Terminally Comfortable, or Uncomfortably Alive?

If you’ve ever been caught between these two you’re witness to the breach between the comfort of routine and fear of the unknown. That’s where we end up when facing a task that requires an effort larger than we’re used to, in any area of life. And the tension strikes hardest when it comes to approaching a choice that might plunge us into uncertainty. The mind immediately charges in to fill in the blanks in the unknown with scenes of gore and guts (yours), with all the super-villains from every movie ever made, laughing, taking turns at you, your hands cuffed behind your back and your nape tied to your heels. The bigger the uncertainty, the bigger the fear. You’re gonna FAIL!  You’ll be the embarrassment of your generation!  Or, hey, even worse… you may succeed!

So you find yourself in a face-off between fear and comfort. A rock and a hard place. Yup. You think comfort ain’t hard?  Think again. It pins you down, reassuringly, like a ton of cushions and beer and other worldly pleasures, safely away from danger. But you’re still pinned down. Comfort’s corrosive, alright. And fear’s right there, staring you in the eyes, burning a hole in your desires. And there is you, aloof, stuck comfortably between these titans.

But we’ve got it backwards: fear’s not your enemy. When you think of it, all fear really is is discomfort. Alas, of a very convincing and terrifying kind – but most of the time that’s all it is: discomfort. And I mean psychological fear, not the fear you’d feel when spotting a salivating cheetah racing toward you. In that case the danger is real. Run!  Irrational fear is the product of a mind freaking out at the doorstep to the unknown. It wants to keep you safe from the possibility of eternal disgrace for asking that cute girl out for an alto-unsweetened-almond-double-shot-cappuccino (or whatever the hell they call “coffee” these days). The mind can’t deal with potholes in its timeline, so it urges you to step on the brakes, lest you fall in and blow up, sky high. Most of the time fear clicks on before any calamity it tells us will happen happens at all. And after the fact, most of those monstrosities never actually come to pass anyway. And those that do often bring with them priceless lessons, although usually in disguise.

The real enemy is comfort – what we know. What we’re used to. Comfort is what keeps us stuck, not reaching for the goodies that lie beyond the threshold of its well known zone. It’s what impels us to watch another late-night infomercial for anti-bald spray instead of starting that uncomfortable but necessary conversation with the wife.

What’s worse, comfort’s even more persuasive than fear. Otherwise, why would so many spend lifetimes in its deceptive grip in an attempt to avoid fear?  Better to rot slowly while reading these mind-numbing memes on Facebook than send out that email to that hot prospect.
#truestory

If you must fear something, fear comfort.
Comfort leads to conformity leads to deformity.
This is the stuff we want to steer clear of.

The elixir of life lies just beyond our discomfort – in the heart of fear – while comfort soothingly squeezes the juice out of us. Learning to live with the discomfort of approaching the desire that makes you nervous is actually the “behind-the-scenes” of long-term fulfillment. Life IS uncomfortable. Birth makes sure we get the memo on day one. No “pain” (discomfort), no gain. It’s as simple as that.

I’m reminded of Anaïs Nin’s famous quote:
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

You get off the couch only when something’s inside you bursting to be unleashed and you can’t stand to lie in excuses anymore. You cease to buy into comfort’s trickery. You step off your comfort zone – into the throes of fear. You dare to kick danger’s ass beyond the relaxing erosion of convenience. You realize that all that fear of being in the storm was comfort’s way of trying to keep you safe – but not alive. And you “get” that fear is actually the fuel that propels your desires forward.

So, is your juice decaying slowly, comfortably?  As Pink Floyd would say, are you hanging on in quiet desperation?  Have you become comfortably numb?

Or are you willing to be uncomfortably alive?
‘Cause that’s where life’s sweet nectar’s at.

* * *
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More Heart ≠ Less Balls

A misconception’s been going around that keeps those who believe it from living a full life. A real, full, satisfied life. Of course, it keeps believers safe from looking frail or airy-fairy. It makes them seem nonchalant and powerful. But it also cuts them off from a fundamental facet of being human. From this paradigm one can exert substantial power onto the world and instigate memorable change. But one can never attain the lasting satisfaction nor interpersonal pizzazz that could otherwise help them reach their maximum potential.

