The Secret of Creative Competition!

AWARENESS                                                                                                                                                       I was born with it. I’ve lived with it. I’ve dreamed about it. I’ve nurtured it. I’ve left it sitting idle. I’ve picked it up again. I know it will never leave me alone. In spite of moments of frustration, if it disappeared, I’d be lost. It’s the thing I’m meant to do.

outoffocus Harry Pointer en.wikipedia

Image via en.wikipedia.org, courtesy of Harry Pointer

It can be overwhelming. How do I get this thing out of me. How do I make it live in the real world. I’ve trained. I’ve learned. I’ve worked hard at my craft. I’ve tried to focus on the things that are supposed to get me where I want to be. One set back after another has caused me to doubt myself. My gift. My purpose. I’ve walked away. I’ve come back to it. Like a revolving door I’ve gone round and round. I’ve danced with it. I’ve ignored it. I’ve held on to it for dear life. I can’t let go because it is me. It’s who I am.

Comparing ourselves thwarts individuality. We have common destinations – we do not have common journeys. Being exactly like someone else could only result in the loss of uniqueness. The distinction we are born with isn’t meant to turn us into plebs. Our struggle is more about how we are pursuing than what we are pursuing.

Broken Systems                                                                                                                                                 Magic happens when someone emerges from the masses. The declaration is undeniable, the message is clear, I’ve found myself and this is who I am. While imitation might be the best form of flattery, we can miss the point. Personal empowerment isn’t to follow in the steps of someone else. It’s to observe how they stopped following in the steps of others.

Divine intention is embedded in each of us. When we sacrifice the significance within we submit to being wrapped in the heap of those who never break from the doldrums. To find the sum of who we are we need the right equation. It’s not the stars on stage that we should count, it’s the stars in the sky.

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Image via flickr.com, courtesy of George Hotelling

Human aspirations are often cloaked in designer rhetoric that stunts our own growth. Following dictates of idolizing is a good way to render our lives idle, immobile, and unfulfilled.

Celebrating others is required for personal momentum. If it becomes more than appreciation we may be forfeiting our creative genius. The very thing that is fighting to be set free.

ASSESSING CORRECTLY                                           New research points out that the pursuit of happiness has become a burden for many. Causing stress, which defeats the reason for searching for it, in the first place. Trying to be someone or something you’re not is certain to hold bliss at bay. Defining meaning is personal.                           

insanity Connor McKee commons wikimedia

Image via commons.wikimedia.com courtesy of Connor McKee

There’s consensus for finding success in daily ritual. The desire to achieve greatness is often bewitched by ignoring small and consistent actions. Discipline, as it turns out, is not profane.

Affirmation, clarity, and identity doesn’t come after accomplishment – they come before it. We aren’t waiting for the world to recognize us, the world is waiting for us to recognize ourselves. Our routine speaks to how we see ourselves.

 

THE FINAL FRONTIER

We all begin with something to complete before we are finished. Competition is the single greatest threat to completing our assignment. When I heard Jack Canfield, of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame, share that he was turned down 144 times before he obtained a publisher, I understood something. When you know what you are supposed to do you do it until you can’t be ignored. With over 500 million copies in print worldwide,  Jack didn’t see competition, he saw completion.

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Image courtesy of pixabay via supermom_4110

The Breakaway’s, those that rise to the top, don’t see a field of competition; they see a field of completion. External competition is imaginary. It’s an illusion. A distraction. Competition feeds the ego, dabbles in deception, and pollutes our best virtues. You can prevent the very thing that’s trying to find you. Completion is about peeling back the layers until all self defeat is gone.

The secret to creative competition is to know, deep in your soul, your only competition is inside you!

 

 

 

 

 

Pass Me Not!

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Image courtesy of Nathan Gibbs via flickr.com

I’m a people watcher. I can sit at the mall or a public square and just take in the passers-by. I often ask myself questions as I try to think about this person or that person. They’re just strangers yet we are so inextricably connected. We might never share a word of conversation, make eye contact, or feel anything toward each other but we are sharing life.

The author writes the book, tells the story, and we are moved to tears. We identify with the pain, heartache, and triumph. We recognize their courage, creativity,  and deeply appreciate them inspiring us to live in hope. We create platforms of recognition, bestow accolades, and celebrate their accomplishments. I wonder, when did we start to care?

When we hear a powerful story that brings out the champion in all of us  there is oftentimes isolation, agony, and some sort of abuse  built-in to the story line. On some level it strikes a chord and we rally for the under dog that made it to the top. But what if the author was a passer-by, as we sit watching, when they were actually in the throes of despair? Maybe the little girl being molested, the little boy being beaten, the woman being battered, or the man thinking of suicide passed within inches of us.

