Category: Abuse

“To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift” – Steve Prefontaine

 

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Me and my Mother -2015

 

Life is funny.  How we start is not necessarily a guarantee on how we will finish.  What we thought was true ten years ago may be different now for us today.  How we define success changes and some of the people in our lives are no longer present, by the choices that we have made and by some of the circumstances we have faced.  We make statements about what we know now and how our lives would be different if we had only made better choices when we were young and dumb.  They say hindsight is 20-20, and hopefully we continue to learn as we get older.  Hopefully the choices that we make today as mature adults look differently from our past decisions.  And as we grow, hopefully we do not measure our lives by how educated we are or not, if we own a home or not or the amount of money we have in our bank accounts.  Although these things are important and we should strive to live better lives than our forefathers and mothers, we need to remain mindful of what is truly important in life.

Since being back on Facebook for about one year now, I’m encouraged by the many voices of my childhood friends that seem to get it.  Men and women alike that I grew up with recognize the value of it, my colleagues and business partners even see the value of it, but more importantly I see it.  And that is the idea of giving our best love to our families, friends and even some strangers when required. 

The one person that comes to mind more than anyone else that has sacrificially loved me beyond measure is, that’s right, my mother.  When I look back at what she accomplished I see an amazing woman who has committed herself to being the best mom that any woman could ever be.  Although there may not be a long list of titles behind her name, a house on the hill or other pedigrees we rightfully pursue, my mother gave me something that not only prepared me to obtain those superficial things, she gave me something inherently more valuable.  She willingly gave me her best love.

Like so many of us that reflect on the goodness that has been bestowed upon our lives, usually our mothers are not far off from these sentiments.  I was raised with three sisters and each of us are successful in our own right, but one thing that stands out for me, is we care for one another deeply and consider each other friends still.   I attribute this desire to remain close to my siblings to the way my mother loved us as children.  We obviously have our differences as adults, but I can say we genuinely love and care about one another.  My mother was definitely the glue to our family connection and bond, which remains true to this day.

So why is this even worthy of mentioning and what is the significance of giving our best love?  In my lowly opinion it pertains to everything that has been and will be ingrained in us.  For those that have experienced the death of someone close, understanding this is easier.  At the end of the day, nothing else really matters, but how we loved.  

Giving our best love will cure the ails of the world in one swipe.

As I give my best love several amazing things are occurring simultaneously that look like this:

1. The life I exemplify will be worthy of following – I do not mean that you will lead a life of perfection, but when you make the choice to love first, you’re actually placing someone else’s needs before yours.  For many this concept  is counterintuitive, but when we’re motivated by love or selflessness we look to see how we can please others first.  And when you have made this choice prior to any specific circumstance, bias and conditions are easily removed from the equation.  This person may not always get things right, but they are consistently present.  They are concerned, emotionally committed and they show up on time for real life events, planned or unplanned.  They are the ones that leave indelible marks on hearts and minds forever.

2.  I have an opinion, but I am not quick to accuse – This person waits to hear the entire story before giving their two-cents when asked.  This requires discipline, because the temptation to speak prior to knowing all the facts is usually very enticing, but equally detrimental to at least to one of the persons involved.  However once the dust settles the truth typically reveals itself, and because this individual is aware of this fact, their patience is essential and a key ingredient to sharing impactful wisdom versus making premature accusations. In a time of need this person is a welcomed sight because they truly want to help versus gossip, and they typically care about the outcome for all those involved. 

3.  I have a strong core, but a gentle spirit – There is nothing like meekness.  It can often be mistaken for weakness, but by definition, it is strength under control.  This person may have the ability to crush someone’s dream by divulging sensitive information that could embarrass or bring harm, yet they choose to exercise self-control during this time.  They have profound wisdom and are usually more aware than what people give them credit for. They simply choose to walk in consideration of others, yet with firmness.  This person will empathize with you, but never waver from his/her convictions.  Their strength and gentleness combined become very calming during chaotic situations.  They are excellent listeners and when they speak, an audience is usually there eagerly listening.

