“Break the Mold…Be Yourself – Be Bold”

This is an article I came up with when I didn’t want to write; AND it CAME from writing something really silly.    I was in a bad mood, with low energy; but I knew that I needed to write something, because I had set a promise to myself that every day I would write SOMETHING.  Here follows that silly bit of writing, which over a period of two days…(about twenty to thirty minutes each day), produced the main article:

I don’t want to write right now.  It doesn’t feel ‘right’; but that’s my anxiety.  That’s me playing a trick on me to keep me from becoming free.  It’s like the 5 – Tibetan Yoga that I didn’t want to do.  Maybe I felt that I didn’t have the energy to be authentic to gain anything from the experience.  Maybe I felt that to be me was not enough at that present moment and I wanted to avoid the discovery of not being enough, typed out in black and white.

 

And Here is the writing that followed from the stream of consciousness, above:

I’ve got this mantra…just created it today that goes like this:  “My Anxiety is just an energy not easily defined.  Yet I will transform that energy, in time, into the energy of my desire.”

We all come against ourselves.  This is the true test:  Not what one does to us, or what the world does to us.  The true test is what we do to ourselves.  When one comes against one’s self, they have a choice…to push on, or to retreat.  Coming against one’s self, is actually pushing against what is NOT one’s self – pushing that aside to discover what IS one’s self.

I am pushing against the non-creative, non-writer, perception of myself.  I’m pushing against the perfectionist who is too scared to move ahead, for fear of making some irreconcilable mistake.  I’m pushing against entrenched beliefs, structured into entire paradigms, which control every waking decision I make.  It is hard to do this, because it takes venturing forth in unknown territory where ANYTHING might happen.  That can be frightening; but it can also be exhilarating.  It also takes a bit of faith – that you will be ok, even if something goes wrong.

We grow up in this world, and here in the United States, anyway, we are shipped off to Kindergarten, then Grade School, Middle School, and finally High School, before going off to a college, University, or a trade school.  This is the traditional model.  And along the way, it is drummed into us all through this process, that mistakes are bad, collaborating with other people is bad (when it comes to tests and quizzes – which by my standards, in the real world…equate to projects) and it is extremely important to memorize or store up a bunch of facts and figures.

The APPLICATION of that knowledge doesn’t seem as important, as the accumulation of it (to our institutions of learning).  And then, creativity is discouraged when those teaching us ask, “Well, what is the right answer?”  Often times, in life, there are a number of right answers; and most times, that answer depends on who is asking and what their perspective is.  So, we are taught to get very good at guessing what someone else thinks is the right answer, but not what WE think those right answers might be.  We are taught to move away from trusting ourselves; and instead, are penalized if we don’t put that faith in someone else.

No wonder, when trying new things, we are afraid to commit any energy or much of our time to it.  I mean, what if we get it WRONG?!  That’s the worst thing that could happen, according to what our schools have been teaching us.  So, if we don’t have a ready-made set of rules for success or getting the right answer…a lot of us will steer away from anything that might smack of not being in that particular familiar style of textbook-multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank; but-only-choose-one scenario that we’ve all become so accustomed to.  It takes real courage to break out of that and become our own voice, our own seekers, and, ultimately, our own masters!

Oh, at times, we will need a mentor or a teacher; but their job is only to share with us a possible way; not to try to cram their whole theory into our heads.

Search for any of the great teachers in life; and you will find something perhaps startling…they all tend to ask many more questions while teaching, than facts.  It takes way more intelligence for a person to be led through a particular path of inquiry, and to make their own connections and ‘aha!-s’; than it does to simply remember some facts and figures.  And, it makes the learning become personal and ingrained, because the insights which the student comes to, is arrived at through the drawing from their own, unique life experiences.  I’m fairly certain, that to learn, one must have some kind of an established framework.  If the teacher simply hands over the answer, how likely is it that the student will work to pull together connections from their past knowledge in order to make new connections?

So go out there and be bold; and try new things.  You might be surprised to see who you could really become!

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“A Letter to Dad”

(The names have been changed to protect my friends’ rights to privacy.  Additionally, I have avoided giving too much detail, which might identify my friends, in case someone they know reads this blog.)

This was an email I sent my dad tonight, who has Multiple Sclerosis.  He’s been bed-ridden for a year or more; and his last email says that the disease has progressed to the point where he is now waiting for a nursing home to open up and take him.  When I was just a boy, he was my best friend.  As I grew older, our relationship grew more and more strained, until we stopped communicating all together for a very long time.  Just recently, after speaking with my close friend about his extremely caustic relationship with his mother – I began giving him advice.  Of course, if you are willing to give advice, you should be willing to take it…if it applies.  It did.  I needed to attempt to heal the relationship between my father and I, somehow.

He is going to pass away at some point, and I didn’t want that to happen before I had a chance to say how I really felt about him and what impact he had on my life.  In the past I had focused so much on my own pain and misery, that I could not really see what was going on.  I spewed hatred and bitterness everywhere I went.  I hated myself.  I hated my father.  I hated my mother.  I hated the world; and I didn’t trust anyone.  The miracle is – how did I ever manage to become removed from all of that and begin my healing?

