Monday, December 28, 2009

How much do you, Bristlecone Pine Trees & Radicalis have in common?

“Into every life, some rain must fall.”

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1842

Bristlecone trees, like human beings have been through all sorts of storms. Bristlecone trees are sustained because its nature adapts. The very hardships it must adapt to cultivate trees so beautiful and so ancient they surpass the majestic Giant Sequoia of the Sierra by more than a millennium. Bristlecone roots run so deep that it isn’t moved by anything.

These trees look dead, yet are very much alive. They are the oldest trees on the earth-about 4,000 years old. Nothing can uproot it or shake its foundation!

After witnessing the Bristlecone Tree firsthand I got to thinking about the aspects of my life where my roots go deep like the Bristlecone and those where my roots are shallow and roll like the infamous tumbleweeds.

The places of my life with Bristlecone depth include: my treasured relationships with others; my persistence concerning a project that’s near and dear to my heart and my relationship with myself: a constant willingness to self-analyze, relearn and regroup.

I soon discovered, the other places of my life weren't the depth previously calculated. Aspects of it feel like they’re blowing away or are being partially swept away by remnants of a tsunami.

Purposing to convert the challenges, which presented into a growth opportunity, I pledged to ask myself what’s standing in my way and what’s next?

What’s STANDING in the way?
The question, which kept encircling my mind, was why there were aspects of my life where I felt I was always learning; yet NEVER coming into the KNOWLEDGE of those truths?

I honestly thought I was stronger than I was. The very areas taken for granted in passive reflection as inherent strengths, I couldn’t write down as Bristlecone deep. For example, I thought I’d mastered the area of not taking things personally-yet over the past two year’s, my life had been ambushed by several situations where my character was attacked…. and it hurt!

Yes I’ve rebounded from much of it, yet there’s this lingering stuff that raises its evil head just when I’m ready to emerge as this healed-whole person that’s well able to look past the pettiness of a few mean spirited individuals and circumstances.

The places where I find myself stuck are those where my memories of the past are more vivid than my future.

The balance of this blog entry will focus on what you and I require to withstand whatever is thrown at us.

What’s NEXT?
I scoured the Internet, my personal and professional resources to tackle the emotions I was experiencing. The targeted outcome was to ingrain forgiveness in my soul and increase I became crystal clear that additional challenges will arise as my life emerges to new heights.

I discovered something profound, yet meaningful from Virginia Smith Harvey, PhD, NCSP. Harvey indicated, “It is neither possible nor appropriate for forgiveness to occur while the harm is still occurring. For example, a person who is being abused should not try to forgive the offender while the abuse is still occurring. But later, forgiving increases well-being and improves interpersonal relations. In forgiving, an injured person can develop empathy and come to understand even an abuser’s needs and motives. Empathy can enable a person to accept imperfections in all people, including themselves. Forgiving persons choose to experience, appropriately express, and then let go of negative feelings of anger, guilt, and retaliation. All of these responses increase future resiliency.”

Here was my answer. I was actually more resilient than I’d been giving myself credit for, in terms of the character and circumstance attacks I’d endured. I merely needed a NON BIASED voice of reason to clarify things for me.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t being inappropriate or unforgiving; rather I am & was (yes all at the same time) in the midst of a metaphoric Perfect Storm and wasn’t being offered a mercy/apologetic amends raft by my would be accusers, character assassins & circumstances that had occurred beyond my control!

My new objective is to control the controllables. This begins and ends with m-y-s-e-l-f! In controlling my responses, I better grasp the resilience already in my personal, professional, emotional & physical arsenal to appropriately and quickly deal with anxiety, anger, or depression that can result from the ongoing adversity, I’ve been/am subject to.

The second benefit of this behavior modification is it enables me during times of peace, self-encouragement, as well as pre-establish a series of realistic and manageable goals aka boundaries. For instance, in times of pondering solutions with difficult people/circumstances, I can preface interactions by providing a consistent structure and clear expectations; that is, expressing what behavior(s) are acceptable for interactions with me regarding “________”, and what behavior(s) are not acceptable regarding “________”.

But! It’s too hard….

Nothing is too hard unless you believe it is. Yes it will be difficult to establish changes in your life, yet not impossible. The true culprit that stops you and I if we aren’t diligent and clear about the outcome we’re seeking is FRUSTRATION & HOPELESSNESS.

Hope is the oxygen of your & my soul. However, everywhere we turn we now see the downfall of the economy, tragedies, and strained relationships-many feel very HOPELESS.

Frustration is an enemy to knowledge because it ‘s faith functioning without hope.
"Hope is the blueprint of faith." When hope is lost, your faith loses its aim. You no longer have a mission to accomplish. Rather, you scatter efforts uselessly in every direction.
Expectation in Greek means the happy anticipation of good, eager longing, strained expectancy, watching with an outstretched head, and abstraction from anything else that might engage the attention. 

Hope is regained when you take your idealized end point, keep it before your eyes and in your ears until you’ve built an image inside you. Hope cannot be penetrated when you cannot see yourself without whatever it is that you endeavor to have, become or see manifested.
You know you’re on the right track when you become so tuned in to what you envision, that you can’t think about anything else. 

People may try to have a conversation with you and you’ll always end up talking about your hope/expected endpoint.
When your hope gets that strong, it doesn't matter what kind of unbelief people and life circumstances tries to throw your way, it’ll just bounce off you. You're so one-track-minded; you can't be drawn off course.

Remember HOPE is birthed in the heart & mind, activated through the mouth, followed by corresponding action-after you speak something, you have to do something!
It’s fed by gaining and acting on the knowledge gained.

The litmus test… When knowledge is received, you act upon it like advice received from your pharmacist, doctor, lawyer or trusted friend.

When will you act upon this insight contained in this blog? I’ve already got my 3x5 card of advice offered by Virginia Smith Harvey, PhD, NCSP. I’ll refer to it when I’m tempted to beat myself up over something I shouldn’t.

To your greatness,


Friday, November 27, 2009

For Trudy...and anyone else destined for CHANGE

For Trudy

Trudy Hopkins is the epitome of the word PHENOMENAL.