It goes like this:
IF I OPEN MY HEART, I’LL LOSE MY BALLS.

If I allow myself to have feelings or to make a choice through empathy I’ll look weak and may be taken for a fool. Like what mobster Paul Vitti (Robert DeNiro) said to psychiatrist Ben Sobel (Billy Crystal) during therapy in Analyze This:
http://www.hark.com/clips/bcbjmqyjrq-if-i-go-fag

Paul: “If I talk to you and you turn me into a fag, I’m gonna kill ya, you understand?”
Ben: “Could we define fag? Because some feelings may come up…”
Paul: “I go fag, you die.”
[Click the link – DeNiro says it better than anyone’s imagination 😉 ]

Those who live by this opinion assume that you can only have either heart OR balls. And it makes sense. We’ve seen the spineless new-age hippies who looove the world with all of its fluttering fairies, but who are also broke and brand “successful” people as evil and greedy.

We’ve also seen the uncompromising tycoons whose pursuits of power and success have built empires, but have also wreaked havoc in their marriages, friendships, and personal lives (does a recent President ring a bell?).

Fortunately, some have begun to believe a higher truth:
Heart and balls are not mutually exclusive.

On the contrary: they enhance each other with essential qualities that the other is missing. That’s why we have both. Heart gives us love for oneself and others, unattachment, and an inclusive world-view. Balls provide courage, assertiveness, and effective choice-making. They’re both meant to be used, each in its own domain, complementing the other. To use either while excluding the other is to invoke the spineless hippie or the relentless asshole. Neither is balanced. Being open to both creates farther-reaching choices that result in better conditions for all involved.

In fact, it takes more balls to open the heart than to shut it down.

Think about it. It’s scarier to expose one’s feelings and to act from a more vulnerable, loving place than to force one’s cock down the world’s throat. Many have been cast aside as weak and even bullied for showing empathy or respect, both quintessential qualities of the heart. And praises have been sung to those who lead the way relentlessly from their balls. (And, ladies, this “cock shoving” also includes you, although men shut down emotionally more often and tighter.)

When we open our hearts we are accepting the fact that we are feeling beings – more so than thinking beings. Our intuition opens up, and new, more inclusive opportunities become possible. And once the ego begins to accept this new way of being, our emotional default begins to elevate. We feel happier and more trusting, and those around us seek us out because of the positive energy we exude.

So, more heart doesn’t have to mean less balls. It just allows our balls to do what they do in a more evolved direction. And ultimately, the one who benefits most from having the balls to use the heart is whoever chooses to do it.

* * *
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Master or Slave

As long as you make decisions based on whether someone else will be offended or pissed off, you’re a slave to approval. And just as bad: you can’t blame the other for it.

~ “He won’t let me.”
~ “Oh, you don’t know how she gets!”

Bullshit.
The truth is you’re afraid that you won’t be able to deal with the other’s reaction. So you pacify yourself, bury your real desire under layers of justification and victimization. You’re scared at the prospect of having to justify yourself to another – real or imagined – and cannot tolerate the thought of it.

So a piece of you dies. But you pretend not to notice, not to hurt, not to care. And this becomes habit. You extinguish your flame, withering like a rose in winter. And you get so used to numbing yourself that you forget who you were and what lit you up. You even make yourself sick without realizing it.
“It’s something I ate.”
“Mel sneezed on me yesterday.”
But it wasn’t the food, nor was it the sneeze. You got yourself sick. And with every choice you don’t make that may spark animosity in another you keep stabbing yourself with the blade of justification.

Is this how you’re living, not making waves?  Trying not to rock the boat?  Are you making yourself a slave to approvalAre you choosing to forgo your inner flame for fear of igniting another’s insecurity?

Or are you willing to let go of expectations and judgment from others who care more about how they’ll feel or look than your freedom to be you?  Can you base your choices on what makes you happy?  Are you willing to say NO to that with which you don’t agree?  Do you have the balls to be the Master of you?

It’s not about stepping on anyone’s toes. It’s not about going against them, even when they seem to be against you. They’re not really against you; they’re afraid of their own power and terrified to see you in yours. But who’s to blame them?  It happens to us all.

It’s about going your way when you know that’s the way for you to go. It’s about showing integrity to yourself first – and letting the chips fall where they may. You can’t give yourself if you don’t have yourself. It’s about being responsible for all your actions and their consequences.

