"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

March 28, 2012

Like Runnin A Marathon

A good friend of mine recently ran another marathon (yeah he is one dedicated and disciplined man).  Over the years I have admired and supported his efforts.  I live close by to the route (mile 7 to be exact) and to be able to cheer him on, while being connected to my community has been a wonderful experience, it teaches and reaches me.  Therefore, today's writing is inspired by this 26.2 act and the metaphor it represents for many of us, including myself.  Life as we know is a task, at times a challenge, one that provides us with many opportunities to improve and accomplish.  In a marathon you need to train for it, compete in it, and ultimately you will cross the finish line. There may be moments when you throw your hands up in the air "can't go on anymore" you've hit the wall.  In life we hit the wall from time to time don't we?  I know for myself that there have been many moments where I felt that I just couldn't do it.  However, I didn't give in or up, I rose up and challenged myself to move forward.  I've been running a marathon for quite some time, and I have hit the wall from time to time, but within these experiences I have moved closer to that line, one that leads all of us to opportunities and outcomes.  In fact today I had one of those opportunities...

I've been working really hard for the last several years, knocking down some walls, seeing through some space, not looking for answers but trusting the process.  Turns out the process led to an opening and that is exactly what can and does inspire, motivating one to keep on going.  Effort, persistence, and resiliency rewarded me in a manner that allowed me to break through the wall.  All the training, dedication, discipline, that goes in to changing for the better has renewed my belief that everything has and will work itself out.  Many say that running a marathon is so much of the mental process that goes in to the actual act, believing that you can, and will.  Sound familiar?  Yeah, that is in our power to believe that we will, and can get through anything.  If you want it, believe you can, and are willing to commit to it, well then! This is exactly what is needed to accomplish that 26.2, life is like running a marathon.  For all those that can hear me, don't stop believing in you, don't give up when it it feels like there is no opening.  Don't allow yourself to learn helpless ways, embrace where you are at and take action to change the quality of you.  Until we meet again you be well to yourself and hold on to the idea that you will get there, it's always possible!

"Take the first step in faith.  You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

March 23, 2012

When You Forgive You Live - Part 2

I came across a video today (its posted on our facebook page: www.facebook.com/DJcanyouhearme) that inspired me to write about forgiveness one more time.  Today's post is a little different than the post written back in November 2011 (with the same title) in content, but the outcome that I want you to embrace when one forgives is much the same.  Some say that when you forgive you allow yourself to let go of the unnecessary pain and suffering you've been holding on to.  By doing so you give yourself a better opportunity to move forward in a healthy and positive way.  Some say that when you embrace forgiveness, your way of life will change a part of your lens, and you won't walk through life the same, only better.  Well, depending upon your own experience with forgiveness I would only hope that you are able to understand this, and if not I only hope that you will someday allow yourself to get there.  Whatever it may be that one can hold on to, it is only causing more harm than not.  I hear you, can't seem to let go of what you associate with the cause of your pain and suffering, you keep telling yourself  "I've been done wrong!" We must recognize that the only one that is truly suffering as a result is ourselves. It's very important to hear those words "the only one that truly suffers is ourselves."  The root or cause of your pain does not suffer anymore or less when you hold on to it, and this is where your focus must be.  Do I want to move forward in a healthy manner, with positive outcomes and opportunities in the future?  Or, do I want to continue to suffer, and most likely create a direct course for negative outcomes and challenges along the way?

I write today about forgiveness because I am a recipient of the world that awaits when you forgive.  I am also the recipient of someone who has lived through the struggle to understand how to, why I should, and all that goes in to the obstacles and barriers that we can create for ourselves in the process.  However, when I did the work, had the courage to embrace what I could not change, I was able to understand and open the door.  I was able to begin the process of forgiveness, and it is a process as I believe that the road to and through forgiveness takes time, there are stages, it evolves as you do...  So, to all those that can hear me, if you are tired of the pain and suffering that you continue to endure, what would be the best option for you?  I know, I know, "you don't get it, it is not that easy."  Let me say it is more difficult when we make it more difficult by often creating the worst possible outcome, which is nothing more than one setting themselves up to fail because of ones own fear.  The reality often is more relief and acceptance, versus the discomfort or pain you may have always imagined being the case.  I'm talking from the heart here, but more importantly I am talking from the understanding and experience that imprisoned me in such a detrimental way, until, until I was able to forgive, that is when I was able to live!  You be well out there, be strong, stand up, and stay up!!!

