jump to navigation

Blood on the Sock January 24, 2010

Posted by jassnight in Change, fitness, Job Search, Life, running.
Tags: , , , ,
4 comments

On my first attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon, I blew out my quads. A runner will turn his hat around when his goal is lost.

Here I am. After an 18 mile run I am in bed with a cold pack on my heel and a corn bag on my left thigh. I am a mess and this is only the beginning of the training for the Boston Marathon, my last bastion of freedom.

So I started out this morning, already sore in the heel (now thinking that it is the return of an old injury – Plantar Fasciitis) and new soreness in the knees. At mile nine, a quick stretch on each leg calmed the knee soreness but from there a malaise of pain gradually took over my lower body until around mile 15, when it felt like my legs were on fire. After the run, while slowly unraveling running gear (it was very hard to bend over) I discovered blood on the top of my sock where a persistent hot spot has opened up despite Body Glide ®, and taping. Yes, I am in sad shape and it is only the beginning.

I remember the training for my very first marathon. My buddies and I were experiencing a whole world of hurt that season. I was popping ibuprofen like it was candy. During the carb-loading pre-race dinner the night before the race, I made the grand pronouncement of, “Hey, maybe because we trained so well, it won’t hurt so bad.” My buddies, having run a marathon before, just laughed and laughed at that statement. They laughed again when I discovered that I was wrong – very wrong. I couldn’t go up or down stairs for a week.

I don’t know what is up with my thought process. Yes, I have embraced change. Yes, I am working hard on making my life the life I want. However, I always think, “Oh this will be easy.”  What the hell am I thinking?  My run in Boston this coming April will be my 7th marathon. You would think I would remember how painful the training is. It doesn’t get any easier, and now that I am 50, I have the age thing working against me.

At one point in my life I loved being able to say, “I have succeeded in everything I have done.” It was a hollow statement. I never challenged myself. I never thought that maybe if I took control of my life, I could make a better life. I was in an unsupported career, working with people who were not collaborative or open to new ideas. I ignored a relationship that had become nothing but a conciliatory, domestic partnership. I had the body of a 75 year old, wearing out before its time, and I didn’t care. Of course I am going to be successful accepting mediocrity and compromise. Anyone would. Things have changed. I have given myself monumental challenges in a quest to become the true me with a life better suited for me.  At one point I remember saying, “Changing careers will be a snap. Creating a relationship rich in intimacy, passion and commitment – no problem. Running marathons – bring it on.” Now it is mile 18 and I am feeling the pain.

Break it down into parts

Since the winter season dictates that I leave my bike on the rack, my cross training for this race is swimming. This will serve two purposes; Cross training for the marathon, and streamlining my stroke for a future triathlon this summer. My coach has us doing drills that break down the mechanics of swimming into individual elements. He has us focusing on each part in an effort to slowly rebuild a new, more “efficient forward propulsion,” as he describes it. Again, you guessed it, I found myself saying, “Oh! This  will be easy.” Wrong! I have completely forgotten how to swim! Rebuilding something new after years of doing it wrong is not easy. Frustratingly, painfully, incredibly difficult to say the least. Damn right.

“Rebuilding something new after years of doing it wrong,” that is what I am doing. I have to remember that it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. Breaking each element down into its smallest parts is the best way to approach this. I am not ready for the end result yet. I still need to tear it down, correct the misconceptions, practice each part, rebuild from scratch. You can’t rush the end result if the end result is to be successful. Patience and persistence will get me across the finish line when the time is right. Toss in a little blood on the sock as a reminder that this is not easy, but it is going to be worth it – someday.

Advertisements

Living Separately – Together January 21, 2010

Posted by jassnight in Dating, Divorce, Life, Relationship, Unemployment.
Tags: , , ,
2 comments

Nancy Partridge and her ex-husband, David Snyder, pose outside the home that they share in Westminster, Colo., on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008. The pair divorced in January after six years of marriage but when the house failed to sell and Partridge ran out of money to pay for an apartment and her half of the mortgage, she moved back in with Snyder in August. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

In a recent post by Big Little Wolf entitled Living Together – Separately, she points out how the economy has forced some couples to live in different cities in order to maintain jobs and careers. Unfortunately the economy has not only hurt healthy relationships but also relationships on the rocks. With today’s economic challenges, it is  not uncommon for separated or divorced couples to move back in with each other, thus living separately – together.

