What does it take to get THE MOST out of your Life?

5 07 2010

Tonight, I got put face to face with a past version of myself. This man, stuck in his story, was busy manifesting in the wrong direction. He has been successful in his life, but at this point in time, he is at a loss on how to move forward. I know this place. I know this man. He is me.

When I have found myself in a hole, I am always the first man to beat myself up. To blame myself for where I am. To berate and deride each and every accomplishment I have made… each and every positive decision…. each and every step towards a solution. I will bash myself over the head for every mistake, and swear I’ll never get on the right track.

They say if you’re in a hole, and you want to get out, the first step is… STOP DIGGING!!!!

It seems like simple advice. Good, easy to follow words of wisdom…. but most people (myself included) find it hard to know when they are digging themselves in deeper. Or better yet, how to stop.

Our stories become us. They define our experiences and our realities. Our struggles make our lives more real. Or do they? We’ve all been there. In a rut… telling ourselves over and over again how bad it is.. that it can’t possibly get worse… but then it does. We create our stories as we go along, and we become trapped by them and we recreate them over and over again. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Step 1: Acknowledge your Story Take a moment, and identify that story. If it helps, write it down, or say it out loud…. It might sound like this:

I am Dylan Stewart. I am 37 years old. When I was 9 my parents separated. I was forced to become an adult, and at that point my life and my future was decided. I would be the grown-up. The parent to my own parents… the parent to my younger brother… the parent to myself. Throughout high-school I was a geek, a loser, a loner. I struggled to make friends. I struggled to meet women. I was a part of the clique known as “The Smart Kids”. I graduated, and went on to college…

BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA

I’m Sick of it already… aren’t you? I’ve heard it a million times. I used to enjoy telling it to myself. I used to love hearing it, and seeing the reactions that it got from those around me. What a WASTE of BREATH!!!! And breath is precious. It is finite. One day, you WILL breathe your last breath… how many more do you want to waste on YOUR STORY?

Step 2: Let it Go It sounds like a hard thing to do, but it’s not… if you wrote your story on a piece of paper BURN IT, CRUMBLE IT, THROW IT AWAY!!!! If you wrote it on a computer, DELETE the file. If you spoke it out loud, VOW that it will be THE LAST TIME you do that.

It’s time to define the story you want…. not the one you were born into. Not the one you’ve been trapped by. Not the one that has KEPT YOU ASLEEP FOR YEARS.

State Your Limitations… AND THEY’RE YOURS!!!!

Step 3: Imagine and Create Your New Story Now comes the fun part. And this can be done in an unlimited number of ways. I’ll give you some ideas and suggestions, but be creative. Make it yours. If you have a way that works for you, share it in the comments… the life you inspire might be your own…..

Tomorrow morning set your alarm extra early. You must be the first one awake. If you live alone, this is easy. If you have a family, beat them all to the coffee pot. Keep a notepad or a laptop or a voice recorder (or whatever) by your bedside… and the moment your feet hit the floor, pick it up, and state 3 things you are grateful for.

1) I am grateful for music 2) I am grateful for my family 3) I am grateful for this life

If you feel inspired, keep writing. 5, 10, 20 things. Whatever you want to do.

Then, find yourself a quiet place you can be focused and uninterrupted for the next 30 minutes… bring your pad, or something you can use to take notes. I like listening to music when I do this. Other people like to be in nature. Some people like to take a jog or a run or do exercise first. Some people meditate first… whatever works for you. When you are in the right frame of mind, start to imagine your life in 5 years. Where do you live? What do you drive? Who are you surrounded by? What do you do for a living?

What INSPIRES YOU?

You can write it down, you can draw it out, you can clip pictures from magazines and paste them on a vision board, you can use Photoshop… but you cannot just do it in your head. You must somehow make it physical. Make it concrete. MAKE IT REAL!!!

It takes as long as it takes. If you run out of time, come back to it later. Give it love. Give it focus. Give it ATTENTION!!!

And when it’s done, put it somewhere you will see it every morning.

