I didn't think I could do it. I am always on the move. When my body is not, my brain runs away somewhere and I need to go find it.
I was like a caged animal tonight. My day was turned around and mixed up with an early rise and mid day nap. I hustled off for a doctor's appointment and then ate lunch at 3:00 p.m.
So by the time we finished food shopping I wanted to do something, keep going, or simply just walk some place.
But we returned home and I paced inside and out. There was a fresh scent of rain mixed with cool breezes bathing my body and soul. I walked in one door and out the other, pausing long enough inside to know it wasn't where I belonged.
My sneakers soaked up the wet grass and I desperately wanted to go bare foot. Thoughts of sitting in the rain, permitting myself to be soaked straight to the bone danced through my mind. Faintly in the distance I could hear my Mother yelling, "Bobbie, get out of the rain! You'll catch a cold." But being the boy I was and remain still today, I kept on splashing, spinning, dancing like a fool, knowing fully that I would get in trouble. But I had been there before. I knew trouble well. This moment was much more important.
But today the rain had stopped and only memories of it remained.
So I grabbed a chair and sat on the front porch. I challenged myself to sit still.
I rocked and wiggled at first, nervously changing my position to find a comfortable spot. Then suddenly it happened. It wasn't the first time and I pray it won't be the last.
I felt a part of everything around me. I immediately connected with the world. I felt at peace, rested and a part of something bigger. I tuned into the sounds of the birds sharing their early evening chatter. I watched each car pass and seeing the driver, wondered who they were and how their life was going. Was that red car a reflection of their personality? Did that expensive convertible shout "look at me, I have money?" Or was I reading into things that didn't necessarily mean a thing?
I hardly moved at all. Yet, the world came to me. Except when I lowered my head for a moment and rubbing my eyes, I happened to catch the sight of a tiny red spider. Within the fifteen minutes or so that I watched it, it never went anywhere. It moved constantly within about a one square foot spot on my floor.
What was it looking for? Where did it want to go? Why didn't it walk in a straight line to get there?
That's when it hit me.
There have been times in my life where I ran around in circles thinking that activity meant progress. When in fact, I never got anywhere.
Then there were times when I felt like I was standing still, going nowhere and yet I learned more about who I was.
You see, sitting still on the front porch proved to me that the world will come to me when I need it to. Or at least I learn to appreciate more the immediate world in which I live. Earlier that evening when I was darting in and out of the house I was like the tiny spider, in motion but getting nowhere.
The key to this, I learned a long time ago from Dr Wayne Dyer, is "nowhere."
Learning to sit still, converts nowhere into "now here." What you see in this word....nowhere....is a reflection of how you perceive your life.
Once I accept where I am and discover it totally by connecting to every rock, tree, insect, sound and human, I grow into the world and it accepts me. Now traveling any where I can learn to be a part of it just by sitting still long enough to welcome it into my life and it in turn accepts me as a part of the whole.
No longer can I say I am getting nowhere, simply because it doesn't exist. How can nowhere be a place?
Believe me, if it weren't for night fall and mosquitoes, I'd be "sitting...still."
A young soldier found himself in a terrible and hopeless battle. The enemy was soundly defeating this young man's army. He and his comrades found themselves hastily retreating from the battle field in defeat, running away in fear for their very lives. The enemy gave chase. This young man ran hard and fast, full of fear and desperation, but soon found himself cut off from his comrades in arms.
He eventually came upon a rocky ledge containing a cave. Knowing the enemy was close behind, and that he was exhausted from the chase, he chose to hide there. After he crawled into the cave, he fell to his face in the darkness, desperately crying to God to save him and protect him from his enemies. He also made a bargain with God, one which I (and perhaps you too?) have made before. He promised that if God saved him, he would serve Him for the remainder of his days.
When he looked up from his despairing plea for help, he saw a spider beginning to weave its web at the entrance of the cave. As he watched the delicate threads being slowly drawn across the mouth of the cave, the young soldier pondered its irony. He thought, "I asked God for protection and deliverance, and he sent me a spider instead. How can a spider save me?"
His heart was hardened, knowing the enemy would soon discover his hiding place and kill him. And soon he did hear the sound of his enemies, who were now scouring the area looking for those in hiding. One soldier with a gun slowly walked up to the cave's entrance. As the young man crouched in the darkness, hoping to surprise the enemy in a last-minute desperate attempt to save his own life, he felt his heart pounding wildly out of control.
As the enemy cautiously moved forward to enter the cave, he came upon the spider's web, which by now was completely strung across the opening. He backed away and called out to a comrade, "There can't be anyone in here. They would have had to break this spider's web to enter the cave. Let's move on."
Years later, this young man, who made good his promise by becoming a preacher and evangelist, wrote about that ordeal. What he observed has stood by me in times of trouble, especially during those times when everything seemed impossible.
He wrote: "Where God is, a spider's web is as a stone wall. Where God is not, a stone wall is as a spider's web."
Are you making something of your life instead of wishing for something? Maybe, or maybe not.
