Positive Energy (A Sequel)

Ice_Climber

Are you an energy enhancer or are you an energy drainer? (I first wrote about this in my 3/17/13 blog.  Since then, I have continued to wrestle with the concept.) Are people happy to see you coming or do they go out of their way to avoid you?  The answers to those questions might reside in the critical question: what do you bring to the party?

I can clearly remember the first time I started to wrestle with the questions of energy enhancement.

I had just encountered a friend at the grocery store. It started as a classic encounter: ‘hi, how you doing’ ‘fine’, ‘how are you?’ ‘life sucks’ and a litany of grey sky perspective poured forth.  It felt like I was encountering Eeyore from Winnie-the Pooh.  The only difference, this Eeyore was in front of me and his personal gloom was on steroids.  I came away from that encounter with a new commitment.  From then on, I committed to seek out and engage energy enhancers.  To this day, given a choice, I will always choose to be with those whose energy is contagious.

That raises the important question: what ingredients do all energy enhancers have in common?

I believe that there are three critical ingredients that a person must have if they are going to be an energy enhancer.

One: energy enhancers are comfortable in their own skin.  They like themselves and they are be committed to being themselves.  Liking yourself is not a narcissistic type of self absorption.  It is a healthy self love/appreciation that develops out of true humility. This is a humility that is based upon who we are and it is girded with an understanding of who we are not.  Therefore, it is an understanding that we are made in the image of God and we are very unique and special in His eyes.  Understanding and appreciating that we are God’s unique creation will, hopefully, fuel our commitment to be 100% authentic.  What you see is what you get.  That sort of authentic humility is profoundly contagious and very empowering.

Second: energy enhancers are excited about their own personal mission and vision.  People that have spent time wrestling with the big question of meaning and purpose, have (quite often) been drawn to the process of discovering why God has put them on the face of the earth and why they have been given the gifts that they have.  This discovery of personal mission & gifting, provides a reason to get out of bed and it provides energy to focus the hours in the day.   Focused, passionate intensity is the empowering gift that comes with knowing the reason for our being, why we are here and where we are going.

Third: energy enhancers choose to live in the present moment.  The drain that comes from yesterday’s memories or the anticipation of tomorrow’s opportunities/challenges distracts us from being all here, right now.  When we can be totally present to the present moment, then we can feel and appreciate all that is happening and we can engage with passion and intensity.  Life is designed to be a contact sport that is lived most vibrantly in contact with the present moment.

Today’s question: are you an energy enhancer or an energy drainer?  Are people excited to see you coming?  What do you bring to the party? Are you bringing it, right now, with an attitude of joy & thankfulness!

May our lives, this day, be a hallelujah from head to toe!

 

 

The Canyon

gg-russ

The horses were up ahead.  They were carrying the rafts and all of the large gear that we would need to float down the Gunnison Gorge.  We were carrying all of our personal camping gear: clothes, tent, sleeping bag and the critical fly fishing equipment.  Everything was tucked into monstrous dry bags that were suspended from our shoulders.  Dry bags are wonderful on the river but they are not quite ideal for a day hike, yet this is the only way into the canyon and this is where the adventure begins.

Actually, the adventure started many months before when we first thought about floating and fishing the Gunnison River.  This section of the Gunnison River is known (Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die) by fishermen all over the USA and it had captured our imagination.  Our good friends, Judy & Don, quickly agreed to come along.  At that point, we knew we would have a grand time.

The first day of our three day trip found us hiking into the river, loading boats and heading off to experience a wonderful afternoon of fishing.  This canyon, like other river canyons, is incredibly beautiful.  A big part of its beauty is wrapped up in the fact that it is so remote.  At any given point in the day, it is easy to imagine that you are the first person to ever see these rock walls or experience the river’s current.  In a place so remote and so beautiful, it is easier to see God’s handiwork and to reflect with a sense of humble awe.

Two days later, sitting on the bank of the river, I realized that I had adapted to a new rhythm.  It was a rhythm that I knew from other camping trips.  It was the rhythm of beauty and simplicity.  Getting up and going to bed when you are in the wilds is quite simple.  A tent, a sleeping bag, level ground & a sleeping pad….quite basic but amazingly comfortable.  Clothes…quite simple, the same as yesterday.  Technology does not invade the moment. It does not work.  Therefore, I could easily sit and reflect on this journey called life.  The beauty & solitude of the canyon was a balm to my hurried soul.

What things would I be taking with me as we leave the canyon?  I love the simplicity of the out of doors.  My life is too cluttered with all that I have and all that I do.  There is a richness of life that comes with the simplicity of the present moment.   I think it comes as I learn to say ‘no’….so that I might selectively say ‘yes’.

I love the different ways that God reveals himself in nature.  As I sit in beautiful places I find myself echoing the words of the Psalmist:

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? Yet, you made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”

Lord, this day I say thank you!  This day, I say ‘yes’ to you!

Gusteaux

imageThis is the newest member of the family.  His name is Gusteaux (Gusto).  He is a nine week old,  cane corso (More info HERE), also known as an Italian Mastiff.  He might be the best dog we have ever enjoyed.  Time will tell.  He has only been a part of the family for four days.

As I reflect upon my journey through life, it seems that there has always been a unique canine present and for that I am thankful.  And so, as we start another leg of that journey, I find myself asking….what is it about dogs?

Joy is the first response that settles into my conscience.  Every dog that has been a part of the family has brought great joy to our family.  What is it about a dog that brings such joy?  In part, I think it is because a dog does a great job of being a dog.  They never try to be anything but who they are.  Therefore, a dog embodies  authenticity.  I am convinced that when we dare to be authentic we experience and we embody great joy!

Also, a dog does a wonderful job of embodying unconditional love.  It seems like dogs are always excited to see me.  They do not seem to care what I am wearing or what I am doing…they just always want to be with me.  Even if I am late in getting them their meal or I am grumpy about what went on at work or I am not considerate of their presence, they always seem to be excited to see me. This is different from most of my other relationships.  Oh, others might talk about unconditional love, but I can sense when they are upset with me and I can tell you how I have let them down.  I have learned, in most relationships there are conditions (rarely spoken, often implied) and things go well when I live up to those conditions.

This is interesting because the Bible talks about unconditional love.  I am a fan of the concept of unconditional love….I am an advocate for unconditional love in a hurting world.  Yet, when I look around and try to identify present day examples of this love….I do not see very many genuine examples.

I am also aware that I am not very good at this thing called unconditional love. Unfortunately, I also love conditionally. It is easier for me to love, when I have received love.

Maybe there is a critical formula which exists in the canine model.  Maybe, I am uniquely called to be me. In being authentically me, maybe I can reflect the joy of who it is that God designed me to be.  Out of that place of authentic certainty & security, I might discover the ability to love unconditionally.  I might be able to embody the fact that I love because He has profoundly loved me.  My prayer for you and for me….that we might live life with empowered authenticity.  That we might love with unconditionality.  That we might experience and give with great Gusteaux!