Does our interests begin at publishing? Does our support happen the most when it’s needed the least? We don’t usually makes Rock Stars out of people unless there is correlation between our stories. An intimacy transpires when we identify ourselves within the story being told. We are moved by them, because secretly, they are telling our story. They are us! At least enough like us to care about.

I can’t help myself. To me, the magic isn’t in whats being shared as much as it is in sharing itself. This is what we wanted before it happened. Before the nomenclature of terrible injustices, included us on the list of survivors, we wanted people to care. We hope for someone to reach out in kindness and give a hoot about what is going on in our lives. Much crying is done without tears. We often don’t hear the inner wailing until someone acts out or makes it out alive or doesn’t make it at all.

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Image courtesy of Timothy K Hamilton via flickr.com

We know life is not all pain and suffering. It has great joy and celebration too. The best balance isn’t created by extremes. It’s less risky to live from the center. Just suppose being caring, empathetic, and altruistic is the prescription for what ails us. If our caring and sharing does so much after the fact just imagine what it could do before or even during times of brutality. Maybe our ultimate isn’t to walk in sunshine. Maybe, just maybe, it’s dancing in the rain.

I sit watching. Who are you? What are you going through? What’s behind those eyes? That smile? Are you avoiding eye contact for a reason? Are you okay? I need to feel the energy, the inspiration, and the responsibility to not let you walk alone. So that I won’t be alone either. If I’m not careful you will pass by me and we won’t even know one another is there. May I join your party? Who wants to celebrate by themselves? I see you everyday, on the bus, at the store, or in the hall at work. I’d love to know your name.

Pass me not! Caring about you does so much for me!

 

 

Walk With Me!

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Image courtesy of pixabay via free pics

My work is to encourage people to never give up on their dreams. To press through the hard times. To believe in the hope of better days. To celebrate every accomplishment with everyone I can. I have benefited from words of inspiration, the camaraderie of  life-giving thoughts, and living examples. I’ve known the sweet experience of walking with people who only want the best for you. I’ve been on the receiving end of tremendous generosity. Giving back isn’t a sacrifice for me, it’s a labor of love.

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My grandson, Jaden, at the Aquatic Park, beach in San Francisco.

Not everything that I set out to do has worked out the way I wanted. I press on! My companions have changed many times over the years. I walk on! Sometimes I’ve had to walk alone. Sometimes I’ve chosen poorly in deciding who to walk with. I walk on! Disappointment has dominated my psyche. My own failures have sidelined me, at times. Instead of becoming a beggar, I walk on. I’ve known my share of rejection. I’ve learned to walk on quickly.

I would rank abandonment as one of life’s worst experiences. Not only the disappearance of key people in your life, but also, the withholding of affection. Betrayal, professionally or personally, can rock your boat. You might not be able to walk on water but you can, walk on, even if you can barely breathe. If nobody wants to help you, help yourself. When you do, other people and relationships will show up, to advance you and your causes. I know this to be true. Sometimes what looks like rejection is really protection. Some relationships will keep you from becoming a complete you.

Most everyone I know has been invited to quit. On a regular basis. Things can break your heart. Just don’t let it break your spirit. Walk on! There is a divine intention that came with your first breath. No matter what has happened that intention is purposely trying to lead you to abundance. Walk on! You don’t want to give your consent to being disqualified from life. Walk on! Walk on! Walk on! There is nothing powerful enough, to block aligning with providence, except forfeiture. Don’t be a spectator of your life. Please, walk on!

Who hasn’t been stuck, paralyzed, or disheartened at some time or another? Even if you feel buried under layers and layers of  setbacks, kerfuffles, and blow-outs; walk on! I have dug myself out of some deep pits. I’ve been in some places so dry my mouth was scorched. I’ve seen the mountaintop crumble into the sea. I have stood alone in the darkest of nights. I walk on because I still see the pinnacle.

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Walking with Jaden at Lands End in San Francisco.

The universe isn’t dangling the proverbial carrot in front of you. The possibilities of what can happen aren’t teasers to make a fool out of you. That pull toward higher ground is not an illusion. Your imagination isn’t playing tricks on you. Believe! Believe that the spark residing inside you will lead to a three-alarm fire. You have an incomplete assignment with success. You have a rendezvous with destiny, if you will just walk on!!!!

In spite of past achievements and failures, I’m walking on. In your own way and in your own life, will you, walk with me?

 

 

 

 

 

Big Business!

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Image courtesy of Libby Levi via flickr.com

The value of anything is determined by its exchange rate. The price the seller will accept and the price the buyer will pay is a basis for establishing value. But an exceptional bargain might negate the theory. Out of desperation the seller might sell something below its worth. The buyer may know this and scoop it up. Bargain hunters are aplenty!

Assets!

