Tag Archives: inspirational

Emptying Out The Tank …

10 Apr

Now I know you’re aware that I’m not the greatest morning person, I lived with that my whole life, but climbing 63 stories in the evening wasn’t something I had in mind, especially after a 7 a.m. hockey game, 10 am Jesus class, a two-hour-visit to the school carnival, and two-hour baseball game.

Nope. Not what I envisioned.

However, the Powers That Be at the American Lung Association thought it would be an awesome idea to scale Los Angeles’s second tallest building just in time to see the sunset. You know … during epic traffic encounters on the 101, 5, and 110 freeways.

They thought that after the exhaustion of scaling 1,039 steps in claustrophobic environment with close to 500 people the skyline would be one to remember.

They thought that because it was my fifth trip to the top of the AON Center that it would be a laid-back workout, that I knew what I was doing.

Whoever said, “it’s just like riding a bicycle,” never stair climbed in his life. Like. Ever. Let me tell you, scaling this monster for the fifth year in a row was not easier the fifth time. It’s never easy. I still felt just as suffocated in the enclosed stairwells as I did the first time around. I still felt my calves burning and my knees aching by the 27th floor. I still tried to not look up at the signs because 63 stories seemed so far away when I was still on the 31st floor. I still thought those volunteers with pom-poms were lying to me when they said, “you’re almost there, you’re almost there” because they were, well everyone was lying except for that chick on the 61st floor. I still felt like I was going in slow motion as it became harder and harder to breathe. I still felt all the heaviness, and weariness of every nook and cranny of my Ben-Gay-Icy-Hot loving 41-year old muscles. I felt it all with every step and every breath.

But one thing kept me going.

One.

I kept seeing my hands hold his hands at the hospital. I kept thinking I was the last one to talk to him before surgery and the last one to see him before he passed away. I kept seeing moments from my childhood sporting awesome polyester bell bottoms and moments from adulthood where talks and laughter surrounded us. I saw them all, and just when the exhaustion of the 45th floor hit me, when I thought I was losing the pictures in my mind I saw the poster. There it was taped on the stairwell, a picture of my Dad, my sister and me, “Why We Climb”.

Yup.

That was all I needed to pull whatever reserve I had remaining in the tank, and I pushed passed the I’m-gonna-pass-out-right-now-feeling. I ran by the people sitting on stairwells, clinging onto bannisters for dear life, and standing at the last water station.  I saw number 61 and pulled the Ninja-Warrior-Gatorade-Commercial-Worthy athlete out and stormed up those last steps.

I hit the roof running and the burst oxygen filled up my lungs as I stepped outside. I raised my hands up like Rocky and put my finger up to the sky. I got there in 16 minutes and 16 seconds and 16 seconds.

They thought the sunset would be a memorable one …

IMG_7832

🙂

They were right. I still remember it.

 

 

Advertisements

The Dream Keeps Living …

16 Jan

martin-luther-king-jr-mlk-day-quotes-sayings-pictures-2

A historic day to reflect upon what matters …

When I ask my son and daughter if they knew why they had the day off, both of them told me it was because of Martin Luther King Jr. … “we’re remembering his life”.

I’m glad they were able to hear his words and understand the meaning behind his voice. When you’re that young sometimes the message gets lost in translation, but they seemed to have understood exactly what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. meant. I’m glad it was easy for them and for a lot of kids in their class actually. Acceptance, equality, and empathy.

A day I wish we didn’t have off, because our country would have been so much better had be been alive.

But his words and his life continue to have meaning years after his death. They continue to touch the hearts of little kids like my own. I’m glad that historical figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. can keep affecting this nation long after he is gone. They keep inspiring so that the dream lives on during dark times, so that people can remember that character is what matters most in a person. What they say, what they do, and how they treat people in public and in private matter. I’m glad to continue teaching these lessons to my kids. I’m glad his words … his dream continues to inspire how people of different backgrounds live and act today.

 

dr-martin-luther-king-quotes

 

 

 

It’s Possible … Every Four Years

17 Aug

I hadn’t planned on it happening … but it did.