4.  The truth will be spoken in love – Although the unadulterated truth can often hurt, it equally can release one from bondage or potentially dangerous situations.  There is nothing like hearing it like it really is!  Although we may get upset with this person, we come to appreciate them for their courage and ability to set us straight. The great thing about this person’s characteristics is they are not out to get us or see us fail, they simply want us to stop hitting our heads on the same walls.  They force us to deal with ourselves versus allowing us to habitually take the easy route of blaming others.  Without these courageous individuals in our lives we would be doomed to learn everything the hard way.  They truly are a ray of light in the midst of a cloudy circumstance. 

5.  I accept you as you are – There’s nothing like acceptance.  As we are all a masterpiece in progress, during the journey of getting to our finished product, we tend to look a hot-mess at times (present company included).  And during this season, a friend that simply loves and accepts you as you are is critically important. Although many will proclaim to accept you when you are at your lowest, the proof is when you are there and recognize who is there with you.  There you will find your true friends.  These friends are not initially interested in facts, or the circumstances during an episode, they simply want to be there for you. They are consistent, steadfast and comforting. We could all stand to benefit from having at least one person like this in our lives. They are quick to lend a hand when we’re down and usually know us deeply like no one else does.  We are freely vulnerable with them as our true selves are revealed and in progress of becoming more.

So as I stated in the beginning, “life is funny”.  However sometimes it can be downright hard as well.  And as we are being proven during difficulties, let us remember what we are made of and that we are precious creations made in God’s image through love.  The best love we have is always in us, peeping out from the inside.  We just need to realize that it is inside of us and someone nearby could stand to receive some of it from you.  Whether it is these five points I have made or ones you can add to them, look to your point of reference to recall not only what it looked like, but more importantly how it made you feel when you needed it the most. For me it was my mother’s love. I say give that.  That is the best love.

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

Over the years I have come to learn that I have a tendency to over think things.  At times I can even become a bit of a perfectionist, or just very anal about how things should run in my life.  Of course this characteristic has its advantages, but it also comes with its own set of baggage as well.  For years it has limited me or often times short-cycled some significant events from occurring in my life.  To be specific, it would be a case of me sitting on the sidelines watching others enjoy something or pressing through a life event, and for whatever reason I did not give myself license to become involved or discover what could have been significant for me during that time.

As I continue to take my own advice and “Keep Pressing” ahead, I found myself at a cross-road with the topic for this week’s post.  With so many ideas constantly running through my brain, I allowed myself to become challenged and almost stifled on what to write.  The challenge was not finding a topic, but wondering if I was staying true to what this blog is about.  

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So this week I am in San Juan, Puerto Rico for work, with a few added extra days on the tail end.  I had a topic all cued up, but something inside of me said, “Save that for later and write about this trip and how it relates to my truth.”  My first thought was, “Am I staying true to what The Upside of Down is about”, by doing that? After toying with the thoughts for a few days, I refused to think about it any longer, and simply enjoyed my trip on this beautiful island.  

I went on some tours off the beaten path, watched families fly kites by the hundreds at a park near El Morro, walked around for what seemed like miles, met a bunch of great people at the conference I attended, and in the taxi I rode in. Whoever was the waiter/waitress at the local restaurant became my friend by name, with some form of friendly affection shared, whether by a compliment or good conversations.   I ate some great local dishes, took a guy out for dinner on his birthday that I just met, had some great drinks, took some amazing pictures, (some you see posted here) lied on a hammock on the beach between to palm trees and chilled for hours doing absolutely nothing.  Now I’m sitting here at 10:08PM EST, writing this post from my Villa over looking the ocean.

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As I watched people and did abnormal things (at least for me), like not become a loner on this trip after the people I knew flew home, I forged some great friendships and discovered, this is what The Upside of Down looks like. I discovered how much I needed this trip and how important it was for me to exhale this past week. Not exhale in the sense of relieving stress or pressure, but in the sense of embracing something different and feeling/being okay with it (maybe that’s inhaling actually).  I am living The Upside of Down, and this trip has helped me to see what that actually looks like for my life more clearly.  

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I am truly blessed with so much and thankful for all of it.  My perspective is hopeful and my best is still yet to come.  I look for that best to come in the form of rich relationships, through family and friends (new and old), a dynamic love-life, a limitless career path that will stretch me far and wide (as it does now), widely read published articles, best-selling books and the ability to authentically help others achieve their wildest ambitions, through this blog or through personal interactions.

