Day One

Well, today was Day One of what I’m calling my Nutra Adventure. It was really fun. I could hardly sleep last night for I was so excited to get up and get to work. I felt just like a child on the night before the first day of school.

I really enjoyed meeting my fellow co-workers. Nick from HR was great and we had a lot of fun going over my benefits. I have to say that the CEO is very generous and has created a killer benefits package. He explained to me how the new benefits package cost the company an additional 2 million but that he felt it was worth it and important for them as a “health and wellness company” to walk their talk.

My office needs some work. It’s a nice location and I can see out a lovely window across the hall. I don’t yet have my treadmill desk nor do I have much else of anything. Nick and I were laughing as I couldn’t find a pen. He snuck away and returned with a stash of post-it notes, pens, highlighters, paper pads, and a box of Kleenex. It felt like Christmas!  And those were just stocking stuffers because next we headed down to the IT Department where I was given a new iPhone 6 Plus S and a new MacBook. The IT Department isn’t too keen on Apple products so I spent a good 3 hours at the AT&T store getting everything ported over. In fact, I didn’t get home till 6:30 pm.

Oh, this was funny. I was able to introduce myself at the executive meeting at 9am. The equity group had flown in to go over budgets and such.  I was invited to come join and introduce myself and then I was excused. It was funny cuz I thought I was an executive haha. My ego needs a good check every now and then so it was good for me. And after seeing how long everyone was tied up in those budget meetings, I was grateful I was dismissed as it enabled me to make a dent in my “to-do list.”

Then, while I was busy working away, Dave stopped in my office at noon to see if I could accompany him and Chad on a last minute business trip to Tampa. We are on a confidential acquisition mission. I’m really excited about the opportunity and what I’ll learn. I’m also pumped to be able to share my expertise. I had a couple of opportunities already today as Stan and Nic stopped in to get some help and Amazon advice for the international expansion.

I have several items still undone tonight that will require a late night. I’m trying to finalize the transfer of KickFire Classics, Svêlo, and KickFire Marketing. I’ve got a few clients that still need some hand-holding during the hand-off as well. It will be nice when everything is all tied up. I’m feeling super grateful for all my many blessings. I’m excited to get to know everyone at NutraCorp. My mission each day will be to serve the company and my co-workers with all my heart, might, mind, strength, and soul. Here’s to the beginning of another wonderful chapter in my epic life. Day One, such fun!

 

Meaning in Suffering

I love Victor Frankl. I remember reading his epic book Man’s Search for Meaning years ago. It touched me then and moves me still.

Victor Frankl was an intelligent and highly accomplished Austrian Jew. His training was that of a neurologist and psychologist, and during WWII, he was imprisoned in a German Concentration Camp where he was able to overcome his situation by finding meaning amidst his suffering. Some of the great quotes from his book include:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

The essence of greatness is the ability to choose personal fulfillment in circumstances where others choose madness.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

Teach people to find meaning in their sufffering, and in so doing they will be able to turn their personal tragedies into personal triumphs. 

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last peice of bread.

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how

Why do these quotes move me so? It’s because right now I’m watching two loved ones fight cancer–a cold, uncaring killer. Like Nazis, cancer is brutal, but it’s also an incredible teacher.

I’m learning a lot.

I’m also crying a lot.

I cry because my friends don’t feel well. It pains me that they are in pain.

I cry that their families are sad, scared, and stressed, and I cry because I also know their families are learning and growing and feeling so blessed.

I cry because I know that life is predictably unpredictable.  And this knowing means I will one day suffer from some ailment too. I hope I, like them, will remember to find the meaning in my suffering. I hope I too can transform my tragedies into personal triumphs.

Thank you, Ryan, Lindsay, Tyler, and Rebecca for your incredible examples and your noble souls. I love you so!

Life Fair

I cried today. I was watching some videos of my friend Tyler as he rang the bell at the hospital celebrating his last day of radiation. I then watched the video of him getting to come home from the hospital after spending 3 months there. I saw him break down and cry as he sang along with the music ringing through the hospital hall corridors, “I will walk again.”

