Action

107. AN UNPOPULAR OPINION

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If I could share the truth of one and only one thing, it would be this –

We cannot make the world a better place by fighting to get rid what we don’t want. We MUST, instead, focus our energies on what creating we do want. Creation is the force of positive change. Destruction is the catalyst of negative change.

Here then is the cyclical problem facing us today…

“Ignorance of hate” and the “hate of ignorance” are the exact same energy.

Too few realize this.

I grow weary of a society that’s essentially eating away at itself. I speak, of course, about our political and social climate in the United States. There are throngs who support our destruction (or perhaps better illuminated as de-construction) with blind ignorance, and on the seemingly opposite side, there are those who unknowingly give the monster exactly what it feeds upon the most, unending hate. These motives are anchored equally in selfishness. They both magnify pride over humility.

What then is our course of action? Which path leads to our best mutual benefit? It hasn’t been walked in a while, that’s for sure. It lies in hibernation, waiting for the resurrection of sanity and unity. The disease of blame we have embraced as a country must be cleansed. We collectively point fingers, convinced we’re doing good by showcasing the so-called enemy as a force that must be eradicated.

Please stop, I beg you. I plead with all my heart and soul. The art of cooperation, the quality of empathy, and the spirit of service must rise from the ashes of separation, indifference, and malice. We are wallowing in a state of reaction rather than action. We think we’re doing something when in fact we are doing nothing at all.

If you’re truly open-minded, if you really are religious (and I don’t care what religion you insert here), if you consider yourself a good person, ask yourself, “how am I making the world a better place by example?” What actions (again, NOT re-actions) are you putting your energy into? I’m not suggesting to lower one’s defenses when being attacked, that’s suicide by default and is the fast track to erasing motivation. Let me be blunt here, defending our beliefs, while it’s occasionally justifiable, must be a distant second to the manifestation of what we want. Without a clear and active vision of what tomorrow should be, we inevitably invite those waiting in the sidelines to fill the coming void, and all to often those replacements are far more powerful and destructive than their predecessors. Just because the so-called “enemy” is defeated doesn’t mean the audience it attracted goes with it.

It sounds clichéd to say we give power to those we oppose when we defend ourselves, it’s not. Why? Because if the opinion of another doesn’t matter to begin with, it’s impossible to get mad at them. As soon as we do, we validate their viewpoint and in turn give the enemy exactly what it seeks. I know, it’s SO tempting to want to fire back, especially when we see actions that hurt or belittle others. Please do not meet them on their terms, invite them to yours. Stay aligned with your beliefs while letting them know the intimidation game they’re playing has no effect on your goals. I do, however, applaud the direct involvement of stopping pain and suffering because this creates an example of action, one that can possibly inspire thousands more. This takes a ton of courage, both to stay calm while doing it, and knowing we are placing ourselves in the line of fire, sometimes literally.

Fantasy may be the blueprint of reality, but so is fear. Whatever energy we choose magnify will inevitably materialize, so obviously there’s more than enough motive to avoid what’s despised, yet this is what most people do. Remember, all visionaries were once criticized by their oppressors as dreamers. Let this intended insult serve to reinforce ideals instead. Do not focus on what you fear, instead act on what you envision.  I do.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

87. A DYING WISH

generics

When I turned nineteen in 1983 I moved into my first apartment. It instantly became clear that this was not going to be the freedom filled adventure of youthful fantasy. My take-home income was around four hundred dollars a month and my bills added up to about three hundred and twenty of that. I didn’t own transportation so there was no financial burden in this category. I didn’t even have a phone. I did however have a quiet, clean place to call home only two blocks from both work and the nearest grocery store. I had my art, my books, and a (color) television to help pass the time. Food turned out to be a luxury. When it came to eating my belly was filled from the generic aisle. In the eighties there was a “fad” in nationwide supermarkets of extreme no-frills, basic products. They were generally at least half the cost of the lowest comparable item and the quality barely matched the price. Here was my salvation from starvation. Most of my consumption was in the form of macaroni and cheese dinners at 10 for a dollar, ten pound bags of potatoes, and butter and sour cream. My high carb, high fat diet provided enough energy to keep me from looking for a third source of income.