Be yourself, as ridiculous, cheesy, vulnerable, and scared as you are.
This is where your power is.
This makes you your Master
.

There’s no-one to blame for your choices – the ones you make, and the ones you don’t. Your freedom’s all on you.

* * *
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Challenge of the Year: How a Single, Scary Goal Shaped my 2016 – And Possibly Years To Come.

Recently a few friends and I completed the Spartan Trifecta: three obstacle races of varying length and difficulty in one calendar year, all on off-road courses with varying terrain and elevation:

  • Sprint: 5+km, 20-23 obstacles, 2800 meters above sea level
  • Super: 13km, 24-29 obstacles, 2800 m.a.s.l.
  • Beast: 21km (half marathon), 30-35 obstacles, 1850 m.a.s.l.

The Trifecta has been the greatest physical challenge I’ve ever faced, and I’m a seasoned mountaineer. The goal was set inadvertently in January at a fireside party. Some of us guys & gals had already run a few Sprints, and with us was someone who, we found out that night, had already run a Beast. With eyes wide open and sparks flying, we decided we’d all go for the Trifecta this year. We’d never attempted it before, and it was a scary proposal, but we made the pact that night that before the end of the year we would complete all three races. I almost shit my pants then – and continually during the remaining 11 months.

If you don’t know what a Spartan Race is, watch the trailer here.
spartan-race-banner-f1
Less than two years ago just the thought of attempting a Beast made me cringe with awe. “Who the hell actually runs a Beast?!?”,  I’d think to myself. It was certainly not something I’d ever be able to do. I wasn’t a runner. I didn’t believe I had the discipline to stick to the required training. Most competitors are 10-20 years younger than me – and I was already past 40. How on Earth would I be able to do this?

Nonetheless, I accepted, and my world began to change right there & then.
Long story short(ish), here’s how this challenge took shape:

WHAT IT TOOK:

* First and foremost: accepting a BIG challenge that scared me and was aligned with my true desires.
Both of these factors were essential.
Had the goal been big and scary but not something I was excited about completing (“have to” vs. “want to”), it would have lost steam eventually and fallen by the wayside.
Had it been exciting but not big enough to scare me, I may have completed it but without much growth at all.
Both factors had to be in place for it to be a worthy undertaking.

* Resuming training. I had not run nor trained my strength rigorously for a few months, so I had to get started again. The first couple of weeks are always the most difficult and painful- and the most crucial. It is by enduring through this discomfort in body and mind that a new level is reached. I had to push through my discomfort if I was to get anywhere near those finish lines.

* Rearranging my activities and taking non-essentials out of my life, or at least decreasing them to a minimum so I’d have enough time and energy to dedicate to the training. This meant spending much less time on Facebook and online browsing, being aware of time passing as I went about my day, declining certain invitations, etc. This is one of the biggest benefits I reap from enrolling in these races and scheduling challenging mountain summits. It puts my Big Picture in perspective. Granted, some activities are harder to let go of than others (like meeting friends), but you know a late night with alcohol and inappropriate food will not get you through the race.

* My first-ever appointment with a nutritionist. I had always kept decent nutritional habits but thought this triad of races would require help from a pro. This required me to set aside my ego and accept guidance from someone who knows more than I do. It really helped, even now that the races are done.

* Continuous discipline derived from determination to “not die” during any of the Trifecta races. As with any endeavor, this was key. This meant that on a day scheduled for running I was going to run, and on a strength/agility day I was going to do just that. No matter if it was raining. No matter the cold weather. No matter if I would have rather laid down and watched Dexter. I would either have results or an excuse for not having them, and the latter was not an option.
That said, see the next point.

* Fine-tuning the relationship between me, my body, and my mind. This, as I’ve experienced before in mountaineering, was also key – and a rather complex process to master. This is when the needs of the body actually supersede one’s plan to train it (reality vs. the mind’s interpretation of it, respectively). On certain training days I’d get home tired after work and feel the need for rest – and face the difficult choice to either train or stay in. The trick was to discern whether it was just a temporary glitch in my energy or an actual sign the body was giving me asking for a day off. There came times when I had to (reluctantly) let go of the plan (made by the mind) and do as the body asked. I’m glad I did when this was the case – and so was my body.

