What is holding you back?

They say we should face and conquer what challenges us. Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously said,

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Yet many of us are stuck from moving forward either because we are self aware of a particular fear and can’t purge ourselves of it or we have no idea why we can’t or even why we need to move forward, yet we are at the same time detecting discomfort with the status quo.

Let’s say we recognize attributes in ourselves that we just don’t like and wish them away? But they don’t leave us. They hang around like that guest who needed a place to stay for a week and six months later reminds you of Alan from Two and a Half Men. Or for instance many of us intuitively know we need to leave that job or pursue our dream but we don’t. We are stuck. We are being held back from personal liberation, true joy, fulfillment or love simply because this “thing” is holding us back and we often aren’t even aware of why.

Come on – you are reading this and you know yourself that you desire to change something in your life. You want to be happier. You want to increase your productiveness with your spare time. You want to fall in love or find that love again. You want to succeed at work. You want to be fit. You don’t want to cry so often. You want to reach out to that estranged family member. You don’t want to be angry at the slightest provocation. You don’t want to yell at your kids or your spouse. We all yearn for such peace and contentment in our lives.

I read a quote the other day that spoke to me so profoundly that I have to share it here with you. Some of you might have seen me post this on Facebook:

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.” summersaldana.com

So how does one identify this thing? How does one un-become and then become what we are meant to be? I don’t have the answer I am afraid. We each must discover what is serving us well or isn’t. And just like the alcoholic or drug addict who cannot break down that wall of dependency until they acknowledge that they want to change their life – so must we.

What is working for me is that I am seeking knowledge of – well – me. No one can know and understand us more than us. It is Us vs. Us or Me vs. Me. That is our unique journey in life.

This morning I completed reading a book by a special friend Lisa Sugar entitled, Ten Days to Die – Ten Ways to Live, https://www.facebook.com/tenwaystolive/?fref=ts It is lovely tribute to her mother who I had the honour of knowing personally. I was especially drawn to Lisa’s Treasured Insight #4, “Ninety percent of what happens to you in your life is about your attitude towards the event and only ten percent is about the event itself.”

I think the greatest lesson in Lisa’s grief inspired words was identifying what is holding us back. Is it a fear of someone or something else or the uncertainty of uncovering our true essence? Do we blame others for where we are or are we ready to take responsibility for our own lives? I think we all understand the question. The answer can be found.

Is the world still flat?

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
― Isaac Asimov

Full disclosure – I used to be as closed-minded as they come. I am however trying not to be like that rehabilitated smoker many of us know …

Our assumptions are also like a prison. They often hold us captive to staying in the same place, prevent us from new experiences and stymie our development. Imagine how the world of science would continue to advance without challenging ones previous convictions or “understandings”? How often have the brilliant minds of the world when faced with protests of “that is impossible” created new “understandings”? They don’t always have to be “rocket science” examples either. Think of a practice at work that you believe can be improved by changing up the process somewhat but are faced with “we have never done it that way – it won’t work” or “we tried that once – it didn’t work”. Well as you know – it often does work with a new open-minded approach!

Where else can rigidity be found in our lives? In politics? In our personal relationships? In religion? In our belief system? I was about to ask if we have ever been wrong, but instead of being wrong, have we possibly just failed to hear a new perspective by shutting down a foreign idea or new concept? We don’t have to agree with it. We don’t have to change our minds either – but we can listen to it with an open and respectful mind.

I watched an intriguing YouTube video the other day about a young boy of ten-years old who claimed to have lived a past life. He was interviewed sitting alongside his mother as he was describing in excruciating detail what he remembered of his absorbing experience. Of course the online comments section are often more entertaining than a video or article itself and in this case there was no disappointment.

The kid is an absolute mess And should see a psychiatrist.

Its always a reincarnation of somone important. No caveman memories or brief flashes of scraping gum off a sidewalk for a living?

I have tought that you are smarter…previous live story told by a 10 year old kid wit A LOOOOT of imagination

There is no possibility whatsoever that reincarnation is real. The end.

Stuart Lewis Those with a closed mind are the ones who once believed the world to be flat.

And for the record, I am not stating that I believe one way or the other that reincarnation exists – but recently the subject matter was raised with me and it has sparked some curiosity. I am now reading more about it.

So how does that absolutist know with certainty that reincarnation does not exist? Of course he can’t, just as one also cannot prove that God does or does not exist. We can use reason, logic or a sixth sense to arrive at our personal understanding or belief, but proof? That will be difficult. What is also quite challenging is the human discourse when at minimum one of the disagreeing individuals lacks the capability of truly listening to an unfamiliar or perplexing thought. They may not be ready! Remember the last time you were confronted with a point of view that seemed to the other as indisputable fact but to you was indisputably false? Where do you go from there? The proverbial “we’ll agree to disagree”? What if alternatively we said, “I am curious, tell me more about this”.

You’ll never know what light can shine in if one doesn’t scrub off those windows of assumption once in a while …


What IF I supported Hillary Clinton and I got a tattoo?

“Once in a golden hour I cast to earth a seed. Up there came a flower, the people said, a weed.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Whether you know me personally or not, you might have certain preconceptions of who I am. If you know me currently or knew me from our respective past, your conjecture of who I am might but might not be more realistic. If you know me only from my written word, you could imagine me in another more speculative fashion. Or the thought of who I am is inconsequential to you beyond the binary code of O’s and 1’s and that is just fine too.

Looking across our diverse societies today I am finding that we are generally a more polarized people than ever before. Now, I was not around during the McCarthy era of the early 1950’s to judge or compare that time to the present, but I am alarmingly concerned with the social order I observe today. I see this heightened state of separateness harming us immensely. For example, debates rage concerning a woman’s right to choose or the states. Regarding faith, a believer or an atheist? Clinton or Trump, Democrat or Republican? Are you pro NRA or against? Is global warming real or bad science? Do Black Lives Matter to you or do All Lives Matter? It is a veritable ideological mine field today.

But ever since Adam and Eve we have had differences of opinion. Today however, the oratory of opposition has often become toxic and respect has vanished. When one sides with a liberal, the conservative is apoplectic and gauges the opponent as having an IQ under 70, and just so no one thinks I am aligning politically one way or another, and vice versa too! There is no clearer example of this than to observe the blood sport called Primary Season in the USA. Whether it is Cruz vs. Trump, Clinton vs. Trump or even Trump vs. Trump (yes I jest on this last one), not only are the daggers out amongst the electoral gladiators but amongst their respective devotees as well.

And oftentimes is gets very personal. What would you think of me if I were to back someone who you never thought I would (or should in YOUR opinion) and a candidate you could never support like Hillary Clinton? It wasn’t so long ago that I ceased being friends with someone whose political taste was too much for me to handle – and I am not talking about an extremist position at all! I was very wrong then. Should the support of a political candidate call into question one’s judgement, their mental capacity or the values of that person? I myself have been called out for not supporting a political party and prime minister here in Canada. I can only imagine the upshot for some on a decision about getting a tattoo.

I wish we could just stop judging one another. You have not walked in my shoes. I have not walked in yours. I have never been stopped by the police because of the colour of my skin. I can’t imagine what that is like and I won’t blame the supporters of Black Lives Matter for saying enough is enough. I may question their tactics at times but not their frustration with the status quo.

I seek answers to our collective separateness and how as citizens of the world we can move beyond it. The real issue is why can’t we try and see another person’s perspective with respect, understanding and in some cases empathy? And if we are still so bothered by an individual’s choice of political leadership, or a personal preference we can’t comprehend, then I suggest the issue is yours to own.

 “Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” John F. Kennedy