First Practice In Two Months

July 31, 2010

I went bowling for the first time in two months. I struggled the first game but the muscle memory came back. Sometimes it’s good to take time away, recharge your batteries, and as a result we have a renewed sense of appreciation. I find it relaxing to throw a 15 lb ball down a 60 foot lane. It’s not my intent to be the hardest throwing or the biggest hooking bowler- I like to keep my game simple but effective.

I enjoy the time spent with other bowlers. I find that bowling can be a sport that you get the chance to meet people from other walks of life. I’ve been bowling for 33 years, and I’m thankful that my mother and father introduced me to the sport at a young age. They were bowlers in multiple leagues so it seemed that Playaway Lanes was a second home away from home. I learned to keep score, I picked up a ball at the age of 4 and started in leagues at the age of 6.

I’ve had the good fortune to meet many professional bowlers and used their tips to help me fuel my career. From Marshall Holman to Earl Anthony, Parker Bohn III to Chris Barnes, I’ve always enjoyed the fact that you can improve some aspect of your game through the years. It’s physical and mental in the types of activity you have to use. And if you want, you can pass down your knowledge to your teammates and the younger generation to keep the sport thriving.

I know this entry is short. I’ve been active with my family. We have birthdays coming up and I have a vacation on the horizon. I thank you for your continued reading and support of this blog. Keep up the good work in developing your lives. Do not be afraid to ask for help, there’s always someone out there. Be kind to yourself and each other.


What Can We Substitute?

July 27, 2010

So many times in life we complain that we never have enough time to squeeze in all the activities in the day we want to pursue. I understand that between work, travel, often being involved in the activities of your children you have little left in the tank for your own personal hobbies and goals.

You have to remember though: we only have a finite time on this earth. Think about the amount of time you spend in passive consumption with the radio going, the computer on, the consistent buzz of your cell phone and the background noise of television. It’s okay to have a mental and physical escape from the day to day stress, but we don’t want to spend hours on end living a satisfied life in this manner.

What can you substitute if you need to spend more time in another area? Is getting up an hour earlier a better solution if you want to get your exercise in for example? How about shutting down the television for an hour during prime time and starting up a special game night with your children? If becoming knowledgeable in a new skill for work or for personal development is in order, set aside those 30-60 minutes a day if necessary and pick up the books, the audio or video material, or take the courses and seminars you need to for your future.

We don’t want to live the rest of our lives on Someday Isle. We know plenty of people who talk about what they want to do, then fail to take that first step or risk in order to achieve what they truly desire. It’s better for some to stay complacent and complain than to actually get off of their duff, surprise themselves and as a result take their lives in a total unique direction they never expected. Don’t give me the excuses of I’m too young, I’m too old, I don’t have enough education, I don’t know where to start, and so on.

Where there’s a will, there’s always a way. I carve out the time I need to for writing, for listening to music, for bowling, for spending time with my family, for rest and relaxation. If it means I write out daily to do lists, I start the night before and know what I need to accomplish. If you love what you do, it won’t seem stressful or even like work- it will be invigorating, fun and uplifting.

Speaking of which, I’m looking forward to this new summer series with Tony Robbins called Breakthrough on NBC. It’s only a six week series, but I think now is an important time to see what changes we can make and take a look into other people’s lives to see what they have been able to accomplish with a little bit of guidance and proper direction. I’m glad Tony was persistent to get this show on the air as I know it’s been in the cards for a long time.

Have a wonderful day. Praise people in public when you catch them doing something right. Acknowledge people in the service industry who go above and beyond the call of duty. Smile and the world will smile back at you.

Small Numbers Add Up

July 26, 2010

I believe that the biggest events that happen in our lives occur as a result of a build up of small skills or tools that we use that add up. You don’t become a great writer the minute you are born- you have to read, write and study good writers and through consistent discipline and use of your skills, gradually you become comfortable with the art of words and knowing how to best communicate through this medium. When it comes to my bowling accomplishments, I’ve had to study, obtain coaching, execute the new skills on a consistent basis and simulate practice into real league and tournament bowling in order to achieve many of my goals.

It may not seem like it at the time, but the extra hour or two a day you put into something will become monumental years down the road. I concur with Jim Rohn’s thoughts during his 1999 weekend seminar where he states, “Do what you have to now because later leads to more satisfaction. Give your best to the few and you’ll be recognized to help many.”

