Monday, January 31, 2011

An old fashioned way to get what you want...window shop!

When was the last time you gave yourself permission to window shop? I didn’t say hit the nearest big city mall or giant hardware store to purchase tools for the house, garden or to spend money because it feels so much better than channel surfing on the flat screen.

I’m talking 100% real window shopping. You enter a store, ask the employee questions, compare the product with cheaper or more expensive brands, bend it, pull it, roll it around on the floor, pretend that it’s already yours and figure out how you’re going to make it part of your unwritten chapters, thank the sales rep for their time then escape without purchasing it.

Spur of the moment impulse buying has crippled the country. We’ve allowed computer companies to continue making programs and pieces parts that instantly become outdated the moment they’re installed. Personally I call it the Doritos Big Business Act of the 1980’s where the advertisement always suggested, “Go ahead and eat one…we’ll make more.”

Look at what’s taking place at Taco Bell; nicknamed the Where’s the Beef suit they’ve been accused of allegedly not using 100% USDA beef. Like true leaders the fast food restaurant peacefully responded with a full page newspaper ad that stated their beef is no different than what you buy at the supermarket.

We as a people want things now. If it can’t be attained we put the car in D and move forward until someone or something delivers the product at the tremendously high rate of speed demanded. I’m extremely guilty of this; the heart doctor wanted my cholesterol down to an extremely safe 70; the product came with ear shattering side effects to which I ignored until I became a victim. Sharply questioning the pharmacist he calmly replied, “We fill orders then offer information on every bottle and package that suggests possible side effects the medication is connected to, we cannot tell you that a doctor has made an error.”

I can’t even warn you about the medication because they’re an advertiser…all I can say is do your homework. Read every package and ask questions until you are fully satisfied. Stand at the pharmacy and compare notes with other patients. The moment you stop searching is the day you’ll experience a reaction to the medication creating your new found reality.

Today’s writing isn’t a gripe session. It’s not to expose or undertake a mission to Free Willie. (You do remember the movie about the whale right?)

When was the last time you physically endured a moment of doing nothing more than window shopping? Not on the web or through other means of cut me free from human touch social networking but hands on I have a question about this product, can I please try a small sample before I pour what little money I make into the success of your business.

When is a situation or product worth criticizing?

Author Seth Godin writes, “A remarkable product or service is like a purple cow. Brown cows are boring; purple ones are worth mentioning. Those ideas spread; those organizations grow. The essence of what’s happening in the market today revolves around creating a purple cow.”

I’m far from being a political junky but in the past 48 months I’ve heard more about a Tea Party Movement than the D’s, R’s and L’s. A political writer shares, “Every election needs to be like November 2010; there needs to be constant change in leadership so that we don’t get bogged down with decision makers who’ve become professional takers and not giver's.”

Seth continues to write, “Boring ideas don’t spread. Boring organizations don’t grow.”

I see that quote and instantly think of four marketing geniuses; Madonna, Gene Simmons of KISS, The Beatles and Elvis Presley; true masters in the art of reinventing yourself during the days of post showmanship. Guess whose getting stuck with the bill? We are because everything’s a collectable. I have four KISS Jack n The Boxes for no reason other than the kid in me saw these cheap plastic objects in a box and said, “OMG!”

Not a single drop of blood or desire to window shop flowed through me. I’m the one circus people attact, “There’s sucker in every crowd.”

Rollingstone Magazine posted a story in 2010 that didn’t criticize but unveiled what’s taking place at concert venues and why you can’t find up close seats at a fairly decent price. The musicians are now in the ticket selling business. They’re allotted a certain amount of tickets per show…they send out a team to make them money. Legal or illegal?

Through the process of trying to create the purple cow the mothers and fathers of invention have mastermind a plan that feeds one of the seven needs of survival: want so that one can feel accepted.

By window shopping you learn to identify the purple cow in every crowd. Walk into your competitor’s office, study their web page and visit places where the product comes to life. Be a potential client. What makes you a great leader isn’t the money spent on the ingredients to make the product. In the book the Art of Selling unveiled is McDonald’s passion to keep family first; they don’t need a great burger to be the best; their secret; clean bathrooms.

Window shop!!!

I’ll always believe in you first…

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dear God What Am I Feeling? Zondra's story continues....

January 29, 2011

Texting is a beautiful tool; got word late last night that Zondra is home. The one place her mother and friends feared most. Why? Zondra has more energy than me. Her personal embodiment of positve energy requires places to be displayed and if not given life, movement is given permission to unwrap.

I still laugh at the way I reacted to my heart attack; heart surgery on Tuesday back to work Monday. If people are shaped by the same molds, my fear for Zondra is her inability to let go.

A Native American Medicine Man taught me, "Western Medicine Doctors practice medicine. They can't cure you nor can I...what we offer are substances that bring peace to the body so it can heal."

This story is far from over...not until someone tells the poet in my fingertips that all has been cleared and Zondra's breast cancer is truly over. I'd be lieing if I didn't admit to holding onto fear; they said my very good friend Theresa was in full recovery; we celebrated with dance; honored with family love and togetherness then without warning the phone rang when none of us were expecting a good day to suddenly twist.

I'm thinking, praying and helping to deliver positive vibrations from the universe but the most haunting part of the breast cancer journey are the invisible portraits of everything's going to be peachy keen and then... Its the part of life I've constantly questioned leading me deeper into spiritual studies. It's the part of breast cancer you don't read about during the 31 days of October. This is why I'm dedicated to sharing the true face of this horrid disease. I pray every second that Zondra is perfect. Her positive view make it so much easier for her family and friends to find peace.

Right goal is to guarantee that she find it too. She needs to rest for the six weeks the doctor requires so the true healing can silence every fear I hold as a friend. Getting mad isn't the answer. Understanding the several levels exposed is the quest then sharing each dip, trip and unfocused reminder with anyone willing to listen to the truths that surround the silence so many women are feeling.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A brighter day requires more than just great music...

I’m not the first to write about the roles we play and the conditions presented by decisions to downsize the roles of the hardest working nation on earth. As individuals we try to survive through hourly challenges only to learn the endeavored feeds nothing into a conclusion.

We’ve evolved into a settled people; we settle for whatever is offered then feel uncomfortable with each decision—we could’ve, we should’ve and I meant to be but only end up doing.

Billionaire Donald Trump holds back no shame when he explains, “It’s a sad place to be this modern America.”

As this day begins, confidence teaches us to trust the legs that carry the weight while the heart races to take cover from a society not so willing to offer care to its fellow creators. Each of us…we are all writers, producers, builders, a nation gifted with vision and a warm palm to open while holding seeds that fall from the sky then dropped onto a worn out path.

Most of us fail to encourage warmth, compassion and growth. We choose to walk over, around or on top of the seeds eliminating its reasons to believe in today and tomorrow.

A mind filled with too much to think is a journey that doesn’t reach the tip of one’s fingers.

Learning to take a seed and give it a reason paints for the person holding it a sense of togetherness set in warm new beginnings therefore unveiling a movement called creativity.

Millions of dreams come true; I do not deny that each of us are tortured by our own separate way of generating the differences that make up leaders, friends and selves that feel the importance of being good enough to stand where our feet play…so we keep wanting only to leave all things connected in a box titled, “Things I’m willing to trade.”

The paths we push into the surface of the earth remain until a single plant decides to take a chance on sprouting roots. It believes through effort the true source of its purpose is embodied in a decision to accept change.

This courage is without measurement; not an ego to put energy out nor a self driven materialistic reason that requires the hand of others to make way through sacrifice while dining on play. I want, I have to have, I require and oh by the way I'm not coming to work today because golf seems like the better place...just have it done by 5pm.

No man or woman is looked upon as being a master of martial arts unless he or she has bled the blood they require of the students or seeds they carry.
Abuse has become accepted behavior followed by denial.

One seed can reach through a rock breaking the assumed hard way into separate stories. To which I ask what role do you play; the path, the journeyman or the reason to believe or not trust today and tomorrow?

Thick Nhat Hahn teaches, “To walk in peace you must demonstrate with peace. It doesn’t require loud voices, banners and large crowds in the millions. Peace begins with a single seed.”

I will always believe in you first…

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dear God what am I feeling? The story of Zondra continues....

The night before breast cancer surgery plays games with assumption when you’ve never been part of a circle of love.

Zondra’s mother races around the church to make sure there’s enough chairs available for guests offering their warmth and compassion. She speaks in quick overtones about how she wishes her daughter of 31 would talk more about resting rather than running back to work or getting back involved with the church, “She needs to understand the doctor wants six weeks of rest. I don’t understand how we’re going to get her to slow down.”

School teachers begin to arrive one by one followed by principals and other community involved leaders; there are hugs, questions filled with fear and yet no one has let go of hope and faith.

Maybe because we know Zondra wouldn’t want it that way. An extremely positive outlook not only on the present but how such a stumble through life can be turned into a tool to help educate people she’ll never meet.

One such person, the friend of a friend who through chance or fate crossed paths with Zondra; she’s a breast cancer survivor. She talks of the surgery openly, no fear, no embarrassment, a constant, “Praise God and thank you God,” comes from nearly every paragraph. She begins to laugh when she speaks of the medicines that have helped her calling shopping in thrift stores the greatest pill there is.