I’ve fallen off the WordPress wagon.

I’d like to say that it  was because of some amazing opportunity that has whisked me away, but no … not yet. And it’s not procrastination either as I wish I had extra time for procrastination itself.

No.

It’s been the epic involvement of watching Michael Phelps, Nathan Adrian, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, and every volleyball match in existence. I’ve been pumped up with this Olympic coverage and suspended all Netflix watching. I’ve gotten so carried away that I’ve forgot to post on Monday.

rio-olympics

I’m aware that some people are so over it, but I’m not one of those people. I’m in awe of the fact that it took these people four years of sunrise and sunset dedication to get to where they are, some even longer. Whether it’s the podium, crossing the finish line, or touching the ball for a game-winning point that type of determination and sacrifice requires my full attention.

I admire that stuff in people, and like hearing about their journey. I enjoy watching the last shot, the clock winding down, or that stretch to the finish. I stand up, cheering like they can hear me. I get so excited to see their dreams come true that watching it happen, keeps the “It’s Possible” mentality alive.

They had big dreams four years ago with doubters, haters, and believers along for the ride. And in these last couple of weeks they’ve made it happen. They got there.

Believing in “it’s possible,” is always the first step. It’s an encouraging environment to be around, to watch.

It gets the writer in me juiced up. Seeing their dreams come true, to be at The Games, always inspires me to keep going, to keep the “it’s possible,” mantra at the forefront.

Four years … sunrise to sunset … thinking about your dream and making things happen in order to get there. That’s the kind of stuff writers are made of too. Although we don’t have a cheering section or medals, we still dream and work, even though some people consider daydreaming not part of the job. It is … it’s what keeps the possibilities alive.

Four years.

Setting my sights high for four years.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Half-Light

30 Mar

 

IMG_4105

🙂

 

“At the end of the day, you can focus on what’s tearing you apart, or what’s holding you together.” — Unknown

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of Daily Post.

Josh and Paul Helped Me Find My Switch

28 Mar

Sometimes it just doesn’t happen for me naturally. I’m used to the energy just flowing out of me, but sometimes I can’t find it. The colors get muted. The lights go out. It doesn’t happen and it’s hard.

I suffer from emotional hangovers, just like everyone else,and when that happens I’ve got to work at it. I feel so much I get lost in emotion and trying to find the funny seems impossible when I can’t find my laugh. Sometimes it even causes writing sabbaticals, but I’ve found that Josh and Paul helped me get back on track.

When I can’t find the laughter I look for it outside. Josh Gad and Paul Rudd helped me break through the clouds.

 

 

After piercing through, I remembered … I don’t live there … I have these dark moments, but I don’t live there. Laughter broke the spell and I found pieces of me trickling back into place.

I flipped the switch and found the trust. I trusted that I was better than the moment I was stuck in, and I was able to turn it around.

The day didn’t end up being a ten, but it was better and I was looking for better.

Buen Camino, my friends. Hoping your day gets better, and hoping that laughter helps make it happen.

 

 

I’m Still Part of The Justice League, Just Need a Pat on The Back

7 Jan

Every Wednesday they meet …

They give a little umph for when you’re not really feeling it. I mean I’d like to think I’m pretty secure myself, but there are days when I-don’t-think-it’s-gonna-happen creeps in, there are days when doubt sneaks onto my 10-page start.

Out there in the unknown through comments, links, and blog hops IWSG is ready to give you that extra boost.

The Insecure Writers Support Group.

I missed the meeting. The week caught up with me and I fell asleep. Exhausted Parent Syndrome. It’s a chronic problem. But sometimes I prescribe myself some 5-hour energy and I’m back in the mix. But even though I missed the 24-hour window I’m sure my writer insecurity can still qualify to speak on the matter.

Some of you know that I finished writing my book in Decemebr of 2014 and I spent 2015 editing the crap out of it. After the multiple rewrites, and falling in and out of love with my characters I’ve come to the end. The last 27 pages of my final rewrite … That’s what I’ve got.

