Deconstructing the Idea of Life in a Glass

“We are walking billboards to what is going on inside the mind, and when people don’t know or understand the contents of what is within us, they judge us by what we put out.”

it  sure does begin in our minds..and not only for addictions... you can also include insecurities, low self esteem and trust issues ... thats a big one it affeced my relationship with the most beautiful woman in the world...and please i didn't say any of this to offend anyone..XO

Glass half empty or glass half full, who cares. I’ve heard it all about optimists and pessimists, and still the idea of stigmatizing people in such a way is distasteful. I’m of the opinion that all people are optimists, but for some reason that disposition becomes broken and lost in translation.

No one ever labels themselves as a glass, or level within. Why, because it is not something we use to describe ourselves; we use it to identify the character of others. This alone eludes to the idea that we all view ourselves in a positive light. But why? Because no one wants to/decides to be negative. It’s always better for you when everyone else is negative; when they are the ones with problems.

We all know what the reality is. We know that not everyone has this idea of seeing the good in things, or is able to contribute a more positive outlook when things fail to go according to plan. The truth is, negativity exists. It will exist in you and it will exist in others, it is a thing. What it is not, is a permanent condition. Negativity comes in waves or in moments, it’s not sustaining. You know that about yourself, but see it differently in others.

Give up the labels. You are what you are, an emotional being with ups and downs. However, when we fail to arrive at that factual conclusion, and stick to identifying ourselves and others as being one half of the glass versus another, we cease to understand what we truly are.

Feng Shui To Change Your Habits In A Way That Sticks | The Tao of Dana

A psychological concept created to identify one group versus another, it is flawed. You (we) are all only one group, just displaying temporary conditions. The problem is that we fail to translate what we are to the world, and therefore become quickly misunderstood. We are walking billboards to what is going on inside the mind, and when people don’t know and understand the contents of what is within us, they judge us by what we put out.

We aren’t always negative, we have negative moments. We aren’t always angry, we are temporarily incapable of overcoming a debilitating thought. We aren’t grumpy, we are unknown. We aren’t sad, we are just coping. We aren’t so many things, but when we are just one thing, we are grouped, labeled, or misinterpreted.

Think. Stop and think about what you are putting out there. More important, think about what you don’t know about others who are putting something out there on display. Give up the idea of being this or that, and just know that we are always positive, but are occasionally dealing with a distraction.

It’s something to think about. Until the next time and next topic, be happy.

Erich

A Twisted Life/Love of Experiences

Made to feel valued, and within a minute it changed to gross devalue; I played for keeps and ended up played.

The most difficult-to-accept reality in life is the one that forces us to learn from negative experiences. The irony of it all, the easy and fun moments are allowed to roll on and on, unimcumbered, potentially teaching us nothing, while the dread of the heavy and negative experiences are hidden, denied, ignored, and so on, until forced to accept the eventual benefit they will yield. 

An undeniable disposition of universal truth is that for better or worse, negative experiences of varying severity will enter your life. They say that power is in the response, but what does one do when the hits keep on coming? At some point it feels like the right thing to do is throw our hands into the air and scream at the top of our lungs, “enough is enough.” If growth comes through experience and learning through failures is a truth, does it mean that the more experiences we have the better off we are? Even if many of those experiences cause constant disappointment and pain? 

Isn’t it a contradiction to believe that we grow through our experiences and are made stronger by them, but the more we sometimes experience, the more we lose and the further we are set back? And if those experiences continue to set us back, when the hell do we choose to stop accepting?


While there may be many universal truths, here are two that I know for certain. First, no one gets out of life alive. Second, the greatest currency you have in this world is your time, and once you spend it, you never get it back. So, it stands to say that we all need to find the line on which to balance between investing into our experiences and giving so much cost that our only lesson is regret.

I’m not a scientific person; I know about as much as the average person. But I am aware of the concept of time and know that life offers only a limited amount of it. There isn’t enough time to sort out the experiences, so at some point we just have to let that guard down and experience what life presents us. My advice is to let go of fear, of panic, of paranoia, and of negativity. The time you spend here has more than enough lessons to give you, without you having to ask for them, so I’d be choosy of who or what you invite into your world and ask to teach you a thing or two. Let the experiences happen to you, but don’t be the negative experience in someone’s life.

If you love someone, really love them. If you’re supposed to be there for someone, be there for them always. If someone depends on you, prove them right for doing so. But if they want a life without you, walk away. 