The closer we move toward 7:30 the room becomes flooded with guests not expected; Zondra’s eyes become wide as love slips into the corners of a soul that has only questioned during times when chemo nearly had her too weak to lift that unforgettable smile.

Her minister speaks out, “You can’t stop Zondra! Sickness couldn’t keep her away. She would lie down on the sofa outside this room and ask me to keep the door open so the message could find her heart.”

Her mother locates the courage to stand before the collection of open palms and hearts, "I found out about Zondra's cancer through a note she left on the back of a Walmart reciept." Which made each of us wonder about our own stories and what if's? Where would the strength come from to be able to inform those I love if changes came with a face called there's a chance?

Back at work, a charter school set in the center of downtown fellow teachers have lined up at the board on the wall selecting times available to pick up Zondra’s children, to make sure dinner has been prepared and to do whatever else is required to make sure her life carries with it no worries and in Zondra’s case no reason to break the doctors six week resting rule.

I’ll never forget watching Zondra’s mother during a time of open prayer; she shook uncontrollably, fists clinched, face buried in the shoulder of the one God chose to lead the ministry. Whispering words I’ll never know, she found peace allowing the birth of new beginnings to blossom rather than giving permission to anger to paint pictures in places they weren't welcome.

I didn’t sleep last night knowing Zondra didn’t either. Six in the morning would arrive too quickly and the world of medicine was prepared to help lift the shadow off Zondra’s cloudy day.

10:52 am is where I stand at the present moment and no word has arrived. Life isn’t a DSL connection to the internet nor can the art of healing be sent through a UPS overnight package.

Hope and faith…

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Arroe's State of the Union Address...

North Carolina’s jobless rate just rose to 9.8%...end of the year 2010 numbers show there was no change for the positive. I laugh when analysts get on the air and say, “Yeah but over 2,000 found jobs last month!”

Where’s the positive in a half full glass of milk that looks empty?

We’ve hit the stage of the game where we need to start borrowing what’s stuffed under our side of the Monopoly board or the next time someone passes go and tries to collect $200 they’ll be sent to jail for trespassing on bank property.

Basically meaning; materialistically, spiritually and physically the backbone of one of the thirteen original colonies is damaged beyond numbness and the sharp pain shooting through the lower part of its legs are forcing the system into a motion of stumbling.

401K’s are nothing more than thrashed out savings accounts. Self confidence has been placed on the endangered species list without crazy laws that keep hunters from wiping it out. Investing in a college education guarantees part time work at a fast food joint three cities to the left of your hometown.

That’s the State of the Union! And I didn’t even bring up gas prices, the cost of red delicious apples or how much you have to fork out to park your car uptown. The positive in all of this is very simple; no matter how bad the storm, strong the winds of change or evil the bosses look was at the end of the day Harris Teeter always offers a free cookie.

Elizabeth Highland wrote a book called Surviving the Unemployment Rollercoaster; the false ups, ill fated downs, weary twists and spins and in the end the greatest gift you hold is knowing you are not broken. If you allow yourself to grow through this time, you’ll become stronger every day.

I’m a solid believer in cross training; it’s having the courage to share with the person sitting next to you at the Monopoly board because in the real game of life there’s no such thing as lifting up the player pieces and starting all over. Too many of us live in the past and a smarter game requires the knowledge of what you’ve learned and combining with how you teach others to handle the out of control turns.

I’ve never said no to someone interested in radio. I might ask why they’d brave such a weird sport and usually come up with the answer, “It’s something I feel I’d be great at.” Is it something you can learn over a three month period at a vocation school? How long does it take to learn how to ski down the bunny slope? How many minutes were invested in figuring out the cell phone game Angry Bird?

The State of the Union should be, “I challenge American businesses to lay down their competitive swords and open their door to teach their art!”

Teach me how to sell a car! Take the time to properly train me how to fix a washer and drier. Rather than preach at church mastermind a plan that uses social networking to do exactly that; network the imagination of many into a single line of ready and able American’s who know more than how to spend money on the latest fad or box office attraction.

Show me how to properly cook a steak in an extremely busy restaurant kitchen. Let me understand the pressure employees are under to keep the tables clean and ready for a testy guest list. Make reality TV our reality by dropping the guard to cross train the future of our nation.

If I show you how to properly keep your voice in tune while speaking; that lesson in life could make you a better speaker at Sears, Home Depot and Office Max. If writers would band together to invite others to fall witness to the art of editing, no matter how much you text or email; what you sell or present will carry with it less to digest making what you have more valuable because we understand what you’re trying to say.

Don’t charge me money to figure out why roses don’t grow in my front yard…teach me how to take better care of the earth so your grand children have a place to plant your dreams when they’re middle aged. Stop charging me three bucks for ATM use and ease me into understanding the process of how a simple money request affects your barely held together staff.

It is time to cross train America!

CEO’s, company owners, GM’s and department heads aren’t the evil that lurks in the darkest corners of this giant strange blue planet. We are for taking what we’ve been taught and keeping it to better nobody but ourselves. What makes a Great Grand Master in Martial Arts isn’t how brilliant his or her kicks, punches and blocks are…its how they took what was shared and let it move through them by way of teaching. For 2,000 years Tae Kwon Do, Kung Fu and Karate have been part of this planets continued growth. Tell me again how long your business has been open?

I’ll always believe in you first…

Dear God what am I feeling? The story of Zondra continues....

We've read the same story's and have been taught about the affects of breast cancer. I must be a cat with nine lives because eight of my closest friends have been diagnosed. October is always set aside as breast cancer awareness month. It's my dedication and loyalty to those I've lost to make it every day.

This story is real. No blinders, no marketing managers reaching for politically correct presentations. This is the life of a teacher that students look up to everyday and through every storm she hasn't let anything stand in the way of teaching.
Forty eight hours from surgery; a prayer service titled Healing and Wholeness is planned for tomorrow evening. If your body has the ability to create thunder I feel the vibrations everywhere including my fingers.

If Zondra is nervous or scared she doesn’t show it. A couple of times a day she has alone time to lie down and rest under a warm blanket. I often wonder what she thinks, allows her imagination to design, plans out or releases into the universe for a passerby to pick up and help her carry.

Fellow teachers continue to share what little money they make to help Zondra with the high price of medication. Ask any of them why…a union of faith and support takes the shape of light stealing from the cold a shadows curse.

I will be at the prayer vigil listening to the heart felt compassion from a community of leaders and supporters. Two questions play over and over in my mind: what sort of peace does she find while covered under the warmth of the blanket hidden away from a world of constant change? What does she feel knowing in two days hope can become her new place of happiness?

I wait for her reply…

While under my blanket I sometimes think about what I should be or wish I was doing. I am a person who is always on the go but since chemo I am not able to move and go about as I would like for example this year is the first time since my daughter was in preschool that I have missed open house and she is now in 11th grade. I was really upset. I thought the world would end; my daughter assured me it wouldn’t. I also thought my church was going to fall down because I was not there for a WHOLE week LOL (I am usually there multiple times a week). Other times I welcome the peace and quiet, because people actually let me sleep and get the rest I need. They are not calling, texting, and saying ma, auntie, Zondra can you please………….

That didn’t happen until now.

In two days I will be going into surgery and leaving this old place of breast cancer behind and starting a new chapter of healing. It’s exciting and scary at the same time part of me will be gone and the healing process long, but I will have a bright new beginning. I am overjoyed by the fact that my surgery will help others because I am participating in research that will try to understand breast cancer more. I look forward to seeing what the future holds.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Permission to visit the past...

Brian Andreas writes, “Whenever I go on a trip, I think about the homes I’ve had and remember how little has changed about what comforts me.”

Sort of pushes the mind into rewind. The attempt to connect the dots becomes excess weight and drama. What haven’t you thrown out that could be the secret message in a bottle leading your dreams into a world of wishes come true?

Julia Cameron shares an incredible lesson when challenging you to open a magazine and rip from it only the pictures that bring instant happiness. Locate a different magazine and do it again. Don’t spend time studying the picture. Keep only those shots that instantly hit you in a positive way.

Once completed; paste the pages to a large chunk of think cardboard. Place them anywhere that enlightens your smile. Don’t be artsy and think it has to be perfect…glue them to the board and watch the air move back into your life.

You’ll discover your favorite color might not truly be blue, green or red. You might see travel, fuzzy puppies or cute babies that reach out and melt your soul. The collage might come across as bold and daring inviting your deepest wishes to seek a more powerful position at work or to lay low and seek living life over dollar amount.

The journey doesn’t stop there…learn to incorporate the most powerful color presented in your life. Yellow came up a lot on my canvas; first thing I bought was a yellow writing instrument. Poof! Immediately there was a difference. Birds are my jazz. Turning off the radio I began to spend more time with the music makers. Trees invite peace so I planted 17 hundred seedlings in the forest.

Whenever I go on a trip, I think about the homes I’ve had and remember how little has changed about what comforts me.

Hey…if you’re going to live in the past you might as well date the self that was once happy.

Teaching yourself to make it part of your current everyday is the issue. Nobody likes change and Bill Gates with his computerized generation of brilliant thinkers has turned each of us into I want it now idiots.