March 20, 2012

Keep That Head Up!

This is the way it goes, and when we create the belief that we will get through the "whatever" that has us challenged, we can begin to see the possibilities.  I have learned this lesson through out the course of my days and I will continue to, so on this day may I say to all of those who can hear me, Keep That Head Up!

March 15, 2012

How Do You Deal With It?

Life is a ride and when you least want it to, often it takes you into a neighborhood that you really don't want to be in, so what do you do?  I'm not really talking about a trip in the car, but using a metaphor to help you relate to and identify with those times in your life that have you down.  We all have those moments when we are hard on ourselves, things are not working out as we hoped, and even when everything on the outside appears good and well, you still feel the funk and just can't break away from it.  I came across an article today that outlined some helpful strategies that one can benefit from when needed, and I wanted to share it with you: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/stop-feeling-depressed/

While these suggestions from the article won’t eliminate your problems all at once, they can help you break a negative thought pattern and if so stop feeling depressed.  Now, if you think you might have a serious mental health problem and nothing is working to change your state, don’t hesitate to see a professional.  This is a really important lesson! We have to trust the professionals, believe me on this one and don't let your pride or stubbornness get in the way!  Remember, changing for the better is the hardest work out there, we can't do it alone.  That's all I have at this time but before I leave you let me say this.  Stay present, stay patient, appreciate what you have and don't get too caught up on what you don't have.  Be mindful and thankful for the life in front of you, all the rest will work itself out. It's all good!!!

March 8, 2012

Pain & Pleasure

"The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you.  If you do that, you're in control of your life.  If you don't, life controls you."
Anthony Robbins

Good day to all!  I hope you are breathing well, or as well as you can as you move through the week.  I write today with purpose and another opportunity to share what I have learned so those that Can Hear Me can move with me and forward.  So, that quote above in bold is from the one and only Anthony "Tony" Robbins ever heard of him?  Sure you have and perhaps like myself if you really didn't have much of a reference point other than his infomercials and public perception, you may have thought of Mr. Robbins as a little bit of a gimmick, maybe a little short of a cult following or evangelical preacher type ready to jump at you and through you so he can help heal your pain and suffering.  Well, I will own up and say I was wrong about what I thought and it took another lesson to learn through the eyes of another, understanding their story, their past that shaped and influenced their choices, decisions, and opportunities to show me how Mr. Robbins came to having such a powerful platform and following.  I have to thank Oprah for the introduction, yup the icon herself has put together a new show called "Next Chapter" where she goes behind the scenes to bring us the real deal about public figures that often we form public opinions based on hear say or media portrayals, not always fact.  As I watched her show on Tony Robbins I began to understand him better, and the amount of effort, sacrifice, studying, and much more he has put into his craft.  I was intrigued enough to start reading one of his books (Awaken the Giant Within you can see more about this book on my shelfari shelf to the right) and I found that what he is speaking to made sense, I could relate to what he was saying and understood how it could be applied to actual life experiences.

The quote above resonated and I wanted to share this.  However, I feel we must remember that success is not necessarily defined by the $ amount.  Success is really having the opportunity to overcome the obstacles that have held one back, causing undue pain and suffering.  The ability and opportunity to take control of your life in a positive manner, that's real success.  I am only 100 pages into the book and although it was written 20 years ago and much in the world (that Mr. Robbins talks about) has changed, I am finding it to be another learning opportunity to see through the eyes of another.  It has allowed me to break away from a perception about the author that I was wrong about, and can honestly own up to.  When you recognize that and there is an opportunity to grow, learn, and move forward, well then that is not a bad thing!  So, if you are interested and consider yourself to be a work in progress you may want to do a little fact finding of your own and check out one of  Anthony "Tony" Robbins works.  Before I finish up let me leave you with some more words on the pain/pleasure concept per Mr. Robbins and straight from the pages of Awaken the Giant Within:
"It's not actual pain that drives us, but our fear that something will lead to pain.  And its not actual pleasure that drives us, but our belief- our sense of certainty- that somehow taking a certain action will lead to pleasure.  Were not driven by reality, but by our perception of reality!"

