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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

From a SBH reader

In the prison of one, where can I go? I wish to laugh and love feel safe, feel at home. Self imposed loneliness, the mirror reflects pain. I wish to share who I am, will you learn to love me again? Daring once more to overcome what was gaining strength, pressing on love and friendship, my cause. Far from perfect with a stubborn will, but my heart it is pure will you be there still?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Two creatures that changed mankind.

When one looks back on the history of mankind, it becomes obvious that the course of man's life has been drastically changed by two creatures.

The horse changed how, we men, moved about. The horse made it possible for us to travel great distance. We created Calvary to triumph over our enemies. We used horses as a status symbol. They helped us till the land and grow food. The horse became iconic throughout history. I can not think of another animal in the animal kingdom that has been so influential as a horse.

Then there is woman. Humm, well all I am going to say is this, If it wasn't for women, we men, would still be living in caves and throwing sticks at dinner. Which, I might add, sometimes seems better than this great female invention we call civilization.

The loneliness of domestication.

My sixteen year old daughter took a picture of the mighty male lion at the L.A. Zoo some time ago. Recently we were reviewing some of our stock photos for a project and came across the picture. She told me that the picture made her sad. She continued, "He is a Lion, He is always in that same spot and he always seems so sad."

I have to be honest, I never thought of it like that, but she is right. He is a Lion. A lion who was made to be the king of the animal world, roaring loud and roaming free. He is supposed to be a symbol of all that is free and wild. Dominating the landscape and demanding a certain level of respect as his silhouette crests the horizon. But no, he is the lion at the Zoo, no wonder his ass is sad. Sometimes I can relate to Mr. lion. I feel as though the responsible life has placed me in the cage of domestication. Do not get me wrong, I have a wife who turns me loose from time to time. She gives me as much freedom as she dares. But I am like that lion in the Zoo. I have paced my cage so much that there is nothing new in here. I might as well just sit down in my favorite spot and just resign myself to the fact that the wild times running free on the open plains are gone. My teeth and claws are no more than just a novelty for passer-byes to say wow he must have been something in his day.

I would be lying if I stated that domestication suits me. I was born to roam the plains and to stand high on the horizon. The wilds of Mother nature beckon to me. She seduced me when I was young and I loved her with all my heart. Now I only get to see her from a jet window, or as I safely pass by in a car. People warn me of her dangers as we all set safely in our cages of domestication. Are you like me, ready for another wild adventure at the edge of danger? Free from the safe and routine life we have created for ourselves?

Life on the road; a broken and twisted place!

I have a unique job, that I unfortunately can not talk about here. However, lately I have been on the road , a lot. Tonight I spent some time in the hotel bar watching people come and go. I observed the normal ritual of man chasing woman. I observed the lonely masses standing in crowd, screaming for acceptance and someone to share that elusive emotion we call love. I, in my finite wisdom, decide to retreat to my hotel room, safe and some what sound, turn on my Stevie Ray Vaughan CD and create this post.

I have been teaching leadership concepts to government agencies, developing training concepts, and attending master level executive leadership courses over the summer. I, like many others before me, have come to the conclusion that we(mankind) are a twisted bunch. It only takes a small amount of liquid courage and our walls of insecurity come crashing down. We search for someone, anyone, to just act like they care and we will do whatever we need to to grab hold of that fleeting moment of acceptance, and fake love. We live in a state of brokenness. Do we ever heal from our childhood? Do we ever recover from our hurt and rejection?

I think that the process of healing is a choice that we have no idea how to make. I have posted before about making choices beyond our understanding, here is one of the most important choices we need to make, yet we have no clue or understanding on how to proceed past our tear full and sleepless nights. Our dreams constantly haunt us. Keeping us on that edge of terror that the next moment of rejection is just around the corner. What is amazing to me is that we choose to live in this state. I hear people say " God has brought him/her to a place of brokenness." Wow, I do not think God has to do anything, we break ourselves, over and over again. We savory our brokenness. We search for someone to share in our brokenness and smile while we search. What madness we create for ourselves. I, personally am sick of my own brokenness and I am ready for change. I am ready for someone to come along and enjoy life with me as it was meant to be. How about you? Are you ready to live life as God meant it to be? Or are you like the masses down in the bar just wanting someone to come and accept you, even for a fleeting moment, in your brokenness?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Question this?