I love art! I love to spend time with those who make it and at one time couldn’t stop releasing it from my fingertips. Then one day all that changed because I allowed other people’s opinions seep into the pits that make up the energy required to place paint on the surface of something so brilliantly white.

A very colorful vase was returned to me from a gallery last week; taking note of the $200 price tag still attached to its base I instantly became embarrassed, “Ego maniac!”

Mentally I couldn’t let the failure go…so I let the art go. I walked into the lobby of the radio station and handed it to someone, “Please help this vase locate a place of beauty.”

The greatest thing about art…you’ll get more out of it if you trust yourself to share it. The expression received from an unknowing receiver is priceless. My neighbor Greg is a brilliant artist that became addicted to creating it only to hide it. It took me forever to convince him to stop hording what rightfully doesn’t belong to him. This past Friday night he made it a point to stop me, “I get excited when I visit family and friends and see my work in their living room, den or man cave. There are no words that describe what rushes through me. It’s like wow I did that!”

I invited him to the Peter Max art show on Saturday, “Its time you meet the master of showmanship and marketing.”

Neither of us made excuse was I’d end up asking a stupid question or I’d be forced into submission and purchase a painting out of respect for the king. Wrong! Peter has never been that way. I can’t imagine how many closet artists he’s invited into the world because of his tremendous openness to facing their fears of being known for more than just a part time dabbler of mediums.

Whenever I go on a trip, I think about the homes I’ve had and remember how little has changed about what comforts me.

Artists, writers, bankers, chefs, photographers, grocery store stock people become disgruntled when they forget about the words that make up the paragraph. It’s too easy to leap onto a page and call it a book only to spend the rest of your life wondering why it’s never read.

While combing the hair of the person staring back in the mirror pretend you’re the hairstylist and do what they do best…listen.

I’ll always believe in you first…

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dear God what am I feeling? The story of Elder Zondra

We laugh, we cry and playfully bend stories to better suit the shoes we fill. We walk, we run, chase, dodge and when we least expect it the feet that have carried us into the unwritten chapters kept trip, stumble then fall. Quickly reaching to grab hold of any object to pull, lift or shove aside the body begins to speak, “Not today. Please not today.”

A bathroom mirror is trained to lie. It’s almost too easy to convince a reflection that it is what it isn’t. Slowly each eye scans the surface of your skin wondering while fearing the depths of what’s happening. The assumed trembles in the tips of your fingers so often ignored, the unexplained tiredness the same, bedtime at 8:40 the norm; an agreement with the system of self asking for nothing more than the opportunity to rest.

The journey becomes a challenge in places high school never taught.

Shared are the commands to pick your self up and dust off the butt of a one time slick pair of now faded and weathered jeans.

The voices in your heart have now taken over, “Get up! Get back in the game! Play like you mean it! Give it everything you’ve got!”

Held in the corners of the smiles that paste positive reactions together outside the shell carried are the softly spoken whispers, “Not today. Please not today. Dear God, tell me what I’m feeling.”

Life plays mystery like a master. Each time you’re forced to guess gives life new reasons to change.

Bank accounts can be low, favorite football teams can have losing seasons; grocery prices can reach new car levels but nothing compares to the value of air when it escapes your body the moment the doctor says, “You have breast cancer.”

As a writer I’m not being truthful to you if I continue to ignore the stories, the empowerment of personal survival that’s met the face of the beast and continues to find purpose in battles that nearly steal your name. Through encouragement and trust the creative side of this daily dedication of pouring ink on the continuation of a living tree I’ve tried to convince so many to place their journey into journals to help teach.

Then God whispered to me, “I asked you to do it not them…”

And so I heard the word…

I introduce to you Elder Zondra; one of the most optimistic, highly spirited, deeply devoted to her school and community human creations I’ve met in thirty two years of radio broadcast. A champion, a physically visible master of sharing, caring and selfless leader; the missing lyric to everybody’s favorite song becomes whole the moment she walks through the door.

Before a writer sets out to words in motion we’re taught to build a beginning, middle and end. Know the path before emotion sets in. Become the character hidden within the parenthesis. Feel not what your reader cannot therefore you must speak in a language taken directly from the street.

I do not know the outcome of Zondra’s story. It makes me extremely angry to think the artist I am with giant canvas’s on walls of so many could deliver a portrait of incredible peace, one that she hasn’t begged for but holds on the other side of the fence keeping her from touching a horizon we’re all destined to chase.

In the days, weeks, months and I pray years from this page forward it’s within the purposes I keep to share with you the willingness of her gentle, “Yes…” A single word shared when asked, “In the name of saving lives can I please share your journey?”


Thursday, January 20, 2011

You can't win without a vision...

Native American’s call it a Vision Quest; poets refer to it as a journey toward the soul while books of motivation lean hard on describing the act of letting go of current circumstances to study the winds of peace nothing more then discovery.

Often associated with the middle aged, dirt poor or someone struck with sickness, the need to extend has the ability to break free at any time and usually when you least expect it. Like the common cold there are tiny signals and signs, then one morning you wake up and without a doubt and no way out you’ve chased a quick witted rabbit down a giant hole and everything around you no longer seems real.

Depending on who you’ve chosen to be closest to, this raw unexplained feeling determines the outcome of what you’ll bring back to share and or keep for one’s self to serve as a healing tool through future challenges.

One of my favorite authors is Jamie Samms whose animal stories take mystery, loss of confidence and assumed failure and opens the window, door and hood of the car that brought you here and gives you something new to compare things to. Why is there always a bright red cardinal in the tree next to the mailbox each morning before you leave for a job that tends to cut into your dreams more than it delivers? On the way to the grocery store yesterday three deer walked near the road, while two leaped toward the horizon faster then time pushes humans through history, one elected to stand there staring into the eyes you call your own. What did she say?

Self discovery is a powerful way of life.

I’ve always been jealous of runners because no matter how far those legs carry them their spiritual journey during the jog was one hundred times further.

According to the book Power’s Within, a person that chooses to discover has a clear perception of the part of the being that’s chosen to visit.

Instantly one might think ghosts, spirits or fallen loved one’s that never want to shake free from teaching you how to lead a better life. Ok…call it what you want; Native American’s see them as Spirit Guides and Keepers. My wife believes the dogs we’ve rescued are with us no matter how thick the storm. When something turns up missing we shout, “Harold or Larry!” MJ the Maltese adult puppy will look at me with an expression that's completely identical to Woji or Nicki and without a doubt I’ll be drawn to their energy.

Dr. Ronald Mack from Wake Forest University was the first to introduce me to studying the path of Runes. Depending on where you purchase them from, Runes are plastic, can be rocks, blocks of wood or made of shells; no matter the make, if studied; questions aren’t answered but paths become clearer.

The book Powers Within continues: Some people are intellectuals; for them everything is expressed by ideas and images but if they go into a more material domain where they risk no touching things in their concrete reality one is gifted with progress by means of discovery.

In Tae Kwon Do we are expected to put our hands, feet and head through bricks. For this to unfold the student must learn to see them self move through the wall. Meditation opened the door. But to do it requires a better understanding of what you’re doing and why but more importantly to whom it’s going to affect.

In 2008 during my second degree black belt test it became my Vision Quest to become a leader in the art of teaching how to protect your self when forced to the floor. Taking my Jujitsu studies and combining it with Native America sacred circle meditations; the layout and or plan was to mimic what an alligator does while being attacked under water. It involved four bricks and each had to be shattered within fifteen seconds from a push up position, immediately to the back, side and forward using only the head as my protector.

I practiced, practiced and practiced day in and day out deeply injuring the palms of my hands, back fist and forehead. I could never make it through the bricks. Test day was less than a week away. Turning to Master Harris he calmly instructed, “Have you asked the bricks for permission to make them two?”

You can see the brick break on

Journey, Vision Quest, Self Discovery…the greatest things come from the moments when you begin to listen.

I will always believe in you first…

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Reaching beyond yes you can...

Book ideas are the moments when the voices in your head become so loud it shakes free apple flavored thoughts onto the continuation of a living tree, which can be a sheet of paper, a computer screen, crumpled napkin or a receipt from a strip mall store that guarantees ten percent off the next time you visit.

Like an innocent calf branded during the early days of spring a writer forever holds where they were at the birth of their next adventure. Learning to trust its presence inside an already crowded hallway is an art form assumed bold, strong and covered in a perfectly ripened scent and yet its reaction to the first pages written resemble an extremely shy child introduced at a elementary school assembly.

I’ve met many authors; the closet type inspires me most. An idea bursts onto their daily habits, one maybe two weeks are spent racing to feed an itch that demands, “Don’t stop until you’ve got a beginning, middle and end.” Then without warning, the visual caught between the lids of your eyes disappears faster than the day it arrived; so the book, short story, romantic piece of poetry or heart felt lyrics to a song about the times are set aside to dry in a sun that never sets.

Book ideas are the moments when the voices in your head leave the rest of the wordy word landscape up to you. Like dreams we fall from before its conclusion, the attempt is to jump far and wide hoping a single print from your fingertip might locate the key to unlock the gate just like the other day when nothing else mattered but the desire to paint words onto the continuation of a living tree.