And so it hits me, I’m gonna have to let someone take a look at it. I’m going to have to ask a couple of buddies from my newspaper days to give it a look and tell me what they think. And the thing is I respect them as writers so much that the thought of them checking it out fills my insecurity bucket. I mean if I don’t know you the fact that you don’t like my book, or story, or play doesn’t make that killer impact. But when it’s a buddy, a close friend, a comadre that puts the funny feeling in my chest, the kind that finds me making my debut appearance at the IWSG. And I’d like to thank my buddy T.B. Markinson for letting me in on the secret meetings.

Hi … My name is The Guat, and I’m insecure … Sometimes.

IWSG badge

IWSG

Yup.

The feeling comes and goes, it doesn’t always stay with me. When I’m in the middle of a story, typing away in the nitty-gritty of it, I’m Superman. I’m Batman. I’m Wonder Woman. I’m the entire freakin’ Justice League rolled up in one. But I find that when I get close to finishing a project that’s when it kicks in. It’s getting ready to leave my hands, my control. And that freaks my freak.

Although I’ve got to say ever since I started this blogging journey, I’ve gotten better. This Word Press community has definitely helped empty the insecurity bucket and given me even more confidence in letting go.

But when it comes to a 200-page book, or a one-act play for my friend’s theatre group, the insecurity still trickles in, because there’s so much of me in there.

And when I hear the …. Duuuuude that was good story.

A smile creeps in, and so does relief.

But I get it, I don’t necessarily need the “duuuuuude that was a good story,” compliment because I feel good about the story, but it’s always nice to be reassured.

I’m in reassurance mode.

And that’s why I’m at IWSG.

Do you guys need ISWG?

.

.

Crisis of Imagination

25 Sep

I need imagination because I can’t see it right now …

Holy crap. That was it.

I had never heard it put that way, but that was it. I had found the right words to try to help my friend understand what was happening. They weren’t mine, but I heard them and I knew why they had come my way. My buddy was stuck in a moment and couldn’t get out of it. Stuck in the hurt. Stuck in the disbelief. Stuck in the ache of their heart. Stuck in the “it is what it is,” situation they thought they’d never find themselves in.

That’s where they were currently residing.

And when I heard these words I knew I had to pass them along. I thought maybe it would bring a sense of comfort, knowing that once they broke through the mind block, they might be able to feel less hurt, and more hope.

You can’t imagine your life like this … You can’t imagine how you’re going to get through it … You can’t imagine life differently. And that’s the point … because you were never supposed to, your future wasn’t supposed to look this way. But now there’s no choice. It’s happening.

Most people go through something like this in their life, whether it’s the loss of a relationship, a dream, or a job. We’re hurting because we’re in the midst a life crisis, suffering a “crisis of imagination.”

We can’t see outside the box and that’s why the hurt lasts so long. That’s why we feel stuck, because we still can’t believe it.

I’m hoping I can help my buddy find some creativity in the unknown future. Help imagination find its way to their doorstep, so they can exhale and begin to heal, begin to realize that they can do it. It’s going to be hard, extremely hard to change their vision, but it’s possible. I’m hoping I can help them out. I’m hoping I can help them imagine that tomorrow’s tomorrow will help them find happiness in the present moment. I’m hoping I can help my friend find the imagination that their not seeing.

.

:)

🙂

.

.

Guarantees … You Get The Ones You Don’t Want So Stop Hitting The Snooze Button

14 Sep

They said it. I was listening to a lecture and they said it.

They didn’t know me, but it was like they were talking to me.

… to the mom that’s worried about the future of her kids, worried that something might happen, you’re terrified about all these terrible things that might happen to your kids … You know what, it might … This happens to mothers. The worst might just happen. But you have to realize that you have today. You get a shot. You get to raise this kid and you only have the joy of trying it today …

You’re trying to get a guarantee that your kid won’t end up screwed up. But you don’t get guarantees. Our desperate addiction to certainty and guarantee robs you of the joy of this moment, which is you get to try it now… you get a few years to raise this kid, you don’t get any guarantees, but you do get this moment to enjoy that kid, to give your best shot of being their mom and dad and that’s what you get … –Rob Bell

He said it.