 I want you to rediscover the truth for your life.  

It hasn’t changed since you were that curious kid.  It has only been hindered or delayed by circumstances. Once you have the faith to see it again, apply that same faith to cause it to become a tangible possibility.

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I have learned that how we define things for ourselves will ultimately shape us and dictate a certain path for our future. In other words, as I use the phrase, “Keep Pressing” every week, I have a picture of what that looks like to me, based on my understanding and faith. If your image of those words are completely different from mine, it won’t matter what I say, regardless of the level of intensity I say them with.

Your truth will become your (boundary) invisible jail cell or what propels you to greatness!

For many, that boundary will quarantine you like a glass ceiling or become vast like the stars in the night sky. The choice is really is up to you and I.  Each day we have the opportunity to choose what will limit us, by first recognizing what those things are.  Here lies the problem.  Since we don’t know what we don’t know, the cycle can be vicious, by habitually impeding any attempts towards making real progress or living a life of freedom versus bondage.  There is a quote in the Bible that states, “What a man thinks about himself, he becomes that man.”  I don’t think it could be any clearer than this, but with any attempt to grow, we must have, what I call the four rules to change, become whole or healthy. 

1. Recognize or identify that you have an issue – like a cut or wound in your physical body, this usually comes in the form of pain, whether self-inflicted or committed by others.

2. Seek help to remedy the problem – Go to a doctor/counselor/pastor/trusted and wise friend to help with this newly identified issue.

3. Apply the lessons or counsel given to the issue – Administer the ointment or advice, and do the homework prescribed.

4. Give yourself time for the lessons and counsel to work – Cuts don’t heal overnight, and emotional wounds are much more complex, so give yourself some time for the medicine (lessons/counsel) to work.  

Contrary to popular belief, time does not heal all wounds, it only lessens the sting.  It’s what we do in that time that truly causes the healing to really take effect.

In other words, a broken leg may feel better after several months, but if it’s not reset correctly, you may never walk the same again. And without therapy you may never have full use of it, even if the pain seems to be gone. Do the work, however long it takes.  We begin to visualize and accomplish this when we understand our worth and our value.  You must begin to visualize yours and often times it does not manifests itself in the path of least resistance.  It’s usually the “hard thing” or what causes you the most discomfort.  Perhaps it will become your greatest challenge to date.

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We’re typically not ready to take these steps until the pain is so great, where it becomes intolerable and the normal means of numbing becomes futile. That was my story and today I am grateful for the pain, for it was the one thing that allowed me to finally discover what my truth really was, not with simple structured words alone, but with something that I could visualize, hold on to and pursue with passion!

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Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

 

No one can develop freely in this world and find a full life without feeling understood by at least one person” Dr. Paul Tournier, M.D.

 

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The moment I began this blog I knew a level of my privacy would be gone forever.  For many reasons I was just fine with this.  I’m not sure if it was the many years of teaching classes and sharing bits and pieces of my life to strangers and friends for years, or going through a few bad relationships that broke me.  Maybe its how I am framed.  Whatever the reason, here I am sharing my life story to the world with no hesitancy.  Some of my friends ask me, “how do you feel after releasing such a personal part of you to everyone?”  My answer is simple.  I’ve released everything I have written long before I press the send button.  It would be too painful to do it any other way.  My point is, the journey that I took to get here was hard, agonizing, however essential, like a prerequisite or pre-qualification to share with you on this type of platform.  I have nothing to lose by sharing my story to the world.  I actually have a sense of peace knowing that my traumatic life experiences, when shared with integrity will impact someone to hope more, hold on a little while longer or keep believing that life is worth living.

It wasn’t always this way.  Like many, I had secret parts of me that no one knew about.  I was a master at disguising the real me.  What I divulged was perfectly orchestrated.  No surprises, at least to me.  I was in control and very comfortable with it.  The sad part about all of this was, I was living a lie (at least to a degree).  The real me was hidden and only surfaced when I allowed him to.  A “Plan B” was ALWAYS in my line of sight.  I would not be hurt, (so I thought) rejected or dismissed by anyone.  I knew how to protect myself, like drinking a disinfectant.  It’s meant to kill germs, but when applied incorrectly it can destroy everything it touches.  This was me.  Hurting everyone around me, by keeping the ones I professed to love at a distance.  I wouldn’t dare reveal the real me. 

