Great Friends

The Circle of Influence

As I continue on with my new decade I keep having the feeling that my past no matter what I try and do, just keeps following me. I can resist it but it will persist. Case in point, I have been working on my circle of influence.  I keep hearing that you are the sum total of those five people that are closest to you. When I first heard that and looked around, I was kind of aghast and started really working on myself. I was attracting certain types of people that didn’t fit with my definition of success for myself. I was around some folks that were not very uplifting. Did I do this because I wanted to feel better about myself?  Most likely the answer is yes. After making this realization, I set about surrounding myself with some like-minded folks.  I went on retreats, took classes and did a whole lot of reading.  I sat down today for the first time and realized I had done just what I set out to do. I have succeeded in surrounding myself with a great group of people who are not only always there for me, but also uplift me.  So what is the problem? The problem is that my past keeps giving me pop quizzes. It keeps having people appear to throw me tests on how far I have really come.

After spending yet another lunch time with someone who just doesn’t want to look inside, I had had enough. I blurted out, "If you don’t change something, than why do you think anything is going to change?"   She stopped, looked at me and just keep babbling on with those words that I have forbidden my kid to ever use, “Yeah but….”. It was at that moment that I realized that not only did I have the tools to work myself out of this situation, but that I was ready to actually use them. I looked at her and again muttered, but louder this time, “If you don’t change anything, how do you expect this situation to ever change?”. I then got up and told her that I had to go and turned and walked away. This was a huge first for me. It might not have been the proper way to handle the situation, but in my gut, I think she may have gotten the message. Why do I sometimes continue to go back into these toxic situations that I know are not good for me to be in?  Simple, fear of letting the other person know how I feel and fear of conflict.

It has taken me a long time to get to this point of having these tools, but I know they work now and I certainly will not hesitate to use them if the situation arises again. In the meantime,  I made a point to reach out to my newest circle of influence folks and let them know how much I appreciate each and every one of them. I appreciate that they have come into my life at just the right moment and I truly thank them for that!!

I question if any of you have been in this same situation and how you handled it.

I leave you with a link to a great blog called The Evening Cup.  In this particular post, Nicole Taylor gives her readers some great advice!

Until My Next Adventure,

P.A. Walker

Life Lessons from the Tubing Park

This adventure started out benignly enough.  I had a Groupon for a snow tubing session at Solider Hollow here in Utah.  Solider Hollow was the site of a lot of the cross-country ski events during the 2002 Winter Olympics.  After booking a session, I started out with my son and a friend and her family.  The evening weather was wonderful.  It was warm and the evening sky was filled with many stars.  We got into our tubes and headed up the rope tow towards what promised to be a night full of fun. The first run down was fantastic.  All five of us swapped ropes and bonded together for a joint ride down the hill.  It was so fast and exhilarating that I just remember screaming and giggling all the way down.  That was cool.  The next run down, it was me and my kid and the course was getting slick.  We screamed all the way down and thought that we would stop in time.  However, the course had a different idea for us.  In an instant, I just made the realization that we were going to go through the snow fence.  Sure enough, that was just what we did.  We both survived the scramble with nary a mark on us.  However, it kind of set the tone for the rest of the night.

I immediately shifted into a mental state of fear.  Pure, raw fear.  Each run had me so worried about the ending, that I skipped enjoying the ride down.  I kept going though because I was not going to let this stop my fun.  It was not until the last run that my fear came true.  This time I was all by myself, going so fast, that even when I dragged my feet down, I completely sped right by the course guy at the end.  I went through not one but two snow fences.  I heard my glasses shatter (or at least I thought I did), but got up and realized both me and my glasses were in one piece.  I put my fist in the air and yelled, "Thank God for Costco.  My glasses took the blow from the pole!".  I escaped with some minor abrasions and lived to tell the story.

Why am I telling you this story?  After my run, I decided I had had enough.  I sat and watched everyone else hooting and hollering and thought to myself - what a metaphor for life.  I was so focused and fearful of my ultimate end that I didn't enjoy the ride leading up to it.  I soon realized that perhaps this was mirroring my own personal life.  What am I doing to enjoy the ride leading up to my ending?  What can I do on an every day basis to enjoy the "ride".

I looked back on that final run and realized that right before I knew I was going to make an impact, I just surrendered and let go.  It probably saved me a few scratches by relaxing back into it.  Time to do that in real life!  I asked the course dude why he didn't stop me and he simply replied, because you were going way too fast. Time to slow down and enjoy the ride!!

Great Acronym to remember: FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real!

As Always,

P.A. Walker

The First 50.4.50

It happened.  I turned the Great 5-0!  What an amazing day/week.  I felt the love from folks that truly mattered.  I had visits from cousins, gifts and lunch with some amazing ladies.  For the first time in my life, I arranged my own birthday lunch.  I knew who I wanted there and it all shook out exactly as it should.  The love and light was very evident that day! For my first 50.4.50, I conquered a long time fear.  It has taken me fourteen years to complete the hike that I have always started to do but never finished because of a raw fear of heights.  It is the Stewart Falls hike in the Sundance Resort here in Utah.  You take the chairlift up one way and the beginning of the hike has you clinging to the side of a mountain with shear drops on one side.  I had attempted this several times before and just could never do it.  That day I made a choice, I could go back up the way we came and take the chairlift down or I could continue on straight into my fear.  I had my son with me and the thought that he would see his mom back out on this hike because of a fear was just no longer an option to me.  I wanted to show him and myself that I could feel my fear and do it anyway. As I hiked along, clinging to any root or tree that would hold me, the F#$% word was flying through my mind.  Why the F#$% did I agree to do this?  How the F#$% am I going to make it around the next bend when it looks like it plummets to the bottom of the earth?  These thoughts swirled around and around in my head but all the time I kept going.  I had the goal of getting to the meadow where it was told to me that the trail flattened out and the views were gorgeous.  The problem was the distance to the meadow that was told to me was actually a crock of shit.  It was an incentive by my hiking buddies to get me to forge on.  Either way, I completed the hike and the views were well worth it.  Stewart Falls is absolutely stunning.   After I finished my hike, I was able to kick back on a rock and de-stress with some dark chocolate while watching all the folks that had come up the "easy" way.  Boy, they sure don't know what they missed.  As I completed my first "new" thing for my new decade, it became apparent to me that I could do this.  I can do it and I will.  It gave me a sense of purpose and awakened in me all the possibilities of the new things that I can try in my 50th year.  Stay tuned for the next adventure! StewartFalls

As I close out this post, what is something that you have accomplished where you felt the fear and did it anyway?  How did you feel after you pushed through it?

"By letting it go, it all gets done.  The world is won by those who let it go.  But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning." - Lao Tzu

Peace Out, P.A. Walker