* Dealing with injury. During the Super at the end of April I injured a tendon on my wrist – what is generally known as DeQuervain’s syndrome. This was my first-ever “real” sports injury (not including countless cuts and bruises while BMX-ing and skateboarding as a youngster). Naturally, this was followed by:
“Maybe life’s telling me I’m too old for this shit.”
I won’t be able to do the Beast anymore.”
“Will this hand ever go back to normal?”
And so on…
So I had to re-commit to the original pact we had made and do what I had to do to be ready for that Beast at the end of November – regardless of what I thought about my hand.
I bought a brace (which I wore for over a month) to immobilize my thumb. I had to muster the humility to make an appointment with a physiotherapist. I purchased a book about tendon care and repair (which I highly recommend for any kind of tendon trouble). Weeks went by, and I wondered whether I’d be able to get past some obstacles at the Beast – climbing ropes, jumping over walls, carrying logs, flipping gigantic tires, crossing rope & PVC bridges by hanging from them with one’s hands…
Basically, I found myself torn between a fear-based reality and one inspired by what I desired.
I chose the latter – even when there was yet no physical evidence for it.

* Finding my own way. While preparing for my training I found schedules that barely left time for anything else and felt afraid that I may not be able to stick to something as demanding over many months.
As the races came and went I realized that I really didn’t need to train daily nor for as long. In fact, it was better that I didn’t. Through years of trial and error I’ve come to know my body improves most effectively by getting enough rest between workouts. Had I not listened to my body and instead stuck to a program without enough rest this would have been a huge detriment to my training and physical condition – and the risk of training injuries may have increased. On average I ended up training strength 1-2 times and running about twice per week, even for the Beast.
So essentially I learned to walk the line between what others recommend and what is actually right for me.
#TemetNosce

* Enrolling in other, “traditional” races (running only) to measure my progress and identify weaknesses. These stretched between 10 & 18 km.

* Variations in my training: to avoid boredom and repetitive-motion injuries. Sometimes I’d run on flat pavement, others on hilly gravel roads. For strength I’d sometimes do weights and body-weight exercises at home; other times I’d hang from exercise machines at the park. I would also complement my cardio with cycling on my commutes – in Mexico City traffic!

* Using the Elevation Training Mask.  This device covers your mouth and nose to allow only a minimal amount of air through – thus imitating the effects of high-altitude training. The result is a very strong and efficient cardiopulmonary system – at the cost of more strenuous runs and workouts. Training with this mask on can be uncomfortable to get used to – at first it feels like you’ll suffocate after two blocks – but the rewards are fast and undeniable. And you DO get used to it  😉
A shout-out to them for conceiving the best investment in fitness I’ve ever made. Without it my training, races, and hikes would certainly not be as successful as they are.

carli-training-mask

Ready for training! (w.Elevation Training Mask)

So, now that I can reflect on the training, mindset, and the races that have passed here are some of the LESSONS LEARNED (which I’m still assimilating):

* First and foremost:
I CAN GO MUCH FURTHER THAN MY FEAR TELLS ME I CAN.
This is one of the most important lessons anyone can learn, ever, about any endeavor.
READ IT AGAIN. SAY IT OUT LOUD. BURN IT INTO YOUR MIND AS YOUR MANTRA.

carli-meta-cheli

On fire! Crossing the finish line at the Sprint.

* The body is a magnificent bio-machine. While it does have limits, the human body will adjust to whatever is needed to complete almost any task – far beyond what the mind may initially think.

* Growth can be exponential. A startling discovery is that I trained less frequently and intensely for the Beast (21k) than for the Super (13k). My gains throughout the year built on themselves, so my training didn’t have to get harder to continue making gains. I just needed to train smart by staying aware of my self-body-mind relationship.
However, decline can also be exponential if you drop your guard. Keep yourself in focused motion and you’ll stay at the top of your game.

* Age is bullshit. It’s just a number. What matters is how you interpret your number. I’m now 43 and ended up running the Beast with two guys about 15 years younger than me – and I was frequently the one pulling them forward.
Never use age as an excuse not to attempt something you feel is right for you.

wall-c

Piece of cake: overcoming walls in the Super.

