"You don't have to think about doing the right thing. If you're for the right thing, then you do it without thinking."
~ Maya Angelou

December 30, 2011

Just Added

I just added Shelfari to the site (located to the right under The History).  For those not familiar with Shelfari (by amazon.com) http://www.shelfari.com/canyouhearme?WidgetId=201379/ it introduces readers to a global community of book lovers and encourages them to share their literary preferences and passions with peers, friends, and total strangers.  Many of the books that I have discussed in my posts, ones that I have gained much knowledge and insight from are now listed for you to view and possibly learn from.  If you double click where it says Shelfari it will pull up my entire book list and expose you to what the site has to offer. I will be updating this list as I continue to embrace the many opportunities to learn through the eyes of others, all of which will continue to help me help myself, while I strive to help others change for the better!

December 23, 2011

Always Learning

Isn't that we all strive for?  To learn so we can become all we deserve to be.  I am constantly learning, and like much of this process it comes when we find ourselves challenged, not defeated, but determined.  So, yesterday I had a meeting with a business consultant who is going to help and support me in my new business opportunity.  I came across this service after attending a career seminar at my Alma mater designed to help and leverage one' skills as they enter in to their own start up business.  One of the panel members at this seminar was the director of a local small business and development nonprofit geared towards providing services for those like myself. As I was exposed to the services offered and how they could assist me, I moved forward with it.  I know I can't do this alone and thus I welcome needed guidance and support as I see beneficial to what I am trying to accomplish.  With that being said, after my meeting last night something stuck with me that the gentleman (my consultant) helping me said.  It went like this "you have to always be thinking about money and how much you can make if you are going to be successful in business."  

Yeah, that's what I heard, in fact I had to explain to him that this statement was the complete opposite of the mindset I bring into the field of helping others change for the better.  You see as a social worker I don't do what I do with the idea of thinking about or making large amounts of money.  I do need to be compensated fairly for my time, expertise, and service, but the money is not the most important or constant on my mind and in my heart. A part of my identity as a helping professional was attacked and it made me feel uncomfortable.  However, I had to be objective in this matter as the person sharing this idea with me comes from a totally different school of thought, training, approach, etc.  Therefore, his ideology as it pertains to business may in fact be driven by dollars and cents and I need to understand such.  One thing I have come to understand in this process is their is much to be learned.  I am constantly being educated about a world (business) that I quite honestly didn't imagine seeing myself a part of.  I have a service and passion that I want to share and provide to others.  I couldn't find it or I didn't see it in the field I was a part of, and therefore I was motivated to go out on my own and do what I truly believe I can.  What I now know is that whether I like it or not I have to learn about the business side (to some extent) in order to achieve and sustain.  Another lesson learned, challenged but not defeated, determined.

Always learning...  I had to sort through this conflict I was facing as a result of being immersed into a culture and ideology that were as opposite to me as hot and cold. A culture that is often about $ and all that brings into this world of ours.  I have to check myself and not lose sight of my goals, realizing that I can choose to utilize certain parts of this business world, while still maintaining my own ideology as it pertains to providing service.  I am not going to be greedy in this venture, that is not and will not be happening.  So, I ask myself and anyone out there who has to follow a path that does not always look like a good one, is it worth the risk?  I want to wish all a very healthy and safe holiday season.  Take time to breathe amongst the visiting and giving,  and as always take special note to the quality of life that is of value.  The one that always has your back no matter where you may be, respect it and it will give you what you need!

December 20, 2011

3 Breaths And A Pause

What you say?  I hope you are well as we move into this time of the year, a period where giving hopefully comes from that place that is true, honest, and from the heart.  I am writing today with intention and clarity, my path is open and I find myself moving forward after being stuck for a few.  This is the beauty of being stuck, there is always the other side waiting, and as along as you continue to trust the process there is no reason you can not get there.

I just finished reading A Game Plan for Life- The Power of Mentoring by John Wooden, many lessons to be learned and shared.  His words reminded me very much so of one of my favorite mentors, my late grandfather.  There are several similarities in how they both approached life, treated others, and always modeled the right way without thinking.  The recipe is not too complex, in fact that is something that is continually reinforced in the book, don't try and make it to difficult, keep it simple and to the point and you will learn.  The greatest mentors are great teachers as well, they lead by example and always make themselves available to whomever crosses their path.  The learning that can be gained in life by our ability to mentor someone, as well as be mentored ourselves is truly one of life's greatest opportunities.  I know it is something that I highly value and much of the learning that I gravitate towards enhances this opportunity for myself.  For example, I have gained so much from reading many books about others life stories, their ability to overcome challenges, wisdom gained from experience, and much more. The learning and growth as a result has been so rewarding and insightful for me that in times of uncertainty and challenge I know I have the lessons and guidance to fall back on.  Mentoring is something that will be a strong influence in my writings, it is something that I will always practice in my professional role, and carry into my personal world as well.  Helping others help themselves is the gift that keeps on giving, and it is available for all, whether we see it or not, it is out there.

