The Map Home

By C. W. Stratton

If we were to look at our lives as if it were a road-map; beginning with the past, it may appear that we are totally lost.  We’ve hit dead ends, closed roads, some paths even under construction or no longer exist.  We would eventually say, as we look at the map, “This makes no sense.”  If we begin to look deep within ourselves with a keen eye, open mind and an open heart, we could see that every road leads somewhere.  Organizing the pieces will show you how to reach your goal or destination.  With this knowledge about your travels you can begin identifying the things that are most meaningful to you.  Once we make an accurate identification, we can begin sorting out the barriers in the road to make a clearer path for ourselves.

Where the Leaf Lands

By C. W. Stratton

Throughout our lives we have been bombarded with information about ways to improve our lives and to be successful.  Some of us have wandered through life aimlessly in hopes to find the one place we fit in.  We’ve followed the direction of others but soon found out, “this isn’t a comfortable place either.”  As a result, we move on to the next adventure that has been suggested to us.  A continuation of these events eventually makes it appear that we’ve become “a jack of all trades.”  We may have full resumes of things we’ve done in the past but taking a closer look we can find that nothing we’ve done really aligned with our inner being.  Some of us engage in things for social status or to say “look who I am now” or “look what I’ve accomplished”, only to find that these things were temporary and were no longer fulfilling…superficial.  Envision our lives as a leaf falling from a tree during the autumn season, it looks beautiful but the leaf will blow wherever the wind takes it; it has no direction or control of where it lands.  Some of us have lived our lives accordingly to the point it has created suffering, confusion, frustration and total discontent.  We as human beings have absolute control of what direction our lives go;  during those dark times of our lives it may appear difficult to see.  However, or inner selves possesses a light that can guide us in our pursuits.  Taking time to sit with ourselves and begin searching within our core to find our passions in life is critical.  All of us have something that we’re passionate about.  This can transcend to a doorway for us to walk through.  Although fear of the unknown and fear of change surfaces, we are safe to identify our passions; this identification becomes our foundation for our direction.  Our passions will eventually lead us to our purpose.

Motivation and Discipline

By C. W. Stratton

Motivation is the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.  Acknowledging this definition of motivation is simple.  However, acquiring and maintaining motivation can be challenging for many.  The acts we perform on a daily basis is for the purpose of obtaining a particular outcome.  Given it be our employment, exercise, reading, writing, meditating or some other activity you may engage in, you are seeking results or a particular outcome.  Each individual has different levels of motivation.  Some motivation may be impacted due to a mental disorder of some other form of disability.  However, there are a number of people who do not know the starting point of obtaining motivation.  Yes, we start many projects in our lives and we’ve left behind many unfinished ones as well.  Initially, we are excited and eager but soon the abyss creeps up on us.  We are no longer have positive self-talk about our project and we quickly talk ourselves out of following through.  This may not be due to our idea being lame or stupid, this may just be the manifestation of the lack of motivation.   The thought of a finished project is always at the forefront but we must re-evaluate our thought process and realize the steps that are required in competing a given task.  This may seem overwhelming but taking small steps and addressing a particular area at a time is critical to our motivation.  Many years ago, a question was asked of me that seemed ridiculous at the time: How do you eat an elephant?  ONE BITE AT A TIME.  This is true in completing certain tasks and projects; one step at a time.  When we break things down in steps we have a more likelihood of completing the task.  Utilizing time management and even dedicating a particular time of day to work on the steps you’ve identified is quite helpful as well.  This is where discipline is incorporated.  There will be those days where you just want to lay down, watch television, or play on your phone or computer.  We must make the sincere effort in maintaining the schedule and task you have developed.  We waist countless minutes and hours in a day doing meaningless things, whereas we can dedicate that time in doing the one thing we say we enjoy or would like to accomplish.  Continuing with the steps you have laid for yourself will increase motivation and discipline will surface during that time as well.

