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What Can We Learn From Christopher Robin?

So,

My sister and took the niece and and nephew to see the Christopher Robin movie, you know the one with Winnie the pooh and friends in it? Yeah, that one. It was actually really good! As a psychology major, I was excited to see it, as I learned that each character exbitvs traits of mental illness.

For a brief breakdown of each, please see the following link: HERE

Beyond that, I just wanted to share a few things that I learned from the movie:

  1. We are far to consumed in the rate race of being busy, slaving over our jobs and reputations and bank accounts. Are they important? Yes, but when they get in the way of what matters most, or should matter most than it becomes a problem. Let us, then discover and hold dear to what matters most.

 

2. The reality of our lives, however harsh they may be. Has sadly robbed so many of us childlike joy and wonder. We have forgotten the joy of imagining and dreaming, getting lost in a wonderful story. We have lost the ability to think outside the walls of our lives.

3.  We can’t sit still! We are constantly overthinking and freaking out about things!

4. Let us not forget those who, have never forgotten us. Winnie the pooh never forget about Christopher Robin, even though they were miles apart. Something tells me that Winnie always thought about Mr. Robins. If you miss someone today, we live in a time where we can reach people in seconds, so don’t be afraid to reach out!

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What I’m Learning

Communication. Communication. Communication.

Should be pretty obvious right? Not always, it actually takes a lot of practice and time to learn to communicate well. This is not to be confused with a scream fest, but actually sitting down with someone, using words. Letting go of pride, ego and rebuttal. Actually listening, accepting whatever faults that you may have, forgiving, not holding others faults over them and moving on. It takes lots of practice, but this truly is possible.

You just have to be willing to do the hard work.

Perspective

Is my life that bad? Is your life that bad? I don’t mean to make less of what you may be going through. But I truly believe, that somebody else always has it worse. And its up to us to make the most of what we have been.

live With Compassion

The world can use a lot more compassion, and I believe the world is moved more by compassion than by hate or evil. Thus, I believe that this is how God wants us to live. More like Him each and everyday.

Let Go of Excuses

In every single area of your life, you can always improve in every area of your life. Even if its in small percentage. The limits we see are usually placed there by the self.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering Chester Bennington

I’ll never forget being a teenager, lying there in my bed watching MTV, when MTV was actually MTV. Meaning that they actually played good music videos. It must have been early morning I remember seeing Linkin’s Parks video for the song One Step Closer.  I was hooked from the first sound of the guitar, the break down and the perfect hybrid rap Rock vocals. The lyrics hooked me as an angsty teen. The lyrics were speaking to me in a way nothing else could.

I was a fan and will always will be. There was not a LP album that I was not a fan of. To be quite honest though, it was the lyrical depth that drew me in. The fact that the band was armed with a great live show was even better. I had never gotten the chance to see the band live, but I remember seeing them live on a show called Reverb Nation. There was so much emotional connectivity with the crowd, it was all so intriguing and inspiring to me.

To think that someone like Chester, or any member of the band could command such attention. When ever I was sad, depressed or angry it would be linkin park that I went to the most. The interesting thing is though, even through Chesters heavy, dark and even hopeful lyrics. I never truly connected that fact that he struggled with depression or mental illness. In my young mind at the time, I thought he was only telling stories of people that he knew.

There was no way he could be depressed right? I mean he was a world wide celebrity and had everything it seemed. That the was the younger, less wise part of myself. Now that I am bit older, I realize that it is truly possible to have everything and feel like you have nothing at the same time.

In my own journey with depression and anxiety, it was the lyrics of Chester B that gave me the room I needed to give voice to what I was feeling on the inside. I was never blessed with the chance to meet Chester, and tell him thank you for his words. And that I in some ways considered him a friend.

On a personal level, I often feel so up and down. Happy one moment and either want to scream or cry the next. I have had a handful of psych professors tell me that life, for most is very up and down or much like scribbling on a piece of paper. But thats never been a soothing or satisfying response for me.

The more I listen to the lyrics of Chester, the more I sense that he was truly crying out. Duh right? As a psychology major though, I have learned to pay more attention and see more deeply into a person. Are they truly happy when they smile or is there more going on below the surface?