Writers are individuals with four thousand faces. When it gets too tiresome to hold up each persons Visa to be in your country the first expression is to huff and puff, grow angry, take a spill, pill or swallow an entire glass maybe ten of things made of grapes and other berries. I once did that; killed off one of the main characters…then stood for minutes that felt like hours staring at myself in the mirror exclaiming, “A good writer would erase what this drunk moment created. A brilliant writer would accept it and take the story a different direction.”

Book ideas are moments where everything around you becomes an object studied, listened to, touched, smelled then boiled in a giant kettle that reshapes your everyday into a puzzle piece that makes your story better. Mark Twain didn’t like the idea that his readers wanted an autobiography, “Don’t they understand that every book I’ve written is my life!”

An author writes to me this past Sunday, “Please get me published.”

To which I replied, “If I do all the work what will be used to teach the lessons you’ll one day share with a passerby seeking the same?”

Book ideas are no different than being a martial artist in search of the great Black belt and beyond…some schools hand those strips out cloth out like Halloween candy while others require years of training that show you the way. Determination only gets you to the front door. Walking the way everyday introduces you to universal connections meant to take place.

I am not a great writer. I’m perfectly happy knowing not everyone understands what falls from these hands. I carry with me a poet’s accent. How you place, arrange, cut loose, build up, reshape and curve words is what’s missing from today’s bookstores. What makes you original is the confidence of being truthful to the pair of shoes you’ve grown into.

Not all book ideas are meant to shoot from the soil and grow brightly lit petals much tastier than a rose; if that were the case there’d be less lawyers and doctors waiting to take your money. Halloween 78 required the writer in me to wait thirty three years to put it on display.

Take incredible notes when the voices become too loud, for there'll come a day when the best thing you can share with those invited to the circles you helped create will hold the little things that suddenly become music on days when missing you is much much too heavy to bare. Those tiny sketches, word dumps and plump new beginnings shall feed the imagination of the next generation inspiring them to put down the video games and find tremendous pleasure in giving the imagination permission to dance.

You don't need to sell a million books to be called an author; the only thing required is the tip of a pen or pencil, even the essence of your most simple touch lightly kissing the edge of a sheet of paper I call the continuation of a living tree.
I will always believe in you first…

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I want Steve Jobs job...

Do you walk the talk, talk to talk or talk to remind?

Professional wrestler Rick Flair walks the talk, “To be the man you have to beat the man!” Radio and television personalities tend to talk just to talk. It has nothing to do with you but wow did those low vocals tones vibrate your stereo or what? Then there’s my current habit of talking to remind; I say things out loud as a way of reminding me to pick up bird food on the way home.

Which personality are you?

Wait! I’ll toss in one more; straight from the pages of my greatest teacher Julia Cameron; talk to talk yourself out of doing it.

In an age of too much to do and the never ending bosses expectations, the human landscape has evolved into a species that coulda, woulda, mighta, if they hadn’t talked themselves out of finishing the project, “I went to college for this but ended up doing this.”

I always ask, “Why?”

The stories are endless; family, new ideas, was clueless on the true demands of the dream job, employment cut backs, no longer important, no respect for rookies and the amount of money they were willing to pay wasn’t printed in the books you studied.

Dreaming about success has swiped the courage to succeed from under our feet making it too easy to talk yourself out of doing something.

Once you begin the process of downsizing your ambitions the biggest wishes become whispers of wind that usually stop in for a visit on depressing Sunday nights when the heart is begging you to call in sick Monday. Once locked to your method of breathing lost are the reasons to look forward to making a difference. We talk to talk ourselves out of doing it.

Chasing dreams is costly. No wonder artists charge so much for their visions on canvas? To be the man you have to beat the man even if it means you spent $400 for the booth at the festival, your mind, body and soul will be satisfied if the total cost is covered.

Mark Twain (Samuel L Clemmons) spent nearly ten years writing and tossing out an autobiography he felt needed to be released. For years he’d talk with other celebrities about their personal journeys trying to convince them to do the same and although they might have, Mr. Twain found the concept of telling his all to be extremely difficult. Stenographers were hired, then editors who were never happy nor were the newspapers that demanded they get first shot at printing snippets of the storytellers words.

Then one day in 1909 the book was completed! Mark Twain’s autobiography would reach the people that had supported him from book one. A delighted man with many thoughts to carry believed this was a one shot opportunity to blaze a true trail of the image he kept, a self portrait of views and options; he would do nothing more than put forth the effort to paint a picture of where it all came from by being his true self…only to learn the moment it went into print a letter was received, “We can’t afford to pay you for your hard work. Can you wait until next year?”

Those around Twain shouted with anger, “How dare they treat the King this way! They will make tons of money printing it but to not share it with Twain is unheard of!”

Calmly Samuel walked with no expression never once thinking those with ink were purely taking advantage of him. His reply to the printer, “Please print what you have…I will use it to promote the entire presence of what I bring.”

Not one penny was earned for ten years of loyalty to a dream. Twain talked to talk himself out of doing it. To a writer, singer, producer or anybody creative the greatest gift isn’t always the value returned but rather the process of delivering. Passion comes with a price; what are you willing to sacrifice?

It saddens me to write that unique and one of a kind are no longer important in America. If there is to be value within the lines that make up who we are it’s found at a second hand store 60% off sale. Pushing the happy for the moment button needs two teams in game called Super Bowl followed by another sale. What we purchase today will never be displayed on future episodes of the Antique Road Show.

That won’t change without a physical effort of halting this mission we’re on to talk to talk yourself out of doing it. When it was announced yesterday that Steve Jobs would be stepping away from Apple for awhile news reporters questioned the future of the company. I honestly didn’t realize Steve was the receptionist too. Apple is brilliant because of several visions that were supported by what outsiders assumed as one man’s decision. Millions of Apples have been sold worldwide; if given the opportunity to dream might there be ten or fifteen Steve Jobs out there willing and able to take the pollen from this petal and breathe life into tomorrow?

If you haven’t sent your resume you’ve talked to talk yourself out of doing it.

I’ll always believe in you first…

Monday, January 17, 2011

There is no I in teamwork but true leadership requires an I to survive.

While chasing coffee drops and chocolate rushes; take a mental picture of the ever growing number of coworkers, family and friends that are spinning their wheels and getting nowhere.

I’m not unveiling the lazy! The goal is to bring awareness to the hardest working force since your Great Grandparents on a beat up rugged farm somewhere in Middle America; and nothing is coming from holding down three part time jobs or full time positions that demand 10 to 15 hours a day with no extra pay.

The American dream still might be the happy home but only if you can afford the unbearable taxes cities and states demand.

Peel back a truer face and you'll see a different set of eyes; a one day wish of being recognized for your hard work and dedication. Unlike the NBA and NFL free agency on the average eight to five front is what you’re willing to give your company free. But whose fault is that? Not the employer but the employee.

The weakness isn’t your loyalty but the quality of your leadership.

Author Seth Godin brings up a very important point, “People are becoming better followers. They follow instructions, follow the pack while honing their skills but find no reason to hide their fear of leading.”

How can there be a crack in the path of success if the same people keep stepping up to lead?

Why doesn’t the backbone of this one time great nation want to lead? Susan Mazza wrote in 2009, “The majority of us don’t give ourselves the proper credit. We are taught to work as a team.”

Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner reported that 80% of the countries unemployed elect not to work by choice; choosing full time education instead.

Godin thinks leadership slips when we set ourselves inside tribes and or groups of people that have nothing in common with our goals and aspirations.

We take jobs that have the best salary available then spend weeks hating rather than relating. How can you sell a cow to a city slicker? But the pay is! What have you got to lose right? How many times have you been in this position and the more you switch jobs the deeper you cut into your credit report because having so many job changes doesn’t paint a great picture to banks and other lenders. So…the mission becomes a lip biting pay the price moment that does more damage to your heart, lungs and body than you can visibly see.

Social Networking is more than an hourly update of the Golden Globe Awards. To millions Face Book is still in a toy and Twitter doesn’t give you enough space to speak your peace. You can’t get ahead in the game of success if the only thing you offer people on the web is a line reading, “Headed to the grocery store.” Tell me which one! Show me a picture of the apples. Make it interesting because through the efforts of making your life better you are leading banana lovers to better prices or flavor.

Wait! Wait! Isn’t that what the highly touted book The Secret is all about…taking what has been presented and allowing it to move through you to another person, place or thing. I don’t play music on the radio to play music. Looking at the entire picture, songwriters and promoters visit studios to share their art…through radio it can become the song that makes your day better. John Lennon was quoted to say, “I didn’t find recording to be pleasant; but once it was completed something unforgettable had taken place.” The Beatles are my weakness more in their reasons for doing things and how they did it than the lyrics they pasted on round black objects. If I elect to set their lesson aside and never share it...I deserve to be unhappy.

When I dine at a restaurant, stop to check out a movie, concert or take in an author or artist at the mall and it shows up on Face Book I do it out of support for the place of business. We aren’t walking advertisements but rather tools in the art of relationship.

Such connections create tribes or circles of people; leadership grows from the things you know.

Godin teaches, “When you lead a tribe the benefits increase, the work gets easier and the results are more obvious. That’s the best way to overcome fear.”

