What Is Your Identity?

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In our modern society we have so many external factors that we use to identify ourselves.  In fact, not only do we use these things to show others who we are but we use them to tell ourselves, falsely, who we are.  These are often things like how big your TV is, what type of phone you carry with you or the clothes you wear.  For me it’s watches and cars.

In the end, you are not your phone or your TV or even your clothes.  Styles and devices often change.  Statistically speaking, you probably wont be driving the same car you are driving today in 10 years.  You may feel a deep sense of identity from that car right now, however. We draw a deep sense of identity from our friends as well.

The grand illusion is that we are not those things.  This was a concept that has taken me a very long time to understand. When you look deep in to your soul and try to understand who you really are then material things start to mean less to your overall identity.

One big problem that I, and most everyone else, have is attachment to these things because I feel they define me.  Meditation is something that has helped me with this.

Ask yourself today, “who am I really?”

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Learning To Meditate – How-To

A Rose

Discovering Meditation

In late 2008 I was working in an IT job.  I worked Monday through Friday, was off by 4pm and had my own desk.  Unfortunately, this type of work just isn’t what I’m passionate for.  I was often stressed out working with someone who was constantly worried about not getting jobs done on time or that the boss wouldn’t be happy.

One particularly stressful day, my co-worker (there were two of us in the IT department) left for lunch in a panic.  Looking back on it, I cannot even tell you what they were so upset about.  My heart was pounding and I was feeling wrecked.  I went online and looked up stress management techniques.  I found a short how-to type website that told me to close my eyes and just try to breathe and think about inhaling and exhaling.  It told me to do this for five minutes.

So I set a timer and for fine minutes I did my best just to think about inhaling and exhaling.  After five minutes I felt like a new man.  I felt like my energy was back and my stress had been released.  I was blown away that I could calm myself down do easily in such a short amount of time.

Developing My Practice

I started, in the next few weeks and months, to research this technique more and more and found that this was meditation.  I had heard about meditation my whole life but had always thought it was just for hippies to sit around and chant “om” and be lazy.  I had no idea what meditation was for or how to do it.

In 2009 I started a new job in a new state and decided to learn how to meditate more effectively.  Meditation would become an on again, off again relationship over the next few years. but when I was diligent in my practice I felt great.  Since my practice has been fairly steady for the past many months, I contribute this practice to my mental well-being that I have been experiencing.

Most Common Concerns

The most common thing I hear people say when I suggest they meditate for stress and anxiety relief is “I don’t know how to do it”, which was my problem years ago.  The second thing I hear is “I’ve tried it and I couldn’t make my mind stop.”  Let me address both of these concerns for you right now and hopefully you can start a practice of your own.

Meditation 101

Here is a step by step how-to guide to meditation:

  1. Sit comfortably somewhere where you wont have many distractions. Background noise shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Start repeating a mantra (a word or sentence that you choose, can be literally anything) in your head over and over.
  4. Focus also on your breathing.
  5. When thoughts pop in your head, think of them being taken away on clouds and go back to steps 3 and 4.
  6. Stop after a few minutes when you start to feel better.

That’s it.  That’s meditation.

But I Can’t Stop My Brain

Meditation is a “practice”.  You don’t “do” meditation, you practice it.  The first time I tried shooting a basketball I missed.  I miss 50-60% of the time still after 30 years.  This doesn’t’ mean I should stop trying to shoot a basketball.  It just means I wont hit the shot every time.  You will have thoughts in your brain that come a lot more often than you wish during your meditation practice.  Just remember step five and practice, practice.  Maybe after many years you’ll be meditating like a monk.  Until then, you will feel the benefits.  I guarantee it.

Be well. Be positive.