Economic Suicide for a Family

In normal situations, when couples move toward divorce there is a liquidation of shared assets including not only real estate but also investments. Typically, there are gains in such transactions but since the first quarter of 2007, single-family home values have fallen 20 percent or more in some areas. Many divorced couples who would normally sell are stuck with houses worth less than what they owe their lender. As for investments, any securities in stocks and bonds, including retirement accounts that are tied to the market, have seen significant losses. With the unemployment rate currently at 9.7% (December, 2009) it is likely that many of the separated/divorced are also struggling with job loss.

PDP’s – Purely Domestic Partners

Whether it is a recent loss of income or sinking real estate and investment values, more and more separated/divorced couples are making rational sense of their situation and finding solutions by splitting living space up in jointly owned residences as a way to maintain property investments or living standards for themselves and their children. This is especially true when children are college age. There is no contest when a child’s future is hindered by a separated couple’s selfish actions. In fact, much to the divorce lawyer’s dismay, many are even postponing divorce proceedings in an effort to conserve resources. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers states that 37 percent of attorneys polled reported fewer divorces in a bad economy. Regardless, couples that have left the relationship because of abuse, or infidelities do not make good candidates for PDP’s. More than likely most estranged couples that manage shared living space successfully have had amicable separations in the first place.

Successful PDP housing is dependent upon several factors.  There must be enough living space as well as an appropriate floor plan so that each person is comfortable with the ratio between private space (bedroom, bathroom, closet, etc..) and communal space. Negotiating specific understanding about space, behavior, childcare, assigned duties, socialization and dating must be done beforehand. A time limit or a situation benchmark is also important to stipulate for the termination of the joint housing agreement such as an acceptable purchase offer on the house, employment, or unmanageable living differences. If there are children, keep in mind how they feel about the situation. It is quite possible that this transitional time can be easier for children to process. However, if there is constant arguing and fighting, think twice before moving back in.

PDP Caveats

None-the-less, temporarily postponing one problem can easily create other problems. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of a joint living situation. Keep in mind that this type of agreement is not the social norm. Many couples will find themselves the target for ridicule and disapproval. Mainly an assumption fueled by the divorce lawyer syndicate, society expects horrible financial ruin and emotional strife to be associated with any separation and divorce regardless of the circumstances surrounding it. Dating can also be difficult. Moving on into another relationship while sharing space with a previous relationship can be unorthodox to say the least. PDP’s may find it challenging to find anyone willing to date someone in their situation let alone have a relationship with them. Plus, the opportunities to be intimate with a newfound interest is essentially impossible since it should be a fundamental understanding that neither partner will have overnight guests, especially if there are children in the house.

It is important to remain clear on the reasoning for a joint living arrangement and not be influenced by external dissention. Financial maintenance, preservation of assets, standard of living, child stability and comfort are all good reasons to weigh the benefits of such living arrangements.  If anything, to have a little power of decision in such restrictive economic times is enough to at least think of it as an option.

Resources:

Huffington Post – Couples Staying Together Because of Poor Economy

Recession and Divorce: Living With Your Ex to Make Ends Meet

The Great Divorce Recession of 2009

What’s in Your Wallet? January 15, 2010

Posted by jassnight in Family, Job Search, Life, Unemployment.
Tags: , , ,
15 comments

They say you can tell a lot about a man by what he carries around in his wallet. I see the truth in that statement simply because with a wallet, a man has to be very selective in what goes in it, and stays in it. None of us enjoy a wallet in our back pocket. Since I lost a ton of weight, my ass no longer has that fat cushion. Sitting on a chair with a wallet in my pants is like a stone in my shoe – painful. These days my wallet goes in my jacket pocket or brief case. Whatever the reason, a man keeps his wallet lean just because it is generally, and literally a “pain in the ass.” The contents of his wallet must have purpose. There must be monetary value, functional value, historical value, or emotional value. Either that or he just forgot to take the crap out, and even that will say something about the man.