Trudy is extremely supportive to anyone who crosses her path, loves unconditionally-I've never seen anyone love their husband and animals so selflessly.
Trudy never wants anything in return-except for people to be drawn to Christ by her life which she consistently offers as an example.

Each of us needs a Trudy in our lives. Even if you can't reach out to a literal person, look to these web posts for like inspiration.
Begin this journey by promising from this moment forward to consistently take inventory of the things you're grateful for, the breakthroughs you've experienced, the setbacks and your process to overcome...

As I've requested you to complete the assignment, I thought there's no better time than the present to practice what I preach....

Trudy has inspired me to grow in key ways. They are:

1) Challenging me to question my motives. To truly make certain they're Gods perfect plan rather than mines, hers or someone Else's.

2) To increase my gratitude muscle. Trudy and Tena are two of the most grateful people I know. They always put a favorable twist on the most challenging situations. I thought I had gratitude mastered until these two women emerged to constantly call me to my greatness.

3) To truly invest in marriage. NO one ever tells you BEFORE you marry the work that goes into it. They also don't tell you how the stakes dramatically raise when bonus children (aka step-children) and age differences with your spouse are involved.

4) To always make time for what matters most. I knew this already, yet it's a beautiful thing when you get to see it practiced in front of you.

5) To NEVER give up. Trudy has had her share of setbacks. She's experienced difficulty within her family, extended family, friends, acquaintances, with work, her health and now with having to recover from a stroke she had 11/19/09.
There have been lots of uphill battles, yet she always pulls herself together. Trudy knows how to exercise her childlike faith to trump whatever daunting task faces her. I have so much more materially than Trudy; yet she runs circles around me with her emotional wealth!
I know I'll get there because I now make it my priority to let people OWN their own Trudy watch out! I'm a quick study you know.

6) To forgive. I had some major opportunities for growth in thus area. If you're honest with yourself-we all have. It's imperative to get unforgiveness resolved or it ruins you and everything that interacts with you. I see unforgiveness like. Sludge which overtakes everything. The longer it isn't dealt with, the worse it becomes. It causes sleepless nights, excessive weight gain, vendettas, emotional withholding from the very people you should be most connected to, ruins marriages and friendships, alienates you from yourself and others, and keeps you prisoner to the past because you do everything you can to keep your guard intact.

There is a better way & it's called grace.

Grace is the divine influence upon your heart and it's reflection is made apparent in life.

Grace is necessary. Without it you'll never be gracious, unconditional and loving toward yourself.

What you can't give to yourself, you're never truly able to give to others.....

Join the CHANGE revolution and commit to forgive yourself for the past, value the present and strategiesto implement for the future using inherent strengths.

Lastly, let's pray for Trudy's complete recovery....there's several lessons left for all of us to learn from her!

To your phenomenal life,

Pen name Tatum

Your Biggest LIFE Problem

Immediate stress relief is on the way. You don't have to wait for years to change and relive the stress in your life. Finally you and I can overcome depression, difficulty and anxiety.

Aspects of my life and so many others have been derailed lately. Maybe yours is due to finances, a relationship, or workplace issues.
Whatever the source, our biggest problem isn't talent or know how to resolve our most pressing difficulties.
It's actually the discipline to persevere, work strategically and consistently follow directions.

In the midst of persecution and mounting difficulty it's often hardest to stay the course.

You're not alone....

I got to asking myself why this occurs and what can be done to turn around our prognosis?

I began by sitting still, reflecting on what I already know and how it might be applied to the situation's currently on the windshield of my life. Here's what I discovered:

1) Remember you're never alone. At this very moment, there are numerous individuals dealing with challenges; to prevail you must do more of what you know to do without any hesitation...or at the very least get back on the recovery wagon sooner than the time before.

2) Remember to celebrate small wins. There's something I do correctly on a daily basis. When I shift my focus things change-there's a small window that emerges where I can consciously choose to re-define my mindset, an opportunity to determine what step or steps I may initiate which will get me closer to my expected end.

3) Remember how much work I've already done and accomplished toward the acquisition of my goal that I find myself stressing about. For example "This trying time has actually provided the opportunity to press into my faith at a more concrete level than I have in the past; it's provided the opportunity to practice what I preach to others and myself when I'm feeling at my best."

4) Remember my innate ability to see the big picture. I know how to clearly see through to the core of things. It's a gifting I continually develop by remaining teachable, praying in a manner that its a constant conversation, practicing theories I come up with or discover from others on myself before requiring others to join in and making adjustments as necessary. *something profound happens when we take even the smallest step toward CHANGE.

So now that you get the picture, let me challenge you to do the same in your life. Identify a circumstance that is CURRENTLY robbing you of JOY and define some concrete gifts within arms reach that can help you craft a feasible resolution.

If you're silently thinking life is hopeless and change illudes you, think about turning to the Internet. You can type a question or phrases into a search engine and within seconds all sorts of information pops up.

I do this often because I believe none of us are smarter than all of us. Some of the insight is wacky, so I quickly scan the next search engine result until I find something which personally resonates. Sometimes that concludes my search and I'll begin digesting the information; other times it leads me to a deeper search on a particular matter until I can find a place to properly camp out and learn.

I cut and paste things I locate into a Word document and print it out. I review the document over and over until I realize every discovery it can provide to my particular circumstance.

I then play with it in my real life. For instance, I'll teach it to someone else. If my approach isn't flawless, it immediately provides a short list of new objectives to place my focus to master the intended goal.

Another thing I do is go through the process identified at the beginning of this post-most importantly illiciting the help of others more knowledgable than I in a particular area or horrendously worse off than I to make certain I'm developing the proper skill-set.

Lastly put yourself on the hook for accountability. You and I solely change because of going through the tough process of revising patterns that have become comfortable, although not working particularly well for the intended destination where your and my life is waiting!

Remember the way out is Through. If you want change, you have to do some changing.

Share your setbacks, triumphs and permanent change with all of us. The Internet is waiting for your wisdom.

To your best life,

Penname Tatum

Saturday, October 17, 2009

And This Too Shall Pass...

“To me, success is doing what you want to do and making a living at it. That’s all I wanted to do.”
Frankie Valli

I finally had the opportunity to see Jersey Boys. Jersey Boys tells the stranger-than-fiction tale of how four mob-connected tough kids from Newark, New Jersey defied the odds to become one of rock’s all-time, best-selling acts.
This story was entertaining, yet vividly depicted the importance of being faithful.