I love reviewing and interviewing bands for a multitude of reasons. I feel like I can express myself to others and help people make better purchasing decisions with their money. I receive free music and get the chance to go to concerts as a result- but I would still find a way to support the music that I love (and continue to do so) even if I didn’t benefit from these perks. I’ve been able to met a wide variety of people through the years of my involvement with the scene- and I still keep in touch with a large number of them. They’ve become not just comrades in support of music- a lot of them I’m proud to call my friends and we’ve gotten to know each other on a deeper level.

So I want to encourage you to pursue your dreams even if they seem years in the distance. Time is going to pass anyways, so wouldn’t you rather get in the game and start taking the steps to achieve your dreams? If you’ve always wanted to go into a new career field and need the training, find someone already doing what you want to do, take them out to a meal and interview them. Get signed up for the classes, even if it’s online or through part-time night classes. Don’t be afraid to tell others about your dreams, they may be able to help you with resources or the right connection to take the learning curve down quickly.

Small numbers do add up. A little money put away each week in an interest bearing savings account or investment adds up. The 60 minutes a day with positive, uplifting reading material adds up. Audio learning in your car ride to and from work adds up. The continual hugs that you give each day to your partner and your children add up. The risk that you take to pursue a new hobby will add up. Passing on your knowledge and talent to others who show interest adds up. Take the chance and you’ll be surprised at the outcomes.

Not Feeling Well

June 26, 2010

We are together as a family again this weekend. We want to be united as one, but we seem to be more individual than ever. When we attempt to have serious discussions to resolve issues, we cower into corners or attempt to overpower with our voices to get our own ways.

I’m not feeling well about this. I guess it’s to be expected. When your daughters aren’t living with you 24/7, they have the right to be edgy and feel distance. You become a part time parent over the phone and at the times you get to see them in person, instead of the full time role you’ve played when they are in your home all the time.

I want both of my girls to get past their anger and back into bonding- with my wife and I. They have a connection to each other- and I am happy for that. But I sometimes question and wonder how much of a mother-father-daughter-daughter connection is really there. When you tangle so much verbally, are you creating the bonds necessary for successful relationships as adults, or are you only teaching them that you have to fight and argue to get your way?

We want them to have respectful conversations with us- not condescending and mean spirited talks when we set limits. I believe some of this has to do with their age and testing the boundaries as they ascend the independent ranks into adulthood- but there are other times where I believe they just want to throw that mean jab or quill out there to push our buttons.

Do I have a quick fix solution to this? Not really. They are angry- they feel shame- they have guilt. I can be here to help them- if they are willing to accept the help. They prefer talking to therapists and clinicians over their parents- because they believe someone trained understands better than my wife and I do their trauma and mental health concerns. However when the real events pop up we are the ones who have to settle them down and process the issues at hand- not clinicians or therapists who can’t be in our home at all hours of the day and night.

I’ve been reading some work by Richard Bandler who is one of the co-developers of neuro-linguistic programming. He teaches people techniques for distorting past traumas, phobias and fears and getting them to triumph over issues that have been plaguing them for years. I know that EMDR/ tapping has similar principles behind it and we’ve seen the benefits for one over the other in this regard. As a parent I wish I could re-write the past script of their lives, but I can’t. We can only deal with the cards thrown before us- no matter how disoriented and out of sorts they are.

So now I vent again. It’s better than taking my worries out on the children. I hope that tomorrow will be a better day- that I won’t take their pain personally. They only want to live a good life- and I should deliver the best that I can for them. As a role model, as a father, as a human being. I need to be real. I’ll continue to be real. The positive needs to outweigh the negative.

Don’t Get Stuck At The Start

June 25, 2010

Ever feel like you have a certain dream or ambition of what you want to do, where you want to go, places you would like to visit- but seem to get stuck at the start? It’s as if you know the end you want in sight, however struggle to get out of the gate in knowing the first step to take to move you along your dream or goal.

I find it’s better to ask for help and obtain the skills and knowledge you need to achieve you dream. When it came to my passion for music, I went from being a music consumer to a writer about music. I took advantage of the opportunities given to me 20 + years ago when other music fans began writing their own magazines. They asked me to contribute, I would receive music to write about and then I would interview bands, researching about their past and present so that I could get information that I felt the fans would want to know about these musicians.

I didn’t say to myself I don’t know how to go about this. I wrote letters, I expressed my desire to write and when one magazine would fold, I would gain another opportunity. Even now with the print medium in flux, I still write for online magazines and I have to thank many of my writing friends who’ve been able to give me the opportunity to shine. At first my writing was stiff, awkward and very immature- but I found the more that I did it, the more I read what other writers were doing and saying and the more I applied myself, the better I became.