So here is my charge for the evening. I am sitting here with my wallet in my hand. What I am going to do is go through it and report what I find. Here we go…

…Opening wallet now…

Money

Let’s go for the obvious first. I have exactly $20 in cash in here – one 10, one 5, and 5 ones. That is a lot less than what I carried around with me before working on a career change. Semi-employment, which I know is much more than what many have these days, has made my wallet thinner but the reasoning goes much deeper. At one point in my life, I could not wait to buy the latest in technology, toys, gizmos, possessions. Buying made me happy – for a day or two. Then I returned to my miserable state until the next newfangled widget was purchased. Now my money is in my wallet for a different purpose. I don’t buy stuff anymore. I buy time. Whether it is drinking a beer together, a game of pool, seeing a movie, or a cup of coffee, time with friends is what makes me happy now. I make sure I always have enough just in case I have an opportunity to meet up with someone.

Cards

I seem to have an overabundance of business-like cards in here. I am going to take a closer look. Most of them are coffee discount cards, all from separate coffee houses I frequent. When you buy a cup of coffee, the barista stamps the card for you. When your card is full with stamps, you get a free cup. My favorite place is Stella’s, a small dark elongated café where students from both Ithaca College and Cornell hang to work on projects, collaborate on papers, engage in academic discussion or just gather for some down time. I am a product of this culture and it is here where I feel the most at home.

Plastic

Wow, I see to have a bunch of these stashed in various slots. 4 credit/debit cards (I have been spreading the dept around these days. That way it doesn’t seem so bad.) 2 clothing store credit cards (I need professional clothes to go on professional interviews so that I can continue to get rejection letters.) 3 grocery store cards (I don’t think they let you buy food anymore unless you have one of these!) finally, an AAA card. This is one thing I will never go without anymore. I have been in several situations where a tow was needed and the cost sunk me. So far, being a member has been a good ROI.

Membership Cards

I have three in my wallet. They are professional organizations in which my membership has lapsed. I can no longer afford to be a member. I am not sure why I keep carrying them in my wallet. It could be because I have hope that I might be an active member again at some point. More than likely it has more to  do with denial tactics.

License and Registration

Standard issue for a wallet, no surprises there. The only problem is that my license still has the picture of me from when I was fat. It doesn’t even look like me anymore.

ID Card

Even though I make very little money, I am very proud to be working where I am working. I love the work, I love the mission, and I love the people. I am proud to have my work ID card in my wallet. It even has a more recent picture of me on it!

????

What is this?  It is a 3×5 card folded in half. Old and ragged, there are several dog eared corners and frayed edges. Written in bold faded marker on one side is written, “SHUT UP – 1 hr.” I remember this! A long time ago, for one of my birthdays, my oldest daughter gave me a series of index cards as coupons. Similar to the coffee cards, the idea was to redeem them back to her in exchange for the service printed on them. Some were quite unique. She was and still is quite unique.  She is an in-your-face kind of kid – always passionate for whatever she does, always excited to learn something new, always driven to do her very best. When she was little it was no different. The coupon cards offered take-it-down-a-notch behaviors such as: “Let you talk first – 30 minutes,” “Eat with my utensils – one meal,” “Sit in my room alone – 2 hours.” The card from my wallet is one of those. Apparently she would “shut up” for one hour if I redeemed this card.  I wonder what she would do if I gave it to her now after all of these years? My bet is that it would make her talk more. The card would trigger her into a vivid discourse of her childhood; the days of tutus and Easy Bake ovens, the days of Little Mermaid and Polly Pockets. Talking about those times would be fine with me. Now that would be priceless.

Put that in your wallet.

It Takes a State of Mind, Not a Place in Time January 2, 2010

Posted by jassnight in Change, Health, Holiday, Life.
Tags: , , , ,
5 comments

Happy New Year?

Are you sure about that? What difference does one evening, one day, make in your happiness? Will writing 2010 on your checks be that much more thrilling and exciting to you than writing 2009?  I doubt it.

I have been travelling the blogosphere in the past few days and reading everyone’s thoughts on how, in this New Year, things will be different. Losing weight, exercise more, quit smoking, do more of this-do less of that – Resolutions such as these are made only to be broken within a short time span.

