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My #1’s for 2016

I find these few days just before and after New Year’s Eve slightly stressful.  So much internal self imposed pressure to get my goals nailed down.  I actually dread the process.

Don’t get me wrong. Setting goals you want to pursue and attain is a great exercise, but, ‘should’ing’ on yourself to do goals because you SHOULD is killing to one’s psyche.  I do enjoy getting a cup of tea, sitting on my couch with my friend called Moleskin and writing away as I did today.

The feeling of ‘should’ing’ was alleviated by enlisting Brian Tracy’s “identify your #1 thing exercise’ exercise.  This is something I enjoy.  For me it’s always about the journey not just the result.  I need to ‘enjoy’ goal setting, or ‘start and stop’ process. I can’t dread it or my creativity shuts down.

So here goes…..

  1. What’s the #1 thing I could start doing today, that if I did it consistently, would have the most positive impact in my life? (Then do it.)
  2. What’s the #1 thing I could stop doing right now, that, if I stopped doing would have the greatest positive impact on my life? (Then quit doing it.)

My # 1’s to start doing:

  • Minimum 15 minute ‘chair time’ alone with God, reflecting, meditating, journaling, praying.
  • Daily check in time with my best friend Rosetta, my wife.
  • Be a positive influence on my adult kids and their kids on their terms.
  • Keep sharpening my coaching capacity and competence with my mentor coach and joining CAM.
  • Coach men to be life givers in their relational and work world’s.
  • Keep focused on being an above average encourager and people builder.
  • Keep growing margin financially, emotionally, and physically.
  • Be ruthless with managing my weight and getting to 192Ibs

My # 1’s to stop doing include:

  • Stop complaining and stop speaking critically of others when they aren’t around.
  • Stop eating ‘fatty, crappy’ food and avoid starch like the plaque.
  • Stop focusing on what I can’t do and focus on what I CAN do in regards to advancing my coaching practice.

And that’s it for now.

I plan to take football coach Jim Harbaugh to heart–to attack each day with enthusiasm unknown to mankind.

God helping me, I will!!

sharpen saw photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God is like the Unchanging Sea

in a day when everything around me seems to be changing at a pace I do not appreciate, Fr Henri Nouwen’s prayer breathes calmness and steadiness into my life.image

Dear Lord, today I thought of the words of Vincent van
Gogh: “It is true there is an ebb and flow, but the sea remains the sea.” You are the sea. Although I experience many ups and downs in my emotions and often feel great shifts and changes in my inner life, you remain the same. Your sameness is not the sameness of a rock, but the sameness of a faithful lover. Out of your love I came to life; by your love I am sustained; and to your love I am always called back. There are days of sadness and days of joy; there are feelings of guilt and feelings of gratitude; there are moments of failure and moments of success; but all of them are embraced by your unwavering love.
My only real temptation is to doubt in your love, to think of myself as beyond the reach of your love, to remove myself from the healing radiance of your love. To do these things is to move into the darkness of despair.
O Lord, sea of love and goodness, let me not fear too much the storms and winds of my daily life, and let me know that there is ebb and flow but that the sea remains the sea. Amen.

How to Have a Year That Matters

One of the best new year focused articles I ever read was by Umair Haque, the director of Hawes media. In this stirring, heart thumping challenge he asks and answers 8 huge and timely questions.

Why are you here?

What do you want?

How much does it matter?

image

What’s it going to take?

Who’s on your side?

Where’s your true north?

What breaks your heart?

What’s it worth?

Below is link to original article and article in totality. I trust this article will launch you into your best to date year ever.
https://hbr.org/2013/01/how-to-have-a-year-that-matter/

How to Have a Year that Matters

Let’s cut the crap. Life is short, you have less time than you think, and there are no baby unicorns coming to save you. So rather than doling out craptastic advice to you about Making!! It!! To!! The!! Top!!™, let me humbly ask: do you want to have a year that matters — or do you want to spend another year starring-slash-wallowing in the lowest-common-denominator reality show-slash-whiny soap opera of your own inescapable mediocrity-slash-self-imposed tragedy?

If (congratulations) your unquenched desire to have better than a smoking trainwreck of a so-called life exceeds your frenzied mania for spending another 365 days wallowing in a sea of junk-food wrappers, then — don’t worry, I’ll be gentle — here are a few tiny questions.

