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I am an amateur writer, just getting my feet wet. Blogging for me will be a launching point to get some solid writing done leading up to the eventual completion of the book that hides inside of me.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Learning to Let Go

There comes a time when there is so much going on: work, home, kids, school, sports, finances, bills, extended family etc. that we can feel overwhelmed. We want to control it all, put everything in its own compartment and deal with it ourselves.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be responsible for your own life. To want to handle your own problems with no outside help. But when that thought process causes stress, mood swings, depression and/or eating disorders you see where it can truly be unhealthy.
So what to do?
Take a step back and reassess priorities and learn to let go.
Sound easy? No, not at all. But could it be? Yes! With practice.
Several years ago – more than I care to mention – I was made to attend classes based on the popular work model and teaching series by Franklin Covey “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. At the time I was bored out of my skull! Learning catch phrases such as “Think Win-Win”, “Put First Things First” & “Circle of Influence vs. Circle of Concern”
When I attended the classes I was strictly focused on job/career goals and once the classes were over much of what I learned evaporated like water on a hot sidewalk. Or so I thought.
Recently, due to issues in my life, I have found that some of those classes were not actually wasted time.
That’s where this handy dandy chart comes in.

Circle of Influence vs. Circle of Concern. The content of everyone’s circles are different of course. But, everyone has them. You will notice the Circle of Influence is much smaller than the Circle of Concern, and for good reason. Let me explain with some personal insights of my own.

Within the last few months I have had several (translated meaning more than two), so called friends make it pretty clear to me that I am not worth their time or effort to continue our friendships.
One was my best friend from high school. We had met up again after (ahem) more than 10 years. We met a couple of times for dinners, reminisced and seemed to hit it off all over again. The last time I saw her we made plans to get together for a night of beer and shooting pool. I have not heard from her since even after several attempts to contact her.
I had another friend who I was walking with on a fairly regular basis, we tried for twice a week but life got in the way and we were lucky to make it once a week. She left on vacation and promised to call me when she returned and we would continue our walks, maybe even meet for dinner. Yep, you guessed it, not a word. It’s been two months. I left her a message that was never returned and thanks to social networking I know she’s back and having plenty of fun with other friends.
I have other examples of people that have not felt compelled to continue including me in their lives due to circumstances that I have not been privileged to know. One going so far as deleting me as a friend on FB (I wonder if that will ever stop sounding juvenile), without as much as a goodbye. When I contacted them to see why I received the standard “It’s me not you” response. Which may be true but stings none the less. And all this in about a three to four month time span.
So, what do I do? At first I pout, feel sorry for myself. Wonder what it is about me that seems to repel people. I get angry at the inconsiderate behavior of supposed adults not to mention supposed friends. But then I stop and remember what I learned all those years ago. These situations are not within my Circle of Influence. These people have minds of their own, consciences they have to live with, and circles of their own to deal with. Yes, they are (or were) in my Circle of Concern but at one point in my wallowing I mistakenly thought they fell under my influence. That I could take control of the situations and change them somehow. Wrong! Yes I cared, too much in some instances, but no amount of caring could change any of their minds. Thus, no influence. I had to let the situations go for my own sanity sake. So I focus on where I do have influence which is within myself, knowing how I treat people, and being sure I treat them as well if not better than I want to be treated.
My children are another example. When they were younger they overlapped both my Circles of Influence and Concern. Bedtime, bath time, when and what to eat, on and on. I cared and was able to influence their lives. But, as they get older they literally get too big to be in my small Circle of Influence. They will never be out of my Circle of Concern but as they start making their own decisions my influence wanes and lessens. My concern becomes the hope that when I did have influence I helped them be able to make wise choices.
I cannot tell you how freeing this way of thinking has been for me. When I can look at any situation that comes up in my life and ask, “Can I influence this in anyway?” and make my decisions based on that answer, it changes everything!
So why are the circles so different in size? Look at it this way. If you have a big heart, you are going to care about so much in the world. But in reality, there is usually very little you can do to influence most of it. Yes, you can help, but the final outcome is not within your control. You do what you can, but let go once you have. You will find after time that we don’t have as much influence in our lives as we might think we do. And while we don’t give up on the things that concern us, when push comes to shove, we can choose to focus on the things we have actual control over.
That is what I have chosen to do for me.

