Followcraig: “40 Years!”

...and you’re still reading

It’s been a few months since my last post and I have been thinking that we should catch up. Hopefully your life and experiences have been good these last months? I have been busy, busy working on my business, my home and life in general. I have also been reading a lot. Learning and refreshing skills of personal development, setting goals, helping others and finding a way to become a little bit better everyday. It’s been wonderful and so inspiring to read, listen and study people like Jim Rohn, Grant Cardone, Tony Robbins, John Maxwell, Mel Robbins and so many others. These life coaches have really become a part of my daily routine. I have also been more active in Alcoholics Anonymous, joined a new church and working hard to help others in and around my life and business life. Basically, I am living one day at a time always looking forward.

It’s funny though? Sometimes when you just don’t expect it, something or someone comes along or we find ourselves in just the right place when you need it the most. Then something magical and eye opening happens. I have decided to share one of those moments with you,

Today I was attending an AA meeting. An ordinary Friday 12:00 noon meeting. One I attend most Fridays right here in Rio Vista. Today was a “Birthday Day” and those days are often a joy. However today was very special as a gentleman spoke up who has just celebrated 40 years sober “one day at a time”. Truly an accomplishment but that is not the story? He spoke of his life today, what it’s like now after all these years living a sober life. He happens to be a top selling author (5) novels, he has traveled the world and has built several successful businesses. I happen to know where he lives and he lives very well, in fact he just returned from a one month world cruise. I remember when he and his partner left for that trip a few months ago. His life is full of incredible experiences, travels and achievements. You may wonder, did this all happen because he remained sober for 40 years or was there more?

So this is what happened? About 35 years ago in an obscure meeting in Oregon a guest stood up and spoke. this man listened. This stranger said clearly that sober is good however if you wish to find happiness and peace in life you must get busy. You must begin by writing down everything you can dream of, everything you wish you could do or have. All that you have ever wanted to do or would like to accomplish! You must have a purpose and get on with it. So my neighbor wrote all this down and began carrying this list with him everyday for these last 35 years. After he finished his short story of what’s happened in his life I was blessed to see this folded up list he carries with him everyday. I took a photo of the battered list and so wanted to share what was written at the bottom with you.

I think this truly applies to all of us, so please enjoy.

“A man should conceive of a legitimate purpose in his heart and set out to accomplish it. He should make this purpose the centralizing point of his thoughts. It may take the form of a spiritual ideal, or it may be a worldly object according to his nature at the time being; but whatever it is, he should steadily focus his thought-forces upon the object which he has set before him…It is his duty!”

Please keep following………..Craig

 

20120530-113448.jpg

FollowCraig: Birthday’s

It’s been a while but I’m still writing….

Don’t you just love Birthdays? When I was a kid birthdays were always so much fun. So many people, family and friends would celebrate “ME”! WOW, that was GREAT. My Special Day. Oh my, the ice cream, the games, the presents..all because I was born.

Of course all these memories come to me as I am about to to celebrate another birthday. In just a couple of days I will reach a milestone of 65 years old. Truly never could imagine back when I was that kid with all those presents and ice cream that I would ever be this old! Funny though I don’t feel old at all, not at all!

If you have been reading my blog posts over the last few years it may have occurred to you that my life is and has been very blessed. Oh yes the troubles have come, the pain, the hurt, the loss and so much more. However with all that my blessings have been so many. I have two wonderful children who have become such terrific healthy adults with families of their own, my home life is so stable and wonderful, my home is peaceful and beautiful as well as having a beautiful boat and so much more. My health is good and my friends are many. Yes my life has been good so far.

So now it’s my birthday and the looming age of 65..awesome. Someone asked me the other day if I am retired and it was so exciting to answer “NO, I’m re-wired” Now you may wonder what that means to be “re-wired”?

For so long I have been telling my story, you know that story we tell of how things were or what we used to do or used to be? That great story of all we have done or not done, the troubles and the joys. This list goes on and on. Remembering our past and all our experiences is truly wonderful and as we grow older and wiser these memories become even more dear to our life story. Now that I am about to be 65 it is so important to me to never forget my past. This however brings me to “re-wired”.