During their nearly 40 year career Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons sold over a 100 million records, were inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, making them the most long lived and successful doo wop group.

Everything has a history…

As a child, Valli had no formal vocal training but instead taught himself to sing by doing impressions of other artists. Since he had a naturally high voice, he SPECIFICALLY focused on singers Rose Murphy and Dinah Washington.
What made Valli uncommon as a singer, especially while carving a niche in those early days, was his stratospheric falsetto. Critics called Valli's vocals everything from shrill to shrieking, but the falsetto remained his signature sound. His remarkable range allowed him to create expert harmonies, and the singer was amply able to hit high notes without his voice breaking.

Valli’s life on the surface looked successful; however his overnight success was some ten years in the making! While the band’s massive artistic and commercial triumphs are celebrated, the play’s considerable drama springs from the darker elements of the group’s story, from DeVito’s troubles with mob loan sharks that helped torpedo the act at the height of its success, to Valli’s dysfunctional family life.

How Frankie’s life matters to each of us? What lessons can we take away from his?
Frankie Valli is a triple threat to the entertainment industry. There’s a shortlist of entertainers who’ve successfully leveraged a unique vocal range synonymously with sustainable marketability. Who else could tackle the breadth of material that Frankie has done over the years and not just do it justice, but take it on to a point that places it artistically beyond the reach of others to imitate?

Use what you’ve got and develop it…get past the setbacks!
Rhythm and blues music was doing falsetto for years, yet Valli developed falsetto singing style at a more expansive level, unheard of in the past and even today.
Valli has managed to reinvent himself a number of times. No artist in the history of popular music has been able to maintain consistent success over a very long period.

Valli re-wrote the story of his life several times until he and his group, were able to reach success. Valli networked, practiced relentlessly, and studied Frank Sinatra and other musical legends of that time. Valli let each setback serve as a springboard to future success. Valli also was a quick-study when it came to setbacks; he learned from it and always focused on the future. Valli was ahead of his industry counterparts by maintaining ownership of the group’s original masters which has created financial freedom for himself and his business partner.
At one point in Valli’s career he developed otosclerosis, an incurable ear disease caused by a build up of calcium deposits, which leads to deafness. It got so bad that Valli couldn't hear himself on stage or while recording many of the hits fans have come to love. This condition lasted for several years before any solution was discovered.

Despite this performance altering setback, Valli maintained a professional acumen, without any live audience or recording studio awareness.
There’s some obstacle that we have to strategically address & some areas of our lives we will never fully recover from, like Valli, who never has fully recovered his hearing. Despite these tragedies, it’s imperative that we create a strategy to bounce back…and quickly.

So the empowering question I pose to you today is “What will you do to overcome your most recent setback…and WHEN will you begin?”
I’m committed to re-inventing my approach to a project that’s dear to my professional life and the lives of countless others. I am doing all that I can to REMAIN teachable, quick to change and increasingly open to innovative approaches? How about you?

Remain confident, courageous and phenomenal…

Remember you’ll only lead your life when you WHOLLY understand who you are. Begin the CHANGE revolution today.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

लव हप्पेंस

Love Happens, stars Jennifer Aniston & Aaron Eckhart. It has chick-flick all over it; however it also has a message which can be applicable to each of our lives.
Eckhart portrays a conflicted, man who’s secretly grieving over the loss of his wife and coping with Grey Goose Vodka and being a workaholic.

The contrast between Burke's public and private personas is intriguing in that he’s publicly 'A-OK!' – In fact he's making a fortune marketing self-help books and nationwide tours aimed at aiding the bereaved.

This movie got me thinking of the areas of my life that “everyone else” considers I’m A-OK, when really it’s furthest from the truth. I recalled my fathers’ death. I knew he always loved me, yet didn’t intend to care about me in ways which were meaningful to me.

This mismatch caused me to do the majority of work in our relationship and subsequently several other meaningful relationships. The internal tape that played was “control things because you’re good at it; control things because no one else will get it taken care of perfectly like I can; control things because you have the money in which to do so; control things because you know _______ doesn’t do well with stuff like this, et al.”

Subconsciously I was setting myself up to take a huge fall or burnout at the very least. However, I didn’t count the opportunity cost of choosing to change my life. You see I was too busy being necessary, resourceful and “the fixer.”

My fathers’ death was the straw which broke the camels back. When I wanted to control things the least, and grieve…there was no room in which to do so. Be it real or imagined on my part, the result was the same.

I found myself grieving the fact I was never allowed to be a child, that my father was never intentional toward me in ways that I could concretely sense it & that I was taking the lead on everything when he’d contributed to countless helpless peoples lives that were now NOWHERE to be FOUND to either comfort me or help with the celebration of his life.

A subconscious bitterness crept in and birthed a recovery that I never THOUGHT was necessary. Things were un-expectantly put in place forcing me to come to the end of myself. It’s from this Damascus experience that I no longer choose to control things. I made the quality decision to begin sharing the truth with others in a respectful way that accounted for both us…especially the often forgotten ME.
Now I ask and answer the difficult questions without delay or prolonged concern about pride or ego. I recognize that I’m no longer the God of my life or anyone else’s.
For every challenge on the windshield of my life, my role is to determine MY RESPONSIBILITY and go after addressing it as soon as humanly possible. The place I’m still growing is not internally responding to “other people’s stuff which has nothing to do with me…no matter how much they try to convince me otherwise.”

A life-changing lesson is learning how to let go. It’s actually mastered in the moment-by-moment decision to let go, rather than looking at it from the standpoint of all being accomplished by one defining moment.

The bottom-line
Life is full of setbacks & none of us will change overnight or are able to do it alone. We have to have a determination that’s steadfast and unyielding. I like to think of it as a no matter what type of functioning. It’s in the no matter what’s of life that you will get past your setbacks, encourage yourself to keep going and change how you ultimately see yourself.
As you change how you see yourself, you’ll change how you see others.
Will you join the CHANGE revolution? Share your victories, setbacks and encouragement strategies with us.
To your best life,

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hedged between fear and opportunity. The tightrope called life.

