It is a beautiful morning, actually afternoon now. I just finished hiking with Mya and Corbin, my youngest and oldest kids. We walked over to Goat Island. Corbin and I did some pull ups and quick exercises on the equipment there, then we crossed to the other side of the park and hiked the conservancy trails.
It was a beautiful hike, although Mya was grumpy about bypassing the playground to hike.
They hike was new for them. The first part of the trail starts off crossing a single-chain gate. I sensed that Corbin was nervous at first going into new territory, not certain if this trail was open to the public.
Mya got better momentarily when we found some flowers, but she mostly wasn’t feeling the need to hike a few miles through nature. She did well enough and I was proud of her. She has come a long long way and this is just one more area where she benefits from being pushed just a bit.
Now we are (finally from Mya’s perspective) at the playground. Corbin has gone on to pick up his vehicle that was broken down for the last couple weeks. I’m sitting in the shade writing and Mya is playing with a playground full of other kids.
I’m distracted by a lady walking a puppy on a pink leash. The puppy is about 7 inches tall and she is also pushing an empty baby stroller with wheels taller than the puppy.
Back on point, I awoke this morning looking at a couple of reminders of my past from Facebook. There were several positive reminders and a couple that gave me pause as they highlighted life lessons that I am working through this week.
The positives included a number of pictures, happy pictures of myself paddle boarding on Lake Wylie a couple years ago. The water was very very muddy that year apparently. I took some great pictures of drift wood. The pictures were taken with my old iPhone 4 and I marvel that I was able to get any sort of picture out of it at all.
Picture taking has gotten a whole lot easier after upgrading to a phone with a much better and easier camera. I let myself ‘struggle’ too long with that old phone, saving money but losing opportunities to capture beauty. I was able to be in the moment back then and truly appreciate the beauty.
Yet, today I realize that I also had the opportunity back then to capture the beauty in an image, post it on Facebook, and plant that positive memory as a seed for me to see in the years to come.
Each morning we wake up and are offered up reminders from our past. Some of those reminders can reflect who we were, where we came from and more. Some of those can simply lift us up and show us the beauty and love in our life back then.
I found one such reminder posted by my ex-wife. It was a loving post talking about how I had fallen asleep with my head in her lap. I remember the moment. I was in love with her, and as I read her two year old post now, I feel now and felt then that she loved me. That could be bitter sweet as we approach our year anniversary of separating and deciding to divorce, but for me its just a positive.
I experienced a great deal of doubt about the past as it felt as if I shifted out of one universe and into another where up was down and my loving wife no longer loved me, and the absence of that love seemed to be instantly back dated months or years into the past.
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend about her ex and we both felt like our exes were now two different people. I’ve previously written elsewhere about how I almost felt like I woke up one day married to a pod person. I do not think this is an uncommon feeling. It is just a feeling, my feeling at that. People change and they make new and different choices each day and some of those choices directly impact the way they interact with the people around them. Some of those interactions take on significantly different dynamics very quickly.
Regardless, I found all of these positive memories from my past and today I truly appreciated the fact that I had captured these, shared them and allowed them to be paid forward to myself.
I also found a nugget of gold in one of my old posts. I call this a nugget of gold as I met a wise sales person when I worked for Motorola years ago. He explained to me then that when a customer complains to you about anything, that is a nugget of gold. It is an opportunity to help correct something in your business or bond with that person in empathy or much more. The nugget of gold I found came from myself.
I often write about my dreams when I first wake up. For me this is something of a creative writing prompt, a way to wake up and become aware of myself, a way to practice recall a little better such that I can go through my actual day noticing things more completely and accurately. I have been doing this for several years. Somedays the dreams come back to me much more accurately and completely than others. Usually, it works best and my brain works best when I have had a full night of sleep. I usually get one or two of those per week and its something I regularly work to improve.
so back in April of 2013, I wrote about a dream where I met Paul Mcartney. The gold nugget came in the second paragraph of my recollection where I wrote, “He wanted to know how my life was going so far. In normal Bumeter fashion I nonchalantly mentioned all the crazy / bad stuff first before getting into the good stuff that I actually cared about.”
I re-read my post this morning and lights were flashing and bells were going off, and my brain was saying in a Billy Crystal playing Max in the Princess Bride voice, “Aha!, Ahaa!”
