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Posts Tagged ‘self actualization’

From the Tiny Acorn Grows

There is an old saying. You’ve probably heard it. ‘From a tiny acorn, the mighty oak tree grows.’ It is a truism, oak trees grow from acorns; ‘acorn’ being the name given to the oak tree seed. This old saying is used as an analogy to demonstrate growth, or growing into. It is most often applied in my culture to give heart to children feeling diminutive, and insignificant.

This is a good saying to encourage children to look forward, to hope, and to dream about what they may turn out to be. However, there is much more wisdom in this saying than is commonly gleaned. It demonstrates much more than the potential for growth and greatness.

The acorn already knows what it’s going to be. It doesn’t even think about it, it is genetically programmed to become an oak tree. The acorn is not distracted by the glories of becoming a fireman, nor an astronaut. An oak tree is what it will become, come Hell or high water.

The acorn is focused on becoming an oak tree. It is genetically programmed to be so. In every moment of every day its every action is taken to become an oak tree. It doesn’t care about the weather, nor the Stock Market, nor its neighbors opinion. It will become an oak tree.

The acorn gathers to it all the resources at its disposal, and applies them to becoming an oak tree. It is genetically programmed to do so. It doesn’t bother with what it doesn’t need, nor does it waste the resources it has. If an acorn doesn’t need a second blender, it doesn’t buy one, no matter how shiny it is, nor how much it’s on sale.

Humans are not like acorns. Humans have so many things from which to choose, from what to become, from what to own, from what to do. While it is impossible for the acorn to become distracted in any way from its end result, it is difficult for the Human not to.

Conversely, the acorn can only become an oak tree. It can not become an astronaut, nor a fireman, nor a butcher, nor a baker, nor a candle stick maker. It will never be able to calculate a trajectory to the Moon, nor Mars, nor the Crab Nebula. It will never be able to write a book on stamp collecting, nor playing marbles. It will never be able to look up in the night sky and wonder of what the stars are made, nor how much force it would take to throw a rock from the Earth to the edge of the Cosmos, nor even question whether there is an edge to the Cosmos or not.

What can humans become that an acorn can not! The choices are theoretically endless. However, we need to make those choices if we are to become our own oak tree. We need to be our own type of acorn. We need to take a dream we have, and say ‘This is the one.’ We need to turn that dream into a goal. We need to stay focused on that goal, no matter what anyone says, and no matter what else is going on around us. We should apply our resources toward that goal, and not be wasteful of them. We may admire other endeavors, but we should stay diligent toward our own.

We should also remember, the acorn does not turn into an oak tree over night. It takes around 30 years for an acorn to become an oak tree; and even then, it’s still considered to be in its youth. It takes time to become an oak tree, but not to worry. The oak trees growth is marked in stages. It’s an acorn, and then it’s a sprout. Then it becomes a sapling, then a little tree, then a bigger tree, then a bigger tree still, and then, a dominating, prolific, majestic oak tree.

Dream a dream. Turn that dream into a goal. Plan to reach that goal. Work on that goal, stay with it, do not become distracted. You are spectacular, and how much more than an oak tree?

Dream a Little Dream

A while back, the blower on my old van wore out. I’m one of those old guys that don’t like to spend money unless he has to. I just let it go, as I really didn’t need it replaced at the time. However, winter is coming on out here in Nebraska, where one will often go outside to find a quarter-inch of ice on their windshield during the winter months. There is a need to have hot air blowing on ones windshield out here during winter, and, subsequently, and operating blower.

I’m not going to put a new blower in a twenty-one year old van. There’s a junk yard out here in a little town called Utica which seems to have just about any spare part for any vehicle a person would drive. Utica is about 25 miles West, and another 10 miles or so North of where I sit. So, off I went to secure myself another blower for the van.

The most efficient way to get to Utica from where I live is to get up on the interstate, and exit at another little town called Gohner. Gohner has all of 192 people living in it. Nebraska tends to be pock-marked with micro townships all over the place. Anyhow, one needs to get off at Gohner, drive a few more miles North, then West again several miles till one makes it to Utica.

I hadn’t been out that way for three, or four years, so I was really enjoying the view. Where I live, the land sort of roles in long, lumbering hills that one often can’t even tell they’re going up unless they’re on a bicycle. Out there toward Gohner, and Utica, the land gets flat as a pancake, and one can see trees balancing all the way out on the edge of the horizon.

I’m driving along, taking in the landscape, when the Gohner exit comes up on me, and I need to get off the interstate, and get on a regular state road. Just off the interstate, on the outskirts of the little town of Gohner, someone had constructed a frontier village. The village wasn’t very accurate historically for the area, as the buildings were made of logs, and not sod. I’m guessing sod is pretty hard to come by these days, so logs must have had to suffice. Anyhow, there was a livery stable, a saloon, a general store, all set up for tourist to stop in and recreate, including what appeared to be a frontierish looking playground for the kids.

Sadly, the project must not have worked out for the projector. Leaning up against the fence lining the frontier village was a large piece of plywood. Painted neatly in large letters on that piece of plywood leaning up against that fence were the words, ‘A dream died here.’