I bet you've always had that little thought in the back of your mind as you wake up on a cold, wet, Monday morning - "I could make so much more out of my life"
So why don't you then?
(Close your ears if you are easily offended.) You don't because you're LAZY. There you go - I've said it.
What are you going to do about it?
I bet that deep down you're probably agreeing with me in a way, aren't you?
No? OK - let me define what my version of lazy is and see if you agree with me.
- Lazy is when you just do enough to get by at work.
- Lazy is putting another video on for your three year old
to watch so you don't have to play with her.
- Lazy is just 'going through the motions'
- Lazy is not having the faintest idea of what you want out
of your life.
Agree with me now?
The time has come to do a little bit of mental 'spring cleaning'. I could go on and on for pages telling you what you should do - but I'm certain that you won't do anything about it. Why?
Because you're lazy.
I'm lazy too, but I'm learning to change.
I'm learning that quality is important.
I'm learning that a minute's worth of focused effort is worth more than an hour of just stumbling around.
I'm learning that life is too short to mess around with the important things.
So what can you do? After all, being lazy is, well easy isn't it?
There is one thing that you can do and, although it takes a little effort, it is well worth it.
Prioritize. That's it.
Work out what is important in your life - and make sure that everything that you do contributes towards it. Simple. Well, the concept is simple - putting it into practice is a little harder.
Is watching TV more important to you than having a $5,000 pay rise this year?
(If the answer is yes - then I'll give up right now!)
Of course it's not more important. Yet the average person probably watches about three hours of TV every night (but don't quote me on that!).
How much time a YEAR do you devote to making more of yourself?
What do you think would happen if you decided to devote just one of those hours to working on how you can make more of your life?
Think of what you could achieve in those extra 15 DAYS of focusing on YOU every year!
Even if you only had half an hour to spare every week - that's still an entire day a year you could spend on improving your life every year.
Or perhaps you're too lazy to allow yourself a measly four and a half minutes every day to make that happen?
Well, are you?
Educate yourself about YOU. Read all you can read about how you can improve yourself - then actually DO it. Set aside just a small part of your 'free-time' to working out what you want - find out how to get there - then just GO FOR IT!
The only thing you would have wasted would have been that TV program you only watched because it was on.
Don't be lazy. Make something out of your life - after all... it's the only one you've got.
Jack (not his real name) tossed the papers on my desk -- his eyebrows knit into a straight line as he glared at me.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
He jabbed a finger at the proposal. "Next time you want to change anything, ask me first," he said, turning on his heels and leaving me stewing in anger.
How dare he treat me like that, I thought. I had changed one long sentence, and corrected grammar -- something I thought I was paid to do.
It's not that I hadn't been warned. The other women, who had served in my place before me, called him names I couldn't repeat. One co-worker took me aside the first day. "He's personally responsible for two different secretaries leaving the firm," she whispered.
As the weeks went by, I grew to despise Jack. It was against everything I believed in -- turn the other cheek and love your enemies. But Jack quickly slapped a verbal insult on any cheek turned his way. I prayed about it, but to be honest, I wanted to put him in his place, not love him.
One day, another of his episodes left me in tears. I stormed into his office, prepared to lose my job if needed, but not before I let the man know how I felt. I opened the door and Jack glanced up.
"What?" he said abruptly.
Suddenly I knew what I had to do. After all, he deserved it.
I sat across from him. "Jack, the way you've been treating me is wrong. I've never had anyone speak to me that way. As a professional, it's wrong, and it's wrong for me to allow it to continue," I said. Jack snickered nervously and leaned back in his chair. I closed my eyes briefly. God help me, I prayed.
"I want to make you a promise. I will be a friend," I said. "I will treat you as you deserve to be treated, with respect and kindness. You deserve that," I said. "Everybody does." I slipped out of the chair and closed the door behind me.
Jack avoided me the rest of the week. Proposals, specs, and letters appeared on my desk while I was at lunch, and the corrected versions were not seen again. I brought cookies to the office one day and left a batch on Jack's desk. Another day I left a note. "Hope your day is going great," it read.
Over the next few weeks, Jack reappeared. He was reserved, but there were no other episodes. Co-workers cornered me in the break room.
"Guess you got to Jack," they said. "You must have told him off good." I shook my head.
"Jack and I are becoming friends," I said in faith. I refused to talk about him. Every time I saw Jack in the hall, I smiled at him. After all, that's what friends do.
One year after our "talk", I discovered I had breast cancer. I was 32, the mother of three beautiful young children, and scared. The cancer had metastasized to my lymph nodes and the statistics were not great for long-term survival. After surgery, I visited with friends and loved ones who tried to find the right words to say. No one knew what to say. Many said the wrong things. Others wept, and I tried to encourage them. I clung to hope.
One day, the door darkened in my small hospital room and Jack stood awkwardly on the threshold. I waved him in with a smile and he walked over to my bed and, without a word, placed a bundle beside me. Inside lay several bulbs.
"Tulips," he said.
I smiled, not understanding.
He cleared his throat. "If you plant them when you get home, they'll come up next spring." He shuffled his feet. "I just wanted you to know that I think you'll be there to see them when they come up."
