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The social character: bit parts and major roles

Have you ever been told that you’re not yourself today?

It has occurred to me that this is not necessarily a far stretch for many, if not most mere mortals on a day-to-day basis in the real world.

Granted, that is not to say that we are not (some of us) authentic beings at heart. Sincerity, truth and positive motives are definitely alive and well in a majority of the people I know to exist around the planet. Don’t be fooled by the media focus on those who might tend to rank amongst the cons and artists that are out to pull the proverbial or realistic rug over our eyes (although they definitely do exist…)

I am also not necessarily referring to the planet filled with thespians and aspiring thespians (not that there is anything wrong with that!) There is a difference between creating a character for art and being a character in life.

What I do want to speak of are the roles I find myself playing on a regular basis and sometimes on the spur of a moment in order to work my way through the world I live in.

No, this does not mean I must create characters to survive and manipulate my outcomes… but isn’t that a little bit of what we do, consciously and unconsciously throughout the many places we go and with many of the people we deal with or meet?

For example: I have established a character I feel works best for the workplace in the role that I currently hold. This character is not scripted, nor is he perfect and completely successful. Over the years I have learned what does and does not work with certain people, groups, situations and purposes. Because of this I have formed a role that I have learned to play in these places (again, sometimes I am “on” and somedays I am not paying attention to best practices of the character.)

In social situations I am yet another character. I am, perhaps, a bit more guarded and a little less of what I might feel is necessary in the work mode. When I drank the social character was far more gregarious and outspoken but I retired that piece of me some 23/24 years ago.

With people I work with (in other non-job capacities) I am still another person…. this one closer and more fine-tuned towards the authenticity I have honed over the years. This part of my personality has worked with patience, understanding and a listening ear, traits I have been taught by others in the same sort of role towards me.

With Family, (and this one could range wildly for many of us,) I am still another person. I don’t see them as much and there is no need to really bring in some of the characteristics of the other “roles” I have created in a well-rounded and busy life. For some the “role” with the family may be the least authentic. I can tell you for me this was the case many years ago. Today it is the closest to the chest (outside of the relationship I have with my husband, where I am, hopefully, the definitive character I was meant to be here on this planet.)

Does this mean I have many personalities? Am I confessing to being inauthentic or a fake? No. What I am writing about today is the many different facets our personalities hold and the importance of true intention and rigorous honesty in our relationships for all parts of our daily lives, from the barista in the coffee shop, to the boss, to the casual acquaintances and right down to the lovers, wives, and husbands.

But the social character must also look at him or herself in the mirror and know that the most basic of roles is based in true intention. If I am going to go out there solely to win or win-over, only to survive or protect myself I might be missing the core point of any of the characters I am or can be. Any part of my personality that shines through in any given situation, creating the most appropriate character at that time is going to lose if they are not there to offer at least a part of themselves in service.

I am happiest when I know I am here to give it away.

Not everyday is easy. Not every character is good (it is easy to find oneself inside a darker mood and character that results in loneliness and sadness,) but my experience has told me that every character I am or create is, in part, a sum of the whole and a factor in my overall purpose.

Who are you today? I would love to say that I am one person who is always going to be the same cheerful, loving and honest, magnanimous soul. I know this is not correct. I know I am many different facets of myself from the moment I wake until the time I lay down to sleep at night. Each of these comes from the right place for as long as I am living within my best intention.

There will be no Academy Award for the characters that make up the personality as a whole. Just, hopefully, the satisfaction of feeling better about who I am.

Stop. Smile. Breathe.

Faith is so easy. Faith is so hard.

A long time ago I had a sponsor who told me that “God” had three answers to our requests.  One was “Yes,” One was “Not now, but maybe later,” and the third was “No, but I have something better.”  Unless the answer is yes, I am faced with the matter of faith.  Either faith in the understanding or accepting  of why I am not receiving what I think I want or need (and sometimes believe I deserve) or the faith that helps me to look towards knowing there is a better solution (in its proper timeframe,) a modified goal or completely different scenario while honoring/learning the need for patience in order to avoid making bad choices, saying things I’ll regret or realizing (all too well) that my best thinking is not always the harbinger of happiness and peace in my world.

