Reinvention

Nature’s Lesson on What Flows Under the Surface

Nature’s Lesson on What Flows Under the Surface

There are places here on the Western Slope of Colorado that are absolutely barren.

The only thing one sees in these areas are the grayish-brown clay hills called Adobes. The Adobes are made up of Mancos Shale, which are packed full of saline, nitrites, selenium, and a few other oddities to include uranium.

Low laying pasture lands that overlap the Adobes have a hard white crust from the saline that wicks up out of the ground—nothing grows on it.

Yet, there are other places where the shale does not reach and are absolutely gorgeous; lush and green and everything seems to flourish and thrive without effort.

Funny, one moment you’re driving through some of the most beautiful areas on earth and the next moment you’d swear you’re tumbling across the surface of the moon.

****

Farmers here have their own lingo and you’ll pause while your circuits work out the meaning.

“Yeah, it don’t matter none that the water ain’t flowin thro’ all y’ar marks, it all subs out from thar.”

Huh?

Well, marks are those little channels in a field that are evenly spaced and allow water to flow, gravity fed, to the end of the field.

The word sub means that the water soaks into the ground and subterraneously waters your crops where you can’t see the water flowing.

Even nature teaches us that what flows under the surface in dark and unseen regions will affect what grows or doesn’t grow on the surface.

****

To thrive and flourish we’ll need to be in a better place than an Adobe field and we’ll need to have some fresh wholesome water flowing through us.

Here are some thoughts to ponder…

  • Change the surroundings, get out of barren land. This might mean a geographical move, but most time this just means changing who it is we spend our time and energy with. Drama, negativity, gossip, are all bitter waters which will wither any green living thing.
  • Changing what comes up out of our wells. A mentor once told me, “What’s in the well, will always come out in the bucket.” True. Listen to someone long enough and they will tell you everything you need to know about them. Yet, we sabotage our lives all the time with, “I’m stupid” “I’m not that smart”, “I can’t…”, “This always happens”, “Why me?” Stop reaffirming negative, self-defeating statements about yourself.
  • Surround yourself with people who are positive, believe in you, and will hold you accountable for your self-talk. This is a combination of the two above items. It’s almost impossible to change if you are around negative people who expect you to remain negative about yourself and life. Because it’s a habit we developed early on, we need help from those who aren’t afraid to gently remind us that we are better than what we believe of ourselves.
  • Write down, every day, how you feel and what makes you feel that way. Don’t spend a lot of time on this, but just a few moments at some point during the day. I do it in the morning when I’m fresh. This simple act will help you identify patterns and from there you can begin to develop a plan on how to change how you react to certain things that suck the life out of you.
  • Reflect and forgive. This is so tough. We have high expectations starting out in life as young adults that when reality hits, it sends us reeling in bad decisions, mistakes, and dark detours. At some point, we awake and shake our heads like a boxer who just got knocked out and say, “What the hell just happened?” Regret sets in, and those hellbent on drama stand on the sidelines to mock, condemn, and ‘tell us so’. We feel ashamed and just don’t like ourselves. It’s as though our water supply got poisoned and killed anything fresh inside.

This is where we need to take an honest look at our mistakes and supposed failures and realize that reality never matches up to expectations and ultimately we are human. Learn what we can from them so hopefully we don’t repeat them. Then forgive ourselves. This did not happen overnight for me. Nor will it for you. But, couple this with cutting out negativity, allowing ourselves more positive self-talk, and giving ourselves a little more wiggle room in the area of decision making will certainly help.

  • This brings us to…Learning to Love yourself. This and forgiving myself was by far the hardest thing to learn and to apply. Loving yourself means a lot of things. The best way I can explain it is how it was explained to me…you see a little child on the side of the road crying, alone, confused, and lost. You don’t yell and scream at the kid for making a bad decision to wander and get lost…you compassionately try to calm the child down. Holding the child till the sobs subside and the breathing returns to normal with your soft voice and strong arms wrapped around while getting the child back home to safety. How does that look like for you? Being compassionate with yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself, and the water that flows from that one thing will cause new things to sprout.

****

Life is so different now that the waters that flow under the surface of my life are filled with hope, peace, love, and…life.

I hope some of this helps.

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Burnout, Life Hack, Living Better, Reinvention, Self-Improvement
Are You Drowning in the Sea of Burnout?

Are You Drowning in the Sea of Burnout?

I recently had coffee with a friend after he returned from vacation.

“It was the first time in 10 years I left my work phone at home,” he said.

I can relate.

