Real Life

It’s Real Life Out Here

This blog is about some personal things but also just some observations. Life can bring on many challenges on it’s own through the mundane movements many mere mortals mimic mostly everyday. Sprinkled in with the shaken spice of something different. If you have lived life and continue to live it, one conclusion you’re bound to come to is, “It’s real life out here.”

What I mean is there are so many different people in the world that are dealing with many different things. Everybody has a story.  As long as there are people on this earth, everyone has a story.  That’s why there are so many best-selling authors with stories of struggle and triumph. Who doesn’t love a success story? The attempt to have a simplistic existence can be chocked full of anecdotal evidence and here’s a bit to start.

To have your life and live it as freely as you want to be is one of the most natural pursuits in life. When you’re wrangled by any of the seven deadly sins, it can make the journey of life seem like a Charlotte’s web. Drug addiction can weave such a tangled web. Drugs are one of many challenges and addictions people wrangle with on a daily basis. I happen to know someone dealing with a drug addiction and I must say that I never thought I would be so close to someone who would have such a problem.

I think we all have some sort of an addiction, vice or ‘thing’ that we like or have a love hate relationship with. Whether it’s bonbons, soda, working out, dieting, shopping, cooking or Facebooking, we all have that ‘thing.’ The general consensus seems to be that if you can exhibit some level of self-control over your ‘thing’ then it doesn’t pose any concern. When it controls the way you think, feel or act then it’s an addiction. Which brings me back to my original statement, “It’s real life out here.”

The person I know has registered some hours at Pen University and graduated earlier this month after two years in the program. With some recent events, it seems as though they want to go back and get another degree. In this world economic depression, there are people struggling to make ends meet. Experienced workers/professionals who are losing jobs, 401k’s, changing careers, going back to school, opening up businesses and even going bankrupt. It’s real life out here.

I have no problem or issue with anyone trying to make a living or getting ahead in life. As Jay-Z says, “You can’t knock the hustle.” I don’t want to nor would I. When you have members of your group that have a history of doing the same thing over and over, then that’s the time to realize that either you or they need help. This is the time to come to that jarring realization that you can’t save them or help those who don’t want to help themselves. If you want it more than they do then they’re going to find themselves right back in the same situation. If someone is out on the field of life championing your cause but you’re sitting on the sidelines, then there’s something wrong with that. You’ve got to want it. Saying you want it isn’t enough. You must at least put forth a valiant effort to change to at least give yourself any chance of succeeding. In order to do so, you must be willing to get out of your comfort zone and go down a different road.

In the midst of our personal issues I think we forget that there are people in a struggle everyday to survive; dying, living with disease, illness and many other things. I have no time and energy for those that take away from my life; my daily grind to exist. I don’t mean that to sound callous or uncaring. I have enough problems in my own life just trying to live day to day, than to give my energy to something or someone who isn’t even in the same headspace. It’s real life out here.

Raise Your Level

Forgiveness in Every Respect

What happens when you say the word, “forgiveness?” The mere mention of the word brings about many different emotions and reactions. Emotions ranging from joy to sorrow and reactions ranging from reverence to loathing. Scores of people embrace the notion that forgiveness means, “biting your tongue” or “turning the other cheek”. Some may also think that it’s an emotion. Forgiveness is none of the above. It involves conscious thought. It’s a decision-making process. Yes, forgiveness is a decision. Forgiveness is consciously deciding to free yourself from the oppression of negative feelings and letting go of the hurt. We can go through countless memories in our lives and stop at many situations where we have been the giver/receiver of pain, hurt, disappointment, failure, etc. Lewis B. Smedes says, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” This is a sound summation of forgiveness. Forgiveness is releasing the power of control over you and your emotional being. This decision can only come from within. Forgiveness isn’t for the person who has wronged us. They may be oblivious to the offense. Nor does it require them to extend an apology. There are many different courses of action you can take in a situation but forgiveness isn’t for the perpetrator. Forgiveness is for YOU.

Forgiveness? Total forgiveness? In every way? YES! For most of us, that’s a hard pill to swallow. To release the negative emotions and pick up a new mode of thinking can be a huge feat. It was the same for Azim Khamisa, a father whose 20-year-old son was gunned down by a 14-year-old gangbanger in 1995. He found it in himself to have a vis-à-vis with his son’s killer five years after the murder. He also has offered the young man a job at his foundation upon his release in 2027. When asked how he forgave his son’s killer he said, “Why have such important real estate of your psyche occupied by somebody who has hurt you? Why not forgive and release that real estate so love and joy can live there?” Forgiveness is confronting the pain and resentment, acknowledging it and moving on. It isn’t forgetting the pain.
It is believed that forgiveness is granted once the pain and hurt subsides but the opposite is true. Forgiveness must be granted first in order to get past the hurt and allow the healing process to begin. Is it easy? NO. It’s like a healing cut. I remember as a kid I cut my arm really deep. My mom went to the medicine cabinet and pulled out some peroxide, cotton pads and bandages. I was already in pain from the cut and had no idea what to expect from the solutions she pulled from the cabinet. Nonetheless, I trusted my mother. As she poured the peroxide on the wound, it stung and the liquid began to expand into small, foamy bubbles. After what seemed an eternity (but was probably just a few seconds), it didn’t sting anymore. Mom wiped the wound with the cotton pad and bandaged me up. In a few days, the wound was healed but left a small scar.
The healing process is synonymous to forgiveness. Hurt from others is the cut or wound. Acknowledging the hurt and forgiving is the step to getting the aid to heal the wound. Failing to forgive is similar to allowing a cut to go without aid. What happens? Infection can form in the wound. Who is in danger as a result of the infection? The person who does not seek aid. Who is in danger for failing to forgive? The person holding on to the hurt. What happens when you refuse to forgive? You live with resentment and negative energy flowing through your veins because “resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for your enemy to die.”-Carrie Fisher
To the naysayers of forgiveness I offer you a challenge to break the feelings of loathing and envy because they serve as shackles and dead ends to your personal growth. Feelings of darkness can infiltrate your mind, body and soul and grow into an internal plague. To forgive is a conscious decision with an optimistic outcome. The decision is such that you are acknowledging and taking control of your feelings and emotions, experiencing them and moving forward. This is an organic, grass roots approach to protect your physical, mental, spiritual and emotional self. You now have the propensity to grow holistically because your decision to forgive has given you the foundation. Forgiveness is freedom. Raise Your Level.