Tag Archives: freedom

Because There is No Alternative

Things have been going extraordinarily well, as of late. I’m employed at a fantastic company that I love, with awesome coworkers, good pay, and a real chance at learning and growing. I’m grateful for such an opportunity. My home life is also going pretty well. My lovely oldest younger sister is on a mission for our church and is currently in Utah for training before being sent off to Washington State. It’s super cool. I’m very proud of her. My brother is doing really well for himself, working for a pest control company. What was the first thing he bought? A ton of video games and an epic computer for gaming. My youngest sister is in the grip of mid-high school life, so it’s about as good as it could be for her (rough, but manageable). My parents are happy and my dad might even be able to get off insulin in a year. I might have an opportunity to move out sooner rather than later, and I’m starting up a tiny local business-thing to help me make some extra money. (Don’t worry. It’s not drugs. Yet.) Life is simple and good right now.

So then, why am I feeling so craptastic?

The long answer: I’m halfway into a relationship I don’t know will work, my self-image is crumbling, my health is in decline, I’m still nowhere near to releasing my first film, I’m tired most of the time, I get anxious about the dumbest things, yadda yadda.

The short answer: I’m not perfect.

I know, I know. You can’t be perfect. You can’t expect yourself (or be expected by others) to perform flawlessly and shoot to the top of the ladder at your job, relationship, or whatever else is in your life. You just can’t. To do so causes stress, and for a man who is 24 and has to live at home, that’s a pretty normal. I know, intellectually, that I’m imperfect and that I’m not supposed to be perfect. That said, I know I’m not at my best, that my potential is untapped, that I am nowhere near where I would like to be. It’s rough.

I want to be traveling the world. I want to be making movies. I want to be changing lives. I want to be helping people. I want to be independent. I want, I want, I want, but I don’t have. I’m failing to live up to my own expectations. So I came up with a couple solutions. The first is pretty obvious:

Lower your expectations of yourself.

This tends to be the go-to when I asked for advice on the matter. “You can’t be perfect,” and “you shouldn’t try to do too much,” were common responses. “You need to set lower standards,” was also popular. This might work for you, because your standards might be ridiculous. You might think that you have to raise those four kids, balance a check book, and end world hunger all before 8 in the morning. It’s admirable that you want to do all these things, but it might be a little foolish to try to do it all alone. Which brings me to my second solution:

Try harder.

Maybe your expectations and standards are within reach. You’d probably know better than I would. I personally don’t think my standards are that implausible. I want to live in my own apartment/condo/house, travel to a new place every month (even if it’s just to another city), and make enough money to support myself. It shouldn’t be that hard, yet for some reason it is. In fact, in my experience, this is basically impossible. Why? Because I’m not trying hard enough. I haven’t ever been able to completely focus or devote myself to any one thing – goal or otherwise – without assistance. Or rather, I haven’t forced myself to do so. When the going gets tough, the Tay got going. But that needs to change if I want to reach my goals.

To sum up, there are several roads you can take. You can change your standards, change your course in life, change how hard you work; whatever the case may be. You have the power. And I have the power. Believe.

That not good enough for you? The whole “just be positive” speech doesn’t carry as much thunder once you’ve heard it a dozen times. Allow me to present you with another fact:

Do what you need to do to reach your goal. Do it because there is no alternative. There just isn’t. I got home from a walk in the park a few minutes ago and my dad proceeded to lecture me about my eating habits (which are pretty bad). I’m now officially 70 pounds over my personal weight limit. I have plans to live forever and the gunk in my veins is going to clog up my heart before I get the chance to discover the cure for death. I have to be healthy. It’s no longer an option of “Well, I want abs to looks sexy.” Now it’s “I need to be healthy, or I’m going to die at 30.” There is no alternative. I have no other options.

Neither do you.

You want your life to change? You want to reach your goal? You want to be something more than you are today? Do you want to do something but just can’t find the motivation? Then remember the title of this post. Because you have to do it. You have to. THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE. There’s no backup. There’s no checkpoint. There’s no restart. There’s this. This is it. Do not waste what life and time you have. You have to try. You have to do. Because there is no alternative. Humans have proven their resilience time and time again. It’s proof that you can persevere and do it too. It will be hard. It will seem impossible. But you have to. You have no other choice.

Don’t give up! Don’t give in! And always remember to DREAM BIG!

How to Feel Grateful, Even When You’re Not.

Over the first few months of the year, I’ve been mentally falling apart. That’s what tends to happen when you have no plan, no idea where you’re going, and under 60 days to decide all of that. Stress and anxiety destroyed me and I reverted to a version of myself that I neither like, nor am happy I ever had. But in this last week, I was brought back to joy by techniques I learned a few years ago. It’s funny how going back to the basics is so important. I suppose that’s why they teach you those first.

I’m going to list a few steps I’ve taken to correct my behavior and my attitude. Hopefully, if you find yourself in a spot of bother, these things will work for you.

Step 1: Stop

Stop whatever it is you’re doing. Really stop. If you’re doing homework, put the pencil down. If you’re driving, pull over. If you’re eating, swallow first and then stop. If you’ve been sitting, stand. If you’ve been standing, sit. I want you to literally stop whatever it is you’re doing for 17 seconds. It may help to put on a piece of uplifting music.

