Archive for June, 2011
On this past Friday I celebrated my 7th Wedding Anniversary, an Anniversary that almost didn’t happen. My wife and I were in the midst of going through divorce at the beginning of this year, and it looked like there was no turning back, but out of nowhere an opportunity for reconciliation occurred. The reason why I’m putting this part of my personal life out there is because there is a lesson in it for everyone. Marriage is a covenant, not a contract and if you truly believe that you’ve married the person that you want to be with for the rest of your life, then there’s very few things that can happen that can’t be worked through.
What you do with your life is very similar in that there are very few things that truly have the power to stop you from doing what it is that you truly want to do. You have to decide for yourself if your dreams and goals are worth pursuing and persevering for. My marriage, heck the whole course of my life right now is living proof that second chances (as well as 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc.) are real and possible if you feel like you’ve missed out on something the first time. Don’t give up now, as you could be 1 step away from achieving what you’ve worked so hard for. Keep pressing forward and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you know that you need it.
This morning I was checking my personal email account and deleting the hundreds of messages (and I mean that literally) that I didn’t want or need in my inbox. While I was doing this, I was also reading through a few devotionals/subscriptions that I have and I began to see a bigger metaphor as to what I was doing. When I started to go through my email this morning, I had over 2900 items in my inbox! Yes, a lot of it was spam, but as I was deleting items out of my inbox, something else was happening. I started to really take an introspective look at what was in my “inbox” in my head and realized that like my personal email, it had become flooded with a lot of junk that just needed to be deleted. How often we go through the issues of our everyday life not paying attention to the amount of junk that is accumulating within our minds and hearts that we have yet to deal with.
We all need to take a regular inventory as to the thoughts and feelings that dwell in our minds and hearts because if nothing but negative and pessimism is there, you will continue to have a negative outlook and self-talk about yourself, your life, and the people as well as the world around you. So do yourself a favor and check your intellectual “inbox” (your mind/thought-life) as well as your emotional “inbox” (your heart) and permanently delete those things that have been cluttering your life for way too long.
I was recently watching Pastor Mark Chirona preach on television and he said something that just made me think very deeply. He was teaching from a passage in the Book of Genesis and he showed that in the original Hebrew, the word translated as dream means: to restore to health. The more I thought about, the more it made sense to me. You see, your dreams are designed to bring you fulfillment as well as restore you to health and bring you wealth, wealth in this case being not just money, but a total overall satisfaction that comes with fulfilling your purpose. Without the fulfillment of your dreams, you could potentially be miserable for the rest of your life.
Dream, to restore to health. What a simple yet overlooked thought.
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On of my favorite jazz pieces to listen to is called The Waiting Game by Helen Sung. It’s such a good song with lots of good improvisation in it. The reality of waiting is that it isn’t always fun and games, especially for the person that is naturally impatient. More than anything else, waiting is something that we all have to do in the various stages and phases of life. The question to ask yourself is what are you doing while you wait? Just because you are waiting on one thing, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sit and do nothing while you wait. Waiting time is the opportune time for you to continue to grow and develop in other areas of your life that need attention. This is the time in which you can read, listen, and learn something that will take you further in your dreams, goals, and aspirations. I’m so excited for this time as there are some new and exciting things coming up that I’m looking forward to sharing.
While this is a short post today, this is a thought that I really wanted to share with you all.
(The title of this post is a result of the experience below)
Every experience that you have in life can be used as either fuel to move forward or inspiration to draw new ideas from. The question is what will you do with your experiences? I had what I would call a very disappointing time last night performing music. It put me in such a funk that I questioned what was I doing trying to play at all. I mean after all I just finished listening to some great music by the Lummie Spann Quintet featuring Jeremy Pelt on trumpet. Then I get up there and am frustrated and can’t get any of my ideas to work on stage. This level of frustration bothered me on the whole way home as well as observing and experiencing some real fake people and lying to my face (of course the person doesn’t know that I’m aware of their lying) that just made me feel pretty upset.
Then I get up this morning, pick up my flugelhorn before work, and start randomly playing, which turned into a melody, which turned into a song that I sat behind my keyboard to finish writing. Out of all of the frustration and disappointment that I felt last night came a brand new song titled A Midnight Conversation, that completely articulates how I felt last night coming home as well as how great I felt this morning during this moment of spontaneous creativity. The bottom line is that I didn’t allow my disappointment and frustration to determine my outlook, I used it as fuel and inspiration for some time of creativity that has been most fruitful. I guess the point that I’m trying to make here is that you can choose to deal with anything that comes your way in a manner that will either bring you, your family, and the world around you great benefit or great deficit. The choice is yours.
Closed doors mean nothing if you are the one holding the keys to the locks that are keeping them shut. I am constantly amazed when I read about the exploits of those that have made and achieved their goals and dreams in spite of all adversity and everything that would try to stop them. I’m also constantly amazed by those that are only a step away from achieving their dreams and goals, but give up not realizing that what they’ve been working for is literally a step away. This last part amazes me, because that’s something that I’ve done several times in my life. Understand that there are some things in life that require a lot of work and persistence to realize, but that’s not the case for everything.
When I look back on some of the things that I walked away from, be it out of fear, frustration or something else, more often than not I was literally a step away from achieving that which I walked away from. Now, the old me would beat myself up over it and lamented on what could have been. Now, I look at it as a lessons learned and say that it’s time to move forward and decide if what I walked away from is something that I still want to achieve. I wrote a post in November titled, So You Can Go Home Again in which I talked about a time in which I had to go back to my hometown to be of service, something that helped me recapture something in me that I didn’t know was missing, in the same thought, there are times in which you may need to revisit an old dream to see if it’s worth pursuing again.
The bottom line is that the person that is ultimately in control of what you do and where you go is you. If anyone else is trying to usurp that control over your life, then that’s someone that needs to be kicked out of your life. Remember, as I said at the beginning of this post; Closed doors mean nothing if you are the one holding the keys to the locks that are keeping them shut. Your old unrealized dreams may seem like closed doors to you but remember that because they are your old dreams, you are the one that holds the keys to open those doors again if you so choose.
I’m finding that every time something happens or someone one fake in my life tries to do something that’s designed to kill my dreams and goals that if I’m patient enough, something else will happen to breathe new life into these goals. I also find that you truly can find new life just about everywhere you go but more specifically with fake people, you they kind that the O’Jays sang about, the ones that “Smiling in your face, all the time they want to take your place”, the “Backstabbers”. I’m in the midst of beginning a new chapter in my life, a chapter that I never thought I would embark on since when I previously tried for it not only did it not work out, it took me to a place that I never thought I would be in, a residency in my current New England home that has had its fair share of ups and downs for the past 11 years. All of this New Life that I’m experiencing started with a simple act of backstabbing that wasn’t unexpected but it did anger me at the same time.
It angered me because I don’t like when people intentionally play with my dreams or the dreams of anyone else for that matter. When a person can do that to another, they show the ultimate act of selfishness. At the same time, this one act has motivated and breathed new life into me as a person and caused me to really identify some of the hurt that was still there as well as to see some of the ugliness in me that still remained from previous incidents by the same people that scarred me, this scarring caused me to believe that I’m a failure, but I know that I’m not. Here are 2 quotes from Rev Run (of Run DMC fame) that have been helpful to me in this regard and that I hope will be helpful to you:
“You can NEVER be a failure. Failure is an event, NOT A PERSON!”
“If you put a small value on yourself rest assured the world won’t raise your price.”
Just remember that it’s highly important for you to take the good with the bad and use it all as motivation, for that very motivation can breathe new life into you like nothing else. As always, please let me know if there’s anything that I can do to help you.