* When you accomplish a difficult goal you’re not the same person that set it. You’ve gone through a process that has pushed you through conscious effort toward growth, and your old “pants” will not fit anymore. Be ready to take on even bigger challenges now. You can – and should. But only if you want to keep growing  😉

* The pack will go farther and longer than the lone wolf. Find people with similar goals to support each other’s challenges. In this case there were four of us from the beginning, and four more joined the team in the months that followed. We supported each other with training and nutrition tips, articles, and encouragement. When our schedules permitted some of us trained together. On the day of each race we created “sub-teams” according to our different running speeds so that everyone would run alongside someone else.
Tasks like deep focus and analysis work well when we’re on our own, but having a team backing you up will make the road seem shorter and the load lighter.

team-beast-01_rt

Our team at the end of the Beast (minus some who were not there for the photo.) Some of us are wearing all 3 medals – Trifecta completed!

The curious thing is, the Trifecta ended up being not only a physical challenge, but an emotional, psychological, and spiritual one as well. This is why it is one of the proudest achievements of my entire life. Another big blessing I received from this challenge was the fear and awe I felt about each next race – we ran them from shortest to longest, in order, so every upcoming race was scary enough to keep me focused on it. This forced me to rearrange all parts of my life so that training and rest would take precedence if I wanted to finish at all, not to mention reduce the risk of injury. After all, the longest I had ever run in one go up until our commitment was 10km, and at which point I was 42 – 6 years older than the oldest of my teammates, 17 years older than the youngest.

So, going back to my initial question: “Who actually runs a Beast?!?”

The Spartan slogan “You’ll know at the finish line” sums up that answer. It is, I found out upon finishing the Beast, simply, someone who sets a scary goal that’s aligned with his true self and declares himself willing to go through hell and high water to achieve it. Someone willing to train when it’s cold or wet outside. To run that last lap when he’d rather go home. To do that extra pull-up when his arms are burning and body shaking, dangling from the bar like a worm on a hook. It was when I crossed the finish line at the Beast that the awareness of what this enormous challenge represented in my life came to me, all at once. It’s like a gate opened to a new reality where I suddenly felt clearer in mind, much more powerful at heart, and more aware and alive in spirit. All those months of focus and sweat paid off, and I deeply felt (still do) that I am a bigger human being than ever before.

Who runs a Beast Someone like me.
Someone who I had previously thought I wasn’t.

img_20161126_161231361-dpp-c

Triumphant at the Trifecta!

Now, my point isn’t necessarily for you to go and enroll in a Spartan Race, although I can almost guarantee it will push you to grow. My point is that anyone who’s hungry and willing to grow can attain their next level by identifying their Big, Bad, Scary Goal and committing to it.
That’s all it takes to begin to open that new door for yourself.
Pick. Commit. Start.

So, in a nutshell, the crux of this post:
YOU CAN GO MUCH, MUCH FURTHER THAN THE STORY FEAR AND COMFORT TELL YOU YOU CAN. Always. The way will appear as you walk the path.

So find something that makes your heart beat with excitement, that you gotta Be, Do, or Have, that gives you the heebie-jeebies when thinking about how on Earth you’ll achieve it with nothing coming to mind.

Then SET THE GOAL. Don’t think. Thinking will keep you avoiding it and from growing into a stronger, more confident person. Set the goal, give it a date, and declare yourself willing to go through sweat, strain, and ridicule. These things don’t matter to anyone other than your ego. You’ll be summoning your future self who’s already gone through those motions to pull you on the way. And you’ll become that person more and more with every step you take on that course.

Your body will adjust.
Your mind will expand.
Your emotions will act up – and eventually handle much more.
And your spirit will grow in proportion to the perceived difficulty of the task.

Pick a big one. SET A GOAL THAT SCARES THE SHIT OUT OF YOU. One that would make you feel ecstatic if you had it and shake your head in dread of whether it’s even possible for you. And find a support network to help you through the difficult steps. The world will listen, and the assistance you need will arrive.
#notetoself

If you’re inspired to have an outstanding next year please share your goal in the comments below. I’d love to know what you’ll be facing!

Now get out there and BE outrageous in 2017.

AROOO!!!
AROOO!!!
AROOO!!!

