrayal, or the worst self inflicted wound we are in an defining moment. Your failures don’t define you unless that’s where you stop. Your achievements don’t define you either; keep going. As a man who’s dysfunction took him to the brink of destruction I can attest to the reality of  overcoming disappointment.

Hope springs eternal. (Alexander Pope) Every disappointment requires a Now Action. The time for disappointment is NOW! Get over it, expeditiously.

How do you deal with disappointment?

 

 

 

BRANDED: A FATHER’S LEGACY

It’s been an honor to participate in celebrating fathers during this Father’s Day season. And to hear the good and sometimes difficult stories around what others experienced with their fathers. Our stories matter to our present and future generations. It’s been a journey for me to get to the place where I can look forward to this day every year. It’s been worth every step to get here.

Thanks to manlytraining.com for sponsoring this event.

Well done,

Eduardo Quintana

Click on the link below to read my article.

http://wp.me/p6HlbE-1A9

 

How To Deal With The Empty Chair On Father’s Day?

Call me old school and I won’t debate you. I think fathers matter. My father not being there left me more than alone. 

The Empty Chair free image pixabay

Free image courtesy of pixabay

The wonderful accessories that sometimes adorn the unfortunate and make up for losses didn’t make it to my house either. Poor, literally, with scalable adversity my path was set before I graduated puberty. Fillers are abundant just not adequate to foundationalize security.

There’s no beef jerky and tears on the menu; I become an adult some time ago. I’m a man acquainted with grief. Emotions don’t rattle my cage. I like being touched and being in touch with other people’s pain. The fences we climb and the valleys we traverse makes each and every victory indescribably nutritious.

Emotional and intellectual defilement are holes we can’t see through. The walk away dad, or the present but unavailable dad, marks his offspring with manufactured dysfunction. Layering authenticity with lies and innuendo. Forfeiting precious time allotted for love and replacing it with peeling off the sticky and trying to survive.

It’s not about the kids. It’s never about the kids. But because the level of deprivation defies logic the innocent internalize the unconscionable. And we act out the feelings we can’t shake. Forming core beliefs that create the habits of our lives.

Some things are wrong and will never be right. It’s the effects we want to affect. Some get to involve their fathers in their reconciliation, others must become one on their own. Dealing with the empty chair involves the truth! We deserved better. We’re worthy of love and respect. We don’t have to live our whole lives looking through the kaleidoscope of parental breakdown.

I celebrate every father who has been there; loved, cherished, guided, protected, and provided for his children. You don’t get enough recognition or admiration. And though you may not seek it, you’re due honor and high praise. Celebrating fatherhood, for me, is an accomplishment to appreciate.

For those who experienced that coveted relationship with their fathers and have to endure the hollowness of their passing, I trust you can live from the memories in your heart. For the father who has to deal with outliving a child I can only embrace your trauma from the empathy of my imagination. I pray for your peace.

My daughter asked if I wanted to go to breakfast on Father’s Day or if I would rather she cook breakfast for me. Just having kids, and a grandson that want to acknowledge me is more than I need. I didn’t get to take my father to breakfast or enjoy a single Father’s Day with him. I’m thankful to have overcome the ramifications of a father who was never there. I’m doing fine. The empty chair has been filled! 

How are you doing this Father’s Day?