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Life Is…Not A Female Dog

16 Jul

But people say the opposite.

You’ve heard it. “Life’s a b****. Then You Die.”

Agree? Disagree?

There are times in life when you just can’t catch a break. Lately, I’ve been in the doldrums where it’s easy to play the victim. Here in this slump, I’ve found it very convenient to judge others, point fingers, and isolate myself for too long of a time. Motivation and inspiration are put on the back burner, and the hot weather this time of year keeps me indoors with the A/C blasting, cocooned in indifference. Needful to say, I’m bogged down by lies and presumptions. It’s all in my head.

If I were a celebrity, I’d g…

::hold::

…SO…

In the midst of my writing about how life may be filled with one depressing thing after another, my brother comes in from the peculiar, 100-degree stormy weather outside and says “There’s a full rainbow outside.” I got up to capture such a rare moment:

I didn’t notice the second rainbow until I uploaded the photo onto my computer.

Polychrome-Dome


I was originally going to show you a video from BBC Earth’s Life series about these Komodo Dragons that bite the ankles of animals. These dragons then follow the animal around for days waiting for the venomous bite to weaken their prey. When the poison kicks in, the prey drops, and the dragons feast. I was also going to write about how celebrity deaths are so tragic, but no one seems to note how the media and we the public bite the ankles of these celebrities so much, they just give up on life. Symbolic in a way, yes.

But after seeing that rainbow today, I was reminded of promises and encouraging words that were spoken to me throughout my life and the priceless support system of my friends and family that back up those promises and encouraging words. That rainbow was exactly what I needed to see in these oddly weathered days of mine: color in the grey; vividness in the dullness.

So while others can look at me and say “Life’s a bi…” (well you know), I can say “Yeah maybe for a bit, but I have a hope that keeps me going.” While there are times I can express that life may seem unfair or merciless, I’m reminded of this quote by the famous Chicago columnist, Sydney J. Harris:

When I hear someone say ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’

Sydney J. Harris

Maybe you’re still looking for your rainbow, your sign of hope, or you need to be reminded of the good things about your life, and yes, there are such things about your life. My burden is that you realize the hope among us and how it keeps our fibers meshed preventing a total meltdown. What’s great about Life Is… is that life is. Again, you’re still here. This series is ending, and today’s a new start. We can all hope that tomorrow will be better. Be.

Life Is…Underappreciated

1 Jul

What’s true about my life? “I have a lot.” I have too much. If you’re reading this right now, you have a computer or at least have access to one. You’re pretty rich…err…lucky…err…blessed compared to not only the majority of the world but even to inner-city demographics.

A group of my friends just came back from the streets of Guadalajara, Mexico. While there, they invested personally in impoverished children using skits, puppets, dances, etc. My friends shared in a giving, a loving way, and their eyes were opened to a real world outside of their comfort zones. The consensus of the group was this:

We have a lot. Others have little.

We were designed to give as much as we were designed to receive. I myself have been to Guadalajara and its surrounding cities, and I can agree that we have a lot. Others have nothing. Even when these people have little (and I mean little), they give what they have.

Not Giving: Pay close attention starting at the 1:37 mark and on to the end of the time/progression bar.

When I saw this episode from BBC Earth’s Life about primates, I was hit by the words: “These youngsters, born into the right family, don’t know how lucky they are.”

At first I thought about overpaid celebrities, athletes, and CEOs, and how their children grow up spoiled. Then I thought about people I know who would never walk into a soup kitchen or sacrifice anything for the poor. Then I thought about myself and how I spend way too much on clothes, food, and entertainment.

The truth is: We can all give more.

Giving includes tangibles and intangibles: food, love, clothes, a listening ear, money, invested time, hope, and the list goes on.

We can be appreciative of what we have, while still being able to give, not just leftovers but our best. Am I saying you have to be the next Mother Theresa? Well that would be commendable, but no, you don’t have to be her. Be you, and give in ways you were designed to give. Give how you genuinely like to receive.

You can travel out of your country to realize this, travel to any metropolitan urban city, or just watch the news to see that the life we live should be appreciated and also selfless.

Life Is…Full of Traps

25 Jun

Life is very temperamental. You know: moody, sensitive, unpredictable.

Sometimes we can be enjoying the sweetness of life, stay in the sweetness too long, and then…BOOM! Blindsided by a harsh reality. I’m reminded of addictions that consume purpose and joy.

I’m also reminded of ignorance, a running away from problems never intended to be solved. When people find themselves in a hole they ask “How did this happen?”

The sensitive venus flytrap also reminds me of people who just snap at you for no apparent reason. There are short-fused people with tempers, and on the other side there are people who have been victimized by the actions of tempers; both sides, robbed of joy.

BBC Earth’s series Life can illustrate how quickly the walls can close in on you.

While life is full of traps, it is also full of hope. We may not notice it, but it’s true.

