‘Why Can’t I?’

Posted in Uncategorized on October 23, 2019 by The Divorced Dudes Network
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“Don’t let your dreams be dreams.”

Jack Johnson

 

How often do we all ask ourselves that one simple question? ‘Why Can’t I?’ Why do we choose to put ourselves in this self imposed cage? This ‘Cage’ is manifested within our own choices, belief systems, lack of self esteem, need for validation, past experiences, etc. Mostly, it stems from fear. Fear of getting hurt again, fear of failure, fear of not being accepted, fear of not being good enough, fear of the unknown.

We allow these ‘thinking errors’ to dictate our current moment and even our future. We are trepidatious to take chances, and even question our own potential. We start to become what our belief system is telling ourselves about ourselves. And, for many of us, we have to stay there just long enough just to see it. It’s time to start telling ourselves a different story, and start singing a different song. We have been here long enough. While constantly trying to wrap our brains around the chaos of the life that we are currently residing. But, deep down, knowing that there is more, much more. We seek something, anything that resembles some shape or form of basic stability.  All the while forgetting that true stability lies within. It’s nothing that anyone can give us. It’s already there, it always has been. It’s just been covered and muted by internal and external forces.

We have to get out of the routine of these old self destructive patterns  and remember that we do have power over these things. We can’t control the external world, but we do have complete control how we choose to internalize them. Where do we file them? How do we react ? How to we feel about it? That is in your control. We are our own worst critics. We know our weaknesses. We know the things that we need to work on. The problem it that we keep telling ourselves a story that doesn’t serve us well. What if we star telling ourselves the story that we want to live, rather that telling ourselves the one that we don’t? The one that is derived from my own wants and desires. The one that sees your full potential without boundaries. Our lives have been like been living under the shadow of a tree, one that we planted along time ago. A tree that we have watched grow and sat in its shade, fining comfort in its simple existence while not even noticing that it was growing out of control.  Well, that tree, as we know it, isn’t there anymore and it’s time to plant another. But now, we have learned from our errors. This next seed is destined to be magnificent. Because we learned from the years of tending to the first, the mistakes we made and the flowers it has bloomed and shed. We can’t allow this new tree can’t branch off in unhealthy ways. We can catch it before it starts to grow in the wrong direction. Always knowing that this is in our control.

 

3 years ago, I found myself sitting on the side walk in a McDonalds parking lot. I had a duffel bag of clothes, a dead cell phone and $8 in my wallet. The treatment center had just dropped me off, and sent me on my way with no plan in place.

I spent a lot of time couch surfing, and just trying to pick up the pieces. Simply looking for a sliver of hope, and desperate for support and searching for purpose. At this point I had lost everything. As the weeks passed, I found myself living in my work van in the Utah desert. Broke and broken.  The last few months I had been bounced around treatment centers and hospitals. And, now I found myself in this place. It was a life changing fork in the road and I knew it. I had 2 choices, pull the trigger or pull the trigger. I had to be stupid deep honest with myself. Weighing all options. One solution was easy, the other I knew was going to require me to do ‘the real work.’ I decided to give my story here one more chance. I packed up my stack of books and the photograph of my boys and took the first step. This time its going to be on my terms. No more holding back, no more pity parties, no more abuse. It’s time to start living life, my rules. It felt freeing and frightening at the same time. I had to hold myself accountable for every decision that I was going to make from that point forward.

All of my best decisions had gotten me to the place where I was, and I knew that wasn’t sustainable. So, it was time to ask myself ‘why can’t I?’ I started making lists of all of the thing that I wanted, but never went after. All of the dreams that were just dreams, and the reasons I hadn’t gone after them. Breaking it down one by one, I started to realize that the only thing holding me back from the ‘why can’t I’s’ was simply me…….

For the last couple of years I have been target focused on that list. Reading, listening,  growing, observing, developing healthy relationships, and cutting the toxic ones.  Slowing attending to the seed that was planted that day. I’m paying attention this time. And, playing for keeps. Focusing on transforming into the person that I ultimately want to be. All along knowing that there isn’t a goal line, it’s just one yard at a time. But, each decision I make now I always ask myself ‘WHY CAN’T I?’

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‘Stories’

Posted in Uncategorized on October 8, 2019 by The Divorced Dudes Network

Your Script

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This one is really interesting. Because, we have complete control over it. It’s something that you can challenge yourself with day by day, and even moment by moment. But, only if you pay really close attention.

For any ‘Script’ to be successful, you need to have a good ‘Story,’ and a strong ‘Cast.’

Remember, YOU are the ‘Star’ as well as the ‘Director.’ In other words, for this all to come together, you need to step back and do an honest inventory of yourself, as well as the people that you choose to surround yourself with.

