Month: October 2017

Quite the Challenge

Quite the Challenge

A challenge can be different things to different people all based upon the tone and circumstance.

“I challenge you to a game of …” Clearly an invitation to a possible butt-whooping.

It could mean something in law where an attorney objects and challenges a procedure or a juror selection in court.

It could mean that the immune system was exposed to some sort of pathogenic…thingy—of which I have no clue what that means.

Then there’s the vertical or horizontal challenge whereby I’m too short or too round. That’s where I throw down the card of protest and blame that whole gravitational law thingy. But, the term is only a euphemism at that point.

Then there’s the challenge of a task or a situation that’s difficult, a test of sorts, straining, taxing, demanding, stretching, problematic, and I’ve just run out of synonyms.

Bottom line is, life changes are challenging.

Oh, and these Life Challenges?

Sure, we can make the decision to leap and bring on those challenges for ourselves.

Yet, at times, these challenges are forced upon us suddenly and without warning.

Other times, they’re not always clear at first.

They come on as a slow boil. Things begin to move deep within us that point you and I in a different direction. It may take weeks, months, even years, but there comes a point when you feel yourself dying daily, yearning for something that might appear to be just out of reach, and that feeling that if you don’t reach out and grab the destiny before you, you’ll wither and die where you’re at.

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Recently, I have been faced with the challenge of writing about pages and personal bios for other resources on the internet. All aimed at informing people who and what I am in a concise manner.

One thing I have always struggled with over the course of this short and ephemeral life is who am I? I know, I probably shouldn’t admit it.

A recent challenge tossed on my plate was, why blog? This isn’t a new challenge; I’ve been asked this before.

But this challenge was different and much deeper. It was more than why I blog, but what’s my voice? What’s my message? Then another why, and then another why, until finally I hit the bottom and found out that that’s where I am.

Okay…so…what’s your message, and why? More specifically, who are you deep inside?

Same question came from different sources in a short period of time. It got me to thinking.

I’ve always believed that He who knows why, will always have dominion over he who knows how.

I can teach an animal to do tricks upon command, but why? Why do them at all? Just because someone else gives you a treat?

Then I have to ask, Why am I stuck in someone else’s cage?!

Anyways, I digress…

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Sifting through the layers.

This is by far the most difficult task in which you and I have to, must, and need to do when it comes to figuring out who we truly are.

We have layers upon layers heaped upon us from the time we come out of the womb.

We’re told what to believe, how to practice that belief, who to vote for, and in what political camp we should reside.

We’re told what we should study in school, and what school to attend; where we should live; what job someone else thinks we should have, or do, based upon what someone, or some test, says we should.

We go to work and we’re blasted all day long with what we should do, or how to do it. Never mind we probably work for a boss that is afraid of his or her own shadow and has no stomach for our input on how to better the program.

We come home and hopefully your home is a place of refuge, as it should be. But…

What if home isn’t a place of refuge? You walk through the door at the end of a long day and it’s nothing more than another battle zone, and in order to survive you have to revert to apathy just to get through another evening without creating too many explosions along the way.

Then, get up in the morning and never realize how beautiful the sunrise is because we’re so exhausted from our lives being trapped in layers.

Layers of someone else’s expectations; thick and heavy and suffocating. That makes it hard to do the work of finding out who we really are.

It’s difficult to peel those layers off to find what we truly believe in. How we truly want to be. What path we truly want to place our feet upon.

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I’m still working it out.

I haven’t perfected this reinvention thing and am still in the throngs of change.

But, isn’t that the beauty of it all? The process?

It’s the birthing of something new that is exciting and lovely and scary all at the same time!

So I don’t want to be a hypocrite, a parrot, or another voice heaping another layer on you that you don’t need.

I hate being a hypocrite. It’s no fun. The masks are sweaty and gross and not something I want to wear any longer.

The challenge I leave you with is something I myself have done, and still do. It’s a challenge that I whole heartedly believe in.

Change is inevitable. You can NOT avoid change.

To strip the layers off and to finally stand on a foundation that no one else can rip out from under you is refreshing. It’s empowering. It’s motivating…to see through any challenge you face.

So, your challenge is this…

Who are you really? What is your why? What is your message?

– Love

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Reinvention, Self-Improvement
In Pursuit of…

In Pursuit of…

“Well, sir, I hate to inform you, but you’re under arrest,” I calmly told the man, looking him square in the eyes.

My partner and I responded to his residence on a 9-1-1 call which he reportedly hit his wife during an argument.

Said husband was outside on the porch with my partner when I came out after speaking to family inside the home.