Seeing this sign didn’t ruin the rest of my jaunt, but it did make me feel sorry for whatever entities put this project together. There is something I may never have the opportunity to tell them, but I am going to take this opportunity to tell you. Dreams don’t die, they get abandoned. They may run into all kinds of problems, and setbacks, and oppositions, but they do not die. They get abandoned along the side of the interstate like a dog your landlord tells you you’re not allowed to have in the apartment.

Dreams don’t die. They are composed of thought energy, and sort of bounce around the Cosmos like radio waves. Leonardo da Vinci dreamt of a flying machine, but it didn’t come into fruition till a couple of hundred years later … others along the way picked up on the dream, and did what they could with it. Thomas Edison dreamt of illuminating the night, and he picked at it till it happened.

The idea that dreams die is defeatist. If you have a dream you can’t get put together, someone else will pick it up, and run with it. Go get another dream, and see how far you can take it.

You’re spectacular, dynamic. Stay that way. Get a dream, and work it.

Wrestling the Muse

I took a writing course once. It wasn’t very expensive. It was a distance learning course, mostly conducted over the internet. One of the features of the course was periodic on-line chat sessions with the instructor. For all the course cost, the instructor had to have been dedicated to producing writers … she couldn’t have been earning much for her efforts.

During one of the chat sessions, the subject of writers block was breached.

“I keep getting writers block.” one of the students chatted, “What can I do about it.”

“When you get writers block,” the instructor advised, “sit down and start writing.”

That didn’t make a lot of sense. How can one write something when they’re writers blocked?

“Ya, but,” the student continued, “shouldn’t I go traipsing through the daisies, or something like that?”

“You can do that.” the instructor responded. “You do need to harvest experiences, relax, and find inspiration. However, when it’s time to write, put your fingers on the keyboard, and start writing.”

The young Bill Stewart was the line coach for my High School football team some 30 odd years ago. One hot, humid late August day we were out there in a pre season practice on the field along the banks of the beautiful Ohio River. We weren’t having a good practice, very apparently. At the end of the practice, Coach Stewart had the linemen form up in a school circle, and he gave us a pep talk.

“When you don’t feel like practicing,” Coach Stewart advised animatedly, “that’s when you need it most!”

If you’re going to write, you need to write, even if you don’t feel like it. If you’re going to paint, you need to paint, even if you don’t feel like it. If you’re going to play football, you need to play football, even if you don’t feel like it. If you’re going to study, you need to study, even if you don’t feel like it. If you’re going to chop wood, you need to chop wood, even if you don’t feel like it. Get in there, and do it anyhow.

Practice makes perfect, and sometimes you have to wrestle the muse. If you don’t, she might just wander off, forgetting about you and your dreams, and aspirations entirely.

Till next time, stay in there. Keep at it. Whatever it is you do, I need you doing it.

Resolutions

We’re coming up on the New Year fast and furious right about now.  This is a time people project their thoughts and aspirations into the coming year.  New Years resolutions have been a fad for so long they are now a tradition.  Sadly, failed New Years resolutions are epidemic, to the point of being a cliché.

People promise themselves that they will quit smoking, or lose weight, or read through the Bible, or keep their checkbook balanced, or learn to tap dance.  By January 3rd we are still feverishly perusing our resolution.  By the second week of January we have been making excuses not to be so diligent for several days.  By the first week of February, the resolution is usually forgotten till the end of December, when the resolution is reaffirmed.

Why?  Mind you, I am not pointing fingers; I am as guilty of dropping resolutions as anyone else … which makes me doubly guilty because I have an understanding of the dynamics of thought and action underlying the process of personal change.  Why do people make New Years resolutions, then frustraitedly find themselves making the same resolution at the end of the next year as well?

The first thing we have to understand is that we didn’t just fall off the turnip truck fully the person we now are.  During you age you have spent each and every one of your moments sculpting yourself.  However old you are is how many years you’ve spent developing yourself, your psyche, your habits, your physique, your relationships.  Under these conditions, change takes more than wishful thinking.

Jeff Olson tells us that little things, done consistently over time, lead us to our failures as well as our successes.  Furthermore, seed a thought, grow an action, reap a habit; seed an action, grow a habit, reap a lifestyle; seed a habit, grow a lifestyle, reap a legacy.

Get a piece of paper and write five paragraphs.  In the first paragraph, write what it is you want to do, and why.  Be brief, you’re going to carry this piece of paper around with you.  In the second paragraph, describe the end result you want to bring about … this is the pie in the sky paragraph.  In the third paragraph, write what obstacles you may encounter, and possible ways to work around them.  In the fourth paragraph, describe the actions you intend to take in order to bring about the end result you desire.  In the fifth paragraph, outline who is responsible for what, when, where, why, and how.

Fold this piece of paper neatly, and put it in your pocket.  Take it out of your pocket and read it at least once a day, preferably more.  Then, rethink, revise, and rewrite.

Till next time, remember, you can do anything you want to do.  However, it helps a lot if you have a plan.  It helps even more if you have that plan written, and refered to often.

