Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Two Kinds of People

(Hat Tip:  American Viking)

There are two kinds of people in our lives.

The first kind of people are those that are with us.  They come and go in our lives.  Perhaps they help us, perhaps them harm us slightly.  But they hardly challenge us to be better or different - instead, they have us fit into the agendas of their lives.  We fill particular wants or needs within their existences and so a careful and perhaps unconscious game begins in our lives with them, a game in which they neither excessively encourage nor inspire us to change but work to maintain us in their status quo such that we are always doing what they need us to do.  In some cases, they would prefer that we tried nothing new or challenging - or at least very small challenges or changes, carefully controlled and not threatening to the larger status quo.

The other kind of people are those that challenge us.  They may come and go but I tend to doubt that they ever truly disappear from our lives - like calls to like.  These are the ones who seek to make us that best of ourselves that we can be.  We have no agendas into which to fit in their lives; instead, their agenda is to as much of their lives as they can, to challenge themselves to be the very best of themselves that they can be.  Interestingly, they do not just hold this to themselves; instead, they seek to spread it amongst those that are around them.

So many cannot or will not hear, are happy to simply live a life within the status quo of themselves and very others.  But few, a very few, hear the higher call and take the offer extended to them by those that seek to raise them up to the best of themselves that they can be.

Find this people.  Seek them out.  Spend time with them.  Exchange thoughts.  Encourage them.  Let them encourage you.

And you will find that it will change your life.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Perception

Perception
is an odd thing.

We see the world one way
and others see it another.

Others treat us one way
which we see as another.

What one calls "appreciation"
another calls "silence".

What one calls "gratitude"
another calls "minimum requirements".

One speaks a set of words
but another hears the words entirely differently.

We see the world one way
and others see it another.

Perception
is an odd thing.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Rubicon of Sorts

I believe I am finally done with where I am.

The thought occurred to me this afternoon when, trickling out of a meeting, I walked back to my cube to find the work that I left there waiting for me.  And it is not the sort of work that is either engaging or innovative - the sort of document revisions that you have to do to remain compliant, not the sort of things you need to do because it changes the world.

And then, looking at my flickering screen, staring out the windows, listening to the sounds of my disgruntled coworkers, I realized I was done.

The fix is in.  I have nowhere to go here.  Yes, words will be given and vague promises made to placate any need I feel to move on (after all, I do fill a useful niche) but the chance of actual change is minimal.

In other words, I spend 10 hours a day (8 hours +2 commute)  not really going anywhere at all.  In life math, 30% of any given week is spent merely treading water.

6 years.  Treading water.

Not really sure what this means, of course.  There are plenty of good personal reasons to stay in the area, reasons that have indirectly lead me to where I am today.  There are some places I might go, but here is as good as any.

But the time is now.  I am done treading water.  I am done settling for what should be more.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Little Steel In The Soul

So one of the outcomes of the Obstacle Course is a little steel in my soul.

It is working itself out in small ways.  Standing up to questions instead of just caving in and doing what others ask.  Contemplating taking a test based on the fact that I could pass it, not that I will - but with the knowledge that "Could pass" will result in better opportunities later.  Distributing small chores to others.  Beginning to act (in small, maybe silent ways) more like someone that looks like me but is not.

These are very tentative moves, to be sure.  Every single one pushes me a bit outside of my comfort zone.  But that is okay  - the time has come that I need to be more actively pushed out.  Because just waiting around causes you to be pushed in, which serves precisely everyone else but yourself.

Where is this coming from?  The race.  Every time something has come up I ask myself the question:  "Is this more difficult than:  climbing a wall, getting out of a pit, crawling through mud, trying to swing over something and fall?"  The answer, of course, is always the same.

Of course not.

Of course not - because no matter what situation I face, they almost never involve physical action that at best would be embarrassing and at worst would hurt.  All of the actions are mental or relational in nature - perhaps confrontational or controversial, but hardly the sort of thing where the damage is permanent.