And he was right. I do look for guarantees. I work hard, try hard, leave it all out there, and hope for the best, but in truth I am looking for a guarantee that my kids will be all right in the future. Isn’t that why I’m giving it all I’ve got?

But he’s right. I’ve got no assurances. And even though this scared the crap out of me, it was also a reminder. Stop hitting the snooze button. Stop! I needed to continue focusing on the present, on the moments between then and now. In life and in parenting, my proactive nature would be for the best in the long run. Don’t hit the snooze.

You wake up in the morning and realize you’ve got another chance to do it right, and at night you go to sleep and hope to put all the mistakes behind you (that piece of advice I just heard recently from Elizabeth Gilbert).

So no matter how well you walk the line, you don’t get guarantees, not the kind you want anyway, especially when it comes to kids or life. Crappy stuff happens. Sometimes it’s stuff that you’ll be able to find humor in right away, and other times it will be stuff that will take longer to recover from because your heart is broken.

But for parents trying to find the humor, here are the Top Seven Guarantees of Parents with kids 7-under …

  1. Just before you’re about to walk out the door, your kid will take a serious poop in their diaper that probably leaks onto their pants.This will require more than just wipes, in fact it will be a complete hose down and you’ll be late to wherever you’re going and for some reason you’ll still smell poop and realize that it’s on your shirt while you’re driving to wherever you’re going and you’ve got no extra shirt.
  2. No matter how hard you try to keep the peace your kids will argue about who had the red Lego first, about who was the first to open the door, about who didn’t want to play with who, about whose turn it was to watch Nick Jr, about which Superhero has the greatest superpower, and about the motion of the Earth … yup they’ll argue at least once a week, or once a day, and that will raise your blood pressure, give you gray hairs, and drain you of every ounce of energy you’ve got. It’ll make you wish you had a chocolate stash in every room of the house but you can’t because those bastard ants are crawling everywhere.
  3. You’ll have to talk to a pretentious prick of a parent the kind you wouldn’t lend your jumper cables to, all because your kid and their kid hang out at school and they’re trying to arrange a play date.
  4. You’ll always have spilled CapriSun, Goldfish Crackers, Wheat Thins, Craisins, Cheerios,  and remnants of a once crispy In-and-Out french fry in every crack and crevasse of your car and you won’t be made aware of them until your kid throws up in the car, which is also an assurance.
  5. You’ll have to go to Chuck E. Cheese  once during your parenthood existence and you’ll vow never to return again to that craziness, but know full well that it’s a lie.
  6. Bedtime doesn’t go according to schedule, between the bubble baths, teeth cleaning, ironing of clothes, reading of books and multiple attempts of trying to sleep in my bed instead of their own, bedtime happens about thirty minutes after you really wanted.
  7. They’ll hug you or smile at you at least once a day. And their laugh will make you feel good.  (This is the one you aim for everyday).

The teenage years bring about a different set of guarantees … more than seven I imagine … I’ll let you know when I get there.

.

.

The Guat Makes It To 40 … Smiling

27 Jul

I knew I’d be scared. I knew I’d be nervous.

But it was going to happen anyway.

Regardless.

It had to, there was no turning back. My life had taken a step forward and I had to follow, whether I was ready to or not. Just had to be done. So I thought I’d do something scarier than turning 40 on my 40th birthday. Something to start off this decade in a way that would change my perspective on life moving forward.

You see I wasn’t having a big party, and I wasn’t taking a great vacation somewhere. I wasn’t doing any of the awesome things that people do when they turn 40. I wasn’t able to, but I told myself I still needed to do something, something just for me, something to make me forget that I had a really tough month. Something that was bigger than 40, but something I’d always remember doing when I turned 40. Something I’d be grateful for and something that would change me. Something off The Bucket List.

And so … I went skydiving.

I didn’t tell too many people my plans, wasn’t sure if things were going to pan out, considering the personal drama I was undergoing that week and the fact that I had a vacancy in the best friend department that left me having many conversations with myself in an attempt to make sense of it all. And even though the week, or the month, didn’t go as I imagined it to be, this day did.