Yes does not always mean my dreams are answered.  Sometimes “yes” is the beginning of a lesson in the making.  But no can be a protection against something that would very possibly have not been the answer you thought it to be…. some say that rejection is protection.

Faith often needs to be blind.  If I am practicing faith without an open mind I could very well be cutting myself short of the true meaning of the word and the better results that could be achieved without trying to control the situation.  If I am focusing on my ISM the goals and desires I have set for myself are not necessarily my truest answers.  They are, like the many other solutions my ISM have provided me in the past, often fixes.  A fix is a temporary solution that fades away leaving regret, remorse or the craving for more of the same in its wake.  Sometimes when something feels like it isn’t supposed to be,  possibly challenging me and feeling like a ‘wall,’ a ‘prison,’ a ‘trap,’ or a ‘bottomless pit,’  I have to remember it is going to pass and is possibly there only to provide a record, a lesson or a means of gauging what does work in later points of life.

Sometimes trial isn’t necessarily trail, but just a necessary growth period designed to strengthen the spiritual muscles and provide a contrast for the experiences that are hopefully to be provided in the future.  Isn’t it true that without sadness there would be no way to understand happiness?  Does it not then also make sense that more difficult periods are there to pave a more experienced means of becoming a better, understanding and more stable human being in the future?

Faith is easy when things appear to be working the way you believe they should.  Faith can be hard when you are feeling somewhat lost or in fear and dashed expectations are telling you that there is no “happiness” or solution in the future.  Whatever “pain” you are feeling is likely meant to be there, a barometer for future outcomes based on the willingness to surrender and move out of ego long enough to recognize the growth potential in front of you.

But how many times have I overthought the process and created the more difficult scenarios out of mis-communication or very little information simply out of the fear of not receiving what I feel I should be receiving?  Drama is very easily created and doom is such an easy outcome.  Who am I to decided completely what my experience should be?  Isn’t the point of my accepting that I am not the “higher power” and turning my will and life over to the care of a God of my understanding to make sure that I am NOT the one in control?  Couldn’t it be said that faith in that outcome is essential to the very happiness I am claiming to want and need and by determining the results of my outcomes completely on my own I am painting my work of art in a very dark room?

Faith is about surrender and when I am tied up in the result I am avoiding it’s simplicity.  That being said it is obvious that faith will always be difficult if I am not willing to let go.   When I am in faith I am happier and more relaxed.  With it I am able to understand the world around me and the very things I am looking to change.  As a result the very struggle I am working to remove can become easier to handle and definable as a part of the process towards the solution.  Faith does that. I just wish it was easy to remember this truth and adopt it as one of my defaults.

This is a goal for my life, and because I know it is possible I put it where it is most helpful by adding it to my mantra, which always takes away any (and all) of the angst I am experiencing in a given moment during my waking hours.

Stop. Smile. Breathe.

Staying happy in an angry world

I have long since accepted that the world around me is largely angry.  Social media has illustrated this completely but daily living and just a dose of the news can make it painfully obvious without even really trying.

Make no mistake, however, I will not claim myself to be an observer only.  As an active empath and a man with a daily task to remain aware of his own character defects and ISMs, I am often painfully aware and fully conscious of my own tendency to find what is not “acceptable”  in something and experience a bit of displeasure, raising my anger levels as well.

What has become most important for my path is not about the anger, or what I find myself angry about, but more within my reactions to the triggers and stimuli.  The more I am aware that the outside world is going to push my many, many buttons, (anyone who doesn’t have at least a couple is numbed out or lying) the more I can use an active set of tools and solutions to arrest the urges and take the deep breathes necessary to make sure the outcome of these thoughts is not something I end up having to regret or, worse, requires an amends down the road.