With a family to support, and in a pinch, I sold a Gibson 335 guitar with a Roland Jazz 120 amp. I deeply discounted the pair for a quick sale. Sold them for less than half of what they were worth. They were prized possessions. I wasn’t that good of a guitar player but I had hope that I would be someday. We got through the tough time we were in. My kids were glad to have food on the table. I still miss the stuff. Wish I had them back. I didn’t pursue learning the instrument after that.

Possessions are different from our lives. Manufactured items and experiences have a shelf life. They won’t last forever. I doubt they were ever meant too. Junkyards are full of what used to be exciting. Very few things we acquire appreciate. Many things lose value at the point of sale. Even a lifetime of savings can be gone in a day. Manipulated markets crash. People get laid off. Life can change quick.

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Image courtesy of Peter Rukavina via flickr.com

It’s easy to take temporal things as a template for what is priceless. Our lives are different from possessions. They never go down in value. The most ravaged among us, the most addicted, even those who seem too far gone to ever come back are as valuable as the day they were born. Maybe not to you. It’s quite possible you can’t see their worth. But love can!

Liabilities!

I had a new car. I was up at Big Bear to speak at a youth camp. I was on my way to pick up a few things from the convenience store. Coming toward me, down the hill, on a two lane road was a car completely out of control. I had nowhere to go. I brought my car to a stop. The other car was all over the road, skidding from side to side. I was frozen in place as this car fishtailed, finally broadsided into the driver side of my car. He was drunk and got away with it. $16,000 dollars damage to my vehicle.

My car was never the same. I ended up trading it just to be free from the disappointment. Somethings can’t ever be made right. The loss is permanent. But that’s not true of your life. Some opportunities have passed. Some relationships are no longer possible. Some choices are final. Some decisions can’t be undone. But your life is just as valuable as the day you took your first breath.

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Image courtesy of Banalities via flickr.com

Repairs!

Accidents of omission and commission are equally repairable. We live down to expectations when we feel an agreement with untruths. Even self-sabotage is dismiss-able. Broken and dysfunctional people prey on the wounded. Too many make a business out of exploiting others. Reveling in the revealing of secrets. Leeches living on those struggling to breathe. They will always be small businesses. Bankrupt of virtue before they ever open shop.

When you rise from the ashes. Claim the life you were meant to have. Separate truth from fiction. Live up to the inherent worthiness that waits for you. That’s Big Business. It’s never too late. Start today!

Are you getting what you’re worth?

 

On Purpose!

Candy Binge by comedy_nose on flickr

Image courtesy of comedy_nose via flickr.com

We will do these three things today.

EAT!

We will be deciding all day long what we will devour. Not just how we nourish our body, but, how we feed our spirit. Some will experience the pain of gain while others will deal with the pain of loss. For whatever time we are not sleeping, conscious and unconscious vibrations, energy, and patterns will be hard at work. Our reactions to everything will determine if we are eating healthy.

FEEL!

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Image courtesy of Pexels via free stock photo

We will feel things today. All day! Things we don’t want to feel and things we do. Some will be familiar to us, having interacted, on so many occasions. Other feelings might seem strange and distant. There will no doubt be, some mystery and romance, toying with our affections. How we feel about our selves dominates how we feel about every thing. The treacherous feeling of hate could make an appearance. But, will he be invited to stay? Opportunities to give and receive love and kindness will be all over the landscape, will we feel each one? Nothing is more inaccurate, than to think you have no control, over what you feel.

THOUGHTS!

You can expect somewhere between 50,000 and 70,000 thousand thoughts today. About 35 to 48 every minute. The courtship of thoughts and feelings meet at the designated spot. The hiding place of secret lovers where the head and the heart fall into one another’s arms. The relationship will help or hurt. Support or abuse. Like the items on a smorgasbord we have to choose wisely. Thoughts are like birds. We can’t stop them from flying over our heads but we can stop them from making a nest in our hair. Whether on purpose or by default what we think about we bring about. Thoughts take us in one of two directions.

What will you dine on today?

 

May I Help?

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Image courtesy of Tim Schramm via common.wikimedia.org

My goals for writing are simple. I write to make the world a better place. To help someone feel better. To empower others. To share what I have learned. To create conversation. And to question the way we think

The Spice

I’ve come to understand that beyond our differences we’re mostly the same.  Our differences do matter. Not everyone wants to change the world. Some people want to simply enjoy the world they live in. We have spotlight seekers and we have those who prefer to be behind the scenes. There are those who use others to feel good and those who spend their life bringing joy to someone else.

A favorite color to one is disliked by another. Difference is part of uniqueness. How bland would the world be with only one color in it? Taste in sports, style, entertainment speak to a persons individuality. Our gene pool, culture, and exposure will be factors in our choices. Judgement isn’t always rational and fact driven. Sometimes, its reactionary, based on personal pain or disappointment. Two of us can see an event or hear a story and report two separate versions.