Better yet, are we happy in a public setting and then fall apart behind closed doors? It’s almost been a year since his passing, and I honestly cannot believe that he is gone. I keep waiting for some FB article to pop up saying that he is alive and well, much like 2 pac. ..

But I guess that a big part of me is still in denial, that he is truly gone. All I know is that, we cannot afford to keep losing people this way. Regardless of what we believe about life. We must be willing to ask and have uncomfortable conversations, about how and where we are at in life.

We have to be willing to say **** the stigma behind talking about depression and suicide, for it is the only way to break free. We have to be willing to say enough is enough.

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A Tighter Grip.

I don’t even know where to begin

All I know is that I want to get a grip on myself.

My anxiety has been so bad.

My emotions have been everywhere.

And sometimes I feel like my chest is going to implode.

I find myself crying when I am alone.

I find myself utterly sensitive to the energies around me.

One moment I am happy and the next, anger, sadness, frustration rage.

I hate this…. I hate this.

My soul is desperate for change.

I want to know what it’s like to feel stable.

I hate feeling like such a wreck.

Perhaps its only a season or moment in time.

All I want is to break free. And not be dominated by this internal, unstable and insecure war inside me.

I want to get to the bottom of this, one breath at a time, one step at a time.

 

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The Divine Life line: Pointing Toward REAL Strength.

What if I told you, that you were stronger than you allowed yourself to believe? I’m not so much talking about physical strength, although that is a valid part of strength. But do you know how much you can take mentally and emotionally? Do you know your breaking point?

If not, I strongly believe that you should know what that point is, not only for the betterment of yourself. But for the betterment of those around you. You see, I think our culture as a whole is so deathly afraid of challenge and hardship, that our foundations break under the slightest bit of pressure.

I mean, Jesus Christ was the one, real man that everyone in human history. The man, or God man rather. Took the ultimate beating, carried the cross on His back and gave up His life so that others may live. He was everything a person, should be. As a  man, I have come to realize that my real strength, drive and the ability to persevere under pressure. Is not so much white knuckling through the deep waters of water, be it in life or the gym.

But learning to be strengthened by Gods spirit, grace and love. Jesus did the same, in the garden. Faced with literally the weight on his shoulders (Matthew 26:36-46), Jesus asks the father if he could take this cup from Him, as most of us would do in our human nature. The key point here, is that Jesus was strengthened! And He pressed on to finish the mission.

Jesus knew that true strength, truly rested in the divine life line. I’m a big fan of Jocko Willink, he has been a huge motivator for me. But where him and I disagree, is that his strength comes from within himself. And I believe that my strength comes from outside in, meaning that my strength comes first, from being in Gods presence and putting on the spiritual armor (Eph 6).

Jesus was strong from the inside out, he probably had a fairly muscular build to Him, He knew how to be kind and loving to others. But at the same time he was not afraid to offend people when needed. And He sure wasn’t afraid to swing a whip when needed. He definitely was more bad ass then some people even realize.

If you want to be strong, fix your eyes on Jesus. If you want the best motivation, look at Jesus. If you want to be a different person than you were yesterday, look at Jesus. He can and has won the battle once a for all.

He is deep down, who you have always wanted to be.

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Anxiety. Jesus. And How To Cope

Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith. I don’t agree at all. They are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the Passion of Christ. -CS Lewis (Letters to Malcolm)

Anxiety is a very crippling affliction, for me it consists of a tight chest, racing thoughts, anger, fear, dread, panic and intense sobbing when the tears are able to pour forth. It can be debilitating in some sense, sometimes I don’t even want to people around people, mostly I just want to escape to a quiet and peaceful place.

In our modern society, anxiety is either as a mental health issue, and thus prescribed anti anxiety/anti-depressants. On time of counseling of some form or another. I have mixed emotions about it, sometimes when they anxiety is so bad it doesn’t seem like anything helps calm the rage inside me. Honestly, in these moments I turn to an ice cold beer to aid in helping numb the numbness.

I know that there are healthier ways of dealing with it, physically and spiritually speaking. So I’m sorry to disappoint. On the other hand some in the scientific community are saving that the war against anxiety lies within our gut and what we eat. I don’t have with a problem with this idea, other then the fact that some within this community try a pit the physical against the mental and so on. Rarely is it ever both at the same time.

