How To Honor Your Ashes!

Scorching your life offers nutrients not found in any other experience!

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I often hear great achievers talk about how they got to where they are. They relate methods for seizing your passion, empowering yourself with positive thinking, writing down your goals, and visualizing your dreams. Rarely are the back-stories presented in full disclosure. We routinely received the Readers’ Digest version.

While all success includes overcoming challenges and heralds dedication, determination, and a will to win we can benefit greatly from knowing more about the inner struggles. When we are offered the chance to follow an outline for triumph that doesn’t connect with the reality that we are living in its difficult to see desirable outcomes.

Occasionally, we get the deeper and more valuable storyline. The details of how beliefs of integral lack, feelings of not being good enough, and dealing with roots of unworthiness can address our most haunting questions. What we get from an open acknowledgment of personal failure is an invitation to move in closer. We rise inside, scoot to the edge of our seats, and brace for impact. We sense we are on the verge of a leap forward.

Fack Finality!

Every human being fails but, we do not all fail the same way. Failures get labeled because difference scares us. When we shut the door to learning by thinking we are always right and, only our way is the right way we bring a measure of finality that is unwarranted. We act out on an illusion; a type of fantasy that deceives us.

Only death concludes our participation in the ongoing saga of our lives. Until we take our final breath we retain the ability to write another chapter. To make our lives a celebration. To champion our intentions no matter how adversely they were hindered. All life experiences are a matter of interpretation.

The past has an overrated reputation and wields a mysterious kind of power. Through fear and manipulation, we succumb to directives of an imaginary nature. It’s easy to draw conclusions that either render us immobile or even drive us to retreat. I remind myself often that the past is less versatile than the present.

Perception is not reality but, what we perceive forms the reality we face. A closer look shows the past to have only two distinct potentials; the excuse for losing or the excuse for winning. It’s never too late to be what you were meant to be, to finish what you started, to start again, or to start for the first time.

“Don’t let the past be the imposter in your present.”

Grow From Within!

Failure Quote: Never confuse a single failure with a...

I scorched my life! I walk with a limp. And, I’m suspect of anyone who doesn’t. Oh, I’m thankful, very thankful that not everyone makes the same mistakes as I have made. I failed morally, intellectually, spiritually, and just about any other way you can think of. But I refuse to let any of it have the final word.

The landscape of my personal relationships, business relationships, and even family have undergone significant changes. You have to surround yourself with people who want the best for you, who believe in your inherent value, who can visualize your rise from the ashes. Remember, some people are for a reason and some are for a season!

Failure isn’t a grade its a lesson. Using what has gone wrong to correct your life’s course is wisdom personified. Hiding from our pain, embarrassment, or fear leads to the loss of precious time, the only thing we can’t get back. I’m not proud of my mistakes. I’m proud of not letting them define me. The sweetest revenge is success!

Honor Your Ashes!

 

 

Easter Fools!

Historically, Easter Sunday and April Fools’ Day has happened, on the same day, a number of times.

Perpetual

It’s a bit challenging to establish the origin of April Fools’ Day. Some think the holiday was first mentioned by Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (1392). In 1508, French poet Eloy d’Amerval referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally “Fish of April”), a possible reference to the holiday? There are too many possibilities to lists. We can agree it began somewhere and continues around the world in various forms. (Wikipedia)

Easter Sunday is much easier to nail down. It’s universally believed to be the resurrection of Jesus on the third day after His crucifixion. To some, this is the cornerstone of their faith. Other people find the notion disgusting and dismiss the very idea as a day for fools. Whatever position you hold, Easter began and continues around the world in various forms.

Egg On The Face

Pranks are coming! It’s just too irresistible…too invitational not to pull some shenanigans on the unsuspecting.  In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences. Maybe, “Fake News” is simply an omission to say, April Fools.

The faith-based have their own challenges. The Easter story carries the dynamic of  God, defying natural law and clearly defines the Creator as supreme over the created. According to Jesus, all power in heaven and earth is His. And, He gives this power to His followers. Any Halleluja around impotence offers the skeptic all the fuel they need to scoff.

Funtimes

A few years ago I decided to prank my wife’s aunt. She is a rock…a matriarch in the family. This was at the time when the paternity of Anna Nicole’s baby was dominating the news cycle. When she answered the phone I said, aunt Freda, I’ve done something I need to confess to the family so, I decided to tell you first.

She said, OMG, what have you done? Just a minute, she replied. I’m on the other line and I will tell them I will call them back. I knew I had her. She was so concerned and willing to hear my confession. She clicked away and then came back on the line. Ok, she lamented, what have you done?

I said, aunt Freda, I’m the father of Anna Nicole’s baby. After a moment of silence, we both started laughing so hard neither of us could speak. I had to hand the phone to my wife who was standing next to me not knowing what I was up to. Even though she was laughing too she managed to say to her aunt, he’s a nut!