Stop thinking of your job as being the prime source of your happiness or lack of; where you work should be looked upon as being what I call your biggest and best client. You’re in the business of you and how you take care of your clients will determine the outcome of the business you lead.

But these are only words and all too often such fingerprints hit the lining of your eyes then quickly fall back onto the screen for the next passerby. Master Harris lives by one rule, “Winning is a choice…so is losing.”

If working all the time and not getting recognized is your current place on the map; are you sacrificing more by electing to stay or deciding to move forward which might include a different town, new friends and quite possibly no job security?

What spawned this crazy talk? A stunt on Saturday Night Live performed by actor/comedian Kenan Thompson where he looked dead into the camera and said, “Put your right hand right here. Now put your left hand here and pull yourself up. It’s time to make America strong again.”

Minutes later I hit the DVR to catch Donald Trump on Late Night television talking about why he wants to run for President of the United States, “Because nobody respects America anymore. We aren’t rebuilding our economy we’re making China extremely rich.”

The Super Bowl is in two weeks; advertising agencies are busting tail to create the perfect most talked about 30 seconds of the year. It can’t and won’t happen without leadership. You don’t need envelopes to deposit checks at Bank of America and Wachovia; deciding to go green took leadership. A man walks into a local movie theater, his wife is in a wheelchair, the man calmly returns to management saying, “Thank you for creating an area for my wife to sit but to reach it I have to lift the chair or have my wife lift herself up from the chair and walk to a different area.” Today, that area of the theater is 100% wheelchair capable. Leadership…

I will always believe in you first…

Friday, January 14, 2011

Taking the mask off joy...

Before there can be joy you must first want. To some, the act of wanting arises from the ego’s delusion that you’re a separate fragment that’s disconnected from the power that lies behind all creations.


Doesn’t Want + Want = Joy?

Not according to British spiritualist and teacher Eckhart Tolle who writes, “The Present minus The Past minus The Future = Joy. The quality of your life stands to gain in tremendous strength when your daily efforts are sharply aimed at the current moment. Tolle calls Joy the dynamic aspect of being.

To be or not to be…does that = Joy? Only if you come in touch with the realization that there’s more meaning in Joy than you’ll ever need.

No wonder book stores, libraries, movie theaters and blogging websites are brimming with writers, actors and producers seeking, peaking and pushing aside the curtains that keep them from reaching what they want most…Joy. To fully grasp the equation it’s assumed that more should be poured into the giant goblet than one has to offer.

The reality of it all…the average person spends way too much time trying to get permission from their mind to enjoy. Tolle explains, “The mind doesn’t have time. It shoves your wants, needs and desires aside believing tomorrow will be a better day to handle these things.”

Tomorrow never comes.

When I say, “Radio brings me tremendous joy,” in essence the expression is a misperception. Joy doesn’t come from what you do…it flows into what you dripping onto the awaiting world.

To think radio is my joy is a dangerous game to play; it teaches my conscience that happiness can only be found at this central point never realizing that such an emotion is created outside the circle then brought to radio for display.

The world’s greatest bank teller earns numerous awards for her brilliant way of conducting incredible levels of communication with clients. Her joy is her job. Tolle interrupts, “That’s not true! She finds joy in other places and through her others feel joy at the bank.”

People live in constant frustration because what they call joy is the farthest thing from it. It’s completely natural to believe honking down six beers at a professional football playoff game is the most awesome joy button on earth—if your team loses where’s the joy?

If your current chapters lack significance and are completely stressed out…take the time to look at the entire picture presented. The goal is to become physically conscious of everything you do.

The writer in me was very upset this morning because for three weeks I’ve done nothing but document the horrid reaction I’ve had to heart medicine and what it’s done to the hours shared. Due to the tremendous pain and discomfort the places I’ve labeled joy have become terror tents. But if I don’t document the actions and reactions the final equation will continue to come up zero. Therefore I believe the common cold, flu, soar throat, belly ache and whatever else is keeping you away from your place of joy is in fact a brilliant gift because being sick puts your focus on the now.

The Past + The Future doesn’t = Joy…

You can only find happiness in the now. The joy of being is the joy of conscious. A musician, artist, chef or landscaper might design things that bring unforgettable joy to your life but reality being what it is…that cannot be unless you bring it from yourself first.

What are your current goals? What’s keeping you from maintaining the perfect path to achieve everything you’ve dreamed of being? What if you took your mind off the competition and located truth in your joy?

Radio is my place of joy but joy doesn’t begin here. It starts each morning at sunrise when I dip a writing instrument into a pool of ink and begin the process of word play.

I will always believe in you first…

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lose weight while gaining strength without losing your breath...

Something to think about: Everyone knows how to pour tea, everyone knows how to drink tea but not everyone knows how to pour and drink tea mindfully. According to Vietnamese author and Buddhist Monk Thick Nhat Hahn we’ve evolved into a nation of people that find strength in running away from the here and now. Nearly every step taken is driven by habit energy.


Master Harris patiently convinced his students of martial arts that habits require thirty days to generate a reason to stay. This is why you constantly see sharp dressed kickers and punchers doing the same routine over and over again. Through these methods of discipline the outside eye that reaches in for a visit because breaking boards and bricks look ever so cool end up leaving the way of life because the art of mindfulness isn’t invited to the pages they write.

We want to lose weight now. Not next week or a month. Get this stuff off me now! We want to write books now. We want unforgettable Hollywood movies to constantly inspire and influence and every song and conversation on the radio better be good or Lord help me I’ll hit the button.

Three days of winter in the Carolina’s and easily spotted are the go getters that waste more time and energy chasing habits then they do making a difference. I used to think only old people are worthy of embracing change. The young of the world are created to make mistakes and eventually the callus from their hourly falls become thick enough to convince the soon to be old that being so daring is for a different time and age.

An old man isn’t a wise man…a wise person is he or she that isn't afraid to teach from experience.

Be an outsider today and take notes. Look at what you do at work and at home through the eyes of a passerby and see if you can identify your source of habit energy.

Constantly I’m told by visitors how hard they’re trying to revamp their love for life but trip immediately because those around them aren’t willing to let them grow. I get it! Who wants to live in the present? I’m so embarrassed by our performance that I’d pass on the opportunity to give a free tour of this nation to my Grandparents.

So what do we do? Live in fantasy, the past, future and whatever else Disney is willing to sell in 3D.

Habit energy is amazingly strong. It consumes your waking hours, at work give my life away moments and the minutes and seconds you assume you have when finally back home in front of 30 Rock and The Office. Forget trying to lose the weight around your waist and above your elbows and begin the process of heaving out the excess poundage of habit energy.

You cannot be happy with a beautiful body. Freeing yourself from habit energy transforms your methods of living into moments worth cherishing.

I am addicted to radio and the performance of it. I will do anything to be here. Elvis Presley once told Wolfman Jack that he hated him because Wolfman had a place to perform every night while Elvis had to hire people to find his stage. There is no high like a radio high and why the government hasn’t made it illegal to sniff, snort and swallow is beyond me.

Then an outsider says to me yesterday, “You radio people have it easy compared to the real world. There’s nothing like an extremely busy in the office rush. There are men and women who crave trucking, baking, fixing bowling equipment and delivering mail. There is no AA for job addiction and the way bosses treat their employees these days the average person barely has insurance to cover the damages leaders have created.”

Habit energy…why do you work? Is it truly to live a better life than those before you? Deep inside this recession created by Wall Street, Housing and Banking greed; are you getting the daily opportunity to do what you want or are you following the bunny trail carefully measuring out each step as if you're doing the Electric Slide or Macarena?

Because we lack mindfulness (living in the present) we allow ourselves to be carried away by a desire to have success. It pushes you everyday to the point of becoming a seriously out of control habit. While sipping on tea do you savor the scent that paints the invisible air? Does the flavor electrify your imagination by way of enticing you to purify your imagination by allowing it to give birth to peace of mind rather than tomorrows work day fears?

Thick Nhat Hahn explains, “Even when the tea is in our mouth we aren’t conscious of it. We’re drinking the project, we’re drinking our problems.”

The past is already gone, the future is not yet here; what if you taught yourself to find focus in the present? You truly are missing an appointment with life.

I will always believe in you first…

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

You don't have to be a Cougar to create new conversations...

Unexpected winter weather changes invite one thing; it uncomfortably locks coworkers, part time friends and family members in the same room; the same people you’d otherwise run from. Cabin fever isn’t just about breaking free from boredom but locating the key that kicks down the door to getting back your peace of solitude mind.

But what is the best way to approach the bothersome without offending them?

Workday morals and ethics leader Anne Marie Sabbath invites you to pay close attention to the conversations at hand; take mental notes of the talk, talk, talker’s story line then quickly disengage by regurgitating their words. You do this by shaking the persons hand then referring back to the conversation, “It’s really been nice talking to you. I wish the very best of luck with your twelve toed dog Skippy.”

All too often our exit strategies are blended excuses of, “Oh! A little hungry early today; I need to microwave my lunch. Would you like a cup of coffee? I’ll be back! Man I’ve got to use the bathroom; darn morning burritos.”

When its time to move forward take what you know and give it a friendly shove, “Mike, it’s so cool that you’ve already begun an incredible weight loss program for the New Year; I can’t wait to see how you’re going to inspire the rest of us.”