Tears clouded my eyes and I reached out my hand. "Thank you," I whispered.
Jack grasped my hand and gruffly replied, "You're welcome. You can't see it now, but next spring you'll see the colors I picked out for you." He turned and left without a word.
I have seen those red and white striped tulips push through the soil every spring for over ten years now. In fact, this past September the doctor declared me cured. I've seen my children graduate from high school and enter college. I've celebrated twenty-two years of marriage with my husband.
In a moment when I prayed for just the right word, a man with very few words said all the right things.
Their lives were cut short, but they will remain in our memories because of their life stories. A tragedy like this one becomes even more painful because it makes vivid life stories that might have gone unnoticed.
Many people might not have known that Jessica Ghawi, 24, survived a similar tragedy in Toronto. Now she is appreciated as an “outgoing, smart and witty” person who loved blogging and aspired to be a sports reporter.
The youngest victim, Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6, started swimming lessons just 4 days earlier. Just imagine what lay ahead had this tragedy not happened!
It was supposed to be a weekend of fun and celebration for Alex Sullivan. The movie theater would have been the place he welcomed his 27th birthday. Sunday would have been his first wedding anniversary. Just like life is meant to be.
Just think of Matt McQuinn, 27, whose attorney in Dayton, Ohio, reported that he died trying to shield his girlfriend and her brother. It is this selflessness that will inspire many.
Another example of selflessness was in John Larimer who served in the Navy. Indeed military service is shielding others in times of attack.
There must have been something about Micayla Medek, 23, to inspire her relative to remind us not to lose faith in God. There is inspiration and encouragement there.
What happened in Aurora, Colorado, is indeed very tragic and sad, but the victims’ lives are not in vain. Each one is a story of inspiration and admiration. They will always be remembered.
There are times when something comes across my mind and I immediately see something unique hidden between the lines. Most times they are things other people wouldn't pick up on, but I do.
One of my "friends I've never met" on Facebook posted a message for all of his musician friends. I am not a musician, but some of my best friends were.
I spent many long days on the road with a band traveling across the midwest. I learned to appreciate and understand the mind of a musician.
As we traveled, we would oftentimes come across a music store and when we stopped we would converge on the place like kids to a playground.
To this day, I still get that overwhelming feeling when I visit area stores like Guitar Center or Music Go Round.
"Can I help you?" the clerk will ask.
"No, I just came in to drool!" I always respond.
Again, I don't play an instrument. Well, I'll correct that. In my first ever band I actually belonged to the Local 140 Musicians Union. I was the leader of the band, so by their regulations I had to be union.
I'll never forget the day I signed up.
"What instrument do you play?" he asked.
"Tambourine!" I said.
He stopped writing and looked up at me with shock/smile on his face.
"You must be a hell of a tambourine player!"
I thought I was. I explained the reason for joining.
Anyway, a few days ago my Facebook friend, Danny Rantin' Mac, posted a comment about learning to play a fret-less bass. One of my friends in an earlier band played one.
If you are not familiar, frets divide the neck into fixed segments at intervals related to a musical framework. On instruments such as guitars, each fret represents one semitone in the standard western system where one octave is divided into twelve semitones.
Removing the frets on a bass guitar means the musician has the freedom to and the skill necessary to find the right notes without markers.
So, Danny's comments were regarding the musical meaning of fretting.
My writer's mind tripped over my old musician life and curiosity took over.
Danny included a link, "A Guide to Making the Switch to Fret-less Bass," by Damian Erskine. I read it, but all I could see in it were clear rules for how to accomplish goals and overcome your fears.
“Don't worry too much about being in tune perfectly, every second of the song." he wrote.
Such is life. We often struggle with perfection. We think if we are not right-on-the-mark we will be out of tune with the world.
It went on to say, "To slide in and out of notes a little bit, his intonation actually improved because he now heard the slight variations as inflection, rather than ‘just plain wrong.’"
The comparison to every step we take on our journey in life is obvious, too. It's okay to side step or "march to the beat of a different drummer;" we can slide in and out along the way as much as we desire.
Then the next line wrapped it all up for me: "Clearly, you do want to control when you are in tune, but give yourself the freedom to be human as you develop. That release from anxiety will allow you to perform better and more freely."
A life without fret or one with is a choice we make. Give yourself a chance to feel the freedom of living fret-less. Avoid having to be in tune all the time and slide back and forth, in and out of the path you have chosen.
It not only makes for great music, but it will free your creative mind to truly enjoy your life.
Danny says it all in his own words as he referred to his decision to go with a fret-less bass guitar. See if you can apply it to life, too:
§"Rule 1: Respect it, but don't be afraid of it.
§Rule 2: I found that learning on an unlined fingerboard worked best for me, because I didn't rely on fret lines to keep me intonated (I used my ears.) I found when I did get my first lined fret-less, I began to do exactly what I was afraid of doing (looking at the lines.) I felt crippled until I let the muscle memory and my ears take over."
You see, we become so dependent on the "markers" in life that we cripple ourselves.