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Friday, January 17, 2014

Progress

When we are little kids we get so excited about the teenie tiny-est amount of progress.  Simple things like crawling, going pee pee in the potty, and taking a few unsupported steps are huge milestones, major progress and all out causes for celebration.

Then, then… we get older. Unfortunately as we age the joy in the small steps of progress fades.  What replaces it is an expectation, an expectation that we can just show up, put in minimal effort, and expect maximal return.  The expectation is like showing up to run a marathon, expecting to do it in 2 1/2 hours, but you have only run one 5k race to train for the marathon.  9.99999 times out of 10 you are going to fall short of this expectation.

This inevitably creates a problem…

We have become a I want it and I want it now culture.  When we do not get what we want, rather than stepping back and asking ourselves the tough questions: "what could I have done differently?  What do I need to do differently to become successful?  How can I make this happen?" we instead label this unrealized expectation as "failure," and chalk it up as "one more reason why I can't _____ (fill in the blank.)"

I often think what could we all accomplish, how much more successful, happy, fulfilled, could we all become if we had held onto that slow and steady wins the race mantra we had when we were little kids.  How could we ever fail as adults if we celebrated the itsy bitsy progress like we did when we were kids?

The reason this has been on my mind is because for the last 6 weeks I, as many of you know, have been mourning the unexpected death of my best friend.  I had a friend ask me the other day "how was I doing with everything?"  I stopped and thought about this question…

You see there was a small part of me that wanted to answer: "shitty," and make my response all about my loss.  I stopped myself because I realized that if I answered this way then I would be discounting all of the progress I have made over the last six weeks.

Instead I finally spoke up and said, "honestly I am doing great."

My friend looked a little flabbergasted at my response.  His expression said "how can you be doing great already?"  So I shared with him the following:

I believe all human beings are made up of multiple "parts."  These parts come in the forms of personalities, needs, wants, thoughts, hopes, dreams, fears, talents, passions, etc... If I separate my life into two parts right now: Part 1 is Jesse not focusing on the loss.  This Jesse is doing really great.  He is happy, he is healthy, he is making a difference in the lives of others.  This Jesse feels he is living his life on purpose and is motivated to empower others to do the same.

Part 2 is also Jesse, but it is Jesse when he is focusing on the loss of a very special friend.  This Jesse is sad, he misses his friend, he cries when he recalls certain memories, he hurts when he, out of habit, picks up his phone to call his friend to share something that happened today.

Both parts make up of the whole of who I am and my current reality.

I believe, in some cases, there is an unconscious expectation that when one has experienced a tragedy, that the person allows the tragedy to dictate how they think, feel, and act.  This explains the flabbergasted look on my friends face… after all how can I be great after 6 weeks.

Part 1 is doing great part 2 is healing and experiencing all the emotions that come with the healing process.

I often think of the mantra "slow and steady wins the race" while I am going through the healing process. The race, in this instance, is not a physical race to the finish, but rather it is a journey to get to a place where there is full acceptance of what has happened and a complete integration of the impact and legacy that Paul has had and will always have on my life.  This process has no deadline or no time limit on how long it will take because ultimately I decide.

One of the most challenging aspects of the whole process is to begin to let go of the pain.  When we experience a tragic loss, the pain that we feel in the aftermath almost becomes a way to keep the person alive.  After all, when we feel pain at an intense level it validates to us the impact that a person had on our life as well as the depth of love we felt for that person. We become fearful of letting go of that pain because if we let go of the pain, do we let go of the person as well?  Do we let go of the love we shared, the memories we made and the impact they had on our life?

Enter in progress and making the transition from experiencing the loss (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually,) to living in such a way to honor the person... this is where I am at now.

I still have my moments of sadness, I still have some very sleepless nights, I still have those times where I pick up my phone to call or send a text, I still have the aches and pains that come with loss; I have all of those and more.

I now also have the happiness that comes with knowing that every thing I do going forward in life will be influenced by the impact that Paul had in my life, the memories we made and the experiences we created. Thus he will always be a part of my life.  The same goes for my friend Gabe and the same goes for my Dad.  After all, without Gabe and my Dad I would have never done the 1000 Challenge and would not be typing this to you today.