Today, I wanted to focus just on the ‘Cast.’

First, we need to identify who they are. Secondly, we need to assign them a ‘Role.’ But, always remembering that you are the Star, and have the power to assign these parts.

Is there a ‘Co-star (s)?’ They can be a significant other, your Children, a close Friend, etc. These relationships will have the biggest impact on your story. They will get the most power and attention.

Next, ‘Supporting roles,’ your Boss, employees, co-workers. Basically, your casual relatively predictable acquaintances. People that are somewhat needed to keep moving forward in the writing of the story but, at a lower impact level.

Then there are the ‘Extras.’ The people walking down the street, background players. The People that make little, if no impact at all.

Once you have identified these Actors and assigned them a role, take an inventory on how much ‘Power’ and ‘Attention’ you have chosen to give to them in the past and present. Using this exercise, reassign power accordingly. If you are being honest, you will have to take some from one, and give more to another. You will probably find that you have to cut some of them out. In doing so, that now available energy can be focused on other deserving / healthy cast members, hence improving the story and strengthening that relationship.  You, the ‘Star’ and “Director’ should get the most. (A Movie without a strong, competent leading Actor or Actress isn’t worth watching.)  Followed by the Co-Star, Supporting Roles, and finally Extras. The ones higher on the cast list will have more power and impact on your story. Choose wisely.

After my divorce, and moving to a new city, I was starting from scratch! Feeling completely lost. I had very few ‘real connections.’  My ‘Cast List’ was nearly empty and shallow. I started reaching out, thirsting to fill the voids that had been created. Desperate to fill them, I made many compromises. I started to surround myself with a cast that began taking my story in a direction that I didn’t want it to go. I compromised my ‘Star role’ and gave that position away.  Other peoples stories were starting to take the power over my own. It was exhausting.

At that point, I realized that my cast was out of control! The story was becoming dark and sloppy. Basically, the reigns had slipped out of my hands. But, I didn’t see it until I stepped back.  I let others become the Star in my story, and I simply assumed the role of an ‘Assistant Director.’ It was out of control and It needed to get back on track.

I cut a lot of relationships out. People that I had know for years. Distanced myself from others. And, started putting more attention on myself, and the relationships that really matter.  I have found that my phone doesn’t ring as frequently as is use to, but when it does those conversation are going to be impactful to my story.

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‘Being Present’

Posted in Uncategorized on October 2, 2019 by The Divorced Dudes Network

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”

-Alan Watts

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This topic is a hard one! In going through my own personal transformation, this popped up a lot and is still something that I struggle with.

It’s funny because everyone does it without even realizing it. Just go to any coffee shop or restaurant and observe the people around you. How many people are 100% engaged with the others that are around them? Many people are attached to their cell phones, checking their mail or social media? Stuck in the stress from work that day. Worrying about what other people are thinking about them. Stressing about that paper that’s due next week. The list goes on..

But, those examples just scratch the surface of the larger issue. We have forgotten the skill of simply being present. Not just being present with others and giving the situation our full attention, but more importantly being present with OURSELVES.

I know, sounds easy! But, think about it….. How many thoughts about your future or past are bouncing around in that kaleidoscope between your eyes as you read this? Why can’t we focus 100% of our attention on just simply being in the NOW?

I was taught that there are 3 different spheres of thoughts bouncing around in our heads all the time. And, what emotions are attached to each of them;

  1. Past experiences = ‘Regret’
  2. Future expectations = ‘Anxiety’
  3. The present = ‘The only thing that you have control over’

I know that I can’t change the ‘Past.’ I let those experience define my life for a long time. Playing the ‘Victim Role’ seemed to become my daily mantra. It was the easy way out.

The ‘Future’ scared the shit out of me! The ‘Unknown.’ Struggling to come out of this victim role. The place where I felt completely broken, and that my life is as good as it’s ever going to be. It had me stopped in my tracks, and fearful to take any chances for fear that I might get hurt again. I isolated myself out of protection and became stagnant.

At that breaking point I decided to start exercising this practice. I was taught that the ‘Present’ is really all that really matters. This moment right now! This exercise, just like anything else takes time and discipline. Catching yourself moment by moment as your brain tries to bounce around between the 3 spheres. For me, it’s been really eye opening on how often my brain would wander. The dark early mornings lying in bed just thinking. The dinner dates where I’m really not listening.

In trying to master this practice, I have noticed a lot of different things. The simple small things that seemed to go unnoticed before. You begin to actually ‘Hear’ people. You become acutely more sensitive to your own thoughts, emotions and environment. I feel more confident. I actually get the sense or being in control for the first time in a long time. And, it all starts right at this moment, each moment.