Because I worked nights, and held down two jobs, my social life consisted primarily of talking to whomever I happened to be in the vicinity of. I’d never been a party going person nor did I pursue any other kind of pastime that would have drained my wallet. I’d been in a couple relationships already but wasn’t jumping at a chance to renew the experience; besides I couldn’t have afforded a girlfriend even if I wanted one. As it turned out, I didn’t need money at all. On one of my rare days off I came home from the store to find a woman moving into my apartment complex. I was surprised to learn she was on her own, apparently a couple of friends had let her down. So, me being me, I jumped in and began helping. Turned out she has secured the unit directly below mine. Within a couple of hours we had all her possessions through the door. Once it was set up her place was almost as sparse as mine. I found out she was manager of a General Nutrition Center in a local mall and was in the middle of some life changes. There was a ten-year age difference between us but that didn’t stop us from becoming fast friends.

I discovered rather quickly she was in (recent) recovery from alcoholism, but that meant little to me. She seemed normal enough and as time strode on our friendship branched into prolonged visits and activities which she paid for and I gladly accepted. Going to the movies or a restaurant was a rare event in those days and I jumped at the chance to do anything other than sleep and work. Eventually, and probably inevitably, our friendship turned more intimate.

I remember during one of our conversations she mentioned she hated to hear men say they loved her. I was understandably confused at her statement and asked why. She said it was because it always turned out to be a lie. One day I was watching her put on makeup and get ready for work. I must have been staring at her a little weird because she suddenly blurted out, “Don’t look at me that way!” I was a deer in the headlights. “What way?” I asked feeling really nervous. “You’re looking at me like you love me.” I couldn’t and wouldn’t say it. It had been purposely set up this way; at least it felt like it at the time. Soon after the entire fling fell apart. She ended up going out with another man behind my back and I began to build a wall of self-pity. The foundation of this eventual prison was built on a single desire; the one that almost killed me.

“I wish I couldn’t feel Love.”

Everything I did for years was tethered to avoiding the action and emotion of Love. Slowly, painfully, this pursuit drove all the passion, all the color, and all the variety out of my life. I became a generic person, a “human” who “worked” and “ate.” My value to the rest of humanity was soon bottom shelf. Living only for the sake of living will eventually cause one to run out of reasons to continue, and in time that’s exactly what happened to me. Survival was my singular quest and even that began to erode with a lifestyle of escalating self-abuse. My primary goal was quite honestly, oblivion. I shunned any responsibility other than those involving support of my my basic needs; earning enough money to buy alcohol and stay off the streets.

For twelve long years I lost touch with my spirit until quite by accident I invited Love back into my life. It re-manifested by uttering a single, heartfelt word.

“Help.”

When I finally reached out with a willingness to leave everything behind, including my possessions, my belief systems, and even my acquaintances, I found an abundance of outstretched arms willing to guide and support me. The trip has been stormy and frightening, but never have I lost my footing. When I couldn’t see ahead I was carefully led. Every action that pulled me further from certain doom was carried out with patience, compassion, and understanding. My surrender of the past and embracement of a mostly unknown future has remained dedicated and focused. As a result, twenty years later, I now have what many may see as an enviable life. I’m at peace, I have a beautiful, loving, responsible, and sober wife who’s also my best friend. There’s no need for anything yet I have access to resources for manifesting whatever I want. Best of all I’m back in touch with myself.

You see, when I decided Love wasn’t worth pursuing, I unintentionally lost what positive feelings I had for myself. A connection to spirit vanished. The decision to eliminate this action, this emotion, led to the eventual elimination of ALL motivation and feeling. No matter where Love may lead me now, I choose to embrace it because it is the nourishment of a life well lived, and I encourage all to feast.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

 

 

 

76. SO CLOSE TO GIVING UP…….

agony-invert

I’ve been in a horrible place since December 10, 2014. I’ve done my best to keep up a positive attitude and honestly I know all will turn out wonderful in some weird, unexpected way. What I originally thought was a minor back injury (I thought it was a kidney stone) turned out to be something much more severe. As diagnosis came in and possibilities were eliminated it became clear I was being pushed to a place I’d never anticipated. Apparently between my fourth and fifth lumbar in my back there is a bulge in the disc that is cutting off the nerve endings to my left side. Wasn’t that bad at first. Along with not being able to lift anything (other than pizza…) it disturbed my sleep and kept me from normal chores. I had a lot of vacation built up anyway, so even though I was reluctant to use it, at least I had something to fall back on.

