Monday, October 12, 2015


Evening falls and the air is crisp as I pull into my garage after a productive day.  I am nonetheless very happy to be home and it feels good as I walk into my home.
As my day bag is set down, and my keys hit the top of my dresser, I can hear the faint sounds of my daughter.   I follow the sound and it leads downstairs to her bedroom.  As I make my way into her room I find her crying and holding her hands cupped and close to her chest.  Alarmed, I rush to her side and sit on her bed and begin to stroke her hair.   "What's wrong sweetie?"
Her reply comes as she holds out her hands..."I fell off my bike."  I take her hands softly in mine, and inspect them as I see that she has covered her wounds in bandaids.  I ask her what happened, and as I hold her hands in mine, I can see that there is still dirt and grime on her hands.  After listening to the mishap and how and where she fell, I ask her... "Sweetie, did you wash your hands and put anything on your cuts before you put on bandaids?"  Her reply can timidly in that she hadn't thought of it. know what's coming next.  Although she did a good job in putting on bandaids, she needed to treat the wound properly before the protective covers of bandaids should have been placed.
The next part not only hurt her, but hurt me too as I removed the bandaids only to find little rocks and dirt still inside her cuts.  She cried and faced the task with bravery and courage in seeing why this was necessary.   Allowing someone that loves her dearly to open the covered up wounds, clean them out, apply Neosporin, and then cover them again.  If left untreated, the wounds never can heal properly, and the rocks and dirt left inside have far more damaging affects.  Applying the bandages again after cleaning her wounds, she healed up nicely and was back on her bike in no time.

A parent can do this with his/her child and take ahold of the situation and, with tender caring wisdom,  treat the wounds of a child so they can heal properly... I wonder how this can be done as adults!!!

The emotional cuts and deep wounds that we all experience in our lives, DO cut deeply and have such lasting affects throughout the rest of our lives if they're left untreated.
I see this SO much as I encounter people from across the world, and I also have seen it in my very close circle of friends and loved ones.

When people trust me with information about their deepest cuts, I find that these wounds have never been treated, but only covered up with the bandaids of life.  I also find that most haven't ever learned basic skills of how to treat emotional wounds and/or cuts.  Only told to ignore them, cover them up with something that will alter the emotional pain, and eventually they'll go away.

If you've ever heard of the book, "Feelings buried alive never die", then now you have!  I can't say it better than the title of this book explains.  When we bury our feelings and wounds, before looking at them, understanding them, and forgiving ourselves or others before moving on, then they WILL haunt us for the rest of our lives.

There are some pretty cool bandaids out there!  Work, substances, we can always ignore and pretend, trips and getting out of dodge to simply avoid looking at things!  Out of sight out of mind...  Whichever bandaid is your preference, please remember it is still only a bandaid, and will only cover up the real issue.

When we dangerously involve ourselves with someone else and quickly "moving on"... Anger is the typical emotion that will surface often if our wounds go untreated.  Things that happened to us as children sometimes haunt us so deeply and we carry those experiences for so long.  What great lengths we will go to in order to NOT face things inside ourselves!  We will blame others and be angry with them and try to defer the attention away from our wounds and quickly point out the flaws of other!
Truly, its US that needs to be examined.  That takes extra courage and bravery!  That takes us to stop, admit there is some cleanup work to be done, and then SHOW UP for on a consistent basis with a professional that CAN help clean the wounds.  This requires you to open up the doors, pull back the curtain, and truly allow someone else to see inside.  I 100% believe that until we can pull back your our curtains and see whats inside of ourselves and see things for how they truly are, then we will NEVER be able to connect with someone else and truly learn intimacy.  Intimacy... is to open up and be vulnerable.  "Intimacy"   =   "Into-Me-See"...

We must start with looking inside ourselves, cleaning up the wounds and cuts from so so long ago, accepting and loving ourselves, and letting go of shame or blame.  Unless this can happen, then we won't ever truly and fully be able to share ourselves with another.  We are too hidden and afraid to pull back the bandaids.  Too afraid that others won't love and accept us if they truly see us, because we don't even love and accept ourselves!  How could others love and accept us when we don't even love or accept ourselves?  Finding ways out, fault finding and blaming, fighting without any real cause, and never allowing anyone close enough to really see deep enough...this will be our fate unless we can take off the bandaids, clean up the wounds, and heal properly.  I recommend finding a professional counselor that you click with...that gets your vibe!  Prepare yourself for a journey!  Heavy lifting is ahead of you and most people really aren't up for it!  Never will be!  The bandaids are too easy to put on to cover up the wounds.  Dismissing the reality of what those deeply imbedded rocks will eventually do to your heart and soul.

This HAS to be a choice that someone makes.  I have learned that looking inside is not something one can sell or coerce another to do as a favor.  It HAS to be a choice if true healing is to occur!