We need to remember how to take back control of our own thoughts. We DO have the choice and the power.

 

“Your life requires your mindful presence in order to live it. Be here now.”

-Akiroq Brost

 

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Rediscovering your ‘Own Power.’

Posted in Uncategorized on September 30, 2019 by The Divorced Dudes Network

Nearly 3 years after my divorce, I often times still find myself feeling lost. And even hopeless sometimes.

Everything that I had dreamed of, everything that I had built was gone in the blink of an eye. I was starting from ‘Less than zero.’

I did the normal thing…. DISTRACTIONS!

Not facing the truth, running from everything and anything that may cause me discomfort. I began living in a world of ‘low lying fruit’. My job (s), my personal relationships, anything to give me a sense of validation. I compromised ‘everything,’ just to get ‘something.’ I found a world of shallowness and unhappiness. The feelings of contentment, and joy were simply shallow and fleeting. That lasted for a couple of years, but those practices didn’t get me anywhere. Jobs lost and relationships had parted.

I felt like I was just floating without any control, and no direction.

Something had to change… My behaviors were completely self destructive.  And, it wasn’t the story that I wanted to write for my life. I knew it…. I just didn’t know what to do.

I decided that I needed to change directions, I just didn’t know how. I had been married for 21 years and owned a successful company most of that time. And, I now found myself in a meaningless void with no purpose.

‘The Shift.’

I have a friend, a buddhist monk. Visiting with him one day, he asked me a simple question, “Are you happy?” I replied “No.” His response was; “Well, if you keep doing what you are doing, you are going to end up with what you already have.”  He challenged me to seek out things that make me ‘uncomfortable’… Internally and externally.

I started by doing a HONEST ‘Personal Inventory.’  The kind of honesty that has you vomiting in the trash can next to your bed.

Being REAL with myself for the first time ever! I started to study myself and my behaviors. Why I do what I do? Why do I feel what I feel? After endless Books, Podcasts and a couple really good Friends, I started to see IT.

I had been giving my ‘Power’ to others the whole time, and compromising my own. I decided that it was now my time to really focus on MY POWER. What do I want? Really want. How do I want my story to read? What’s important to me?

I had to cut out toxic relationships, and identified my thinking errors.

For the first time in my life I began living a life with no boundaries.

Being free of others judgements, and their implied expectations. Being honest with myself and others. Truly loving who I had started to evolve into. Developing complete transparency in all of my relationships and hiding nothing. I started to explore my deepest thoughts, desires and faults.

Simply striving to be ‘TRUE SELF,’ always.

I decided that I’m not going to wear a masks anymore, or put on a show. I’m simply just going to be the best me that I can be.

My relationships (With others and myself) have gotten deeper. I have allowed myself to fall in love, and to have my heart broken. And, have developed a deeper bond with my children. Now, when I go through these experiences, good or bad, I don’t let them define me. I try to learn something.

Most mornings I wake up with a smile. Probably because I can’t wait to see what’s around that corner.

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What We Are

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2019 by The Divorced Dudes Network

The Divorced Dudes Network is a fraternal organization for any dude – not just divorced – who finds himself at roughly mid life, and for whatever reason, the reset button has been hit.

We do not exist to provide “assistance” in the financial, legal, psychiatric, or any other professional sense – DDN offers no professional advice of any kind.l, because we’re not professionals. We’re just like you – we’re going through the shit too, and just trying to figure it all out.

The Divorced Dudes Network is based in the acceptance that yes, this is indeed the “end”… of a PART of your life. But that end is only a heralding, a calling to the other side of this crisis. And on that other side awaits a new life, one rife with opportunity for us all. The opportunity to hit the “reset button”, to fix what is broken, to craft our new Selves, and a new life story. But this time, it will be to our specifications.

With each other’s help we will learn the things we’ve always wanted to learn, study the things we’ve always wanted to study, meet the people we’ve always wanted to surround ourselves with, have fun and laughs the way we’ve always wanted, and ultimately, achieve the lifestyles we’ve always aspired to live. This is no time to wallow in misery and self-pity. It is the perfect time to recognize and take ownership over your freedom, your life, your happiness.

As a member and contributor to the Network, you will be able to interact with others of like experience and like mind, others who have walked or are currently walking in your shoes. We can trade intelligence, stories, wisdom, jokes, dating tips, concert tickets, lawyer referrals, whatever.

If you feel your life has come to a tipping point, that no one “gets it”, that you’ve been ejected from your tribe and are left to start anew, then you are in the right place. This is your place to rest, reset, and rebuild. Join us, and discover your new tribe.