Now that you know how to get out…let’s see if we can get you in. If fear truly stunts our growth what’s the best way to walk into a room filled with people? Believe it or not this is one of my biggest weaknesses. Several hundred motivational speeches, weddings, book readings, radio station personal appearances and I still can’t figure out a comfortable way to become part of a circle already put into motion. I’d rather skip the free lunch at work than deal with stage fright.

Anne Marie has a solution; position your self as a person with a purpose by creating a mingling strategy. Most solo shows enter a room without structure. Which explains why I instantly feel safe once behind the podium microphone. Seconds after saying, “Howdy Doody,” the actor within shines brighter than Rudolph’s nose on a foggy Carolina Christmas.

Anne Marie explains savvy networkers map out their agenda which includes them approaching three people they don’t know, exchange business cards, acknowledge others on what they do and have done then leave the gathering at a specific time.

Sounds easier said then done right? Tae Kwon Do sparring tournaments were the worst for me! I couldn’t be Johnny Joe Ego Driven Radio Dude, such behavior would’ve easily made me a marked man; people always want to take out the peacock with the nifty funky righteous feathers. For me to land the first, second or three place trophy, the mental mission was to physically walk up to those I’d be fighting and have open forum conversations about technique, dedication, love for the sport and what they’d be doing after the brawl in the hall.

Master Harris says it best, “Winning is a choice…so is choosing not to become a better person each day the sun rises then sets.”

Two types of fear today; the fear of shaking off a pain in the neck gibby gabbing coworker, part time friend or family member to the fear of walking into a room overtaken by others and poof there you stand all alone with nothing to say or share. Both situations can easily be changed into something incredibly positive.

The first natural approach would be to surround yourself with people you know; create a posse of sorts like the big stars in Hollywood and MTV. Really? I mean seriously…constantly being with those you love turns them into a drug; eventually the high becomes a low and without notice the show can’t go on because someone you trusted didn’t act or react the way you wanted them to and suddenly you’ve become the subject of a hot new reality TV show where the world is now laughing at you.

If Puff Daddy, P Diddy, Sean Combs was sitting next to me at this very moment I know in my heart that he pressed the flesh before setting his lips up against the studio microphone. When was the last time you made the effort to sell yourself; to allow new people to get to know you? Create an agenda and do all you can to stay away from closing down the bar.

Time for me to hit the can…get a bologna sandwich, buy tickets to a hot concert; that sounds so trashy. It was an absolute pleasure talking with you today. I really hope you locate a page of happiness in the chapters you write. I will always believe in you first.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Do you suffer from the Peter Principal?

Are you familiar with the Peter Principal? Introduced by Dr. Laurence Peter the proposal connects hierarchies and their employees rising to his or her level of incompetence, if you do a great job you get promoted. The process repeats itself over and over until you reach a point or job you can’t handle.

The Peter Principal…

Published author and Social Networking mastermind Seth Godin paints somewhat of the same canvas believing every organization features its share of hard working, deeply dedicated employees ready to take aim and lead but end up falling flat at the moment of performance due to becoming paralyzed by fear.

Such an evil word that four letter thing. Fear has the strength to steal everything you own without kicking down the front door.

Godin describes leadership as being the essence of being aware of what you fear and having the gift to see it in others wanting to lead.

Instantly I’m shot back to my Native American studies where the Medicine Man calmly walked through the dirt covered unpaved paths patiently waiting for the young child whose actions and reactions spoke out stronger then the best warrior. A Medicine Man spent his entire life teaching his methods of communication be it following the flow of wild game, studying the path of weather, blending plant life with shapeless water and so on…for the wise one to guarantee peace within the circles they kept; leadership was a requirement and getting to it on demand invited a promise in tomorrow.

The Peter Principal has the ability to level a growing field of wild roses just as much as it can purify a modern day work space too clear leaving you with hordes of dreamers but no worker bees to collect an enormous amount of pollen from flowers willing to give it away but without proper leadership it dries under the hot summer sun.

When I hear of family and friends choosing unemployment over seeking an hourly position it’s no different than a robber hoisting a gun to my head then whispering, “Be cool stay home from school.”

If the Peter Principal plays out within the walls of the work zone, why can’t it regenerate its energy over and over again in the halls of home eventually leading a one time deeply involved builder, designer, communicator and or shop foreman into believing their worth is completely justified by earning less and less?

What becomes of a nation when Corporate America realizes there’s too many willing to do it for free?

Leadership is being aware of what you fear and having the gift to see it in others wanting to lead.

Being disposable has made us what? For nearly a week my sister Susan questioned my decision of not taking the valuable record collection with me after the first divorce, “I was there when you worked endlessly at the bowling alley just so you could purchase the hot new songs and posters from Peter Frampton, Bad Company, Boston and Foreigner. It’s not fair that you gave away your childhood!”

Incorporating the Peter Principal approach; I’d say letting go of a childhood record collection put me in several positions where my leadership suffered because I gave in too quickly. When you begin the process of allowing a chunk of clay control you the end result is a rock that collects moss.

Look into the soul of fear and take the first step of being aware of what you fear and begin the process of understanding that you aren’t alone. Fear of bugs, heights and people will probably keep you from holding down a job at Terminix.

Allow yourself to walk the bookstore lanes labeled leadership and pick up a few tips from John C Maxwell, Anthony Robbins, Eckhart Tolle, Donald Trump and others who’ve lived the life and are willing to do what the Medicine Man of past chapters loyally performed daily; slowly walk the dirt covered unpaved paths calmly searching for the one who acts and reacts with better skills than the best warrior.

Stop reading books and study them. Pull in one page then set it down and digest it. Allow your eyes to see the real world then compare what you read to current events surrounding the moment at hand. Play the game: If I was the manager of this place I would…

What have you given up that has served as the hidden little secret that’s taught you how to easily give things up? How much of a role does the Peter Principal play in your personal life and does it run over onto the places you call a career? Are you being controlled by fear?

The most difficult thing about dealing with a great leader is how crass they come across; is it crass or just a determination to see things through in a world where its far to easy to say I don’t have to participate. The Peter Principal goes round and round taking more and more each day you spin. Where could you be doing today if?

And that’s where your journey begins. I will always believe in you first.

Monday, January 10, 2011

If snow came with a reflection what would you see?

Took in the Natalie Portman film Black Swan; depending on which critic you read determines the distance of your personal likes and dislikes about a ballet dancer completely consumed by the importance of taking inner passion and feeding it an over dose of self driven addiction trimmed down to belief.

Hardcore performance flicks comfort me; anyone who’s sold their soul to an act of performance walks an extremely lonely path because no one knows of the way you’ve walked, not even those that stand close because just like the movie, being open with you’re your emotions takes on the shape of a weapon and at any moment it can be turned against you. Sadly, it’s usually thy self against self.

Being critical is the assumed accepted treatment. Everybody’s on a mission and to get where we need to be requires a firm push from parents to bosses, coworkers and friends; no day is lived without there being somebody pushing. But that doesn’t make it right.

According to Dr. Richard Carlson people who stand on the receiving end of our criticism are in fact looking at the image of the deliverer sending a message to them self. It’s almost like the Martial Arts Way; the best instructors are truly the greatest students. There were many classes that I’d sit on the outside of the study area doing nothing more than watching feet pivot, fists aim to high, blocks not properly protecting. Seeing another student not follow direction taught me how to be even more critical of myself.

Dr. Carlson writes, “Being critical gets you nowhere. It does no good. Being critical solves nothing, it contributes to anger and distrust.”

Natalie Portman’s character in Black Swan was completely surrounded by several levels of criticism from the chorographer lashing out against her unwillingness to let go to an over protective stage mother to other dancers that bled with jealousy and any criticism they did offer fell flat of being truly taken in.

Julia Cameron teaches us to display our art to learn how to ignore criticism and yet it was an art show in New Orleans that silenced my paint brush. Physically grasping onto the presence of criticism is like touching a hot electric wire; there’s no guarantee you’ll make it to the opposite side feeling bright, beautiful and ordinary.

The Dr reminds us that criticism is like swearing, it’s nothing more than a bad habit. It’s too easy to get used to doing and just like a classic curse fest nothing keeps us from displaying the emotion in public. How often do you criticize yourself or others never realizing that an entire army of witnesses are paying close attention?

At times Black Swan was like looking into my radio mirror; I live, breathe and sell out for this stage and when things don’t move the way I dreamed the push becomes stronger encouraging damage to take its un-rightful place in the chapters I keep. In recent years I’ve been able to take the negatives invited and turn them into books now published, a canvas on an expected collectors wall and music that’s written and produced in a real studio and not onto a cassette tape tossed into a box then hidden in an attic for a future date with the change of life.

And that’s exactly how Dr. Carlson tries to explain how to handle our addiction to letting criticism fly like a bright red cardinal on a spring sun filled day in Carolina. Observe what you are doing to yourself and others by figuring out a way to unlock your partnership with the emotion.

I will not aircheck or critique an up and coming radio announcer. They arrive with sound in their hands and want me to listen; to which I quickly reply, “Welcome to the first step of your brand new beginning…only you have the right to compare; I wasn’t with you during the growing process therefore I don’t have the right to criticize. I can only take what I hear today and make you better for tomorrow.”

