WHEN YOU DIE,
Considering there are no do overs,
Let your epitaph say something like;
John was a free spirit, always looking for the next mountain to climb, those who knew him will always remember his zest for life and adventure.
Welcome to your continued wonder and the exploration of US. At 72, I’ve read 10s of books on the science of us, motivation of us, recovery of us, change of us. The reason for my personal change was I was not happy with the path my life was on. I was not necessarily as broken as Humpty Dumpty, but I did have a lot of cracks in me. Depending on the genre, most of the books wove in an addiction recovery process. I gleaned, many of the writers, like me, suffered from some sort of personal experience with addiction or obsession of such.
Throughout the book I refer to addiction because I abused alcohol, plus most people relate to drug, alcohol or other obsessions. I also devote a chapter to God. I’m agnostic. I use and compare human behavior to spirituality and the God concept because it is predominantly the strongest human influencer. If God is the way the world was created, man and his behavior is what made us misuse the concept.
Don't be fooled
Consider this. Many of us go through our entire life believing we are living our life to its highest and best use. We compare ourselves to others and stand on the bar of, "at least I'm not an addict,,etc". At the end of our term we don't want to say if i had it to do over again I would have done it different. This is why strongly suggest you read the book and not discard it because you are not a defined obsessive compulsive human.
What I came to believe is what it generally takes to invoke change in us is either some devastating peril of loss or the short-term pretense caused by dopamine in our system. I say pretense because the affects of dopamine generally subsided. It then takes more of it to keep us motivated. Whether in relationships or some extreme sport or addiction, our body’s mechanics does its magic to help keep us in balance. More often than not, if we have some sort of low points in our life, our body and mind seeks some sort of surge of feel good to offset it. There are limits. Our body’s neuron system will alter and break just like a race car always speeding without regular maintenance. The change is so slow we don’t realize what is happening. If we don’t implement some sort of logic. Logic comes from education.
Think about those “Normals”. These are the people who live in a boundary of order. Many of them just plug along living in more of the Order side of life. They often replace their short falls with negative Judgment and resentment or they run from fear. They know not of change in themselves, don’t have the motivation to learn change and frankly, find it much easier to dump on others. This is why my opinion of those who are waiting for God to change their lives is an insult to themselves and to God. After all, at some point we leave our parents to create our own life. But we don’t leave our heavenly father to explore. We believe he runs our life. If he is out there, I believe he created you to figure it out and not live inside his boundary. Well, it’s a system just like incarceration. We need something to coral the weak. Its not an attack on God. It’s a sad feeling for those who use God to hide behind rather than experience our very own greatness.
These Normals, not impacted by some perils, may live in a sense of order and Denial all their lives. Denial is a word often associated with direct defiance. That’s not necessarily the case. Collectively, most of the Normal class will live their life in a safe zone. Take those who decorate in simplistic white and gray. Its so much safer than slapping a wild color on a wall.
And, so,, this book is directed to the Normals as well as those suffering from enough inner pain and longing for change.
Preface to our conditioning (this page was updated 11/15/2021)
After all my life’s experiences and all my research of understanding and self-evolution, the fact remains you are hearing this story through my life and human condition. These are my opinions based on my inner works and influences by a series of psychological, neurologists, spiritualists, and motivational speakers. All in all, its my conclusion. Each of us interprets what we read through our own filters. I found it is only through a personal awakening that we open ourselves up to possibilities we were unaware or otherwise called denial.
I think, you are reading this book for one of two reasons. Either in hopes of discovering a new you or to seek to learn more as a professional. If I keep your interest long enough, you will reach my biography and resources and make a decision of what I say makes sense or is no more useful than pitching it in the burn barrel. I must say, I’m the epitome of the amazing grace for the reach I was. To reiterate, I’ve been in discovery for 20 years and what keeps me going are the small but profound changes.