* * *
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If you like what you’ve read, pass it on!
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Viva María

Hoy despierta este blog luego de un largo silencio. Nada había tenido importancia suficiente como para sentarme a escribir, aunque temas no han faltado. Y es que hoy he chocado con una noticia que me ha dejado fuera de base.

Hoy me enteré que una ex-compañera de trabajo y ex-alumna de inglés fue secuestrada hace una semana, aquí, en Ciudad México. Entre varias versiones de la verdad que jamás se conocerá a “ciencia cierta” dicen que fue abducida cerca de las 9PM luego de tomar un taxi en Santa Fe. Que, después de llamar a su esposo para decirle que iba camino a casa, fue llevada a sacar dinero de uno o más cajeros automáticos. Que fue recluida mientras los (ir)responsables pedían el rescate por su liberación. Me enteré que una cantidad elevada en pesos (y euros) les fue entregada. Que sus familiares luego pasaron aparentes eternidades sin noticias – ni de ella, ni de sus secuestradores.

Y, por último, leí hoy en las noticias que su cuerpo fue encontrado en el Estado de México. Que la asesinaron. Que la mataron – aún luego de cobrar su “recompensa”. Que el cuerpo que una vez la vistió fue encontrado en un depósito de aguas negras, nada más y nada menos que el 15 de septiembre – día en que celebramos la independencia del país. Día en que mexicanos y extranjeros por igual nos unimos para reafirmar el “quién”, “qué”, “desde y hacia dónde” y “para qué” de estar cada uno aquí. Día en que María, de nacionalidad española, debió estar en casa celebrando en compañía de su esposo y amistades la migración de ambos al país.

Viva México.
Así, sin exclamaciones.

Y viva María. Mujer, joven, de treinta y tantos. Saludable, inteligente, estudiante híper enfocada. Trabajadora implacable, atractiva y activa. María, una profesional que dejó atrás su país con la esperanza de construir una mejor vida en otros rumbos. María, una persona como yo.

Es difícil identificar y poner nombre a todas las emociones que siento ante esto, todas a la vez. Una orquesta en cacofonía de instrumentos aullando por la atención de un espectador que no logra escucharse ni a sí mismo ante consiguiente caos. Una vida destrozada por la maldad del ser humano. Hijueputas malparíos que la mataron, aún recibiendo su pinche pago.
Como bien se dice aquí, esto no es de Dios.

Hoy me dueles, México.
Más que nunca.
ME DUELES BIEN CABRÓN, MANO.

Y no puedo evitar pensar en tantas cosas. En la fugacidad de la vida: hoy estamos, y quizá hoy mismo ya no estaremos.

Pienso en la falta de conciencia en la que vivimos. En el caso omiso al respeto por la vida de otro ser humano – y sus allegados. Y no solo en casos extremos como este. También en decisiones “inofensivas” (según su ejecutor) como pasarse el semáforo en rojo o mentarle la madre a toda voz y con dedo erecto a quien le reclame.

Pienso en la impunidad. No solo en la de los políticos, sino, más importantemente, en la de cada ciudadano. En la falta de responsabilidad que presencio cada día en la ciudad – y la ausencia de disposición para aceptar y restituir falta propia.

“Mi hijo no sería capaz de hacer algo así, mentiros@.”
Y crece el niño. Y años después…
“No fui yo quien chocó fueron las pinchemil chelas ajajajaja no me culpen culeros écheme la mano poli no jejeje???!!!”

El problema no es el gobierno.
EL PROBLEMA SOMOS NOSOTROS.

La ruina del individuo, la ciudad y el país la crea quien comete el crimen, sí, pero siempre de la mano de su enajenado cómplice: quien lo ve y se queda callado.

para-que-triunfe-el-mal
Entonces, aparte de rumiar en lo doloroso y lo inútil, también tengo un lado práctico que quiere soluciones.

Pero, ¿qué hacer? 

No puedo convencer a un secuestrador de capacitarse para unirse a la fuerza laboral productiva del país. Ni si quiera puedo impedir que un conductor atraviese volando un semáforo rojo o invada una ciclovía porque “es que voy tarde”. Entonces, lo más básico que puedo imaginar es lo único que está bajo mi propio control: mi ejemplo.

¡ JA !
Lo más difícil en la vida.