I was told by someone not that long ago that I needed to decide what wanted to do and then pursue that.  It presented in the context of my career.  But there hints that this thing is my soul is hardly the sort of thing to limit itself to one area of my life.

Knowing you can something far above what you actually are doing gives you the confidence to push out that much farther.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Obstacle Run

This weekend, as I mentioned, I participated in an Obstacle Ru:n, Conquer the Gauntlet:



4.1 miles.  28 obstacles.  Prizes consisted of a shirt and medal:




What did I do?  I moved 4.1 miles. I climbed walls including a 12 foot one, humped through and over mud, climbed out of a 10 foot pit, tried swing across water obstacles (and failed miserably), crawled on my face in mud, climbed a 15 foot tire chain and then back down, climbed a slanted wall with rope, carried a 40 lb bag for a lap, hammered a block of wood with a sledge and back, and ran and walked through mud.  And more mud. 4.1 miles worth of mud.

And all I got was this T-shirt and medal.

One might wonder why a person would do such things.  And it would be reasonable to wonder.  Even if one was to win the competition, the purse probably pays for the race (just).  I finished tired and sore and covered in mud (showering was an hour long affair).

Why do it?  Bragging rights, for sure - I finished.  I made it.  I tried every obstacle (although I failed at a number of them).  But I can hold my head up high.

More importantly, I found out I can do things I did not think were possible.  I climbed a wall with help and then helped other climb.  I heaved myself over and through and under is ways I could not expect.  I managed to do one or two obstacles - the 15' tire climb and the slanted wall with the rope -that I not think that I could do.

And most of all, I finished.  I kept moving.

How did this change anything?

Because today when I hit a problem I could not solve or something that bothered me instead of getting worked up over it I simply said  "I climbed walls and things and crawled through mud this weekend - if I could do that, I can do this."

Maybe I did not find my outer limits this weekend, but I sure got a little closer.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Not Deserving

This weekend I participated in an obstacle run (more about this later this week).  It was a physical challenge to be sure - 4.1 miles, 28 obstacles.  But I finished. And as I mulled over the event in my mind this weekend, I realized that there is a growing dichotomy in my life.

 It is almost as if I am living two lives.  In one life - the life that seems to dwell on certain weekends at iaijutsu - I am constantly challenging myself, pushing myself to the limits of what I am (currently) capable of, trying for success as hard as I can for the purposes of bragging rights.   In the other life - the life that I live almost 95% of the time - I am living a life which seems to be headed nowhere in particular at a good clip.  I get up, I go to work, I do the things one has to live.  

I live the life of quiet desperation.

I queried this in my mind because I cannot understand why it is that there is such a difference in these two things in my mind.  How can I push myself for success in one thing (which is seemingly of little import in the vast scope of things) and not transfer that drive, that energy, into the things of my life which I would think would actually make a difference in my life?

I asked the question of Nighean Ruadh in the course of a conversation.  Her response?  "Because for some reason you believe you don't deserve it."

Ouch.

I sat there with that thought flickering back at me, with that sinking sensation in the pit of your stomach where you know something is true although you do not want to admit it.  I know it - in the back of my head, in my heart, I know that thought is there.  You do not deserve to succeed.  You do not deserve success.  Ultimately, you do not deserve to be happy.

Perhaps this is a legacy of the depressed - I think at some level all those who are depressed believe themselves undeserving of any sort of happiness or success - but I do not think that it all. Somehow, somewhere, the thought is lodged in my subconscious that I simply do not deserve to succeed.

Which explains the fact that I can put my time and energy into Highland Athletics and Iai and an Obstacle run:  in succeeding, there is no risk of true success in the rest of my life.  I can safely achieve something with no danger to my subconscious that there will be success in other areas.

But how do I push this into other areas?  This is problem I have to resolve - without that resolution, I will continue to split my life into that which I will do to be successful and that which I will not because I do not deserve to be successful.

And this is simply a life I cannot continue to live.