THE rules vs YOUR rules.

May 31st, 2011

Every time we play a game for the first time, one of the first things we ask is “What are the rules?” and every time we play after that we abide by those rules. The biggest game by far and definitely the one with the most players is the game of life. “What are the rules?” The true answer is that there are rules but they can change without notification. “That’s not fair!” Of course it’s not. No more so than when you were young and you complained to your parents about the disparity between the way you were being raised and the way those you thought more fortunate were being raised. Life isn’t fair and neither are most of the rules.

The truth of the matter is that THE rules don’t matter. YOUR rules do. THE rules say you should act a certain way. YOUR rules say you should act in a way that honors you and lets you sleep well at night. THE rules say that age dictates what is appropriate. YOUR rules say that you can do anything you damn well please at any age if it honors you. THE rules say that there is a certain way of doing things. YOUR rules say that you are free to find a better way. THE rules say what is right or wrong about loving. YOUR rules say that you are as free to love as you are to breathe. THE rules say that you need to follow a certain route to get to the top. YOUR rules say that you can blaze a trail if you can’t find one that fits. THE rules say that you have to put up with a certain amount of BS. YOUR rules say NO BS! THE rules say you have to be nice to certain people. YOUR rules say only if they deserve it. THE rules say you have to give up at a certain point. YOUR rules say that only you can make that call. THE rules say who you have been is who you are. YOUR rules say that the flower bears no resemblance to the way the seed looked. THE rules say to be quiet. YOUR rules say go ahead and sing.

If you follow THE rules and life doesn’t work out the way you thought it would, it’s unfair and maybe you should have done it your way. If you follow YOUR rules and life doesn’t work out the way you thought it would, it’s unfair but damn, you really lived. GAME ON! YOUR rules or THE rules???

(c)2011 All Rights Reserved, Patrick McBride


Shake it up!

May 24th, 2011

Most days, we have a routine. We try to not let anything bad happen, have on hand what’s needed for dinner and communicate with the people we need to communicate with, worry about money, make some definite plans for tomorrow and make some vague plans for “someday”. That’s about it. Do you see why a shake up is necessary? Life is screaming to be expressed through you. Life wants experiences. Life wants love. Life wants to affirm its existence in you and through you.

Let’s make it happen! Tomorrow morning as you get out of bed and your feet touch the floor, Say “I’m” as one foot touches and say “Grateful” as the other foot touches the floor. Never forget this for the rest of your life. If you forget, when you remember, go back and sit on the bed and get up again the right way. There is no better way to touch the earth each morning. Figure out a different breakfast for tomorrow, tonight! Think of four people who you are going to make sure that they know you love them tomorrow and tell them or do something special for them. Small or large. Pick the naughtiest thing you can imagine and write it down and keep it in your pocket all day. Drop a one dollar bill in a parking lot or street when no one is looking and imagine the joy you just bought for one dollar when someone finds it especially if you do it by a school or playground. Send a thank you e-mail to someone. Write down three good things about yourself. Spend a minute looking at them. Say one prayer for everyone in the world, no exceptions. Take a conscious breath and smile.

Shaking things up doesn’t mean flying off to Tahiti. It means waking up to what is around you. It means becoming aware of your ability to make a difference in other people’s lives. It means that you take an active role in your existence. It means that you live a little larger. That you smile more. That you become an active participant in your life. That you grab the wheel and switch off the autopilot even for a little while. Life wanted me to tell you that your tomorrow looks awesome! Be there!

(c)2011 All Rights Reserved, Patrick McBride


Passion serves. Anger Destroys.

May 16th, 2011

You start off talking calmly and you make a mental note not to get upset. You are listening to every word and trying to respond calmly and all of a sudden something sets you off. The mental note is forgotten. You can feel the heat in your face. The calmness evaporates and tension takes over. The duel is on. You parry and thrust your words hoping to deliver a killing blow. You are judging every little nuance in your speech and your actions. Is it time for a phony laugh? Is this the right moment to look disgusted? You are also judging every little nuance in their speech and action. Do they look like they are winning or losing? Are you convincing them? Suddenly, it is over. You are shaking. You are trying to look and feel like you are not shaking. Your face is flushed. In your thoughts, the instant replay starts immediately. The cheerleading for the points you made and the damning criticism for what you didn’t do or say run side by side. You feel like crap.

This too shall pass but what to do? You can’t just strike this from your life because this is passion. Passion is what allows you to celebrate and enjoy the great things in life but when passion comes to your aid in a conflict it can cause the same over the top response that happens when you feel great. Only this time, the outcome is not joyous.