As a parent, we can take our child and almost force children to remove the physical bandaids so we can clean their physical wounds... However, adults have to choose on their own to remove those emotional bandaids, and do the work for themselves, which in turn WILL help serve those around them by virtue of having a much more awake and whole YOU!

Don't be afraid... Have faith!

My Mother use to say:

"We must all be in the pursuit of Self-Mastery.  It is a lifelong pursuit"
Javice H. Davis


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Risks MUST be taken

"To laugh is to Risk appearing a fool.
To cry is to Risk appearing sentimental.
To be different is to Risk ridicule.
To reach out to another is to Risk involvement.
To love is to Risk not being loved in return.
To go forward in the face of overwhelming odds is to Risk failure.
But Risks MUST be taken!...because the greatest Risk in life is to Risk Nothing;
The person who Risks nothing... does nothing, has nothing, is nothing!
Oh, that person may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they do not learn, love, live, or grow.
Chained by their own certitudes... they are slaves.
Only the person who takes Risks is FREE!"

 ~  Duane Barney  ~

This was given to me in such a rare way in my young twenties.  I was working as a new kid in the world of public speaking and I had the privilege to travel and work with Mr Barney for a number of years.  I use to listen to him quote this poem as he would challenge, lead, and inspire an audience to change.  As it was repeated in his speeches and talks around the world, these borrowed words eventually became my own words, and now act as one my life anchors.  His poem has always stuck with me!
It's interesting how we all reach into our collection of thoughts and values that act as anchors in our lives when the winds and waves of change come crashing over us.  Anchors are the pieces that hold it all together in the storms that come along.  When everything in life seems to be in complete shambles, the few things that DO make sense to us, and will ALWAYS resonate within our hearts and minds...Those are anchors!
I do take risks!  I wish to be "in the ring", swinging and taking punches!  Sometimes it works out and the risk was worth it, and other times I may not obtain the results I had hoped for...
There is such a lesson to be explored when you think about the way we handle life when things may not "work out" the way we hoped for.

All "stepping stones" though :)

Today, I am grateful for the words of my friend Duane Barney... Risks MUST be taken!

Stepping Stones...

One of my best friends in the whole world (Kenneth Forrest) repeats often that "everything is a stepping stone!"  One stone leads to the next.  Without anyone of these stones (people, circumstances, opportunities, projects, even tragedies, etc..) along the way, you would have drown.  It's interesting to look at life like that... That nothing happens "to" us...but only happens "for" us.  Wow!  What a different way of looking at things!  If nothing happens "to" us, but only "for" us...then truly,.. the ONLY emotion left to feel and experience, is GRATITUDE!  That each step was necessary, to get us to where we are today.

-  The traffic ticket I received may have been "for" me to avoid the fatal crash that could have happened further down the road.  Yes it tied me up for a bit, but it also saved my life had it not happened.  Too extreme?  I guess that's up to you and how you look at things.

-  Children grow up and move away, and parent(s) might be left lonely.  Oh how rich and amazing your life has been as you've watched the miracle of raising children over the years...Yet when they leave, how it opens up the space in your life for other wonderful things to rush in to enhance and enrich your life even more.

"When you change the way you look at things, the things that you look at...CHANGE"
~  Wayne Dyer

How hard it might be though, to see a painful situation and think that it happened "for" us in anyway... (abuse, neglect, freedoms and choices being taken away from us without our consent or control)... I admit that there are many circumstances that others have had to face that I personally never have faced at all.  One might say "that it sounds great in theory Matt, but you haven't gone through what I have, so you don't know." That is very true... However here is what I DO know.  How we choose to handle life's challenges IS entirely up to each and every one of us.
-  A woman who is abused (no I've never personally experienced this) that eventually decides she is going to start a battered women's shelter to help others that have experienced such a horror... I would say that she is not choosing the victim mentality, but a stepping stone mentality.
-  My dear friend who lost her very young son in a tragic accident that started a foundation to help other parents that have been hit with similar situations.   These parents now have their children in the hospital, fighting for their children's lives, yet they can not afford the medical bills that are continuing to mount up higher and higher.  She has taken what has happen in her life as a stepping stone, and created something that brings light and hope to others.  

How we choose to respond is ALWAYS up to us!  

Its hard to sometimes practice this mentality of gratitude for the things that life brings us... Certainly one of those philosophies that seems to resonate as we're discussing it logically on a blog, but when the winds of life blow us over, can we keep it in mind and practice it when we need to the most?  Repetition is the mother of all skill.  When we lose sight of this way of thinking from time to time,  there's nothing wrong with reminders along the way... Recommitting and starting fresh with renewed and refreshed perspective.  

Stepping Stones... Nothing happens TO us, but only FOR us.
Try it on...take it for a might like it! :)

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