Why are you here? I don’t mean to induce a full blown heart palpitation accompanied panic attack filled existential crisis in you (or maybe I do) — so let’s keep it simple. This coming year: why are you (really) here? There are plenty of answers to this biggest of questions — but, no: all answers aren’t created equal. There are poor ones, which will probably lead to a long, dull, dismal, rainy Sunday of a year. And there are better ones — which just might begin to explosively unfurl a life that feels fully worth living. Allow me to break it down for you.

What do you want? Here are some perfectly valid answers, if tedious mediocrity’s the limit of your horizon this year: money, sex, power, fame, keeping up with the Kardashians. Here are some better answers, if a year in a life meaningfully well lived is what you’re after. To make a difference. To transform something that sucks. To create that which transforms. To build that which counts. To experience what’s true. To do stuff that matters.

How much does it matter? Here are some pretty good answers, if a snoozer of a year in a cavernous landfill of a life is what you’re after. To your boss, her boss, his boss, or their boss. To shareholders, to the markets, to “consumers.” Here are some better answers, if you want this to be a year that one day that, in a surprisingly short time, you don’t just remember, but that you still savor: to society, to humanity, to tomorrow. To the timeless spirit of furious impossibility that characterizes the art of human excellence — not just to the zombie vampire robots that make up the bulk of our beige, big-box, yawn-inducingly banal infomercial-for-dystopia of a so-called economy.

What’s it going to take? You don’t get to a life well lived using the tired capabilities and skills built to Farmville the cubefarm. You need to “use” not just your whole mind, but to learn to employ your whole being: mind, heart, soul, and body. If nothing less than a life worth living’s your goal, you probably need to nurture not just the so-called pseudoscientific skills of a sartorially power-suited spreadsheet jockey — counting beans, pillaging the townsfolk, sweetly stabbing your peers in the back, all the while slickly glad-handing your higher-ups — but the arts of empathy, humility, passion, imagination, rebellion, to name just a few.

Who’s on your side? A life meaningfully well lived isn’t a Western, and you’re not John Wayne (although I bet you, like me, look darn good in a cowboy hat). Rugged individualism is nice in theory, but the truth is: if you’re going to make a difference, you’re probably not going to make it happen all by your lonesome. So who are your mentors and allies, friends and peers? Who’s at your back, manning your sails, crewing your boat? Here’s a hint: if you look around and your boat’s empty, learn to lead. Challenge, provoke, inspire, connect — and then, harder still, evoke the best in people. For it is the best in us that, in turn, elevates our capacity to love; the truest currency of a life well lived. And so respect is earned — and love given — not just to those who pander, but those who matter.

Where’s your true north? If you’re going to live a life that matters, you need an ethical compass: a belief system with a true north that points toward values that are in some sense enduringly, meaningfully good. Lance Armstrong’s true north seems to have been trophies — not championships; and the result, I’d bet, is a life that now feels arid, empty, wasted. So what’s your true north? In what direction do you find the stuff that makes life “good”? Does your true north point to consumption, status, transactions — instead of investment, accomplishments, relationships? If it’s the former, I’d bet: a life well lived is going to remain as elusive to you as it’s been to Lance.

What breaks your heart? Follow your passion, we’re often told. But how do you find your passion? Let me put it another way: what is it that breaks your heart about the world? It’s there that you begin to find what moves you. If you want to find your passion, surrender to your heartbreak. Your heartbreak points towards a truer north — and it’s the difficult journey towards it that is, in the truest sense, no mere passing idyllic infatuation, but enduring, tempestuous passion.

What’s it worth? A life well lived isn’t partytime with the airheads at the McClubs in Ibiza. And here’s the inconvenient truth: it’s going to take more than the tired old refrains of hard work, dedication, commitment, and perseverance. It’s going to take very real heartbreak, sorrow, grief, and disappointment. Only you can decide how much is too much. Is it worth it? Aaron Swartz, who packed an astonishing amount into his short 26 years, was relentlessly persecuted by an overweening prosecutor — and tragically took his own life in part for it. Van Gogh, of course, famously died for his art. A life well lived always demands one asks of one’s self: is it worth it? Is the heartache worth the breakthrough; is the desolation worth the accomplishment; is the anguish balanced by the jubilation; perhaps, even, are the moments of bitter despair, sometimes, finally, the very instants we treasure most? There’s no easy answer, no simplistic rule of thumb. The scales of life always hang before us — and always ask us to weigh the burden of our choices carefully.