Until the next time and next topic, be happy

Erich

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Have Until We Have Nothing, Then it’s Clear

“remember to love the person next to us harder, spend more time playing with the kids, walk the dog, sleep in from time to time, and demonstrate appreciation for everything gained and held”

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Yesterday, when leaving a job site in Philadelphia, I came upon this couple sleeping under the bridge. I’ve seen the poor, I’ve witnessed destitution, and I’ve encountered unfortunate souls in unique places. What caught me–the thing that really shocked me– was that they weren’t just sleeping there; they had established a home.

Slowly I passed their spot, the two of them closed off to the waking world and hopefully lost in a more pleasant reality. The area they occupied claimed about as much space as my own room, and was equipped with a bed, dresser, cooler, and even a rack to hang their towels from. The bed itself was more than barrier to separate them from the ground, the contents like any normal bed with sheets and pillows.

I’ve seen those men and woman sleeping on benches, streets, and enclosed stairways, but never have I seen a home. It struck me hard, going deeper than a superficial impact. I saw a story with the two. I saw the pizza box and thought about how they likely had a dinner in bed together. I saw their closeness and thought that regardless of how down on their luck they appeared to be, their was an element of optimism to be seen through it all, because, worse than having nothing is having nothing alone.

Though sad, there was some good to see in the situation. Observing someone’s misfortune is an opportunity to reflect on oneself. There are days when I feel like I have nothing and no one, but it isn’t accurate. There are days that I fail to see the walls around me and the roof over my head; I see them so often I just forget their importance. There is food in my refrigerator, a shower upstairs, washing machine in the basement, and most important, I never have to wake up and think to myself, “what now?” Once, I heard a motivational speaker say something about loving the idea of hitting rock bottom, because there is nowhere to go but up. I believe this. To have nothing and be able to survive must feel in someway like being reborn.

When you see a homeless person with a sign, many people will assume they're asking for money but most of them just want an opportunity to live in a home and to have a minimum wage paying job. They want change.

If I woke up tomorrow with nothing, and lived like this couple, everything in life would have a new light. Having a table to eat at would enthuse me and having a door to lock at night would provide the feeling of security. My appreciation for things as simple as walls and lights would be renewed, and my love for the many other things that I now take for granted would be accelerated, like that of an inquisitive child. The most important thing would be the relationships. My feeling of being with the person I love, in a secure environment, where we have everything we need for comfort and security, would be so much stronger, because with nothing else to really worry about, we could give so much more to each other. Life and everything that I would gain would have an element of magic, and my appreciation for its acquisition would bring new joy.

Though, we don’t always live with this enthusiasm. We crowd our lives with unnecessary worry and produce problems that most with nothing would see as trivial matters. Without the true worry of having to figure out what’s next and what we are going to eat tonight, we take the time with loved ones to sometimes fight over problems that have no bearing on our quality of life or security. We waste our time on menial tasks and thoughtless entertainment, rather than taking a walk or having a conversation about something that has nothing to do with how we are going to survive the night or next day.

We often create our own alternate realities when we realistically have nothing to worry about. But when our true reality steps in, we are somehow pulled back down, and yanked from misguided conceptions of life. Seeing anyone with nothing should spark some thought in you. Coming to the realization that we often forget what we have is powerful and seeing someone else’s misfortune is sometimes just the reminder that we need. This gives us the chance to remember to love the person next to us harder, spend more time playing with the kids, walk the dog, sleep in from time to time, and demonstrate appreciation for everything gained and held, without the worry of having to fight for it moment to moment.

Until the next time and next topic, stay happy!

Erich

Adult Rules

“Playing by adult rules is more than applying a phrase to life. It means doing what is right, maintaining maturity, understanding that not everyone has the same thoughts and reactions as you, and will likely have a different view of any scenario which you may directly alter.”

We’ve all heard the phrase “adult rules” at some point in our lives. Hell, I think that I probably throw it out there regularly, because I believe this to be a concept at the core of both situational acceptance and taking responsibility. But what does it really mean?

The older I get, the more I realize that some situations do not need my reaction.

To adult, means to handle oneself in a rational and ethical manner through interaction and decision making processes (my definition). How many times have you asked yourself if the reaction of another adult is a serious one? How many times have you watched someone handle a situation and you think to yourself, “are they actually doing this?” These are just a few examples, however, I see it all and I see it often. There are cases of adults failing to accept outcomes, consequences, reactions, and adverse effects; cases of people refusing to accept the negativity that results from their negativity, the chaos that ensues in chaotic moments, and the failures that follow periods of inactivity and giving up, further resulting in the outward reactions against others.