I had established this pattern, this habit of sharing the crazy negative experiences in my life. They were not important to me, but I shared them with people first. For me, in retrospect, it was the exercise of a defense mechanism. It was a way of saying, I experienced these things and they did not kill me, they did not set me back, I survived them. I am ok.
But that was not the truth.
When I meet people I did not tell them about how I road my bike like crazy down the street behind Keith Rogers house when I was 7 to jump a rocky dirt hill on my bicycle and soar through the air only to crash down sideways and cut my ankle up. I did not tell people how I stepped on a nail on a roof when I was 10 and then walked through a manufacturing complex for 5 hours with my grandparents the next day. I did not tell people how when I was 19, I had a motorcycle accident that led to me crashing into the side of a car and soaring through the air across an entire intersection and rolling on the road after ripping up my clothes and embedding gravel in my hide and bending my right foot in half.
Those things truly do not have an impact on me. I do not introduce myself and recount those things to people immediately before talking about important stuff, important to me.
Yet, for the last 8-10 years, I often did introduce myself by explaining my background and career path mentioning some of the crazier experiences in that career. I thought I did this to show that it did not matter, but it must have still mattered because I was sharing things that weren’t important to my future.
I was not truly healed. I had not exorcised those demons.
More importantly, I was sharing crazy and pain with people. I was like a steel nail that had been magnetized a bit with a crazy experience and the subsequent pain that came with it. When I met people, I showed them my magnetic polarity for crazy and pain. They would see this and think, wow, he’s had a crazy life and overcome crazy things. They would equate crazy stuff with me. They would not always associate good things, positive things, and more importantly, I did not share with them immediately, what I needed in life. I did not share what was important to me. I did not share with them what I was trying to do. If they thought of me at all, they might not know to connect opportunities with me for the things I needed or wanted. They could though associate with me crazy and pain.
I didn’t do this all the time. I was better at it professionally than I was in my personal life. I thought crazy experiences made for ‘more interesting’ stories and conversations. Some of the things I experienced sounded like characters in a book. I love books, I thought this was a good thing. So I shared my story.
There was nothing inherently wrong with this.
Yet, I could have shared something more important. I could have opened up to my present and the things that were currently important to me. I could have let people in more and helped them to make associations with the ways I helped people, the good work I did for people, the new opportunities I was creating and the new opportunities I was seeking and attempting to actualize.
That is what I am doing these days. I have been doing this for many months now. I have been aware that I am doing this now and I have benefited from demagnetizing myself from crazy and pain and re-magnetizing myself for good things.
This post of mine from 3 years ago, helped me truly see myself more clearly. It helped me to see myself better. It helped me to feel and know something and not just intellectually understand a better process or tool to use.
I can understand the mechanics of how Scottie Pippen might set a pick such that Michael Jordan might maneuver around a player and make a basket.
Intellectually, I can understad, but….
I can never know how that will feel to make that play as either person. I can know how it feels to make that play personally, but even that is different.
In my situation today, during my epiphany, I was able to feel how I could make this new play and build a better life for myself one conversation, one new introduction at a time.
Sidenote, as I wrote those last three paragraphs. A family sitting at picnic table in front of me with a couple and three kids plus maybe a friend and an infant too received a phone call. The man who answered the phone broke down and had to step away. The children realized something was wrong and the mother guessed something about the man’s father. He returned shortly after to give his children a hug and explain that their grandfather had passed away and was no longer in pain any more, he was in a better place.
It was a beautiful and very sad moment to behold even as a stranger. I do not know the family.
It is a good reminder that life is short and way to short to spend time sharing the crazy and the pain with people when we meet them. It is much more important to share what is important to us and gather and listen to what is important to them.
We can pay ourselves forward with positive experiences and memories and even photos on facebook. They can feed our souls and give us energy to start our days with positive feelings for the future and every now and then we might also find a gold nugget from ourselves that helps us to understand ourselves, helps us to improve ourselves and helps us to grow.
I am going to make the rest of the day amazing. I hope you do the same. I am going to capture more great images of the people and things and beauty that is important to me. I am going to share with others the things that are important to me and hope you do as wel
Pay it forward to yourself. Open up to the people in your life. Open up to the ourselves so that we can learn from ourselves.
As Mya and I walked home from the playground, she was no longer grumpy and spotted two sets of wild flowers. 😊