Yep, that's about where I am. Trapped in a cage, not sure how I got there, and feeling like everything is inside out and upside down. Have you ever had one of those days? Well, it is feeling like one of those life's!
This is my take. Even when things are ridiculously insane and nothing is going your way - the goal is to not lose your cool, take a deep breath, and then wait for things to change...hoping for the better this time.
Change is constant, I think we all get that. But this whole life on the edge, daring adventure, toss of the dice, and let's see where life takes me is more than just about tolerating change. It's about finding a way to master your self or giving up. But, even giving up isn't really an option.
Right now I can't even say out loud how ridiculous things are. I can't share the ups, downs, changes, and uncertainties that seem to live on the heels of every sure thing and exciting dream. I feel like the geese I hear squawking outside my window. It's February and they can't seem to make up their minds about which way they want to go north - no, south, wait there they are going north again.
It is better for everyone who knows me I've found to just wait out the twists and turns and just deal in outcomes. Which then has attributed to huge gaps in video and blogs....
But as I have been all over the map today - excited by what could have been, disappointed by what is not to be, I can't stop laughing as I think - "this would be funny if it wasn't happening to me..." I bet that cat up there is thinking the same thing.
Now that the adventure has been in full swing for a while....it occurs to me periodically that some practical advice might be helpful for anyone who is planning their own daring adventure. This is one of the times as I get ready to gear up for another move and another change on this journey.
I'd like to be able to pass on a lot more than I can in this small space and someday soon I am going to get that book written (it's just I keep making so many turns and twists it feels like I'm still in the middle!).
Things I've learned along the way:
This tractor is in a field close to where I am staying right now. I have no idea how long it has been there, but would venture to guess it has been a while now.
Surrounding it are fields that seem to have no owners. They are fallow, but there is evidence of rows that were once growing crops of what I can only assume is cotton - since I am in West Texas and that is the crop of choice.
This image is reminiscent of what I have seen over and over in my travels. Land sitting all alone that is mostly a mess. Some lots have been restored to their original state, but most are filled with trash, broken fences, and a history that has been lost in time.
Did you know the average age of a farmer is 58? The sons and daughters of farmers and ranchers tend to move to the city either because they are bored or they can't make a living on the land anymore. There is still quite a bit of subsidies being given to farmers for either growing or not growing crops. Even the farmers and ranchers who remain are struggling with how to survive and if they can keep doing the work it requires provided there is enough water to get it done.
Personal opinions run hot, politics run deep, and problems prevail. But, because I am not a farmer nor do I know all the politics - what I see is a whole lot of potential.
One of the things I invested my time in here in West Texas was to learn about this land, how to restore it, what could be done, and why it wasn't being done. In a country that is floundering because of misused resources, regulations gone wild, and a financial/economic system that only supports itself and not the people who contribute to it - what I hope this new generation of humans will see is what I see, a whole lot of potential.
The drought isn't the problem, the way the land is used is the problem. The technology isn't the problem, the way the technology is used is the problem. The people aren't the problem, the old paradigms are the problem.
There are only two ways to look at any situation - as the problem or as the solution. It feels like we have become as tired and as worn out as this tractor - broken down and abandoned with no hope of getting started again. But we are surrounded by potential.
There is plenty of land, resources, water, ingenuity, solutions, and money - if we stop looking at the old paradigm of money driving the tractor and a new (though ancient) paradigm of creativity and love as driving the tractor. When you add love to creation, you get freedom. That is the basis of this new world that is emerging.
Anyone want to go for a ride on a tractor?
This is one of those things you can't appreciate if you haven't been alive for more than four decades. I would imagine it is even more true after eight decades, but I'm not quite there yet - so I'll just have to wait and see, maybe...
When we are teenagers we truly believe we are smarter than almost everyone, but especially our parents. When we are in our twenties, we laugh how naive those "young" teenagers are, but still revel in our own youthful insights and brilliance. We know who we are, what we want, and are ready to set the world on fire to go and get it.
In our thirties life for many is just a mad scramble trying to live with all our insights and brilliance now made manifest. The perfect spouse who is not so perfect anymore. The painful reality that it's hard to work, take care of kids, be in a romantic relationship, still hold some semblance of personal space and identity, and still look good at the same time.
The forties are for many a mid life reassessment. Okay, well - maybe I wasn't so insightful and brilliant. What do I want to do next? What is impossible to change and what is impossible not to? The next several decades will involve more reassessment - but with the passing years comes the realization that it probably is less about what my life looks like on the outside and more about who I am on the inside....the ever fleeting aha of spiritual awakening.
In doing some research these past months on the "new" trends, and I use that term loosely, I find it quite humorous to see myself in those who are teenagers, 20-somethings, and beyond. I think it is safe to conclude I was probably much more sure of myself than many - but it is only with time can I find the humor in that.
