My Life – Above Ground

Perspective – Part II
June 26, 2008, 4:48 am
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Ok – I just haven’t been able to shake this thought of needing to gain a different perspective… so, I did some more thinking about my current situation.  Here’s a few thoughts that come to mind:

Being an American citizen in America, I live very comfortably and have the unimpeded right to move around my city, state and country at will.  I make a comfortable living and can buy any type or brand of food, utilities and numerous different types of entertainment… all pretty much on-demand.  I have the resources and availability to obtain world-class health and dental care – again, on-demand.  Comparatively speaking, I have exceptionally clean water piped directly to my home – providing me the ability to bath, drink, wash dishes & clothes and even feed my lawn… once again, on-demand.  I have local, state and national policing agents (local police, sheriffs, state patrol, military, etc.) who look after my well-being and protect me… and I even have substantial rights to dispute them when I “feel” like I’ve been unjustly accused.  My kids have the right to a FREE education.  I can speak and/or write my opinions to whomever I want – without the fear of retribution or retaliatory actions.   I have a very nice life.

Now I normally don’t like to compare myself to others, as I believe it creates a very negative result – but for purposes like this, I like to compare my situation to others – all under the guise of gaining a different perspective.  More from a curiosity perspective than anything else.  How do other people live?  What comprises their daily experience? 

And when I attempt to answer those two simple questions – using the entire world as my subject – it quickly produces strong and deep feelings of humility and gratitude.  And while there are endless examples of different situations from around the world, here’s just one that I heard in the news today:

– In Zimbabwe, there is currently an approximate 85% unemployment rate.  The majority of those living in the country don’t have any type of food to eat on a normal basis.  The controlling political party is reknowned for actually killing those who oppose their belief system – leaving no abilities for freedom of speech or religion.  In one day alone, more than 300 Zimbabwians left the country to seek refugee status in neighboring South Africa.  There is little to no health care, let alone dental care – nor do many have the resources to pay for it. 

… and this is only a drop in a very large bucket.

First, I must say that I’m not placing judgment against anyone in Zimbabwe, or singling them out for any purpose other than for my own personal comparison.   Just comparing a Zimbabwian citizen’s daily experience with my own. 

So, here’s my concluding questions – what does a Zimbabwian father/husband/friend do when he wakes up in the morning?  What does he think when he falls asleep at night?  When he looks into his kids’ hungry eyes, what thoughts & emotions run through his mind & spirit? How does he feel when he doesn’t have the resources or availability to obtain healthcare for his kids and wife?   

The two of us live in two very different worlds. 

I can tell you though, that looking through his eyes does more for me than I can write about here, or express in any medium for that matter.  It’s a priceless gift for me… for more reasons than you can imagine.

Gratitude and humility… that’s all I can say. 




The World Is Just Awesome
June 21, 2008, 2:06 am
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Speaks for itself…


It’s Father’s Day… Cheers!
June 13, 2008, 2:22 pm
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My dad & I had a bit of a weekly ritual when I was a teenager.  We religiously watched Cheers every Thursday night together.  It was my favorite TV show back in the 80s.  The theme song is one in which everyone can relate.  The characters seemed to be perfectly cast.  The writing was incomparable.  The final episode was one of the best in TV history.   In fact it’s often placed against MASH as the best TV series ever. 

Don’t know about you, but I enjoy watching movies and TV shows with other people – if for no other reason than to see and hear their reactions; it’s more enjoyable that way – at least for me. 

So, as I think back to all of the great memories I’ve had with my dad, this weekly ritual rises near the top of those memories.  As the theme song relays: 

“Making your way in the world today takes everything you got.  Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.  Wouldn’t you like to get away?  Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.  You want to be where you can see that the troubles are all the same… you want to go where everybody knows your name.” 

I guess in some strange way, watching this with my dad helped us relate to each other where we “took a break from all our worries” and enjoyed the time together.   So, in honor of this memory, I’ve placed some of my favorite clips from the show below.  And thanks, Dad, for laughing at this with me – it’s not a memory that I will soon forget.

The Kelly Song.

Running With Scissors.

Rat Girl.

I’m OK, You’re Defective.

Man vs. Wild (and Himself)
June 7, 2008, 1:48 pm
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I’ve always been a bit of an adventure enthusiast at heart – having had a chance myself to experience a handful of experiences in the wild (on land and sea).  This in mind, I’ve been a big fan of Man vs. Wild (or Born Survivor if you’re in Europe) since it started screening a few years ago.  It’s become a favorite Friday night event in our almost all-boy household.  My sons and I camp out in the family room and watch two or three episodes before falling asleep in our sub-zero sleeping bags – wishing we could be experiencing the same things.   In fact, Cody & I have talked at length about going on similar adventures when he gets a bit older; something I can’t wait for. 

I’m inspired by the types of places where Bear is willing to go and the unbelievable things he does to survive.  The most inspiring aspect of his survival lessons for me though is the victory that he has over his own mind.  It’s such a phenomenal learning lesson for all of us.  And it’s something that can be applied to anything and everything in life.  You don’t have to be a survivalist to apply it.  Having victory over your negativity, lack of confidence, lack of self-esteem, fear and the little devil that sits on all of our shoulders who constantly rationalizes to us why we can’t do something that’s right and why we must do something that we know is wrong.  Everyone could use help with this. 

So, to Bear, I say thank you – thanks for showing us – through your own suffering & honesty – how to overcome and survive.  Because no matter where you are, it is a jungle out there — and we all need to find ways to survive it and succeed.  

No matter how challenging your situaton might be and/or seem, having victory over it will help you grow – and will undoubtedly help others in your life find the strength to keep going… to keep moving forward.

To put it in perspective, here’s a quote from Bear:  “I look at it like this: I expect to work for 24 hours of every day, until my eyes bleed with fatigue. Anything less than this is then a bonus!”

With that type of an attitude, how can you fail?

Bear Grylls after having a Yak for a meal in sub-zero Siberia. 

Slippin’ Into Summer
June 1, 2008, 12:15 am
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These pictures kind of speak for themselves…