After two long careers, plus two businesses, it was non-stop. I was always in hyperdrive. High-speed / Lo-drag. It’s just the way I’m wired. My de facto operating system which drives me to…I dunno, success? To climb to the top of the pile wherever I’m at? To be first in whatever?

It’s complicated. I’m not a psychiatrist. There are a lot of what goes on inside of us. From birth, there’s a lot of different experiences that make us who and what we are.

In 25 years, I took a grand total of 3 vacations! One of which was a working vacation.

I was that guy that had to have a phone connected with me 24/7. Then, check my work email on days off, nights off, on call on my weekends, and was never able to disengage from work.

Today, we’re so interconnected to work, it’s as if there’s this seamless operation when we turn on any electronic component. We can video conference from our watch these days!

Why do we feel such a compulsion to be so connected?

Why do we feel we need to have push notifications enabled such that the moment someone posts a facebook post, to our boss sending another work email, that we have to get that sent to us right now!?

It’s complicated.

We feel this internal pressure like we’re missing out.

Then there’s the cultural angle of our jobs.

You know, the unwritten policy that you should be connected 24/7 because when the boss sends forth a command, everyone shall jump, or at least be in the know by the time Monday rolls around; for if not, then the sideways glances, raised eyebrows, and the underhanded demeaning and cutting remarks will certainly issue forth from fellow employees if not from the insensitive and insecure boss.

Anyways…

All this connection, push notifications, and simple lack of having any downtime or just time to ourselves, creates the perfect environment for burnout.

I could hand you stats and scientific data on burnout, but I don’t need to…I’ve lived it, trust me, it’s just a matter of time.

The more connected to work, the less connected you’ll be with loved ones, your significant other, and yourself.

Yes, yourself. You won’t be in tune with who you are or what your core values are or passions are.

Why?

Because when you’re on the short leash of someone else’s bidding, you don’t have time for anything else. The time you do have will be like handing a child the spare change you carry around, in other words, not the quality time you need to give yourself, and the relationships that are important.

Then?

You feel numb and hate going to work.

Your love dries up.

You’re tired all the stinking time.

What used to be a passion feels like drudgery.

You finally take time off, and it takes 3 damn days to feel normal again IF there’s any remembrance what normal feels like.

In my last career, smack dab in the middle of insane burnout, I was a machine. I felt nothing.

I didn’t have hobbies. I didn’t want hobbies. I worked non-stop, and there was no other reward.

Why? There was a lot of whys that went into it, but ultimately I had no hope of changing for fear of not being able to make it financially doing something else and loss of prestige and it was the life I knew, stuck! So changing anything was foreign.

But, I came across an article in 2012 that changed my life…at least one of the many things that made me stop and think about changing my life.

It was written by Bonnie Ware, entitled Regrets of the Dying. She took her experiences of dealing with terminally ill patients and wrote down the top five regrets of those about to die. It’s a short read. I encourage you to check it out.

I printed out a copy of that article and carried it with me every day for several years until made the leap.

Here are a few thoughts I’d like to leave with you that might help you regain your sanity and at the very least, point you in the direction of changing things up to revive love, passion, and fulfillment…

  • Turn off the push notifications. Unless there’s a written policy commanding that you need to be plugged in, then don’t be. If so, make sure you get compensated for your time.
  • Check your work email at work, and Only while you’re on the clock.
  • Take more breaks during the day. Yesterday, I dealt with poor writing, stressful situation of a website going down, deadline looming, and what did I do in the middle of it all? I grabbed my basketball and walked to a nearby outdoor court and played for 30 minutes. I could care less what the boss thinks.
  • Speaking of caring less…re-prioritize what you DO care about, and focus on those things, instead of an organization that is using you like you’re some cheap quart of oil, draining your lifeblood to keep the machinery clunking away.
  • Meditate. First thing in the morning, give yourself some quiet time. No, this isn’t a spiritual treatise, it’s a suggestion to give yourself space and a peaceful time to help you refocus on what you value, what your passions are, and…what and who you are. When it’s really stressful, I’ll do this a few times a day, and it doesn’t require a lot of time, just a few moments will help.
  • Play. Get out and play. Not behind a computer screen, but get outside, move, do something fun like when you were a kid. Ride a bike. Go hiking. Just go and get out…without your phone in the back pocket!

These aren’t conclusive items, just a few things I wish I’d done more of, at least just done.

Oh, and take more time to get away. Leave for the day and turn the phone off and give yourself time to enjoy life again.


Photo by Ian Espinosa

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Burnout, Living Better, Reinvention, Self-Improvement