Every generation must discover for themselves who they are and what they want - but the aha moment, the new name for the new perception of the new goal: self-help is out - coaching is in, careers are out - living the dream is in, making a product is out - selling an idea is in, it's all brand new to the young.
What is this lag time between the aha moment, the complete memory loss of it, the rediscovery decades later, only to lose it again by its transitory and fleeting presence?
I truly believe we are building a new world. But it is not a new world with new ideas, but rather a new world based on the ideas more ancient than time itself. Getting there is the goal, but how we get there is the great aha - it may be called by another name, but it still is the same.
It will come to you in passing moments, convince you that you can hold on to it for all time, you'll lose it, chase it, forget about it, and then rediscover it someday in the future...where it will be waiting for you with its eternal patience and perfect clarity.
Good Monday Morning! As promised, today it is about marketing - but what flashed for me today is how separate marketing/advertising/selling seem to be from core values like integrity, honesty, and value added. It is like two separate conversations. Here is what I believe, oh, and here is what I am willing to do to sell my product or service.
It was this article that caught me eye..."Where are all the men?" It is an overview of the issue within China of a higher ratio of men to women from their preference for sons vs. daughters. While the one child policy has also led to this imbalance, it's not covered within this article - but what is real is that there are more men than women and the result is the selling, trafficking, and kidnapping of women to the highest bidder. Yes, women are still for sale.
The mixed message comes as this article is in Marie Claire - a magazine for young women surrounded by ads for products that all support the idea that the more physically beautiful a woman is, the more value she has. Ugh, when will we as women stop responding to this kind of advertisement?
I was recently reviewing the marketing focus for a makeup company that had all the right values to inspire this new breed of women that is emerging - social cause, sustainability, and a positive use of the earths resources. But their marketing was all fall back on traditional make-up focused advertising - a young Hollywood actress for a spokesperson, the exact same look and feel to their website and marketing materials as every other customer of the New York PR firm that represents them, and absolutely no tie in to the very values they espouse on the company mission page.
It's like the chicken and the egg - which came first, or rather, which is willing to go first now? I think there is a lot of agreement that we as women don't really value being valued as objects or just here to fuflill a role in the man's world. The men who bought wives are shocked when they run away. In their minds, they were all happy together.
But, (and this is for the women, because only we can change this) when will we value ourselves enough to stop responding to the messages from companies that we need their products to feel okay about ourselves in the first place?
Here is the great risk - what if business went first? What if a business, like the make-up company, stopped telling me I should use their make-up to feel as beautiful as a 20-something actress who has done nothing of value to or for this world and rather celebrates all ages for who they are and not just what they look like?
I started asking women over 40 how they feel about those ads. They all rolled their eyes and grunted - but will still buy the products because wanting to feel and look our best doesn't mean we buy into the idea that is is our only value in this world.
And the real message - don't expect any brand loyalty from those customers. We all go where we want when we want regardless of brand when we feel that the brand doesn't understand us or respect us enough to meet us where we live and not in the fantasy land of being 21 forever....
At the end of the article on China, it was often the women who were more defensive of the idea that sons were of greater value. But in their society, it is the son who takes care of the mother when she is old. That same message is still conveyed in the west - that a woman is safe when she has a husband to care for her. Of course, anyone over 40 knows that is funny and not true, but we all wanted to believe!
Integrity is a very tough subject to talk about and even harder to act upon. Money has been the driver of our society for so long many no longer even consider what the cost is in terms of life for all. But nothing changes until the brave and courageous go first. Great rewards require great risks. It's just a sad statement that to live and do business with integrity is even risky at all.
Have you ever tried to change the world? If you have I am sure you did your homework, came armed with the facts, and then presented them in a calm and rational manner. How did that work out?
The truth is, we "change" when we are emotionally invested in making that decision. Okay, I know not everything is emotional - which oil to use in my car is intellectual - but how I choose to eat is emotional.
Addiction is emotional or there would be no addicts. Relationships begin and end emotionally or there would be no divorces. Art, exploration, invention, and more are all driven by an emotion - to create, to learn, to discover, to build something new. Not because we are looking at the facts, but because there is something within that says "I WANT THIS!" That is emotional.
We call it many things: passion, drive, intention, creativity. But at its core it births within our hearts, takes focus in our minds, and then it is our spirit that really makes it fly. Without that foundation within our heart, little gets done other than the mundane and tedious.
Facts make sense. Logic and intellect make sense. But these are not the forces that drive us to greatness, change the minds of the masses, raise armies, or discover new lands.
We are biologically designed to feel. The breakdown in our world has been to deny what we feel is right and good and replace it with logic. But the feelings don't go away, they just get perverted and distorted and displaced - and this is not good, for anyone.
Intellect has its place. But it is not the source of great change. Change happens when we feel something strongly - and to change the world, we need to feel something strongly.