If you’ve been going through an awkward or uncomfortable transition in your life like I have been lately, I have no deep words or formula for you or myself.  All I can say is “have hope” and “keep going.” I understand that each of us are different when it comes to recovering, healing, and barreling through tough times. So do what you have to do.

Lastly, they say that “Time heals,” and “Sorrow may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.” I believe these words because I’ve experienced them. So I hold on to them.

I hope you’re still holding on too. You’re not alone.

Tomorrow’s a new day.

Life is…A Dash

18 Jun

People always compare the concept of life to a marathon or a race.

I agree.

But when I say that life is “a dash,” there’s a little play on words.

  1. You may have heard that on a tombstone, one’s life is summed up in that little “-” between the date of birth and the date of passing (1901-1979).  That little mark doesn’t say much about who we are or what we’ve done in our lives here.
  2. Compared to eternity and centuries of life, our own life is like a pin prick on the Great Wall of China. Simply a spec in time.
  3. History, purpose, and future: Understanding where you came from tells you where you are, and realizing where you are now will determine where you can go. We are capable of building legacies, good ones and bad ones, all within an average of 70 years. That’s pretty miraculous. It can also be quite tragic. Are you doing what you need to do? Progress.

*ROADS*

BBC Earth’s Life series reminded me of the thoughts written above.  This wise little mammal, helped put things into perspective.

Meet the Sengi, formerly known as the “elephant shrew.” It’s clever and it’s a survivor. Check it out:

We all have some sort of mental map of where we want to go, and when “ancient enemies” try to come after us, it’s our endurance and the direction of our lives that can keep us alive.  So if you’re reading this and feel hopeless or discouraged in the least bit, rest assured that you’re still here, and are still capable of a new start today.

I’m not sure if I’m thankful or bitter for these words by world-renown speaker and pastor Francis Chan, but they hit home with me quite often:

Just to put into perspective the brevity of our lives:

Throughout time, somehwere between forty-five billion and one hundred twenty-five billion people have lived on this earth. That’s 125,000,000,000.  In about fifty years (give or take a couple of decades), no one will remember you. Everyone you know will be dead. Certainly no one will care what job you had, what car you drove, what school you attended, or what clothes you wore. This can be terrifying or reassuring, or maybe a mix of both.

- Francis Chan in Crazy Love

What a challenging thought!

However, it’s not impossible to become timeless. I mean, that’s why there are history books. We still remember figures that have impacted this world for better and worse. If you compare the amount of individuals in history books to the amount of people that have ever lived, then it’s a small number.

Does this mean that your dash means anything less? NOT AT ALL. If you have the access, resources, and experience in anything worth fighting for, you can still create a ripple effect in people’s hearts, turning your dash into something that creates an unstoppable momentum.

So don’t make that little “-” on your tombstone the only thing that defines your life when you’re gone. You still have time to leave a footprint and add some definition to what life is. Do something.

LIFE IS…

15 Jun

After watching BBC Earth’s Planet Earth series on cable, I was sold on buying their next featured series Life.

Photo taken by Justin Marimon featured on Amazon.com

So far I’ve only seen the first disc, and I’m afraid to go on because I think my mind will blow up while watching these amazing natural wonders that take place every day all over the world.

What makes me want to write this new series I’m naming Life Is… is belief that a lot of these behaviors I see in these familiar and unfamiliar animals are similar to human behaviors like roaming in packs, nurturing others, biting ankles, blending in, abusing relationships, and the list goes on. There are so many behaviors out there from humans and non that we can learn from, all for the sake of preservation and future life.

I love this quote:

Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

Jesus Christ (The Message)

The truth is that this life isn’t meant to be wasted but valued. We are valued. We’re so vital to each other and to those in need, and we all can help. We often forget this as we get so focused on ourselves, worrying about tomorrow. It’s easy to do. I know. For myself, it takes constant reminders that “it’s not about me.” I’ll even loosen it up a little bit and say “it’s not just about me” to the point that my well-being should be because of your well-being.

So yeah…I can’t wait to write this series as I know there will be much to learn from it.

Here’s BBC Earth’s trailer for Life


Stage Fright: Overcoming (A little goes a long way)

23 Mar

Overcoming “Stage Fright” doesn’t always require drastic leaps of action.  Most times all it takes is one small task for you to get the ball rolling: make a phone call, share your vision with someone who’d support you, ask an honest question for an honest answer, or just write something down.  This creates what most people are scared of: accountability. Don’t let the accountability stop you. Let it fuel you.  This is how potential turns kinetic!  This.Is.Progress.  Believe it or not, people want to see you succeed.   Imagine how much more they’d back you, when honesty is involved in the process. You have value in what you bring. How much are you willing to believe in it so others will too? You can do this.

If you can make it this far, you have already done more than most people.

"Stage Fright" drawn by Randy Robledo

so yeah…

Stage Fright: Me

16 Mar

SO YEAH…These were my initial thoughts that I had written on the subject of Stage Fright when I first sat down to brainstorm about this series. These lines began to surface as I related elements of life and performing. It all somehow came to this. It’s also a look at my thought process.

