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

 

 

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

Is Your Flight Overbooked?

LIFE FLIGHT 

According to the Air Traffic Controllers Association, 87,000 flights crisscross the United States, every day. With a population of over 300 million people there are countless dreams and aspirations filling our air space. Gifts and talents, robed in passion, attempt to take-off and land successfully every minute of the day. Over-booking is more common than the average person notices.

possibilities

Image courtesy of Janine Forder via LinkedIn

Over half a million people were voluntarily or involuntarily denied boarding a scheduled commercial flight, in 2015. (Bureau of Transportation Statistics) If there was a way to actually see, how many people had their dreams grounded, we could all share in the collective disappointment. It’s empowering indeed to be able to order discouragement off your plane.

It’s legal for Airlines to overbook flights for the sole purpose of insuring their success. They need us but, aren’t afraid to abuse us, when it serves them. We can fill our plane with too much and too many. We can’t do everything; we aren’t meant too. It’s all to common to spread ourselves so thin that we aren’t proficient at anything. Many of us are too busy to be successful. Talk about turbulence! Rising above the clouds is about being able to do more of what you want and less of what you don’t.

Some things are not within our control. Many things are. Sometimes we have excess baggage. We can carry it with us, if we are willing, to pay the high rate for the privilege. If we will take the time to analyze, value verses cost, we can streamline our travel experience. Things like self-doubt, fear, and intimidation are unnecessary items. Removing them from our luggage makes for a more pleasurable flight.

Flight Path

The unexpected can happen, anytime. Careful planning can help minimize negative effects or manage jubilation. If what we don’t want shows up, it can throw us into chaos. Even getting what we hope for, can catch us off guard, and cause our plane to shake, rattle, and roll.

orbit-free-pic-on-pixabay

Image courtesy of pixabay

Prioritizing requires honesty and  sound decision-making. Keeping goals out in front eases inner conflicts. The new trend is to manage tasks instead of time. We should protect ourselves from the illusion, that all activity is productive. We can work tirelessly without getting the results we’re looking for. Doing things that lose sight of our mission is a trap to be avoided. Most people relax once takeoff is accomplished. We mustn’t forget the importance of landing. Success never just happens.

Our daily routine must include an inspection of our flight controls. If we hope to get air-born and safely touch down in our deepest aspirations, it’s a good idea to insure everything is working properly. Repairs are wisely done on the ground. Lots of effort is used up on things that aren’t getting us any closer to accomplishing our dreams. Many things that are distasteful or unpleasant, must be attended to, if we hope to see progress.

TRAVEL AGENT

I used to travel often. Back when flight crews were fun and the skies were friendly. More often than not, nowadays, your treated like a cold-hearted obligation or even an inconvenience. How dare you board our plane with any expectation of quality care! Too many service providers have forgotten, or decided against, great service. I appreciate quality and attention to detail. Something I encourage is a customer first mentality.

hangglider by pampy96 on commons.wikimedia

Image courtesy of pampy96 via commons.wikimedia

Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you! Then treat others the same way. Distance yourself from haters and dissenters. You are within your rights to bump them from your flight. Your success might depend on your willingness to exercise courage. One reason there are so many flights is because everyone is not going to the same place.

Success will forever be a foreign country to some. Once you decide where you are going you can work on your passport. Since we define success for ourselves we educate accordingly. Jack Canfield and many other experts travelers, offer this frequent flyer tip; “success is found in your daily routine.”

To avoid getting bumped from life, pick up a copy of my book: http://amzn.to/2lMHJ9t

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Defining Moments!

The exercise was clear enough; list seven defining moments in your life.

What wasn’t so clear were the actual seven moments that defined me. Having never taken the time to pinpoint the life events that had altered/corrected my life left me to breathe in without exhaling.

euphoria by h.koppdelaney on flickr

Image courtesy of h.koppdelaney via flickr.com

Contemplating my landmark thoughts, feelings, decisions, and life experiences left me reeling to think, feel, decide, and experience the moment I was in. How do I wade thru the years of ups and downs, successes and failures, and the happy and sad times to declare just which occurrences qualified for such prestigious notoriety?

