Pushing Through Fear

Pushing Through Fear

Everyone has fears; the person who says otherwise is lying.  Quite honestly, one of my fears is that my readers will read the words that I am writing and further convince them that I am indeed the lunatic that I have been telling them that I am all along.  In all seriousness though, one of my fears is that people won’t read these words.  One of my fears is that people won’t listen to me.

Like many people, I’ve had my fair share of struggles in life.  On the other hand, I feel blessed in so many ways and know there are many more people who have struggled much more than I.  Frequently, I write about the importance of perspective.  By living deliberately and shifting our perspective, we can change the way we see the world.  It is important to simply understand that we can change.

200338534-001

Right now, I am writing…or at least I am trying to.  I feel myself struggling for words.  I want to stop.  I want to take the easy way out and crawl back into bed for another hour or so before I actually need to get up.  However, I have a message to share.  I have something deep inside me that I need to say.  I continue writing searching for the right words to express myself.  I fear I will never find them.

It is important for me to acknowledge this.  Every time that I do, I continue writing.  I never stop.  I realize that my fears are nothing more than a brief perspective of the moment.  Before I know it, the fear has passed, more words have been written and my fears have passed like dust in the wind.

These moments of clarity come when I take time for myself to reflect.  Whether it’s a walk in the woods, going out for a run, or time spent writing – I find myself best able to address my fears when I have taken the time to fully understand them.  It’s much easier to not take the time to look at the man in the mirror.  It’s much easier to sleep walk through life and not pay attention to the painful reality that is life.

With that said, once we realize that we have actually spent time in our lives doing this, the realization that we have not been fully paying attention becomes more painful than the perceived pain of life’s reality.  We can allow this pain to continue with lives dominated by complacence and apathy or we can put an end to it by not only making a decision to change, but ultimately taking action and executing.

The decision is yours.

Gyzht

We have a choice.  We can choose to take the red pill.  We can choose to take the blue pill.  Sometimes we can pretend we take a pill and simply “cheek it” only to spit it out later.  Whatever words you use to describe addressing your fears is up to you, but the bottom line is that you have a choice.  You can take the time to reflect on what your fears are or act accordingly…or not.  What will you choose to do today?

Keep the Change

As a kid, we’ve all sold something.  Today, I challenge you to think about and remember the first thing that you ever sold to someone who was not your mother.  Part of what is engrained into many American memories is the iconic lemonade stand.  For others, it may have been girl scout cookies or candy bars that we sold door to door.  Today, let’s try remember what it was and how it made you feel.

Personally, I remember selling lemonade at a stand in front of the house we grew up in.  It was a new development on the Western end of the suburb we lived in.  As a matter of fact, the house that we lived in had only been standing for about 6-7 years by the time we moved in.  There were houses lined down the street and around the corner, but beyond that corner was a whole new world for a 6-year old boy.

Around the corner, there were multiple construction sites.  On a few of them, the shells of the houses had been built.  On other sites, the basement had been dug and the foundation was being built.  As a kid in the summertime, it was a flurry of activity back there.  There were always trucks hauling equipment and building materials back there.   The guys hauling the material were different from my dad.

Construction-Workers

While I may not remember why I began selling lemonade in the first place, I remember that our location was such that these guys would pass our house at the beginning and end of each day.  Location, location, location…is what one of my future classes on business would tell me – and as I write this post today while remembering years past, nothing could be further from the truth.

locationx3

These guys would stop, especially in the afternoons to buy my lemonade.  In my mind as a child, it was the greatest thing ever.  In my childish mind, the lemonade was delicious.  The reality is that it was most likely a cup of the most watered down lemonade-type drink ever.  It didn’t matter – these guys seemed to love it.  Having these guys stop by my stand and buy a big cup of lemonade was AMAZING.  I honestly don’t even remember what we charged them.  I want to say that it was either 25 or 50 cents.  Sometimes, they would give me a dollar.  “Keep the change” was something that I heard a lot of back then.

