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Creating a Potent Personal World

Posted on March 27, 2018 in Giving Back

I wish peace for myself. I am motivated by a desire to make my world a better place. If I am motivated by love, rather than by resentment, bitterness, feelings of betrayal, doubt and self-loathing, then all this baggage, all the negative beliefs I’ve dragged around with me most of my life will simply… fall away.

I must check what my motivation is before every decision I make. Before I make a decision, I need to stop myself and ask, with complete honesty, what is truly driving me? Why am I going to do what I am about to do? If, after realizing that complete honesty is required, my answer is that I am being motivated by resentment or vindictiveness, fear or doubt, betrayal, or by any number of other little pieces of garbage I’ve been carrying around with me most of my life, and I am not being motivated by a desire to make my community, my world, a better place, then I need to stop myself from making that decision, regroup and purposefully redefine what is I seek.

So then, peace, for me, comes from being motivated by making my community, my world, a better place. How do I accomplish this? How do I go about making my world a better place? Firstly, I need to define the boundaries of what I call “my world” or “my community”. My personal world, at this moment includes the computer that I am writing this on, my office, and my apartment. I am alone here when I write. So how can I make this personal world a better place? I can organize this space more effectively. I can ensure that what I need is within reach and I can reduce the amount of interference that might prevent me from achieving this day’s goals. I can turn my cell phone off. I can close my email program. I can eat a healthy breakfast and limit my coffee intake to two cups. I can stretch and exercise for a few minutes before beginning my daily activities. I can put myself into a positive mind-set through affirmations and meditation. I can practice a sense of gratitude and thank the universe for providing me with the opportunity to continually realize my potential. I have power here in my personal world. I operate from a position of power. I am powerful.

As I expand out into the larger community, I can affect this same world-view on a larger scale. I can maintain a positive attitude and hopefully infect others with this same approach to life. I can compliment the check-out lady on her efficiency. I can let my neighbor know how much I appreciate the work he puts into making his yard look outstanding. I can help someone new to the area find the location they are searching for. I can smile and say thank you. I can offer a “have a great day” to a stranger. This may seem antiquated or idealistic to some, but I believe, I know, through personal experience that it works to make the world a better place; even a world as it is today, a world of self-absorbed individuals who would rather wear ear buds on the light-rail than engage in conversation with a stranger. I get it; the world we live in today seems much scarier than the one I was raised in. Conversing with a stranger has plenty of potential pit-falls. Who knows who the person sitting across from you is? But living a life in fear is no way to live. Risk often results in reward.

Am I being motivated by fear? Am I being motivated by resentment? Greed? Betrayal? Regret? Why do I do the things I do? This question must inform each decision I make. If I am motivated by love than the decision can be counted on as a good decision. If I am motivated by kindness, compassion, mercy, or an attitude of abundance then my decision can be relied on to lead me in the direction of my goal – to realize my life’s fullest potential.

Be Still and Reap the Rewards – Operating from a Position of Power

Posted on March 17, 2018 in Change and Growth

There is a gentleman here who since his arrival, is constantly complaining, becoming angry about how the correctional officers speak to him and act toward him. Shane feels he is being disrespected and makes vague threats concerning officers and staff.

I overheard him complaining one day and offered to him that the correctional officer doesn’t lose any sleep over the situation, perhaps doesn’t care, and most likely doesn’t even know his name. Perhaps Shane could let go and find some peace in his life.

He is constantly operating from a position of weakness rather than a position of power. And by weakness and power I’m not making a moral judgment call. Operating from a position of weakness doesn’t make one a bad person.

Weakness and power in this context refer to positions of unrealized potential versus realized potential, inefficiency versus efficiency in inefficacy versus efficacy.

Man standing in field, looking to the sunset.

What Shane has done is to externalize what he perceives as the problem. The problem he is experiencing is “out there,” it is a problem with the correctional officer and the correctional officer’s attitude, in Shane’s way of thinking.

However, by externalizing the problem, by taking no responsibility for the situation, he has abdicated all power in his ability to solve it. In Shane’s eyes, he might solve the problem by verbally assaulting the correctional officer or by physical assault.

But this solves nothing. It would only serve to compound the problem. It would result in further loss of freedom, an increase in his stress level and to generally make his life more unmanageable. As long as the problem is “out there” it is completely unsolvable.

He is operating from a position of weakness.

No personal problem, if it is externalized, can be solved. All problems then must be internalized in one’s mind. They are a function of how we view ourselves in the context of our place in the world. This perception is based on our beliefs, values, attitudes and result in a particular behavioral pattern.

Therefore, problems must addressed through an internalization process by realizing that they exist within ourselves. How then could Shane, by internalizing his problem, address the issue at hand?

He could realize that he is being driven by ego and false pride. He could realize that a solution might be to walk away knowing he can become mentally still, calm his emotions and find peace spiritually.

The most powerful position we can operate from is one in which we are still mentally, calm emotionally and peaceful spiritually. Only then can we see ourselves in the context of our place in the world with any real clarity.

I play the card game Hearts with three other gentleman here. It is a fantastic game in that it represents a microcosm of the world complete with the joys and sorrows, the grief and the ecstasy that the real-world provides.

One’s, often hidden or guarded, personality traits come to the fore when playing; passiveness, aggression, compassion. Alliances are formed and betrayed, hopes are realized or abandoned and ultimately the game is either won or lost.

One’s alter ego may take hold in a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type of mentality. It is truly a wonderful game and above all it is played in an “every man for himself” method.

The card game, Hearts, is a very pure game and there is an expectation by seasoned players that a certain protocol or method of play be followed. When this isn’t followed, animosity and resentment may result.

Enter John, a player who understands the mechanics of play but perhaps not the subtle spirit which guides the game.

When challenged, John may abandon all hope and proceed on a streak of self-destruction to the detriment of the other players. His feelings become hurt and his sense of false pride compels him.

He loses the perspective that Hearts purists rely upon for quality game play. I originally saw John’s attitude, toward the game and the other players, as a problem. The problem was that John was not a good Hearts player, at least in the context of the spirit of the game.

If only John could get over himself, if he could just see and appreciate the games purity all would benefit and the games would be of a much higher quality. I had externalized my problem and I could not change John nor his playing style.

Although these options were beyond my purview, I focused my energy on changing something beyond my ability to change. Since my problem was externalized I had completely abdicated my power and my ability to solve the problem.

I took a step back and honestly viewed my motivation for wanting to change these externalized concerns. I asked myself what the true nature of the problem was and I realized it was an issue of how I saw myself in the context of my place in the world.

It was predicated on my core beliefs, values, attitudes and emotional state. What I realized was that John and I suffered from exactly the same problem. So I assumed responsibility. I took ownership of the problem by internalizing it.

This required a brutally honest appraisal of what motivated me. Now solutions abounded. Now I was operating from a powerful position. I could accept John’s game play as a challenge and learn to grow from it. I could simply walk away and no longer play with him.

I was in control! I felt completely and utterly powerful. Empowerment is a heady experience. Being still mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, along with an honest motivational appraisal are the linchpins for the ultimate power position.

All great leaders understand this. It allows one to lead by example and to bring out the best in one’s subordinates, family, friends and associates. It is a major support in our ability to grow and to learn.

Operating from a position of power, via an honest calm and centered self, is what I have sought my entire life.

This position has brought me peace, comfort and an ability to ultimately realize my fullest potential. My advice to all those who have sought a similar state of being? Be still, be true to yourself, and reap the reward!

Create! Power! Life! Live Your Life to the Fullest!

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