Cognitive Dissonance

Rationalization of bad behavior can be a powerful influence. A smoker will rationalize by thinking, “I won’t get cancer, other people get cancer.”  A dieter has thoughts of, “One more cookie won’t matter.” A couch potato will reason, “Running is bad for your knees.”

The psychological theory of Cognitive Dissonance (Leon Festinger, 1957) explains just this type of human rationalization. It is more difficult for a person to change behavior than it is to change their thought. Thus, rationalization is conceived and the behavior remains the same. In fact, the process of Cognitive Dissonance is so powerful that marketers use it as a basis to sell you products you don’t really need. They force you to make superficial decisions that make you believe that you must buy their product. “Oh! Chef Boyardee says my kids will be happier if I serve them mini-bites micro ravioli.” “Oh! I will get ‘girl-approved hair’ if I use Axe hair products.” These marketing techniques are banking on people not taking the cognitive energy to understand that these superficial connections are completely irrational.

Superficial Rationalization vs. Reality Perception

It comes right down to Ontology – the way in which people perceive their reality. There are two basic meta-theoretical perspectives on this: Determinists – the thought that prior conditions determine human behavior, and Pragmatists – the thought that people plan their behavior to meet future goals. Determinists believe that their life is all determined by fate. This is the “Forrest Gump” philosophy of “Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” People who think within this paradigm are behaviorists. They believe that their world is just a series of events and awareness levels that are slowly unveiled throughout their lives. They have no control over the outcome. These people tend to rationalize more (they are more susceptible to Cognitive Dissonance.) The Pragmatists however understand that their whole world outlook is based on previous experiences and connections and their future is completely malleable through their actions. These people are interpretivists. They understand that for every action, there is going to be change and they have previous experiences to prove it. They learn from their past mistakes, they adjust future actions by assessment of prior events, they plan accordingly for long-term improvement.

The Transformational Learning Experience

How do we learn to think like an interpretivist? How can we gain the knowledge and experience that will give us the constructs to intrinsically understand consequential behavior? What do we need to obtain the cognitive complexity needed to think long-term benefits rather than frivolous unsubstantiated pronouncements of change that will be consumed by cognitive dissonance the next day?

I was fortunate to be involved in a research project on transformational learning during my last degree work. Transformational learning has three elements; the learning experience must be memorable, it must change behavior or attitude, and it must be continuously referenced within a person’s self-narrative (Wilson, Switzer & Parrish, 2007). Long-term behavior change begins with transformational learning. There must be a personal stake involved that transforms thought into entrenched action – action that will not be shifted by cognitive dissonance or any other external influences.

Specific examples might include:

  • Personal health scare or one of a close companion = healthy living changes
  • Birth of a child = value of life and need for longevity
  • Divorce/separation = broader understanding of long standing relationship values
  • Job Loss = value in acquisition of transferrable employment skills
  • International travel = understanding of acceptance and value of diversity

The list is limitless on the powerful learning possibilities and the long-term values that are gained by them. What is important to understand is that life change cannot be frivolously decided upon just because of a date on a calendar. True behavior change must come from previous experiential learning events that are transformational. Personal change comes from personal experience. Something must be at stake for you, or your loved ones. Use the New Year not as a reason to start a new behavior, but as a reaffirmation of your devotion to your journey towards life-long action. Action that is based on previous powerful learning which puts true consequence on change.

Long-term personal change comes from a state of mind, not a place in time.

References:

Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Wilson, B., Switzer, S., & Parrish, P.(2006).  Transformative learning experiences: How do we get students deeply engaged for lasting change? Paper presented at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology proceedings, 2006, Dallas, TX.

The Hero Journey December 19, 2009

Posted by jassnight in Change, Life.
Tags: , ,
2 comments

Change has been depicted metaphorically throughout the ages with the story theme called the hero journey. It commonly takes the shape of the protagonist, or ‘hero,’ thrust into change. The change is depicted as an unwilling departure from home and then the ensuing struggle to return to their original origin. The efforts, mistakes and setbacks are huge and bring our hero to the brink of disaster every time. However, he manages to learn and grow from each experience and with that, he eventually returns to safety. Here is where the hero journey becomes powerful. Almost always, our hero does not return to his original life but instead, finds that there is a new existence waiting for him – one that is more aligned to his purpose and wisdom gained on the journey.