Upcoming Project Shameless Plug

I’ve decided to start a new website that will help people to start focusing on the positive moments in their lives.  Leading up to the launch in a couple of months, I’ve decided to start a newsletter with helpful tips and updates.  If you’d like to sign up for my email updates please email me at:

positiverpg@gmail.com

Thank you for your support and now, here’s a picture of me

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Changing Course After Overcoming Anxiety

When I started this blog on January 1, 2014, I had a mission to end the year in a much greater state of mind than when I started it.  October through December of 2013 were very rough for me.  I was riddled with anxiety and was starting to withdraw from daily life.  I knew my family couldn’t take much more of it and neither could I.  I started on a journey to discover peace and serenity.  By the end of the year I had found it.

I haven’t had a real anxiety attack in month.  Sure, there’s the occasional little bit of nervousness that I’d like to think is normal but the bad anxiety that I used to have is gone.  So for a blog that is about overcoming anxiety, there aren’t a lot of stories to tell.  That is not to say that the anxiety couldn’t come back.  It most certainly will.  I have set up a lot of things in my life to prevent it from coming back.

I think this is the best direction for me to take in this blog right now.  I’ve started practicing meditation, carrying crystals in my pockets, using sage to get rid of negative energy and just trying to stay present. I’d like to share some of this with all of you as well as tell stories about me and some of the struggles and bumps along the way.

I may have knocked out the giants in my life.  They was in a coma but they’re not dead.  My mission is to stop them from coming back.  This is something I want to share with all of you.

I will, however, direct my attention off of the anxiety.  I feel as if the saying “what you resist persists” is true.  If you focus on something, even not wanting it, it’ll keep showing up.  So my focus will mostly be on positive outcomes.

I Live in an Alternate Universe

I’ve come to a pretty major conclusion.  I live in an alternate universe.  Oh, you may see me in one universe, lets call it Alpha, and speak to me in Alpha but I actually see and interact in… we’ll call it Omega because I like Omega watches.  This realization has helped me to come to grips with my reality so to speak and to accept life as it happens.  Let me explain how this works.

So my wife sends me to the store.  She says “pick me up these crackers.  They’re on the bottom shelf right next to these other crackers.”  Simple task for anyone, she told me where it where it is, she told me what it’s next to and she showed me the box so I know what it looks like.  15 minutes later I’m standing in the grocery store on the phone with my wife who is trying to explain to me where these crackers are.  “No, those aren’t here and neither are the others… yes! I’m looking on the bottom shelf… yeah right in the middle!”  So normally, I would take her word for it and keep looking and sometimes leave without ever finding it.

Now that I realize she lives in the Alpha universe and I live in the Omega universe I know that I can’t always depend on her account of where something will be located.  Most likely it wont be.  So now I will look where she says but not get fixated on it.  Now, I’m finding what I’m looking for, just not where it’s supposed to be.

Now, that doesn’t mean I always see my universe.  There are times when I go to the store with her and she’ll say “See! right here” and I’m dumbfounded that I couldn’t find it where she did.

So this is potentially life changing.  There are so many more examples that I could give but maybe I’ll save these for another post.  The lesson, however, is that now that I recognize that I live in an alternate universe I can adjust my perception and adjust my life.  I don’t have to keep worrying about things I can’t help.

That Time I Found Myself

NOTE: My mind is a little scatter brained today but stick with my post, I believe it will help you see what you can accomplish in life.

A couple of days ago I wrote a story about a time when I followed my impulse and changed my direction in life. After writing it I got to thinking about how that one decision changed not only my course in life but my understanding of life.

I’ve always been a guy who was very in tune with my mind and my body.  At the same time, I was 25 years old when I moved out of my parent’s home in Michigan and moved to Florida to live and go to school.  Up until then, I had lived a fairly safe life never really taking any chances.

The first thing I learned about myself was that if I took chances, I could accomplish them.  It was one of my first “wow! I really did it moments” in my life.  And then we moved in, my dad, who helped us move, went back home and then one of my other friends who helped me move went home and I was on my own.  It was a very real moment for me.  School wasn’t going to start for three weeks and I was left to fend for myself for the first time in my life.