Once the brokenness (read my other post to find out what they are) did its work in me and I chose to surrender, my life begin to change.  This change didn’t simply occur because I willed it to, but because I was in a new place.  A place of reflection, a place of being still and finally coming to the understanding that I was missing something very essential to living a full life.  That place was being true to myself.  I mean really true.  I came across a great book entitled, “Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?”, by John Powell. 

It challenged me to look into the mirror of my soul and ask myself several hard questions, like:

 

 

  1. What is at the core of my fear to show my real self?
  2. What happens when I finally disclose who I am?
  3. Why did I always seem to have a “Plan B” in place?

 

Answer to Question 1 – Ultimately I have learned to understand that my biggest fear was the fear of rejection.  I honestly had a fear that if the most important people in my life truly knew me, there is no way that they would still accept me, therefore that perpetuated the lie.  It’s human nature for most of us to believe that we’ll never be good enough or measure up to societies’ standards and the truth is we may not ever measure up, but what we must learn is we are enough as we are.  My faith in God tells me that I am ever-growing, imperfect and to trust the process of my transformation to evolve to the best me over time.  It cannot be with a mindset of comparing myself to others or pretending I understand something when I truly do not.  We all want to be accepted by others, but we must resist the temptation to project something or someone who we have not yet become.  If we only fit into a specific circle because of an illusion that we feel obligated to project, than we continue to lie to ourselves and perpetuate a lifestyle that saps us of all the creative energy essential to living a life of authentic wholeness.

To authentically learn to love thyself is to release the bondage of performing for others in order to be loved and accepted. 

When we learn what mask we place on our hearts every time we have an opportunity to be fully present, is the moment that our chains will begin to drop off.  For those of us that have perfected this to an art form, it may require much more work, prayer and therapy to have full release, but it is certainly possible.  I am a living witness.  

 

Answer to Question 2 – It’s easy to think that our world will fall a part when we finally choose to live a life of integrity when we haven’t for so long.  When we’re making decisions to bring the real me to the table for the very first time, our common sense may tell us to consider the cost and take delicate steps.  As a man who can over think even the simplest of things, I encourage you to listen to your first mind and take that leap of faith and courage.  No need to figure it out completely, write a dissertation on it or share it with ten friends, just step out and frickin do it.  

Take baby steps at first.  

I remember the first person that I confessed to that I was molested and the first person that knew how broken I really felt after my string of broken relationships.  It was absolutely freeing!  For us men, we don’t do this.  We place a cork on every hurt and disappointment that we have ever experienced, and will profess that it doesn’t matter when we know that it really does.  We’ll cope by turning to drugs, illicit affairs, meaningless sex, violence and others acts that are detrimental to ourselves and others.  While these coping mechanisms may provide a temporary way of escape, they are also equally effective in keeping a barrier up so we can remain elusive, at bay and removed from the painful reality we’re trying so desperately hard to escape.  Sad truth is it doesn’t work.  It never works.  Disclosing who I really am brings on freedom like nothing else can.  It’s the truth we have heard of for so long that truly sets us free.

 

Answer to Question 3 – I’ve learned over the years that having a “Plan B” in place is quite common in most things we do.  We’ve been taught as children that with college and career choices, we needed a “Plan B”.  We always need to have something to fall back on just in case our first plan didn’t come through.  This practice has carried over to serious relationships, even marriage.  I recently saw an article on Facebook where a poll was taken on how many women had a backup “friend” in case their marriages didn’t work out.  

A staggering 80% of the women polled, admitted to having someone there if their relationships were ever in trouble.

I imagine this is not just a women’s issue, but more a human issue.  We will enter into relationships declaring our whole heart to someone, (I know this because I did it) committing our lives, time and future, essentially all that we are safe to share and know good and well we aren’t ready yet.  We know that we have only revealed the best parts of us, even after a few years and we dare to take the relationship to the next level.  What pain this will bring you! Ultimately, none of us want to be frauds or live a lie, but many of the pains of our lives have made it very comfortable for us to retreat to the person that seems most accepted in that particular moment.  No one quite knows but us when we shift into that other guy or gal mode.  

We smile and laugh the same, we still share in interesting exchanges and come across as very engaged, but something deep within us has checked out.  

