Christian Martin Jr.

<em>If You Want Peace, You Need to Stop Asking These Questions</em>

If You Want Peace, You Need to Stop Asking These Questions

Ever wake up in the middle of the night worrying about money?

How about trying to figure out what to do with a touchy family situation.

Perhaps it’s thinking about what a jerk of a boss you have and how to go about finding another job.

Maybe you are the boss and you’re fretting overnight on the dreaded, “I’m sorry, but I have to let you go,” speech you need to have with an employee.

There are a plethora of items that can keep us up at night; stealing precious sleep from us and thus shaving precious years off of our lives.

Yet, you need not be asleep to be hit with anxiety, fear, and worry. It happens to us all and depending on the season in life, it can steal our focus and we lose track of the now.

I have found in the course of a life lived, that dwelling over a few types of questions can rob me of enjoying life because my attention is not here in the moment but in the future, worrying about situations or conversations that haven’t happened and probably never will.

Or, I time travel to the past and get knotted up over failures and frustrations that steal the moment and cloud my future.

It’s pathetic.

***

So, here’s a few items that I’ve identified that when I stop asking myself these things, my mind seems a bit clearer and my emotions don’t sink into an abyss.

This list isn’t inclusive but it’s a good starting point…

A) Why doesn’t she / he love me? Who knows.

But you say, “Wait, they said they did!” you argue. Right, I know…that’s what they said. People are complex and fickle. For some, the relationship isn’t nurtured, maintained, and lovingly watered, then like any living plant that doesn’t get attention, it dies. Some are just players and some are only interested in the beginning hype of a relationship. One of my darkest detours took me down the road with a person who after only a short time told me, “Hey, you’re a great guy, and sorry you feel used.” Then she wiped her hands of me like she just finished a bag of chips.

Once I stopped asking why did she…blah blah blah, and started focusing on my boundaries, learning more about who I am, and taking care of myself, the faster I got over that dip in the road.

There’s 7.6 billion people on this planet now, not everyone is going to love you but there are those who will stick closer to you than any relative. And there are those who you will find that will love you for who you are and will respect you, cherish you, and appreciate you.

B) Why does this always happen to me? Oh boy, I can’t tell you how many times this has fallen from my lips. Yet, until I took inventory of my own life; from the filters I carry around—the way I perceive life—to the situations I allow myself into without any thoughtfulness, it seemed like a never ending circle that I couldn’t wiggle free of.

It’s easy to get caught up in life and not consider making intentional decisions about our environment. Some of my own toxic cycles were due to being around toxic people—those hellbent on making sure you and everyone else around them were as miserable as they are; drama filled and unending gossip. Stuck in toxic situations that the only person holding the key to freedom was me!

If we desire a different outcome, we must live intentionally and change our environment.

C) Why did I say that? Why didn’t I say X or Y? Why did I do that? Why didn’t I do X or Y? For some, these questions will haunt until the grave.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We are human. Again, here’s an opportunity for us to learn about ourselves. We can shove ourselves into a hole and continually beat ourselves down to keep ourselves in the hole, or we can look at the situation before us and think about how we will handle something similar in the future.

I wonder if we beat ourselves to a pulp with these words because we fear what others think of us and we don’t allow ourselves any wiggle room to be human. What if we took more of an approach to life of Not perfection but progress. That’s what change is, a process, not a destination.

D) Why am I so stupid? Or, Why am I such an idiot? Or, Why am I a failure? This usually comes after the above question of Why did I… Almost like a natural cascade of dominos toppling upon each other until none is left standing.

This type of question encases us into a box in our mind that is difficult to break free from. We don’t see all the accomplishments we have made to date and all the blessings around us, instead it’s the speck on the wall that gets all the focus.

I recently had a day where I kept forgetting everything. It was also a day I was swamped with a great deal of responsibility. Reflection is something I practice more of these days and that practice I’ve incorporated into my daily walk saved me from a long night of restless despair.

Reflecting on your day and what was going on will help put things into perspective. It’s also a plus if you’re able to talk to someone who knows you and cares enough about you to make you accountable to your negative self-talk that can keep you from plunging into a dark hole.

E) Why can’t I…? Why don’t I…? Why…? Limiting self-belief in every area of our lives sorely hinders us. When was the last time you took an honest look at what you say about yourself? And, when was the last time you truly considered how you talk about yourself to others, and to yourself?

Granted, chances are we won’t be the next man or woman on mars but dang it, we just don’t give ourselves enough credit for the things we do well, or the things we excel at, or the things we have accomplished. This question brings up a slew of self-doubt that seems to inhibit us from moving forward. And if we stop moving forward, then it usually is an indication of being stalled and stuck; blinded by a limiting self-belief that is far from accurate.

***

These are a few questions that have stolen my peace more than once.

The sooner I let go of these questions like the seedling chutes of a dandelion floating away in the breeze, the sooner my mind can rest and my heart can find peace.


Photo by Evan Dennis on Unsplash

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Life Hack, Living Better, Reinvention, Self-Improvement
<em>Live a Lot Differently</em>

Live a Lot Differently

I wrote this article over a year ago and shared it with a few people then. It was at the end of 2016 which was a dark year for me fraught with horrible detours and paralyzing emotional pain.

