A Message From The King!

The very idea of mediocrity sends my creative endorphins into convulsions. Even when excellence remains elusive, the possible moves the needle on my fuel gauge.

Gourmet Experiences

Imagine being seated at a fine eating establishment and the waiter, dressed in black and white, with a bow tie shows up at your table with a microwave oven on a rolling cart. No need for a menu as there are only half a dozen items to choose from. Frozen concoctions, loaded with ingredients you can’t possibly pronounce. Delicious, but not nutritious sounds about right.

waiter on pixabay

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Just because it’s unheard of doesn’t mean it’s unthinkable. In recent years I have added a few meals to my repertoire but, I’m not likely to host my own cooking show. My talents are clearly not culinary. That really doesn’t prohibit me from strapping on an apron and improvising when the mood strikes. Measuring cups are optional.

The failure rate for new restaurants is staggering. Failure is a good thing to study, especially if you want to fail. Figuring out what caused the few successes might be a more beneficial exploration.

What is it that we really want? Why don’t we have it? if it’s what we want more than anything. Fast, convenient, and readily available just might be the last thing we need. It’s more than probable that the idea and ingredients bouncing around inside you is the actual recipe to feed you for life. Home cooking has always been less risky.

I study achievers, not to duplicate them, as I don’t desire to be them. But to see if they have something I can use to be the best me I can be. It’s all too easy to lose uniqueness in duplication. There are plenty of resources available to enhance originality when we keep our focus on getting out what is inside of us rather than trying to get something we think we don’t have.

HEART HEALTHY

Most people crave safety. Which leads to risk aversion, which immobilizes the heartiest of dreams, leaving the vast majority with underutilized wings. We flirt with destiny without ever saying “I Do.” Taking the plunge is the only way to get wet. Is having to dry off with a towel that life-threatening? So what if it didn’t work the first time around?

Sir Ken Robinson, the British author, and international advisor on education states, “creativity is as important as literacy.” He further elaborates, “we stigmatize mistakes.” Caution is good when it’s appropriate. Nurturing the fear of failure can lead to an actual condition called “atychiphobia” which is when we allow fear to stop us from doing things that can move us forward.

don't panic towel

Image courtesy of flickr.com

Thomas Edison failed miserably before successfully creating the light bulb. The debate about how many times he failed ranges from one thousand to ten thousand times. When questioned about his failed attempts he replied, “I have not failed. I’ve just discovered 10,000 ways that didn’t work.”

While not trying might offer some notion of avoiding the pain of failure, I contend, it’s not capable of soothing a life not given permission to try. The list of men and women who didn’t allow failure to stop them is substantial. Vincent Van Gogh, for one, only sold one painting in his lifetime even though he painted over 900 works of art. Today, he is considered one of the most famous and influential figures in the history of western art.

External approval is chump-change compared to the value of self-acceptance. None of us should yield to wishful thinking, relegate ourselves to the grandstands to watch others live their lives. Every living soul has an invitation to fulfillment.

HAVE IT YOUR WAY

My grandboy, Jaden, is eight years old. He’s become a little opportunistic with his kisses. Typical for a boy his age but, none of us like it very much. His mother was trying to get a kiss before she left for work the other day and he wasn’t having it. She asked, why won’t you kiss me? My kisses are for papa, he said. My ears perked up! I’m your mother, I gave you life, you kiss me, she lamented. He said, but you’re just regular, papa is grand, as in grandfather. I wasn’t about to correct him. It was all in good fun.

We will never know how grand our idea, dream or mission is if we think of them as regular, ordinary, or not worthy. That fluttering of intuition, that little voice inside, that thing that won’t go away might be more than you realize. Everyone has something that is uniquely their’s. I encourage you to go for it! As many times as it takes.

After months of testing the idea in select markets, in February of 2016, Burger King made the decision to add wieners to their menu. What? The Home of the Whopper is going to adulterate itself with hot dogs? Say it ain’t so! This isn’t the first try. Burger King had hot dogs back in the seventies. If at first, you don’t succeed… 

hot dog

Image courtesy of flickr.com

I won’t get into their in-house master plan, which is quite savvy. But, I do want to talk about the decision. It’s BOLD, to say the least. To be known for one thing and recreate yourself into something else is a lesson for us all. There is more than one way to skin a cat… or capture a percentage of over 20 billion hot dogs sold annually in the US alone.

