Monday, September 30, 2013

Goodbyes are never easy

Goodbye is never easy
Tim Connor

I’ll bet during your life you have had to say a final – goodbye – to someone, whether due to a relationship ending, change of location, a new career or even death.

In some cases our goodbyes can be only temporary, but on many occasions they are permanent. Oh, you thought maybe you said that you would keep in touch with someone, but as the years passed one day you suddenly realized that what you thought was a temporary goodbye was a permanent one.

There are many emotions during any goodbye which can include; regret, disappointment, anger, grief, sadness, surrender or others.  In my experience when we say goodbye there are seldom positive, joyful or happy feelings associated with most of our endings.  Yes, there can sometimes be no or passive emotions – just acceptance or even apathy or indifference.  And yes, some of our goodbyes can help us to begin some new and even exiting or beneficial aspect of our next life chapter – thus a new beginning.

During my life there have been many goodbyes both permanent and in a some cases temporary – friends, family, co-workers, clients and even a few neighbors that I was close to for a time, but all of these endings regardless of their type or circumstances caused me to reflect on my life in general.   
How about you?  Goodbyes ever caused you to examine your feelings, emotions, attitudes or mindsets as a result of these situations?

In some ways I like goodbyes but in other ways I do my best to avoid them.  But when we refuse to say goodbye internally there will always be residual and ongoing inner pain of some kind.

If someone has passed away that you were close to but failed to forgive them or heal a broken relationship with them while they were alive – it’s now too late and you will have to live with the regret of failing to resolve these differences or tell them how you felt while they were still here.  You can’t imagine how many people are living with this inner pain because they lacked the courage or humility or compassion to take these steps while someone was still alive.

Maybe you had some really great friends in high school or college and the only time you see them is at an infrequent reunion.

When I was in high school I had 20 or 30 good friends (football or track buddies or just friends in general). When I got a copy of our 50th reunion yearbook I discovered that there were only four of us left. I can’t tell you the pain that that made me feel and the tears I shed for not keeping in touch with even a few of these people.

I was recently flying to a speaking engagement in Texas and sat next to a woman in her 70’s who said she hadn’t talked to her daughter in over 25 years.  I’m not being judgmental here or accusing her or her daughter of the cause of this rift but think about it – sad?

Goodbyes can be wonderful teachers that can help us heal other relationships that are still active but filled with tension, pain, regret or even anger.  They can humble us and help us to become better friends, partners and relatives but we have to be willing to change, grow and often forgive.

Have a relationship now that needs some healing? Don’t wait - you never know when or where the next goodbye will come from.

“There is not a single moment in life we can afford to lose.”

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's ALL for rent

-     For Rent -
Tim Connor

Think you own a home? A car? Lots of stuff? Your clothes?  Think about it – you own nothing you just have the privilege or temporary use of all of this stuff.  Sooner or later your home will be owned by someone else.  Your car – well either someone else will buy it or it will head to the junk yard. You see, ownership is a myth.  Yes, you have a deed or you may have paid off your mortgage but all we do is occupy and use things for a very short time until they either die, get trashed or someone else owns it.

My previous house that I owned (occupied for 20 years) so far has had five owners and it’s only been around for fifty years imagine if it’s still standing in another fifty years how many other owners it will have had.  Or should I say occupants.

There is also another way to look as this simple “rental” philosophy.  You are just renting your body for a few short years and then it’s “dust to dust”.
Why is it that people get so attached to things that are just temporary?  Is it insecurity or ego? Or, is there something else going on? Well consider;

Nothing lasts forever – don’t believe me come back to earth for a temporary visit in say - one hundred years after you have passed on and I’ll wager that very little will be the same.  I’m not being negative here just asking you to consider your attachment to things that you think you own that you are just renting or using for a short time.

I’m not in any way suggesting that you shouldn’t buy or own things and that you should rent or lease everything just that when you consider it, no matter what your arrangement you still just use it for a while until you trade it in, sell it or trash it.

In a great book by Ortberg called – It’s All Going Back In The Box (I recommend you read it regardless of your opinion of what I am saying in this article) he puts it all into perspective – when you leave here everything – yes everything goes back in the box.  I won’t belabor his approach – just read the book, but his approach is very similar to what I am presenting here – that ownership – your position, business, career, relationships – whatever – are all temporary and can change in a heartbeat.

Don’t believe me? I’ll bet you know someone who has lost a job, lost a business, lost a loved one, lost a home or car or lost their own life.  It happens millions of times every day and has for centuries and the rules haven’t changed – we rent everything.

So, consider – your attachments to stuff.  There is only one thing that is permanent and eternal and that’s where we go after we leave here.  I’ll leave you with a question to ponder – is your attachment to stuff here possibly getting in the way of where you will go after you leave here?

"The first half of life consists of the capacity to enjoy without the chance; the last half consists of the chance without the capacity."
Mark Twain

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Life is short

Life is Short
Tim Connor

As 2013 comes to a close I would ask you to consider how you feel about what lies behind you and what is waiting around the next corner.

Life is short.  How many times have you heard that from a friend, loved one or total stranger?  How many times have you said it?  I’ll bet, regardless of whether you have heard it or said it, that you didn’t spend much time contemplating the words or the true meaning behind the message.