Something greater than me has stepped in.  I am sure of it.  And so, in the spirit of generosity and appreciation, I say with a very warm heart, Thank you, whoever or whatever has watched over me all of these years.  I know that you were there; even if I couldn’t feel you at times.  You have guided me, protected me and brought me to this place and time of forgiveness for myself and for those who I felt did me harm when I was younger.  If there is a God; then this bit of song which I love to sing applies, here, I think:
~Our God is an Awesome God- He Reins… from the Heavens Above, with Wisdom, Power and Love – Our God is an Awesome God!~

To Dad:
Remember when I was at one of the foster homes; and you recorded two cassette tapes of songs on my birthday?  You would spend a few seconds to introduce the next song coming up.
I really appreciated that.

I think I wore those tapes out, playing them over and over and over again.  Each time I did, I thought about coming home again.  It got me through some really tough times.  Thank you.

My friend Sam went through some very traumatic stuff with his mom when he was just a kid.  She nearly killed him several times, driving drunk.  He literally, had to, as a kid, grab the steering wheel out of her hand, so they wouldn’t drive into a concrete divider on the highway; and shake her awake.

When he tells me this stuff, I let him talk for a bit, because he needs to speak about it.  He needs to acknowledge it.  But after a time, I begin to steer him toward what he wants to get out of his relationship with his mom, now.  Now is all we really have.  And I hate to see him waste his, now, on bitterness, so I have repeatedly asked him to focus on the things that were good between him and his mother.  Over the course of a few weeks, he has increasingly been able to do so; and what started out as hate, and anger and all the why’s of why she did this to him as a little kid; and why can’t she just admit some of it…..he’s starting to feel the love he felt and has wanted to feel for so long, for her.

As a man, I have had to make really tough choices:

One of those choices led me to walk away from a girlfriend/friend who kept drinking and drugging, because it was keeping me from being able to stop, myself.  I still like her and think about her.  I care about her; but I had to do that in order to get my own life straight.

It’s these kinds of choices, I feel, which make the difference between a boy, and a man; or a girl and a woman.  When you told me, that I had the makings of being a leader, I couldn’t see it, all those years ago.  All I could see was that I was unpopular, felt confused and no girl seemed to want to be with me.  I tried to change all the outward stuff, hoping that that would somehow change me and that people would want to be close to me.  In time, I saw that changing my outward appearance, was a very SMALL part of changing the conditions in my life; but where I would need to focus most of my attention, would have to be on my character.

I came to this conclusion very slowly and very painfully, when I started looking for a way to avoid being poor; and instead, studied the ways of the wealthy.  I gave up, for the most part, reading fantasy and science fiction; and began a steady diet of self-help books.  It was a painful process, because the last thing I wanted to really do, was to change myself – that takes courage, conviction, commitment, consistency and discipline – all of which, I was sorely lacking, at the time.

Some of these books would have exercises to do.  I wouldn’t do them.  The most I would do, was imagine doing the exercise.  Yet, I kept coming across these books that told me that if I really wanted to change, then reading the book would not be enough.  I would have to take action.  Because I had created a habit of reading these kinds of books; I kept coming across this message, until one day, I picked up a pen and piece of paper and tentatively began an exercise in the book I was reading.  But as my courage grew and my yearning to change grew stronger, I did more and more of these exercises. – And the course that this has set me upon has been so powerful that it literally changed my life.

So, yes, I am becoming a leader; but I am certain that I could never have done so, had I not been in pain.  It was the pain that forced me to take a look at myself, that caused me to have such a burning desire for change and transformation, that I would become intimately acquainted with fear, and what it takes to overcome it – or pain, and what it takes to push through it.  How could I ever have hoped to lead people, if I had not gone through my own hell?  How could I ever have related?  Even if I tried, what advice or real-life problem-solving action could I have taken?  If I had tried to rely on some text-book knowledge that I had read out of a field guide for leaders – the most I would have accomplished, was regurgitating what someone else wrote – with no thoughts of my own that had been congealed over time and experience.

Facing failure after failure and learning that that is not the end; has given me the ability to not see myself as a FAILURE, but more as a scientist, who will eventually find what he seeks.  I may have gotten people to follow, but as soon as REAL problems arose, my lack of character would have shown through and people would have lost faith in me; and maybe, even, themselves.  If I am in a crisis situation in the future…I cannot afford for this to happen.  Lives might be at stake; or something greater.

So, looking back on my life, even though the lessons have, at times, been very difficult – I am extremely grateful for having had the opportunity to have gone through them.  Most people would never say that – And that is precisely why I will be a leader among leaders.

Most of that has to do with how you brought me up:  Your advice.  Your quotes like, “If man thinks he can; or a man thinks he can’t – he is generally right”; and “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still”.  Your love of knowledge and being more than just average.  Your love of the mind and logic.  Your multiple interests.  Your curiosity and playing with science.  Your anger and passion for life.  Your jokes and lighter side.  Your wanting to teach other people what you had discovered…Your need to think for yourself —- I watched that, and began to incorporate it into my being at an early age.  I didn’t know what was happening, but I was being transformed.  My little body and mind and heart were going through an alchemical transformation; yet, I was unaware.