Metaphorically speaking, I remember thinking I was going to take a pill, read a few books, get three counseling sessions and make some profound and miraculous change. I learned changing years of influences and learning to manage DNA propensities takes work. However, good news. Like a mountain climber, entertainer or any other success story, the wonder of change involves patience, endurance, and the appreciation for the small improvements. The little positive changes were my fuel to persevere. I had to honor my special devotion to taking care of me. I had to accept the dissolution of old friendships and judges in my existing life. I had to be willing to walk away from those judges and accept the new loneliness my mission would bring. All this, for the sake of me. a large part of resolve was trading acceptance for judgment and resentment.
The largest hurdle I face is moving beyond my present belief system. Thoughts of I can’t, someday, if I only, they hate me, they judge me harshly and they don’t believe me. Why should they. I remember being in my own denial.
I had to be willing to explore beyond what I knew. That invokes fear. I had to step up from the many programs of recovery to the step beyond called discovery.
Imagine the feeling of happiness that comes from forgiveness of our worst demon. Imagine the feeling of having an active threat in your life and then for some reason they die. Whew!! I don’t have to live with that fear any more. That is what forgiveness can do for us. It frees us of the fear. Forgiveness takes relinquishing the power of resentment most of us are conditioned against. These profound acts open space in us for discovery to flow in. A reverend friend of mine never would have had himself jumping out of an airplane. His friends blindsided him into it. from there his boundary of self discovery widened , it invokes a new thought of “What else is out there”?
Discovery is a simple as taking a pottery class or joining a gym and committing to 3 months.
Growing up as a street boy in Cleveland, I never thought I would have come to this special point in my life. At 72 years old, I know there is still so much more. As long as I have control of my mind I refuse to settle in status quo. I’m worth more and like a gold Olympiad I will continue to seek the greater me.
I sat a hundred times to write this book asking myself why. The truth is, after 30 years of research and life changing experiences I decided it is to continue to free me of my inbred and learned behaviors. Why is it still hiding deep inside me after all my accomplishments? That led me to the science of Us. You can skip those chapters if it doesn’t interest you. However, if you dig into it, you may be going into a place of discovery you never thought possible.
After reading 10s of books, I came to actual awareness of my natural instinct to “Feel Good”. You might say, “It took all that time to figure that out”. There is much more that goes along with the desire to feel good. Learning the science of how our body and mind make subtle decisions to feel good can be flags for change. I subtlety sought the <Pat on the back>. What I did to others to achieve that “Pat” was unfortunate. Sometimes it was totally neglecting myself to serve a terrible cause. The fact is I vehemently advocate against falling victim to needing others to evaluate my inner self. Community is still good but not for dependency. Never confuse the specie’s need for community for self-esteem. Needing external validation was a human condition pumped into me. Rather, I was not taught to honor myself as much as I was taught to honor others. Let me be clear. Too much pat on my own back is a drug for ultra-ego. I was conditioned to seek the ‘ata boy by others. Our parents either invested time telling us how bad we were or how great we were. Or in my case, my parents were in survival mode and let me flagellate like a lose balloon in a room. I was left to sort out my own emotions. Coupled with my DNA mutations, I was all good as long as police didn’t knock on my parent’s door.
I grew up feeling I was judged negatively. In my case all the judgment came from me about myself. My drive of learning was not by esteem or ego. It was more by insecurity and seeking validation. If you accepted me, I was good. My parent’s participation was truly unintentional neglect. Succeeding is nice but depending on our level of esteem, our low self-esteem can keep us from being intellectually successful. Fearing the chaos of change often held me back.
Fear, another human instinct. Unlike that little Chiwawa dog that will bark fearlessly at a monster, I ran from fear of rejection for decades. I think my dad saw himself in me and felt sad. He let it be without training. Most other species are natural predators. They don’t think or feel the emotion of fear. Somewhere in all this life we need to find a balance that encourages us to chase, explore and discover our greater potential and given gifts. Some people are laid back and confuse finding their greater potential by standing on a soap box preaching to the quire. That is not the case or need. But if you are creative and let’s say draw, jump into it as a huge hobby. Or just start doodling. If it is your passion, the rest will come to you.
The base of that unknown is who we really are and the gifts we we’re meant to enjoy. I never liked a ball sport or rumbling with the gangs. Yet I’ve discovered level 6 white water rapids, skydiving, base jumping and more. This was all an individual experience. Discovery of the unknown is not easy. It’s scary but rewarding. Its also not easy because if its unknown we don’t know where to look.
