Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hope from Arizona

The shooting in Arizona has passed from the headlines. Memorials have come and gone. The flowers, cards, and messages of support laid at the scene have been cleared away. The families of those who have died are just beginning their grief, and their attempts at making sense of this tragedy have left them at a loss.

And when we look back at this occurrence we burrow through the wreckage for answers, trying to locate some hints at a reason. We search, we look around, and we ultimately crash against this impenetrable wall of madness. There are no explanations to be had, no insights discovered. We will never find an adequate answer to the question, “Why?”

An event like this is a shock to the system. It gives us cause to reflect on how this incident affects us. Whenever a tragedy of this scope occurs we give a moment’s pause to our own lives: We take a quick inventory, maybe only a second or two, and think about the lives close to us. We wonder, if only a moment, if they’re all OK, if the members of our families are still with us. For a flash of an instant we think of our friends and take account of their lives and their presence.

And when we realize that everybody in our life is fine, we put the incident out of our heads. It is yesterday’s news and its impact is gone. We take nothing good from this awfulness. We apply no change. We are the same person we always were. . And with that, we learn nothing.

In life, we absorb thoughts, feelings and events from a million different directions. We make snapshot assessments of everything, everyday, and we move throughout our routine without even realizing all the information we take in and make part of ourselves. We react to a hundred things every minute: sounds, shapes, sights, feelings and thoughts fly through our consciousness. Instantaneously, we screen through 99 percent of it and apply only a small portion to who we are and what we’re doing.

And when I processed the events in Tucson, I realized how random life can be. An unexpected twist of fate could place any of us in harm’s way, at any time. In the whisper of an incident, your life can change forever. I never want to take the chance that my life will be over without amends made, apologies offered, and the spirit of peace extended. And never, ever want to take the chance of leaving this world without letting everybody I know how much I love them and how much they mean to me.

Take a minute today, please, and make peace with your enemies, resolve conflicts in every part of your life, and make sure that you tell every single person you know that you love them, that they’re important, and that your life is so much better because of who they are.
You will give new life to your journey and new meaning to your life. Ed McShane - Happy Scribbles, Inc.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Love and Integrity in the New Year

Years ago I had a friend that was a personal trainer. At the time he was 49 and had a body of a 23 year old. When I would work out with him I was in perpetual motion. After I was done I could barely walk to the car let alone lift my arms to operate the steering wheel. He never yelled, never coerced, but his insistence came with force that one didn’t question while contemplating your third set of bicep curls at 5:30 in the morning.

In any training regimen, weeks pass and your motivation stalls, you get a little sidetracked from your appointed rounds, and your commitment wanes. This happened, too, with my diet. Sticking to 1800 calories a day was tough. On a bad day half of those calories were consumed before 9 am, and the words “well, you can always start over tomorrow” were a mantra that began somewhere around 6 that night, and the next night, and that night after that.

When I told him that I’d had trouble adhering to the diet he said, very abruptly, that he could no longer train me. He said that he only trained people that “had integrity” and it was evident that I had very little.

I was thunderstruck and I assume the expression on my face reflected this disbelief. Upon seeing my state of utter shock he said “Look, it’s nothing personal, but integrity means one thing to me: Doing what I say I’m going to do. You said you were going to stick to the diet. You didn’t. You went back on your word. Therefore, you have questionable integrity and I will no longer train you.” And with that he shook my hand. I have never seen or heard from him since.

I left that meeting absolutely stunned but with the knowledge that he was absolutely right. Integrity means you do what you say you’re going to do. You keep your promises, appointments, resolutions and, above all, your word. If you say you’re going to do something, then carry through with what you said you’ll do. Living a life of integrity is that simple.

Life happens in our follow through, in the effect of our actions. It’s what we do that makes us who we are.

This morning I told a friend of mine that he and I are going to run the Rock and Roll Marathon. I haven’t run that long in eleven years and I get winded on my way to the bathroom. I’ve told myself that I’m going to drop weight, like 30 pounds, by April 1st. And I promised myself to be more positive.

This is your year to live in integrity. All those things you’ve said you’d do as part of your resolution need to be followed through with. When you achieve your goals, you’ll feel a sense of strength you’ve never experienced before.
In this New Year, make your greatest resolution a life with integrity, and watch how the person you are becomes the person you’ve always wanted to be. Ed McShane - Happy Scribbles, Inc.