Life promises that we’ll be rocked by the winds of change. It’s something that none of us can possibly avoid. Uncertainty is the best gift we will ever receive if we are committed to having the proper perspective. These challenges can keep us humble, radical and plowing ahead.
Fear is a natural reaction to change. However we cannot allow it to dominate and control ANY aspect of our life.

I recently had the opportunity to see a famous tightrope star named Tino Wallenda of the Flying Wallenda’s. He shared some insights which are useful to each of our lives.

He began walking tightropes at seven years old. He didn’t begin on the highest tightrope. It was about the height of a standard kitchen table that he was taught foot placement & how to maintain his balance.
As things became second nature, he learned various salutes, & how to shift directions on the tightrope.
He rehearsed countless hours between ages 7-13 to set himself apart & in order to join his famous tightrope walking family on the road.
As a tightrope walker, he’s had several setbacks & hurtful falls. The thing that’s kept him going is to ALWAYS focus on an unmovable endpoint.

This got me thinking about my life & each of our lives. Each of us must establish an unmovable endpoint a.k.a. “what we desire in life & in-depth understanding of what it’ll take to see that desire fulfilled.”
It means that we’ll need to persevere and become unrelenting, to accomplish the impossible in life.

We all need support to balance the tightrope of our lives…

You have to learn to follow whoever or whatever has mastered a particular area of life you desire to achieve.
The closer you stay to this expert or process the easier it will be. Life is easier when you stop trusting only in yourself. In the midst of life’s troubling times, you can have peace and find strength when pulled in multiple directions when you stick close to RELEVANT and timely protocol.

I’m sure some of you might say “it’s too late for me; I’ve done too many wrong things to turn things around. I just might as well stop reading this one.”
Well you’re wrong. None of us, no matter how many curveballs life has thrown us should throw in the towel.

Let’s begin on the road to recovery by thinking what it would look like to live completely free of your past & what your better future would actually look like.
To do this, we need to understand the difference between VISION and SIGHT. Vision is a function of the heart and shows us what can be, while sight is the function of the eyes and identifies what is.

One of life’s greatest gifts is vision & its greatest enemy is sight. Vision, when focused on an unmovable endpoint enables us to contradict what we currently see in our personal, professional, emotional, relational and physical circumstance. No crisis can last forever…unless you let it.

President Obama was elected to office because he kept telling US Citizens about HOPE. Obama masterfully sold vision. He provided confidence in the future for us and for much of the world.
Whether you are Republican, Democrat or Independent, his speeches ignited something profound in each of us. It reminded us that our current situation doesn’t have to last forever.

The identical is true of our lives. We have to do the work of 1) Examining fault, 2) Admitting these faults, & 3) STRATEGICALLY admitting these faults to someone else.

But why?

None of us will ever understand or see the solution, as long as we are uncertain of the underpinnings of the problem. How can you really know when and if things have changed, if you remain unsure of what change is EXACTLY necessary. How can you create and sustain hope if you are uncertain of why you need hope, strategy or to focus on an unmovable endpoint in the first place?

The thing that gets me excited about being an American is all of the freedom we have. At any moment we are free to log-on to the internet, go to our local library, enroll in classes at a university or local community college and discover the world. Literally the world’s knowledge is at our very fingertips.
With unrelenting strategy, perseverance and courage we are able to get past so much of the bad stuff we’d rather forget about in our lives.

Peel away the layers!

It’s time for us to do the work of changing our lives and focusing on our unmovable endpoint. This is accomplished by reflecting and answering…with pen and paper the following:

1. What is the unmovable endpoint you’ll focus on?
2. What do you need to identify? Examine your personal, professional, emotional and relational life for places of pain, shame, regret, frustration and joy.
3. Face this reality with someone that you can trust. Practice some discernment because you’ll need this person to provide you with support and to keep you accountable to what you ultimately strategize to do.
4. Strategize your comeback from setback. This is the place where you get into gear & clearly identify your plays and what you’ll do in advance to bounce back from every setback you’ll face.
5. Monitor your progress. This is key to enable you to celebrate your sights of land-those things you do right and propel you in the right direction toward your endpoint and to also convert INEVITABLE challenges into growth opportunities.
6. Revise and strategize. Don’t be afraid to drop what doesn’t work. Habits don’t make you better unless they are taking you toward your goal. Habits can be your biggest source of condemnation if you refuse to challenge them. This is the place that it’s key to ask other individuals, read books, search the internet, et al for help to courageously break free of addiction, anger, fear, guilt, or whatever you come to realize is a problem. Remember that you’ll never conquer what you refuse to confront so atone regularly. See 9/26/2009 post for more details on atonement FAQ’s.

Isn’t it time you drop all the excuses and become who you really are…that person who’s achieved the target behind that unchangeable endpoint? Remember that conflict is inevitable, yet your response is and always will remain your CHOICE.

To your best life!

P.S. If you’d like to see how this process is unfolding in my life, submit a post. I know you’re out there. Several of you call me, & I appreciate it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

When I come to the place of personal responsibility, I'm close to breakthrough!

You cannot let people who don’t want what you do tell you how to act or respond!

We have to be willing to ask ourselves the DIFFICULT QUESTIONS. Without facing ourselves, we cannot change the situations, which consistently cause us debilitating frustration. We have to get to the place where we GET enough information to finally address the issues, which keep us from changing.
If you & I are honest with ourselves, it’s the identical issues, that cause the identical setbacks.
During a conversation with my great friend Cindy, I was approached about fasting on the Day of Atonement: Yom Kippur.
Known as the Day of Atonement the 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer will begin at sundown this Sunday (9/27/09) and will last until sundown Monday (9/28/09) evening.

Two holy candles are blessed and then lit, signaling the beginning of Yom Kippur 9/27/09. Once this has been done, there is no more eating or drinking, no bathing, no using creams and oils, no wearing of leather shoes, and no sexual relations.
Even Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast and attend synagogue services on this day. This is considered the Day of Judgment, a day to practice repentance, say prayers and give charity in an effort to receive God’s forgiveness for all sins made in the past year.
My choosing to follow Yom Kippur this 9/27/09 got me thinking about our world’s great need for personal, professional, emotional, relational and physical re-calibration of our lives.
This definite commitment causes us to practice principles, enabling us to become one with them.