I had to remind myself of this over the last couple of weeks.  I believe this also influenced why I sought out John Wooden's book.  I needed to reinforce the many lessons I have gained along the way, while embracing some new and valuable ones learned through the eyes of one of the best.  A work in progress is what I am, and I will continually embrace the learning that awaits.  As much as we have the answers to many of our roadblocks in life, we can't do it on our own.  So, recognize where to turn, who to trust, and keep moving forward because nothing will work unless you do. Until we meet again, keep your head up, embrace where you are at, and love life so you can live it!

Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
John Wooden

December 15, 2011

It Is What It Is

It Is What It Is.  Ever heard that one before?  If so how would you interpret this statement?  Would it be a negative or positive statement?  The way I see it, often those words define the acceptance we have attached to a situation that may not change the way we expect it to.  Whether the situation is viewed as a negative or positive, one that caused one towards this action, the meaning is not always the same, but the outcome can be.  Confused or are you following me?  I am going somewhere with this one just grab my hand and I will explain.  The outcome is the fact that the situation has been accepted for what it is, whether you agree with it or not, it is what it is. I am speaking to this today because often we find ourselves trying to figure out something that just can't be.  This can be very frustrating for those who need an answer for every question asked, easier for those who embrace yet another learning opportunity. I know for myself I can accept much.  I strive to be objective in life, and see challenging moments as an opportunity to learn and understand (not only of myself) but of those I cross paths with. This mindset does make it easier to accept those moments that only cause an increase in one's pain and suffering, if you allow such.

As mentioned (in the last few posts) I have encountered a period of challenge and uncertainty.  The feelings associated with this came out of nowhere, I didn't expect it and I surely did not welcome it.   It has been frustrating to say the least because I have been working extremely hard for quite some time to be well, and have gained tremendous benefits as a result, and then...  It's been frustrating because I have been doing all the right things one needs to implement in order to move forward in a healthy way.  I know this is the way it goes and life does not always afford us what we expect or desire.  So, what do you do?  Where do you go from here?  It's very easy to fall back and accept defeat, or resort to unhealthy and negative coping mechanisms isn't it?  YES it is but I am not going to do that!  We can not expect the outcomes one needs to live a healthy existence if you succumb to a way that has only produced more negative than positive.  We must stay patient while trusting the process, this is the way has to be.  Why?  Because it is what it is and I accept that, can you?  I will get there and so will you.  Stay with me on this one, no matter how low you may feel it will get better, and it just may happen when you least expect it!  Until we meet again may this find you well.

December 12, 2011

A Work In Progress

This is a work in progress, a process of uncovering our natural openness, uncovering out natural intelligence and warmth.  I have discovered, just as my teachers always told me, that we already have what we need.  The wisdom, the strength, the confidence, the awakened heart and mind are always accessible, here, now, always.  We are just uncovering them.  We are rediscovering them.  We're not inventing them or importing them from somewhere else.  They're here.  That's why when we feel caught in darkness, suddenly the clouds can part.  Out of nowhere we cheer up or relax or experience the vastness of our minds.  No one else gives this to you.  People will support you and help you with teachings and practices, as they have supported and helped me, but you yourself experience your unlimited potential. 

 Pema Chodron
Taking The Leap

I am a work in progress, how about you?  When you embrace this intention, the opportunity to grow and move  forward is endless.  Life is the ultimate learning opportunity and challenges are gifts, always opportunities to learn.  May the beginning of this week start you on the right path, one that will move you forward!

December 8, 2011

When You Know You Just...

Hey...  For sometime now I have used writing as an opportunity to express and share with others, this is true.  However, I have also used this opportunity to help myself breathe easier along the way.   Writing is a wonderful tool to unlock and release what often just can't get out through the spoken word.  For the last several days I have found myself in a low state, something I know quite well.  I have my thoughts as to what is producing this state, and its not something that I am running from.  I am doing what is expected (exercise, counsel, reading, and writing ) and yet I can't seem to shake myself out of it.  So, what am to do?  Keep doing what I know is healthy for me?  Shutting down and reverting back to that way that is not healthy for me?  You see I can keep asking myself over and over what to do?  Maybe that's just it, stop asking!  It is very easy to get caught up in the process of trying to figure something out, when quite honestly you may not be able to...

I have written much about how I have been able to get through challenges and moments of uncertainty, and by doing so it has helped me in so many positive ways.  In turn I have used all these lessons and opportunities as a vehicle to help those who can hear me?  I'm not running from this state that I am in, I'm still fighting and doing all I can to stay present in the moment.  So, with that being said stay with me on this one and when you find yourself experiencing those moments that make you feel empty and void, remind yourself that this too shall pass.  When it does I am confident to say that another door will present itself and once again allow us to see that life is alright, its all good.  Thanks as always for allowing me to breathe, it helps, sure does.  Until we meet again be well!