I think the experience of planning and moving 1200 miles away from home gave me the confidence to get through those three weeks and settle in to a routine.  Once I got in to school and things settled down I realized there was nothing to worry about and that things were going to be ok.  Things were ok, they went very well.

Sometimes adversity comes in to your life, sometimes that adversity isn’t very bad and it is a situation you put yourself in.  I’ve discovered that these are the times when you should be paying the most attention to how you feel.  In these moments you will truly discover yourself.

Try this for a moment.  Find something heavy.  Maybe you have some hand weights or there’s a chair near by.  Maybe there’s a couch you’re sitting on.  It doesn’t matter, find something heavy.  Now, pick it up.  Were you able to lift it? Even a little?  Lift it again.  See how many times and how high you can lift it.  Now put it down and go back to what you were doing.

Set an alarm on your phone for 48 hours from now.  Do this again, lift the same thing.  Can you lift it more times?  Can you lift it higher?  Absolutely you can.  Now you’ve just learned something about yourself.  You learned that you can get up and lift that object x amount of times and x height.  You also learned that next time, you’ll be able to lift it more times and higher.

I got A’s at a college that ran 24 hour a day.  I would have classes that would run from 1am to 5am and have to be at my next class at 9am.  I’d get two hours of sleep before my day started again.  I spent 21 hours in a day at school sometimes.  I set a goal to get perfect attendance and I achieved it.  That was a lot to learn about myself.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a) I can accomplish anything I set my mind to and b) I can learn anything even if I don’t get any sleep.

I’m just a kid from Michigan who had a dream and went for it.  I’m not any different than anyone else I’ve ever met.  I’m no more special than you.  I say no more special because we are all equally as special.  I’ve met people with great physical handicaps that are able to accomplish what they want.  I know people who are no different than anyone else, they complain about the same things, watch the same shows, live in the same neighborhoods and shop at the same stores who work on extraordinary projects in the entertainment field.  I’ve sat down at a party and laughed and joked with a guy who is a famous fighter who gets paid to knock people out.  I’ve also met unemployed people who sound like Tony Robbins.

Don’t ever look at someone and think “wow, I could never do that” because once you pull the curtain back, the fact is that these people are just like you and you are just like them.  Yes, you could ever do that. You have a talent, a love, a passion and it is something that people will look at you and say “wow, I could never do that.”

Be well. Be positive.

Acting On Your Impulses

2001 and 2002 were big years for me.  I’ll never forget when in early 2001 a good friend of mine told me he was feeling down about school, didn’t feel like he was going in the right direction in life and asked for a suggestion where he could study audio engineering.  I had audio myself at a small school in East Detroit.  In the time I was in school and audio engineering jobs I had I had heard about a school in Florida that was the best place in the country to study audio.  So I gave my friend some advice and he immediately booked a flight and scheduled a tour of the school.

I had made it known that my intention was to get my Associates Degree and then find a school to study film at.  Upon returning from Florida (I was living in Michigan where I grew up), my friend said, “This school is exactly what I’m looking for.  They have a film program, if I move there, would you be interested in moving with me?”  There was a feeling that came over me as if I had suddenly been handed a map that showed where I was supposed to go.  I immediately said yes without hardly thinking about it.

It took nearly a year.  We flew down to Orlando on September 1, 2001 and found a place to live and on January 7, 2002, we headed south to embark on a journey that changed the course of both of our lives.

To make a long story short, I now work for a sports network that is on in 74 countries world wide and my friend is a two time Emmy winner.

The point of my story is that him and I both made life changing decisions in mere seconds.  It took me less than five seconds to decide to change my life.  My friend walking in to his winter semester class and decided he couldn’t do this anymore.  It was all about what felt right to us.  He asked, I felt a feeling like a mental nudge and I jumped.

If there is something that doesn’t feel right in your life, make a change.  Ask yourself what the right direction would be.  When you think about what’s right, do you feel like life is giving you a little push in that direction?  If the answer is yes, maybe it’s time to act on it.

Be well. Be positive.