As Christmas came and went so did my rosy outlook for January. The pain was getting worse and my vacation was running out. I don’t want to sound too graphic here, but it felt like I was constantly being violently kicked in the groin while a knife was sticking out of my back just to the left of the initial injury. I reluctantly asked my wife to buy me a cane so I could at least walk to the bathroom and bedroom. I’m in recovery from alcoholism. For anyone new to this blog that’s what the whole damn thing is about anyway, recovery and self-help. Here is a link to my blog introduction – WELCOME TO SELF-HELP AND RECOVERY FOR BEGINNERS! I’ve been through a lot of crap; a lot of it life threatening,  but I’ve never been through like what was to come.

I applied for my short-term disability if this scenario were to prolong itself. After going in for a CAT scan at the behest of my Doctor, the determination was made to give me a steroid injection in my spine. Unfortunately this was about two weeks away and the pain was becoming unbearable. It became very difficult to shower and even maintain some sort of hygienic dignity. Migraines set in for a constant ride and are still here. Most of the time I have a bag of ice on my head. The nights offer a slight comfort for an hour or two then into the living room where I proceed to scream my ass off for at least ninety minutes. The meds prescribed to me I DO NOT WANT, but what can I do? Oxy and Valium. Ugh. Can’t take anything with Tylenol in it, that pushes my migraines int to the upper stratosphere. Won’t allow anything with alcohol either. So what do I do? Suffer, and suffer, and suffer.

Two weeks later I went in for my injection and for about three hours I felt completely normal. That was the “Novocaine” shot they gave me prior to the primary shot. Three hours later back to square one, but, the Doctors informed me it would take 3-4 days to work. Didn’t happen, in fact it started getting much worse. I started falling, even with the cane. My wife works during the day and sometimes she spends her lunch hour at home. Most of the time all I want is plain old unconsciousness. Imagine having a hangover that never, ever stops. This is what I’ve been going through.

We went to a specialist next and they recommended surgery. They spelled it out what was going to happen. We both agreed on their recommendations and tomorrow at three thirty in the afternoon we will see if the procedure will have any impact. It’s been another LONG two weeks.

Last Thursday was the worst. Yelling at the top of my lungs for three hours in the middle of the night while I’m flopping around in my recliner; willing to do ANYTHING to induce some sort state of comfort as my wife stands over me weeping and not knowing what to do is never a future I would have imagined. She feels so helpless and yet she has no idea how much she actually helps. I could not have gotten through this without her. She is my friend, my lover, and my angel.

This has been difficult in more ways than I’ve expected. I’ve worked since I was very young, never having been away from some sort of paid responsibilities for more than perhaps two weeks in a row. I’m very active, such is the life of a construction worker. A few short weeks ago I was on twelve-foot ladders with 24″ pipe wrenches cranking on twenty-one foot long steel pipes. I was in crawl spaces flicking off cock roaches while installing 4″ cast iron waste pipe. Now I can’t get out of bed and to top it all off I’ve gained forty pounds since this put me down. IF all goes well, I am to have an eight week recovery before I can even go back to work. It is a humbling experience but I wish the better man this is going to make me didn’t have such a high price.

At some level I MUST give up. Not on life, mind you, but on my power over what’s happening to me. “Let Go, Let God” is ingrained into my mind through both my program and experience; and yet still I fight it. To drop all and trust in the universe to hand me what I need the most sometimes takes leaps of faith into my own mirages of the worst  futures that can be imagined. Tomorrow; written by me and acted be me, has never happened, and it never will.

Am I close to throwing in the towel? Yes. Let’s just go ahead and do it and see what happens.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

 

 