The familiar wall begins to rise and soon we’re projecting a limited version of who we are.  “Plan B” is full effect at this time.  For me it simply was easier to project this guy then to be explicitly open with the ones closest to me.  My “Plan B” was my safety net and I had justified why I allowed it to exist, not realizing that it was suffocating those important relationships and my own personal growth.

Thankfully, as we continue to journey through life we find ourselves with opportunities to grow.  These are typically the times when we have suffered a broken heart or some other type of tragedy.  When we confess that we hurt, or that someone hurt us we can begin to own that pain and do something positive with it.  

The pain is just the indicator, like a warning light on the dashboard of your car.

It’s our opportunity to heal by acknowledging the pain.  It’s our opportunity to remove the walls that have effectively kept us watching life, versus doing life.  Being afraid to tell someone who you really are is indeed a scary thing, but I have learned its scarier to live a life alone, a life alone with people all around you that are clueless to the real you.  It’s time to step off the ledge my friends.  Dare to believe that you can.

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

 

 

 

 

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“When I am anxious, it is because I am living in the future.  When I am depressed, it is because I am living in the past.” Unknown author

 

So for years I have been sharing with others that I was molested as a young boy.  Not just for the sake of divulging my personal business to the world, but primarily to help others.  It almost became second nature to talk about it with someone who could identify with my story.  From the outset, I felt it was very therapeutic to have meaningful discussions about it.  After all,  I had forgiven my accuser, even though she denied it ever happened, but truly I was all good. Well except for one small part, which came to my attention years later.  

My innocence was stolen every summer from about the young age of 6, until I was about 9 years old.  It was my secret to keep as instructed by my perpetrator, and I certainly obliged her until I was 24 years old.  I recall speaking to a family member about it to gain some insight and advice on how to handle it.  At that time I was so concerned about hurting her (yes the perpetrator), that I didn’t want to expose her.  After all, I loved her (in a being victimized sort of way).  So I took the advice, which was to forgive her, release it and move on with my life.  Now the forgiving part was fairly easy, because I truly had no ill feelings towards her.  The moving on part, not so much.  It would not be until almost 20 years later that I began to really understand that not only did I not move on, but I couldn’t because I had never truly dealt with the real issues of what I experienced as a boy.  I was stuck and it would take more than positive confessions for me to be free.  What was key for me to understand in that period was I had not dealt with the devastating trauma and aftermath of my innocence being stolen.  I had only dealt with what I understood, and what others were comfortable telling me, which was to forgive her and everything would be okay.  Sadly everything was not okay.  Quite the contrary actually.  It was not until my second divorce that I begin to truly examine my proclivities, thoughts and choices that ultimately led me to the impetus of a breakthrough.  I began by reading a book entitled, The Sexual Healing Journey, Wendy Maltz.  I discovered so many things about boys that have been molested by an older girl or woman. From how we process the trauma, our thoughts about the opposite sex, how we may protect ourselves or build in distance in close relationships, our inability to authentically connect at times and a seemingly inherent gift to become emotionally distant at a moments notice.  All this based on an abused mindset.  Below are a few questions that I would ask myself.

 

  1. Why did I think as I did?

  2. Why did I feel bound, dirty, lewd and over sexualized?  

  3. Why was it so hard to control my thought life?

  4. Does every man feel like this?

  5. Why is it so easy to disengage with people?

 

You see, I think so many of us victims of molestation spend endless years living in secret, due to the shame and embarrassment we feel, and we effectively begin to live a double life.  A life full of secrets that I honestly believe are even a mystery to us at least initially, and are all typically based on fear, guilt and shame.   

As I read through the book, I prayed, counseled and did some much-needed self-reflection. I began to understand, finally.  Not only was I not crazy, deranged or some weird guy, but I was quite normal for someone who had been victimized as a child.  Now the key was becoming whole in order to no longer allow my past to dictate my future.  For me this meant coming to a profound revelation about my molestation.  