I cried because I was just finishing my yoga routine. I can do yoga and he is in a wheelchair. I cried because I just landed a killer new job and Tyler can no longer work. I cried because I miss him. Tyler Seamons was the best business partner and friend I could ever have hoped for and now I don’t get to work with him nor do I get to interact with him every day. I felt the unfairness of it all. I felt guilty that I was enjoying so much abundance and he was experiencing so much pain. I know this too shall pass–the good and the bad–for the both of us, but it still caused the tears to flow.

I’m even crying again now as I write. I have tried so hard to do right by him and his family. I’ve worried about how to continue to care for them and handle all their financial needs. I try not to feel guilty for the blessings that have come my way nor to count the trials they are experiencing as cursings for I know it is all part of this grand adventure we call life. I know I have been blessed because of this experience and I know his family is being blessed too. I have enjoyed seeing his and Rebecca’s relationship flower. I love seeing Jason wipe food off of his father’s chin. I loved seeing Lucy come in the front room and hug him in his wheelchair and say, “I love you Dad,” before running off to play. I will NEVER forget these tender scenes. Never, not ever!

I know that while life doesn’t seem fair, it really is. Life is fair because we all get exactly what we need. We all receive the lessons we need to learn in order to become our best. I’m grateful for Tyler. I’m grateful for the lessons these shared experiences are teaching us. I feel so blessed to have him in my life. I’m grateful for the time we’ve had together. I hope for much more, but honestly, I don’t know that he will be with us much longer. I feel that he might have other places to go. Oh, Tyler, God bless you and your sweet family. I love you all so!

Simulated Reality

I am laughing and curious about this new concept I first stumbled upon by Elon Musk. He posited that we live in a simulated reality. He delved next into artificial intelligence and matrix-like realities and, frankly most of it went right over my head. His brain is far more intelligent than mine.

So the other night, when I saw a course on a similar subject, I decided to click. I spent a hundred or so dollars on a few audio books and have been listening to them between projects and I’m having a bit of a good time. My judge thinks the dude is crazy but then I remind myself that he is me and that only my eog likes to separate myself from others and when I do this I see him as simply a soul who has experienced some truth that he’s trying to share with others. Just because his truth doesn’t resonate with me doesn’t mean I should label him crazy. Perhaps, I’m not yet to the same enlightened state he is and one day I will awaken to the same knowledge and he won’t seem so crazy. Or perhaps he isn’t yet awakened to the state I’m at and his beliefs will change.

We are all the same in that we are all learning, growing, evolving. We come from the same Divine Being and we breathe the same air. The same life force flows through us and we have far more in common than not. When I listen to his thoughts in this frame of mind it makes the “who is wrong, who is right?” question disappear. Instead of getting involved in an intellectual argument and putting up barriers to his message, I’m able instead to simply observe his thoughts and take what I find useful and leave what I don’t. Personally, I have no desire to sit around meditating for 20 minutes at a time trying to achieve altered states of consciousness. I’d rather go out and ride my bike really fast and achieve an altered state that way. That’s my peference. Perhaps, he’s not too keen on speed and wheels. To each his own. At least we both agree that taking a break from the mundane and entering higher states of experience are desirable. The manner in which we commune with God, nature, ourselves, and others isn’t nearly as important as the fact that we do.

Wheter or not we live in a simulated reality seems to me a moot point. What is a sim anyway but simply a passing world created for growth, experiment and play? If that’s our definition then yah, we live in a sim. I’m looking forward to enjoying this sim, the next, and as many as I have the pleasure and privilege of playing.

On a side note, what I become is far more important to me than what type of world I live in. So I guess I’m just not too concerned about the material existence of this world and what is and isn’t reality. My reality is that I want to become a kind, caring, loving person. I want to become an intelligence–artificial or not–committed to serving and caring for all my fellow intelligences. Intelligent LOVE. 😉

Game-Changing Observation

Here’s a game-changing observation.

Life is a game.

You are the player.

Get excited about the changing roles, the different sights, challenges, and terrains. Enjoy playing and experiencing each new level.