One of my best tools is to let go of ego.  Invariably it does not matter if I am angered with something or someone.  Knowing that something does not agree with me does not afford me the right to do anything about it outwardly.  Sure, there is the right to an opinion.  Definitely there is room for good, healthy action towards positive result.  But the moment I begin to believe that I am “owed” anything or retribution or retaliation is a good idea is the moment I have slipped from solution and into the creation of a problem that will involve me directly (whereas the likelihood is it’s origin was not.)

There is a lot to be angry about in this world.   I have experienced plenty in my life that could (or has) set me in a dour and indignant direction.  Going there has never provided me with the happiness that I honestly feel should be (and is) my only true destination for the years that I have left on the planet.  I became tired of believing that my being right is more important than the happiness I know I am capable of achieving and experiencing.  I have struggled with and continue to learn the true nature of forgiveness and remembering that many (if not most) of my triggers are not about me at all (Thank you to The Four Agreements.)

But anger is real.  It persists.  It shows up when I am not expecting it.  Triggers are inevitable and not to be toyed with.  I need to recognize and continue to work on these and any new form of external or internal incitation.  Without my awareness and the continual maintenance of my spiritual world I run a very sincere risk of not living my best life.

It’s entirely possible I’ve experienced that in the past and did not enjoy it, therefore I think it wise to not repeat the mistakes of my past (to the best of my ability.)  The most important thing I can bring to this topic, however, is the reminder that I have in my arsenal the best solution for anger in all my situations:

Stop. Smile. Breathe.

It’s all about the perspective

What am I focusing on today?

How often do I find myself fighting fear or confronting demons disguising themselves as insurmountable problems and pessimistic scenarios.  My head can easily default to “why is this happening to me,” and “what’s wrong with me?”  It can be normal to feel that I deserve something and the world at large is somehow preventing me from attaining that goal or desire.  The best of us will likely always find ourselves feeling entitled to results forgetting all too quickly that life doesn’t always work in linear patterns to provide us with rewards for doing the right thing, working hard or being a nice person.  It most definitely won’t follow that pattern when we are only under the perception that these things are true.

With the right perspective, however, I am abel to see the world always provides me with wonderful things, even IF they don’t necessarily appear to be what I have asked for or what I believe I want.

Perspective, I am so often reminded, can be the difference between an enjoyable day or a case of victimization.  When I feel things are not as they should be I am really only fooling myself in that moment.  If things were not meant to be a certain way, they would not be the way they are.  Accepting and reacting differently to what you are working with can often be the difference in the way you feel.  The way you feel is likely going to result in a cyclical ‘pattern’ that comes out of your perception and creates and easier and possibly better environment moving forward. I want to believe that my world is as good as I choose it to be whether I am in situations that feel less desirable or whether they seem to be going exactly the way I would believe I want them to go.

Gratitude is perceptions best friend.  It is a key to the ability to recognize the positive in any situation.  Even if it feels there is nothing good in a moment, a day or a time period it is often vital to how I grow in the future.  It is a potential lesson in the making if I am willing to look at it as a soul who wants to learn and grow.  Things may not be what we feel we deserve but with a twist of perception we can understand that we are not only getting what we deserve but whatever is meant to be.  The positive thinker will realize even the toughest of lessons are going to pass (and often, if not always, with a chance to create better moments in our future.)

I had a sponsor who once taught me that God (or whatever you choose to call your higher power) has only three answers:  Yes, no or not now… but I have something better.  I am a firm believer that my gratitude for the world around me, what I have learned, been provided and experience on a daily basis, is the best possible focus for my perception.  When something happens that makes me uncomfortable, angry, upset or afraid it is in my best interest to shift my focus and look at the things that are working beautifully.  With the right perception I can not only remember what is good, but help myself to move out of what I have perceived to be bad.

And for those of us who come upon the day or time period where you don’t feel that gratitude is possible, I would suggest you stop and remember how much there is out there beyond the negatives in social media and the news that spell warmth, love, “success” and all manner of positive in your life.

It’s there.  The right focus and perception will make it more obvious.  To find it you only need to:

Stop. Smile. Breathe.