December 5, 2011

Two Different Worlds

Hey out there, it is the beginning of another week and you know what that means?  An opportunity to learn from yesterday so that you can live today.  With that being said this is what has influenced my writing for today.  This past weekend provided me joy amongst challenge, all the while supporting that bond and commitment of what we know as friendship.  I had the wonderful opportunity to support and celebrate a dear friend this past weekend.  Someone who I admire and appreciate.  Someone who has been a positive addition to my circle over the last several years.  The escape and time away with this friend was a great thing, one that allowed the mind to slow down, the breath was easy, it was nice until...  As I was immersed into this world I received a call from another friend, it was not good news.

Isn't that the way it works sometimes, when you are up and feeling well, challenge can easily produce itself.  My other friend was minding his way outside of his home, early in the morning taking in the moment when he was approached.  It has happened many times in many at-risk environments that are susceptible to a pain and suffering that takes not gives, ultimately creating more suffering.  It was that quick for my friend, someone who I also hold close to my heart, someone who has supported me in times of need, someone who I try my best to be available and present for.  As I tried to sort out what had just transpired, I was caught with an opportunity.  I say opportunity because challenges are gifts, opportunities to learn.  You see, I was in one world celebrating a dear friend who I care for deeply, and then I get a call from another friend (who I care for deeply) living in a different world on the other side of the spectrum, in need.  It was a crazy instance, one that I had not experienced before.  I felt a variety of emotions all the while trying to keep cool, and not ruin or cause the moment to negatively change for the world that was celebrating. It was one of those moments where I had been informed something really troubling, at the same time I was in an environment that was in a positive and joyous state.  Two different worlds!

There was much to process and learn over the last few days...  I can say that no matter the specifics of what went down, the moment allowed me to move forward.  My availability to both parties did not once take me to a place of despair, if anything my strength and well being were front and center.  This is very meaningful for me and anyone out there who can relate.  These are the moments where you embrace that you can and are able to survive, while being available for those you hold close to your heart.  Life does not always give stability and predictability, and when the complete opposite transpires this is when you must be strong and stable.  I feel inspired by the ability to recognize and embrace this lesson.  This is the way it must be, no questions asked whatever you need.  I take pride that I was able to practice just this.  No matter how different these two worlds and friendships may appear, they are similar in many ways and I will do my best to be there for each one in times of celebration and challenge.  This is how it will go down if you have not recognized, life is made up by much, and the influences are many, and we can't often choose when those different worlds will collide.  Be strong out there, stand up and stay up!!!

December 2, 2011

Taking Notice

December here we are... As often it is hard to believe that we are ending another year, time goes no matter where we may be, it moves.  I have taken notice of this over the last several years.  I do what I can to make sure that my time is spent with purpose and action.  It may not always work out the way it was suppose to, but hey that's when some of the greatest learning opportunities come our way.  I recently was turned on to an author who I had not read in the past.  In fact he writes fiction works which is not a genre that I have spent much time with.  I am a nonfiction guy, memoirs, autobiographies, sociological studies, and the such.  I love to learn through the eyes of others through challenge, sacrifice, and ultimately the lessons learned when one overcomes.  You know how the saying  goes "if you don't like to read its because you haven't found the right books to read."  That would be very true in my experience.  I didn't find the right books well into my adulthood when I was immersed into my undergraduate studies in Sociology. Of course I read prior to this time but not to the point of digesting, understanding, and the true learning that comes through the written word and experience.

Let me get back to the author I mentioned above.  His name is Andy Andrews, some may know of him as he has many books out there.  I finished reading The Noticer over the Thanksgiving holiday and am now half way through another of his books The Traveler's Gift.  I recommend both of these books to anyone who sees themselves as a work in progress, embracing the lessons yet be learned, and the necessary reminder when we are just caught up and have lost sight of what is important in life.  They are both easy reads (think Mitch Albom' style and length of pages) but more importantly they will affect/effect you, short term or long term you will gain something. That is one of the wonderful gifts that reading can afford, and there is an abundance of it out there, whatever your choice may be.  I am much more prepared in life and understanding from the works that I have read.  I am thankful that I found the right books to read (for me),what I have learned as result gives me strength and hope, something I value.  I am averaging a book a month and since mid 2009 I have read 30 books, something I am proud of.

I have an update from my November 16 posting regarding my mentee.  Last night I met my mentee for the first time, and so our relationship has begun.  It was a great start and we were both able to get to know one another in a very informative and enlightening way.  I am confident to say that she will be a positive addition to the field of Social Work.  I could see it in her eyes, the passion in her words, and her availability to be supported and guided.  On that note it is time for me to leave, off to the Desert to celebrate a birthday for a dear friend (my brother from another mother). It should be a great weekend and I only wish the same for those that can hear me, no matter where you are or where you want to go, it's all good, embrace it!

About Author

Daniel Jacob, MSW  Email
Founder of Can You Hear Me?  External Field Instructor at University of Southern California School of Social Work MSW@USC.  Daniel has a Masters in Social Work (Families and Children Practice/School Social Work).  He is currently nearing the completion of the LCSW testing process.  More about the man behind the mission ⇢