If children live their dreams, what do adults live?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mignon McLaughlin

"Society honors its living conformists and its dead troublemakers. "

Ponder This

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress on his thrid try. At the end of his term, he failed to be reelected. When he was forty-five, he ran for the Senate and failed to be elected. At forty-seven, he ran the vice presidency and again lost. Four years later, Lincoln was elected the fourteenth President of the United States. (Fail Better, Herter Studio, running press)

"My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure." Abe Lincoln

Edmund Burke

"There is a boundary to men's passions when they act from feelings; but none when they are under the influence of imagination. "

James A. Baldwin

"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. "

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sometimes, it's not about catching fish.

I love fishing. Wait, that's not true, I love catching fish. Sitting there watching fish swim by snubbing their nose at you sucks. Going fishing with kids, sucks too. Tying knots, trying to get hooks and line out of bushes, the endless "can we go now" just kills me. Kids talk loud, which spook fish, kids are constantly moving about, which spook fish, and kids are always impatient, which spook dads from taking them fishing.

However, I can not think of another tool to teach so many of life's needed skills than a grueling day out fishing. Actually, anytime a parent can see past the "event" and peer into their secret tool bag of life experience, an opportunity to empower their child is realized. For me, my children have taught me to look past myself and see their hidden potential in these moments. I have learned to create an environment where questions can flow and life is learned. I have learned to go fishing for teachable moments instead of fish.

What amazes me is how much my children try to emulate me. They get upset because they can't do something as good, yet, and then the teaching begins. "I started just like you", I tell them. I have snagged more trees and lost more hooks than you can imagine, they look at me and smile. We play pong with questions. Back and forth, what, how, when, where, why. What do you think about.......... I am always amazed at the questions they come up with. Their memory astounds me. My youngest will come up with some whoppers. "So dad, how will global warming effect the fish population in this pool?" I look at her and think, where the hell did that come from? Sometimes I have to fight that urge to say, "just be quiet and fish." My oldest took a picture, unknown to me, of one of those moments when my youngest and I where discussing the mysteries of life. Her biggest puzzle at the moment is how do fathers know everything about life. I just look at her and say, " I don't know, it's just a fact of life, accept it" then I give her a big grin.

Out of all the fish I have caught in my life, no fish has brought so much joy to me, as the fish my kids have caught with me. Their face, their ear to ear grins, the bump in confidence, it all heals my heart and seems to set everything right in the universe for me.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Should I stay, or should I go?

There are many times in life I find myself asking the question, Should I go, or more importantly, is it safe to stay. Being confident in a variety of skill sets has allowed me to push the edge and I have been rewarded for such steadfastness. I have also learned that mother nature is not one to play with. Enjoy it when she bears her sunny smile, but be warned when you feel that gloomy frown. Professionally we call it "risk assessment." If you have ever played chess you have experienced risk assessment on a small scale. If I take that piece they will take mine, and so on. Looking past the obvious and seeing the hidden. Assessing mountain storms, or any storm for that matter, is an exercise in risk assessment. There have been many folks who did not do such a good job at assessing the risk of a storm and ended up losing their life in the process. When mother nature starts to roar you have two basic options. Get the hell out of there, or find the best place to ride out the storm. Picking the best option has a profound impact on what you are going to do tomorrow. Recently I started to teach my kids about risk assessment as it applies to the mountains and to relationships. As odd as it may seem, I liken the two in this process. Seeing the tale tell signs that most folks miss is the game of assessing your probabilities of success. Mother nature gives us a heads up. And then she will pound the hell out of you if you have miss read her message. Heavy dark clouds, significant temperature drops, barometric changes, wind shifts, and a silent little message to that small internal voice of ours are all part of her warning.