I’ll also wager that you spend very little time or energy during your life contemplating these three short words and their ultimate impact on the way you live your life.
I know I have said them hundreds if not thousands of times.  And I also know that most of us never ask the follow-up question – How short is it really – for me?

Here for a little while. What’s a little while? Thirty years? fifty or maybe you will be one of the lucky ones who gets to spend eighty or even ninety years learning, growing, sharing and living.  Living.  Why do so many people take life for granted assuming that they will have all the time they need to do all the things they want, visit all the places they desire and accomplish all of their goals and plans?   Why do so many people squander their present moments or settle in life for a unfulfilling career or relationship?  Why do so many people during their life waste thousands of hours reliving old mistakes and failures, bad decisions and unfulfilled dreams?

Why do so many people want more or better but refuse to try or choose to remain stuck?
I don’t have a clue.  I have done it many times myself.  So, you ask, what gives me the right to tell you how to live your life?

Please keep in mind that this is not my intent.  What you chooses to do with the time you have been given is up to you because it is your life and it too will be very short in comparison  to the time that man has walked the earth or will walk the Earth for centuries to come.

Life is short and the older you get the faster it moves.  Once you hit fifty trust me, the hours, days and years will fly by and there isn’t a thing you can do to slow them down.  All you can do is put as much life as you can into the years you are given.

Years ago one of my best friends passed away at age forty-one.  I have had a number of mentors and heroes who made it well past ninety. Who is to say how many years each of us will get?  Who has a contract with God that says you will make it to the ripe old age of one hundred and as spry, mentally alert and healthy as you were when you were in your teens?  No one.  Each day is a gift.  Each moment is a blessing.  If this is true why do so many people whine and moan about the quality of their life?  Why do so many people wish their life were better? Sure I would like to have more money, be better looking and in excellent health but guess what – sooner or later life happens to all of us. No one sits around in their twenties planning their life thinking OK, let’s make sure we include divorce, failure, bankruptcy, cancer, career disaster, discouragement, loneliness and any number of negative circumstances.  But in the end we all get our share of both good and bad stuff.

Life is not what you get but what you do with what you get while you are here.
Some people leave legacies of love while others leave legacies of despair and hate.  Some people leave having given more than they took and others leave having taken more than they gave.  What will be your legacy?  How will you live each of the precious moments you were given? 

So friends, live your life to the fullest every moment while you can because before you know it, it will be time to say good-bye. 

You are here for a little while and then you are gone forever.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Trust your inner voice

Trust your inner voice
Tim Connor

We all have an inner guidance system and it is always more accurate than our emotions, feelings, judgments and opinions when it comes to the actions we take or the decisions we make.  The question is – do you trust it and heed its guidance or override it with arrogance, ego, immaturity, ignorance or self-absorption?

Think about it – ever made a decision or taken an action that was contrary to the wisdom you felt coming from somewhere inside your self- your soul, spirit or heart?  You can’t always trust your mind as it is often filled with prejudice, fear, inappropriate knowledge or experiences.

One thing I have learned, but unfortunately I haven’t always honored is to trust the guidance and messages from within me and not my mind.  I can’t tell you how many bad decisions I have made or actions I have taken when I believed that I (my mind) knew best.  Boy, if I could go back with what I have learned the past few years and redo some of these actions I could have saved myself a great deal of future pain, disappointment and heartache.  How about you?  Or - am I the only one who has learned something too late?  The good thing is that I have finally learned it but as a human I have to be vigilant every moment of every day to ensure I don’t repeat theses earlier behaviors for the above reasons.

Where does this inner guidance come from? Well, it depends on who you ask.  If you are a spiritual person it comes from your spirit which will guide you if you will let it.  If you are not a spiritual person it comes from what you believe from previous experience.  I am not going to argue which approach is right or accurate.  The answer comes from your current circumstances.  If life is working for you (and this depends on how you choose to define working) I’ll bet in many ways you have heeded this inner guidance in the past.  If life isn’t working, I’ll wager that you have ignored or over ridden this counsel.

If your inner voice comes from your spirit, evidence has shown over the years by many reliable sources that the single goal of the spirit within you is for your happiness, joy and peace.  If this is true and I’m neither validating it or denying it then the spirit doesn’t want you to make mistakes given the long term impact of actions and decisions.  It doesn’t control you but guides you as your mind can refuse to accept this wisdom and act against it but there will always be consequences.

The spirit evidently has access to your past and your future as it comes from God  (see numerous illustrations throughout scripture) and it only wants you to make decisions or take actions consistent with your future best interests but you do have free will to act in any way you want for or against it.
I have witnessed numerous occasions in discussions with friends and family over the years where they did one thing when they knew deep inside they should be doing something different or even totally opposite and they therefore inherited some outcomes that they wish they could have avoided.  Does the spirit know the future?  Don’t know - but I do have an opinion which I will not share here but in a separate conversation if any of you are interested.

The inner voice can take many forms – as intuition, a gentle inner nudging that you feel but can’t identify the source and sometimes yes, even hunches.  But I’m not talking here about luck or good fortune just inner wisdom that we can pay attention to or ignore it.

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”