Archive | June, 2018

Awareness and Action Equals Different Standards

24 Jun

I didn’t know; what I didn’t know; as this game was being played all around me and above my head.

As an approval seeker for much of my relational life; I looked for secure connections with friends that fed this yearning to be approved of. Somewhere along the way; I missed out on those secure connections that would have allowed me to approve of me.

Looking for approval in people; especially young men who were exploring their cleverness and building their arsenal of weapons through words; I was an easy target for these quick witted weapons,

Leaving myself open; made for a power struggle inside me. There was no social capital in purity. And, I continuously made the choice to seek approval, which stirred my internal struggle. Try to be clever and use my words as weapons? Or act from a purity that was quickly slipping away.

In order for awareness to grow; we must be willing to be moved off of our mark. Your mark is whatever; wherever, your comfort zone is. Living harder, loving deeper, result from a growing awareness of the substance of our lives; that result from being in touch with the game that is going on around us and above us.

The game is not cleverness, or words that give a back handed compliment and continue to keep us at arms length from each other. The game is changing the standards by which I operate.

The Apostle Paul writing to the church at Ephesus put it his way:

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

If we become aware of the needs of others; our standards will change. If we are listening for the needs of others; we will not only hear the game we were not aware of before; we will see the game of life giving encouragement; we will see people stepping into being a source (starting point) for others because their standards for relationships have changed; as a result of a growing awareness that has given way to action. And, purity becomes a sought after form of social capital.

Seeking approval will turn into seeking intimacy and there will be no more arms outstretched with a stop sign; but, a shoulder walking side by side with yours into a new game that everyone wants to be a part of.

How bout you?


16 Jun

What is it about presence (appearance, demeanor, look) of someone or something that can be attractive or even captivating?

Is it the physical appearance or  features of someone of something?  You know presence, when you feel it, seeing presence is only part of the story.  Living in Colorado we GET to be in the presence of majestic  physical geography that lures tens of thousands to Colorado to establish residence and to enjoy the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains.  There is so much to be said for the rejuvenating affects of hiking Mount Princeton or climbing the stairs amongst the red rocks in Red Rocks Park.  We can all think of those places domestically and abroad that light up our spirits with their beauty and majesty.

What about people who have an undeniable presence? Is it physical stature? Beauty? Strength? Perfect smile?  These are undeniable attributes that stand out. I have walked a few steps behind Michael Jordan trying to catch his attention, ran to the feet of John Elway for an autograph, have been huddled around Jack Nicklaus to shake his hand.  John Elway and Michael Jordan had undeniable physical attributes, that made them stand out.  Jack Nicklaus had a warmth about him that stood out even more.  His smile was genuine, his being was inviting.  jack Nicklaus seemed to be more available mentally and emotionally than Michael Jordan and John Elway in those moments that I was in their presence.

Could circumstances have had something to do with these incredible and talented men being open or not? No doubt about it.  Did I project onto them what I believed about who they were? It is very likely.  “You are in the presence of greatness” we have all heard this phrase.  The men mentioned above have achieved greatness in their professions time and time again.  Does this mean they have an inviting and available presence that connects to others?  Not at all.  Does it mean they are not gracious and humble by all of the adoration they receive? Not at all.   A dear friend of mine was on the Los Angeles Police Force in the late 80’s in early 90’s when gang violence was spiking and racial tension was high. I had the extreme good fortune of doing some self defense training with this man.  He consistently talked about having a “command presence”.  In the law enforcement world, military world, and self defense world this is crucial to establish. A  perpetrator, enemy combatant or attacker are looking for any sign to take advantage of you.  Establishing a command presence; not only breeds confidence, it tells your foe they are not going to have a walk in the park, should they choose to engage you.

There are distinct attributes  that indicates an authentic presence; they are freedom, availability, and command.   And, they are interconnected.

AVAILABILITY: Is the essential ingredient to an authentic presence.  Availability means you don’t need anything; you are showing up with an mental and emotional presence that acts from a place of abundance.

FREEDOM: Much like availability; freedom shows up as an abundant posture that attracts people to your emotional substance as a result of life experience and introspection that has led you to greater freedom as a result.

COMMAND: People who have command; are in a secure position, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that allows them to be free and available, yet, have clear emotional boundaries that allow for real warmth and connection without rigidity.

In Matthew 5, His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Jesus, used the word “salt” comparing it to the enhancement of food, salt in the life

of a believer in Christ is a  life enhancer for others.  And, light means exactly what Jesus says, letting your light shine before others.

Our presence is imperative to affect/effect this world. You can be a starting point for yourselves, and:

“Be a Source of life giving encouragement, love, and strength, which leads to an undeniable substance in the way you live and act that leads to a purpose led satisfaction that is rooted deep in your heart; like an Oak Tree coming to full growth.

Can you be more available? Can you be more free? Can you be in more command?

If you are willing to be a starting point (source) examine your availability, choose freedom, and carry yourself with command as a result,  your presence can illuminate you,  and those around you with the substance and strength like the image at the top of this post.  Let them feel your presence, fellas.