Hacer lo que siento está bien – aunque vaya en contra del “qué dirán”. Escuchar mi voz interior susurrar mi Verdad por encima de los gritos de las engañosas superficialidades sociales. Decir lo que es menester escuchar – aunque queden ofendidos a mi alrededor (habla la experiencia, y aquí sigo, vivito y jodiendo).  Así también mido quién pertenece conmigo y quién ya no.

Y del otro lado de la moneda, estar dispuesto a recibir crítica y evaluar si hay algo que debo cambiar.

Cumplir mi palabra al darla, sin excusas – o no darla si no estoy seguro de cumplirla.

Decir NO cuando no estoy de acuerdo.

Si fallé, pedir disculpas y rectificar lo que sea posible.

Porque al actuar con rectitud genero un campo de fuerza que no solo me beneficia y protege, sino que proyecta vigor a quienes estén listos para también activar el suyo. Y ser consciente en cada momento de que, inevitablemente, si yo no lo hago bien, seguiremos todos mal.

Que este vacío que nos deja la partida prematura de María nos inspire a dejar nuestro legado a México, y al mundo. Que aunque ella no haya nacido aquí se propague aquí una ola de rectitud inquebrantable y valentía proactiva en su nombre. Que mi trasnochada poniendo estas palabras en orden no quede resagada en tu pantalla. Que cada uno de quienes aún permanecemos tengamos suficiente agudeza de observación para notar lo que no “cuadra” y la fuerza de pelotas para no quedarnos callados, porque el silencio del supuesto hombre bueno es la mejor arma del hombre malo.

Que viva María.
Que viva México.

Ya basta del silencio.
Ya basta de hacernos los pendejos, México, porque muy adentro sabemos que no lo somos. Y no merecemos menos que darnos a nosotros mismos lo mejor de nosotros mismos.
Aunque nos aterre.
Aunque nos amenacen.
Aunque nos pinches secuestren y nos maten, carajo.

Ponte de pie, México. Coño.
Es hora, hace rato ya.

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Chekea el resto del blog. It’s bilingual. Lo puse aquí con la intención de que te haga pensar en lo importante. O más aún, que te incite a actuar diferente.
Y si te gusta, comparte. Sin miedo. El Feis y Chwirer no son solo pa postear gifs de gatos pendejos.
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My Inner Saboteur

We all have an inner saboteur. That little part of us that doesn’t want us to receive what we want in exchange for safety. But safety is a booby prize – fool’s gold. We want what we want, not safety!  But that’s what we get when we live through our saboteur. Safety and emptiness.

Just last night I identified a very important saboteur of mine, one that has had me dodging a lot of miracles for years. That little guy is self-righteousness. Let me explain:

In recent years, whenever there’s been something that I’ve really wanted, regardless of the topic, a “movie” would play in my head about how it would turn out with something or someone blocking me from getting the thing done or receiving what it was I had in mind. The “film” would then show me how I’d confront the person or situation so that I could set them right for their lack of consideration toward me, their irresponsibility regarding that which I wanted. Go figure!  My ego would then feel a “faux” satisfaction from teaching them a lesson, them wrongdoers!  After the fake satisfaction was real enough – a temporary dissipation of the fear energy that had not turned into directed action – the movie in my mind would move on to another topic, oblivious to what it had made me miss.

The perceived benefit was that I was exercising – in my mind only – my ability to communicate my frustration and to feel vindicated from the evil “they” had bestowed upon me.

The problem – and most important aspect – of this dynamic is:
I STILL DIDN’T HAVE WHAT I WANTED!

An even deeper aspect of this problem is that sometimes my ego would make me the enemy. When I had myself to blame for screwing up I’d send myself to where I’d be as far as possible from seeing what I wanted, not to mention receiving it.  The ego won’t blame itself, of course, and someone must pay, so I, the real Self, had to be punished for getting in my way.

Now I realize that instead of working toward my intention, my mind has been keeping me “safe” from the possibility of failure by not doing anything about it, and feeding me an illusion of actually having done something. And it’s only that: an illusion.