See yourself as an observer. Detach from everything. And simply see every moment, whether a triumph, a struggle, a victory, or a defeat, as simply an awesome event you get to experience.

None of this matters. We came into this world with nothing and the only thing we take with us is our wisdom, knowledge, and experience, essentially, we get to keep what we’ve become.

The more levels or games we get to play while we are here, all the better. Why wish for a life of ease, sameness, and calm? Not much is learned about sailing when sitting on a sea of stillness. It is through wrestling the winds and the waves that true sailors are made. Embrace the storms for the skills you’ll develop, and for the stories you’ll soon be able to share.

We came to this earth to gain experience. Thank the Good Lord for giving you many. Step back and look at your current situation as if you were a world traveler being given the gift of experiencing new sights, scenery, and terrain. Or fancy yourself as a video-gamer who has been given a new game to complete. Play your best, learn what you can, and be ready for the next level or change in games.  Isn’t seeing yourself as an observer in an ever-changing world–a world that was created to teach, train, and develop you as a person–an empowering perspective? Perhaps you now understand why I’m calling this post a game-changing observation.

The Mind of God

Yesterday I began formulating an idea I coined The Perfection Paradox. Today, as I hiked Adam’s Canyon with Thor, I thought more about this perfection paradox, the purpose of mortality, and Tyler’s situation. Thinking upon these topics led me to consider the will of God and the mind of God. It is the latter I wish to write more about today for Christian theology teaches that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. We are taught that the reason we cannot comprehend the things of God is that our minds are finite while His is infinite. Finite means with bounds. Infinite means having no bounds.

Finite means having limits while infinite means having no bounds.

Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about my mind and the mind of God and here’s the deal, I don’t believe that God made limits to my mind. I don’t believe he would create my mind in a way that it could not comprehend His. In fact, I believe God would do the exact opposite for I believe that God wants nothing more than for me to come to comprehend His ways. The whole purpose of me being here on Earth and having this experience is so I can come to be like Him. Being like him means thinking like him. My mind must come to comprehend what His comprehends. That’s the whole point!

Therefore, I reject the idea that my mind is finite. In fact, nothing about me is finite. I am an infinite, divine being, and as such, I have the ability to comprehend the things of God. I don’t need to accept answers such as, “We just can’t comprehend that because God’s ways are not our ways.” That’s a cop out! No wonder atheists get annoyed with Christians. We reinforce lazy thinking. Instead of trying to understand God’s ways, we throw our hands up in despair and declare, “Well, I guess our finite minds just can’t comprehend God’s infinite ways!” LAME!

I will not stop seeking for I believe God gave me a mind capable of comprehending all He comprehends. Why would he design me any other way? And don’t try to tell me he doesn’t want us to understand everything because he wants us instead to have faith. Yes, he wants us to have faith, but to me, faith is an actual power–like electricity–that allows us to act. Faith empowers us to learn, teach, create, inspire, and change the course of events. It is not a simple belief in things that we think we are incapable of understanding.  It takes faith to work toward acquiring the mind of God. It takes faith to learn the complex mathematical equations and work the proofs so that we end up with the answers and the understanding–the Godly comprehension that we came here to acquire. Faith is what we apply in our learning. Faith is doing the work because we believe by so doing we will come to comprehend. And it can happen now–in this life. Dying alone doesn’t create comprehension. Sure, it will provide additional insight, but just because you get to see the machine behind the magic curtain, doesn’t mean you now understand how it works. Yeah, it won’t work like that. So best start studying the principles of engineering now for you don’t have to wait until you die to acquire the Mind of God and comprehend all that He comprehends. You can start comprehending now. It may take you many lifetimes, because who knows how many lifetimes it took Him to gain the knowledge and understanding He has acquired.