At the time, I had already lost my Dad to cancer, divorced, retired from law enforcement, and attempted to start new at life and reinvent myself.

And…nothing I set out to do worked out in my time frame.

Yet, I am grateful for where I am at in life now and for all the ugly detours I encountered because through it all I learned much about myself; who I am and who I’m not, and the things that matter most in life.

What matters most in life can become lost in the haze of work, bills, schedules, gossip, drama, meetings, and crappy people taking advantage of you or those trying to keep you corralled through fear and guilt.

Rarely do we come up for air, take a breath, and look around at the landscape of our lives to take honest inventory until our mortality knocks.

So, here is a post I want to share and I pray it touches you as it did me when I wrote it…


Bill Watterson, I hope you don’t mind me using your comic to make a point. It just fits. Fits the dimensions for the cover photo. Fits with what has kept me up all night.

It’s 2 am right now. Arrrgh. I can’t sleep.

Hard to train a night owl to be an early bird. I’m trying to change…a lot of things. I hope you’re more successful at change than I am. I fall short of my goals sometimes. It can be frustrating.

I’m house sitting for my friends right now. Beautiful house. Laying in bed, I can gaze out at the stars and wonder. Probably too much wondering that leads to too much wandering through the space between my ears.

My mind thinks of random things like this comic. Then, it thinks of some other things…

***

I was a cop for a long time. Two different departments, same human nature. I worked a lot of night shifts.

One night, my partner and I got a frantic 9-1-1 call. Two roommates arguing, in the middle of the night…of course, it’s in the middle of the night.

Well, one decided he had enough of the arguing, pulled out a large handgun, shoved it into his roommate’s head and said, “I’m going blow your fucking head off!”

Terrorized roommate managed to escape with his head intact.

Now standing on the street in the snow and ice, cold as whatever; he stood in his shorts and waited. He was standing there when we arrived.

My partner was speaking to him on the roadway. I had my rifle out, loaded, and pointed at the house. I’d been through the drill a hundred times before: we will either go in to confront this dude, or he’ll come out to us.

He decided to come out…

Mad, cursing, and waving his hands, he began to stomp right toward us. I shouted for him to stop. Then I saw his left hand.

The red and blue lights from our vehicles danced off of everything. Red and blue sparkles on the trees, the house, the snow, his face…and, his left hand, which held a large, black object.

I screamed, “Drop it, or I’ll shoot!”

He cursed some more as he flung his arms around. He kept walking, now toward me.

You know what’s scary? The power. Society handed me the power to take this man’s life if need be.

I’m a trained professional, honestly, my rifle didn’t waver once. Steady as a rock, I took another deep breath, this was it. One more step and I’m gonna drop this guy.

One more desperate plea. I shouted, but it came out more like a growl. I used a lot of adult language with the added measure of what I was about to do to him without a bump in my pulse. Yes, I was that dead inside.

Amazing…he stopped. He finally dropped…his very large, black cell phone from his left hand.

That man and I would see each other occasionally after that encounter. He never addressed me by my name. He called me sergeant Godzilla. I’m a little guy; probably because I growled at him.

He thanked me several times for not shooting him that night. I am thankful I didn’t either.

Funny, in a mixed-up sort of way, I had the power to take, and give life at that moment.

***

I sit here at 3 am now, watching the waning moon rise over the mountains. Reminds me of another call at the beginning of my career…

A small boy, who hung himself, a suicide. I have no idea what was going on in a ten-year-old’s mind that would cause him to wrap a belt around his neck from his bunk bed. It still baffles me.

I did CPR on that little boy for thirty-two minutes. When you’re a sheriff’s deputy in a rural area, an ambulance can seem to take forever. Your backup can take forever.

For twenty minutes, the mother jumped up and down, beating my back with her fists and screaming, “You’re not doing enough to save my baby!” until my partner arrived on scene and wrapped her up in a bear hug.

I don’t blame her.

I was sore for a few days after that. To this day I still can’t eat certain foods because of that call, heck I didn’t eat much for a week afterward.

Some say I have PTSD, who knows, maybe. I don’t know for sure.

I remember a paramedic pulling me off the boy. I didn’t want him to die. I thought I could save him. I couldn’t.

***

I’ve seen some die…who should have lived. I’ve seen some live…who should have died.

I truly pray you never have to see or experience anything like that…ever!

I wonder, watching the stars tonight, that if we pondered how short of a time we have here if we would live differently.

I know we have bills to pay, food to buy, and all of that. But what is important to you?

Does work come before someone we love? What are our priorities? When is the last time we’ve considered such a question?

We, you, me, and those we love; are all here for a very short time. We just don’t know when that last breath will come. So till then, till that time, please do me a favor?

Call the one you love and tell them you love them. Carve out some time, out of your day, your evening, your life, and give it to the ones you love.

Hug your One and look them in the eyes and tell them, “I love you.”

Kiss them. Make passionate love to them.

If you find yourself alone. Hug yourself, tell yourself you’re worth it. Tell yourself, “I love you.” And someday very soon, you’ll find someone to love…who will honor you, and adore you.

I believe this.

It’s time for bed now. I’m gonna give myself a hug. Tell myself, “I love you.”

And gaze out at the stars and pray that none of us miss another opportunity to love.


Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Life Hack, Living Better, PTSD, Reinvention, Self-Improvement