Knowing this I can now cut out the middle man, and go directly into working on my manifestation. Now I know that whenever my “mind movie” goes into “protect Carli from frustration” mode there’s really something there for me to do about what I want. I can now turn off its previously automatic switch and redirect my energy toward creating my desired result – like writing this blog post, for example. I can stop looking for the fall guy, as there is nobody there. It’s only myself!  I can starve the parasite of self-righteousness in exchange for living into the best version of my life.

What is your main saboteur?  Which part of you gets in the way of living the way you want?  Do you blame others?  Yourself?  Who’s the usual culprit for you not having what you want?  Take a moment to observe your patterns of failure or inaction and identify what keeps you away from your desired manifestations and feelings. Reflect on how you can redirect your focus and what you can do now from an unbridled point of view. Then go for it!

Comment below, I’d love to know your insights!

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Ve tu Vida como Fotógrafo: Reenfoca y Reencuadra

Gracias a los avances tecnológicos de la última década por fin hemos podido familiarizarnos con un objeto que antes nos había parecido místico e indescifrable: la cámara fotográfica. No importa cuán bien la sepamos manejar, la misma fácilmente nos permite compartir experiencias e inmortalizar momentos importantes. El impacto de cada imagen lo produce la combinación de elementos que presentan la foto tal como la vemos: con lo que muestra y sin lo que no. Dos amantes bajo una palmera; un bebé coloreando una pared; un paisaje montés al atardecer bajo un cielo sin nubes.

La irrepetibilidad de cada imagen depende de muchos factores: cualidades y posición del sujeto, iluminación, distancia a la cámara, área de enfoque, qué se está incluyendo en el cuadro, qué se excluye…  Al decidir todos estos elementos – ya sea a propósito o inconscientemente – el fotógrafo plasma lo que tiene en frente en una imagen única.

Al llegar la imagen al observador esta evoca una emoción, procura reflexión. Presenciar una fotografía es adentrarnos en su mundo, sumergirnos en la historia que nos cuenta. Y siendo única, cada foto provoca lo que sólo ella puede en quien la observa: una sonrisa, lágrimas, disgusto… o indiferencia. Hay fotos que nos gustan y otras que no. Hay las que reflejan lo que nos atrae, y las que nos muestran aquello que preferiríamos no ver.

De manera muy similar, cada situación que vivimos la creamos a través de nuestro enfoque y encuadre: desde un punto de vista que nos “pinta” el panorama que presenciamos. Este incluye lo que percibimos y excluye cualquier otro elemento que no sea “visible” o posible desde ese punto de vista. Y cada punto de vista lo escogemos nosotros mismos – ya sea consciente o inconscientemente. Desde ahí nos proyectamos lo que presenciamos, lo que llamamos “realidad”.

Saber este concepto como fotógrafo profesional y haberlo aplicado como coach en mi propia vida me ha ayudado a mejorar cómo percibo varias situaciones difíciles.  Pero no tienes que ser un pro en la foto para aplicar estas ideas. Cuida en qué estás enfocando tu atención, en especial cuando sientas emociones “negativas”. Observa cómo estás “encuadrando” la situación y qué resultado te está provocando (tristeza, impotencia, culpar a otro, etc.).  Entonces podrás cambiar tu punto de vista – igual que un fotógrafo mueve su cámara – a un lugar que presente solución, o al menos sensaciones más a tono con lo que preferirías ver y sentir.

Recuerda que quien único pinta las circunstancias de tu vida de la manera que las percibes eres tú, de acuerdo a cómo diriges la “cámara” de tu percepción.

Cambia tu enfoque. Dale la vuelta. Reencuadra hacia otros factores o personajes. Decide qué incluir y qué excluir en tus consideraciones. Usa el “zoom” hacia adentro (para ver mejor los detalles) o hacia afuera (para apreciar mejor los grandes rasgos del panorama). En fin, modifica la manera en que estás usando tu “cámara” para producir una experiencia más parecida a la situación ideal. Imagina cómo quisieras presenciar ese momento y créalo aspecto por aspecto, reencuadrando, quitando y poniendo factores según sea necesario.

Practica esto en cada situación y área de tu vida para trascender las experiencias que no te han servido. Así comenzarás a “fotografiar” tu realidad de la manera que te quieres sentir al respecto. Enfócate en aquello que quieres y excluye lo que no te conviene.

¡Enfócate y disfruta de tu nueva imagen!

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