Happy Father’s Day!

The Critical Spirit and Condemnation

9 Jun

As a coach and educator; I am constantly asking my players/students to evaluate, analyze, synthesize, build their understanding through the critical lens of thinking skill. Repetition and varied teaching techniques help accomplish these objectives in great measure.

In professional life; we pour over data, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize through the critical lens. We scrutinize production goals, profit and loss statements, that drive the bottom line at corporations through out North America. We critically evaluate the state of affairs in our nation; to a degree that divides us every minute of the day.

There is a school of thought in the West that tells us you have to be maniacal, crazy, obsessed with success if you are to reach the lofty goals you set; to acquire and amass, accolades, recognition, acknowledgement and riches from your critical evaluation of your professional domain.

What happens when this critical drive bleeds into our relationships? Questioning of our spouse and children’s drive and motivation may come up. We may bring the critical lens home; and ask why is he/she doing it that way? Why don’t my employees have the maniacal drive that I do to make this company the best?

When the critical lens seeps into our view of humanity, and relationships, condemnation is not far behind. The critical spirit leads to unrealistic expectations; robbing those around us of their dignity.

The critical spirit manifests it self in me when I focus too much on my needs in my relationships, which leads me to setting unrealistic expectations of the people I love the most. This cycle leads me to feelings of condemnation for those around me and myself. My safety mechanisms around withdrawing from those close to me and painshopping are magnified through my critical lens.

The Solution: be a source of life giving encouragement, love, and strength, which leads to an undeniable substance in the way we live and act that leads to a purpose led satisfaction that is rooted deep in one’s heart; like an Oak Tree coming to full growth.

The separation of mind and heart condemns the spirit. An integrated spirit is the place where we can be a starting point for ourselves and others. Vulnerability with ourselves and others let’s your spirit breathe and pours life into it; so you can pour life out.

In Romans 8:2 Paul proclaims,

because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

I am never more free than when my spirit leads the way. The critical spirit and condemnation have no room to manifest when I am focused on being a life generating, and life sustaining, source in this world.

“Life begins when we want to give life more than we want to be critical of it.”

When Safety Isn’t Safe Anymore

6 Jun

I was talking to a close confidant the other day and we began to talk about the idea of emotional safety.

When we feel safe; we feel connected, we feel loved, which leads to assurance in the things we do, say, and how we act. It is a glorious existence.

What about those times when a benign comment from someone close to you shudders through your body like lightning. And, alerts you to a threat to your emotional safety; real or imagined?

All of us have these psychological protective mechanisms that alert us to threats to our emotional well being. They look like the sharp tongue; that can back somebody off instantly with a statement that takes their knees out. Or, the passive-aggressive approach; that avoids direct confrontation by firing an angry shot with a mask on. And, there is the deflector; who feels the alert; yet, passes off the alert as someone else’s responsibility or points the finger at everyone but themselves.

There are also my favorites; that I have practiced for a long time. The internalizer and the pain shopper. As a way to protect myself and avoid confrontation when the alert bells crackled through my being; I kept it all in. As a result; I was at war inside. And, that internal battle felt safe because I didn’t have to let anyone in. As a result of the internalization; I found myself believing I was defective (this is shame). To be safe in that shame; I needed evidence. And, that was when the pain shopper was born.

My mind could find anything that would reinforce this narrative; it will today if I let it.

These safety measures are no longer safe! Even as they want to stand up and keep my mind, body, and soul safe. They no longer serve a purpose; they hurt me.

When the pain of relying on your defense mechanisms becomes greater than the purpose they serve; safety isn’t safe anymore.

Fellas, how do we become safe in a world that is calling for our hearts not just our physical strength and check books?

If you are willing to become susceptible to your defenses being broken down; you are willing to be the source of emotional, mental, and spiritual safety for those closest to you. As a result of this purpose; a satisfaction and substance will make you safe with yourself and cherished, revered and loved on levels you did not think possible.

The Potters Wheel

3 Jun

There is an invaluable quality that should be part of your arsenal for life. Not only does it arm you for life’s unexpected arrows and your reaction to it; there lies an empowering humility to it.

“It” is learning. I have been on an intense learning journey that feeds me in a way that is shaping my soul. I can read, evaluate, analyze, listen; these mechanics, skill and discipline are important to feeding yourself.

What I have found more important than the content and the mechanics is this question; am I allowing the learning to mold and shape me?

The molding and shaping can be like that first chiropractic adjustment after going years without having one. Shaking and popping the gaps and spaces in our hearts and minds will inflame them. This is precisely where learning will shape and mold us.

If I am not willing to endure some inflammation; then learning becomes an empty practice that leaves me in a state of apathy.

When I am moved off my mark because learning illuminates my mind and spirit; my best self emerges. Becoming a source and spreading seeds of life, authentic optimism, and reassurance for Carrie, Bel, and Colt.

Purpose led satisfaction is a product of pushing, pulling, moving, shaping and becoming invigorated through learning.

Empowerment and humility are waiting on the wheel.