I write almost everyday in a journal.  It's something that I have picked up over the last few and it helps me breathe easier when at times its real hard.  Having the opportunity to write in this forum allows for the same outcome, but now I am able to share with others who I can support, empower, and only help move a little closer to living the quality of life that they deserve to have.  A life that that will always allow one to learn from yesterday, so that they can live today.  Until we meet again may this find all those that Can Hear Me in a wonderful way, remember its all good, and even when it may feel otherwise, its still all good!!!

March 1, 2012

Breaking Open...

by Daniel Jacob, MSW: Founder of Can You Hear Me?

Been a few since I last put down some words of hope, strength, and at the end of the day progress.  I find myself reflecting back to a period in my adult life that challenged me in a way that I had never experienced before.  Three years (to the date of this writing) have passed since I began a path that has me recovered in a manner that has changed the quality of my life in so many positive ways!  I have written and shared along the way in previous posts but today I feel its appropriate to share a part of me that has stayed mostly private, but not anymore as I have embraced the vulnerability that has moved me towards change, for the better!

The reflection takes me back to my job working away as a school social worker (you can refer to At The Crossroads posted last year to see where I was at during this period in my life) it was a typical work week, nothing too demanding other than the demands the job always provided.  I finished my week earlier than usual (on a Thursday) off to catch a plane (a red eye) to NYC for a family celebration, set to return to Los Angeles on Sunday, back to work on Monday.  New York represented some defining moments for me.  It was the place that I escaped to from an abusive period (physical and emotional) when I was a teen.  It represented a reconciliation with my father who over the years was distant and absent, and our relationship as a result wasn't much of one.  It represented getting to know a brother and sister who shared the same blood, but not much else due to distance, age differences, and my disconnect from that family system.  It also represented me traveling back in time (in my mind) reliving all that transpired up and to this point.  I wasn’t fearful or nervous about going, I was excited to go.  By this time in my life I had done some serious self work and had evolved into a healthy well adjusted man.  I was all about creating positive new memories with my family and my wife. However, when you time travel and reflect on some moments that challenged you to your knees, remembering what it took to overcome them, there is an energy that takes its own course of action, in this case it was intense and powerful!

What I didn’t see coming was 6 days of no sleep, a trip to the psych ER for a 5150 (code for a 72 hour psychiatric hold) assessment (and because of my training and insight I talked my way out of staying, not trying to be a hero, I just didn't want to stay), several days of the most extreme anxiety that I had ever experienced (the kind where you can not physically move) at my  house, a return back to the hospital for a 6 day stay followed by a discharge and then a return back 2 days later for a 24 hour stay in an emergency room bed!  This all began February of 2009 and the road back has been a path that has tested me beyond measure, but I made it through and as I have always done through out the course of my life, I fought and I moved forward!  Sometimes the unknown has its way of showing itself when it wants to, not when you do.  What happened to me happened because it needed to, and I was ready to work with it, cope, and begin to peel back the layers.  By addressing and understanding a past (that exposed me to transformative pain and suffering) in a manner that I never expected, it created a new part of me. 

The experience itself was intense and I will never forget what transpired, but by breaking open I was able to make some positive choices and decisions that have truly changed the quality of my life for the better.  One of the biggest was resigning from my job and committing to a new job, getting healthy and well.  You see, you can’t put a date or time on your wellness.  To be well you must commit to every day for the rest of your days.  The hardest work out there is changing for the better; it takes a tremendous amount effort, sacrifice, risk, discipline and much more.  However, when you commit to your well being you are able to see and feel many wonderful positive outcomes.  I am so strong, so empowered, and so aware of how to manage my well being these days, and it took this experience (and many moments prior) to show me the way.  What you have read is obviously the abbreviated version, and there is much more that can be shared.  Perhaps you can now see how my “Breaking Point” greatly influenced my decision to go out on my own (professionally) and share a part of me via my experiences, all of which are fundamental to what I bring into Can You Hear Me?

For all those that have and will fall down along the way, it’s going to be okay.  Yes, we helping professionals all have a story, something influenced our decision to help those in need.  When we suffer professionally it exacerbates the unresolved pain, trauma, and suffering that we carry within us.  We can not do justice out there if we are unable to help ourselves.  If you're willing to do the work while trusting your providers, you will see a change that will translate into opportunity that you deserve. We all fall, it's only a matter of how you get up, that’s when you learn, grow, and move forward.  So, stay strong, stand up and stay up, and as always may this find you well!

 About Author

Daniel Jacob, MSW
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 as he continues to work towards progress!  More about the man behind the mission⇢