Did you think? or just feel? Inspired to be more, do more, try more, and live more?
I can safely say that thunderstorms are an entirely new experience living in a tiny metal box. Last night reminded me of just what that kind of experience could be!
Living in the southwest, rain is not something that occurs with great frequency, but last night - whoa... I was awakened around 3am to a very loud and bright thunder and lightening storm. At one point, it was so loud and long I could barely hear the train that blares its horn as it passes by. Sleep was not becoming much of an option.
But it wasn't just the noise that kept me awake. It was also those pesky thoughts of fear that are so happy to make their way to the forefront of your mind when you really don't need them...like 3am.
In the midst of it all it occurred to me that being in this tiny trailer amidst a storm was a lot like being afraid in the midst of an experience you can't control. I can't stop the rain, thunder, and lightening - but I am safe within its presence.
Fear is all about losing control and not knowing what the outcome will be. As the world around us is changing faster than any of us can keep up with, fear is a pretty normal response. This entire trip has made me continue to confront my fears because so much has been uncertain and out of my control.
Eventually the thunder stopped and was replaced by rain or ping ping ping - but sleep came in brief waves as the fear also receded long enough for my mind to find a bit of peace again.
Now that I am up, fed, dressed, and dry from the morning dog walk - the fear that grips one in the middle of the night doesn't feel so intense.
Part of creating this new world we are all working towards is to stop reacting against what we fear and instead work towards what we want to love. It is much harder than it needs to be. Yet, our minds are trained to focus on our fears the minute we engage the outside world and stop looking within to the truth that lies in our hearts and spirit.
Thunder passes and with it hopefully so will fear - both are just loud noises that keep us distracted from what we want, a little peace and quiet.
I don't watch TV or watch sporting events - no surprise if you know me! But, even in the vacuum I live in, I can't escape Superbowl Commercial Mania!
The #1 spot this year was Budweiser's "Brotherhood" featuring a man and a horse. (by the way, brotherhood is just a more man friendly way of saying relationship...) But it is a journey that tugs on the strings of the heart.
You don't have to love horses or beer to want to watch this - as evidenced by the amount of viral traction it got the very day it went online. So ask yourself - do you feel like you are being sold a product or told a story? Not rocket science is it.
Second question - which do you prefer?
The branding of the Clydesdale and Budweiser has been an ongoing relationship with the American audience for decades - so it is easy to connect this story with a product.
And that is what the trends are showing - build your brand and attach it to an emotional experience or core value - and tell a story while you do it. It's the combo that is winning and you are seeing it over and over.
The days of the hard sell are coming to a close with the power that the internet holds in our ability to leave very quickly anything we don't want to watch. Make me care or want to watch or bye bye...
A lovely horse is always an experience.... It is an emotional experience of the kind
As I continue to explore the world of horses I am finding that those who inhabit this world are as diverse in their beliefs and actions as is humanity as a whole. I am trying to find my place, but find myself getting called back to the beginning experience that set me off on this journey in the first place.
Part of any journey or adventure begins with the original idea, but as time moves you forward things change, new information comes in and it is easy to get lost or set off in the opposite direction. These last six months have been long and very static. But they have been an internal journey supported by the stability I needed to learn, think, and "gel" all this new information I gathered in the years before.
This morning a new settling came over me, the questions I've been asking about what is next feel more clear. And, with no great irony, I find myself getting called back to what started all this two years ago. It all still needs more "gelling" time - but when you find peace, you know you are moving in the right direction!
It's Monday, so here we go again with the marketing morning message! Today is not about being exciting, it's about the practical stuff that we miss because we already know it and can't see it missing from our website or home page.
For instance, I just found a typo on my intro video that I missed the 15 other times I looked it over - the eyes can't see what is wrong when we know what is supposed to be there vs. what is actually there!
With that said, here are the top three that drive me crazy when I land on a home page:
1. Where are you and what are you selling/promoting/wanting?
If I can't see immediately what you want from me or what you are about, I'll most likely not spend much time there. If I do see what I like and it is a business or program that is meant to be physically visited - where are you? I can't tell you how many times I've spent way too long trying to figure out the where someone is only to be disappointed it is not anywhere I am close to.
2. I can't read the writing.
All computer screens load differently as do browsers. Tiny print in large and long blocks of writing in a color that I can't see make me run away immediately. Those over 40 will appreciate this more.
3. I don't see anything to read!
Those under 40 seem to be moving to a picture only format or they use language that is vague and not direct. Some of us still need a complete sentence with a literal explanation of who you are and what we will find here. Sorry, it is just the way it is for some of us!
That's it for today - but don't laugh, little things mean all the difference between staying on your home page long enough to decide if what you have is what we want!
Welcome to my Journey!
I'm inviting you to join me on my journey as I seek to find a new way of being in an old set of systems. It's hard, but worth it!