Sunday, July 19, 2015

Are you stuck?

I just made myself shudder. If you are stuck, it is inventory time. The word inventory brings to mind a large retail store with a never ending checklist and tedious cataloging. I'm not referring to that kind of inventory.

Part of the human condition seems to be struggling against our own inner demons, the parts of ourselves that critically observe and paint the details of our spirit in the harshest tones and most painful lighting. To many of us our defects and deficiencies are glaring and they overshadow our perception of ourselves. Let me frame it up for the rest of you. Pretend that three friends are standing at a lookout point, looking out across the mountains. Two friends are looking at the beautiful view, enjoying the pine scent in the air and the sweet birdsong. The third friend is stuck in the car looking for their shoes, only seeing the cluttered mess of the car, the check engine light glaring, and the stink of french fries that fell in the crack between seats. The third friend is still at a beautiful place, but can't get out of the car to appreciate it. In their mind they have to put their shoes on, then their mind gets distracted by other negatives and they spend their time trying to fix the car. Sadly, they're trying to fix the car without the right tools in the wrong place.

Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Inspiration Point View

Do you find yourself being that third friend quite often? Listening to your friends talk about all of the places they have been, the adventures they have had, while you have tried so hard to go forward while you are running in place?

Inventories are tools that you can use to monitor yourself. When you are looking to make changes, to go from the person stuck in the car to being the one out ahead of everyone on life's adventures an inventory creates a map for you. There are many types of maps. Different inventories come together to give you a complete picture. Diet, exercise, nutrition, sleep, behavior, mood can all be monitored. You learn a lot about yourself through self monitoring. You can identify things you want to change. You can see patterns emerge from food sensitivities that affect behavior to triggers of negative behaviors and thought patterns.

Instead of the pity train and the nobody loves me song; try setting goals. Stop basing your emotional state and self worth on the words of others. If you have trouble remembering your positive moments and achievements, start tracking them. Start journaling on the positives in your life. Break out of the negative cycle. I'm not saying go into happy delusional denial, we all need to tune in, speak up and become active in shaping our communities and how we interact with the world. It isn't like there is a back up world that comes out after we screw this one up for someone's 'killer' profits.

Sounds hard? Sounds tedious?

How about goal setting? What do you want to do with your life? Picture yourself at age 90. Talk to yourself, what would you tell you to go do? What experiences would you want to be able to remember?

Observation Tower View, Outside Rollinsville Colorado

Give yourself direction. Do you want to visit a desert? Do you want to pick fruit fresh from the plant? Do you want to have an apiary? What shows, concerts, and entertainment venues do you wish you could see? What places have you put off traveling to see? What foods have you never tried? In your heart, what experiences would make you smile when you wake up?

What experiences would motivate you to step beyond that messy, cramped car? What holds you back?

Danny Lord enjoys the view on Flagstaff Summit outside Boulder Colorado

When we get into a negative mindset, we become overly critical of ourselves. We punish ourselves and sometimes resent the people who do not seem to have the same struggles we do. Misery loves company, and in our minds we find ourselves wanting them to 'pay' for being free. That is backward. We should be reaching out to them saying "throw me a rope, I am stuck." We should be learning from them and appreciating them. They've won a battle that we fight and lose ground to every day. Perhaps because they never chose that fight, they never fell into the trap we are caught in.

On a cloudy sunday, I ask you to do one thing.

Do something today that brings a real smile, a true laugh, and creates a memory that you will be glad to have when you are 90.

 Set your fears, self recriminations and judgments aside; life is too short to spend it stuck in one little box. You are the only person who can make the choice to get out and live, you are the only one who determines how you see yourself, how you feel about yourself, and how you see the world. The rest of us can tell you the vistas are beautiful, that you are incredible and worth loving, but you make the choice whether to listen or tune us out.
Indian Paintbrush at Sunset