The Phases of Our Lives

August 9, 2012

“It’s just a phase,” I would hear my mother say to her friend on the phone. As teenagers, my sister and I had no idea how much we put our mother through and while she says now we were just fabulous, I know the teen years are far from it.

With a teen of my own, I get to experience several phases at once: the remembering phase (“God, was I like that?”); the mothering phase (“Because I said so.”); the daughtering phase (“Mom, I am so sorry if I ever, ever said something like that to you.”); and the mid-life phase (“What do I want out of  life?”).

All that rolled into one makes for some interesting times.

A friend of mine once told me I could choose how to view this phase of parenting: as either a gift or a curse. I have chosen to look at it as an opportunity of self-discovery as I witness my children grow into the people they will become.

Whether you have children or not, we all go through phases in our lives. Sometimes we are up; sometimes we are down. Sometimes we are suspended on a tightrope, daring ourselves not to look down.

While work-life balance experts will tell you that equilibrium is the goal, I disagree. Alignment with your truest purpose, and all the hills and valleys, are what you are here to experience. So what if you topple off that balance beam? Maybe it’s just what you needed to get a different perspective.

When we take back our lives with clarity and vision, those valleys seem less frightening. Grab yourself some sentries in the form of friends and loved ones who will stand by you in stormy times. Reach out when you need it. We all deserve that kind of support.

Do it with love. Do it shamelessly. Hug out the pain until it slides back into the shadows.

We’ve got this life, broken down into units of time. Take it all. It’s yours.

 

Redemption

June 28, 2012

What would people say about you if you left the room? Are you living a life of true intention?

I know it’s a heady question, but it’s one worth asking. Luckily, Bryan Clay, Olympic hopeful for this summer’s Olympics in London, started to ask himself that question before it was too late. In his new book,  Redemption, Clay reveals his life story in great detail, such as how he had a very troubled childhood with parents who made their own share of mistakes. Throughout high school, and then later in college, he continued to ignore his highest athletic potential by drinking too much and engaging in dangerous behavior. It wasn’t until he met the woman of his dreams that he started to see a future beyond his current one.

Love can do that to a person.

Even then, however, he nearly lost his girlfriend because it took him a long time to realize the impact his partying was having on his relationship. The moment he changed his way of thinking, however, everything changed. A religious man, he began to see that he could indeed worship God through the sport instead of seeing his athletics and his spiritual practice as two separate things. He moved away from believing sports were a way to glorify himself; instead, they were a way for him to glorify God. Magically, his extreme partying dropped off.

The Big Picture can do that to a person.

“Keeping my priorities in the right order had brought me there,” he writes. He found Slow through God. Pretty darn cool.

So what do you think people would say about you if you left the room? Would they say you are kind, generous, emotionally available? Or would they consider you closed, disruptive, shut down and unreachable? As Maya Angelou says, people may not remember what you say, but they’ll always remember how you’ve made them feel.

My guess is you can make someone feel really good today. Maybe in the form of a hug or a smile. There is redemption for us all, and it only takes one baby step toward your own truth. Don’t be afraid of it because it is there to show you the way even when you are lost. Embrace that beacon of light for all it’s worth. When you do, you will be set free.

Slow can do that to a person.

 

The Cannes Film Festival is a great place to meet and greet just about every mover and shaker in the film industry that you can imagine. For four days I tumbled about with the rest of the throngs, looking to connect with new people, get good story ideas and basically lift myself off the carpet to see the Big Picture for a long weekend.

It was inspiring.

Films in the competition were voted on; other films were shown in hopes buyers would come to distribute them. Like any trade show, it was a 24/7 event. You saw more people at 2 a.m., walking about the place, than you normally do at mid-day on the streets of most hometowns.

Winning a competition has different meanings for different people. For some, simply being there was a win of a lifetime (I count myself in that category). For others, they wanted to win the Golden Palm award so their stakes were set higher. For others they simply wanted to win a few new business cards and enjoy seeing old friends.

When I think of competition, such as the Olympic Games in London this summer, there are different degrees of winning there as well. Bryan Clay, who is  most likely competing in the Olympic decatholon this July, just penned a book called REDEMPTION. It just arrived in the mail today, but from what I see, winning to him means enjoying his family life.

I love that.

I too would like to win at the Olympics this year. But a different kind of win: as a blogger. If you are so inclined, please visit this 30 second video and click on the blue bar “unterstützen” (German for “support”) to help me make my way to an Olympic dream as a citizen journalist bringing positive stories to the world.