This sounds so amazing and life changing, yet how does it exactly occur?

Feelings are never going to go away. We don’t have to follow our feelings; we can manage them. There’s this uncanny process which we all succumb to. It is my actions...beliefs...behaviors...consequences which create cycles in my life. I get so consumed (consciously and subconsciously) that whatever I’ve fed takes center stage of my life. Our greatest times of growth are when we do what’s right, when we FEEL wrong…. this sucks; yet it’s the truth for all of us.

The life empowerment exercise I immediately set out to accomplish centered on identifying what I was feeding subconsciously and consciously in various aspects of my life. This is my list:

1) Tradition. I was pre-occupied with wanting things to be a certain idealized way in my marriage & in my professional relationship with one gentleman in particular. The reality is that the idealized marriage I envisioned myself to be apart of didn’t have someone who’d been previously married. It didn’t include anyone who’d been hurt or driven to despair of some sort, causing unyielding mistrust. My working relationships didn’t include an individual who would consider him or herself, before everyone ELSE no matter what. I dreamt up someone who would travail for those they work with; that they’d be this servant-leader that was persuaded to live the ideals they share in corporate emails & during motivational speeches made in the presence of other executives.
2) PROFOUND Sadness & despair. I have wrestled with grief over my relationship with my bonus child and my blended extended family unit. I walked into the 10th act of a horror novel. Everything looked so shiny at the onset. Yes, finally I’d have that big family I never had with unconditional loving well adjusted people who had no issues…WRONG. Rather, the main characters were so adept at “their way” of doing things, & everyone walked with a limp that I shined the light upon. It was the most melodic perfect & worst thing that could simultaneously occur in all of our lives.
3) Trust. Trust that everything could finally stabilize in my life. That all of the crooked places of my existence would be made straight. That everything that I’ve worked to manifest in every aspect of my life could finally take center stage & delightfully be.
4) Celebration. Celebration of all of the RIGHT things I did and am doing got moved to the background of my life. Somehow the first three issues I recounted in this blog sideswiped my life. These successes indeed need celebration and gratitude because they are indeed life changing and serve as the infrastructure of the imminent life-change in store for my and the worlds life as we know it. The way of doing, thinking, feeling and believing will be CHANGED…all because of my being a willing vessel & learning to practice what I preach…in the midst of victory, setback, anxiety, frustration, extreme sadness, pressure, uncertainty, pain, profound loneliness & isolation et al.

Ultimately each of us needs to understand what’s appropriate and inappropriate for our lives.

But how do we turn things around when our THERE seems so FAR away?

To modify things, you & I have to see things differently. We have to begin by making a quality decision to never allow others who don’t want what WE want to be at their mercy.

This is the heart of what atonement is all about. Atonement is calling each of us to RE-THINK every aspect of our lives. Purposefully, we are promising to abstain from the very things, which tend to trip us up & gain enough peace to permanently CHANGE.
In the action of mastering the body for 24 hours, you are believed to
create clarity & direction.
This 24-hour period creates three distinct endpoints: desolation-consecration-restoration.

The immediate results are zoning in on who you are and becoming one with it. Learning to clearly identify everything that grades aspects of my life as opportunities to GROW in peace, resilience, & personal accountability.

This approach lays the infrastructure to do what you can & leave what is best left ALONE.

So many of us brag about having “no regrets.” The problem with this mindset is it inevitably guarantees repeats of the same challenges in the future...because we never fully dealt with the past.
Its imperative we schedule time to regularly reflect, so we can see the ERROR & TRUTH concerning every aspect of our lives. It’s in the mastering of our moments, that we craft the masterpiece of our lives.

The great thing about our lives is that we can atone DAILY. As we become masterful in atoning, we can learn to atone each moment.

Please share your victories, your setbacks & your questions. I swear that none of us is as smart as all of us.

I’m surrendered to the process. I will win. I will continue to master the art of active listening, communicating & forgiving others & myself…. all with intact boundaries.

Each day:

Identify where your thinking went/goes wayward?

Identify the answer and ask yourself why it isn’t working in your life?

Make it your goal to make someone else’s day. Get past all of the good intentions.

Now when life’s three, four point formations (popularly witnessed in football play) come your way, you can handle them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Got Morpha?

Morpha is the Greek word, which means “something that doesn’t change. It’s a solid form. It’s always the same.”

This word got me thinking about the things in my life that I could actually say have been morpha-fied. As I wrecked my mind the only two things I identified was my love for learning & my desire to witness others change the course of their life. My love for my husband has to change and deepen DAILY, or our relationship couldn't endure the test of time & life circumstances. My work ethic would always have to be tweaked to remain ahead of my counterparts & competitive.
My relationship with my bonus children would always have to be updated so that they knew I listened & cared about what matters most to them.

The thing is many things in life rarely remain the same. We are a trophy on display in need of inner GPS tracking systems. Although this sounds weird, it’s an accurate approach to track the course of our lives. Without regular updates, our trophies will look dated, listless & pretty flabby.

We cannot ever stop getting ourselves together. We cannot ever stop learning and applying what we learn. Without being sober, alert & intimate about every aspect of our lives, we are destined to failure at best & life without meaning at the very worst.

If you’re like me, there are areas of your lives that seem perfect & other areas that seem to tear at the seams due to life’s circumstances. Most of these circumstances you find yourself in began with “I’ll never….,” "Oh I don't have to worry about _____ because I did _____ or planned...," or “I don’t understand how …..found themselves in this circumstance.”
The reality is that life always places us in unique situations, especially those which DURING THE ORDEAL feel eternal, yet are really “schemas.”

Schema means a temporary image. It’s these temporary circumstances, left unchallenged which become the permanent stories, which shape our lives. These temporary situations tend to color every aspect of our lives in the same way a horror flick seems to terrify the entire unsuspecting town.

Once something so horrific overtakes our lives, how can we change?

We need to prepare for WAR in times of peace. We need to strategize our way of escape so we can lessen the blow to our lives. There’s something about each of us that’s rare. It’s that rare commodity which we WILL need to use to change the prognosis of our life CIRCUMSTANCE or at the very least ourselves while dealing with whatever occurs.