It came to me not long ago that the a definition of getting old is: “ When you are talking more about what you’ve done than what your going to do, you”re getting old”

Re-wired! New thinking…

As I pointed out earlier, Birthdays are wonderful and for me it was mostly the gifts and I did love the gifts! So this his year I have decided to give myself a gift. It is the greatest personal gift I have ever given to just me. You may be surprised as this gift actually does not cost any money, it’s not some new toy or some fancy dinner out. No-one else is gifting it to me as it is only a gift to myself. Now you may wonder what could it be? As I used to say “perhaps it’s a silver new nothing with a hole in it?” No, its not even that.

So this is my gift!

I have decided to get a “divorce from my story and I’m getting on with my truth!”

This is my gift..now a little ice cream!
You’re still reading and I’m still writing…

So please keep following..

Craig

FollowCraig: Re-Post (72 cents)

Special Post: A few years ago while having some difficulty in my life and my marriage I wrote this particular post. Our Pastor and my friend “Rev. Lon Haack” helped me through that difficult time with this short story. I of course wrote about this experience and perhaps aired a little too much personal laundry at the time however that’s another story. The reason for this post today is that this coming Saturday January 16th, 2016 we will be attending final services for our friend Lon. He passed away in November just before Thanksgiving while on a visit with his family in Nebraska. He was taken by a cancer he did not know he had until it was discovered much to late to stop. I will miss my friend so very much and remember all the times he and I spoke of so many issues including life, theology, politics and more. He was a very well educated man who had been fortunate enough to travel the world. Lon was a long time resident of San Francisco and enjoyed the city so much. So with all that said, I say good-bye Lon and thank you for allowing me to be part of your continuing journey…..Craig

R.I.P. Rev. Lon Haack

IMG_0492

….and your still reading

Two quarters, two dimes and two pennies. So just what does 72 cents have to do with anything you may wonder? That was the question I asked of my Pastor just the other day when speaking about my own marriage troubles. Do you ever wonder about your own relationship? Perhaps like me, mistakes happen? You and your partner are having trouble and just wondering is the relationship worth it? Do you think you care more than your partner about the relationship? Should you or they just wash their hands of it and walk away? Do you ever ask just how much are you or your partner are willing to invest in making it all work? So when speaking with my Pastor about this very subject, he suggested we do this. Each of us to take the penny, the dime and the quarter along with an empty envelope. Go to quiet place both in mind and heart. Look at that money, think about the love between you and the life you have or want. Clearly determine how much that relationship is worth and how much you are really willing to invest in it. Take your penny, dime and quarter in your hand. Put the amount you think your relationship is worth into that envelope. There is no time limit to this or a right or wrong amount. Only your own value, your willingness and the value you place on this relationship is what matters. Share if you want or not, but you will know for certain the value you place and then decide how much more to invest if any? I know the value of mine, do you know yours?

I’m still writing, you’re still reading, so please keep following…..

Craig

 

FollowCraig: “Boxes Packed”

and you’re till reading…….

Oh my G..! It’s moving day again. What a stressful and crazy thing it is to move from one home to another. The excitement of the new place to live can certainly be a joy and yet leaving the old can be so very exhausting. I remember when I was young how often our family moved before I was even 10 years old, (it was like once a year). Then we bought a home and I didn’t move again until my late teens. Then again, it never stopped. For years to come I had lost count how many homes, apartments, rooms and such I have lived. After all these years one would think it’s easy for me to pack up and go?

Well it’s not.

I think the hardest part about moving are the memories. In my life as I have moved from place to place and many things have been lost. Most were just things that could easily be replaced and some are impossible to ever replace. Memories however remain and for me often that is all that remains, so I have learned to covet these memories. All the experiences like the kids playing or the first time they walked or talked. That first report card or the loss of someone dear. All the celebrations, all the tears and all the memories that can only go into boxes, “Mind Boxes” packed away to be opened from time to time and just for us. My mind is filled with these “Boxes Packed” full of joy, sadness, love. emotion and photographs of my life so far. Little time capsules of sorts?

As I listen and watch others who are moving from place to place, my curiosity to know what they are feeling is certainly a wonder. Yet I know like me their memories are stored away.

This all comes to my mind as this move is upon me. Almost seven years ago my life began to settle from years of moving and no longer did I feel like a gypsy wondering where I would sleep next. This has been a wondrous experience and I cherish it so much. So now as we get ready to move to our new home it occurs to me this may very well be my last move. All the “Mind Boxes” are coming and they filled to the brim, and some are even ready to be opened for the last time. Pictures of life experiences and family will be placed on our walls so we can easily peer into those boxes of life. I am excited about this move, I truly am. An excitement of content so to speak, one of content within myself.

