Forward …

… not backward

“You can feed your history, or you can feed your destiny. But you can’t feed both.” – Joel Osteen

It’s a new year and you get to choose – do you look forward, or do you look backward? Where do you put your focus, energy and time? On the things of yesterday that cannot be changed? Or on those things right in front of you that you can impact in this very moment to shape your today and your tomorrow?

You get to choose.

2017 is behind us – the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. It’s all behind us. Gone. Done. Time to take the lessons and the blessings of last year and fold them neatly away. These are not things to be obsessed over or fixated on. Time to let go and move on.

2018 is here and there’s something good waiting for you. It wants you to take notice. It needs you to put the past behind you and trust in the future. It’s asking you to take a leap of faith and envision a destiny filled with passion, prosperity and purpose. It needs you to pull the blinds on disappointments, old hurts, and unfulfilled dreams. It commands you to see today as an opportunity to create new dreams. Realistic, meaningful, personal dreams – big or small – that no thing can deter you from achieving. But you have to be fully present. And you can’t be fully present if you’re looking behind you, hanging onto old junk that’s cluttering your imagination. Your full attention is needed.

Consider this: attention is one-directional. To have the greatest impact you must be focused one-directionally. When you split your attention you are no longer focused – you are distracted. Distraction diminishes our ability to think clearly. It waters down creativity. It lessens our overall effectiveness. Distraction causes us to dispel energy in a way that sends us spinning in many directions with no clear destination. Wasted energy.

What often causes the most distraction in our lives? The PAST! We get so caught up on what didn’t happen, or who didn’t do what they said they would, or what opportunity didn’t come to fruition. We are distracted by so many different things that we can do absolutely nothing to change. And, yet, that’s what we hold on to – usually with a stubborn resolve.

Let it go! Use it as fuel to propel you in a new direction. And if you run into a roadblock, make a turn and go a different direction. As long as it’s not backwards! Going backwards traps you in a vicious cycle of undermining your own blessings or the rewards of your efforts. You get stuck. Depressed. Become full of blame. A lot of time is wasted.

So look ahead. Be forward-focused. See the possibilities. Create your own path and walk it – heck, run it, skip along it, water-slide down it if you feel so inclined. Just go forward!

You get to choose.

I challenge you this year to be brave. To know no limits. To see the possibilities. And, most of all, to believe. Happy New You!

Thankful

I had an unexpected heart-to-heart conversation with a dear friend this weekend two days after Thanksgiving. Unexpected because the time spent up to this point had been jovial, loose, and light – full of good food, fun, family and friends. Then a letter arrives. It concerns my friend’s father’s estate – an issue he’s struggling to resolve. An issue that has him reeling with anger and anguish just at the thought of it. A coldness chilled the room – it chilled me. As we wound our way through the conversation, I literally felt his pain right in the center of my own chest. There had been issues between father and son. Deep-seeded, singed at the edges, raw in the middle issues. Time and age had coated these issues with a tolerable glaze, but there they remained all the same. I could relate.

It’s difficult when parents do not – or cannot – live up to the basic expectations of their children. It’s even more difficult when these unrealized expectations manifest and metastasize in wounded adults seeking to put the broken pieces back together with double-sided sticky tape. Only, there’s never enough tape. Things fall apart. And we – the children – are left once again picking up the pieces. We hurt.

But we can’t live in the hurt forever – at least, not live well. Not whole, healthy lives with lifted spirits and loving hearts. We have to reach beyond the pain and hurt and anger and disappointment, and find the light that surrounds us to move us through the mire. Because there is always light – if we choose to see it. The light of love. And it can melt away the charred pieces if we allow it to do so. But we have to choose to let go. To not get stuck in the rubble. And we have to choose to hang onto that which lifts us out of it all.

The letter sat next to my friend and I as he acknowledged his remorse. It sat there as he opened up his lacerated heart and allowed me to be his mirror – his reminder – that what lay behind him matters little compared to what lies before him. His own family. A son an a wife. A life that he’s created as a result of the man he chose to be – because of the love he chose to give. The letter sat there as I reminded him that there’s so much love in his life that no thing or situation should have more power than that love. Let that be his fuel – give thanks for that.

It’s hard for us embattled critters to lay down our weapons of war and bare our souls. But, oh, how freeing when we do. How utterly, breathtakingly freeing. My friend and I found ourselves in a place in the conversation where a corner had been turned. I could see the lightness return to his step. The red hue of anger dissolved. His eyes brightened. If only in that moment (but I hope long after), I could see peace bubble up in my friend as he considered the things in which he could be thankful.

The letter sat there, abandoned, at least for the time-being, as we resumed celebrating the reason we were together in the first place – to give thanks. I am thankful. My heart, too, has been opened. And I am reminded. There’s so much to be thankful for – and I am happy this Thanksgiving.

DDO_Beach_CA (2)

Not My Enemy

In the aftershock of the election of our new president, I refuse to espouse hate. Muslims are not my enemy. Mexicans are not my enemy. Refugees are not my enemy. Disenfranchised whites and poor urban blacks are not my enemy. The rich and wealthy are not my enemy. Those with disabilities or limited capabilities are […]

Self to Self

2016 ended in a great deal of chaos. From a divisive presidential election that saw a record rise in vitriolic language and random acts of violence, to a year ending in a rapid succession of celebrity deaths that shocked us awake. And that was on the national stage! Our personal lives reeled in disheartening news […]

Poetry Blast: Transition

The walls breathe and in their exhale is your story Whispers of a time greyed by fading memories Of a time slipping perpetually into past tense The present moment itself only temporary Ephemeral Constantly reaching for that next instance of existence Grasping uncontrollably at undulating waves of aimless air Hoping the logic of it all falls into formation Understandably […]

Life

It twists, it turns It leaps forward, it bounces back It stretches onward, it retreats It creeps sideways, it sneaks It’s shaped by emotion It’s spray-painted with commotion It’s a joyous ride It’s a slippy-slide It’s pinched by pain It’s squeezed by shame It’s healed by laughter It’s forever thought after It’s bleak, it’s raw […]

All God’s Children Got Wings

I got wings, you got wings, All God’s children got wings When I get to heav’n I’m goin’ put on my wings I’m goin’ to fly all over God’s heav’n Heav’n, Heav’n Ev’rybody talkin’ ’bout heav’n ain’t goin’ there Heav’n, Heav’n I’m goin’ to fly all over God’s Heav’n -Negro Spiritual There’s a profound sense of freedom one has when […]