When you criticize you are shaming, deflating as well as attacking. In recent months I’ve learned to study my body language while being criticized; the chair is pushed back into the corner while leaning really hard on my left arm as if to create more pain than what’s being delivered.

What do you do? Bite the inner first layer of your mouth and lip? Do you quickly rush to the coffee pot to get high off caffeine? Chocolate? Fast food is an incredible rush.

Thick Nhat Hahn a Buddhist Monk puts value in his teachings when sharing, “If you are introduced to someone who is careless with their emotions bring no judgment or criticism against them for you will have done nothing but join their life and style. Accept that they are having a bad day and wish them a much better time.”

According to Dr. Richard Carlson people who stand on the receiving end of our criticism are in fact looking at the image of the deliverer sending a message to them self.

Be aware of who and what you criticize. Once it takes place look at yourself in the rearview mirror and softly ask, “What’s going on with me that would invite all that?”

I will always believe in you first…

Friday, January 7, 2011

My Blonde Rock n Roll roots are beginning to show...continues

January 7, 2011

As a poet/songwriter my passions sit inside the marks Gordon Lightfoot left on American culture; less rhyming and timing and more Wreck of the Edmunds Fitzgerald. Storytelling warms the ambition, the inner visual that listeners rarely touch unless provoked to physically listen beyond sound. In radio we call it theater of the mind.

During John Lennon’s last interview he discussed how difficult it was to write music. The pieces of poetry left to dry from Double Fantasy took five years to incubate while songs like Good Morning, Good Morning from Sgt Pepper were pressured out of him inside a week’s time.

“I don’t know how to play,” John explained, “Paul was the one that invited the fun.”

John saw music as art while bravely unveiling what happens to the kindest people when the choice is to leave it inside and not share it with a passerby, “A man wants to take a brush and paint his daughters image on a giant canvas; she lives several miles from home and yet his love for her is unforgettably strong. An unexpected death silences the journey and nobody not even the daughter sees the art that which he held inside.”

The song Beautiful Boy from Lennon was written about his son Sean, “I had to make a choice; walk outside and play ball with my son or paint a photograph that Sean could hold forever.”

The images a singer/songwriter pours into the empty cups of our everyday are lost due to song hooks that invite listeners away from the message. It’s too easy to borrow our own interpretation; producers, managers and moneymakers collaborate everyday to seize control of the next melody this nation will hum. To think heart ache tonight, a heart ache tonight is the only part of the Eagles song we carry with us into the grocery store is nothing more than a curve ball in an imaginary baseball game.

Paul Stanley of KISS and I discussed for several minutes the art of being accepted in a gallery; the first step is believing in the vision the client has seen. Although a shade of red mixed with an overtone of lavender dotted with two glimpses of gold might have been the artist’s impression of depression, the purchaser might welcome it as the rainbow of hope that not only spoke to them but taught their feet to move to a safer path of recovery.

Who’s right? Or does there have to be an answer?

While visiting last week my sister Susan asked if I’d release control of one of my songs to her musician friend who found a deeper meaning. Whether it was ego talking or some form of protection; I quickly popped the song into the cd player explaining the story and reasons why the layout came into being. I wasn’t offended but only wanted to offer what Lennon explained in his final interview. I’m doing what’s required by making the music available for others to tap into but to release control is an avenue not yet visited. She can record it but to call it her own made me feel uncomfortable.

Up next on the session front is a piece Alan peacefully put into motion on the guitar asking me to invite the presence of a storyline connected to these two sentence: and it turned so slow; and it hurt so bad. What fell from the tip of my writing instrument embraces love from what I call the silent wolf point of living life. We watch father's and son's locate unbreakable connections and then one day part of the music passes. It was deeply inspired by a good friends most recently loss. Interestingly enough he'll probably never hear the song the way it was meant to be written.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I really "F"ed up

Anyone who knows me quickly realizes that being born during the final weeks of the month of June puts me in the center of being a true to life Cancer. Forget the typical description of being creative, compassionate and filled with joy…Cancers are dominated from birth with the horrible disease of fear. We worry so much warts grow on top of warts making us freakishly cool worry wart warts.

Growing up I was constantly accused of being hypo. As in a hypochondriac.

Hypochondria isn’t a person that fears failure, Mom always worried about making ends meet but that didn’t make her a hypochondriac. What about the fear of bugs and thugs, elevators, trains and the fear of meeting people? Nope!

Hypochondria; the fear one has with their health.

A sniff, sneeze or wheezing invites the invasion of horrid nightmares that something far worse is developing in places you can’t see. Like the price of gas…it’s on the increase. A hypochondrium is beginning to run ramped due to the internet with its instant access to free answers without professional guidance.

Swine Flu, Bird Flu, heart attack, cancer, pneumonia and Parkinson’s disease websites are hit by the thousands daily from average people wanting to know what the sharp pain is in the center of their back. Google it sometime, you’ll spend a week reading about how grandmother’s and uncles that ignored it were knocked off the planet for doing so.

Two weeks ago my cardiologist felt a burning need to sit down in front of me and laugh, “Yes your body is talking to you but you’re ignoring the message.”

Yes there was something seriously wrong but it didn’t involve his department. It’s no hidden fact; my life is constantly on the run. If I’m not moving the imagination is generating ideas that’ll create new waves to ride. The moment something begins to slow; instantly I’m at the doctor begging for tests. Hypochondriac…

And then without notice, a stumble into a chiropractors office who just happened to have a sliver of time open asks, “Since you’re here…need a pop?” Scoliosis. I hadn’t heard that word since the seventh grade when they had us bent over touching our toes in the nurses office. Instantly I flew onto the web where it boldly states it injures the heart and production of the lungs. No wonder I’ve been short of breath!

To the normal person…forget about it. To a hypochondriac? Reason number SCOLIO76213 to lay awake at night trying to figure out how you were going to straighten that backbone out. My new best friend is the chiropractor who quickly came clean with me, “This isn’t the reason why you’re having problems breathing.”

Holy lungs with no air Batman!

Sadly when a hypochondriac doesn’t locate answers they’re driven faster toward the edge of insanity; which only creates stress. Another body beating machine that leaves you murky muddy and out of control. Two doctors down and still no sign of relief. The voices in my head couldn’t be wrong! I couldn’t easily give up!

Another call, another doctor…except this time I was taking all the medication with me. Glad I did…after three weeks of unhealthy fear a trickle of hope has risen from the tattered and torn mindset of a hypochondriac on a mission to save his world. Turns out this pill was cancelling out that pill and this itty bitty thingy was melting my muscles to thin shreds of nothingness. The combination of lifesavers assumed to be correcting what I assumed was wrong was in fact taking a toll on my desire to never stop.

I carry a black bag with me everywhere I go filled with every over the counter drug that could, would or might be of importance at any given moment of the day. For someone who wants to be healthy that’s the first step of creating an extremely dangerous unhealthy situation.

The doctors claim I have asthma which is eased into a state of acceptance with prescription inhalers. Not if you’re on beta blockers. For three weeks I’ve been having nonstop asthma attacks and the medications prescribed were canceling each other out completely whacking out the system that keeps me standing up straight. I’ve lost 17 pounds in three weeks. Being a hypochondriac did two things; it kept me on the path to locate peace while destroying the trees and other pretty things because I fear being sick everyday.

Hidden message; your doctor needs to know everything you’re taking. Assuming you know could lead to the final step in the book of you. There are too many over the counter drugs available for relief but not a cure. Meth heads did this nation one great thing; it’s forced pharmacists to keep a closer eye on the really dangerous stuff that’s easily sold to anybody with cash.

What this cold and flu pill does for you might not match the ingredients of the high blood pressure pill that’s saving your life. Makes me wonder how many other people are shooting blanks. It’s like swimming in a 400 foot deep mountain lake with no lifeguard. How willing are you to swim out to the center and get back? You do it everyday with these easy to take meds perfectly designed to free you of a sniff, grunt and ohhhhh.

Get off the web and start asking real questions to real doctors. 100 people are born on the same day you are. Only 2 make it to 50. What’s your safety net?

I will always believe in you first…

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fake or baked?

Author Lou Solomon writes, “Children laugh an average of 146 times a day; adults laugh an average of 4 times a day.”

Is this why I grew up thinking the father figure was a total butt? I was having a great time. I assumed he wasn’t. Even in adult clothes it’s extremely important to me to bump shoulders with a grumpy coworker or family member. If you aren’t laughing I’ll make an a** out of myself to pump up your volume.

Being that its January bookstores are the next best thing to workout gyms; they hold what you need to come across as a happier person. Problem is what’s written touches the ring of colors inside your eyes then drops off the corners like snot falling from the nose. The experiences of those before us aren’t given permission to sink in.

How to books are junk food for wanna-be happy people. It tastes so good during the moments of discovery but instantly become stale when required to make a physical change. For the longest time I was extremely guilty of hoisting the I am a better me flag until the pages painted a newer reason to drop the life and style I was leading. Although my wife has been incredibly supportive, the man away from the mirror became addicted to looking away from reality.

That all changed when Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way poked its giant foot out and tripped the creative within. For seventeen years every step, decision, dream and landscape of thoughts arriving inside the realms of reality have been my guide; her desire to share a safe path burst open every reason to teach the adult that we too can laugh 146 times a day.