Sure, you might read all the above and mutter: “Duuude? Check me Broseph. All I really want is a mega-bonus, a lifetime membership to the VIP room, and the keys to a Maserati.” Welcome, then, to bootylicious mediocrity. For mediocrity isn’t the poor, hardscrabble immigrant cleaning the bathroom at the 7-11: it’s the lucky trust fund kid who could’ve, just maybe, lived a life worth living — and thinks a life worth living is a loft, a corner office, a sports car, and a designer coffee machine instead. All that stuff’s nice — but entirely besides the point. Of life. For the simple, timeless truth is: You’ll never find the rapture of accomplishment in mere conquest, the incandescence of happiness in mere possession, or the searing wholeness of meaning in mere desire. You can find them only — only — in the exploration of the fullness of human possibility.

Hence: every moment of every day of this year, and every year that follows, what I want you to map is the uncharted shore of potential: the capacity of life to dream, wonder, imagine, create, build, transform, better, and love; the infusion of the art of living into the heart of every instant of existence.

We’ve been taught to be obedient rationalists. And the rationalists say: there’s no magic in the world. But they miss the point. There’s a kind of quiet magic that each and every one of us is condemned to have in us, every moment of our lives: the facility to exalt life beyond the mundane, and into the meaningful; beyond the generic, and into the singular; through the abstract, and into the concrete; past the individual, and towards the universal. And it’s when we reject this, the truest and worthiest gift of life, that we have squandered the fundamental significance of being human; that the soil of our lives feels arid, featureless, fallow, a desert that never came to life; because, in truth, it has been. And so this almost magical facility you and I have, potential, is something like an existential obligation that we must live up to: for it’s only when we not just accept it, but employ it at its maximum, that we can reconcile ourselves not merely to regret, but with mortality; that we can escape not merely our own lesser selves, but the all-destroying scythe of futility; and come, finally, to find, at the end of the day, not merely time’s revenge on life, but life’s revenge on time: an abiding grace for both the fragility and the fullness of life.

I don’t pretend any of the above is revolutionary, or new, or anything less than obvious. Yet, the lessons of a life well lived rarely are: they’re simple, timeless truths.

So let me ask again. Why are you here? Do you want this to be another year that flies by, half-hearted, arid, rootless, barely remembered, dull with dim glimpses of what might have been? Or do you want this to be a year that you savor, for the rest of your surprisingly short time on Planet Earth, as the year you started, finally, irreversibly, uncompromisingly, to explosively unfurl a life that felt fully worth living?

The choice is yours. And it always has been.

Avoiding the Titanic Mistake

In coaching we talk a lot about being ‘in integrity–being complete–being whole. I don’t remember much from math but I do remember the difference between whole numbers and fractions. Or ‘integers’, which are whole numbers and we derive the word ‘integrity’ from. So often my life feels more like a ‘fraction’ as do the lives of those I partner with to coach. They show up ‘fractured’ and our work focuses on helping them restore the integrity of their lives.

In the following article, Rick Warren explains the Titanic mistake and how being aware of this tendency to compartmentalize our lives can literally sink us.

James Cameron, producer of the movie Titanic, says, ‘The Titanic is a metaphor of life. We are all on the Titanic.’

When the Titanic set sail in 1912 it was declared to be ‘unsinkable’ because it was constructed using a new technology. The ship’s hull was divided into sixteen watertight compartments. Up to four of these compartments could be damaged or even flooded, and still the ship would float.

Tragically, the Titanic sank on 15 April 1912 at 2.20am. 1,513 people lost their lives. At the time it was thought that five of its watertight compartments had been ruptured in a collision with an iceberg.

However, on 1 September 1985, when the wreck of the Titanic was found lying upright on the ocean floor, there was no sign of the long gash previously thought to have been ripped in the ship’s hull. Now scientists posit that the collision’s impact buckled or loosened the seams in the adjacent hull plate’s core, causing them to separate and allowing water to flood in – thus sinking the unsinkable ship. What they discovered was that damage to one compartment affected all the rest.