Odysseus

The earliest piece of known literature to follow the hero journey theme is the ancient Greek poem by Homer, the Odyssey. In this epic story, Odysseus, our hero, reluctantly sets out from his home of Ithaca to fight in the Trojan War. On his journey home, he encounters sea monsters, shipwrecks, witch goddesses and sirens to name a few. When he finally returns to Ithaca, not only has he changed but his home has changed as well.

More modern depictions of the hero journey can be seen in movies such as the Wizard of Oz and Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks. Both films depict the hero (Dorothy/Chuck Norland) thrust abruptly away from their homes. There are terrible trials that they encounter in their struggle to return. When they eventually find their way, they encounter a new reality that is cast out of their wisdom and experience during the journey.

In the Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939,) Dorothy is swept up in circumstances beyond her control. When the dust finally settles, she finds herself in a land of witches, munchkins, strange magic and dark forests. On her quest to return to her home, she finds unusual friends with diverse backgrounds (to say the least) that she otherwise may have never befriended within the confines of her normal world. She also gained insight and knowledge by experiencing powerful events that would have never transpired in the comfort of the familiar land she came from. During all of this there was always the red shoes. Metaphorically, the shoes represented a talisman with untapped power that could only be realized from a new perspective born from the growing enlightenment within Dorothy. In the end, Dorothy only had to come to the realization that “there is no place like home.”

In Cast Away (2000, DreamWorks) we see the hero, Chuck Norland, thrust in a much different situation – a journey of silence and solitude that facilitates his progressive self-discovery. His encounters with struggle and pain are his own. He finds his enlightenment mostly by trial and error as he first learns to just survive in a new strange environment and later as he discovers cooperative and productive solutions. In this story, the foreshadowing talisman is the wing logo printed on one of the Fedex packages that washes ashore with him. Here is the representation of his future new world although he cannot see it just yet. Later it all becomes very clear to him. When presented with crossroads at the end of the story, the wings lead him to his new world.

The hero journey can be found in our own personal narratives. We all encounter an unwanted or unexpected turn into change at some point in our lives. With this there are trials that test us, darkness that misleads us, and pain that distracts us. But each event brings us closer to enlightenment. We grow in wisdom and understanding about who we are and what we can accomplish. Eventually, the efforts we make are more focused and effective as we work toward solution. In this path there can even be a talisman full of unrealized power or prediction that will come clearer as we reenter a new world more aligned to who we are.

In the movie Cast Away, there is a poignant scene where Chuck Norland tells a friend about his darkest moment. That moment when in the deepest of despair, there is still light. There is still hope. It is a powerful scene;

The only thing I could control was my own death so I made a rope and went up the summit to hang myself. I had to test it, of course, you know me. The weight of the log snapped the limb of the tree. I couldn’t even kill myself. I had power over nothing. And that’s when this feeling came over me like a warm blanket. I knew, somehow I had to stay alive. Somehow, I had to keep breathing even though there was no reason to hope and all my logic said that I would never see [home] again. So that’s what I did. I stayed alive, I kept breathing. And one day that logic was proven wrong because one day the tide came in and gave me a sail. And here I am, I’m back…

  • Do you have a hero’s journey in your own personal narrative?
  • Are you still on your journey today?
  • What was/is the darkest moment in your journey?
  • How did you find your way home?
  • What is the enlightenment that you brought back with you?
  • Did you have a talisman that stirred hope in you on your path?
  • Was your talisman’s power revealed at the end?

We are all going to make it December 18, 2009

Posted by jassnight in Change, Life, Love, Relationship.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

We just need to stay together in the dark.

A letter to my father December 15, 2009

Posted by jassnight in Change, Job Search, Life, Love, Relationship.
Tags: , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Dear Dad,

My Father

I know it has been a while. You died 11 years ago – May 10, 1988 – Mother’s Day. I remember it clearly. I held your hand. I told you it was ok. You can let go now. You took your last breath as I said goodbye.