Faith is not just simple belief in things we think we cannot understand.  It takes faith to work toward acquiring the mind of God. It takes faith to learn the complex mathematical equations and work the proofs so that we end up with the answers and the understanding–the Godly comprehension that we came here to acquire. Faith is learning in action. Faith is doing the work because we believe by so doing we will come to comprehend. And it can happen now–in this life. Dying alone doesn’t create comprehension. Sure, it will provide additional insight, but just because you get to see the machine behind the magic curtain, doesn’t mean you now understand how it works. Yeah, it won’t work like that. So best start studying the principles of engineering now for you don’t have to wait until you die to acquire the Mind of God and comprehend all that He comprehends. You can start comprehending now. It may take you many lifetimes, because who knows how many lifetimes it took Him to gain the knowledge and understanding He has acquired.

Dying alone doesn’t create comprehension. Sure, it will provide additional insight, but just because you get to see the machine behind the magic curtain, doesn’t mean you now understand how it works. So best start studying the principles of engineering now for you don’t have to wait until you die to acquire the Mind of God and comprehend all that He comprehends. You can start comprehending now. It may take you many lifetimes, because who knows how many lifetimes it took God to gain the knowledge and understanding He currently has. But for me and my house, we will keep studying, learning and comprehending.

The Canvas Effect

I’m listening to another awesome book by Ryan Holiday called Ego is the Enemy. He’s one of my new favorite mentors. Anyhow, today he talked about the Canvas Effect and I love the concept.

Essentially, The Canvas Effect is when you work to clear the way for others to do their most important work. You don’t care about the credit or the limelight, you just work to help find or create canvases for other talented individuals to do their best work. By helping others shine, you create a path for yourself to do your best work. Your path will unfold as you help others clear their own.

I’m not sure how all that happens, but I do believe it has to do with Kharma and the Law of Reciprocity. When you help others or first give value, the world boomerangs goodness right back at you. Jesus said, “cast thy bread upon the waters and after many days it shall return to you.”

When fame is our aim, we often make compromises to please the masses. Focusing instead on our goal, allows us to stay true to ourselves and our course. In fact, when our goal is our aim we gain rewards far greater than fame. We gain wisdom, respect, and friends that help us continue creating paths for ourselves and others. The ultimate reward then becomes creating work that lasts lifetimes, work that will permanently illuminate the night sky rather than achieving one shooting star-like moment of greatness that fleetingly fades into oblivion.

And so I will always remember The Canvas Strategy and rather than focus on finding my own canvas I will help others find theirs.  I will care less about the honor and recognition, and more about the goal and end-game for I know that she who creates the path, ultimately controls it 😉

In fact, if I were to pen words to poetically capture my thoughts concerning this phenomenon I would write:

Care more about the course and less about the credit; for she who creates the path, ultimately controls it.

Life Review

One of the hallmarks of near death experiences is the life review. Every account I have read includes some type of the following:

Heading toward some type of bright light

Beholding being(s) of glory

Overwhelming sense of love

Life Review

Near death experiences also change those who experience them. Their priorities change and they become less materialistic and more spiritual. They realize that there is nothing to fear in death and this deeper understanding helps them live life fully.

When I consider the common characteristics of a near death experience, I’m inclined to ask, “what, if any, of the above commonalities, can those of us who have never “almost died” experience?

I’ve felt moments of incredible love. Those moments were impactful. I also conduct “Life Reviews” regularly. In fact, I grew up doing a form of a life review every New Year’s as I examined the prior year and set goals for the year forthcoming. Each Sunday, as I partake of the sacrament, I think of my actions during the week and consider ways I can improve. And daily, before I retire to bed, I examine my day and look for areas I was less than stellar. I also look for times when I did myself, God, and others proud.

I’m a firm believer that we don’t have to wait till the day we die to examine our lives. We can enjoy the peace and improvement life brings when we play judge and jury daily–even hour by hour and minute by minute.  Self-awareness improves behavior best. When we look inward to uncover motives and seek to understand why we engage in certain behaviors and why we feel certain ways, we will create opportunities for change within ourselves. Today was a good day. I am already conducting a life review. I was able to handle some pretty intense professional and personal conversations in a mature manner. I was able to spend some quality time with my family, and I had a total blast playing basketball with my friends. I can think of a few areas where I could have done better and I’m exploring my reactions now so I can do better next time. I don’t think I will go so far as to claim that the “unexamined life is not worth living,” but I will say, “an unexamined life has little chance of improving.”

