Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Too Familiar

Midwestern June sky.
One of my favorite sights is the sky. There is something peaceful, magical, and stunning about its appearance. I have interrupted conversations in order to point out and take pictures of extraordinary colors, seemingly painted rays of light, and stark, white clouds. While I have fully appreciated exceptional skies in different locations, I have interrupted significantly less conversation to point out the sky’s beauty when I wasn’t traveling. I had to ask if I was so accustomed to the miracle of the sun rising and setting over me at home that I failed to appreciate it. Had the incredible beauty that I witnessed daily become less incredible or had I become too familiar with it?

The idea of becoming too familiar with beauty led me to analyze how I view habitual surroundings. I discovered that I took on an extremely limited and short-sighted line of vision when I was in my routine. While riding down the street at home I would only see the next light so I wouldn’t miss my turn or the car in front of me so I wouldn’t hit it. I only saw the scenes in my immediate line of vision. Yet, while traveling, I didn’t see cities in that same limited view. My focus expanded. I looked for more than the upcoming block or the car riding in front of me. While in another city, I absorbed views broadly and intentionally. I purposefully sought out an experience. I expected beauty so I experienced beauty.

The show that the sky puts on in any location is artistic, but we often overlook its beauty while in familiar surroundings. If we can overlook the beauty that exists in something as pervasive as the sky, what else have we become so familiar with that we no longer see its beauty? Beauty exists in the sky, but beauty also exists in laughter, health, intelligence, strength, talent, feelings, and in love. Whether it’s beauty we see or experience, we must not become so familiar with it that we are no longer moved by its presence.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A New Narrative

I get a kick out of hearing my grandmother talk about me as a toddler. She chuckles as she says that I didn’t need to be entertained and then shares examples of my independence. Her trip down memory lane usually ends with her telling me, “You’ve always been that way.” 

My grandmother’s reflection is harmless, but the narratives people recite can usher in stagnation. Repeatedly hearing what we’ve always done or who we’ve always been may lead us to believe that we are unable to create a new narrative for ourselves, even when we desire change. Maybe you were told you have always been a quitter. Perhaps people constantly remind you that you made bad relationship or financial decisions. Even if some truth exists in the reminders of others, even if you are certain that your behavior supports those statements, you still have the power to create a new narrative.

One of the greatest benefits of tomorrow is the ability to create change. You are not required to meet expectations based on the past. Maybe you quit more than you should. Maybe your past is filled with questionable relationship or financial choices. No matter what your past reveals, you have the power to create a different future. You do not have to live out the familiar, old, and repetitive narrative that others—including you—insist on replaying. Give yourself the room you need to grow. Create change by believing you are capable of change. Create change by creating a new narrative of yourself, for yourself.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Power of Possibility

I had the pleasure of spending a few days in the beautiful city of Santa Barbara, California. Riding up Gibraltar Rock I experienced magnificent views of the ocean on one side, and even more majestic mountains on the other. As I observed the incredible natural beauty, I was amazed by a simple realization; I witnessed such stunning sights because many years ago someone believed. I could feel such magnificence because a long time ago someone believed that building a road on a mountain was possible. Someone had the confidence and freedom to look at that massive stone and think, “A road needs to be up there and I know how to make that happen.”

All of us have the ability to stimulate change. Unfortunately, many of us doubt our level of impact before we even start. We convince ourselves not to try. We tell ourselves we’re not enough. Not smart enough, strong enough, talented enough, good enough, young enough, nor experienced enough. We essentially believe that we aren’t deserving enough to live in the realm of possibility. Fortunately, that isn’t the truth. Instead of doubting our abilities or comparing our life’s work to others, we should challenge ourselves to walk in the freedom of believing. We should experience the power of possibility.

When you entertain possibility you possess power. Limitations are viewed as temporary. Fear of failure no longer holds your thoughts captive. Excuses loose their grip. Would you prefer limitations, fear, and excuses to have the greatest impact in your life? Or would you prefer your life to be a reflection of freedom, empowerment, and possibility? Someone looked at a mountain and saw possibility. What do you see when you gaze at the mountains in your life?

No matter what others have said, or who didn’t believe in your talents, or what you may have convinced yourself, you are enough to alter your world. You are simply enough. Change your mind, treat yourself to the benefit of believing, and give yourself permission to experience the power of possibility.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Unexpected Support

As I’m sure you can relate, during my most challenging times my relationships were redefined. In any situation when the truth doesn’t line up with expectation or desire, it is harsh. As some of the major players in my life were unable to provide the level of support that I felt situations warranted, I had to accept some truths that I didn’t anticipate nor want to accept.

We often deal on opposite ends of the same spectrum. Our most influential lessons usually stem from hardship. Our greatest joys are magnified by the mere thought of past pains. Gratitude is amplified when we consider previous lack. When we feel uncomfortable we only need to look at our past to know that we are more than likely on the brink of major change. Without discontent we would never strive for better because undesirable feelings are what prompt us toward introspection and evaluation. Essentially, we don’t change our lives without first changing our minds.

Accepting truths regarding some of my relationships was initially distressing. However, my need to shift out of discomfort prompted me to evaluate. Based on history, I knew that I would receive all of the support I needed. I received all the support I needed because there were always unexpected sources of support. Instead of focusing on the disappointment, I focused on the gift of unexpected sources of support. I could not allow the absence of someone to dilute the presence of anyone. It is difficult to discover who cannot be what you wished, but it is even more wonderful to discover who becomes more than you hoped.