What I’m expressing is the fact that anything that you start will not be something that you get right away or become an expert on. On average to become a master at something takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice and execution- which can take 5-7 years or even more depending on the availability of your time. If you really want to pursue your dream, throw yourself into it. Find someone who’s succeeded and ask them questions about how they started and their learning curve. Get yourself a coach if necessary. Study film and video- which can be easily accessible these days through all the social media channels on the internet.

I know as a parent of adoptive children with mental health issues, I do not know everything there is to know about the subject. Both daughters come from different backgrounds, have different trauma histories and have differing personalities. As a result, what works for one doesn’t work for the other. My wife and I apply techniques from various therapy models and sometimes even have to make modifications from there. Ultimately, we don’t give up. We are committed and have known from the start that this was going to be a journey of epic and mammoth proportions.

You can achieve your dreams if you set your mind to it and take action everyday in one way or another. It doesn’t matter whether your 7 or 70, where there is a will to do something your mind will catch up and find the way. Don’t get stuck on the details- just push yourself forward and I think you’ll be impressed at the dividends and outcomes.

What Matters Most Now

June 23, 2010

What matters most now is safety and security.

The ability to provide for my wife and my family.

Bringing happiness and joy to those closest to me as well as those I may only encounter briefly in my lifetime.

Wanting my daughters to grow up as healthy adults, and learn that their pasts do not dictate where they will be in the present and future.

That I can make small changes in my life when I am ready and they will add up to better health and better wealth to benefit my family and their lives.

The fact that I can be creative daily and put my thoughts out to the world through my blog entries and my music reviews and interviews.

The release of energy in the right direction whenever I am bowling- and the chance to meet new people who share a similar love for the sport as I have.

The feedback that I receive from people when I share my life and they share similar experiences or extend their kindness to me in my time of need.

The love and affection I receive from my wife and my daughters.

The time that I can spend with each of my children, listening to their stories and sharing in the experience of helping them grow up.

The gift of insight, the gift of reflection, the gift of visualization, the gift to know that imagination can create my reality.

I will continue to challenge myself and become a better person today and learn from the choices that may not have gone exactly the way I envisioned.

To be in control of my emotions matters because I need to model appropriate coping skills for my daughters.

Assessing where I am in life and where I would like to be- then taking the steps forward in action to accomplish everything that’s within my mind that I put on paper.

What I Can Work On

June 11, 2010

Humans didn’t come out at birth with an instruction manual. We do come encoded with DNA from a set of parents, and then as we grow up we have to learn through trial and error plus guidance and experience how to live, breathe and function effectively. I know I have areas of my life that I need to work on.

My wife is helping me understand that sometimes it’s not the words that I say, but the delivery and tone that matter so much more in conversations with her. Because I’m someone who likes to have a plan the day before knowing what’s going to happen and what I have to accomplish, being flexible and ready to rise to the occasion at the drop of a hat is another area I struggle to wrap my head around. I hem and haw, sigh and get frustrated- and instead of internalizing these emotions, I will often lash out at the person closest to me when I shouldn’t.

I can work on my health- for myself and for my family. I want to live a long life, but if I don’t get enough sleep, exercise and eat and drink adequately and in moderate amounts, I will shave years off of my mortality. I want to live to see my daughters get married, become a resource to them in their adulthood and also spoil future grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I will work on developing my talents and abilities for the benefit of others. I feel like I have a lot in my head that I can help others with- not just in terms of my writing but also in terms of teaching. Learning all of the tools that are out there on the internet and using them to the best of my ability is a start. Bowling, writing, reading, psychology, and personal development are areas that come naturally to me.

What are areas that you can work on? Think of three things that you want to improve over the next 12 months- and get started on the action steps. Maybe you’ve been wanting to go back to school- maybe you want to start a brand new business- maybe you want to connect more with your family and friends- maybe you want to learn a new skill or play a new sport- maybe you just want to lose a few pounds or get in better shape.

We can all work on something to improve our lives for the better. You don’t have to make a drastic improvement overnight- small, incremental changes will add up over the course of a lifetime. If that means you take an hour or two away from the television to accomplish your new goals, then so be it. Be in the present so you can have a wonderful future. Ultimately you have to care about your own well being or you’ll be at a loss in your golden years.