Many people make the Titanic mistake. They think they can divide their lives into different ‘compartments’ and that what they do in one will not affect the rest. However, as Rick Warren (from whom I have taken this illustration) says, ‘A life of integrity is one that is not divided into compartments.’

Jesus was described as a ‘man of integrity’ (Matthew 22:16; Mark 12:14). David led the people with ‘integrity of heart’ (Psalm 78:72). The writer of Chronicles says that God tests the ‘heart’ and is ‘pleased with integrity’ (1 Chronicles 29:17).

Chiarella Family Generations

Chiarella Family Generations

So we got to celebrate one of those amazing milestone weekends where we celebrated Domenico and Savina Chiarella’s 60th Wedding Anniversary.  “Mico and Savina’ are the parents of my bride of 37 years Rosetta, and the grand parents “Nonni” of my three sons–Vincenzo, Adrian and Michael, and great grandparents of Jacob James Del Monte, son to Adrian and Amy Del Monte.

We have kept the family circle ‘lovingly tight’ and all of our young adults are flourishing in their lives, and so much of this ‘blessing’ is the result of good choices on the part of parents and grand parents to set loving examples (not perfect ones) of what it means to live in a loving and committed manner over a lifetime.

Our children get to observe a lifetime of commitment and it only provides fuel for their lives and relationships going forward.

Launching 2013 with Daily Quiet Time vs Dirty Rotten Attitudes

I was having my ‘daily quiet time’ early this morning. I use a variety of ‘deliberate practices’ to keep my devotion ‘topped up’.  I find that if I don’t have a ‘daily quiet time'(DQT) to weed my mental garden, and alter some lousy attitudes, as well as stay connected to my Creator, I end up having what I call ‘dirty rotten attitudes'(DRA’s)

I’d like to end with a short prayer called Desert Waters by David Adam from his book, Tides and Seasons: Modern Prayers in Celtic Tradition. It touches me because it reminds me wherever we are, God is always present if we take the time to look.  I will be going into my 60th year in May 2013, and the Lord knows I need this upward focus at the start with so many challenges and opportunities ahead of me.
 
O Spring in the desert
O shelter from the heat
O light in the darkness
O guide for the feet
O joy in our sadness
O support for the weak
O Lord with us always
Your Presence we seek
 
If you are interested in joining me on my spiritual journey, subscribe to the following link, and let’s get at it.
 

 

Mother Teresa day

I wonder if many people know who Mother Teresa is anymore.  She is a woman who made an outstanding difference in the whole world, even though most of her work was done in Calcutta.   The information below was gathered from the Nobel Peace Prize archives.  It’s very helpful in understanding this beautiful gift of God who graced the earth for over 80 years.  The world is impoverished by her absence, but I suspect she will never be forgotten by those she helped.

Mother TeresaMother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in Skopje*, Macedonia, on August 26, 1910. Her family was of Albanian descent. At the age of twelve, she felt strongly the call of God. She knew she had to be a missionary to spread the love of Christ. At the age of eighteen she left her parental home in Skopje and joined the Sisters of Loreto, an Irish community of nuns with missions in India. After a few months’ training in Dublin she was sent to India, where on May 24, 1931, she took her initial vows as a nun. From 1931 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary’s High School in Calcutta, but the suffering and poverty she glimpsed outside the convent walls made such a deep impression on her that in 1948 she received permission from her superiors to leave the convent school and devote herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. Although she had no funds, she depended on Divine Providence, and started an open-air school for slum children. Soon she was joined by voluntary helpers, and financial support was also forthcoming. This made it possible for her to extend the scope of her work.

On October 7, 1950, Mother Teresa received permission from the Holy See to start her own order, “The Missionaries of Charity”, whose primary task was to love and care for those persons nobody was prepared to look after. In 1965 the Society became an International Religious Family by a decree of Pope Paul VI.

Today the order comprises Active and Contemplative branches of Sisters and Brothers in many countries. In 1963 both the Contemplative branch of the Sisters and the Active branch of the Brothers was founded. In 1979 the Contemplative branch of the Brothers was added, and in 1984 the Priest branch was established.