Sources: www.franklincovey.com

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Conspiracy Theories

When I first started writing this blog I was going to focus on some of the labels people wear in regards to their ideals. Labels such as: Birthers, Truthers, Progressives, Liberals, Conservatives, Conspiracy Theorists, and on and on. Does anyone really fall completely under any one banner? I know I don’t. I am not one who believes that US government had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks. But, I do think that the stigma surrounding the Presidents origin of birth would be easily put to rest if a validated birth certificate could or would be made public. To me, if you have nothing to hide and are truly a US born citizen what is so difficult about that? Why is that kept such a tight security secret? Is it a conspiracy?
I never thought of myself as a conspiracy theorist. I didn’t think I fit the “mold”. They’re nut jobs after all…aren’t they? Conceiving of and believing in all sorts of crazy notions. Rational, sane people don’t buy into such nonsense…do they?
Are those that lean toward belief in conspiracy theories weak? Or are they actually stronger for going against the grain of main stream thought regardless of the back lash that is sure to ensue?
So, then I got to wondering what makes people believe in a particular conspiracy theory? Is it a general distrust of government that makes people feel they are being continually lied to by those in power? And, how do you know who to believe in regards to these theories?
For everyone that believes in Alex Jones there are more that think he’s a couple cards short of a full deck. Glenn Beck has as many people blindly following him as does Al Gore.
I know that there are people in this world who are perfectly happy thinking everything  they hear on TV is real and not try to determine on their own if a story is true or not. These same people are satisfied believing what Hollywood actors would tell them to do, not realizing for a moment how far removed from reality they actually are, instead of doing their own homework and researching facts.
Case in point; how many people believed US Weekly or Time Magazine when they erroneously picked up a story stating that Sarah Palin wanted Christina Aguilera to be deported because she flubbed the National Anthem before the Super Bowl? Or when Fox Nation reported as real an Onion article regarding a 75,000 word email a frustrated Obama supposedly penned to the American people?
Now, I have never believed Paul McCartney dead or Elvis still alive. But, I wouldn’t put it past people with too much medical knowledge to think they know what is best for me and my family by forcing us to be vaccinated against a disease whose numbers have been artificially inflated and manipulated to make it appear there is an epidemic in order to increase their influence over us.
And while I don’t believe that our government actually caused 9/11, I may be inclined to believe that a government full of itself and under the influence of rich financial bankers with an agenda to say one thing to our face yet strive for something else in back room deals.
The number of conspiracy theories swirling around is wide and varied as the stars in heaven. There is at least one conspiracy theory for almost every major event that has happened in the past 75-100 years:
·         The Federal Reserve – Established in 1913 was designed to transfer wealth from the poor and middle classes of the United States to the international bankers of the New World Order.
·         Creation of Diseases – Claims have been made that AIDS is a man-made disease. Created as a tool of genocide or population control.
·         Area 51 – Alleges that this Air Force Base in Nevada has participated in the storage, examination, and reverse engineering of crashed alien space craft.
·         Pearl Harbor – That the attack on the port in Hawaii in 1941 was not a surprise. That President Franklin D Roosevelt was aware of the risk of an attack by the Japanese but ordered the information kept quiet in order to pump up public opinion in favor of the US entering WWII.
·         Man walks on the moon – It is believed by some that the Apollo landings were staged in a Hollywood movie studio.
·         Assassinations – Conspiracy theories abound on the subject of the assassinations of John F, Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
·         Celebrities – Stories of intrigue still surround the deaths of Marilyn Monroe, Sam Cooke, Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, John Lennon and even Michael Jackson.
Just to name a few.
So, who do you believe and why? Better yet, what’s true and how do we know?
What gauges do you use to determine the validity of a news story? What do you go by to decide what issues (conspiracies) you believe and which ones you chalk up as hype?

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