Enough Is Enough

66. SEEKING DREAMS

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

65. THE TOP 10 REASONS LIFE IS WORTH LIVING….OR WHY LIFE DOESN’T SUCK

you-are-here

When we go back to the 1800’s and take a snapshot of typical life, it was rather harsh, at least compared to how good we have it now. No electricity, an abundance of outhouses, no refrigeration, long hours, small wages, and no deodorant. I’m sure most were happy, but let’s face it, living was more about survival than enjoyment. I don’t know about you but I don’t think after a long day of plowing fields I would have the energy to go out and kill my dinner. Education was rare and information was limited. Sickness prevailed and medicine as we know it (if you could even find a doctor) was in its infancy. Obviously people got through their days in the most civilized and comfortable manner possible; if they hadn’t, we wouldn’t be here. One thing is for sure, I’d have a hard time regressing to a world without toilet-paper, air conditioning, and indoor plumbing. Knowing this forces me to be all the more grateful for even the smallest of conveniences. I am well aware that about half the world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day; and yes, I have researched this. I’ll wager that this same line of poverty was much more unbalanced in the past; at least I hope so, for that would be evidence of movement towards a better world for everybody. In any event, I believe we are moving in the right direction despite what the naysayers want to showcase.

Here are my top ten reasons life is worth living. They are equal in importance and the order means nothing.

  1. Never before in the history of civilization has there been a more open microphone to the world stage.  We now have the power to reach millions at the speed of light. What a wonderful, powerful tool! Victor Hugo wrote, “No one can resist an idea whose time has come.” Let expression abound, and eventually the best of the best must happen. Look at the commitment to reach the moon, or to cure polio, or to create a nation based on personal freedom, or even to connect the Atlantic with the Pacific. All of these things started with an idea expressed.
  2. Kindness, tolerance, forgiveness, and sharing are becoming the dominant shared viewpoint of the world. “How can I help?” is being heard louder and louder collectively. Don’t believe me? Read a few history books and see how prevalent the opposite used to be. As a result, the attitudes of prejudice, hate, resentment, and selfishness are on the decline.
  3. For those who suffer,there are countless others wanting to help. If you REALLY want to make a difference, If you REALLY need help, now could not be better. 12 step and other similar groups exist for every type of self-abuse and the same type exist for those who have been abused. All are volunteer and none ask for anything in return. This is a miracle of brotherhood and a gift to those who once were thought of as hopeless. I would be almost twenty years dead if not for this community.
  4. Information for almost anything is readily available to those with computer access. Granted, a LOT of what is floating in cyberspace is junk, but there is a legitimate line to most subjects we want to explore. The world’s knowledge is at the fingertips of (almost) anyone who can reach an internet connected computer. With a little application, all that is paid for through universities can be claimed for free.
  5. The universe is unfolding before our eyes. From the Large Hadron Collider to the James Webb Space Telescope, the cosmos in both its enormity and at the quantum level is being illuminated in ways that are breathtaking and unbelievable. Planets are being discovered and doorways to other dimensions are beginning to crack open. We stand upon a massive threshold that marks the end of our finite world. What once was science fiction is quickly becoming science fact.
  6. The variety of our expression as a race through the arts- music, dance, film, literature, and of course, painting, drawing, photography, and sculpture is expanding by both encouragement and availability. Again, let’s go back in time, to a place where paintings were only to be seen in museums, where the sound of master composers could only be heard in symphony halls, where the written knowledge of humanity was stored away on the shelves of scattered libraries to be enjoyed and explored by the few who could access them, where a moment of emotion, observation, and beauty was lost to time the second after it had passed.  All of these things, once rare and fleeting, are now solidified in preservation, and available (albeit two-dimensionally) to even the most remote corner of our planet.     
  7. The beauty of our home reveals itself daily. A single snowflake, The Aurora Borealis, a newborn baby, a distant thunderstorm, an elderly couple holding hands, the full moon, a glorious sunset, the sounds of crickets at night and songbirds at sunrise; these things and countless more are all we need to calm the day and bring balance to our restless spirit. It’s provided free of charge to those who stop and take the time to observe. Nature is the antidote to an overload of artificial environments; and everywhere you go, there it is.
  8. Redemption is available to EVERYONE. Thank God it is or I would be long dead. I believe no one is beyond hope. No one is doomed to live out their tomorrows based on what happened yesterday. Can a murderer become a savior? Yes. Will the universe ultimately deal to this spirit, this soul, what is just and balanced? Always. The fundamental reason I believe redemption is available to everyone is this observation; if it isn’t available to the “worst” of us, then it really isn’t available to any of us. YOU can make the world a better place just by shifting your principles and actions. I did; and I am.
  9. The world is becoming a MUCH smaller place. This will force one of two things; conflict or cooperation. I believe in the latter. Some conflict is inevitable, but coöperation on a worldwide basis must eventually take place or oblivion will be the result. The desire to live is our more powerful instinct. Knowing and spotlighting that our symbiotic relationship with the rest of humanity equals a continued existence will eventually force peace. We cannot survive without the people who grow our food, who makes our clothing, who create energy, or who transport goods. We are interconnected and dependant on the actions of millions of others. OUR current generations stand upon the edge of a cliff; we will either step up, or step off, and I for one cannot believe that those who will demand peace will remain silent. Within the next twenty years technology will have created instant translation devices effectively eliminating language barriers and this alone will serve to strengthen communication, understanding, and love of our fellow-man.
  10. We live in exciting times. Nothing against the past, but we now move toward new horizons at dizzying speeds. Those who lived only a little over a hundred years ago knew nothing of an electrified world with machines carrying man through the air and devices that would allow us to explore other planets and observe the farthest reaches of space. The idea that food could be harvested and kept fresh and edible for years was unbelievable. We had no idea what lay below the oceans surface, waiting to be discovered. Scientific progress is changing our perception of what can be accomplished. Medical advancements now save millions of lives that would have been hopeless even a few decades ago. Not only is our outer world growing, but the inner one as well. The perception of who we are and what we are capable of is changing. Anyone who has watched “What the Bleep Do We Know?” (the extended, down the rabbit-hole version) will get a feel for just what might lie in wait for the human experience. What then lies ahead twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty years from now? We are witness to the largest strides in the history of our race. What a privilege.