This works. I have seen it change lives. I have seen it save families. I have seen it make money appear out of nowhere. I have seen it bring more love into people’s lives. I have seen it change everything. But first, you must BELIEVE that it can all change. You must believe that you are worthy of the life you dream of. You must believe in YOU!!!!!

Step 4: Start Living Your Dreams

Each day is a new opportunity to move forward. If you slip, that’s ok, we all do. I know I have slipped and continue to struggle some days. Like anything worthwhile it takes time and practice. It is a process. But it is possible.

If you have a hard time on a particular day, here is what works for me…

Turn on random shuffle on your ipod or itunes, and play it LOUD!!!!! Go for a run, or a walk, or do pushups or whatever it takes to get you breathing heavy. Sit quiet and focus on your breath. Change your pattern. Take a different route to work. Eat something different for breakfast. Start a conversation with someone random. Spend some time with your pet. Kiss or hug someone.

And my personal favorite: DRESS THE PART!!!!

There’s a great scene in the Steve Martin movie MY BLUE HEAVEN… (and no, I’m not a Steve Martin fanatic or anything, but like the last post, it’s the most appropriate example).

In the movie, Steve Martin is trying to get Rick Moranis character out of a depression, and he takes him shopping for an expensive suit. Custom tailored and gorgeous. It’s not cheap, but when he wears it, Rick’s character stands different. He holds himself different. You can tell he feels different…. and Steve tells him “You see, the wardrobe is a symbol of how you are… you follow me? … Listen to me, it’s very hard for a human being to change. I know this. I am an expert on this. So, sometimes in order for a human being to change you have to change from the outside – IN.”

It’s true. Put on a nice shirt and slacks, even a tie if you need to, or a nice dress, or whatever makes you feel sharp. Look in the mirror… how do you feel?

Are you ready to start your new life now? THEN GET GOING!!!!!

It’s like the old SNL character Fernando used to say, “You look maahvelous… and it is more important to look good than to feel good!”

Just take the first step, and fake it until you make it.


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There’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the right time

29 06 2010

For the purpose of this post, I will interchange the terms synchronicity and synergy. I wish there was a word that properly comprised both concepts, but synchronergy sounds awful. So just understand that there are some parts of each word that apply, and it is fully intentional.

So the best way to get started is to connect you to where we left off last time…. I was in San Francisco at a seminar for experts in their fields, and along the way, I had found a new respect and value for myself. I know, it’s something that sounds a little egotistical to say, but it’s completely true.

That evening, I learned something about timing, trust, destiny… In short I learned about the synchronicity of the universe. I learned that we are all EXACTLY where we are supposed to be. I learned that every step on our path, however bumpy, uncomfortable or painful is a necessity to get us to the next place on our never-ending journey.

This blog will chronicle several different stories, which taken separately could be merely coincidences, but when put together show a path that we are incapable of resisting.

First I have to give props to my good friend Clint Arthur, who started bugging me about coming to this seminar weeks in advance. I didn’t have the money to go, I didn’t have the inclination to go, and my relationship had hit another significant bump in the road that made me feel even less like leaving home. But I trust Clint. And that in itself says something. I trust Clint to see things in me that I myself am frequently blind to. At the end of this last year Clint had encouraged me to do the Inner Child Workshop. Hell, he hadn’t encouraged me, he practically dragged me there, but that’s the kind of man Clint is. When he gets his teeth sunk into something, he’s like a pit bull… he just does not let go. And thank god for that.

The inner child workshop was a blessing. At the time I did it, my woman and I had never been more at odds with each other. We had had some serious problems throughout the Summer, and I had moved out for a time, but at that point I was back at home, albeit with one foot out the door. The inner child workshop gave me clarity. It gave me focus. It gave the relationship the chance that it needed to go further. And I owed it all to Clint.

So when Clint says I have to do something, I just do it. And so it was with the seminar. So the first part is just gratitude to the good fortune of having Clint in my life, and the good sense to follow his lead. That good sense got me to the seminar that lifted me to a whole new place in my personal awareness and presence.

Then there was Scott.