I so desperately wanted to believe everything I typed to share in this blog….however the harassment of the IRS, mounting student loans, & relationship trouble were all SMACK DAB in my face.

So after some reflection, prayer & exercise, I renewed my mind and started crafting my YADA solution.

“This is how humans are: we question all our beliefs, except for the ones we really believe, and those we never think to question.” ~ Orson Scott Card

Yada means a very intimate experience.

I knew I needed this experience, because all of the things facing me were zapping my power to think strategically & behave in alignment with my desired goal: to have peace in the midst of ALL this life transition.
This shift in mindset was IMPERATIVE because, neither I, nor you will EVER experience power in our lives without intimacy with life purpose itself.

The marching orders of my plan....

1. Establish boundaries for myself. This included my staying away (or at least significantly minimizing my contact) from people, places, circumstances that tempt me to sabotage my goal(s).
2. When I began thinking about what I didn’t want, I immediately thought about something else. I literally stopped spending endless hours re-living what had already happened, what I didn’t want anymore of & beating myself up.
3. Daily, I would think about my current life circumstance & keep factoring in future plans. I make future planning a top priority. When I get tempted to give up I ponder motivational speaker/trainer John Maxwell’s famous words “ if you want to change something in your life, you have to change something daily.”
4. I practice strict adherence. I make it my priority to remain disciplined. By pre-planning many of my moments, reactions & outline for my intended goals, I more easily remain self-motivated.
5. I regularly listen to encouraging things i.e. cd’s, radio, et al.
6. I regularly declare under my voice the desired result. For instance, when I start feeling like things will never change I might tell myself “Thanks for sharing. Things will change. In fact they already are because I’m thinking about my life differently. The perfect solution is en route to me as I speak;” “God thank you for the promise that you will fulfill all of my plans and inmost hearts desires.”

So now that you get the picture, it’s your turn to create your method of escape. You can do anything that you set your mind, will and emotions to.

To your best life,


Saturday, September 5, 2009

What men want?

We fall in love as a noun (aka feeling). Love has to become a verb (your actually doing something which WORKS positively) if you want the relationship to LAST.

People who remain in love years later intentionally engage….over and over and over; especially when it seems the most difficult.

Dealing with men requires a PLAN, which consists of more than eHarmony.

Guys & Gals can even now get in on the game of love with minimal effort! Just open the laptop & with a few clicks there’s access to over 1500 organizations promising a love connection.

With so much technology at our fingertips, it’s so easy to “fall in”, yet EXTREMELY difficult to remain in love. So to get the answer to the way to a mans heart for keeps, I looked online, scoured the shelves of the bookstore, magazine racks, discussed the issue with several male friends, et al. It pretty much boiled down & echoed Scott Andrews compiled list:

1. Men want a fun and exciting (female) companion.
2. Men want great sex (consistent, frequent, and passionate lovemaking score high with men).
3. Men want to share meals with their woman companion (especially when she cooks for him).
4. Men want you to support them in their work and boost their confidence.
5. Men want you to look great, keep in shape, and express confidence about your body.
6. Men want you to listen to them and treat them with respect.
7. Men need private time, to unwind, to engage in sports and hobbies, and to spend time with other men.

Can this be done?
Based on your perspective this list will be a cinch or a cause for massive anxiety. Think of this list as something that’s a cinch for anyone who’s committed to mindfulness-an unending desire for servant-hood.

So how might we master mindfulness to make love last?
Always treat someone better than they deserve. The goal isn’t to be right. It’s to remain passionate about the success of the relationship.

Always express interest in what interests others. Yes, you have to actually do something other than BE. For instance, I’m all about adventures that take place in temperatures that hover in the 70’s (81 degrees max) & the luxuries of life…that includes shopping for BARGAINS! I’m eternally joyful for treats, great restaurants & meaningful conversation.
On the other hand, my husband is the selective frills type. Give him Lake Havasu, death wrenching heat, his boat, fishing, silence and he’s satisfied….oh yeah with numbers 1-6 complied by Scott Andrews available like a Hoteliers Concierge & he’s a happy camper.

What I define as misery, he defines as heaven on earth & vice versa for my love of shopping & his blatant disdain for what I love to do….SHOP!

The game changing play…
Practice mutual submission. Do this regularly & you’ll become the quarterback for the relationship. No one in the relationship becomes more important than the other. Sure I have to allow my husband to take responsibility for leading the relationship, however there’s no bossing.

From this moment onward, lets opt for relationship over selfishness. LIFEPOINT: You can’t demand what you want & still get what you deserve.

You can be right, yet will ULTIMATELY lose what you value most. Your relationship!

So men, did I leave anything out? It’s your opportunity to school us women. We want to get it right, so we can get & keep the prize…

Women, take the ideas for a test drive & share the favorable results.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Identify Distorted Thought Patterns...

The kindest form of life management is to recognize the truth about yourself. It's the discovery of self which enables meaningful interactions with others. At first glance this statement seems pretty easy to accept until we are forced to apply it to an area of our lives that's at some sort of standstill.

The standstills are in fact places where recovery is desperately needed. They also happen to be the places where resistance is subconsciously or consciously stronger than ever.

Why is this?

It's incredibly revealing, painful, disturbing and regretful to look at the totality of our lives. To make matters worse, not many of us were raised to "do endings well" so rather than face the possibility of confrontation, we learn to internalize what's wrong, & second guess ourselves. This leads to mistrust of self and the world around us & a lifetime supply of ego and pride which provides a false satisfaction that keeps us UNdelightfully STUCK!

So we go through life with a limp that diminishes our courage to fight our battles alone.

After getting past the negative self talk & the ramblings of my ego which rationalized the counterproductive behavior, I came to the realization that I tend to internalize things. After I identified my need, the next step was to identify the last several times I did things differently, leaving my thoughts and inner voices intact. These were the discoveries:

1) I didn't internalize the situation when I spoke up for myself.
2) I didn't internalize the thoughts as long when I quickly shifted my thought toward something else.
3) I didn't internalize the situation and thoughts when I read affirming thoughts previously created by myself when the world seemed a o.k.
4) I didn't internalize when I spent time with people who were affirming, yet honest with me. Essentially when I felt they had my best interest at heart, I was free to share more of myself authentically.
5) I didn't internalize information when I would read, memorize & meditate upon scriptures.