Our perceptions of ourselves affect how we see other people. We can be uncomfortable with what we know and also with the unknown. Fear can be a friend or an enemy. We will be constantly reminded of our differences. Authenticity isn’t about standing in a crowd it’s about finding the courage to stand alone. Whether there’s a crowd or not. To be real it might take facing the crowd in opposition.

Negative points of view are much different from positive points of view. But they each draw conclusions. Passion comes in two dominate flavors; love and hate. Much of the driving force behind creative endeavors is traced to these dictators. They inspire the pictures we paint of our lives. Love and hate show up in our movies, music, and in our motives. And, in writings.

Scarecrows

Shock jocks might think they’re teaching us all a lesson but, if they didn’t get attention, they wouldn’t do it. You will find many doing what they receive praise for doing. Others only get involved if they can remain anonymous. I think there are people genuinely embarrassed to be publicly acknowledged. And there are people who are wrecked if they don’t get their due.

Our achievements allow us to taste possibility. Our failures can and should alert us to things we’ve been ignoring. These are two of our best instructors. They can show us the abundance in moderation. War-mongers and conquest thinkers get a lot of publicity. But peacemakers are needed to keep things in balance. Often people think their opinion reigns supreme while tragically discarding difference.

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Image courtesy of Enokson via flickr.com

Those of us who understand equity, the value of a dollar, and how to protect an investment will make repairs before trashing anything. Our most prized assets will always be our relationships. We can each stomp our feet, throw temper tantrums, and threaten one another with excommunication from our social world order. But, I ask the question, can’t we do better? Is destroying other human beings the best we can do? It just seems a bit too much like Hitler, Stalin, and McCarthy. An attitude of, if you disagree with me, you have no right to exist! Really? I mean, really?

Solid Ground

The internal battles we lose have a way of showing up in the public square. To wage a successful campaign it’s best not to confuse fighting within ourselves with fighting among ourselves. The human experience is best savored when no one has to be eaten, devastated, or destroyed. I’m doubtful being unreasonable will ever become virtuous. I will defend my loved ones when needed. It’s just that, I’ve never met a paper tiger, with any actual teeth.

How can we improve on civility?

 

Rhyme Or Reason!

tgif Maurina Rara on flickr

Image courtesy of Maurina Rara via flickr.com

Thought I would do something different for this post. Hope you have a fantabulous weekend!

 

Sense

Here a little and there a little

I slowly made the move

Exchanging wrong for right

Figuring out my groove

My feet were always dancing

Even when I had no shoes

A real act of balancing

To discover my personal truth

Tiny nuggets of liberty

On the menu of life events

Just beside the fallacies

Painful pleasures never make any sense

-Rick Amitin

 

The Past

I understand your desire

To stay with me forever

Every night and day together

Makes this difficult, however

It has come to my attention

You don’t have my best interests at heart

Devastation is your intention

Keeping me and completion apart

As a friend you’re an imposter

Caught with your hand in my cookie jar

In a time for soaring heights

You’re the reason I can’t get far

So I’ve made the tough decision

I must bid you a final farewell

If you try to follow me

You’ll be defeated by my liberated swell

Believe me when I tell you, I’m just as surprised as you

Becoming totally clear, of what it is I have to do

I’ve never even considered, what we had would fail to last

Until I realized, all you have to offer, is the past

-Rick Amitin

 

Fear

A smile can’t be found, trying hard not to drown

Uncontrollable emotions, multiply and abound

Driven to the bone, from this dictator’s throne

Thoughts refuse direction, acting out on their own

In a very specific way, in my life you have a place

Keeping from physical harm, is a definite gift of grace

Assuming to always be welcome, you really cross the line

Causing worry and trembling, tormenting in the mind

 

It’s an obvious battle, since you ignore demand for eviction

When it comes right down to it, the final word is conviction

With knots in the pit of my stomach, I rise to stand my ground

You’re just a phony counterfeit, no real power to keep me bound

I will continue to see you, as a fierce competitor indeed

Occasionally plucking your root, like any other weed

Life is ever so fragile, should always be handled with care

I have learned to never dismiss, the whisper of beware

 

To prevent my life from being, a tragic cautionary tale

I will have to face you squarely, letting the wind fill my sail

The call of a dream is relenting, keeping one up through the night

The worst thing that can happen is, to miss your life for fright

What we don’t know can be scary, play silly games in the head

Solve the many mysteries, take charge of your life instead

Even on the best days, this coward finds the means to appear

It matters very little, it’s just deceptive fear

-Rick Amitin

 

I would appreciate your thoughts, critiques, or anything you might want to share.