That is as my title of suggest, is a “dark-dark” secret.  The “first dark” represents what we typically know about this issue – that is, it is shameful (until we understand it’s not our fault), therefore it remains a secret, in the closet of our perplexed minds for decades or for some quite possibly a lifetime.  A life that probably lacks meaningful intimacy, closeness and vulnerability.  A life that can live in fear of repeating the act on someone else so everything is avoided, people included.  It can become quite an erratic existence until you get a grip on what lies beneath the surface of your emotions.  This requires coming to the ultimate truth of who you are at the time.  That could very well be a person that smiles in public and cries in secret.  One that projects confidence to the public, however lives a life of fear and intimidation.  Or maybe someone who suffers from an addiction that shame won’t allow you to profess, even to your closest friend, spouse or life partner.

The “second dark” represents something much deeper and sinister, which is the secret of who you become and why as a result of molestation, without early intervention.  If all you know is one thing your entire life, it’s almost impossible to see it another way.  That becomes your new normal even if its is wrong, off base or unacceptable to society.  These statements do not suggest that it’s okay to act impulsively on your feelings or make decisions without license, but more importantly it captures the complex layers of confusion that evolves when this type of victimization remains locked up, harboring in a swamp of delusion.  

You see being molested took something away from me.  It stole my ability to have pure and healthy thoughts (my innocence) as a child, therefore it shaped many of my decisions and actions as an adult, only with a victimized mindset. It wasn’t until several years ago that I identified the “second dark” as a lie, and a facade of my true self.  Something that attached itself to me through the act of being molested and effectively intertwined into my psyche, thoughts and very actions as a man and past husband.  I lived with it, accepted it as mine and simply thought this would be my struggle to bear for the rest of my life.  I assumed that I would never truly be close to a woman and my most important relationships would be kept at a safe distance.  I just did not know what being close really meant for me.  I could teach it, read about it and help others feel comfortable working through the process, but as for me, not so.  

I desperately needed to understand (from my soul and spirit) that I was created for purity, wholeness, wellness and with an ability to love intrinsically with openness and honesty, despite the molestation, yet I was far from that, because I had never honestly dealt with it.  Just the normal surface stuff.

Ultimately the real me became the secret, even though I had professed the opposite my entire life.  

I was trapped in a shell of disillusionment, tormented by images that projected a distorted view of who I truly was.  So I have finally come to the conclusion that the “dark-dark” secret truly was me.  The real me, afraid to stand up and say I am not a victim any longer.  This argument was not with anyone, but myself.  No one else in the world knew this but me.  Hence, why it became my “dark-dark” secret.  

 

I want to list a few steps on how this revelation came to me to leave you with some hope.  They are as follows:

 

  1. Be true to yourself Being honest with ourselves is one the hardest things to do, because this is a time to finally own what is truly ours.
  2. Listen and trust what you hear – Sometimes what we hear first is exactly what we need, but we become experts in doubt and distrusting our first thoughts.
  3. Step out in faith in the small things – Don’t try to conquer the world with your initial moves. Tackle confronting the lie you have lived with all this time versus confronting others.
  4. Realize that you are not your past – Don’t allow your past to define your future.  Get counseling and surround yourself around people who speak truth and love in your life.
  5. Take your power back – There will always be naysayers in your life.  Don’t indulge in conversations that lead to you explaining yourself so someone else.  The moment you do that, you have given them power over you.
  6. Begin to live your life as an over-comer, not a victim – Victims are always making excuses for what and why they cannot do something.  Begin to take ownership for you.  Stop blaming others for what they did to you.  Take control of your destiny by establishing new dreams and goals for yourself.  Make each day a new day.  A step closer to a better you!

 

Keep pressing…

Hank G

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have always loved this song.  And like so many of us, as a kid I had no idea what I was singing about, but the melody sure was nice.  Now as an adult I can appreciate the words, along with the melody.  I think of love, good and not so good relationships and how each one has uniquely impacted me.  I ponder on what lessons I took away as the result of my divorce, my poor ability to truly communicate with my partner or our mutual agreement to part ways.  I reflect on my mental and emotional state during that time?  Did I feel broken, depressed or rejected?  Did I own my feelings or attempt to pass them off as someone’s else’s fault? (I confess this was the case more often than not back then) However, with my personal desire to get better and to be better as my motivation, and my hope to experience real wholeness, along with much prayer, I challenged myself with several questions.  These questions were often bounced off one or two close friends that were willing to tell me the truth in love, and sometimes even a trusted counselor. Most of my questions were actually statements that my friends would call me out on and cause me to look in the mirror. Painful, but ultimately very helpful.  This was the process (my process) that inevitably helped me to grow. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing with the steps I took.  I did indeed learn from them.  