My life as a novel

My life has been filled with endless storylines, characters, twists, turns, ups & downs.  I have often likened the various stages to chapters in a novel, and today I am writing to talk to the need and desire to turn a page and begin a new one.

As a writer I have learned the keys and hints for when to change a chapter.  For one it should always be dictated by the story.  It could be a in a place where your “story” requires a shift or it could be a place where the action is at a peak, in order to convince a reader to keep reading (and not put that book down.) Where I sit in my life today necessitates a bit of both of these scenarios.  I honestly feel the shift is overdue, bringing with it a boost of energy and challenge, but it is important to note that I am busier than I have ever been and the “action” in where my life currently sits is most definitely peaking.

Change doesn’t tend to scare me the way it does others.  I embrace it and will often seek it out.  It is, however, important to note that I am aware some changes are not asked for and can be a bit disruptive.  The change that I am looking for in my world right now does not mean that I am unhappy or ungrateful for where I am or the opportunities I have been given in the world of career, but they do mean that I am ready and very, very willing to accept new challenges and feel a bit of the spark I have known in other phases and chapters in my life.

I am fighting complacency and a storm of dissatisfaction around me.  Make no mistake: I am in charge of my life and environment and I do not and will not blame those in my midst for anything that may or may not be working for me.  What I do know is I am working 11 and 12 hour days and reminding myself endlessly that I am, wherever I may be,  there to be of service.  What I feel, lately, is that I have reached a peak with what I am and can be where I currently exist and need to advance in some way or another whether it is within the confines of the current situation or outside in another environment.  I have held on for a good long time in this chapter feeling there was every reason to believe the changes that would come with the sort of work I do were inevitable.  I am learning that it doesn’t appear to be on anyone’s map and it is only going to be my own fault if I do not make some decisions and changes on my own to turn the page without waiting for it to be someone else’s idea.

There is always fear in big change.  I feel the risk of rocking a boat and disrupting some things I don’t necessarily want to change within the change.  But I also believe dramatically in myself and the God of my understanding.  This combination has provided me with the trust in my capability, my talents, my strengths and my future.  I am what I am through a ton of education and experience and to believe for even a moment that I am not capable of more through challenge, growth and the adventure of taking a leap would be to sell myself (and future chapters) short.

In a nutshell this is about believing in myself, taking actions and staying out of the results.

It is also important to remind myself that I am only human.  It is, without fail, easier to plot, plan, wish and hope for a change than it is to actually start to work through it.  Were I to see my page turn and the chapter shift as I have spoken to here today, it would be a lot more frightening in reality than it is in theory.  Fortunately I have enough practice in both the planning and shifting… and faith and trust to know that whatever the outcome it is meant to be. If the changes I seek happen or if they do not I am better for the participation in my own life, the actions taken and the reminder for me what I am worth.

Whatever the outcome I am looking for an exciting novel, a page-turner and maybe even a movie-deal down the road.


I’ve got my finger on the triggers

No, ladies and gentlemen, I am not talking about firearms.

A trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to an event of her/his original trauma.  For me it is also a floodgate into thinking alcoholically (read: my ISM takes flight) based on resentments or fears that have not been fully worked out.)

Triggers are very personal; different things trigger different people. The receiver may begin to avoid situations and stimuli that she/he thinks triggered the flashback. They will react to this flashback/trigger with an emotional intensity similar to that at the time of the trauma. A person’s triggers are usually activated through one or more of the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

But all triggers are not about trauma.  For me they can also represent fears and defense mechanisms that strongly suggest I lose my handle on some of the character defects I may have worked on, but need  to understand there may never be a solid or complete solution for throughout my lifetime.

Today I thought I would get honest about a trigger of my own that I had been unable to understand completely until it was revealed to me this weekend.  My work is an all-intensive and very much a problem into solution environment.  I often find myself at odds (or overwhelmed) with the barrage of negatives that we are introduced to and the greatest percentage of the time I relish the role and ability to seize them and calmly stop, smile and breathe in order to better situate ourselves into solution mode.