Thick fear appeared to big to mess with. What if I’m not defined? What are the undeniable instances of impact? How many times did I feel the music but didn’t dance? Do I need to acknowledge the magical personal revelations that remained bottled up inside with no corresponding action? What if I don’t have any historical changes to herald?

Leaning into my pilgrimage I methodically visited with the highways and byways of my past. The mountain tops and valley’s flashed across the memory screen of my mind. There were highs and lows falling on my think-tank like hard rain. Thunder and lightning called up familiar emotions wrapped in wanted and unwanted thoughts.

The questioning was offensive. How dare I cross-examine my own authenticity so vehemently. Who’s side am I on, anyway? Negative energy attempted to quell the monumental whisper trying to be recognized. At my core cried the mature infant; I am here and I want to speak.

Image result for cross examination

Image courtesy of T.H.Matteson via wikipedia.org

For much of my life I had consented to the chaotic cloud that hovered overhead blocking the light. I inwardly twisted in despair. Wait! Something is happening here. A defining moment? No doubt! A new thing was emerging from a womb previously denied.

I was a man who had miscarried again and again. The kick of life forbidden wore scars into the walls of my stomach. And I remembered the day I chose to live. I struggled narrowing the chain of events into specific times. It had to be done, in order to square myself with all that had been, with all that is to be.

Yielding to the notion that something was missing was only a fabrication altered the direction I was heading. The affirmation, clarity, and worthiness I had searched for resided within me. Rejection and abandonment were only distractions presenting themselves as permanent fixtures. I am in defining mode!

External factors are impotent to declare identity. They can only reflect what we believe about ourselves. I am hearing my voice rise above the mob screams telling me to stay where I am. Demanding I forfeit the invitation to come up higher. Rebellion delivered the virtue needed to proclaim, NO MORE! I moved on because I could.

I permitted the grief and tears over my neglected reality. The vigil was standing room only. I barely got all of me in the room. Sensing the finality of separation I was left the opposite of cold. Memories would persist but things will never be the same. With lightness in my chest, a dry mouth, and unimaginable relief I had won the Spelling Bee.

My list now flowed in unexpected ease. Multitudes of question marks gave up their seats for periods and exclamation points. Running so fast, focused on catching up to my liberation, I didn’t immediately realize the pain was gone. I had broken through, puncturing, misappropriated denotations.

designer-labels-flicker

Image courtesy of UpSticksNgo Crew via flickr.com

What I had  been hiding behind were articles of deception. Designer labels stitched together in the sweatshop of fallacy. I wore unwanted, unlovable, unworthy like required dress code. I window shopped purpose, clarity, and worthiness desiring to be fitted for a custom, made for me, life. Wrinkle free, permanent press, only disguised a disheveled heart, broken by the wardrobe, of dysfunctional dynamics.

Aligning with divine intention censored my emptiness. Our blueprint doesn’t call for us to be sidelined, left out, and excluded from the acquisition of the finer things in life. We’re not tinder for someone else’s fire. When there is no expectation of peace and harmony disappointment reigns supreme. Dissonance necessitates a paradigm shift

We are worthy of a rich, rewarding, and abundant life! 

     All defining moments have the inherent purpose of facilitating this truth!

What are your defining moments?

Be-younger.com on flickr

Image courtesy of Be-younger on flickr.com

 

 

 

 

 

Responsible Beauty!

Christmas and the season around it conjures up many varied and different emotions and thoughts for so many of us. While this has always been my favorite holiday I know, for some, it isn’t the best time of year.Merry Christmas

Spending the last two years writing my book, digging through past experiences, healing things buried in the deepest parts of me, and claiming the life that had remained elusive has left me in the best place I’ve ever been. My heart has never enjoyed such thankfulness.