It’s one thing to say you are on a new level in your life, or to begin to act on that new belief…. But to manifest a new level of people around you in response to your inner value for yourself… Well, that’s practically unheard of… But so it was with Scott.

For those of you who read the last post, you’ve already met Scott. That evening, I was trying desperately to get myself into a VIP dinner with the other experts from the seminar. Try as I might, I could not find a way to get in. I found myself wandering around by the front desk, when I was approached by a tall, heartfelt man. He asked if I was the Mac guy, and I said that I was. He expressed his deep desire to get over his fears and struggles with his new mac computer. I put my hand on him, and told him I could help. And in that moment we bonded. He tried to get me into that VIP dinner, but failing at that, later that night he brought the VIPs from the dinner to me. That night we hung out at the bar, and he introduced me to one person after another. We laughed and joked into the evening.

A weekend or two after I got home, Scott came into LA, and we got to work together. He became the first of many high level new training clients that walked into my life since that seminar. He was proof that it was a new day for me. At our second training session, I collected my pay for the day, and was rewarded with a several hundred dollar tip on top of my training fees. But it wasn’t the money that was the most valuable part, it was the recognition. I was functioning at the top of my game in computer training, and I was beginning to reap the benefits…

Then came Jennifer….

The night I was waiting to see if Scott would get me into the dinner, I was hanging out in the waiting area near the bar, sipping on a Pinot Noir, and working on my iPad. Up walked Jennifer. She asked about the iPad (the obligatory “Do you love it?”), and I invited her to sit down to talk. She had heard some of the things that I had said during the seminar, and asked me about some basic Mac stuff.

We talked about the amazing live performance we had seen at the end of the seminar that night, by Bo Eason, an ex-football player turned actor and writer. She offhandedly remarked that he lived in Westlake Village, a mere 5 minute drive from where I lived. I thought nothing of it at the time, but the following morning that info would lead to another piece of the puzzle…. but more on Bo Eason in a moment.

While Jennifer and I were talking, my iPad beeped at me with a Facebook message from Sherilyn, my love… I laughed a little too loud at it. Sherilyn and I had been talking earlier in the room, and she expressed some concern over my newfound confidence, but here she was expressing her love for me. Jennifer oversaw the message, and as chance would have it, we began to talk about relationships. She revealed that hers had gone South on her recently. And I revealed some of the troubles i had recently been through. She recommended a book called “The 5 Languages of Love” to me, and told me that if she had read that book earlier it would have saved her relationship.

Not being a man to ignore a good recommendation, I immediately purchased it on the kindle app of my iPad. We spoke a little more as the night went on, but never anything more about the book.

When I got home from the seminar, I told Sherilyn about the book, and purchased it on her Kindle. It sounded great to her, and we were quickly diving into it. It’s a month later now, and I can truly say it was the beginning of a changing point in my relationship. Sherilyn and I have never been closer, and as we explore the concepts of the book together we begin to learn more about ourselves… about each other… about love, and how to express it… and about how to communicate with intention, love and kindness.

I don’t know where we would be had Jennifer not approached me that night, and i don’t want to know. I am just grateful to the universe for putting the gifts I need in my hands time and time again. If we are open to the ways of the world, all the doors will unlock as we approach them, and all the answers will come… in time.

The Bo Eason story still makes me laugh. It was the actual impetus for this entire blog, but the other pieces were integral to it, so they had to be pieced together as well. So let me set the stage….

At the end of the second to last day of the seminar, the crowd was treated to a real treat… unknown to us, we were about to see a piece of true artwork created in front of our eyes. Bo Eason was once an NFL football player, but having retired from ball he had written a one man play called “Runt of the Litter”. It was autobiographical, and chronicled his rise from a small, untalented athlete competing for his father’s love with his stronger, more talented older brother to a professional NFL player, competing at the SuperBowl against a team led by none other than his big brother.

It was awesome. Inspiring. Powerful. And simply indescribable. Every emotion was on display… inches away from our faces. Love, anger, fear, regret, elation, pride… and most of all, true character. It affected everyone in the room, some more than others. For me, it connected me to my relationship to my father.

