Archive for the 'My Way of Introduction' Category

The 3 Rules of Participation

You know, there’s always got to be some boundaries. My intent is to chronicle the ongoing process of rebuilding “me.” Certainly, this blog is about the steps I’m taking to my great life and I aim to provide you an honest, no-shit assessment (HNSA) of how it’s going.

In being the subject, I will share with you my passions (philosophy, science, history and music) and endeavor to always tie them together into the journey of getting my “self” back. I’ll lay out my ideas and feelings in their raw reality. I’ll admit to my failures so that you may avoid them. I’ll hammer the pulpit from time to time to inspire YouBuilding. My words will go a long way toward my assimilation of these learning experiences and, by allowing you to see the world the way I do, help you find hope and belief and strength in confusing hours.

Here are the rules:

1. Do your own thinking
I’m writing from my observations and beliefs. This is my truth. It is likely, encouraged and entirely acceptable for yours to be different. This is an “idea buffet.” Take what you like and ingest it.

2. Share your opinion
This must be a discussion. Everyone benefits from honest discourse and new perspectives. These are the hallmarks of understanding and adaptation.

3. Be respectful
Each pair of eyes has a different world view. Agreement is improbable, tolerance is paramount. This is a forum for truthful opinions and thoughtful debate; take your torches and pitchforks to another part of the internet.

Today, at a personal crossroads, I am launching MeBuilding to create a legacy built on more than a “near-life experience” and maybe, just maybe, build a new ethos on a bedrock of intelligence, culture and eloquence.

Ground rules

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You give everything weight. Every experience, every possession, every relationship has a certain mass in your life, ultimately chosen by you. Each piece of material, whether physical or psychological, is given a value based on significance and emotional impact. The birth of your children and your first kiss tip the scales more than some order you placed at Starbucks or being cut off on the highway, yet all of them have a designated place and load.

Day by day, mostly without making a conscious decision, you accumulate this stuff.

Very slowly, I began asking myself questions. It is unlikely any of us will ever fully discard our past, barring severe retrograde amnesia, and it’s debatable how beneficial it could be (regardless of how appealing the thought). Without my past, I’d be unable to look back over the peaks and valleys of my life to see how far I’d come.

Realizing I would always carry these things, I decided to make them lose weight.

I wrote letters. Ex-girlfriends, ex-bosses, any situation which I gave undue negative emotional importance got a note of some kind. I explained how I felt and why, then acknowledged my responsibility (no matter how little) in allowing these things to affect me and expressed forgiveness as I released these “excess pounds.”

It was liberating to finally unpin and throw the grenades bouncing around my head and let the explosions create acceptance of unchangeable past…and shape the foundation for glorious future.

Standing quietly in the photo gallery of my mind, I looked around the room for connections between the images and the present day. This is where the inquisition gained momentum. “How does this snapshot relate to that older one?” Each “breakthrough” was, in actuality, the next nesting doll which had to be opened to reveal an event further back.

This process of “personal archaeology”* was necessary to determine how I got where I am and what’s useful for the future. “Temet nosce,” as the Oracle says. By figuring out which experiences unconsciously shaped my values, I am exchanging noxious for valuable and buttressing the helpful.

This is a solid base for growth…and the point from where MeBuilding will move forward.

Uncovering The Foundation

*Copyright 2010. (I’m half joking. I like the phrase a lot.)
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You must understand your life will have eras of ascension and decline, punctuated my “high” and “low” experiences. Some say they’re ordered like seasons. It’s important to figure out what creates those cycles, both internally and externally.

Sometimes you need help.

I decided to avail myself of John Assaraf’s Having It All Challenge a few weeks after the breakup. I had grand ideas of what it would bring me: more income, a better outlook and the accountability to achieve the myriad dreams that stream through my head. I ventured into the six-month process with little in the way of defined targets for any of these fantastic goals, save one. I remember distinctly telling myself I would be satisfied if I could feel better connected to God.

I’ve been a person of faith all my life, though my family went through fits and starts when it came to regular attendance on Sundays. God has been a part of my belief system as I’ve grown up, though I will admit to asking a lot of questions. I have traced a winding, inquisitive path marked by what I perceived as a lack of faith when it comes to building a relationship with the Creator. I realize now it was simply a lack of understanding.

In that way, I consider the Challenge a raging success.

Throughout the program, participants are bombarded with content on all fronts. There’s much to do and learn. Shifting a mindset developed over years–or decades–takes a lot of time and effort, more than I conceived of at first. The toughest lesson to grasp, one which I feel I’ve only come to really comprehend in the last few weeks, is sometimes you must go back to move forward.

Bursting at the seams with confidence and hope in May, I hit July with less energy than a cyclist pedaling past the halfway point in a Tour de France mountain stage. Churning with all my might, I seemed to be hovering in one place–unhappy with a job rumors surfaced I’d be fired from, feeling my mind partially disconnected from my body and wholly frustrated. What the hell was wrong?

Mercifully, something clicked.

I was on a weekly conference call, trying desperately to listen to something I knew was important. My mind was elsewhere, remembering a conversation I’d had earlier in the day with a coworker about “the one that got away.” (Or, to say it the way I’d acted for seven years, “The one I kick the shit out of myself for screwing up with.”) As the gentleman being interviewed, Jeff Gignac, went on discussing the importance of choosing our words and realizing the impact of the stories we tell ourselves–something I firmly believe in–I finally asked myself the right question…

“Why are you still carrying this stuff?”

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This is not the beginning, it’s where I’ve chosen for you to start. It is not the root of the tree, but the fork, where my life diverged from the path I had selected to that point. In time, you will learn of “before,” so that you can understand “during” and “after.”

You can remember some things perfectly clearly. The tone of voice is absolutely pristine, saying more than the words themselves. During the moment, learning you’re breaking up with someone is tough enough. You think of the time you spent together, instances you could have seen it coming–or trusted your instincts to get out–and how a foreseeable future with someone you really cared about vanished into thin air.

You are faced with a difficult change. You know something just isn’t right. You decide to look within and grow.

I have been on a long path of self-examination for nearly three years now, beginning when I opened my mind to meditation after reading No Time To Lose by Pema Chodron just weeks before I closed my business with bankruptcy looming. Closing my eyes and focusing on my breath as it passed through my nostrils was the only way I could calm my brain enough to sleep. (In retrospect, it helped me handle the destruction of all I’d worked for with calm “professionalism,” as an acquaintance wrote.)

When that breakup occurred, I chose to push further. I decided to search for the answers to my questions, seek the truth about myself and move forward. What I thought required a few tweaks instead generated a true me, built from the ground up.

Just how far down does the rabbit hole go? MeBuilding tells you what I’ve found and how.

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