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.

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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

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FollowCraig: Character

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Yes it’s been awhile since I have placed words & thoughts on paper. Writing is a great escape for me, it helps me relax my mind and provides a great vehicle to express my thoughts, dreams, hopes, goals, fears and emotions. Each of us experience all these feelings and more and often hold them inside ourselves. So for me I have chosen this vehicle of escape and expression to be most rewarding and freeing.

Just to bring you up to speed since my last posting, I’ve had another birthday as well as another grandchild. My personal business career is still stable and yet always changing, now shifting from selling to sharing. At home my life is growing in joy more each day while some in my own family are not so blessed. I worry more about family and others in my life today more than worry for myself. Each day, week, month and year it seems I am becoming more and more comfortable in my own skin. My spiritual alignment and belief in a power greater than myself and others has only strengthened over this last year. It’s true I have made many new friends since we last spoke as well have lost some.

So you may be wondering why I’m sharing all this? How is this helping you may be asking?

Perhaps I am establishing a new baseline for the life journey I am still on. As I have grown older I am finding my life standards and priorities have shifted. Most of my life it seems I have lived in survival mode. Always worried about work, money, rent, fear of loss and so much more. Now more and more these worries have disappeared and often are replaced by my concern for others dear to me and even those in this world I do not know at all. Writing helps me sort out what’s important, writing makes it possible to be open about my feelings and even opinions. Writing helps me establish goals and set plans to reach them.

I am hopeful that writing about my struggles with integrity to weight loss, from alcoholism to sobriety may help someone else know they are not alone. I am hopeful that the plans and goals I set in my life will inspire some to keep trying, to never give up in fact always keep getting up. Being knocked down, hurt, insulted, humiliated, sometimes just embarrassed or ashamed is not the end of our journey. Our failures or faults are not who we are but rather what builds us. Life experiences, trials and jubilations are character marks of our soul.

Today I am not writing to share my goals and dreams for the coming months and years but rather ask that you think of yours? What character marks of your soul drive you? Perhaps some of what I share in the months to come will cause you to wonder about your own life journey?

I ask myself everyday how I can improve, just a little. Everyday I try to find a way to help someone just a little. Everyday I fail at something just a little. Everyday I even look back and smile about something. Sometimes I even cry a little. Little steps, little things change you just like they have been changing me.

I will share this about personal change. It’s slow! All these little things, these little habits, those small victories and failures. The reading, watching and listening to positive people and experiences are ever life changing. All of a sudden these little things we do begin to become you. One day you just stop and realize you are becoming who you’re supposed to be.

It’s funny or actually not so funny? Every so often I am reminded of my old life, the person I once was. The person who held so much in, who was never real. The guy that never paid a bill on time and had to act like a big shot all the time. That man who cared more about himself and how he wouldi be perceived by others rather than care about others. Once in a while these reality checks happen and when they do my inside character fights back. I am not that person today and I know it! Yet I have learned these character flaws are still in me and once in while my actions or decisions at that moment have let them guide me. I can tell you that these struggles are still within me but today it’s easier to put them away. Yes, we get better and our lives change a little at a time.

So here we are together this middle of February 2015. Are we just playing out another ordinary year? Or has change within you changed you enough to be composing a new year? Perhaps it’s difficult to answer that question.

I know my answer,

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

Craig

FollowCraig: “Paradox”

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“Don’t go near the water if you haven’t learned to swim” ; “No one ever goes there, it’s so crowded”

Just how often do we say or hear these statements? Our world is filled full of paradoxes. If you don’t believe it, just go to the dictionary and look up the meaning. Many of you know I’m a practicing Lutheran and I have quite an interest in theology. As an example, many Christians want to believe Jesus was a peace maker. However when reading the book of Luke it’s easy to see he really was a rebel and spent his life shaking thing up!

I find life so very interesting when looking at it from a paradox point of view. Someone told me once he wouldn’t drive in the city as he would get lost. Another friend told me he knew his way around the same city like the back of his hand. He told me he had gotten lost many times but that’s how he found his way. So must we get lost so we can find our way? Isn’t that a paradox?

When we look at our world today and our world of the past, it’s not so difficult to grasp our future. So next time you hear something like “Don’t scratch, it might itch” perhaps you will stop and think of the wonderful word PARADOX.

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

Craig

FollowCraig: “Insurance”

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When I think about insurance my first thoughts usually go to paying the premiums on my car, home or health insurance. So as I contemplate paying these premiums I’m caused to think about all the types of insurance and the premiums we have in our lives.

As an example what premium do we pay to have a safe and secure life? What premium do we pay to have a happy spouse or family? When sending our children to school and incur-raging their success or how about our careers? When we work hard everyday taking care of our minds our health and keeping a positive attitude isn’t that a form of insurance and intern isn’t this the premium we pay to have all God wants us to have? How about our spiritual and integrity standards? And what about our compassion and empathy for others? Would offering a hand up to someone in need be insurance?

A dear friend told me once that we may not always want to be present however that is when our presence is most often needed. As I look over my own life and all the self-centered behaviors and actions of my past, it occurs to me that those behaviors were literally my avoidance of paying the premium to insure the peaceful life I had always wanted.

Our lives are filled with premiums to pay and when we do, our life is certainly insured. So today I think; it’s a great joy to be here and able to continue to pay all these insurance premiums!

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

Craig

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FollowCraig: “Shiny Shoes”

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Just how real are you? I was watching an interview on 60 minutes recently profiling Mr. Steve Jobs of Apple fame. The biographer of Steve Jobs life shared a story from “Jobs” youth. His stepfather taught him how to build many things and one was a fence. His stepfather told him, always build the fence so it is just as attractive on the back of the fence as the front. Perhaps no one will ever know or see it but you will always know what you’ve built.

It may seem to some that this is perfection in the making or some OCD thing. But doesn’t it really describe integrity and character? It’s what we do that no-one may ever see or how we behave when no-one is looking that truly defines ones character.

My Grandfather always had wonderful small statements of fact to simplify the experiences of life. One I will always remember..Craig he would say, “Always be wary of a man who only shines the front of his shoes” I have always remembered that statement and to this day I always shine the back of my shoes because you never know who’s looking?

I too have many statements of my own making and one I will share is this: “I would rather wear a real Timex watch rather than a fake Rolex”. Being real, being of good character and integrity sounds simple enough but it’s not always easy. It takes a bit more work to build that fence so it’s attractive on both sides, a little bit more polish to shine those shoes completely and refrain to resist the temptation to wear a glimmering fake Rolex.

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

Craig

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