In recent years I have taken a more holistic approach to self-care, being sure that the body, mind and spirit are all taken care of to the best of my human ability. No, I’m not always perfect at it, but I do the best I can by Gods grace. Jesus knew anxiety very well, and was a man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3). To see this, all one has to do is look at his reaction in the garden of gethsemane, His reaction to what was about to come before Him, was not just a physical, spiritual, mental or emotionally one but rather the harshest wave of each of them.

Be that as it may, if Jesus experienced this sort of anguish (which I believe He did) then He is the most vital figure to look at. This is not to imply that others who struggle with anxiety aren’t worth gleaning from,  but because how He (Jesus) understood deeply and overcame triumphantly, our affliction. He is the truest path to peace.

Even when words fail, when everything else fails us. He will not. He will uphold us with an out stretched arm. Furthermore, it is vitally important to note that Jesus does not minimize anxiety as some in our culture do. He knows it, He has jumped head first into the deepest anxiety for you and me.

Again I say, medicine, therapy, exercise, community etc is not bad, but more than anxiety is the calming serenity and joy that we long the most for.   He will hold you close to His chest, He will hear your cry when no else has a moment to spare.

Know that this moment will pass, it might not pass when we want to. But it will.

Pray,

Journal,

Cry out to God, for He hears you before anyone else will,

Find a few loyal friends you can depend on, in the darkest moments.

Eat healthy, avoid processed food and sugars

Exercise daily, get your body moving.

Go to a counselor if you want to.

Cry. Scream. Slam things if you need to. Just don’t stomach it any longer.

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God Spoke To Me

There I was sitting on the toilet this morning, as I always do. Taking care of the demons in my stomach. Truth be told, I have not been feeling all that great about myself the past few days. For reasons that I do not wish to share on this blog.

But there I was, the few places that I pray are when I am in the shower, working out or on the toilet. I tend to pray more privately these days… As I was sitting on my throne, I was noticing all the negative thoughts coming out from my mind, making their way to my heart.

When I heard and felt a soft whisper say from underneath all of the crap coming out of (non pun intended).

Your my son… 

I know its crazy, and this blog might very well make you think that of me. So be it. For many religious crack heads have said that God spoke to them, well, let me tell you quickly why my experience is different. The words that were spoken to me, can be back up with scripture.

Psalm 2:7

Matthew 3:17

Luke 15:11-32

To name a few, I don’t think this is as crazy, because God speaks to various people in various ways through out the whole of scripture. Further more, the Lord reminding me that I am his son, is far (far) different than some other Christian claiming “the phone rang and that was a sign I was meant to marry this person!”

I know my soul needed these words today, I needed to be reminded of my true identity today. Does this happen often to me? No, but when it does. Its very special to me. Today my hope and prayer is that you know that God loves you, in Christ all things can be made new.

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The Lies I Believe And The Power of Ephesians

Contrary to popular belief, or how social media my portray I don’t wake up with a smile on my face all the time. In fact, some mornings I wake up and it seems as though, there is a spiritual war going inside me. A war against regret, doubt, shame, hopelessness and so much more.

The lies I believe:

You’re not good enough

you don’t have what it takes

nobody actually cares

no women will ever want you

you’ll never be all that you dreamed of being

God hates you

Just give up.

There’s more lies in there I’m sure, but you get the point and maybe you can relate. Sometimes I’m not even sure how these thoughts enter my mind. I could just wake up that way! Wake up feeling like I’m in a fight for my life, my mind, my eternal destiny. I have to be reminded that I’m not hopeless, that the God of the university is for me and on my side. His eyes are ever upon me. The one thing that has caused me to hold on and fight back against all these thoughts, is the love letter of Ephesians. I could easily copy and paste the entire 6 chapters in this blog, but I think I will settle for Eph 1:3-14

eBlessed be fthe God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing gin the heavenly places, 4 heven as he ichose us in him jbefore the foundation of the world, that we should be kholy and blameless before him. In love 5 lhe predestined us2 for madoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, naccording to the purpose of his will, 6 oto the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in pthe Beloved. 7 qIn him we have rredemption sthrough his blood, tthe forgiveness of our trespasses, uaccording to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 vmaking known3 to us the mystery of his will, naccording to his purpose, which he wset forth in Christ 10 as a plan for xthe fullness of time, yto unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained zan inheritance, ahaving been predestined baccording to the purpose of him who works all things according to cthe counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be dto the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard ethe word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, fwere sealed with the gpromised Holy Spirit, 14 who is hthe guarantee4 of our iinheritance until jwe acquire kpossession of it,5 lto the praise of his glory.