In the piece, Bo’s character strives to win his father’s affection by becoming a football player and an athlete like his brother. My relationship with my father was different. Very different. I was no athlete. I was a computer geek, a nerd, a chess player, a 98 pound weakling… and my father was a lifelong sports fanatic, and a regular athlete. He plays tennis almost every day, and has always prided himself on his vigor, and physical fitness, even at the age of 70.

For me, sports was what separated me from my father. It was a dividing force for us. His love of football, basketball, tennis, boxing… almost any example of physical prowess…. constantly competed with me for his attention. I got my fair share of his love and attention, and always felt his focus… provided it wasn’t the Superbowl, or the Olympics, or the NBA finals. Don’t get me wrong. I have a great relationship with my father even to this day, and I wouldn’t change a piece of it, I was just oddly affected by how different my experience of sports and fatherhood was from Bo’s.

So I had set it in my head to have a moment with Bo, one on one, and express my appreciation for his heartfelt piece of art, and the powerful gift it had given me of clarity around my relationship with my father. And that following morning, I had my moment.

As I stood at the elevator, alone, coffee in hand, Bo stepped right up beside me. I blinked in disbelief for a moment (I wasn’t in awe at the man, just at the synergy and synchronicity of the universe.) I was reminded again of how much is possible when you trust yourself to manifest your own reality.

In the elevator I told Bo about my relationship with my father, and thanked him. I told him that I had heard he lived near me, and offered him a free hour of technical training as a token of appreciation. He revealed that he was building a new house not one block away from where I live. Not one block away. What are the chances? Any how, we parted ways and headed into the seminar.

He was brought up on stage and did a question and answer session, during which he revealed that he had been trained as an actor by none other than Roy London. Now Roy was a great teacher,but that wasn’t what caught my attention. I had been told dozens of stories about Roy because he was Sherilyn’s acting teacher as well. He had died a few years back, but he had changed her life. And not only did Bo live a block away from me, but he had trained with Roy, whose picture hangs like Jesus Christ in my kitchen in a place of great honor… what are the chances? But wait…

During his Q&A, he talked about how life altering it was to have a great teacher in your life. He told the story of a particular situation when Roy inspired one of his female students. He revealed to her that it was time for her to have a child, and that through that life-altering experience of becoming a mother she would be able to step back out of herself, and reveal her full potential. She would see life from another perspective, that of a parent, and through that she would emerge as a deeper, truer actress, and as a fully multi-dimensional woman… I could not believe my ears… I had heard that story before. Many, many times before. It was one of the life altering moments for Sherilyn. It was the inspiration for Sherilyn to get pregnant… and the product of that inspiration, that lesson, that piece of wisdom is my 16 year old step-son, Myles…. Bo was referencing my woman in his story… Now what were the chances of that?

In this life, in this world, you can never be surprised, or unaware of the so-called coincidences all around us. They are lessons thinly hidden be a veil. They are moments. They are proof of divinity and proof of a plan that is beyond us.

I am where I am supposed to be.

I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.

WE ALL ARE!!!!

Be present.

Be focused.

Be aware.

The signs are all around us….

There is a scene in the old Steve Martin movie “The Man with 2 Brains” that always makes me laugh. He is a widower, with a shrine in his house to his deceased wife… and he has met a demon in the disguise of Kathleen Turner, and fallen in love with her (or so he thinks), and he returns to the shrine to ask his wife for a blessing. “Becca”, he says, “If there’s anything wrong with my feelings for Dolores, just give me a sign.” And the portrait of his ex-wife spins in circles, and an ominous ghostly “NOOOOOOOOOOO” can be heard all around. The candles flare up and shake, and the wall begins to crack apart. Wind blows all around the room, and the NOOOOOOOOOO gets louder and louder, then finally calms down, and completely unphazed and unaware, Steve Martin looks right at the portrait and says “Just any kind of sign…. I’ll keep on the lookout for it.”

That’s not me anymore…

As I look at the world around me, I will ask for guidance, for wisdom, for clarity, for purpose…

Any sign will do… and I will be on the lookout for it.