My dearest friend “Claude” said to me years ago that there are few better feelings than having a key to your own front door. How very true that is! I have had a key to my own front door for sometime now and I am so grateful.

I hope if you are moving or have moved that you can find a way to keep your memories close, that you too can find peace and be settled. That you can be in a place to begin opening your “Mind Boxes” and look forward to the new joys ahead.

Thanks for reading and please keep following…….

Craig

FollowCraig: Happy!

……and your still following

A few nights ago my lovely wife asked if I would write about something happening now and not reflect so much on my past experiences. After thinking about her request it occurred to me that happiness sums up what’s happening now, so here I go!

It seems to me that happiness is such an under studied emotion. We so often read about sadness, loss, frustration, difficulties and more. Great novels and movies are often written from the depths of despair & fear. But happiness is something very different. It’s a special state of mind and spirit. I believe true happiness comes from being secure in oneself.

I for one have experienced great happiness as well as small and almost unnoticeable moments of joy. Everyday when my feet land on the ground as I awake, I am at peace with the day ahead and that little moment makes me very happy.

In my own life so much good fortune and happiness has landed at my feet that I too often have stepped right over it without even taking a moment to recognize it, let alone be grateful in the moment. However I am truly blessed with great memories and would just like to take a few minutes and share some of my life joy’s with you. Hopefully your own joyful and happy memories will be sparked for you as I share with you.

Today my two grown children each with their own families have made me grandfather seven times! I am married to a wonderful partner who brings great joy and peace in my life. She is smart, warm, loving and gives all of her heart to her family and her life. In addition we have a small dog who seems to love me unconditionally (awesome). Today my life is filled with very dear friends who can count on me and I can count on them. My spiritual life is sound and I am secure in my faith. Today I have standards to live by and strive to be present always.

Some would say having a key to your own front door is no big deal but for me that’s one of the things I am most grateful for and brings me great joy & peace. Plus I live where I want rather than where I have to. Recently a dream of mine came true as I now have a beautiful boat to enjoy and share.

IMG_1244

I am happy that my health is good and now that I am nearly 64 years old all my hair remains on my head.

It brings me joy that all those in my family are still here. My mother is alive and well and my father has left me so many lessons and memories.

I am happy that God stepped into my life all those years ago and caused me to make the choices and changes so I can be here today.

Happiness presents itself in so many ways from the smallest experience, emotion or thing to the ones large, noticeable or even remarkable. There is truly nothing more joyful than getting up each day knowing that the day ahead includes me and I will get to play with and live in it! Knowing that I am at peace with my spirit and heart. These are the things that make me happy.

Perhaps the real happiness and joy in my life is grounded in gratitude?

Who knows if anything I’ve written today sparks some memories or if for a moment you too feel the happiness and joy of life as I do? I do know this, if everyday we each would take a few moments to remember 5 things we are grateful for in our lives it would be impossible not to be happy everyday!

 

I’m still writing, you’re still reading so please keep following…..

 

Craig

20120610-213145.jpg

FollowCraig: “Spare Change”

You’re still reading ………
I have a special place on my desk for spare change, it’s a large and very oversize martini shaped glass and it is always filled with my left over daily pocket change. Every day, week and month change builds to overflowing and then I take it somewhere to cash it in. Sometimes I even grab some coins for little extra things I might need that day. It’s just a great feeling to have spare change for the little extras or to give someone a tip or the occasional helper some cash. Yes, spare change is really comforting to have.

Earlier today while out walking our puppy dog “Clyde” It occurred to me that life is much like that martini glass on my desk. Every day, week, month and year we leave a little of us somewhere everyday and bring home our experiences, failures, successes and all that each minute of the day leaves in us. So how is this really like spare change?

Years ago it was difficult for me to feel any level of comfort in my own skin. Really impossible! I had to continually be the loudest person in the room, the one wearing custom shirts and showing off all my bling. So self-centered that there was really no space for anyone else in my life but me and my ego. If anyone were to ask me what I believed in or stood for, I would just make up something that sounded good for the moment. My bank accounts were as empty as my soul and my actions had no spare room for others. Sounds pretty bad doesn’t it? Basically I had no spare emotions, compassion or real love to give to anyone else. It was sort of like having no spare change. Nothing extra for me or for others.