Julia taught me how to stop reading How to Books and start studying the message; which brings me to a quote from Jazz legend Charlie Parker, “Learn your instrument then forget the stuff you were taught and wail.”

Michelangelo saw an angel in the block of marble that stood before him. What do you see when staring at the block of human flesh in the mirror?

Since 2008 I’ve seen more dreams crumble into five hundred thousand pieces to the cold rock covered floor then walked away from like it was dead and lost forever. It’s as if we’ve forgotten the story of the tree. Each fall it drops its leaves only to sit naked through the coldest of months and in the end there are new leaves for spring with flowers on apple trees that give us treats by summers end.

The recession is over; very few believe it. We continue to hang our heads, roll in our shoulders and keep walking forward forgetting to laugh. What’s so funny about being unemployed or holding down ten part time jobs without insurance? I have a friend that works for a company whose clients pummel her ambition everyday because outside our rose colored glasses the world doesn’t respect America like it once did.

Julia Cameron teaches us that People Magazine and other paparazzi outlets will forever be incredible moneymakers because this generation can’t stop comparing itself to other people having a bad day. We find peace of mind watching the famous trip, stumble, skip and flip in relationships that shouldn’t have happened but they did because somewhere within their world each of their hearts located a reason to believe their soul mate was someone who had experienced exactly what they did.

According to Donny Osmond one of his greatest friendships was with Michael Jackson. They spent countless nights as kids talking on the phone about what it’s like being on the road away from true neighborhoods and real schools and churches.

How can a show like Mike and Molly work on CBS? Because it makes being overweight acceptable. Why did the world tune into Paula Abdul’s new show Live to Dance? To check in on an old friend that’s been accused of falling off a billion wagons.

We are completely addicted to the negatives that we have no time to seek out something positive. Which brings me to the Tim McGraw song Live Like You Are Dying; if today proved to be what the song suggests…how many laughs did you get in before your number was called?

In my second book Another 1,021 Thoughts I share my views on comedy. It doesn’t exist unless you can relate with the storyteller. Its time we stop giggling with the laugh tracks and start participating with the circles we keep.

Second degree black belt test…we were asked to do 100 sit ups…after running two miles, busting out 100 squats, 100 push ups and nearly a thousand kicks, punches and falls…I unexpectedly ripped a big one on the person holding my feet. I couldn’t stop laughing not because of the embarrassment but my Master shouted, “Everybody does it.”

What? I’m not alone. Pop open a can of warm Root Beer and lets host the first annual let it all hang out party. Stop worrying about your bank account and start putting focus on the number of times you laugh. Those are the numbers we’ve got to get up.

I’ll always believe in you first…

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Music is where I go to hide...

Music is said to be the universal language and yet the only place the majority of us find it is on the radio, television, smoke filled bar or walking past a music store in a beat up strip mall.

Author Brian Andreas writes about his Grandmother, “Don’t you hear it? I shook my head no and then she started to dance and suddenly there was music everywhere.”

In nature there are no commercial breaks. The keeper of all that jazz doesn’t feel a need to capitalize on the presence of something so incredible.

The Beatles holding out as long as they did to release the rights to their music to ITunes was nothing more than the human ego set on fire. If alive today John Lennon would’ve done it differently. His passion was music and the creation of it but more importantly he felt incredibly moved more by what his presentations did to the average person and all too often he would sit with the masters of the biz questioning them on why they felt a personal need to keep the music from those it was meant for.

Daryl Hall from Hall and Oates hasn’t disappeared; rather than chase fans around the world where ticket fees feed everybody but the band and their fans…he operates a free web page called Live from Daryl’s House where the music featured covers everything from Smokey Robinson to Good Charlotte.

Don’t you hear it?

Music is where I go to hide.

Away from radio, the recording studio, DJ service and movie premieres music continues to play a major importance but only if it’s brought to the center of the room by way of the sound maker being what it was intended to do. A ceiling fan is an incredible rhythm machine. So is a dishwasher swooshing around water like it a fingerprint being left to play on the neck of a guitar or the gentle white sound a television makes when a channel can’t be found. What I miss more than anything is the rattle, hum and tap, tap, click swing clunk of an extremely busy office overflowing with electronic typewriters.

What if we stopped searching for our favorite songs and took up the call of a bright red cardinal?

I swear the father figure was addicted to the clinking of metal because he constantly banged his tools on things. Mom found pleasure in washing dishes because the slip, swish, clink of a large dinner plate moved from the water to the rack invited personal pleasure. My sister picked fights because the ringing out of several voices was like going to a KISS concert.

Ocean waves are music. Touch it up with the sound of gulls and funky little birds with long legs and tiny feet combined with the occasional dolphin that spews sea junk into the damp air while your feet fight to even the position of your body slowly sinking between the toes.
On the homestead, I’ve got six doves, a blue crowned conure and a cockatiel singing at the same time; loud only to those who find no music in squawks, chirps, cooing and peck peck peck into the large bowl of seeds then swoopy de swoop a bird bath in the middle of the afternoon.

Peel away your desire to hear Michael Buble and Pearl Jam. Drop your craving to crank up Lady Gaga and Madonna. Seize control of the efforts placed in purchasing Kid Rock, Dave Matthews and the occasional memory making Celine Dion and reacquaint your day to the sounds that are with you everyday but you’ve learned to tune them out.

True inner peace begins when you learn to listen to your heart beat; radio and television will be there when you get back.

If you’re 2011 is nothing more than a rotten nearly dry orange or tart apple sitting on the bottom of a fruit bowl know you’ve got the power to make a choice; be in a great mood or sulk. I can’t be the only one who see’s a frown and runs. Save that face for the clowns at the circus and get your tail back on the trail of real music.

A radio guy telling you to turn me off is a broadcaster inviting you to be yourself again.

Silence is music especially when you retrain yourself to recognize the essence of everything around you; a car engine purring while heat pours from the vents keeping your fingertips and toes nicely warm; a cold wind hiding behind a very large tree anxiously waiting for you to walk by so it can chill your spine. The scratching of pen meeting paper while physically writing thank you notes to those that purchased you gifts for Christmas.

Don’t you hear it?

I will always believe in you first…

Monday, January 3, 2011

Believe in what you think...

Using your imagination is the art of telling yourself stories. According to the book The Powers Within; putting energy in what your imagination thinks is giving permission to your self to visit the place where things are fresh and pure.

Learning how to tell your self a story becomes the path to that extremely hard to locate inner peace.

Got into a deep conversation with the visiting sisters that dealt with this very topic; an outsider might construe it as being selfish, limitless and in some cases a little careless. Peel away judgment and you’re left with the agreement that we all think at different levels; I put so much focus and trust on the future that I’ve often been asked about the color of the clouds in the sci-fi worlds kept. Susan finds her peace on a path connected to the past while Jamie lets it roll off her shoulder.

Three completely different places of escape yet we all have the same DNA. Now toss in my wife Lee whose personality is completely wrapped around family, the spirit of connection and the patience of a saint. I can’t tell you how many social networking writers questioned the number of family spits, spats and arguments. Not one break out, loose lip or forgotten manners…

Learning to recognize the presence of the imagination requiring something fresh and pure opens the door for peace to grow rose colored petals bathed in platinum and gold. Turning your imagination into something physical creates an expression you’re fully capable of shaping.

Teach yourself how to tell the story. I write everyday. Susan cranks up the music to hear the lyrics while Jamie gets completely involved in reaching out to help, help and help even if it’s a stranger.

The Powers Within explains, “The dreams of childhood are the realities of mature age.”

Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way allows us to believe in the presence of there always being a child; an inner energy that loves to create, draw, cook, blend and bend colors of the rainbow while laughing the day away. But because we’re taught, scolded and reprimanded for being too kidlike, the older we get the less we dream about conquering things as an adult settling instead on a past that none of us were born with special powers to change.

New Years resolutions cannot be brought to the surface of reality without there being a river or stream stretching from the origin of your imagination. For Oprah to launch her OWN Network, it required a thought, a vision and child’s imagination dressed up in adult clothes. As much as you want to give her full credit for doing something that no other daytime talk show host has attempted; the success of the network doesn’t fit 100% in the palms of her hands. What her imagination she created with the people that surround her everyday.

NASCAR is the only sport, entertainment outlet and or drama on television that guarantees its fans that everybody on the team shall be recognized for their efforts. Hollywood tries to do it during the Golden Globes and Oscars but it comes out forced.

To get where you want to go in 2011 convince the voices in your head that it’s completely ok to be you and in doing so allow jealousy to take a seat on a separate flight. Family brawls, coworker battle royals and raised fingers in the center of traffic puts age on the machines required to make your dreams come true.

Putting energy in what your imagination thinks is giving permission to your self to visit the place where things are fresh and pure. If I hadn’t shared what my imagination carried with it into another typical Sunday the opportunity of being with my sisters on New Years Eve on a beach instead of a bar would’ve never happened. Once again, I can’t thank my wife Lee enough for allowing my weirdness to be accepted everyday. And thanks to you for helping to make In Search of Jamie one of the biggest social networking writing projects of my writing career.

I will always believe in you first…