You’re reading this because something in your reality is not synchronizing with your hopes, dreams or who you really are. Deep within us is a rumble of discovery. Sometimes yearning, sometimes sleeping due to defeat or the fear there of. I used to say, “that’s just not me” as a way of staying safe?
I learned chaos is where I discover as long as I’m willing to understand defeat is an experience and not an emotional identifier. Let me be clear about the word chaos because many see it as “Oh my, the sky is falling”. No, its only out of the light of extreme order. I feel comfortable while I’m experiencing order. Think about this; think if Edison always remained in a state of order. He may have never sought to discover electricity. If humans staid in order, we’d still be lighting our way with candles. You don’t need a ton of examples to know what I mean. I advocate to stop burning time haphazardly. Time, the one commodity that cannot be replaced. Get out of the syndrome of “I wish I was…” or “Someday I’m going to be”, or “I hope” or “Dream”. A friend said she was going to move to southern France. Now in her mid 60s she is still finding reason not to go. Replace all those limiting thoughts with “today is the day I’m going to discover more about me”. Take action. How? Understand the human condition and how you got here and how to escape it or at least manage it. Here is a simple way to take a chance. Think of a friend right now. Rather than texting them, call them. WOW.
Life sucked so much for me I had to escape the conditioning. But how? In many cases there is such potentiality within, yet we don’t know its there. Yes my friends, “we don’t know what we don’t know.” Our potential is in there. We need to find desire by discovery. Begin trying some of the dreams just to see how great they feel. If it doesn’t feel good, try another dream. How? Learn more of how to abolish the thought of, “I can’t because…..”. Don’t be like I was. I compensated my fear with alcohol. Although I have a propensity for the habit, it was my choice. I always did my best at everything I tried. That included Alcohol, Oreos and ice-cream. I will often refer to addictions of some sort. Here’s a thought; imagine all the people in the world who do not revert to these quick mood fixes. They are the judges we call normal people. Imagine how many of them live in their secluded world.
Order means we may stay in some pretentious being that blocks discovery. This is a huge misunderstanding with the God concept. We are taught to turn our life over to God as we understand him. News Flash!! If he did create you, it was not to have to continue to send you signs that you are famous. He created you famous and wants you to quit leaning on him for a sign. Religion; one more method of herding the weak. Just like jail is used to rehabilitate the wicked. Man has created these herding methods because we are too weak to take responsibility. I offer up some part time work to a homeless man. Last week, even in his dismay, he showed me a package passed to him by a health department off shoot. It was a package of a condom, snorting straw and cocaine cutter. This is our complacency. We say we can’t fix it so we feed it. Another weakness. We pass out needle exchanges to addicts.
We all like some sense of order. It’s a safe place to be. I wanted to change but didn’t know how. Most of my life I never gave it a thought. I lived in status quo because it was nonthreatening order. The truth is I was enraged inside. Ever wonder what programming really went on to those seemingly wonderful children with average families who end up going into school with an automatic rifle?
Reprograming our condition is much more difficult than wiping a computer hard drive of all the years of influence. The confusion is like a fog. None of it is perfectly clear except this life is too noisy. We continue to hang on to the noise searching for short cuts to feel good. Yet we subconsciously stay in the fog of lack of clarity. Some wait for some sign. Sometimes we call it “meant to be”. Other times we may compare ourself today with who we were. That is a great prophecy with one flaw. We may get complacent while feeling we are much better than our past. Simone Biles is breaking her records. Michael Phelps is breaking his own records. We often find order and don’t seek more discovery of ourselves. We live in a wish or dream we feel could never come true. When we see a rainbow in the sky, we see it as a good luck sign. News flash; the sign man Ain’t coming. A friend texted me to adorn the beautiful night sky God created. Was she saying that God added pollution particles into the atmosphere to altar the wavelengths of color our eyes see?