I’m a writer. I’m always aware of the need to show… not tell. As a person of faith, I’m also aware of the need to show…not tell. For years my life experiences didn’t match my beliefs. I fundamentally misunderstood the correlation between my mess and my message. I kept wisdom at bay by complicating the simplicity of truth.

Somewhat slowly, understanding emerged. My desire to experience good things, to benefit other people, to witness the power of virtue in action was frustrated by my theology, doctrines, and dogmas of judgment and condemnation. I was undeniably opposing my self. When I learned to accept what I needed most I also understood what others need most from me…

I’ve been able to convince myself…love never fails! It’s the antidote to the self-righteous and the haters. We can be very divided on how we define love but, when we meet it face to face it does its job. Love is the only way I know to not be an Easter Fool!

What do you think?

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The Power of Sufficiency!

Compassion

I came running from the backyard when I heard the magical tune of the ice cream truck. I darted into the house to ask grandma for the money to buy an ice cream. I panicked when she said she didn’t have the nickel it cost. I paused, standing in place as my hopes melted.

ice cream truck

Image courtesy of flickr.com

I was five or six years old on that warm summer day. I slowly walked outside as the truck drove past my house. We lived on a dead end street so I knew it had to come back past me. I stood at the edge where our sidewalk met the pavement. Pitiful as I could be, tears streaming down my face. The young man driving the truck evidently couldn’t take my distraught demeanor so he stopped and gave me an ice cream for free.

The next day I was playing away when I heard that same sound. I jumped off the tire swing leaped up on the porch and yanked on the screen door slamming it into the wall as it swung open. I ran into the house to find grandma. I didn’t have a good handle on economics. I didn’t understand that our finances hadn’t changed since yesterday. I gasped as the air completely departed my lungs.

Wait! I cried my way into an ice cream yesterday. Maybe I can do it again. I put on my sad sack formal wear and assumed my post. I watched in anticipation as the truck turned around at the end of our road. Here he comes…I got my beg on. He acted like he didn’t see me. I think he even stepped on the gas as he went by. I’ve never forgotten the feelings I experienced on both of those days.

We were poor and I hated everything it represented. I have so many memories of being left out because we couldn’t afford this or that. I think in my own naive way I vowed to overcome monetary depravity. I didn’t want to ever feel those feelings again.

A Backward Glance

I ventured out into the world unprepared to succeed. My father and three stepfathers did little to move my ball down the court. Leaving home at fifteen to escape the violence and hatred did little to increase my stature. Even though I left prematurely I didn’t get out before some significant damage was done.

I looked back only to remind myself to keep going. I wished things were different but, it didn’t take long to learn that wishful thinking wasn’t the mother of invention. I appreciated the free ice cream I got that day but I wanted to be able to pay for ice cream whenever I got the urge.

Steady As She Goes

When I got married and had a couple of kids my financial forecast was bleak at best. I wanted a family…the family I never had. I also wanted to give my kids a better life…a better childhood than I’d had. I didn’t have a very good plan or strategy to make a better life but, what I did have was the intention to do so.

perfect storm comons.wikimedia.org

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Shame is a terrible weight to carry and I was loaded with it. Before I knew what my issues were I added on layers of responsibilities. Life is full of good intentions that never get followed through on. I had the makings of a perfect storm.

I tried one thing after another. Seeking. Searching. Trying to make it all happen. Oftentimes my only fuel was the necessity of those depending on me. I simply had to keep going. There was so much I immediately improved. And, there were fierce repetitions from adolescence at work that I didn’t even know were there.

The refusal to give up eventually brought about opportunities. The kind of monumental moments that change your trajectory. Things began to work out that wasn’t connected to any well-planned scheme. They happened solely because I kept looking, pushing, believing I could make life worth living.

Never Give Up

Back in the 90’s I built a  multi-million dollar insurance agency. The residual income should have lasted me for the rest of my life. For a while, it looked like I had set us up for good. Through some mergers and shifty corporate shenanigans, it evaporated overnight. Gone with a thirty-day notice.

I don’t like to be violated, who does? I don’t know how to warm up to rejection. What I do know is that disappointment is never unemployed. It’s almost like some people feel it’s required of them to do you wrong and do so blaming you for their unacceptable behavior. I’ve had the bitter experience of disappointing myself more deeply than anyone else has. It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.

Callenge yourself Air Mobility Command

Image courtesy of Air Mobility Command

When you peer past the obvious there remains a subtle truth: If you made it once you can make it again! If you’ve yet to experience that one big break the only reason…the only reason you’re thinking about it is that it’s within you…within your reach.