The longing for success that resides inside each of us needs a chance. Dust it off, reshape it if you have to, just set it free. We are all presently writing a chapter in our life story. We can launch into our possibilities, revisit past ambitions, or rethink discounted inclinations. We wouldn’t be considering it if we couldn’t do it. We cannot know the reception to our Frankfurter until we serve it on a bun.

The message from the King (burger king) is clear, you’ll never know if you don’t try!

What dream are you sitting on?

You can catch my weekly online TV show “Rick on Life” at http://www.TLBTV.com every Sunday 12:00 PM CST. Past shows are available on demand. After you get to the page just click the media tab.

Pick up a copy of my book If Only I Had A Dad: Finding Freedom From Fatherlessness, available on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Got Time For A Heart Attack?

OK! I took time out to have a heart attack.8576195628_0df9f2a68e_z

Don’t cry. On second thought, go ahead and cry. They tell me there’s no visible signs of damage to my heart. I told them they need a machine that will show heart-breaks not just heartaches. My physical organ only tells part of my story. Metaphorically, I have plenty of scar tissue on this ole ticker of mine.

They asked me what I thought caused my heart attack. Having never experienced chest pains or any other symptoms, I told them I had just released a book about a week ago and the sales were so disappointing that it clogged my arteries and sent me to the ER.

They said, that’s probably not the cause. Totally ignoring a possible intangible truth, they launched, into a diatribe on how important it will be to switch to a heart healthy diet, and an exercise regimen. You can see what I’m dealing with here.

I seem to be doing fine even-though, I completely failed in convincing the Dr. to use a different explanation to describe my medical event. Heart Attack, he insisted. You had a heart attack. Other than getting me to take it all seriously I can’t, for the life of me, figure out his resolve. I’m dumbfounded by his stern diagnosis.pexels-photo-41123

Anyway, if you think I’m slow to respond or acting out of sorts, just know I’m waiting for the raw carrots and broccoli to kick in. I expect to be back to myself in no time. Other than making errors, in everyday activities of daily living, I’m determined to return to active duty, fully myself.

Resisting the temptation to over-spiritualize my unwanted and uninvited interruption I can’t turn down the invitation to pay attention to matters of the heart. It does appear that our hearts are prone to unsuspecting combat. If we see ourselves engaged in meaningful work it’s easy to notice that poor diet and lack of extraneous exertion will have a derogatory presence.

Eating a steady diet of fast foods like rejection, unworthiness, and isolation will render us immobile and inactive. We can ignore the need to exercise goodwill, toward ourselves and others, leaving us where prevention is too late and a cure is required. Remember, if you have burned with anger, unforgiveness, and self-loathing it’s never to late to quit smoking. We can all give up fried hatred; self-directed or otherwise.

Energy and good health are necessary to a vibrant life. Giving up is not appealing unless you are headed in the wrong direction, thinking wrong thoughts, or allowing self-defeating attitudes to clog the ever-important circulatory system. Think”heart health!”

My book “If Only I Had A Dad: Finding Freedom From Fatherlessness” is good for what ails us; what ails our hearts. If you have lived with a broken heart, struggled to know who you are, desired more clarity, and would like to know how to treat the high cholesterol chaos running through our collective humanity, give this book a chance.

If my book doesn’t make you cry, laugh, and leave you hopeful email me! I know a good shrink I can refer you to. Just joking; sort of!

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The Mission of Transformation!?

The seven truths that lead me to a life I don’t want to leave.

It took over fifty years to live it out and two years to write it but today, on my sixtieth birthday, I’m happy to share my journey with you.sixty-and-two

I had to unravel a serious emotional, mental, and religious knot. My dad abandoned me and I had three stepfathers by the time I was nine. I was raised in an ultra conservative religion and yet conformity didn’t set me free.

I searched and searched, good places and bad, but the pain never stopped until, that one moment in time when everything changed. I’m fortunate. I can pinpoint the time, place, and circumstances that marked my transformation. It was only the beginning but I would never be the same. book-promo-pic

I didn’t know what being wanted felt like. I had no sense of worthiness. Any uniqueness existed in my eternal defect. Things don’t last. I didn’t know where I belonged. With no clarity, and the absence of my identity I roamed into hyper-masculinity and developed approval addiction.

When my grandson dropped out of heaven I became a man!

master-book-release-picRead the whole real life story, with the ugly left in, and hope for us all!

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Get the Workbook free for a limited time at: ifonlyihadadad.com