Hopefully, this is the day you decide you can no longer accept how you are treating yourself. I decided I was no longer going to work 80 hours for medium income like my dad. I did what I had to do within the honor system and became wealthy. I sure had some real defeats on the way up. They were experiences never to do that again. I continued to discover and did it again. People say I’ll never stay in absolute order. They are correct because I’m in everlasting discovery. Let’s see how this book does. No limits with me.
I honor you for making it this far. It is the next step of your freedom. I sat several times to launch my story. Each time, I wrote and rewrote. Each time I sat to express my thoughts; I fell into more research reflecting on how I became who I am. Its crazy how I fell into this pursuit by just continuing to turn over rocks of the unknown. The thing is, I continue to learn. By the way, the first book I ever read was a book while out at sea in the Navy.
Some resources are from humanistic psychologists and professionals like Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers. Others include behavior and neuroscientists like Bill Sullivan, Marc Lewis and W. Thomas Boyce. The list goes on. It includes young motivationalists who gave me a pep talk. If you think its too deep for you think again. I’m a guy with a short attention span. I’m a guy who barely thought of flying and became commercially rated. Retention for me is not easy. It took a little longer to achieve my commercial pilot’s license but I got it. You don’t have to know those guys I call rocket scientists. Although I found myself intrigued after never reading a book and getting into Cognitive Behavioral Training. I focus on the who I really am and eliminate all the stories I was conditioned to believe. I studied a different way of thinking and managing stress. Each phycological teacher and many others are resources confirming my thoughts from several platforms. You will read about addictions and their colliding theories, how we have been conditioned by our influencers to be controlled by humanistic beliefs. These are beliefs we use as an antidote to diminish chaos in our life. It is my belief alcoholism is dubbed a disease for many excuses. The collateral damage caused by the halfway recovery process is we learn to compare ourselves to our past and stop growing in our future. Growth solicits chaos. Chaos invites relapse. So, they say. It may be true unless the entire process is dealt with differently.
We believe we are happiest when compared to others or our earlier emotions. I’ll talk about pretentious personalities and how they hide and seem to protect our very own insecurities. The shame of it is, as humans we have more power to get closer to self-actualization than we are brave enough to put into play. Hopefully someone of you will scratch the surface of true awareness, enough to discover you can defy gravity. Then by living the real you, another will walk up to you and ask you how your arrived where you are. You’ll give a smirk on your face and remember your journey. As humans, we owe breaking the cycle to tomorrow’s children. My greater hope is you will find what I did. It’s a great adventure.
My bio comes later but to put me in perspective. I grew up a street boy from Cleveland. Low education, never encouraged to read. Wall flowers made it right through school. My DNA is plagued with negative propensities. I was 40 when I began my journey to awareness. It took devastating chaos. One of those devastating perils of life we call the big bang. I, like many humans opened my eyes to self. I’ve been into my self-development since. Knowledge is indeed power. It is also freedom. Technology makes it easy to learn and evolve. I use many mediums including reading, you tube and information from peers. Keep in mind, you are one of those who should treat yourself as you would want to be treated. If you are one of those “do gooders” to other than ask if it is time to do gooder for yourself. I fear most of us treat others better than ourselves. That’s another false unknown pretense. We go around helping others to help people. The truth is, it fires dopamine into our system. Now that’s a feel-good neurotransmitter. Some of us find some spiritual benefit. They say you get to heaven if you neglect yourself and love the world. What about yourself? I don’t have to be egocentric because I take care of myself. If you believe in God think about this. Would that all mighty creator want to devote your life neglecting all the gifts he gave you?
I lived in retreat and stagnation. My success was only the dream of “someday I’m going to” attitude. We live in fear of failure or limitation. Then one day, we face some unyielding peril that brings us to some sort of awakening. Then, after facing death or destruction we now see the light and will change our life. Unfortunately, after passing through the peril, our desire for “feel good” and order, wanes. It’s a common humanistic trait. There seems to be too much chaos in try, try, try.
Some of us fall into obsessions of pharma, food or some other vice that redirects our justification for not facing our fears. All in the name of feel good fast. That is another common humanistic trait.
I destroyed my life and the people around me. After studying human behavior and neuroscience as a 25-year science project, I thought I’d share some really good news. There’s hope for us. You may discover someone you never thought possible. Voila, with a little adaptation, We can fly. I proved it to myself.
