Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Being Aware of Life Around You

Have you ever went somewhere and when you arrived, thought to yourself, "How the hell did I get here?" because you really don't remember?

I do that all the time. I show up places, especially when I'm tired and wonder how I got there. If you added alcohol to this equation, I'm sure that I wouldn't remember any of them. However, you got there because you were unconsciously aware of where you needed to go. So good in fact, that you did it all yourself without remembering doing it. Your brain focused on the task at hand and it got done. But what other happenings did you miss in that process?

I've really realized that I live my life much like this.

I've noticed that at any one given time, I am doing 2 or 3 things instead of really focusing my attention and efforts on what's in front of me. Even writing this particular blog, I am checking my phone, email, and facebook in betweeen. In fact, while doing this, I accidentally deleted the first version of this blog. This casualty of war came from me not successfully being focused on the task at hand. UGH. More evidence!

Why is it that I was never aware of it?

I mean, nowadays we talk on the phone while staring at the TV, the computer, or while driving. My favourite is when you are speaking to someone right in front you, and I am texting or checking my phone like they aren't even there. I do that shit ALL THE TIME, and never noticed it. We hear the people around us all the time, yet we don't listen to what it is that they are saying, or the message they want to convey.

I miss so much in not living in the present moment.

I look at it like this. Life throws signs and signals at you a thousand times a day. If you are alert, see and recognize it, you catch it. If you aren't, you miss it. If you miss it, you probably won't even know it. Then we say things like "I'm waiting for my luck to change" even though it has been presented to us, but in a way that we simply didn't understand or see because we weren't alert in the moment. We were concentrating too much, or too little and we missed it entirely.

However, our inability to see this is exactly what is holding us back from getting what we want.

Here is a great example of what I am talking about in this short video...

So I never saw the moonwalking bear, and the second time I saw it, wondered how the hell I could have missed it?! Then I thought about how many moonwalking bears I must have missed in my life while looking for something else that I "thought" I wanted....
So how about you?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What is Happiness to You?

Are you happy?

Seems like a simple enough question, right?

Before I would answer that question, I would think of all the things I don't have, which I think would MAKE me happy and then land on a middle ground somewhere. I might say something like, "I'm not UNhappy." But the person didn't ask what I wasn't, did they?

I would ponder it, and probably be obliged to say "yes" because I wouldn't want anyone to know that I wasn't completely happy.

But what would make YOU completely happy? Wow, now that's a great question.

What I THINK would make me really happy would be an endless supply of money, of course. I'm one of those people who believe that money doesn't buy you happiness, but it can buy you choices. I would like to think that I am a very grounded person, and would be morally and ethically responsible if I were to get a big pile of money. Yet, that money would not make me happy.

I would need to contribute something really great with that money in order for me to feel good about receiving it. So while I am building all of this, I would have the money, but I wouldn't be completely happy. When I achieved all that I wanted with the money, and it helped a million people, I would want to travel. I have been to about 40 countries in the world so far, so I would like to see a few places I've always dreamed about. But until I did all that, I wouldn't be completely happy.

I would want to see my daughter grow up and guide her along her journey and make her into the kind of woman that would make any parent proud. But that's a lifetime process, so it wouldn't make me happy in the moment either.

To tell you the truth, I think that Happiness is a process, and not a destination because you never "really" get there. Sure, you have moments of it but it doesn't land fully and completely, like we think it should. True happiness is a lifetime achievement that if you got completely and then nothing changed, would be the loneliest place in the world. It would strip you of your contribution in life because you were fully satisfied in every area of your life that you wouldn't want anything to change.

So the word, "Happiness"? It's just a made up word. The kind of illusion of chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The trick about it is, that it makes you take action and move constantly from where you are with the illusion that it can be found. And along your path, you find snippets of happiness, but they are the appetizers of life appeasing you for the real meal at the end of the journey so that you can look back and think, "What a wonderful life I've had. It wasn't perfect, but I'm happy that I did it."

And then, I imagine in the last moments of life, we are rewarded with complete happiness. I would guess that it has nothing to do with money, houses, cars, or wealth. It was the experience that life gave us, and in that moment, I hope we have true happiness.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Abercrombie and Fitch and You.

Mike Jeffries, the CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch is in the news for something that he said in 2006, about his target audience. But before I read his quote, let me look at my calendar to see that it is 2013 right now. These quotes of his in Salon Magazine 7 years ago, have resurfaced this week and it has a lot of people in a snit about it.

This is the quote that has stirred up the bee nest again, from 2006:

""In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids," the clothing retailer explained. "We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely."

I read this once as how I would see it, and then I paused. Then I read it as if I was an overweight woman who was the fat girl in school. I thought about it, and then I realized that absolutely nothing Jeffries says here is inaccurate.

It IS true that in every school, there are the cool kids and the not so cool crowd. Good marketing sense means that every clothing and fashion company out there wants a piece of that market. Does ANY company market to the not so cool, overweight and excluded crowd? HELL NO. They'd be out of business before they even started. People with great attitudes attract others with great attitudes. The people who don't feel like they belong? Guess what, they feel that way, and it ends up showing up. Do YOU want to hang around people like that? God, we're surrounded by people like that at work everyday, do we take time to see why they're hurting? No, we treat them exactly like dirt, and so why are we surprised when our kids do the same at school. They learn it from us!

I don't care if Abercrombie and Fitch doesn't carry a size over 10. If you can't fit into their clothes, I guess you can't wear them. Is it exclusionary to do this? Sure, but that's what target marketing is. There are companies that only target people who make over 60K a year, why is it that nobody targets THEM as being exclusionary?

Because we are talking about being overweight, and THAT is the real issue here.

