Today I was reminded that occasionally I get a little too caught up in my projects helping others and end up neglecting my own personal health and well-being. I know that if I don't take care of myself FIRST then I won't have anything left to share with others later, possibly when they need my help the most. The reason I'm ill right now has everything to do with the mental fatigue I'm experiencing due to all of the stress I'm under to meet all these project deadlines. My immediate concern has to be addressing this mental/physical imbalance I've created as a result of that stress. Some extra rest, quiet contemplation/mediation and a refocus of my positive intentions (inward) will undoubtedly improve the situation of my health and I'm certain that this added self-lovin can go a very long way toward helping me to achieve both my short and long term goals. However, I need to be a bit more proactive in the future in order to avoid a reoccurrence and that's the difference that I really need to make.
"What do you value most in your relationships with others?"
Love and Loyalty are the two qualities that I seek out in any relationship I choose to cultivate, and I think that's how it's always been for me. Unfortunately, I spent most of my life giving my love and loyalty to people who not only didn't reciprocate it but also definitely didn't deserve it. Admittedly, I'm equally as guilty of treating others just as callously by withholding my love and loyalty from those who genuinely did deserve it. Yet all that heartache and disappointment wasn't entirely in vain for those experiences are what have allowed me to truly appreciate the abundance of love and loyalty that I now share with so many people in my life. ALL of my relationships today are much more deep and meaningful than I ever thought possible because of my damaged and complicated past.
"What works for you when you are successful at making changes?"
The more quickly I can see or perceive positive results the more motivated I am to stay on course and keep pressing onward toward my goal. The true challenge arises when the results are not immediately evident but must instead be anticipated at some distant point in the future. Self doubt and impatience can begin to creep in and threaten to sabotage the change before it's had a chance to take root and bare fruit. Somewhat strangely, the length of my prison term has dramatically altered my perception of time, and as a result, granted me the ability to better envision what the future might hold once certain changes are finally implemented. My ability to remain objective about the future has allowed me to foresee all the positive aspects of most changes before they take place and predetermine how they might positively impact my life. That objectivity has served me very well thus far.
Occasionally I'll get stuck in one of my routines and not be able to brake myself out of it, even though I know I should let it go and move on. The reason is that once I commit myself to any routine, whether it has to do with nutrition, physical fitness, work schedule, etc., I'm become fully devoted to attaining my goal and feel like if I break that routine I'm somehow giving up on my goal...even when I'm not actually "giving up" but simply changing course. It's not rational, and I realize this, but it's still difficult for me to overcome that reluctance. I find myself stuck in that old routine until I can convince myself that it's absolutely necessary to change. And that's something that I know I need to keep working on if I want to make my life more productive and efficient.
"How do you deal with disappointment or failure?"
My last big disappointment arrived in the mail...it was a letter from the United States Supreme Court back in 2005 denying my final appeal. I carried the letter up to my cell, placed a towel over the window in my cell door, and proceeded to unleash 5 years worth of anger and frustration that had been pent up inside me. It only lasted about 10 minutes and once I had tired myself out I became very calm...followed by a moment of complete clarity. I knew in that moment that I had arrived at a crossroads in my life and had a very serious decision to make about which path I was going to take. For years I had allowed my negative emotions to motivate me, and I knew that if I allowed that negativity to continue to drive me I would eventually be consumed by it and lose everything that I still cared about. Instead, I chose the uncertain path of "Hope" with no idea of where it might lead me. That day, alone in my cell, I chose to live and that's precisely why I'm able to sit here and write this today.
"How are you about doing what you say you'll do?"
Whenever I commit myself to something I'll do whatever is necessary to see it through to completion. It hasn't always been that way but that's how I am today and I'm proud to say that people now know they can depend on me. The only problem that I occasionally encounter is completing all of my goals/commitments as quickly as I would like. You would think that I have all the time in the world considering that I'm in prison but the reality is that the structure of this environment, with the emphasis being on security, leads to an incredibly inefficient expenditure of time each day. I do my best to maximize the time that is afforded to me but I know that I could do much more/better with only a little more liberty. So the trick becomes knowing when to say "no" and committing to too much. As long as I keep from spreading myself to thin then I know I'll always be able to keep my commitments AND complete them according to the schedule I've set despite the many expected, and unexpected, interruptions that are commonplace.