I can think of no other writing in the world, that makes my mind and soul come alive in this way. I can think of no other spiritual or religious text that makes me want to put on my armor, grab my brave heart sword (metaphorically speaking) and start slaying these lies in my head. Because Christ has overcame it all for me. He has done the same for you, so that you no longer have to be chained to these crippling thoughts any longer.

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What DC Movies Have Taught Me

The past few days I have seen two DC movies: Justice League and the new Thor. Both were really good, laced with a good mix of humor and action, but within each movie I find myself being drawn into a deeper meaning, and deeper purpose and pulled from my current reality.

This is what good movies are supposed to do, right? They are meant to engage all the aspects of the human condition. Their meant to make us, laugh, cry, think, scream in terror (if you’re into that) and they’re meant to be a secret escape. Kinda like the movie Last Action Hero, where a kid get so drawn into his favorite action hero, he actually becomes a part of it.

Or in the movie side kicks, when a young protagonist becomes the side kick of Chuck Norris. I know, that doesn’t happen to us. But it almost any Marvel Movie or any action hero installment, there is almost a message of justice (and the longing for it) hope, losing it and being able to find it again. These movies speak of loss and triumph, of death and resurrection.

These are all eternal and divine things, that I believe are inside of us all. Things that science by it’s self cannot explain on its own. These are good and holy things that we should not simply dismiss, nor should we chalk them  to be mere chemical reactions in our brains.

I think that for myself, I want to (try) and let myself watch a Marvel movie, or something like it. One) just to let myself escape the hardness of this world, Two) to not lose hope, the fact is, is that sometimes when can be so aware of our own reality. That we become numb to hope, change, truth, justice, love etc.

That we embrace a sort of nihilism without even knowing it. So my challenge to you, is to let yourself get lost in a DC movie, I think our souls depend on it in a way. And let getting being lost in these movies propel us to be the hero in someone else’s life.

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You Don’t Always PR

In the CrossFit and fitness world at large, there is a term called a PR or personal record. Where an athlete sets a new personal record for their most weight lifted and so on. As an individual, I chase the new PR’s. Right now, my current back squat is 365 and by the end of the year I’d love to smash the big 400.

On my dead lift, I can’t seem to break past the 290 mark, the right side of my body doesn’t seem to want to budge. And there is honestly a lot of flaws in my approach. On other lifts, preferably lifts that require over head movement. IT SUCKS! Again, my left side has full extension, my right side not quite.

It’s frustrating, because on the inside I know I can do it. But getting my body, mind and spirit to have that conversation is rather difficult. Largely due to living with cerebral palsy. Sometimes I leave the gym not so happy with myself, even fall into moments of self pity. What the real problem is though, is that I want to skip the gradual process of slowly adding weight, slowly gaining more mobility to simply wanting the big numbers. Which has happened before.

Even my coaches tell me, that not everyday is a heavy day. But do I listen, hell no not at first. That’s no ones fault by my own. Two things we (or I) must remember in fitness or life:

  1. Go slow- find joy in the process. I somehow feel rushed, as though I am running out of time in my life, which is illogical. Or I have to catch up to others, in a form of competition, which is also illogical. For you and I, the truth of the matter is that there is no hurry, there is no one to compete with. It is more than okay to push and challenge ourselves but not at the expense of our joy.
  2. Our self worth (my self worth) is not found in the numbers that we put up or what we produce in our work on a daily basis. Nope, our self worth and human dignity is found in Gods bestowing upon us.

I/we need to apply these truths to ourselves each and every day. And if we must, help others to see that truth as well.

Enjoy the process

Live present

Eat Healthy

Set you sight on things above.

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