Blogpost, self-reliance

Crowd Surfing

A few weeks back, I went to a rock festival. It was a great experience! A few bands that I knew and like. Quite a few more that I’d never heard of but really enjoyed getting to know them. The crowd was extremely energetic despite the rainy weather. Mosh pits and crowd surfing were happening continuously through most of the acts. Although moshing can be “aggressive” and lead to injury. There’s usually not much malice behind it. Equally so, crowd surfing is not meant to be dangerous. People riding on top of the crowd is supposed to be fun but it is truly putting your safety into the hands of strangers. There are no guarantees that they won’t drop you, intentionally or otherwise. Yet this seems to be the way that many people are traveling through the world nowadays.

Of course, I’m not speaking 100% literally. The point behind the comment is the way that we exist digitally. Many people are putting their very real self-esteem and self-image into the hands of “virtual” strangers. Most of the time, they are actual strangers. The virtual is there for emphasis on the not completely real world that we exist online. These people almost never truly touch us but they impact many people through their likes, comments and shares. As social beings, we thrive on the acceptance of the tribe and want to be recognized. The problem comes from the disconnection. Despite being connected in some sense of the word, a large portion of the people who are “holding” us up will never know us in the traditional sense of the word. At least the people at the concert feel the weight and see the aftermath of someone who is dropped. The people online are much less invested. Anything or nothing can change the connection there.

So beware of crowd surfing in the virtual world. The likes, shares and comments should not be the things that keep you floating through the day. At best they should be icing to a cake that is already filled with the flavor of things of substance. There’s plenty to be gained from the interconnectivity that we have today. Unfortunately, a true sense of self is probably not going to be found there without some dangers attached. Let the people who truly know you carry you through the day, especially the one that you spend every second with (hint: it’s YOU!).

Keep rockin!


Blogpost, self-reliance

The Couch of Your Relationships

If you’ve ever moved, there are several items that require help. Since I graduated high school, I’ve lived in 17 different residences. Some moves were light and others were heavy but very few were done alone. The help is either hired or friends who were enlisted. Couches are not the most difficult to move but they’re a crucial piece of furniture for comfort. Just like so many items, it’s difficult to carry alone. This exactly like any relationship.

Obviously we want for our relationships to be comfortable like a good couch. However in order to move them forward, it takes both people to do the lifting. If one person is basking in the comfort of where things are, then it’s extremely difficult for the other person to take it anywhere new.

Couches are also awkward to move at times. The people carrying them are doing it from opposite perspectives and rarely is there enough space for both people to be walking forward at once. It is often a tradeoff of one person slowly moving backwards while the other walks normally. Stairs, tight corners, obstacles, etc. may require pivoting and heroic effort to make it through those tight spaces in order to get back to enjoying the comfort again.

Unlike couches, there is very little uniformity to relationships. They come in such a huge variety that any list would be woefully incomplete. In addition to that, they are an extension of ourselves. At some point, all couches get left behind and the same could be said for relationships. The couch is not usually changed by the carrier but the same is not true of relationships. Each person has the potential to be changed by the carrying that they do. Hopefully those changes lead to a more comfortable place for both people and stronger individuals.

So as you go into the coming week, take stock of whether you’re carrying your weight or just lounging. We are social animals and our relationships with other humans have gotten us to the place where we are as a species. On an individual level, your relationships have the ability to make your life better. It just takes a bit of agreement on when you’re lounging and when you’re lifting. Almost no one wants to move a couch on their own!



Blogpost, self-reliance

Watching the Movie, Living the Movie

I don’t remember how I got introduced to the Rocky series of movies when I was a kid. However I recall very plainly being a fifth grader who was running a mile or more each day as part of some “training montage”. No one had told me to do it. There was no coach, parent or other person telling me to get up early and put in this work. I’d simply taken something that I saw on the screen and put it into practice in my own life. That formula continued as I grew with movies like the Matrix. I took things from the theater and applied them.

This is not a unique situation. Actually it’s the way that everyone lives their life. The only difference is the input source. Every child takes in what they see on the “screen” whether that is a literal screen or just the movie that is playing out in front of them called life. They watch parents, sisters, brothers, friends, neighbors, strangers and all manner of other people acting in certain way and mimic some of what they see. It’s how we learn and sometimes it’s how we grow as people. The very public theater of life is filled with a chaotic mess of people acting in such a variety of ways that sometimes the right people to mimic are hard to identify. The big screen of movies and TV often makes things simpler because characters are idealized versions of humans that can be identified as good or evil. While these are both places to get inspiration, the most powerful theater is the private one. The one inside of your own head that no one else can access. Before you can do anything in the outer world, you must first see it on the private screen. Frequently the movies that are played on the private screen are re-runs of past patterns or expectations based on what we’ve always known. That is why people tend not to improve their station in life. They have a set of films that they see inside of their head and introducing a better moving picture of themselves is difficult.

It’s difficult because there is a good possibility that the private movies don’t always make it to the public theater of life. Getting them from the private screen to the reality screen takes work, dedication, patience, etc. and those are tough ingredients to put in when the outcome is uncertain. Spending a few minutes or more, envisioning the outcome that you want each and every day may feel like a fool’s errand. Visualization is something that we tend to do but usually it is reruns of past events. The projection of a future that is disconnected from our present and our past can feel unsettling, like leaping off some sort of cliff. However in order to move forward, we must separate ourselves from the ground and propel ourselves forward. Therein lies the difficulty. Creating a picture of one’s self that is different from the present version can be a challenge but that vision of separation allows the new character of you to emerge.

The world is not going to offer you a starring role, even in your own life. You need to imagine it on the small private screen first before pitching it to everyone else. Fortunately the movies give us the perfect word for bringing your new vision for yourself out into the open. So come up with your vision, see it as clearly as you can. Whether the cameras are rolling or not!