Friday, December 26, 2008

The Power of Belief

The Power of Belief Henry Ford said: "believe you can, believe you can't, either way your right."We are living in challenging times and no one has to explain that to us. What we may not know is that our viewpoint of the times will determine whether we are successful or whether or not we shall fail.In 1993 I was paragliding and fell 70 feet on my back and broke my neck. I was instantly paralyzed. I recall my first thought. "I never dreamed this would happen to me". I became instantly engaged in a process that would require 6 months hospitalization and a physical therapy 8-hour day as I learnt how to walk again. My neck was broken at C6 and I had done permanent spinal cord injury. My future was very unknown to everyone but me.From deep within me I found the entire experience positive. I never dreamed I would not recover. I never pictured myself in a wheel chair for the rest of my life. I just knew I had to give my all to my recovery, and in so doing I recovered much of my mobility.I have told many people since "The best thing that ever happened to me is that I broke my neck". I constantly get the response that is a strange way to view your accident. Then i say, "OK, the worst thing that ever happened to me is that I broke my neck. Which way would you look at the experience given I had broken my neck?"The power of belief is well documented. The mind can return from all types of adversity. People are incredibly powerful if they give themselves the willingness to achieve success in the face of difficult odds.As a community of people, we are all trying to make our way through these tough times, and it is easy to just let down and give up. But in so doing we shall achieve nothing. Better to fight back. Better to hold onto the power of positive thinking.During my 6 months in hospital many incidents helped me in my recovery. But undoubtedly the strongest gift was the power of friendship and the strength in people supporting people. That got me through the hardest times, and the bleakest nights.Community is power. If we support each other, we can make it to the end goal, whatever we decide that is for us. But it requires people supporting people. It requires community.Obama is the President elect because he understands community organization. He could have taken any job upon graduation but chose to go to Chicago and make $13,000 per year as a community organizer. He was ridiculed by some for having such small capabilities, but the truth is the last laugh is upon his critics, because he community organized himself right into the White House. And now, he intends to community organize the USA into a full economic recovery.I have no doubt he will succeed. It is not him, it is us. He constantly says so. And he is right. But he does provide the right backdrop for "US" to make it. He is the right leader for the right time.I encourage all of us to community organize ourselves into a successful venture. I encourage all of us to view life positively rather than hopelessly.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Creating a Long Term Successful relationship

Creating a Successful Long Term Relationship

The average marriage lasts 6.8 years. Makes you wonder about the “seven year itch” Marilyn Monroe spoke of. Historically most couples stayed together for financial reasons. Today, financial support will not hold relationships together. Emotional support is required for a lasting and successful marriage.

What is emotional support? It is the love bond that exists between two who want to join their separateness into one. It is the ability to communicate feelings. It is the quality of friendship that must exist in a marriage if it is to survive the challenges of stressful life.

When a relationship begins to turn sour, inevitably most people blame their partner. Being right and making the other wrong holds more value than love, peace and harmony. The ego reins, and love begins to die. Mature individuals resist the temptation to blame and make the other evil. Watching grown adults fight like children in kindergarten may be understandable, but it doesn’t create soul. Mature and loving people face their inevitable challenges with dignity and grace and resist the temptation to throw insults at each other like children in a sandbox.

What to do when your relationship is faced with challenge. First and foremost, accept the reality that a wonderful relationship isn’t just destined, it is also hard work. To believe that relationship is effortless is to believe in magical thinking. Children use magical thinking as fantasy to avoid responsibility and work. Grown adults too often revert to such childish behavior when they give up when the going gets tough. No relationship is always easy. Just as a beautiful rose garden is created by a dedicated gardener, so a beautiful relationship is weeded, watered, and fertilized by the couple who treasure what they have. It may be tempting to see a beautiful cultivated area and magically believe it “just happened” but I can promise you, some dedicated gardener has spent countless hours caring for the elegance that you are beholding.

Beyond accepting that all wonderful relationships require work and effort, it is also important to engage each other using your differences as strength, not weakness. Too often, people see differences as difficult, rather than understanding that difference is healthy. If we were all the same, we would never grow. It is in our differences that we are challenged and created. Sameness is boredom and death. Difference is aliveness and creation.
Finally, a successful long term relationship understands the value of patience. Good things happen to those who wait. It is in the waiting that growth occurs and love deepens. Impatience is short sighted. Patience is at the heart of longevity.