I think of you often in these times – my time of change. I often wonder what you think of all of this. I know what you would have said when I left a secure career to accept a graduate assistantship. I am sure you would have told me it was folly on my part to even think I could change careers at my age. We would have argued I am sure. But Dad, I was dying. I was beating my head against the wall trying to maintain an engaging and effective program with no financial or administrative backing. More and more I found myself alone in a worthy cause within an unworthy institution. It became damaging to my soul and body and it was killing me.

I know it hasn’t worked out for me yet Dad. You would probably tell me, “I told you so” at this point. But look what I am doing. I am in a functional institution working with people equally committed to the vision and mission. I am challenged and engaged. I feel like I am making a difference in the outcome. Ok, yes I am not making any money and I am in serious financial stress, living in a back room, watching my pennies, worried about my children’s happiness and welfare. But Dad, I can’t wait to get up in the mornings! I love to go to work. I can’t wait to engage with intelligent, professional people. I now feel like I make a difference.

The best part is that I have learned so much about myself and my new field by going back to school, earning a new degree and working in a new environment. It will carry me dad. I am not done but only starting. I have tremendous potential and all I have to do is wait until someone gives me a chance to prove myself. I know I can do this and I know I can do this well. You watch, you will be proud of me Dad. Just give me some time.

My new career path is one thing Dad. I really feel I am making headway on that. Personally, I don’t know. I am a mess Dad. Here is where I need your help the most. I have been burned. I have been used. I have been lied to. I have been cheated on. It seems almost like I am being punished. Oh I know I am not lily white in all of this either. You had your problems with relationships too. It must be the curse of our line. What is it with us? Why can’t we get it right? I do think that your problems and my problems are different in this matter. Regardless, it would be helpful to me to be able to compare notes with you. It seems so easy for people. What is it with me? Is it a trust issue? Is it an issue of not being able to open my heart to anyone after having it ripped to pieces so many times? I am scared Dad. Maybe I am someone who is just meant to be alone. Maybe this suits me.

I am now on the edge Dad. There is a major opportunity before me. It is right in front of me Dad. I am scared, excited, horrified and thrilled all at the same time. Change, whether good or bad, is always scary. However, if there is one thing I have learned in the past five years it is to embrace change and let it take you. Only in this can new worlds appear. I am going for this Dad. I am heading straight into it with full steam. It will give me extreme challenges that will test me and allow me to grow.

I hope you are watching. I hope you are paying attention Dad. I am going to make you proud. You will see me for who I am, not for what other people think I should be. I am slowly breaking free of chains.

I am gradually becoming…. Me

Your Son

Keep swimming, you never know where the tide will bring you December 6, 2009

Posted by jassnight in Change, Job Search, Life, Love, Relationship.
Tags: , , , , ,
15 comments

Proceed with cautionWhen a person gets caught in a riptide, the natural reaction is to try to swim directly against it to get back to shore. At first it seems like the easiest, most logical way to save himself. Fear is a powerful force and in the face of death, the mind reacts instinctively to find what it thinks is the easiest solution to get to safety. Unfortunately, swimming against the current it is the worst thing a person can do. Eventually the swimmer becomes exhausted and drowning is inevitable.

The ending of a marriage or long-term relationship, the death of a loved one, job loss, diagnosis of a disease, mid-life crisis – good or bad, change is scary and people tend to react instinctively. When people are thrust into change, whether it by external circumstances or self inflicted, there is fear, anxiety, depression, and aggression. A person instinctively makes quick reactions to deal with the struggle. They fight the tide and thrash about to the point of exhaustion. It can take the form of hiding in drugs or alcohol. It can be quick fix tactics such as shady business deals or gambling. It can be short-term ego boosters like a one-night stand or a quick marriage. The tactics are as endless as they are destructive. At this point they see no other way. They just keep trying to swim against the current.

All a person needs to do to survive a riptide is to let it carry him out until it no longer has a grip on him. At that point the maneuver is to swim parallel to the shore to gain distance from the original danger and find another avenue to return to safety.

To be able to let change carry you away from comfort and familiarity is numbing and difficult to do. It takes courage. Letting go of what we know to enter a world of uncertainty takes strength. However, this is the best way to see new opportunities. Only then can change be assessed and evaluated to plan for its management and eventual solution. When the waters clear, fresh viewpoints can be seen.