Am I aware there are flaws and kinks in society? Of course; and I feel we have a long road ahead if we are to forge complete planetary respect for our diverse cultures and societies. There are millions who still suffer and live in squalor. There are those who do not know water is supposed to be clear. There are those who think only the rich wear shoes. There are those who live only to survive, and this is not acceptable to me. I feel the attitude of wanting and recognizing the world to be a better place is a fundamental responsibility. Keep in mind we have made it this far, and wonderful things have happened. There’s no reason this growth of wonder, imagination, and dreams cannot include everyone. Critical mass does not require a majority to move the rest of humanity, it just takes enough people with enough passion to sell their vision to the rest.

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With Love and compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

63. FIRE AND WATER

fire and water

For a long time now my main mission in life has been to prove it’s easy, fun, and magical. The few “guidelines” we need to follow making our existence worth every moment is almost laughable. This doesn’t mean there won’t be times of frustration and grief. All of us have the occasional fire needing extinguished. We encounter unexpected emergencies, situations, and setbacks easily labeled as unwanted, annoying, and painful. Me too. Happens all the time. I wish it didn’t, but there is a part of the equation I always have control over, and that’s how I choose to react.

Water puts out fire. If you disagree with this, you can stop reading now, it won’t do any good to go further. When the fires of life rear up and block our progress, the watery equivalent is necessary to clear the path so we may resume our journey. I’m sure this makes sense. More fire will obviously increase and lengthen the conflict, yet this is the preferred method of dealing with problems as most encounter them. Don’t believe me? Let’s see if any of these illustrations sound familiar.

  • A man hears a friend has died. He decides to get drunk.
  • A person is suspected of stealing at the office. Angered, they go home and spend the night thinking of ways to get back at their accuser.
  • A supervisor at work is tired of never being listened to. As a result he has a meeting and demands even louder that his orders must be remembered and followed.
  • A group that opposes war goes on a march to voice opinions against the enemy.
  • A preacher spends his life pointing out what is wrong with the world and why people will suffer if they do not change.
  • A woman complains they are unloved and never going to find the right person
  • A person spends most of their time blaming. They wait for others  to realize their mistakes.

These are no doubt stereotypical situations, but the futility of their approach is obvious. All are cases of fighting fire with fire. Let’s turn around the same ideas and see how they look if symbolic water is used to confront these circumstances.

  • A man hears a friend has died. He goes home and starts writing about him. It becomes the eulogy to his funeral.
  • A person is accused of stealing at the office. Intrigued, they wonder if they can help find the real culprit.  They spend the night formulating a strategy to help in the investigation.
  • A supervisor at work is tired of never being listened to. He realizes that HE cannot listen while he is talking. He calls a meeting and asks of his employees what they want of him.
  • A group that supports peace goes on a march and voices opinions why their way of life is productive and desirable.
  • A preacher spends his life pointing out what is right and good in the world and why people will be happier if they align with these examples.
  • An unloved woman becomes full of praise and love for others so she will attract someone who is likewise.
  • A person spends most of their time taking responsibility. They realize they hold the power to change their life.