So, I want to thank you.  I want to thank you for the time when we were watching a football game; and you smelled something burning and grabbed a hot frying pan with your bare hand; had to go to the sliding glass door, slam it open and dump it outside on the deck.  You acted without worrying about your fears; got a second or third degree burn for your bravery and selflessness.

Later, while I was in the Marines.  My corporal had dove into the water and the other corporal froze when she realized that he was in trouble.  I acted without thinking, endangering my own life, getting my glasses knocked off; and having the water pull me down in between the big stones of coral…ripping my my back to shreds and my hands and my feet, after bracing with all my might, so I wouldn’t be sucked under.  Even after all that – after having failed to help him and nearly dying, myself, I still went and crawled back over to him and pulled him out of the water.  I calmed my mind and noticed that if I used the tide, it would buoy up his body weight and would be able to pull him up onto the rocks, safely.

These are things I did not share with you; or if I did – not the whole story.

I just want you to know, that I am the kind of man I am, mostly, because of you.  Words cannot express all that I feel for you, though in this email, I have tried.

Dave

David Lee Madison, Jr.
~Nate – street name
~KnavetheMage on Twitter
~ZenNinja
~Nate Love
~Dreamweaver
Wordpress – Synergy, KnavetheMage, suprememasterjedi
Copied from my WORD documents in Boulder, CO
Monday, December 16, 2013 – 01:27

“My Jar Analogy as a Basic Blueprint for Understanding Key Success Principles”

“My Jar Analogy as a Basic Blueprint for Understanding Key Success Principles”

I have often thought that the concept of the rate of growth and desire to speed up that growth, could be best illustrated by the analogy of a tiny man or woman in, and at the bottom, of a jar when they are born.

 

Below, I will attempt to examine this further:

 

The jar is a metaphor for the set of conditions and circumstances we are born into.  The bottom represents the time and place of our entering this world.  The small person represents us, as we learn and grow and apply what we know and have learned.  The sand or clay represents challenges and opportunities presented to us on a daily or even more frequent basis.  The stones simply represent bigger opportunities or challenges.  The lip of the jar represents the point in time when we are able to get past our set of circumstances, thought patterns, or habits.  The outside of the jar represents the rest of the Universe or almost limitless possibilities waiting for us to grasp once we learn certain lessons and achieve certain applied skills.

So, imagine a man trying to get out of a jar; but the only tools he is given is that of gradual grains of sand or clay being dropped into the jar from above.  One would think that it would be much faster if you put a bunch of stones in instead, as stepping stones.  That is the solution that seems to come to mind quickest, once we become impatient for things to change in our lives.

 

In order to do that, though, we have to build from the bottom – up.  We have to create with what we were originally given.  Take a poker player for a moment – the best ones, I’ve been told, are not necessarily the ones with the best hands; but the ones with the best strategy and know how to read people and circumstances and to even bluff at times.

 

I know that I’m mixing metaphors, here, but if you stay with me for a bit more, where we’re headed may become more clear…

 

So, there you are: a tiny man or woman, at the very bottom of the jar (at birth).  Life begins tossing in grains of sand or grains of clay.  If big boulders dropped on us, they could instantly kill us.  Now, imagine that we can let this stuff continue to fall on our heads, and bury us alive; or we can somehow make room and step on those grains,(skillfully spread around and stacked upon one another), once they make it to the bottom of the jar.  We begin to do this, and soon, we are standing on a nice foundation that we’ve even managed to smooth out.

 

Now, let’s say that as time goes on, we decide that we’re no longer satisfied with these itty-bitty grains of clay and want to move faster in our life; so we beg for huge boulders again.  Besides, getting smashed in the head, what happens if we have actually been able to build with these boulders or stones and now are leaping merrily up the mountain?  What happens if we miss-step and fall all the way back down to where the sand or clay is?  – We get battered and bruised along the way down.  We may even die while smashing from rock to rock, until we finally cease our descent.

 

Yet, we haven’t discussed the other dynamic going on, here.  Eventually that little person grows into a bigger person, stronger mind, will, imagination, knowledge base, and sets of skills.  If we take this into account, as well, then, we see that our rate of success can merge almost seamlessly with our rate of growth.  And when I speak of growth; I’m not just referring to going from a child to an adult; but am including the things I mentioned above, as well.  Eventually, when you’ve gotten big enough, you will be too large to fall into the cracks of those stones.  In essence, your person or soul or life power/personal power will be big enough so that you will actually NEED larger sized grains of sand/clay; or even stones.

 

1)  Please leave a comment or tell your story, or just give an example from your own life, if this resonates with you.  All are welcome!

2)  AND – if you know how to get rid of the annoying hidden characters which keep showing up at the top of my blog, from Microsoft WORD – help!

 

And thanks for taking the time to read my blog!

 

David Lee Madison, Jr.

~Nate – street name ,

~KnavetheMage on Twitter

 ~ZenNinja

~Nate Love

~Dreamweaver

WordPress – Synergy, KnavetheMage, suprememasterjedi

Copied from my WORD documents in Boulder, CO

Saturday, December 7, 20139:32