Lemonade-Stand

Now, I am in my mid-30’s and I while I don’t work in the construction industry, there were plenty of times where I worked on a construction site.  A career in the green industry with a number of years doing landscaping and maintenance left me tired and thirsty many a day in the summer.  It’s been a few years since I stopped at a kid’s roadside stand and treated myself to lemonade from a roadside stand.

This year, I think that’s going to have to change.  This year’s I’m going to say, “keep the change.”

Dreamers and Builders Goal Update

On July 6, 2013 – I wrote my original START introduction:

My name is Rob.

I am just like you.

I am not sure how to write my introduction. I want it to be witty and incredibly cool. I feel kind of awkward writing this in the manner that I am…but whatever. Here I go, here is my introduction. Let’s find out how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Seemingly always at a point of transition in my life even when stable – I delicately balance the good and the bad in life. When good, I try not to celebrate too heavily and when bad, I try to view the experience as a learning opportunity. This is easier said than done.

I claim to be neither an optimist nor a pessimist, but I strive to be a realist. These attempts at realism are fairly new to me. It is an interesting perspective to strive to achieve. My observations lead me to believe that this is also a perspective that many people don’t seem to gravitate towards.

Spirituality resonates with me on a deeply personal level and is a significant part of my life. I was born and raised as a Christian. During my late teens and early twenties, I was introduced to various other worldly religions and cultures. I would grow away from and return to the church repeatedly.

Approximately 5 years ago, I set out on my career path and began climbing the corporate ladder. After several successful years and promotions – I stumbled upon love and gave up my current career to move across the country to try and grow the relationship…only for it to fail. I am learning a lot about myself.

One of the things I have learned is that I have a core set of values. These values and moral code are driving factors which form the beliefs that I have. These beliefs factor into the decisions that I make and the actions that I take in life. I learn and try to act accordingly. I make many mistakes, often repeatedly.

When I repeat mistakes, I feel that it is because there is lesson to be learned – and I continue making these “mistakes” until the lesson is learned. In learning these life lessons, I developed a belief that the corporate ladder and the “normal” life is perhaps not the life for me. It felt like a game.

Recently, I began to believe that I am merely a pawn in game of life. This realization is what set me free. The simple acknowledgement of this allows me to more effectively play the game, for now I have a strategy in mind and am living deliberately in an attempt to play the game efficiently.

Relationships have come and gone, love once lost had now been found…only to be lost again. After a period of stability in life I am preparing for another period of transition on many different levels.

I will be working on a short-term project for my company for the next 6-12 months and will be on the road again. When this project is complete, I will likely quit my job and START living the way I have always been afraid to…well, that is the plan, at least. We’ll see what happens.

As this plan unfolds in front of my eyes, I find myself here…writing an introduction to share with YOU. We don’t know each other, but I suspect my words resonate with you as much as YOUR words have resonated with ME. I am grateful for this and very much look forward to sharing all these experiences with all of you.

Stay tuned.
Rob

A week after writing this introduction and not 100% sure what I was getting into, I was assigned to “Group 39 – Internet Entrepreneur (Podcast, blogger, developer, etc.)”  Many of the people in that group had clearly defined goals / risks such as:

  • “I will write the first section of my ebook”
  • “In order of difficulty:  Blog daily  Swim 3x a week  Sign up for graphic design class”
  • “I will write 20 blog posts and apply to three jobs.”
  • “Conduct a budgeting workshop for a church or organization or do a one-on-one personal budgeting workshop.”
  • “Grow Twitter to 1,000 followers.  Speak at 2 events.”
  • “I will begin my Christian multi media website and add one new piece of content every week.”
  • Etc, etc, etc

And finally…there was one person in the group that had written one of the longest and most eccentric goals, risks ever seen.  That person was me.  It read something like this:

  • Knowing that by the end of 2013, I will be debt-free.  In early 2014, I will likely have 3-6 months of living expenses saved up from the successful completion of the project I will be working on throughout Texas.  With my parents owning 20 acres and dreaming to start a farm on this 20 acres, it has become my dream to help them grow York Meadow Farm into a successful generational farm in an effort to fulfill my role in the sustenance of America and living freedom and liberty.     It is my dream to follow through on the writing and drafting of a business plan to submit to my parents in order to effectively lease that area of the property just south of the neighbors field, southeast (?) of the pond.  I wish to lease and homestead there with a tiny-house, shipping container or a yurt that is set up as an office / shop.  Fully set up to be operational as a small, independent farm operation.  This is the reason for the official lease.    Hopefully with the way that I grow and produce vegetables on my parcel, they will witness results and we will both be better suited to get to where we are working together rather than fighting.  This lease will allow me the feeling of independence from my parents while still having the ability to live/work independent of them and experience the freedom that is necessary for a man in his mid/late 30’s to have.    Eventually, I’d like to get to a point where I am self-reliant in terms of food production.  What little I do have to buy, I can barter for and/or use silver as a means of exchange.  I would like to run and operate a small hydroponic supply distribution warehouse along with involvement of selling certain vitamins and health supplements?   There are many ideas, but perhaps it could be a health/wellness/self-sufficiency/edible landscaping/permaculture design/online store where I sell and stock the items and then simply control the sales and distribution of the products?     Perhaps my dream over the next 24 days would be to finally develop the business plan / proposal to provide to my parents…

It may have taken several paragraphs to say so…but it appears as though my goal over the next 24 days was to work towards the development of a business plan / proposal to provide to my parents.  The idea at that time was to document the process of developing a homestead and living a life geared towards self-sufficiency and self-reliance without owning land.

Ronne Rock asked the question about how things were going with our dreams…and the reality is that things had been going really well.  During the month of July, I got involved with the START experiment.  During the month of August, I began actively writing for an online magazine called Brink of Freedom.

Brink of Freedom was created on July 31, 2013. The purpose being to create a community of like-minded individuals. People sick of government; who wish to gain true freedom through self-reliance, knowledge, skill, and a true sense of community. Let Brink of Freedom show you how to truly be free. Join us.

This community gave me an outlet to express what I initially began working on with the START experiment.  It gave me purpose and drive.  The editor of the magazine seemed to really like the way in which I wrote my articles and in turn, I felt extremely proud to be a columnist for them.  For the first time in my life, I actually called myself a “writer.”  It felt wonderful.

During this time, I was working on a short-term project for my company and was based out of the Austin area.  My territory was Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.  The project was going well and I felt really on top of things as far as my life was concerned.  Work was going well.  My boss was happy.  Our clients were happy.  My teams were happy.  I was approaching another peak of my physical fitness and had set a personal record for a five mile run (in barefoot sandals) by running 8:30/mile.  Life was good.

As the months progressed, I ended up writing several articles for Brink of Freedom with a focus on health and wellness.  Towards the end of September I wrote an article titled, Physical Fitness 101.  I was excited about having written this article because it was published right around the time I went on vacation for a camping trip in Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park.

This is where the story gets interesting.  While health and wellness had been my focus…the reality is that health and wellness had always been a struggle for me.  Since the age of 13, I have struggled with a chronic neurological condition called epilepsy.  In April of 2012, while living in California, I changed medications from one that I had taken for over 20 years to a medication that was entirely new.

For the first time in my life, I felt as though I had the blinders taken off of my eyes.  The new medication had side effects that were so minimal…it felt as though there were none.  I finally experienced clarity of thought and did not feel as though the pharmaceuticals were making me feel slow or dumbing me down as I felt they had been up to that point.  All I had known my entire adult life was this feeling.

During this time, I actively began working out and becoming healthy.  I trained for and ran several half marathons and ultimately ran a marathon in April of 2013.  I went on several backpacking trips and visited a number of state and national parks during this time as well.  One of the things that began to occur however was the recurrence of the seizures that were a result of the epilepsy that I suffered from.

Throughout the months of August and September, the frequency of my seizures increased (likely due to the stress of being on the road and traveling.  Just to be on the safe side, I contacted my neurologist and communicated what was happening and requested that I change back to the old medication that I had been taking for the years prior to April 2012.  While the side effects of the medication were less than ideal, they were ultimately more effective at controlling my seizures.  The control of the seizures was of paramount importance, especially with the amount of driving that I was doing on this project.