Why fight against what we don’t want when cheering for what we do want will have a more creative outcome? Remember, focusing on the eradication of what we wish to eliminate does nothing to build a vision of what will replace it. Those people who move forward with determination and resolve are also the ones who continue to ignore their critics. They know it’s a waste of time to defend against attitudes and situations that are beyond their control; here lies the need for the serenity prayer. Do not, however, misinterpret this action as opening up yourself to attack. The easiest way to define the best objective is to use action to attract what is desired, and reserve reaction to dissuade what threatens growth. It really comes down to not using anything negative as a tool of progress. Don’t fight for what you want, work for it.  Don’t label your situation as problematic, label it as opportunistic. Don’t dread the unknown, be excited by it. There are no mistakes, just learning experiences, and these examples aren’t clichéd, they are tried-and-true.

When I let the fires “out there” ignite my own, it’s usually fueled by an overabundance of impatience and selfishness. “My way and fast” usually leads to some sort of catastrophe. At the very least it’s rude and thoughtless. The first set of situations listed above are self-centered, while the second set is based in humility, and that’s really all it’s about. How may I serve? How can  I contribute to the dreams of others? Let me offer my assistance. Let me help. It’s kind of weird, but I have more interest and gain more satisfaction in helping others to achieve their dreams rather than work exclusively on my own. Imagine if everyone did this? What a paradise would come to existence. I am water. Show me the fires of destruction and I will rain upon them.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

 

48. WALKING WITH PURPOSE

Black and white road

“I do not walk down the road I’ve chosen to get further away from what I wish to leave behind. I do it to get closer to that which I seek”

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

39. TAKE A STAND

N. Hill

The group of people I avoid the most are the ones who ride the fence of life. They’re pretty much okay with  everything and will take sides with anyone standing next to them. There’s no passion, no drive, no heart behind their actions. I don’t dislike them, I simply am drawn to those who have a desire to change the world. What you really might find strange about me is that I’m attracted to those who have opinions and ideas that are opposed to what I am moving toward because at least these people are also walking a path of firm decision. And who’s to say I’m right anyway? I would never look for a fight or even want to debate them, but there’s something envious about someone who is absolutely devoted and focused to the task they have chosen. This might explain why we (if you would allow me to project just a little here) have a fascination with figures who have almost wrecked our planet. No need for names, but it’s quite clear that staring into the fire of infamy can be seductive. It also explains why we  revere and honor those who have (almost always) sacrificed their lives in the name of what they believe in. We look to these people and have a tendency to tip our hat first to “who they were” before we acknowledge “what they did.” I have no problem with that, it’s a good thing. All of us seek role models if we are looking to cultivate our inner flame.

I haven’t promoted any literature yet (other than eluding towards the Big Book and 12 steps) but it’s time I did. A book was released in 1937 that became the standard by which all similar texts have since tried to emulate. It’s called “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. It reads in an antiquated style, but the information is spot on. The title is purposely misleading; it’s NOT about money. It’s about fueling the fire within and never letting naysayers affect it. Personally I prefer the audio version as it won’t allow me to skip or casually skim over certain parts. I’ve gone through it several times and always walk away with more information and more conviction.

There are some suggestions I would like to add in relationship to my own experiences.

First- Be vigilante in standing for something rather than against anything. There’s a HUGE difference here. When we fight we grow weaker, when we promote we grow stronger. I will not waste my energy on trying to defeat the opposition because that takes time away from creating what I want. If I focus on tearing down rather than building up, is that not counter productive?

Second- Let “you” be the biggest reason anyone would want to get behind whatever it is you’re trying to achieve. When we shove ideas into other people’s faces they are almost always defensive, even if they think the idea has some merit. Why? It’s because there’s no reason to invest in it, and most people don’t want to risk a loss; especially without a sales pitch. IF you sell yourself, your enthusiasm, your energy, your  dedication, then they will want to align with that, and that means believing in what you believe in. Whenever I talk to people I get captivated audiences EVERY TIME. If I were to approach people meekly and do nothing but ask them to read what I’ve written I may as well be handing out free toilet paper samples, wouldn’t make any difference.