But what about people and relationships? What are the warning signs humans give off about impending storms. This is a tricky endeavour because we tend lean more on what we hear then what we see or feel. The issues with people I think, is founded in the ever present threat of being misunderstood. The flash of angry lighting that comes from that fear tree I speak about. At some point we need to be asking ourselves, should I go. When things begin to go sideways, trying to ride out the human storm is a useless endeavour. Demanding, or pressing your position is not going to yield so spectacular shift in someone else's paradigms. There comes a time when we need to bail out and head for safer places. What kind of situations have you experienced? Have you ever stayed to long and suffered from missing the signs of the coming storm?

Pursuing Freedom will cost you big time.

Never forgetting those lost to the pursuit of freedom is only a small fraction of our patriotic duties. America, and I am sure many other countries as well, have paid a heavy cost for this belief of having the right to pursue freedom for all. I have come to a place where I think we really do not understand what the sacrifice paid for. Millions of men and women had their life taken from them as they stood an ambiguous line between human freedom and shear treachery. These days, Americans seem to be willing to live with more treachery than freedom. The idea of losing more lives does not equal a good return on investment. Maybe this is because we do not understand the investment. Or we do not think we will garner any benefits directly from the return of said investment? I think our forefathers thought about us more than we think about our children's children. I have always enjoyed when someone else paid my debt's for me. However that does not happen very often. My family has been in America since 1722. We have stepped up to pay any debt asked of us. My family has paid in blood, on numerous continents and in every major American conflict I know of. We know the cost of this freedom. However, we also know that paying this cost often does not seem fair, nor a debt we should pay with American lives. Reconciling the issues of losing Americans for a people who will not pay their own price for freedom seems foolish. I think there should be some thought placed on adding the return of our investment on the monuments that give tribute to those who paid the cost. If the return on investment is too embarrassing to place on the monument, then maybe we should not make that investment. If my son or daughter is to pay the cost for freedom, I want to know what that cost paid for! And, I am not going to accept some lame excuse. We will, as always step up with honor, but let the people that are paying the price know what they are buying. We should let the other countries pay for their own freedom, like we have done for over 230 years.

Quote of the day

Check out the quotes of the day as they appear in the box to the right under the flags. Enjoy them, I do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"I have a Dream"

The morning sun was on the rise as a slight breeze warmed the cold slabs of granite. The trickle of the morning's traffic begins to spill out into the tree covered streets. I pause for breath as I climb up the numerous steps heading toward a gigantic stone statue of Abe Lincoln. My eyes dart around at the many spectacular sights revealing themselves to me as I gain altitude on my journey toward Abe. I look down at my feet and then up to the massive Washington Monument. I pause as my mind advises me to take another look at the writing carved in the stone slabs below my feet. As I look down once again, a moment of sober realization spreads through my entire being. The writing simple says " I have a Dream". It took only a fraction of time to understand the moment. I was standing in the exact location where Martin Luther King made his historic speech that has been seared into our history by four simple words; "I have a dream." I stopped and thought about the legacy this man has left. The tremendously difficult journey these four simple words have taken through time. These words, loudly spoken across the mall, coming from a visionary standing below another visionary; Abe Lincoln.

Every country has had moments in time that defined its future. This speech was one of those moments in the history of the United States. Civil unrest, murder, riots, and hatred followed as time went on. We all have a dream, and we all should be allowed to peacefully pursue that dream. But this is not a global concept. This concept is part of what the French labeled the "Great experiment." I get to live in a country where we can pursue our own dreams. In fact my visit to this site is a result of my pursuit of a dream. A dream to make a difference. But, I also somberly realize that many of us have made a choice to limit any dreaming. One of my dreams is to unleash the dreams of others. What is bigger than me, is not bigger than us. Just imagine the impact of moving forward, positively, the collective dream of freedom for all.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The cat that could

The other day I was headed out the front door and one of my kids yelled "do not let the cat out." I quickly reacted by squeezing out the front door. I thought for a moment that this little kitten would get out side and become some victim to foul play. As I got in to my car I said to my self "wait-a-minute." What is the big deal if this little kitten gets out of the house? I was amazed out how quickly my kids have formed this crazy belief that this cat can not go outside. All of a sudden, this cat is some fragile innocent that must be protected from the dangers of our little yard.