Now its your turn to identify an area of need & list the discoveries when you noticed life was somehow different. Even in the midst of the storm, or biggest setback, you noticed calm waters.

So with my list in hand, I played the movie in my mind by recalling the three areas of my life, most in need of this sort of change. They were professionally, emotionally and relationally.

Since these three areas were going in 3 different directions, synergy was required if recovery was my ultimate goal. Synergy occurs when two or more things are working together (muscles or drugs for example) to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects.

The tools I had in my possession could assure change as long as I became increasingly mindful of the ways I people please, exercising the choice to say no as well as share "what's true for me" without second guessing myself. Although setbacks and mistakes were certain, now I could endure past the past and anticipate the result: reclaiming the free-spirit nature I never knew.

This is a journey that I've discovered is life long, meandering and is getting a little easier on some days, less easier on others, yet all the while well worth it. I also have noticed that I'm better at expressing my viewpoint, than I was even weeks ago.
Literally, every day in every way, I am getting better and better.

And so can you! Share your journey to inspire me and countless others.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Are you playing the score of a lifetime with what you have left?

In 1995, Violinist Izhak Perlman performed at the Lincoln Center in NYC. Perlman was stricken with polio as a child, so he has braces on both legs & walks with the aid of two crutches-very slowly.
The most remarkable thing happened that night. Just as Perlman completed the first few bars of his performance, one of the strings on his violin broke. The audience gasped & began silently lamenting mostly about the long wait they’d just endured watching Perlman hobble across the stage to perform. Now what would happen?
The unthinkable occurred…Perlman used the three strings he had left and played the most exquisite score, even going so far as to create new sounds never heard from a violin.
After the breathtaking performance, the audience went into a massive pandemonium of cheering, yelling and utter astonishment over being able to witness firsthand, the unthinkable being done.
Perlman smiled and while wiping the sweat from his brow humbly stated “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”
This is the task facing each of us today & for the rest of our lives. In the midst of uncertainty, we literally are forced to RE-THINK every aspect of our lives. Nothing is sacred. Nothing can be overlooked, ignored or forgotten as far too much is at stake for doing so.
Now is the time to clearly identify what you have & use it to acquire the life you envision for yourself. You & I must use what we do well as the bargaining tool to craft the masterpiece entitled life!
But how, when so many unimaginable things have happened?
It begins with changing your perspective. Perspective is very powerful because it dictates your emotions. If you look at the world from a selfish &/or defeated perspective, you will see the world through the lenses of “Look what ______ is doing to me! “You can’t trust anyone. They’re all out to get me.”
So let’s work together & defend the beachhead of your inherent strengths by learning to convert your challenges into growth opportunities.
Answer the following questions:

1) What are two things that you do well? What two things do people admire you for & wish they could implement in their lives?

2) What two things do you stress most about?

3) When & how do you get relief? Really think about this step. By noticing the exceptions-those places where you get PEACE, you can make those exceptions more accessible to the parts of your life that are most challenging.
4) Now list those exceptions (the way you get to the solutions & take the 1st week and practice implementing what works for you. Take the 2nd week to work out the kinks. Take the 3rd week to celebrate your new established HABIT.) Exception examples are “I notice I don’t get as upset when I focus on _____or do_____.” “I see that I’m not stressed when I respond to _______ this way? “I notice I’m better after _____.”

5) Promise yourself, in advance, to consistently check in to determine “whether you’re supporting myself as best you can?” “Is there something else that you need & how you might go about getting it.” “Where will you begin?”

The bottom-line…

Life inevitably throws each of us a series of setbacks. The difference maker is how we CHOOSE to respond over & over & over and over AGAIN. As you choose to respond differently, you’ll teach yourself to convert challenges into growth opportunities. This mindset and behavior will allow you to remain confident, courageous and phenomenal!
Now you’re another step closer to fulfilling your hearts desires!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Change...Why Is it so difficult?

Forgiveness is free. Grace is expensive.

The very thing you hold onto to keep doing things "your way" is the very thing that keeps you from realizing your full potential.

Why do you believe you can't CHANGE a certain aspect of your life, no matter how hard you try? What is it that you know if you KNEW it for sure, would permanently CHANGE your life?

If you're like me, understanding something in your mind and making it change the way you live, sometimes takes longer than I can imagine. I've learned the process is much more cumbersome than just changing my mind.
Rather, it's the result of my initial decision to CHANGE & willingly making successive choices to remain on task until obtaining the desire sought. This willingness is tested by your response to 1) difficulty, 2) desire, 3) direction, & 4) joy.


Sure you and I have ability. Yes we're smart. We think we're smarter than we really are. We know so much, however we have such minute coping skills to get us past "our stuff." But how can this be so? The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know.

This got me to thinking about how much better my life would be if I would promise to make a "I don't know list" before entering uncharted territory toward whatever goal I target to permanently CHANGE.

I decided to test this premise in my life and provide you with the navigational coordinates which will get you past those deep, internal wounds that keep you on the sidelines of life. No more band-aids for me!

The subject I challenged myself to CHANGE was perfecting my love walk. WOW, this was a huge undertaking, because I'm a self professed amazing, loving person. I immediately began to reflect on all of the loving things I do, say & think; how I'm such a wonderful & supportive person.
So after I finished feasting on my fully developed pride & ego, this little voice began challenging me to go deeper; to get past the nice stuff that keeps me SATISFIED, yet STUCK.