How many of us are lucky enough to finally realize these flaws and troubles in our lives in time to change them? I don’t know the answer but I do know that it happened for me. Not long ago it occurred to me that I had become comfortable in my own skin and that self-centered behavior just was not in me any longer. It was as if God just stepped in one day and made me ..me.

Now you may wonder why I’m writing about this now and at this time? Simply this, I have two friends and one in particular who has fallen very ill with cancer. One friend has been so blessed to have discovered it early enough to treat this and my other friend may go home to his heaven very soon. These two men have and always will be my friends. They have each shown me what it is like to have a remarkable and generous character. Both are so blessed to have given so much to so many. They are both so comfortable in themselves that they are able to give so much extra to others. Just like that spare change in that glass on my desk that often overflows.

So perhaps having spare change really is not about money at all but rather just being in that place that you’re able to give away more than you ever need. More love, more, compassion, more time to listen and just more of yourself to others that just don’t have any spare change.

I’m still writing, you’re still reading, so please keep following……

Craig

FollowCraig: It’s Over! “I Quit”

You’re still reading and I’m still writing……
Have you ever just reached the point when you say to yourself, it’s over? In the course of my life I have come to that conclusion many times. Most people don’t know this about me but for a period of time in my life I had become a victim of a very abusive and destructive relationship. My days and nights were filled with fear of both personal danger and that of self induced guilt that I was not good enough to please my partner. My personal self esteem had dropped to basement level depression. The continual pain mixed with keeping face and struggling to be optimistic that life would be great if I would just be better. Not to many years prior to this disaster of a relationship, I had also been a total drunk.

Oh yes all the crap you could think of doing wrong, I did it! I’m sharing some of these stories of my life experience for both the selfishness of just getting rid of it as well as being hopeful I can encourage just one person that it’s ok to just stop!

Several years ago and for many years at that, I just flat lived way beyond my means. I don’t mean only paycheck to paycheck but rather just flat stupid overboard. I would earn great income, spend a fortune in cocktail lounges, always picked up the tab, bought whatever I wanted and never really worried about paying anyone or any bill on time. My bank account would often be overdrawn and my behavior reckless at best. It had become so important to be liked that I would recklessly sacrifice all level of integrity to just survive and pretend I was really great! What a crock of sh..!

I remember when I first actually heard the words “just stop”. It happened while attending a sales seminar in Salt Lake City, a seminar that was given as a gift to me. While I was at the event our host and guest speaker began talking about habits. One habit in particular struck home. Simply he said if you are a person who has a habit of writing bad checks, always bouncing checks, etc. he asked and stated that you can just “STOP”

Just stop and say, it’s over..No More!

Not long after that day and as I began to think about my own life, it all seemed so simple. I really could “just quit”. What a concept, just quit one behavior and do something different. I had to ask myself, could I really just do that? I laugh at myself today when I reflect back to that time in my life. That time when I always was scared that someone would find out who I really was? I’ll let you in on a little secret..I Did It, I just Quit! After all the years of trouble I had caused for myself and others this was an early beginning for me, a few small steps and little decisions that have transformed my life. I finally just quit that abusive relationship, I finally just surrendered to the fact that integrity does not include bounced checks and broken promises. I just slowly began to quit these behaviors and create new behaviors. I can say with candor that it was not always easy but it was simple.

Today and as the years have passed I have learned that when needed, I really can just quit and change my behavior at anytime, any day or at any moment. This also holds true about careers, business, winning and losing. Today as an example, I Quit! Yes I quit my job and it felt GREAT!!

Now to be totally frank, I re-structured my employment and have stepped out on my own as a business owner. However it was time to “just quit”. The point I am hoping to make is simply that quitting is not losing as so many people may tell you? Rather quitting can really be a fabulous turning point in your life. Perhaps the thought of troubles we all so often make for ourselves or the hurtful words we use with those we care about? Perhaps that nasty smoking habit, that drinking or even eating? Perhaps not being kind to another when we are in a hurry or frustrated? Over and over again I have truly found that when I finally surrender that trouble or behavior and “just quit” my life become open and peaceful again.

Just one more small thing, thank you for reading what I write here from time to time on this blog. It is my pleasure to share some of my life with you. Not because my life is anything special or really any different from yours and others? It’s just I sort of know what it’s like to go trough stuff and it helps to know I’m not alone and neither is anyone else. We are all part of the same grand family of humans. Life happens to all of us, it just so happens writing about it is healing.

I’m still writing, you’re still reading so please keep following…….

Craig