Let me explain before you form the opinion that I am some harsh person who does not care about the safety of this little beast. A wild (feral) cat decide to give birth to a litter of kittens under our front porch a few weeks ago. The cat was mean, hissing at us and the whole nine yards. We would catch a glimpse of the kittens late at night, but soon as our presence was detected they would scatter back under the porch. Well as time progressed the heard of little beast dwindled. The mother abandoned the kittens and all but one vanished. The last remaining kitten was as mean as it's mother. This little animal somehow survived during extreme temperatures (120 degrees), no water, no food to speak of. Once my kids realized that there was some poor animal in need of saving, they did as they have always done, they came to daddy bear. I was thinking, yeap another useless cat will be worm food soon, but noooooo. This cat has been given some God ordained mission in this household. So, I directed the kids to put out some milk and kibble for the beast. I not sure what consumed these staples, but every morning the dishes were empty. My kids began to spend countless hours setting in front of the porch trying to coax the little beast out from it's comfort zone; the hot-dusty and dark under porch regions. Their compassion and patients paid off. And soon they had this mean-ass kitten falling asleep in their arms.

So how did we formed this belief that if this cat gets outside it will not be able to take care of itself? Maybe my kids are trying to protect the neighborhood from this little beast. Anyway, this kitten is no fragile animal, it has a very strong will to survive and has already proven that in it's first few weeks of life. However, I wonder about the process of events that has made us forget the fact that this is a wild cat, born free, and very rugged in nature. I also wonder how many of us have formed the opinion that we can not do something because we have forgotten our wild and rugged nature of surviving? Just a thought from a cat that could.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Because you could, does not mean you should

The ownership of a Land Cruiser has always been synonymous with the fact that I could go any where I wanted to. Once upon a time, when I was more young and dumb then I think I am today, I was out reconnoitering an alternate route for a backpacking course. It was early in the morning when we left our base camp. I had three very experienced outdoor types in the truck with me. Guys that have; 1. Climbed the north face of the Eiger. 2. Bow hunted bears in Alaska. 3. Have climbed,backpacked, 4x4ed and hunted all over the globe in every type of harsh environment you can think of. So I was feeling pretty sure of the fact that we could handle anything we came across on this little excursion.

I am not sure, but it is possible that our judgements had been compromised based on the fact that we all had gotten about three hours sleep the night before. We were up late trying to problem solve a situation and our solution included this recon of possibilities at first light. Now, when you get out into the wilderness, there are no auto shops to fix things for you. You need to just make do until you get back to the woman's world (civilization). So, the Land Cruiser had a brake issue, as in you needed to pump the pedal countless times before it would actually start to slow down. The other major issue on this crisp morning is that the route we choose up this hill lead us straight into the raising sun. So as we start up this extremely steep hill climb, I could not see anything through the windshield, and I knew that once I stop forward motion we are going to start to roll backwards until I pump the brakes enough to gain control. It is amazing how quick a truck full of testosterone can become eerily silent. But, being outdoors men who trusted each other 100% a quick solution came about. Joe, who was seating in the front passenger seat, rolled down his window and stuck his head out. James, seating in the back seat scooted up so he could hear Joe over the roar of the struggle straight six engine and relay directions to me. Kevin, the last member of the excursion just sat there sucking seat cover up into is body, as I was doing while blindly steering.
I was directed to make a blind hard right turn which pitched the truck into a scary hard sideways tilt. Then moments later I was to make a hard left U-turn. I soon realized that we were going around a large pine tree. This was made obvious to me by the fact that my truck was bouncing off the tree as we made the turn. Then another hard right turn and I was directed to "floor it." Now I had to laugh here. The other fellas did not really know about the brake issue. So they were not really aware of the fact that I was not holding the track back in any way, I knew I had to make it up the first time. No second chances, therefore, no use in holding back. So as they yelled "go-go-go" I was thinking " I'm giving her all shes got Captain." Well we some how made it up. Up what exactly I would not be aware of until we had to drive down it, in low gear with no brakes mind you. That is when I said holy &%$@:(. The above picture was taken when we stopped to change our shorts at 11,800 feet after rolling along for ten minutes of pure terrified silence laced with some kind of survivor excitement. So, in hind sight, just because you could, does not mean you should. Proving you can, does not always lead to some positive reinforcement of how good you are. So now days when I hear folks say "been there-done that" I take pause and reflect on the issues at hand. I could but I am not going to, here is why some of us wild types actually make it to old age.