In a world filled with corruption, polarization, and the hollowness of the world wide web we have a standing invitation to make things better for ourselves and those we come in contact with. The age of entitlement is half right. We are each entitled to our dreams and to what we can achieve. But, if we define success by what is given to us we can never be free. We cannot know what we are capable of and we will never know who we are.

I learned something about compassion the day that young man stopped and gave me an ice cream. I learned something even more important the very next day when he didn’t stop… when he didn’t even look my way, I learned the power of sufficiency!

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

THE MISSING INGREDIENT!

Extremism has taken over our world. The absence of love has allowed for chaos and corruption to rule in nearly every segment of society. We often treat each other with a disregard for the inherent value we all share. Life is sacred and must be respected and valued for the virtue awarded to each of us by just being here, alive on the planet.

Competition has become the distracter to the greater challenge of learning to love. We have lost our ability to dialogue and substituted monologue in its place. Our differences are not things to fear. Rather, it affords us an opportunity to discuss the many challenges we face and explain why we think what we think. We aren’t likely to agree on every issue. But, we should relish the chance to offer the reasons for things we hold in high regard.

Extremism acts as a religion whereby we use politics to gain an advantage over others. Our Republic was carefully crafted to ensure the protection of our individual rights. The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence states; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

The erosion of these rights has evolved with a fierce and violent infringement. While many have sought to redefine love as only being applicable to a select group of our choosing, we have accepted the stupor of living insensibly. If any has lost recognition as being inherently valuable we have all lost. I contend that love, for ourselves and one another, is the way for each of us to move forward! Love pixabay

Love is the mark we can’t afford to miss. It is the only blueprint that makes inclusion possible, and the only means of avoiding discrimination. Our challenges are unique opportunities to bring the best out of ourselves. When we refuse to see one another as problems and see the sacredness we each possess we take significant steps to make the world a better place.

Love is the missing ingredient!

Twitter: @RickAmitin

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TV Show: http://www.TLBTV.com

How To Accept A New Chapter In Life!

walking-with-papaI’ve been on a bit of a learning curve… Oops! Let me apply a lesson learned by correcting myself. My Learning Curve Continues!!!

We wage internal battles inside our singular brains sometimes, strong enough to wet the thirst of a thousand commandos on a forced-march. Dreams can be temperamental bed-fellows. As cranky as a dissatisfied passenger riding shotgun with an adult dose of colic. Geez! Can’t we all just get along???

All I want to do is rise to my potential. Bust through the doors of mind-boggling resistance to wrap my arms around some undeniable success. Why so much opposition? Doesn’t the world know, all I want to do is make it a better place?  I throw my feet over the side of the bed every morning with the intention of serving others. What exactly is the point of everything being so doggone hard?

I’m a good student, eager, ready to apply the AHA! Moments that constantly bombard my consciousness… I’m often insulted, rejected, and misunderstood along with my contributions of grace and kindness. I’m better at dismissing angst and disgruntled thought-memes looking to put their hot black wheels down on me as a landing strip, leaving skid marks across my sacred space. But, it’s still a nuisance. If treachery does in fact, have an assignment, surely it drew my name by mistake. Right???

Nope! Turns out negativity isn’t happy unless it has turned everyone into premature rigor mortis. My mind-block takes a break – understanding comes barreling through my tender grip of commitment to remain scripted in ignorance. (ignoring the facts) Oh, if there were only a real conspiracy that I could laden with the abundance of confusion I have nurtured with unimaginable precision.

What do you know? Just when I’m about to settle into calling common normal, originality declares, I’m here!!! Back off, Bud… I’ve worked long and hard to keep myself stunted with the redundancy of habits not likely to ever produce change. Snorting through my nose and digging my heels in the dirt like a bull who takes red flags personally, I let the words roll off my lips as if I were a polished southern gentleman, “I’m sorry, I must have misunderstood.”

We are all due to a blessing, from time to time, that isn’t in disguise. Clearly visible, purely designed for our enjoyment. Providing an opportunity to do what we love. Without force or conniption. You know? The kind of thing that tempts you to believe in magic carpet rides.

Two months ago I was not thinking about being on TV. But, I was thinking about what was next. The invitation came as simply as, Hi, Rick,  I’m interested in promoting you and your work. Which led to an interview. Which led to, “How would you like to have your own show?” My own show? Are you kidding? You’re free to talk about whatever you want, the things that matter to you. You mean, I can create a show that helps other people? Exactly! It’s your show.

I still don’t believe in magic carpet rides but, I do believe in the magic of love!!!

And, I accept the notion that good things happen simply because they are supposed to!!!

And, I believe some things don’t work out so that better things can!!! 

And, I believe in walking by the ocean with my grand boy!!!

“Rick on Life” You can find it at http://www.facebook.com/TLBTV   Beginning 8/6/17

 

 

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