Third– Don’t do anything for money, power, fame, or other material gain. Do it because you MUST. Do it because if you don’t, you will live a life of regret for never having tried. Do it because your inner voice is pushing you to take dreams and turn them into reality. We all carry a vessel inside from birth that needs filling, and the only way to do it is to follow your desires. If you knew that what you envision now will someday actually happen, what would you endure today? Few step over that line and as a result they never learn how to overcome their fears.

One last thing to point out; I think it’s less painful to stand in front of our dreams than behind them. When we pull, those we meet see us first. When we push those who are in the way simply move over. If we slip while pulling, we may fall, but if we slip while we are pushing, our load just might move backwards and crush us. It’s an easy metaphor to envision and hard to get out of the mind. We must take a stand in front of our beliefs, not behind them. Become what you believe in.

I believe in you, and I will stand in front of that for the rest of my life.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

17. LIBERTY RE-WRITTEN

 statue-of-liberty

TWENTY REASONS WHY I KNOW THE WORLD IS A MUCH BETTER PLACE THAN IT WAS ONLY 150 YEARS AGO….

  1. Indoor plumbing.
  2. Soap, bathing, deodorant, and a general acceptance toward a cleaner lifestyle.
  3. The 40 hour work week.
  4. We don’t gather in the town square and watch people get hung for lack of entertainment anymore.
  5. The accessibility to a highly educated and well informed life (past even the most scholarly of people) is literally lying in wait to be absorbed at libraries and the internet for FREE.
  6. Refrigeration. It has been suggested that this is the most important invention since the wheel. I agree.
  7. We as a world are recognizing more than ever the potential equality of every human.
  8. More people are working on more solutions for those who suffer than ever before.
  9. The ability for one voice to be heard around the world is easily within the grasp of those who seek it. All change throughout history has started this way, and now it can happen at the speed of light.
  10. Medical advancements have not only relieved hardship and misery from millions, the average life span has been extended so further progress in all areas of existence can be explored by those who survive.
  11. Radio, television, movies, and now the internet now brings to even the most remote regions of the world our capacity to express beauty, art, and our common threads in the form of music, imagery, and literature.
  12. The idea of freedom is the magnetic pull that seeks to unite all mankind. It expands daily and will not be stopped. Hope grows in the minds of those who never dared think it.
  13. Self-help, community support, and 12 step groups have given countless sufferers a path out of darkness that never previously existed.
  14. The electrifying of the planet has done more to bring comfort and convenience into our lives than almost anything else.
  15. The scientific community as a whole, from micro-technology to space travel, drives us to continued exploration of of our boundaries, both inside and out. These achievements perpetuate unity and purpose.
  16. We are finally recognizing we cannot continue exploiting our support system, a.k.a- the planet itself. “Saving the Earth” is NOT about whether or not it can overcome our abuse, it will. I’t’s about whether or not we will be on it when it eventually does. We are finally seeing we can only s**t  where we sleep so long.
  17. A largely unrecognized step in our recent evolution is the rise of humor. From visual media to literature, from stand-up comics to comic strips, we have embrace the desire to share and perpetuate laughter.
  18. Feats of engineering have improved almost everyone’s lives. Roads, buildings, heating and air conditioning, all forms of transportation, etc. are part of a better, more connected, world. The list is vast and continues to grow.
  19. Prejudice is waning and forgiveness is growing.The treatment of groups that were once trod upon for ethnic, political, spiritual, mental, and sexual issues or reasons is slowly fading away. In return these groups are learning to release the hate they have expressed towards their oppressors and move on into lives of self-empowerment; dropping the need to blame or accuse current situations on past events.
  20. The beauty of our universe is being revealed in ways never before dreamed. The magnificence of this infinite painting that God has so eloquently created is beyond description. If united we can look upon this and realize just what a miracle it is even to do so, then perhaps we have a chance to grow beyond our differences and continue in peaceful coexistence.