This voice helped to reveal the following I don't I could go & finally be at peace (professionally, emotionally, relationally & physically):

1) I don't know all there is to know about forgiveness. I'm ignorant about what it takes to win this battle.
2) I don't know many people who've successfully forgiven others.
3) I don't know many people who see much wrong with being unforgiving.
4) I don't know how to ALWAYS remember the benefits of forgiveness when in the middle of reliving "what was done or is being done to me by ________________."
5) I didn't realize that the reason my love is flawed toward people & certain situations is because I hadn't slain the giants of my past. How could I change when I didn't know how to reconcile the past wrongs done to me by people I no longer see or speak to?
6) I don't know how to stop being perpetually uneasy, worried and anxious about my life. I'm so wonderfully processed in certain areas of my life & so perplexed in other areas...I'm certain my husband & closest friends see with relative ease.
7) I didn't know the more I worry about what I don't know, the more time I lose focus on cultivating the ability to stop worrying
about what I cannot change; That I have to become committed to eradicating arrogance in my life. Nothing positive can come from worrying about the changes I wish I knew how to change.
Change only happens when I make a SHIFT in my behavior- where I choose to invest my time & thoughts.
8) I didn't understand ruptured relationships had affected me so deeply because I just covered up the emotional wounds with
busyness, people pleasing & telling myself to just get over it. This was nothing more than a band aid.

So you get the picture. I allowed myself 15 minutes to complete this exercise. I wrote down the most honest thoughts. Do this quickly before you begin to worry, feel worse than better about this area of life, & could make up some excuse which would allow you to get some false comfort enabling you to remain SATISFIED, yet STUCK.

Remember, honesty comes quickly! The longer you take to complete the exercise, the further entrenched you'll become in your issues. It's time each of us see our needs, grasp our innate value & see everyone as worthy of your intentionality. The economic downturn we are facing challenges us to think about what matters most & eradicate what doesn't.


So equipped with my list I set out to tackle these vices & eliminate them completely.

The first step toward my escape was to IDENTIFY what makes me weak & susceptible to unforgiving, anxiety &/or becoming fearful, in certain instances, while not in others? I did this step so I could stop being ignorant/blindsided by assumptions. Many of my challenges have been resolved because I NOW know the when, where, who, what & how I get myself into challenges with unforgiving which leads to a compromised loving of others.

The second step is pre-planning avoidance. I plan by design over default. I have to get intentional about the changes I desire to make to keep myself free of arrogance & self-sabotage. When pre-planning avoidance, I remain cognizant of the role self-talk, & interaction with others play.


The third step is learning to ask for help! This steps the most challenging because people count on me & look to me as their where does this leave me to turn? So I turned to the Internet so I would know exactly where my focus should be when I did speak to one of my friends, family, counselor, or even a well intentioned stranger. I did exhaustive FOCUSED searches on "choosing joy," "prayer," "unconditional forgiveness," "learning to think in ways that are helpful for me," "forgiveness superstars," "how to permanently forgive," " grace & heart transformation," "why forgiveness is so difficult," "why me," et al.

This step was extremely important & enabled me to candidly speak to others about the challenges in my life. This focused intentionality allowed me to become aware of the envy, jealousy, fear, worry, loneliness, anxiety, frustration, & mistreatment that was dormant in certain aspects of my life.

The fourth step cements the process of CHANGE together. It builds accountability into your life in a way that shifts attention & consistently has defaults which re-calibrate your life. Its imperative that you and I are the most effective beings humanly possible.
What you & I refuse to face, literally has us by the balls (so to speak). Let me prove this point quickly. Just think about something you hate. Ok now STOP. Did you stop, or are you still thinking about it/struggling not to think about it? The more you think about something, the more it upsets you; before you know it, this is all you're thinking about!

We all need a road map!

This proves the key to change is to focus on something else & promise yourself, to no longer embark toward change alone! You need people I like to call "wise traveling companions" who will support you in the process of change. You also need resources-text message reminders, intentional & highly focused thought cards, written statements which embed your brain with permanent CHANGE! Always keep reminders of your targets on the dashboard of your mind!

Become the serotonin you need to put everything to bed that no longer serves you!

To your best life! You're more phenomenal than you think. More powerful than you know. If I can change, so can you! Transform yourself and your relationships.

Please post your comments & share your process of change. Lets each show up to the campfire with our log (for explanation, see prior post).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Where Do You Huddle?

Where do you huddle?

I recently attended Willowcreek Leadership Conference 8/6/2009-8/7/2009. One of the presenters discussed the ways we remain stuck. Collectively, this mindset leads us to the phenomenon of always learning, yet never applying; overcommitting with little follow-up and a life which feels pretty insignificant.

The consensus of the internet, the marketplace & authorities on life change is to CHANGE.

BUT HOW.......because it's easier SAID than actually done!
If you're like me, you really want to change your life, however start and somehow get stuck, or lost, or promise to begin again each day...however don't.

Or maybe you set the goal to lose the weight & lost it, yet your personal and/or professional life is in ruin and you can't understand why.

Each of us will ultimately wrestle with something, yet needn't be defeated by it. Most people who achieve things which appear majestic to us mere mortals are the result of 

1) Proceeding past the fear which presented at the moment.
2) Breaking challenging tasks into achievable steps. 
3) Refusing to be paralyzed by analysis.                       

This blog spot is my COURAGEOUS step toward getting out of the "I have to wait to share my gifting with the world until I have a major multimedia deal, am on every retailer shelf around the world and a regular guest on Oprah..." huddle.

Even without any of these deals manifested yet, I've been entrusted with the ability to architect an individuals life-personally, professionally, emotionally & physically.  

I'm living proof that we can overcome our obstacles by courageously taking the first step & knowing in your gut that the next guidance will soon arrive. 

   David Gergen, CNN Political Analyst, stated each of us are invited to the campfire of life.  We are free to get warm and visit as much as we want, however we are expected to bring a log to keep the fire going.  I see the log as our life purpose or unique gifting that no one else in the world can do like you do!

Now each of have a place where we can share our lives honestly & be equipped with ideas to live our best life.

Will you join me on this journey?

I'm committed to post at least one time per week, however as the conversation increases, I see myself blogging and responding to comments multiple times per day.

The first CN1440 thought I'd like you to ponder and share with fellow bloggers:


"What's the #1 thing standing in your way to having the life you envision? What have you done that's working and when will you do it again? What's your accountability strategy?"


Overcoming setbacks quicker. What works is that I'm a consummate learner. I consistently learn things and figure out ways it'll work in my life as well as in the lives of countless others. My accountability strategy is promising myself to "stop forgetting to remember."

To help me keep this process front & center for my life, I made a list of what I don't like, what I prefer & the ways I restore myself when setbacks happen.  

It's the ultimate way to prepare for war in times of peace....

Share yours,