Here’s to conducting a daily life review.

Cold Hard Facts

Well, today just ain’t been pretty! I’ve been digging through my partner’s inbox trying to get up to speed on the half of the business he oversees and my head is a hurtin’ and my tummy is a turnin’ at what I’m a finding. We’ve got ourselves a toy business that barely turns a profit. In fact, once I figure in all the expenses, it’s a major loser. It has been sucking the profits out of my marketing company and that just isn’t cool, but them are the cold, hard facts I’m a facing.

The good news is that we have a ton of inventory. I’m hopeful that we can sell it all over the next few months–esp. during Christmas. The bad news is, Christmas is still 5 months away and the storage fees for our goods are NOT cheap. When I think about what this all means it makes me want to cry. But I’m not gonna cry because I trust that the universe already has what we need in store and in fact, that it is already on its way. God is good like that. Plus, we do great work, and we have created some most excellent products. We’ll have a lovely Christmas, and then I will decide whether or not to keep the toy business. I can sell it, or heck, with the way I’m feeling today, I may just simply give it away! haha

The cold, hard facts are never fun to face, but tackling them head on feels quite empowering.  I’ve been so slammed consulting and selling that I left this part of the business to others. Not a wise move Mrs. CEO. So, lesson learned, and now it’s time to get this train back on track.

It will be a good challenge for me to try to come out ahead of the game because right now we are super cash poor and inventory rich. I’m not okay with that. Like it makes me super sick. Alas, I’m not going to worry about it yet. Instead, I’m off to dream about a more profitable future because the cold, hard facts are: It can only go up from here!

Uncanny Timing

God has uncanny timing. I’ve been feeling restless–  like I’m not doing what I really want to be doing.

Then my business partner gets hospitalized with a massive brain tumor and I’m stuck trying to hold together that which I don’t really want held together. It’s like I finally have an opportunity to make a change, to get out, but circumstances are such that I can’t really bail–not right now when he needs me most. And I don’t think I want to be 100% out because I truly love the creative work I do, but I do want to cut back on my hours and carve out some time to pursue my own passions. I feel too much a slave to my company–sometimes I want to scream–or sleep. . . ha ha, I think I really just need more sleep.

And then I wake up to an email from one of my favorite spiritual gurus, Wayne Dyer. It’s like he’s speaking to me from the dust–he passed away years ago–and yet his message lands perfectly in my inbox at this pivotal time. His words pierce my soul:

I’ve always had a knowing that whatever I’ve found interesting or exciting or passionate or moving or motivating, there’s a way to make a living at it. It doesn’t make any difference what it is. My son, Sands was passionate about surfing. He was attending college at the University of Central Florida and doing fine, but his whole life was about surfing. He’d get up in the morning and check where the waves are all over the world. I’d tell him he didn’t have to get a business degree now; he didn’t have to go to college in his 20’s. He talked endlessly about surfing—the feeling of being on a surfboard, riding that wave, being at one with the ocean.

I told him there was a way to make a living while following his passion. Imagine yourself there, I suggested, teaching people to surf, working in a surf shop, starting a surf shop, making surfboards, studying oceanography, being a boat captain who takes people to surfing locations. There are endless ways to be connected to your dream, to follow your bliss.

And it doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been doing something. When I share this in talks, men in their 40’s and 50’s tell me, “I can’t change professions now. I’ve been doing it for 25 years.”

I ask, “Who decided you would be an engineer or a doctor or a lawyer?”

“I decided when I was 18,” they say.

“And now you’re 50? Would you go to an 18-year-old for advice on what you should be doing with your life?”

That always makes them stop and think.

“Not unless that youngster tells you to listen to your bliss!” I remind them.

Joseph Campbell explained it perfectly when he said, “The person who takes a job in order to live – that is to say, for the money and not for purpose or passion, has turned himself into a slave.”

I think that is a really important lesson for us all.