P.S. Notice the rock placed behind the rear wheel so the truck does not roll away while we take our little break......LOL

Monday, August 06, 2007

Wife training 101

Once upon a time, there lived a young couple who had big dreams. The young man knew he would have to some how train his new wife in such a way that she would appreciate anything he provided for her in the future. At first, this seemed to be a puzzle. After all, his new wife was born of that stubborn Scottish/English blood line. The young man soon realized that he would have to take his wife back in time and conduct the training the old fashion way. So when the opportunity arose to inhabit a real Indian dwelling, he took it. Well, long story short, The romantic interlude of Tepee living did the trick. In fact his young wife become so useful, she started to refer to herself as the young mans lovely squaw. She learned to get up early and get her chores done quickly so she could enjoy the day with her husband. The moon lite evenings were full on close intimate talks about the future to come.

As the young couple grew closer they grew out of the Tepee and into a modern home. A home with running hot water and switches that made lights come on. The wife was so thankful for all of these "little" things that she never felt the need to go out and waste money on useless shoe collections. Yep, it as been the little things that has brought happiness to this couple. Things like sitting together and watching the sun go down, or getting up early and taking a stroll through their private garden while sipping hot coffee in the cool morning air.

This story may seem sarcastic, but in truth, We both learned that life is sweet when savoring the simple things with the one you love. I think all to often we forget to savor life's simple treasures and lose ourselves pursuing life's complexities. I often look back at our time in the Tepee and smile. Although I joked about the wife training, I think we both trained each other during that time of living on necessity. What a great way to start a long friendship. I still affectionately refer to her as my lovely little squaw ;) .

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Don Herold

"Unhappiness is not knowing what we want, and killing ourselves to get it."

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Driving our past into our future.

Do we have a choice in deciding how our past effects our future? I believe we do have a choice in this arena. The question is, what level of understanding do we need to have about our past to positively shape our future? Does knowing what made me so, help me understand and move me towards who I want to be?

Accepting how I formed my self concept as a child, coupled with understanding how I nurtured that belief into adulthood, and learning how to reconcile what I have become compared to who I wanted to be can be an exhausting adventure. A great person once said " if we do not learn our history, we are doomed to repeat it". Do I have the ability to go back in time, as it were, and change my childhood beliefs about me and the world I live in? How will those changes play out in who I become tomorrow?

Here lies my challenge about choosing beyond my understanding. I want to change certain aspects of the past, but the more I learn and understand about my past, I am not so sure I have yet gained the understanding needed to choose the correct beliefs to address. Or, if the beliefs I think I should change, will produce the results I would like to see in my life tomorrow.

I have formed the opinion that this is a process that we should be constantly cycling through. Honing our self concept by a constant examination of the past reconciled with the future. However, I am very aware of the fact that there are certain issues, or events, hidden in the past that should stay hidden and forgotten. There are some events that have occurred in the past without our permission. If we allow these negative events to be apart of our self measure we may bring ourselves to a very negative result.

So, I find myself picking the best of me, discarding that which brings negativeness into my life, measuring it with who I want to be, and building new self concepts based on a life lived at the best I can possibly make it. I can choose not to allow the negative past to dictate my future. For example, if I want to see myself as a winner, I focus on every thing in my past that I believe I walked away as a winner. I began to feel and think like a winner, I become a winner. What do you think about this?

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