I don't know why being over or under weight is such an issue with people, I really don't. For my entire youth, I was teased for being so skinny. I really couldn't gain any weight. I know, it sounds like the perfect problem to most of us now, but I assure you that nobody wanted to be with the skinny kid in class. I actually envied the fat people in class. To me, it was much easier for them to lose weight than it was for me to gain it.

But the judgement that goes with being overweight is the issue here.

The point these plus sized people are missing is that it isn't Mike Jeffries that you're pissed off with. You really don't give a shit what this man thinks. It's the message that he's conveying that he doesn't want fat people in his clothes that hurts you. And if you are overweight (like I am as I write this...) it just adds another judgement to our already existing world of hurt which is the reason WHY we are over weight. We are over weight because we work at it. We make the poor choice to be over weight because of our own lack of will power. For what ever reason, and we all have a million reasons why we are over weight, we push it on every one else who doesn't accept us, because we don't accept ourselves first! We really can't stand ourselves for being over weight. We stare at ourselves in the mirror and torture ourselves about this, we really do.

It takes work to have a great body. You have to eat properly, exercise and maintain all of this. You have to plan, and execute your plan just to maintain. Those of us who don't spend time or effort doing this, don't get to be thin or in good shape, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

If you think the world is against you for being over weight, try again. The world doesn't care what size you are. Do you know who cares the most what size you are? YOU DO!! We care so much that our heads never stop thinking about it, the judgement we face, the articles that are written about it, or the models who don't look like us. We make up silly statements about good looking people like, "They're shallow, they have no personality, all they have is their looks" How do I know this? Because I've been doing it for years. Even when I was in really great shape, I said it. I said it about the people who were in better shape than I was, and they said it to the people who were in better shape than they were in. It just never stops.

If we want it to stop, it has to stop with us, not with Steve Jeffries. I promise you that if you were ok with Steve Jeffries comments, that you really are comfortable with your weight. If you aren't, it just triggered you because yet another person judged you about being over weight, and it hurts you because you don't want to be over weight.

And the sad thing is, the more we attack Jeffries and defend the over weight kids in school, the more we justify that it's ok to be over weight and unhealthy.

And it's NOT.

We're not teaching our kids enough about healthy eating, and North Americans are the most over weight people in the world. Healthy kids live healthier lives, and over or under weight kids get picked on and teased. When you are a young kid, you don't have the confidence to defend these attacks and it just makes it worse. I was teased relentlessly as a kid for not being the cool kid in class, and I can tell you that it really hurt. It's taken me years of learning to get to a place of forgiveness and understand why. But I can tell you that it is in our human nature to do this, and it won't ever stop.

So if you can search inside yourself and ask some deep questions about why it is that you chose to be over weight and if you can be honest, you will have a new view of treating yourself with more kindness than you have in the past. If you want to blame Mike Jeffries that he is mean for excluding plus sized people from his clothes, you can do so.

Just know that it will be easier to control your own thoughts and actions, and that people like Mike Jeffries are a dime a dozen and aren't going away any time soon.

It's your choice.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

To All You Mothers Out There


God love you. There is nothing so touching and consoling than the gentle touch of a loving woman. And there is no bigger form of love on this earth than that of a loving mother.

As a man I often wonder what this world would be like if women didn't exist. I can tell you that if this world was populated without women it would be love starved, passionless and devoid of inspiration. All of these qualities start with inspiration, and that's really what I love about women. They can inspire us men to do great things. Whenever I see a successful man, the first thing I think of is that he must have had the love and support of a wonderful woman to get him there. That's not even a statement against gay men, because I guarantee you that they will say the same thing about the women in their lives; they simply understand and get us.

You girls on the other hand are not so easy to understand, but we're trying ;)

Anyway, back to what I was saying...

As a father, I can admit that my daughter's mother has a level of love that I don't possess. It doesn't mean that she loves our daughter more than I do, yet there is something about mothers and their love and they sacrifice to always put their children's needs first. This is sometimes complicated by a mother's guilt which never goes away. I sometimes wonder why women don't realize that they have to put themselves first though. If you are at 30,000 feet in an airplane and the cabin pressure changes and the oxygen masks deploy, the first thing the flight attendants tell you to do is place the mask on yourself. Only then you can help your children. However in this metaphor, most women instinctively place the mask on their children first, and often become oxygen-starved themselves. Most women often don't realize this, and just chalk it up to being a mother.

Well, you are women first, mothers secondary.

If you are a great woman, you have the tools to choose to be a great mother. I get the fact that a woman's world is constantly being bombarded by society's judgement of you. You aren't thin enough, you aren't sexy enough, you aren't nice enough. -I get it. Yet once a woman gives herself the gift of not feeling "bad" about putting her own needs first, she can become a more confident and happier person. Happy people inspire, and motivate others by their outlook and demeanor. The most important thing is that your kids will love you for being happy. Because if you are happy, chances are they will be happy. If you aren't happy, chances are really good that despite your best intentions, they won't be happy either. And trust me, your kids can tell when you're not happy, or when you are sad.

Before I end, I always want to mention the single mothers out there; my daughter's mother especially. You do a thankless job of raising our beautiful children. You make hell and high water move and sacrifice your hopes and dreams so that yours kids have a better childhood than you did. I applaud and acknowledge all you single mothers out there who need more love than you are currently getting. I can only tell you that the work and sacrifice are making a huge difference in the lives of yours kids. I know you know that already, and that is why you do it. But at least once a year, it's nice that somebody else knows it too.

So thank you women and mothers for doing all that you do, and being all that you are. You are our true inspiration in life.

Happy Mother's Day to you all!