Driving down the road at seventy miles an hour and you jerk the steering wheel hard to the right. What happens? An accident. Now, driving down the same road at the same speed and you carefully turn the wheel to the right ever so slightly and you go to the right. What’s the difference? CONTROL. In the second scenario you are totally in control of the power of the car and the outcome is predictable. There are no smash ups, no hospital, no car repair, no paperwork, just a flow. Why does this happen? You are taking all the power that is available and using just a bit of it because that is all that is required. You are controlling how you respond. You are limiting the amount of passion/energy that you are displaying.

Anger is no different. Every time you find yourself heading in a direction that has the potential for an upset. Breathe. Consciously drop your shoulders. SLOW DOWN! Don’t be afraid to pause. Pausing is control! Use it. Feel the familiar rise not of anger but of passion. Know it for what it is. Allow it to stay as passion and do not allow it to morph into anger. Breathe deeply. Observe. Know that it is because you are passionate about what you are thinking that the physical changes are taking place. Passion serves. Anger destroys.
(c)2011 All Rights Reserved, Patrick McBride


Speak up and Shut up

May 9th, 2011

Most people do all of their confrontational speaking only in their own minds and wrongs never get righted and no one ever gets to know what these people are truly feeling. Bosses and spouses and friends and neighbors go on living their lives believing that all is well with the relationship.

No one likes to confront another person especially a toxic or overbearing person. Everyone gets nervous and ill feeling but there comes a time when you know that you have to speak up. So, you put all the fear aside and you feel the blood rushing to your face and your throat getting a little narrower and you start to talk. The first words that come out are a little higher pitched than you wanted. You pause and stammer ever so slightly on the first words but you notice it. You want to sound strong and confident so you take a deep breath and trying to sound better you continue to speak.

At this point all the courage in the world will be useless if your words are not clear. It’s not that you have a whole bunch of cloudy words. It’s that you take the words that you have felt and rehearsed for so long and after speaking them, you proceed to sugar coat everything you just said. ” Well, I mean, like, if you could maybe see it my way. I mean, like, I don’t want it to sound like you are totally wrong. I mean, like, it’s just that maybe I overreacted maybe a little bit when I said…blah, blah blah.” Your words of power and truth just evaporated and all that is left is a vulnerable target for anyone with even basic semantic skills.

It takes courage to speak up but it takes even more courage to SHUT UP after you have said what you know has to be said. SHUT UP and wait. Do not try to fill the emptiness with your backtracking. You have delivered your message. Your heart is pounding, you are feeling weak and shaky. SHUT UP. Let the other person stammer or rage or try to pick apart what you said. Stick with your message. This is not a debate. This is you saying what your heart knows has to be said. This is you honoring yourself. This is liberation. This is freedom. This is the truth and the truth shall set you free.

Don’t ever mistake sugar coating for compassion. Sugar coating is weakness winning. Compassion is honoring your own heart. Speak up and shut up. It’s time.

(c)2011 All Rights Reserved, Patrick McBride


What’s Wrong?

May 2nd, 2011

What’s wrong? I mean, really, what’s bothering you right now? I’m sure it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to come up with an answer because what is wrong or bothering us usually has our full attention. Oh, we may think about something else for a while or even do a bit of work or planning but the moment we relax, it pops up again and that churning in our stomach and that tightness in our body is back. We let the thoughts and pictures sit there in the forefront of our minds hoping that maybe this time, just maybe, an answer will magically appear beside it but just like the last hundred times we waited, no answer. The fact of the matter is …the answer can’t appear!

There are problems in this world and there are solutions to those problems. The most important key to solving your problems or my problems or any problem whatsoever is to know that problems and solutions do not exist on the same level. This is huge! Knowing this, our life changes for the better almost instantaneously. Let me explain. If we think of problems as darkness and solutions as light, you can easily understand that they can’t exist together because the moment they do, darkness disappears. When we are in the darkness, it is impossible to stumble around and find light. It is only when we follow even the tiniest ray of light do we find light. In other words, if we keep focusing on our problems, all we get is our problems BUT, if as soon as we state the problem, we start focusing on the solution, we will be going away from the problem towards the solution. If problem and solution were together, they would cancel each other out.

Have you ever come up with an answer after you put the problem out of your mind? Have you ever found an answer after you stopped thinking about the question? There are great forces that go to work finding answers and solutions for us the moment a problem arises in our life but we have to give up our attachment to the problem before we can have the solution. Once we know and understand our problem there is no reason to ever visit it again. 100% of our focus from then on has to be the search for and the expectation of a solution.

Our problems are real, daunting, significant and also very compelling of our attention. Let today be the day that we begin to take our energy and attention off our problems and use it instead to open up and keep open a pathway that light and love and, oh yeah, all the solutions can easily come through to us. What we expect is usually what we get.

(c)2011 All Rights Reserved, Patrick McBride