Do I know there are circumstances in the world that need to be erased? Do I know the aforementioned conditions are not everywhere? Of course I do. The goal here is NOT to dwell on problems, but solutions. Please feel free to add to this list and make it grow. Focus on what is already good and getting better. This isn’t a wish list, it’s a recognition one. The dreams of today are the cradles of our children. May future generations have the hindsight to thank their ancestors better than we have.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood

 

12. ADVICE FROM THE GROUND FLOOR

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If you want to fast track a higher quality of life there’s a shortcut most will totally ignore.

STOP. BEING. LATE.

The habit of being late is the same thing as saying “My time is more valuable than yours.” As far as I’m concerned there’s no argument for this. If you go to the same place to work for years, and are late again for the four hundred and thirty-seventh time because traffic the sucks, I’ve got news for you pal, it’s NOT the traffic.

As far as the subject of self-help goes, it doesn’t get any more basic than this. Punctuality is in reality, rare. This is true because all of us instantly know those who are always prompt, and they do indeed stand out. The generalized identify of this trait is nothing more than showing up ahead of schedule. Few realize it also indicates a willingness to stay longer. There’s no doubt all of us want more time, but what good are a few extra minutes if they are not productive and peaceful? Why subject yourself to a lifestyle of constant rushing to get out the door when all one has to do is start earlier?

Early in my recovery I was clonked over the head repeatedly with this topic, and for good reason. The habit of tardiness is basically one of self-centeredness, and boy did I have buckets of ego. Along with the action, I also had a filing cabinet full of excuses to accompany my behavior. There were some pretty creative ones too. My personal favorite (at the time) was claiming I’d been pulled over by the cops for some minor infringement. I’d tell my inconvenienced audience that they were nice and let me go with just a warning. Not only was I lying about why I was late, I was attempting to generate sympathy for myself as well. Using lies like this to perpetuate my laziness turned my mind into a garbage dump. My collection of lies and pointless excuses eventually took up so much mental room, there was little left over for even the most basic of needs. It finally became clear the only thing I could be counted on to do was to be unreliable. I eventually turned this lifestyle around by realizing all that was required to change it was to walk away from it. No clean up was necessary, just abandonment.

When I came to the conclusion I had no need to drag the past into the present, it allowed me the freedom to move forward without attachment to previous behavior. Over the years I’ve practiced a lot of habits I’ve vowed never to repeat. These slips of character are not who I am; they exist only as memories to help me define what I am not. I did not want to be the last person to show up anymore, and I had plenty of examples to use as leverage to help me to change that. I left a broken lifestyle behind and went forth with a willingness to do what would be asked of me from those I had wronged through my sloth.

It’s just my opinion, but I think a lot of the world’s problems would disappear if everyone would just make a commitment to show up on time. Traffic would ease, health issues due to stress would lower, production would rise, and trust would increase; all because of one thing changing. It may be a fool’s wish, but I’m sure it’s one that can be clearly envisioned by most of us.

There are some habits I’ve developed that help to nurture a more reliable (and relaxing) lifestyle.

  1. When I wake up, I choose to get up. If the thought enters my mind that I would like to sleep some more, I replace it with, “Wake up.” When my mind hears a request from the conscious part, my sub-conscious part (which is still driving the bus)  responds and starts the chemistry that makes me want to get out of bed rather than stay there. Let’s face it, five more minutes, or even a little more, makes almost no difference on a complete night’s rest anyway.
  2. I do my best not to leave anything undone at the end of my duties that I don’t want to do upon returning. In other words, at the very least, I’ll give myself something to look forward to “not doing.”
  3. IF a delay really does come up, I will inform those waiting on me as soon as possible. If I tell someone ahead of time that my behavior is going to be disruptive, there will be no need to excuse it later, and that earns respect.
  4. Rest is a priority to the expenditure of energy. I try not to short-change myself in this area. It does seem that the older I get, the earlier I go to bed, and the earlier I rise– which automatically gives me what I need.

I do not follow these ideas as strictly as I would like. The only one I don’t break is the third one. Yes, I am still late on occasion. I am not without fault here, but I am much more aware of others who are waiting for me, and that has allowed a less-selfish approach to the day. It sounds simplistic, but the bottom line to curing a tardy life is nothing more than choosing to give yourself enough time.

It has been my experience that reliability equals abundance, and this was the first step I took that opened those floodgates. If nothing else, the more we are late, the more we miss out on life, and I for one don’t want to miss a thing.

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With Love and Compassion, Daniel Andrew Lockwood