From a street boy out of the east side of Cleveland to extravagant adventurous full of happiness, and peace. My past acquaintances may not believe some of my stories. Why should they? They are living in the typical human condition of judgment and order. They knew me as another human. Although I’m not of the God guy, there are a lot of logical sayings. One is ; Mark 6:4, ESV: "And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.”" So my family continues to judge me. They are trapped within themselves. They will swear they are not trapped but they are by denial. “They don’t know better”. It is easier to hold resentment rather than esteem for my accomplishments. Resentments, another humanistic trait to devoid from our mind.
Imagine the evolution before and after, electricity, communication technology and travel. Change continues. Are you ready to be part of it or a bystander? Remember, what you know for sure is you only have one shot at life. Don’t think working 80 hours each week is the answer. If you believe in hereafter, it should not limit your achievements in this life. Spirituality conditions us to treat others to another, we are one of those others. So why not treat ourselves like another.
To some degree, this is us. Many recovery step programs are great steppingstones. We seldom use the subsequent theory of Cognitive Behavioral Training to expand our interpretations. Another problem arises when a doctor prescribes anti-depressants without therapy. Without encouragement to re-discover the nucleus of us, we continue going in circles, living an average life. We continue to compare ourselves to others. I stopped comparing myself to superman and found him in me. We are taught to wait for signs. Often, the sign man doesn’t show up with the news. We cop out by saying, “it wasn’t meant to be”. Maybe what we need is a new pair of glasses.
One warning; when we learn how and who caused this mixed-up mess of a life we live, we become responsible to make the change. We learn forgiveness and accountability. It may weigh heavy on us but the end game feeling is one I can only share in a facial expression.
If you take this leap, the people around you may also awaken or begin the same superpower they are created to practice. Its contagious. Just don’t fall victim to the people of our past who don’t believe we changed. Have mercy on them for being stagnant.
I was a product of society’s misunderstanding. I didn’t know better and passed it on to my children. They may not agree because we won’t know what we don’t know until we plunge deep into the journey of self-discovery. It’s time to forgive yourself. The army slogan said it well, “Be all you can be”. We have to discover who we really are before we can change who we BE. There is a 13th step to recovery that is not often discussed. That is; Now that I have studied and practiced all 12 steps of any recovery program, I will move from recovery to discovery of my potential.
Come a long with me if you dare. Learn who’s to blame, how to forgive and who you can become and above all, Escape from the Human Condition.
Why you are who you are in a nutshell
We begin years and generations back with contributing factors to our genes and how our DNA is impacted. Just like the color of hair and eyes, propensities for personality traits are passed down to us.
The time we spend in your mother’s womb, gestation, is much more impactful than we may think or know. Sounds, emotions, and nutrition, are contributors to DNA development.
During childhood our brain grows and learns. This information pushes and pulls on our DNA. Think of our first words. They depend on what we hear.
Adolescence is a period we solidify what we think of ourselves and the world around us.
During primary adulthood we put into play our real thoughts of who we think we are or who we want to be. We learn to run the race of life and make decisions based on our previous influences. Many times, it’s a series of pretentious acts. Because of our esteem levels we may be encouraged to want power and glory through being Supermen, Snow Whites, or many others even though we are not those on the surface. How we enact thoughts powers is dependent on our influences. these are times we experiment with quick fix influences like drugs or excessive foods. We live lives for others. During this time, we may be redirected to rapid escapes to satisfy our instinct for power and feel good. Two words, validation, and esteem. All this time we are acting on the data fed to our mind which impacts our actions and decision making.
Then one day, if we are lucky, we crash without permanently hurting ourselves or others. This is called Rewind or awareness. Despite having heard the words, YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER, it finally rings with us. This is when we take on responsibility and accountability for being a human. We seek search and discover how to manage our true self. That is the loving sole we were born to be. This is the time the responsibility for faults and inner defects become ours. We begin to forgive and understand our past and so to speak, “pull up our boot straps” and work on change.
This is the beginning of freedom and love in our life.