Once the swimmer is away from the danger, they can then turn in toward shore and begin their trek back to the beach. This may not be a direct course since other riptides can be encountered and a return to the open sea will be necessary before another attempt can be made. However, the swimmer now sees that this is the right course of action and it is only a matter of timing and placement before he is successful in his return.

With new viewpoints and pro-active ventures, change can now facilitate a gentle move back to normalcy. This can take the form of further education to learn a new skill, a move to a new community, a new relationship based on trust, friendship, and love, a fresh commitment to health and fitness, a new and challenging career. Other strategies may involve timing. Sometimes the best solution is to wait it out and find the right moment to begin the swim back. Moving too early may throw you right back out to sea. Moving too late can be a missed opportunity. There will still be false starts and abrupt stops. There will be missed opportunities and there will be distractions that lead down the wrong path. Regardless, the strategies and attempts are now proactive and each failure can be learned from. Failures are a way of testing the waters.

Once the swimmer discovers the right path back to shore, the successful swim is made. They find themselves standing safely on shore. However, by swimming parallel to the shore to find the best path back, they have landed on a completely different section of the beach. A much better place from where they started.

With persistence, strength, patience, and growth, a person in change will find solution. However, in most cases, they land in a completely different world from where they came from. Their experience has brought them to new surroundings and new possibilities. They have come to a land better suited to the person they have become for in the time of challenge and struggle comes growth and wisdom. Not only will they have substance to carry them through the next darkness but they will have the gift of deeper understanding to share with others who cross their paths on the way to their own new world.

I know and love so many people in change today. I know they are struggling and are dealing with pain.  I want them to always, always remember…

Keep swimming, you never know where the tide will bring you.

“In order to discover new lands, one must be willing to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” – anonymous

On the outside looking in December 3, 2009

Posted by jassnight in Health, Holiday, Job Search, Life, Love.
Tags: , , , ,
2 comments

He was faced with death at an impressionable age.   His sister committed suicide last year. He found her body covered in blood as it drained out of her wrists. It became difficult to follow the mainstream after that. With no guidance or grounding to morn in a healthy way, drugs and alcohol are used to temper the agony.  Rehab and counseling can only do so much.

She is on her own now. Her husband of 20 years died last year. His pension died with him and now it is only social security. The mortgage is due. The heat is off. The electricity is next. She misses him terribly.

She is a single mom with three beautiful children. Between caring for her children and working two jobs back to back (overlapping three days with two shifts,) she is lucky to have one Friday night every two weeks to call her own.  She worries endlessly about having the resources to keep her family fed, clothed, dry and warm. She calls it a good day when her car is still in the driveway and has not been repossessed. She is dealing with a relentless ex-husband who is constantly dragging her into court to shirk his responsibilities to his children and to generally make her life miserable because he can afford to and she can’t.  She has dealt with two bouts of cancer and fears every upcoming appointment and what it may find. She is tired, stressed, overworked and living day to day, dollar to dollar.

He is dependent on drugs to be able to cope with life. His fears and anxieties are about life in general. He can no longer work. He lives on social security alone. His loving parents are long gone, the rest of his family has abandoned him. He lives in an upstairs apartment but incapable of caring for his immediate space. He sleeps most of the time. He has lost faith in love, connection, and life. He is trapped in an internal struggle with his own soul.

She is in a loveless marriage. With three young children there is nowhere else to be. She has no means to support herself and her children without him. He has her trapped and he knows it. There is verbal and sexual abuse. There is an allowance issued. The odometer is checked every week. The phone bill is monitored. She is a prisoner only for her children.

She has lost family and friends. It seems like everything she loves dies. She lives in the pain that it may be her fault. She is afraid to love again. She is lonely. She is alone.

He was laid off last year. Unemployment is ending soon and there are no opportunities in sight. He is too old and too broke to go back to school to learn new skills. His children have families of their own and are having problems themselves. The bills are piling up. He no longer owns a car. He is about to lose his home.

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays November 26, 2009

Posted by jassnight in Friendship, Life, Love, Spirituality.
Tags: , , ,
5 comments

To all my WordPress friends,

Have a wonderful season. Enjoy connection with your friends and family.

Love and Peace,

Steve