Step 2: Examination

Are you stopped for 17 seconds? Good! Now the un-fun part starts. Look at yourself. Look at what you’re doing. Look at your mood, your behavior, your mannerisms. Look at your posture, look at your facial expression, look at breathing. If you are not happy, if you are not in a good state of mind, then these things will be wrong. I guarantee that these things will look and feel the way you do, emotionally. You feel angry, you’ll look (your version of) angry. You feel sad, you’ll look (your version of) sad. I say your version because sometimes people hide their feelings from others. This also hides feelings from themselves, disconnecting the feel-er to their own emotional state. Stop all of this, and close your eyes.

Step 3: Let Go

LET IT GOLET IT GO! CAN’T HOLD IT BACK ANYMORE! There is joy inside of you. It’s there. Don’t think that you’re a joyless creature. Within the human mind, we are capable of all things. With that in mind, let go of all the crap that you are carrying right now. Let go of the anger, the sadness, the stress. This is one of the hardest things to do, but don’t stop.

Step 4: Say Thank You!

You wouldn’t believe how powerful this is. You don’t necessarily have to feel gratitude yet. Just having let go of the crap from the previous step, and choosing to allow yourself to feel gratitude, even if it’s not there, opens you up. Say “Thank you”. Who are you thanking? Well, you can thank God, thank the Universe, Spirit, Fairy Godmother, your parents, your friends, your family, your significant other, or yourself. What are you saying thank you for? It doesn’t matter. Just say thank you and mean it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Start off by saying this twenty times and you’ll start to feel an energy shift. If you feel nothing, go back to step 3 and try again. Repeat these steps until you feel genuine gratitude.

Step 5: Write everything down

You’re now feeling gratitude, or starting to feel gratitude. Keep chanting Thank You! Grab a pen (not a pencil) and some paper. Get specific with your thanking and write it all down. “I am so grateful that I can write this down.” “Thank you for letting me change my attitude.” “I’m so grateful that I am free from my own self-afflictions.” List EVERYTHING you feel in a positive connotation. Instead of saying “I’m so grateful that I don’t have to deal with a crappy coworker anymore” write “I’m so grateful that my job has a better work environment.” This is critical. Gratitude doesn’t work if you’re snarky or sarcastic about it. You must focus on pure, positive reinforcement. You will be astounded at the difference it makes.

Step 6: Smile

As you do these steps, remember to smile genuinely. Physically adjusting yourself to allow that happiness into your life will make it easier for you to feel gratitude. Fix your posture, smile, breath deeper, be deliberate in your mannerisms. When you breathe, breathe in joy. When you stand or sit up straight, imagine your spirit becoming aligned with the universe as your spine does with your body. When you smile, every ounce of pain is shredded before your eyes. You will begin to feel a powerful shift in your body. Tilt your head towards the sky in awe, or towards the ground in reverence. Feel.

Remember that attitude is a choice. Whether you’re going to have a good day or a bad day is entirely up to you, not the circumstances you’re in. I know you have it in you to be powerful creators of your own lives, of your own destinies. Be strong, be brave. Be unafraid to challenge your old habits and stand up for your happiness. Be grateful. Be wise. And follow your feet. They know where to go. Trust yourself and your inner joy. I have so much more to say, but I want you to go right now and try this out. Try it out and comment on how it made you feel. Comment. Like. Share.

You guys are amazing and I cannot thank you enough for your time and your attention. It’s incredible. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Remember, if you’re going to dream, dream BIG!

How to Travel

The Staff of Tay!
The Staff of Tay!

While adventuring in the land of Washington, my dear sister and I did many-a-thing. Fly, drive, photograph, feast, cry, laugh, poop, the whole nine yards. It became apparent to me that, while she and I have lots of fun, we rarely have plans. SO I’m going to share with you some ideas on how to travel.

Step 1: Know where you’re going

Or don’t, really. I mean, we rarely do. We usually pick a direction and just drive until we decide to turn back around. While we don’t know the place we’re heading, we do know where and why we’re going. We’re adventuring! We’re exploring for ourselves that which has been explored by others. We take our own paths and while they aren’t often the most travel, or could lead you into the city of Portland only to turn around and leave again, they are ours. We know where we are going. We are going on an adventure.

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Step 2: Be open to new experiences

You have no idea what lies ahead. You can plan your trip down to the most minute detail, but there’s no guarantee you will do everything on your checklist. What if your car breaks down? What if you left your cash at home? What if you have to poop on the side of a road named after a European people? No matter what you do, or what happens to you, being open to the experience can be liberating, fun, and even life-changing.

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Step 3: Go!

Believe it or not, this is the hardest step for some people. “I really want to go to England.” “I really want to climb the Himalayas.” “I really want to go scuba diving.” And we say “Okay, cool! When?” And they go “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe when I’m better off.” That’s the worst attitude you could ever have. Plan a date and time and set aside some money. Network with people who can help you travel. Join forums, websites, community groups, partnerships, anything that gets you up and moving. The only thing keeping you from your destination, from your journey is YOU.

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Step 4: Document EVERYTHING

Bring a camera. Can’t afford one? Cool. I can’t either. Bring a journal. Hate writing? I can’t understand that. Bring a sketch book. Can’t draw? No biggie. Collect souvenirs. Can’t pay for them? Pick up a freaking rock from all the places you travel to. Put them all in a jar when you get home along with your plane ticket or receipt from somewhere you went while traveling and you’ll be amazed at how cool of a decoration it is. Never forget what you do, how you felt. Travels are meant to inspire, to heal, to provide perspective.

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Step 5: Return home

This is the hardest step, but you can’t stay in paradise forever. Not because you have responsibilities waiting for you at home, but because if you stay, paradise will lose its touch. Don’t be afraid of the journey back. And remember, you can always leave again.

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Thank you for reading. Remember: if you’re going to dream, dream BIG!