Playing by adult rules is more than applying a phrase to life. It means doing what is right, maintaining maturity, understanding that not everyone has the same thoughts and reactions as you, and will likely have a different view of any scenario which you may directly alter. These are the things that I literally run into. When others sometimes ask me how we should handle something, I say we are playing by adult rules. And it might sound like an insensitive response, but hold that thought.

Can't argue.

When things don’t go your way, that’s not always a bad thing. However, irrational and questionable responses are truly bad. To play by someone else’s rules is a violation of your own principles, although compromise is a fair game. When we play by adult rules, we are accepting that life doesn’t revolve around us, and it is common sense; we already learned about and outgrew that as teenagers. Yet, you see it over and over, and always find yourself muttering the following words under your breath, “are they serious?” Yes, you have to say that because you can’t believe that an adult could handle some situations with such irrational immaturity. Should you be one of those who fail to learn the game rules in adult life, here are a few points to follow:

  1.  Accept responsibility for your actions
  2. Accept that doing the right thing is not always easy, but most people do it anyway, because the world doesn’t revolve around them and they are aware of that point
  3. Demonstrate control of your emotions
  4. Make your decisions with the knowledge that an outcome other than what you expect is possible, and that is what we call “life”
  5. Before you feel like displaying your childish response in front of others, take a walk and cool down. No one needs or wants to see that side of you
  6. Have integrity; do what is right even when no one is looking
  7. Take accountability for failing others and learn to apologize when its right to do so
  8. Treat your words as if they are the only thing that people have to measure you by; most times it is that way
  9. Treat people as you expect to be treated
  10. Do not blame your failures in life on anyone other than yourself. If you are as good as you believe that you are, you will get there

It’s a simple concept, and most of us get it, but there are always going to be those types. If my article can help even one of these types overcome that state of mind and state of irrational and often unethical behavior, I’ve done society a justice. If you find yourself in the presence of one of these types, breathe and take a moment to realize that they likely don’t see the flawed behavior. Explaining it to them is likely not going to help, so do what you can to avoid the same trap and you’ll be just fine.

Until the next time and next topic, be happy!

Erich

Why Can’t I Remember Fireworks

“It took me this long to understand that I cannot remember every beautiful moment in this life of mine, just like you cannot remember yours either.”

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Last night, on the banks of the Christiana River in Wilmington, Delaware, I sat in the moist evening grass, gazing at the magnificence of the firework spectacle in front of me. As I tried to appreciate the beauty, I continued to get lost in my head; my thoughts continuously producing the same words over and over. I thought, “why can’t I ever remember how fireworks look?” Generally speaking, I can, but just generally.

I’ve been there before, so many events in my past where I remember the event in a general sense, I remember that there were fireworks, but for a reason unknown to me, I don’t remember the details of the colorful sparkling streams and thundering explosions. Why? Could it be that the shutter speed of a magnificent brain is too slow to process mere fragments of time? Could it be that the sight of something so beautiful lasts only long enough for you to know that it existed, yet not enough to give you detail?

Last night meant more to me than just fireworks and a celebration of independence. It was a a feeling of soulful depth and extreme insight into the predisposed human condition. It took me this long to understand that I cannot remember every beautiful moment in this life of mine, just like you cannot remember yours either. Yet, there are some moments that we so easily recall, without effort.

fireworks-one

Wouldn’t it be great if we could wash away the bad and mediocre memories, and replace them with a 3-second long clip of a bursting firework? Our mind chooses to hold onto thoughts when we tell it, and the rest it decides on its own. I never remember the details of the firework shows of my past, but my conscious effort last night has what I saw burned into my brain, and I hope permanently. There was nothing like the pounding finale that I saw.

The lesson here is to remember is that we can in fact choose to accept a permanence of wonderful moments. We can hold onto the good, just as easily as we can the bad. The how is by making an effort to focus on that moment. It isn’t enough to see it, you have to see and hold on to it. Try to do this more with the good ones and less with the bad. Change your mind and you can change your life!

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Until the next time and next topic, be happy

Erich

Let Go of Expectation, Enjoy the Moment

“Give up the control, it isn’t necessary to be on top of everything in your life”

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#firefly2017, is what the billboards read. Post it, tag it, support it, and just keep rolling with it.

It was the first time that I attended a true fest in the past 15 years, and just like I remember, it was a terrific experience. Sprawled across the woodland and grassy terrain of the nearby Dover International Speedway in Delaware, the fest was both alluring and overwhelming; a restorative event for the soul.

It began as a cloudy and muggy day, but before long an endless white ceiling gave way to the blistering sun. However intense it was, the unshakable and inescapable heat would not compete with the will of thousands, who gathered to feed their souls with inspiration and energy. No matter where one stood, eyes stared towards the music, while our necks faced the blistering sun. I stood beside my love and cheered the waves of performers and torrent of positive energy.