 

A friend that will swear to their own pain, is a true friend.

 

They say hindsight is 20-20, and if I knew 10% of what I know now about most things, my life would have taken a different course, at least I think so anyway.  The million-dollar question is would my life be better having more knowledge without the experience or the wherewithal to know any better?  Selah.  I will say I believe our steps are perfectly ordered just as they are, poor decisions and all.  That can be a hard pill to swallow when you consider all the jacked-up things that can happen in our lives, but I will qualify that statement with…you don’t know what you don’t know.  Therefore, our choices are based on what we do know and what we attempt to understand through our faith, experiences, up bringing, etc., and even that does not guarantee we still won’t make poor choices, but we have to step out on something at some point.

 

When you reflect on the less memorable relationships you have been involved in, or after you have went through your own healing process, hopefully you can take away that all of it wasn’t in vain, additionally all of it wasn’t only your partner’s fault.  Imagine that.  Every bad relationship hopefully wasn’t COMPLETELY bad.  Ultimately there should be something we can learn from the ugly stuff?   If you say there is not, you are more likely to relive bad memories, even if you’re with a different person.

 

Life lessons must be learned or your past will indeed define your future.

 

Some of that which we wish to forget has equally and undeniably forged us and made us who we are today.  It’s just a part of the cycle of life.  Embrace what was meant for you to learn and move closer to the better you.  If you don’t take responsibility at some point, you will live in a vicious cycle of pain, anger and regret, fruitlessly blaming others for your circumstances.  From your parents to alleged soul-mates.  I’m convinced we spend too much of our precious time studying, reflecting or listening to well-meaning friends on what we did wrong, who we did wrong or who wronged us. This is NOT the type of truth I have been referring to.  There has to be balance with this.  My point is get the lesson however you need to receive it, and move on!  Otherwise become a professional recipient of pain, anger and regret. My counselor,  Dr. Adams asked me a poignant question at the end of my sessions.  He asked, “Henry what have you learned through all this?  You can’t go through the amount of pain you did and not learn one thing that will prevent you from returning to my office for the same issue.”  As much as he appreciated my business (as a paying customer), he was not seeking repeat clients, due to our perpetuation of the same problem.  I was grateful for his therapeutic philosophy and followed suit, as I do today.  My blog, as much as I enjoy writing, is a part of my continued therapy as well.  It causes me to reflect on my thoughts regularly and keep them close as I share them with you.  Additionally, it also helps me to remain accountable to them.

 

Leo Keeler / Accent Alaska

 

Another topic worth discussing is our negative thoughts and how they need no help getting inside our psyche.   They find a way all their own to wake us up in the morning if we allow them to.  They can flow off the lips of our best friends and haters with the greatest of ease.  The question is how we choose to respond to them.  It’s in those moments where, what we are and who we’re becoming falls in the balance.  It’s no longer just about the strong words we declared, but the actions that follow these declarations.  Will you get entangled in futile discussions about what you were or defy the naysayers with silence, and purposeful, authentic progression?  The choice is truly ours.  

 

 My choice is to fly and rise above every negative thought!

 

So like the song states, let’s learn to fly again and ultimately soar like the eagle across the literal abyss of what held us down.  The abyss of emotionally destructive decisions, self-perpetuated victimization, manipulative or controlling behaviors, impulsive attitudes, fear-laced thoughts and anger-infused decisions.  Nothing positive has ever derived from these characteristics, actions or mindsets, only more pain.  You can do more than you realize with broken wings, disappointment and even a broken heart. The great truth is you can heal from these when you choose a better path for yourself.  You are more than the situation you are in.  Figuratively (and possibly literally) you may have to walk with a limp for the rest of your life, in other words, some circumstances may have life long consequences, but don’t allow even that to become a crutch or an excuse to your progress.  It’s always easier to quit, put forth no work and complain about why your life is so miserable.  I’m sure you’re quite aware how that story ends and hopefully you are tired of those results.

Many years ago this song was just a set of words with a nice melody, but now as I have grown and matured, I get it. I will, “learn to fly again, learn to live so free”.

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

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