I began making the transition from one medication to the other approximately a week before my vacation to Utah.  The trip began in Denver where I met with one of my best friends for a couple of days before heading into the high desert of Utah.  During this first night and periodically throughout the trip – just like the prior couple of months – I had multiple small seizures.  Nothing debilitating…but they were taking place.  I just kept ignoring them.

Finally, upon our return trip home – and after the burgers, fries and milkshake at a roadside stand in Utah, we set out on the long drive back to Denver.  In the passenger seat, I passed out and nodded off to sleep.  The next thing I knew, I woke up in the neurological intensive care unit of the Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge, CO.  I had been unconscious for almost two days.

Needless to say, this series of events is the derailment that I previously referred to at the beginning of this extraordinarily long post.  After a week in ICU, I returned back home to recover with family in Ohio.  I was unable to return to Austin to continue working on the project I had been working on.  I was unable to drive for 3-6 months as a result of the intense seizures I suffered from.

Initially, my employer appeared as though they were going to work with me on this with regard to reassignment to a new position, but without getting into any more detail, the long and short of it is that my employment with them was terminated in January 2014.  Luckily, several weeks before the termination of my employment, a new job just “fell into my lap.”  It was remarkable.

This new job is truly a blessing and at the moment, I am currently getting back on track with my life, my writing, my goals and doing everything in my power to achieve them.  Taking the time like this to sit back and reflect upon them couldn’t have come at a better time.  Being a part of the Dreamers and Builders community really got me though some tough times during the past 6 months.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post and be a part of my story.  I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for many of you out there in this community.  Thank you for helping me find inspiration during the hard times.  Thank you for helping me stay motivated when it was incredibly challenging to do so.  I will be forever grateful.

 

 

 

 

My 500 Words

The other day, I was kicking myself about how much I hadn’t been writing lately.  I hadn’t been contributing to the magazine I had been writing for over the last few months.  I hadn’t been keeping up with my personal blog.  I hadn’t been doing this…or I hadn’t been doing that.

It is incredible how things have a tendency of working themselves out in life.  While I was thinking about how much I hadn’t been doing, there were others out there that were recognizing what I had been doing.  One of my friends out there asked me to be a monthly contributor to the website she maintains.

It seemed unlikely that someone might want to recruit me to be a guest writer for their site, but apparently some of what I write is of the right mindset for her business and could potentially appeal to a group of people that she might not normally reach otherwise.

Ultimately, the point of mentioning all of this is that we can often be hard on ourselves.  Far too frequently we rely on others to point out our strong points.  We need to begin recognizing our own strengths…and then acting upon them.

Does that mean that I am a strong writer?  No.  However, by writing today – I am becoming a stronger writer than I was yesterday.  I can (and did) kick myself for all the time spent not writing recently…but today I will be grateful for the fact that I got up earlier than normal to execute my plan of action rather than think about what I haven’t done.

Over the past few months there’s been a lot that has taken place that could be considered justification for not writing.  My former employer terminated my employment based on my epilepsy and inability to drive for several months and seemed unwilling to work with me despite my almost 6 years with the company.  Since then, I have secured a new job.

Moreover, I have been getting settled in at the new job and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  It’s giving me the opportunity to work in my preferred field.   Not only that, it’s giving me the opportunity to continue paying down the debts incurred as a result of the hospitalization last year.  I came to within $500 of becoming debt free last year by the time I acquired several thousands of medical bills.

Besides paying down my debts, the new job is providing me with income to allow me to attend the first annual Permaculture Voices Conference in Temecula.  This conference follows up the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Conference last month in Granville, OH.  There are many exciting things that have been taking place over the past few months in addition to simply not writing.

While today’s post will likely be a “catch up” post, there will be other days where I will feel motivated to write and there will be days where it’ll be challenging to find the motivation.  Luckily, I stumbled across a group of people that accepted me into a group called “My 500 Words.”  According to the group description, “My 500 Words is a 31-day challenge designed to help you develop a daily writing habit and become a better writer.”  So…how did I do on my first day back to writing?

553 words.  I think I succeeded.

Stay tuned.