This day turned out exactly the way it was supposed to … and that made me smile, that made my heart feel good, the kind of good you get when someone who loves you gives you a strong hug, and holds you a little bit longer. That’s the kind of feeling I got. I had a moment that lasted the whole day. I had a Super Soul Sunday moment myself and it happened at 10,000 feet.

Perspective, passion, happiness, gratitude, inner peace, strength, vitality, amazement, and reaching Zen happens all at once.

It doesn’t hit you when you’re approaching the Pacific Coast Skydiving hanger, or when they’re strapping on the harness and belts. It doesn’t hit you when you get into the plane, or when you’re flying over the California coast and can see the Pacific Ocean. No. It happens after you face the scariest part.

The door opens and he says scoot over.

Dude.

I felt my heart drop.

There I was, my legs dangling over the edge and an inch of my butt barely touching the door frame of the plane.

sky3

There I am the most scared I’d ever been in a long time and there’s Tom, skydiving master extraordinaire … smiling.

Holy crap.

This is it. I mean I know it’s it. That’s why I flew up here. For the “it” moment. My heart started beating faster, and the nervousness was building into anxiety and fear.

This is it.

This is really it.

“Ready? I’m gonna say one, two, three,” Tom said smiling.

One … I closed my eyes.

Two … I took a deep breath.

Thr–You know, I don’t remember him saying three, I just remember opening my eyes as he pushed us forward and out of the plane.

sky5

I hate taking selfies and usually want no part in them, but having Tom take one at this point in the adventure was an awesome exception.

I screamed.

I laughed.

And then I screamed and laughed some more.

I couldn’t believe I was actually doing it.

The feeling made me forget about everything crappy that happened during the week. It made me forget about cold feet before 40, made me forget about losing a friend, made me forget about my writer’s block, made me forget gray hairs and anti-aging creams, made me forget the stress in my life and the wrongs that were in it.

It made me present in the moment, the most present I’d probably ever been.

I don’t know how long I was free-falling, I just remember how it made me feel and how glad I was for feeling it.

Then the parachute deployed, the straps tightened, and I eased my way down to the field below, but not before Tom, my skydiving partner who was keeping me alive, did some stuntman swirlee-twirlee tricks reminding me why I don’t get on the Scrambler Zero Gravity carnival rides. I laughed and screamed through that and then we landed safely.

I high-fived Tom and smiled.

sky10

I made it. I had done it and it was an awesome way to start the morning of my 40th Birthday.

40 felt good then.

.

.

Finding Your Definition

23 Jul
:)

🙂

I’ve had a lot nothing in my life, and at first it used to burn me out. But as I got older I learned that in fact I did have some things, not everything. But just enough.

And that just enough, helped push me to try harder and to keep going. Having just enough made me realize that I would be missing things in life at different stages of my life. Bad things would happen and I just happen to be the person they’d be happening to, just the way life panned out. And I don’t know if I had patience, but I did have humor, and even when cried I eventually found a way to make laughter part of my healing process or solution.

As I grew up I kept getting more somethings in life. I never really had everything, but I’ve come to realize that I was given just enough. Health, heart, spirit, college, friendships, jobs, even love somewhere in between. It was never the complete package as sometimes health, family, love, money, and career would have more downs than ups.

But what I might have lacked in certain areas of life, I made up for in others. I was like Rudy that way, he was small and had a lot of obstacles trying to play for Notre Dame, but damn did he have heart and determination. He had that underdog spirit where possibilities didn’t have an expiration date. He just kept going and when he got there, when he got his everything, he was not only happy, but grateful.

That’s the underdog.

That’s Rudy.

I’ve learned that that’s probably me too. That’s my definition. The underdog mentality, it’s based on gratitude. And although it’s hard to find when life is beating the crap out of you, it changes your perspective and definitely makes a difference. So whether you’ve got close to nothing, or everything, I hope gratitude finds its way to you. I hope you’ve found your definition.

.

.