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In between sets, there seemed to be a repetitive flow of thousands of travelling bodies, all headed towards the food, water, and cold beer. Hordes of music-goers spent the down times soaking up limited shade across the property, while lines doubled or tripled in length, and tents over-crowded quickly. Yet, regardless of heat, expensive beer, underwhelming cuisine options, and sickening portable toilets, not once did I witness a sour face, an angry attendee, or overhear an argument. Everyone knew what they were there to experience, there was no confusion about that.

It was nothing but positive energy and smiles across the board. Sure, my experience was my own (well, mine and the beautiful woman by my side), and some likely saw a completely different side to the event. But therein lies the concept of attitude. Going into anything with unreasonable expectations, negativity, or a demanding complex, the event will yield similar feedback. Our experience was so pleasant because the only thing that we went there with was an open mind and zero expectations. We let the fest show us what it was made of, and it did not disappoint.

Things are different today, and life has shown me that sometimes the best thing that you can do is slow your thoughts and just let the moment be what it is. It’s not a thought that I was equipped with as a younger man. I let the crowds frustrate, the costs run me out of money, and the sun de-energize me, until I was ready to go home. It seems that I have outgrown the impatience, the intolerance, and the expectations. There is the key to happiness in almost anything.

We need to understand in life that sometimes it is better to relinquish control, and let life guide us through the moments. Give up the control, it isn’t necessary to be on top of everything in your life. Become a yes man or a yes woman, and understand that strength is not always represented by ensured outcomes. When we understand that our potential happiness can come to us easier in our moments when control is relinquished, versus trying to force the result, growth will gained in leaps. Be happy, let go of expectations sometimes; especially when you see that the alternative provides nothing.

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On a final note, my vote for best performance of Saturday (hands down) The Weeknd!

Until the next time and next topic, be happy.

Erich

In Loving Memory

“We all say that we will try harder to hold onto those close to us, but in life we lose our grip. Sometimes, its in death, or through death, that we tighten it back up.”

Nate

Loss, and using it for good is always underestimated. Last Saturday I attended the funeral of a friend and former co-worker, who I had the pleasure of serving overseas and in combat with. Nathan Hege was his name and he was a man of many perceptions. I could go on and on about his character, but the most memorable thing to note is his impact on the world when he left.

Although one man, Nate touched the heart of so many. Attending his funeral service, I was taken back by how many people arrived at the church to bid him farewell. All the stories shared and the memories brought up, showed a stark resemblance across the board. We all had the same impression of his laughable and caring personality. That is where the good in loss comes in. Using the common denominator, people gathered, spoke, bonded, and caught up. Through his loss, caring came into place and warm smiles were felt as well all congregated.

I can remember my initial impression of Nate, and the moment we exchanged a few words as we met. I clearly recall the first time that we flew together; it was in Iraq, and under his guidance not a moment of fear or apprehension was felt on my side. He played his cards well as a pilot-in-command, and stood for what he thought was right as a military officer. He was often unimpressive, which made him more human, but still I won’t forget the first time I heard him carry on a conversation in Spanish; it was impressive. He was a combination of black and white, often a form of his own gray matter. These things made him a character in his own league. He was real, he was a good person, he was legitimate.

Last week he showed that the battle he was fighting was stronger than he was, and took his own life. This not one person in his life will forget about him. For someone so loved, it will never make sense how he could have felt so alone in that moment. And we will never know the reason why, but through his loss we will gain something long lasting; we gain perspective and heavier hearts. Following his funeral, I connected to someone else that had served with us, and who I never truly saw eye to eye with. That evening, him and I bridged the gap, and I feel that a new brotherhood had been created. And it wasn’t just my gain, but in the days following Nate’s departure, others will become more than what they were and new relationships will be made. Nate took his own life, and in doing so, he ironically created a new life for many.

It can be difficult to see the good in loss, but sometimes trying to see is exactly the problem. You have to feel, and you have to experience things, and let your mind catch up later. Mourn the person, but pay tribute by using the experience to build on yourself. His loss is a reminder of the fragile balance between two worlds, and we are great at wrongly estimating the accuracy of time we have remaining, as well as the time of those we love. We all say that we will try harder to hold onto those close to us, but in life we lose our grip. Sometimes, its in death, or through death, that we tighten it back up.

For all the years that I have left, here is to you my friend. Rest well and I will see you again!

In lasting memory of Nathan Allen Hege