He smiled and nodded, “I understand.”

“We’re not going to have any problems, are we?” I already saw it coming.

He had squared up with my partner while pretending to be friendly telling us the whole time he would cooperate; yet, his body language screamed something completely different.

He glanced out of the corner of his eyes, licked his lips, scanned my boots, quickly looked into the air a few times, then repeated the cycle, and never held eye contact with me.

I knew he was looking for a way out: he was about to fight us, or run.

“No, sir,” he stated confidently, then leaned to his left to cough, then bolted down the pathway of broken lumber that served as the family’s front entrance.

After a short foot pursuit, which ended with him being tackled from behind and ever so professionally placed on the ground, he was officially arrested.

Life as a cop depends greatly on the ability to read body language within a fraction of a moment.

If you truly listen to people—not only to their words but how they deliver those words—you can tell a lot about a person that they may not be telling you.

Ah, but what about ourselves? What story do we tell ourselves in relation to what is buried among the layers we slip into on a daily basis?

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A few years ago, a friend shared a TED Talk with me that Dr. Amy Cuddy did in 2012.

I know…this post might seem a little late in coming, but truth is timeless, and it can reach through time to touch and transform us in the here and now.

AND…it’s the second most watched TED Talk with over 43 million views. Wow. It’s worth watching every 21 minutes of its length. Here’s the link—Amy Cuddy.

She studies body language. Her research concluded that the way we present ourselves—the nonverbal in body language—can make a major difference about how others view us, and…how we view ourselves.

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Dr Cuddy talks about how tiny tweaks can lead to big changes.

One of the things she discovered in her research is that standing for 2 minutes in an empowering pose can actually change your internal chemistry boosting your confidence level in stressful situations.

The power pose she refers to has been called the Wonder Woman pose: hands on hips, chest thrusted out, and head lifted high.

And yes, I did this during lunch today!

I need every advantage I can snag when it comes to change.

You see, I have wrestled some ugly things in my life: depression, suicidal thoughts, anger, self-hatred, bitterness.

Those filters can make life changes practically impossible.

Why?

Because, when I’m trying to learn something new, or I don’t meet an self-imposed standard of whatever, or I plain ol’ miss the mark, then the perfectionist side kicks in.

“You’re an idiot! You’ll never get it right. You’ll never make it as a   (fill in the blank) . You’re a failure. You’ll never change.”

It’s a cascade effect into a dark deep hole.

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I have filled positions in life that I felt totally unworthy to fulfill.

Doc Cuddy says during her talk, Fake it until you become it.

I honestly can tell you that it works.

I have started out on a new path in life that some despise, some could careless, and some love.

Too many times I get wrapped up in the negative feedback of those who don’t understand the changes.

Then wonder why I’m depressed as I slouch around and sit curled up on a couch waiting for someone to burp me and feed me milk and cookies until I feel better.

I know, it’s a pathetic sight.

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My tiny tweaks? Believe it or not, they started back in 2012, the same year Dr Cuddy did this talk. I didn’t see this vid until 2015.

Journaling. Small, insignificant writings about life, where I was at, the changes I wanted to make, and the failures attempting to make those changes.

Led me to meditating.

That led me to beginning to take inventory of having positive people and situations surround me. That led to filling my well—AKA my mind—with things that were uplifting.

Then I watched a TED Talk about how a tiny tweak in my body language, to myself, could make a difference.

She makes a statement that resonated with me. A statement that in spite of places in my life I have felt like a total fraud and had no business being apart of.

Fake it until you become it. She said.

Why is it that we don’t believe in ourselves? Why is it that we blast the very feet out from under us when we have done the work, have placed our selves on the doorstep of opportunity, only to have it open and we say, “Oh, I’m not worthy.”?

I believe in magic. I believe in miracles. I believe you and I can change, dramatically, starting with a few, insignificant, and yes, probably silly sounding techniques.

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While back, I locked myself out of the house. It wasn’t until I returned from the store that I realized that I had left the house key in another pair of pants…laying inside the house.

Not long ago, I would have flew into a rage and busted the door window or just booted the door in like a SWAT call-out—which destroys the door and the doorpost.

But change happens, and changes are real.

I smiled standing at the door with groceries in hand, my shoulders back, and said to myself, “Hm.”

Then, I figured it would be a good time to read since I had my iPad with me. Then, a little later a thought struck me on how to get inside without damaging anything.

Not once did I even think of getting angry…not once.

 

 

Photo by: https://pixabay.com/en/users/Alexas_Fotos-686414/

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Reinvention