I’m on track to have the greatest Holiday Season of my life. Is everything perfect? you ask. Well, yes it is. I have challenges before me, problems that seem committed to nag at me, and the reality of things that might never change. But, I have learned some things that have overhauled my perspective.

I am responsible to make my life beautiful. I would make my nose smaller, fire my receding hairline, and reclaim my youthful physicality if I could. I would undo my biggest mistakes, give myself a better beginning, and live a storybook life if it was in my power. These things are distractions, interruptions, and  thieves of beauty.

Everyone has a story. And everyone’s story matters. A key to having a beautiful life is making your story matter to you. Many of us limped out of childhood. Some didn’t have much of a childhood at all. Some have sentence themselves to a life that could have been, wallowing in despair, instead of realizing the life that is has the potential to be the life of their dreams.

Someone said, “success is the sweetest revenge.” With so many definitions of success it is incredibly important for us to define success for ourselves. I know this; you can beat the odds. No matter what the hurdles are we can manage to alter the way we see things. What may seem like a conspiracy to destroy you can be harnessed  to propel you to new heights.

I’m making no attempt to trivialize, minimize, or otherwise diminish the details of whatever hardships you may be facing. Having overcome childhood traumas, violations to numerous to list, and much personal dysfunction I have come out on the other side. Triumphant! I’m living the life I never thought possible. And, you can too.

The decision came down to simplicity, which is where wisdom resides. I can keep my story, continue to paint in ugly details, or I can use different colors and brush strokes to give myself a portrait of my life I want to hang on the wall and look at all the time. I can tell you that only you can turn your pain into purpose.

During this time of year it’s easy to see the heightened pleasure and the pain of our fellow-man. Wayne Dyer wrote about a powerful concept; “if you change the way you look at things – the things you look at change.” I can validate this statement as truth!

I hope you amaze yourself by finding the beauty that is within you! I hope you give love away and get more love than you ever thought possible this holiday season. And I hope you give yourself the gift of you!

 

A Few More Exciting Reviews!

With the release of my new book inching closer. I couldn’t be happier with these early reviews. My heart is full with thankfulness for the encouragement.

A powerful example of the desperation for identity a fatherless child can seek. Written by a grandfather who was fatherless for his fatherless grandson. Rick poignantly captures the awe that comes with the birth of his grandson, Jaden, and his commitment to ensuring that Jaden has the father figure he needs to find his way. A must-read for every man, fatherless or not, who must set an example for the next generation.

Pat Haddock,  Author of Dear Aunt Peggy, Emails from Petey Pup, and Amelia’s Gift

We are hard-wired to seek a life fully alive. To do that we need direction toward what we are created to do.  I have worked with many leaders that struggle with their self-worth, identity, and the expectations of others.  One of the biggest factors I have found that holds us back from success and significance is the lack of a healthy relationship with our Dad or no relationship at all. This book is a must read for every leader to heal themselves or equip them to heal the leaders they are sowing in to.  Thank you Rick for this incredible book on the true Fathers love and how to move into the fullness of who we are!

John Ramstead, CEO Beyond Influence, Inc. Founder of the Eternal Leadership Podcast named a must for CEO’s Entrepreneurs and Leaders by Blogspot.

As a mother whose son gave me my first glance at real unconditional love, I fell in love with Rick’s relationship with his grandson and the story of Divine Healing that it was so obviously designed to facilitate. As a daughter whose father experienced the same wounds Rick bore, my understanding and compassion dropped from my head to my heart because of Rick’s willingness to show the reader all of his insides. As a seeker and messenger with a similar mission to witness the empowerment of the wounded, I am grateful to see this leader rising.

Amanda Johnson, Founder of True to Intention,  Author of Upside-Down Mommy

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Thank you so much for telling others about my book. I deeply appreciate it!