More Doesn’t Mean Better

Placeholder ImageBy C. W. Stratton

We go through our present existence wanting and craving a variety of things to make us feel better or appear more than what’s actually inside.  Some sit with thoughts of ways to improve their experiences in the world.  Our society and culture has conditioned us to be the winner or most impressive in every given situation.  The messages conveyed with regard to this conditioning has many of us seeking ways to become better, smarter or more accomplished than the next person.  Being someone who’s ambitious isn’t a negative thing; having goals and dreams aren’t negatives either.  What happens in many cases is that we become consumed, overwhelmed and confused with what being accomplished entails.
The very things we bring to our lives we feel will make us more accomplished and fulfilled are the things that keep us confined and unappreciative of the natural necessities of life we are given.  The conditioning we’ve experienced has cluttered our thought process and other areas of our lives.  We tend to want more of everything that may makes us feel good; at the moment.  The materialistic world that we’ve become so accustomed to being a part of has taken away some of our humanistic abilities to prosper without cost.  To prosper isn’t about:
*Having the most money
*Having the most attractive spouse
*Having the most friends
*Having the most expensive and fashionable attire
*Having the most advanced degree amongst your peers
*Having the biggest home
These are very important things to people and many have allowed themselves to be defined by these things.  I’m a believer that anything you put before your natural care for self and others, you will eventually lose.  When this occurs, where does it leave us?  Are we still able to feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment despite the loss?  Some may struggle this.  The though alone can be terrifying and devastating for many.  Think of the addicted individual (drug/alcohol addiction) who consistently needs the substance to feel good.  Day after day they seek out the substance and once obtained there’s a sense of relief, happiness and even accomplishment.  However, the experience soon vanishes and the individual seeks more.  Then you have the individual who isn’t addicted to substances who may go through the same experience when it comes to wanting more things to make them feel good.  The individual becomes satisfied with their new thing and quickly the newness wears-off and they move one to the next new thing…never being satisfied, no matter what or how much.  There are those who are addicted to substances, then you have those who are addicted to “MORE.”
With this thinking and the behaviors associated with it, we can saturate our lives with “things” to the point that it encloses us and the only thing others can see are the “thing’s” we’ve brought into our lives.  The individual can no longer be seen.  Improving self requires that we actually look at ourselves and begin working from the inside, not from the outside in.  When we get to the point of self-accomplishment, self-care, self-compassion and self-love we can place ourselves in a better position to appreciate the small natural gifts that are already given.  Anything outside of that become bonuses.  When making a life plan that can ultimately change your life forever, we must remember to begin internally.  We should treat ourselves just as good as we treatment those “things” we incorporate in our lives.

Conflict Within

This is where it begins

By C. W. Stratton

Our lives, right from the beginning, have been shaped and formed with great assistance from outside stimuli. This stimuli may be parents, family members, friends, school or the neighborhood in which you grew up.. As a result, a number of beliefs and behaviors were developed. These beliefs and behaviors we adopted dictated the direction our lives would take. Along the journey, we may have encountered struggles and a number of setbacks in the process. Despite this, we continued to push along. However, as we continued to do so, we ran into additional struggles and setbacks. These were similar to the previous ones. At the time we didn’t acknowledge or make any kind of identification with it at all. We tend to process the event, or events, one at a time and neglect to reflect on the possible correlation of the events or struggles. The correlation I’m speaking of isn’t about each struggle or setback being connected to each other. The correlation or common factor is “YOU”. When faced with certain situations in life the only points of reference we have to deal with these situations are the messages we’ve received from the outside stimuli that has influenced us so much.

As we move through our journey and become exposed to additional stimuli we become conflicted internally because we now hear new messages. However, we maintain the commitment to abide by the old messages because they are familiar. The new stimuli or individuals are relaying other options in handling struggles or setbacks, but we have such a difficult time letting go of the bond we’ve formed over the years that we have from the old stimuli and messages. Plus, we don’t want those association that helped form the beliefs and behaviors to view us any other way. If I were perceived as the reactive or tough guy, I need to maintain that identity. As least that’s what we maintain in our minds. This brings more life to the ego or internal conflict we have been battling along the way. The conflict is associated with the learned behaviors which eventually formed our personalities. We used the old stimuli as a protective of defense mechanism. As a result it formed the personality we display outwardly; this is what everyone sees. The personality is not who we are, it what we choose to show others The inner-self is the very thing that we protected all these years. The personality and the inner-self is what’s actually in conflict.

Once we can come to this realization and begin utilizing courage to be ourselves, the conflict subsides and there’s a great chances peace will be found in the process. Living up to the expectations of others at the expense of our own selves is very self-defeating. Letting go of the personality that was formed by others and beginning the process of exposing our true-selves is critical to the process of growth, development and transformation. We must first rescue ourselves from the “whirlpool of deception” that we’ve created for ourselves. Just because our associates like certain things, engage in certain behaviors or speak a certain way doesn’t mean we have to follow. Personally, I prefer to walk alone than with the crowd going in the wrong direction. Freedom from certain beliefs that have hindered the growth process in imperative to experiencing life as it should experiences. Without self-inflicted limits.