Thanks to Mike Wofford for producing the track, Ronald Suk for directing, and Janet E. Esposito for writing a life-changing book.

Stage Fright from So Yeah on Vimeo.

The stage is set
People are waiting
Time to be real in a world of actors
Performers
Performing life or just passing by
It’s a hyped up show
Expectations
Anticipation for the sake of passing time
Entertainment
Where are we going with this?
Conversation material to materialize?
Stimulate their senses
Eyes, ears, hear, and mind
Detachment vs Engagement
You vs Them
Who’s your real audience?
Be honest
Premature self-evaluation can kill the sense of passion and basis
Fear: Volunteered or obligated?
Put on the spot
In the spotlight
Step up to the mic
Cheeks red
Skin pale white
Cotton mouth chokehold
A deep breath
For momentum to take flight
You can do this
Prove ‘em wrong
Leave ‘em stunned
The stage is set
This is your life

(to be continued)

Stage Fright: Pressure

5 Mar

During my initial interest and perspectives on stage fright, I wondered what others pictured when they thought of the concept.  My artistic friend, Michea, jumped on the idea and sketched this up.  Allow me to translate some of the components in this depiction of stage fright and its ties with life.

The Spotlight:  Being put on the spot is a situation that many dread. Imagine how many times you had to think about what you would say to someone when they asked “What will you do now?” during a major life transition.  There are numerous figurative and actual symptoms one can have under pressure:

  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Choked up feeling
  • Dizziness
  • Self-detatchment
  • Confusion or unassuredness

The Judge: Self-judgement can also be called “labeling.”  Criticizing ourselves or others with negative lables like “loser” or “weak” puts us in the position as a judge dropping the gavel on one’s potential, including our own.  Judging also causes us to disqualify any positive accomplishments or qualities that can be offered.

People: ”What will they think of me?” Making assumptions about what people will think of us without actual evidence puts us in the role of fortune-telling. We anticipate that things will actually turn out badly before anything has happened.  Talk about the impact of role-playing! Unfortunately, this leads to negative consequences. We also take peoples’ negative reactions and behaviors very personally.

Opportunity: So where does this leave us? While it is common for most people to not do much because of fear in pursuit of their dreams or goals, there are answers and solutions to help us start making progress in the grand scheme of things.  After being honest about our settings, we can create a new mindset in regards to the Spotlight, the Judge, and the People.  The way we shape and perceive anxiety is what makes the difference in our performance.

IT’S OK TO FEEL ANXIOUS.  It is a part of the experience. One of the first important steps is to accept the anxiety and not be afraid of our fear.  Keep the focus of our purpose and consider the difference we can make as we impact the lives of the people we connect with.  We can think of other times we have been successful, and know that we can be successful again. We are capable, and as we speak the vision the the right people, we’ll build a great support group.

One of my friends said: “This recession is allowing others to depend so much more on each other as we pursue what we really want to do together…” This is a great belief as we truly go after ours despite the different pressures we face.  Let’s do this together.  The stage is set, and the show is ready to start.

-Marlon Reid

PS. For more information on overcoming fear of performing, check out In The SpotLight by Janet E. Esposito M.S.W.

so yeah…

(to be continued)


Stage Fright: The Stage

23 Feb

…many performers face a parallel fear related to the similar issue of being the focus of others’ attention and having their performance evaluated.

Janet E. Esposito author of In The SpotLight

Janet states the obvious, but how often would we admit it so elaborately?

Before getting into any meat of this subject, I want to clarify that when I refer to “performance,” I am referring not only to an actual stage act, but moreover a life act. The parallels between these two acts are significant, and I hope to point them out to ultimately better understand ourselves in each of them.

What first sparked my interest in this subject was when my former employer recently eliminated my job position.  While I empathize with those who lost their jobs along with me, I can say that I was a little less worried than most.  I had nothing definite planned for a career, and I had no idea what I even wanted to do next. All I knew was that I was not only ready to move on but excited as well.  In the pot of mixed emotions, these words would not dissolve: The stage is set.

So it’s on to the next act.

I get stage fright.

I hesitate.

I fear.

Willpower has to overcome.

Though I am not too clear about it, I will admit that I am progressing to my next career and more importantly, my calling.  I often check-in with myself and ask why I’m not more proactive as it seems that my stage is already set.  There are a few reasons.  Before getting into these reasons I want to share what I try I ask myself daily:

  • What do I want to do?
  • Why do I want to do it?
  • How close am I to doing it?
  • What is stopping me today?
  • How will I overcome it today?
  • Am I being honest with myself?

It doesn’t matter where you are in your pursuit of your dreams and goals as long as you’re pressing towards them. Some may believe that the pursuit itself is living the dream.  You may agree with this, or you may not. That is fine.  I just want to point out that if your stage is set, be honest with yourself about where you are in regards to your next act. I, myself, am working on this too. The show must go on, and I want to be included.

so yeah…

To be continued