Thank you for reading.  You’re spectacular.

Sugar Pills

I remember watching an old Western on TV a long time ago.  The setting was a dusty, ramshackle town out in the middle of no where.  Citizens of this town did their best to carve a society out of their situation.  The main character, of course, was a dedicated Sheriff, and his side kick deputy.  There were regular characters breezing in and out, such as Doc, and Banker, and Bartender, and two ranchers whom always seemed to be fighting over water rights.

There were also characters seemingly pulled out of the transom, and written into the script.  Their stories wouldn’t stand alone, but made interesting side skits to follow along the main story.  The particular side story about which I’m remembering involved Doc, and an elderly woman who was, apparently, one of the towns socialites, and who was, apparently, a hypochondriac.

This poor woman would come to Doc, run down and tired, positive she’d contracted some egregious disease.  Doc would look all serious, and give the woman an examination.  After the examination, Doc would give the woman a jar of pills.  Doc would tell the woman these were the latest thing in medical treatment, and were designed specifically to cure what ailed her.

A little later on in the show,  Sheriff and Deputy were hauling this same woman off to spend the night in jail for causing a fight over in the bar.  A little further in the show, this same woman would be sitting in Docs office, run down and tired, and Doc would hand her a jar of pills.  This scenario repeated a couple of times throughout the show.

Toward the end of the show, Sheriff caught on that Doc was prescribing sugar pills to this elderly woman, and went to confront Doc about the practice.

“You’ve been giving Miss Maybell sugar pills all this time.” Sheriff accused.

“Works, don’t it?” Doc responded.

“But,” Sheriff added, “how can you justify charging her this much for sugar pills?”

“Part of the treatment.” Doc said, gathered some papers from his desk, opened a file drawer, and put the papers away as the credits started rolling.

This side skit in an old TV show expresses the positive power of the placebo effect.  A strong belief can actually change a persons physiology, and do so dynamically.  There is a flip side to this dynamic.  It’s been coined the nocebo effect.  As a placebo can effect positive change, a nocebo can effect negative change.

‘Cebos’ are not restricted to the form of sugar pills.  They are ingested also via words, and actions, and even the very thoughts you yourself think.  Sadly, it takes 16 positive ‘cebos’ to counteract one negative ‘cebo.’  This ratio can be overwhelming to overcome.

With this in mind, guard yourself against negativity.  Think positive thoughts.  Say, and do positive things.  Avoid not only people, but media whom express negativity.

Till next time, stay positive, and stay spectacular.

Paths

I’ve been fascinated with the Law of Attraction from the moment I heard it expressed in those terms.  I understood the concepts of this Natural Law in childhood.  I knew that if I were walking in the woods and I came to a fork in the path I would either turn to the right, or to the left.  If I took the left path, those things along and at the end of the right path would not be in the direction I would be going.   Likewise, if I took the right path, those things along and at the end of the left path would not be in the direction I would be going.  If I were at my Grandparents house and wanted to visit my Aunt Betty I would not take the path that led to my Uncle Dales, nor my Aunt Lindas.  I would take the path that led to Aunt Bettys.

It seemed to me that the greater paths and directions a person may take in life would follow the same dynamic; decide where you want to go, and follow that path.  You may be compelled to stop for a moment now and then to carve your name in a tree, or to chase a raccoon through the woods, but you’ll regroup and keep moving forward.  The important thing is that you get on the path.  Reach your destination before supper is over, however, or all you get is a cold plate and a call to help with the dishes.

Till next time, remember, you are spectacular.  Even if you dilly and dally along the way, if you stay on your path, you’ll eventually get to where you’re going.

Busy, Busy, Busy Meditation

I was talking to a woman the other day. She said that in order for her to meditate she’d have to go find a cow pasture and sit in the middle of it. That would almost be an ideal situation, but, I think what she was inferring was that her life was too busy for such a thing.

Here’s the big secret about meditation. You don’t have to go sit in the middle of a cow pasture, and you don’t have to find a cave on a mountain side in front of which to sit. You don’t have to put on fancy robes, nor arrange cushions on the floor. You don’t have to light candles, nor burn incense. You don’t even have to sit in front of a wall chanting for five days in a row.

These things are all very nice, if you can integrate them into your life style. Most of us are too busy trying to make ends meet, and balancing plates on the ends of broom handles.

Here is the microwaveable version of meditation. Take 5 minutes, preferably 15. Close your eyes, and relax. Envision that you skip a rock across a pond to the other side. It skips across the surface of the water 15 times, flying just a little further between each skip progressively as it approaches the other side. Count the skips. On the 15th skip, it lands on the opposite bank. This skipping across the water to the other side should only take 10, to 15 seconds at the most.

Now, for the remainder of the 5 to 15 minutes, just watch the rock on the opposite bank. Contemplate the rock. If any vagrant thoughts try to get your attention, have those thoughts wait their turns; you’re busy watching a rock.

Till next time, take a few moments for mindfulness. You’ll be glad you did, and it will make you even more spectacular.