But there is a “force” within my work world that has been triggering me for several years now.  I am now able to pinpoint the time where it began to be a deterrent for the full time gratitude I have for the job and the endless opportunities for growth that it has given me. It is slightly difficult for me to understand how I did not connect the dots that would have given me the means to resolve my dis-ease sooner, but I must accept the present and move forward without holding myself back asking questions that are no longer relevant.

I have been triggered regularly by this “force” and when that happens my ISM kicks into full gear.  But the recognition of the trigger and its source have only provided me with the option to change how I feel, how I react and what it is that I have to change within myself to feel better and be happy in the moments that this trigger have otherwise stalled.

Make no mistake, triggers are not always something we can solve or stop.  I am unable to guarantee I am not going to be kicked into the place of fear (which then produces grandiosity, needs for control and the sense I am “not being heard,” all of which are my character defects and can only be changed through awareness and actions by me and my behavior.) My best defense to the triggers is the understanding that they are triggers.  Because I have finally made this identification I am hopeful I will be able to remind myself I am creating the problem through my reactions and can, with work, faith and patience, solve it with some time.

This is just touching the surface of the psychological world of triggers.  But each chip off the block is a win for me.  Any awareness is a win.  I am always working hard to live out of judgment and in happiness.  It is only my head that will ever stop me from being successful.  Life is short, I am grateful for the opportunities to grow and change while I have it.

Stop. Smile. Breathe.

Why gratitude saves my life

Nobody said life would be a cake walk, but fortunately I keep learning my reactions to it will make it easier and easier all the time.

It is not a new revelation to announce here that I am an over-thinker.  I have a tendency of taking the fears that pop into my head and providing them a warm comfortable home.  I can often turn a decision into a drawn out affair of tedious proportions.  It isn’t fun and it is never necessary, but it has been and probably will always be a default in the way I think.  It is a bit of how I tick, built with the “ism” and far too much logic and “intelligence” for my own good.

What, you may ask, is this “ism” I am always referring to?  I have heard it described as “I sabotage myself” or “incredibly short memory,” but the bottom line (for me) is it is the way I am wired.  I don’t tend to think like other people (other than those with their own “ism.”)  My thought process will constantly need to be tweaked and tuned up in order to work its way up to what would be considered “normal” out there in the real world.  I simply don’t think the same way as others, but knowing is is half the battle, the other half being the way I maintain and eradicate this “ism” on a daily (and sometimes hourly or moment-by-moment) basis.  I do this, by the way, to feel better, not to achieve what could be considered “normalcy.”

One of my chosen weapons for my understanding of happiness is my gratitude.  For many years I have both struggled and learned to change my life completely, to understand and recognize the problem.  In this time I have built the means to understand and combat my “ism” with contrary action and a healthy dose of closely looking at the many things that I have been given, whether through hard work or good fortune.  Living in a problem without seeking its solution is a dead end and does not provide anything but the cyclical negatives, anger and wasted time. To live humbly in gratitude is the paradox of my “ism” and each and every time I am able to remember that I slay the foe and gain a happiness that has always been elusive in a fear-driven thought process.

What is most important about accepting gratitude as a tool with results is in seeing it work.  When I write a list down for myself, for my sponsor, or for a group that writes them on a semi-daily basis, I immediately see the manifestation.  Even on the mornings that might conjure up the act of rolling eyes when trying to imagine gratitude I see the shift in my personal outlook simply by forcing myself to think towards the positive rather than sitting blindly (or sometimes willingly) in the negative.  Negatives can be addictive and comfortable for some, but for me they always cause some form of remorse and are not conducive to any form of enjoyment in the moment.  One thing I have become completely aware of is that the moment is all I have got.

In the end it has become obvious to me that the act of gratitude changes my state of mind, thinking and being.  In doing so it is, on a daily basis, saving my life.  There is nothing more important that working through whatever my “ism” presents itself to be and the most immediate tool in my arsenal is always going to be the contrary thinking of gratitude.

By the way:  today I am grateful that I can share my thoughts and have the means by which to do so.

Stop.  Smile.  Breathe.


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