The Society of Missionaries has spread all over the world, including the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. They provide effective help to the poorest of the poor in a number of countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and they undertake relief work in the wake of natural catastrophes such as floods, epidemics, and famine, and for refugees. The order also has houses in North America, Europe and Australia, where they take care of the shut-ins, alcoholics, homeless, and AIDS sufferers.

The Missionaries of Charity throughout the world are aided and assisted by Co-Workers who became an official International Association on March 29, 1969. By the 1990s there were over one million Co-Workers in more than 40 countries. Along with the Co-Workers, the lay Missionaries of Charity try to follow Mother Teresa’s spirit and charism in their families.

Mother Teresa’s work has been recognised and acclaimed throughout the world and she has received a number of awards and distinctions, including the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize (1971) and the Nehru Prize for her promotion of international peace and understanding (1972). She also received the Balzan Prize (1979) and the Templeton and Magsaysay awards.

I remember when she passed away on September 5, 1997, just a week after Lady Di.  They both passed into eternity around the same time.  I wonder who heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant’?”

Here’s an appropriate news report that celebrated her life. May we never forget her.

Power beyond Measure

I am a sucker for inspirational video pieces. This one called Power Beyond Measure, featuring Nick Scott who broke his back in 1998 and was told he would never walk again, gave me just the right motivation I needed to keep moving on into the fall with new challenges and opportunities.

Nick’s passionate drive and comeback to make something of his life provides the ‘fuel’ necessary to press ahead with my goals and challenges.

Comeback he did.  Watch this, and if you are feeling sorry for yourself for any reason, let Nick’s story and the lyrics of music on this piece, move you to get moving.  I believe Soren Kierkegaard the 19th century philosopher said, “Life is understood looking backwards, but it’s lived moving forward.’  That’s what this piece is about. Learn from the past but then get moving forward. Forward friends!!

Friends and Lord of the Rings

This week I was really struggling with feelings of insignificance and having moments of ‘what has been the point of life?” I think I was ‘ambushed’ emotionally and hit a downward spiral.  While I having coffee with a couple of buddies, one of them sensed I was not my cheerful upbeat self.

The next day I received these lines from my friend who had hand copied this paragraph in the middle of the night to send to me, his friend Luch.  It reminded me of that ancient scripture that says, “A friend loves at all times….” Not just when we’re up. Not just when we’re the one who is encouraging and dispensing good thoughts and feelings to others, but they love even when you are not well, and when you need a word of encouragement and support.

So read on and see how a friend can breath spiritual oxygen into one’s sagging soul.

Hi Luch,

I enjoyed our meeting today. You seemed a little down, or at least struggling for meaning. As you are always sending me pieces of inspiration, I thought I would send you one. It is a small passage from the Lord of the Rings. Frodo and Sam have almost reached Mount Doom, and their weariness and despair are almost at their height ” Sam struggled with his own weariness, and he took Frodo’s hand; and there he sat silent till deep night fell. Then at last, to keep himself awake, he crawled from the hiding-place and looked out. The land seemed full of creaking and cracking and sly noises, but there was no sound of voice or of foot. Far above the Ephel Duath in the West the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and piercing thing: there was light and high beauty far ever beyond it reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.”This passage expresses beautifully one example of the connection I was trying to express to you. It puts into perspective the importance of our human endeavours in comparison to the glory of something that is greater than we are.

 

Amazing Grace in Mother Teresa

Yesterday  I  came across an unbelievable story of grace and forgiveness from the life of the late Mother Teresa.  It was so powerful it stopped me in my tracks, and I found myself reflecting on the story throughout the day.  Here it is,

 

One day Mother Teresa went to a local bakery to ask for bread for the starving children in the orphanage. The baker, outraged at people begging for bread from him, spat in her face and refused. Mother Teresa calmly took out her handkerchief, wiped the spit from her face and said to the baker, “Okay, that was for me. Now what about the bread for the orphans?”
The baker, shamed by her response, gave her the bread she wanted.

Ask yourself how you would have reacted in that situation.
After reading that wee but potent story of non retaliation with a view to redeeming someone, these words of Jesus came to mind, no doubt words that informed Mother Teresa’s choice to forgive and redeem.
Matthew 5

43-47“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

48“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

43-47“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

48“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”