When I adopt a perspective like the above, how can I  not be happy?  After all, if I choose not to be happy then that is a reflection of those who I loved and lost, is it not? 

I believe it is also a sign of progress. :)

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,

Jesse












13 comments:

  1. The feeling of lost will never disappear, but the love and the memories will always prevail and you will cherish it like the most amazing gift ever.
    Much love

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  2. I admire how you manage your life, how you try to help others. Everything you write, record and share with us. I can only imagine how many people are influenced by you. I love seeing your beautiful pictures and reading your little notes everyday! Much respect and love. Do not lose your strength. <3
    Eda

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  3. Jesse I'm deeply touched by your post. Partly because I'm in the point in my life that lead me to changes, and partly because there's also a time when I'm coping with lost of my relatives, my friends relatives, people I have known forever. So many to feel, so many to write, instead of this just thank you for your sincerity. You're a good man Jess

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  4. Two things I have learned through teachings and my own experience that I would like to share with you.

    One is, happiness + sadness = joy. Joy is the experience when both are present at the same time. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to experience the depth of our sadness, we can also experience bliss (happiness in its purest form). If we can keep both portals open, one to immense sadness, the other to immense happiness, we experience Joy, which is a divine place of awareness. I think we all have had an experience of witnessing something so beautiful it made us cry; this is Joy. If we are able to keep our hearts open and vulnerable to both, we experience the divine fullness of life.

    Second is, in my experience, if we trust and believe that those who have moved on to the other side, aren't as far away from us as our limited perceptions convince us, we will experience signs of their presence in our daily life. It sounds hokey-pokey, but that is only because we are not used to it. Pray to them, talk to them, you'll soon realize that they are not as far away as you thought. I think of it this way: imagine trying to communicate with someone who doesn't see or hear you, but you see and hear them perfectly. Kind of like when the phone call messes up and the person on the other line can't hear you, but you can hear them perfectly. You can talk all you want, and they keep saying, "Hello? Hello? Hello?" Or worse, the other person is talking to someone where they are saying, "I can't hear them. The line isn't working. I guess their gone." The key is to trust and believe. Those who have moved on to the other side experience a bigger picture than we do. There is so much they can help us with, if we listen. I think it is imperative, in the times we live today, to ask for help from the other side.

    These are just my humble experiences.

    Blessings.

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  5. Jesse I have no word to such wisdom. To have experienced profound loss, I agree completely with what you say, nothing is ever easy, it is we who decide how to go through these trials and live our lives 100% is the best way to honor those we loved and died and this is the best legacy they may have left us. If I may, I can only send you a huge hug and a big smile to encourage you to continue in this way. :--)

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  6. I want to thank you for your honesty and for responding in a way to influence others despite your pain. For years the thought of death has weighed heavily on my heart and in my mind. You see, I am a woman full of faith in God and feel so guilty worrying so much about my death and the death of those I love. I couldn't figure it out because I believe in heaven, so why such worry? I guess you could say I'm a Paul Walker fan but I just watched his movies and thought he was good looking. Then I heard about his death and really found out who he was while not in front of the camera and I was so upset by his death. I couldn't figure out why the death of a man I didn't know would disturb me so much. My searching somehow led me to your blog and after reading your story about your friend, dad and Paul and what you have done with your life I realized what stresses me so much about death. It's not dying; it's living. I'm so afraid that I will die with regret and without making the impact I feel led to make. I'm not an adventurer like you but there are many things I would like to do before my time is up. I just what to say thank you again because your words and experiences combined with what I found out about Paul have really inspired me and have lifted a weight I've been carrying for years :)

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    1. you just wrote exactly the same I think and what I feel right now

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  7. Hi Jesse,

    Once again thank you for your positive perspective on such heavy matters of the heart. The human condition and our desire to seek contentment never fails to amaze me. I am in awe of the depth of your sincerity and gratitude for life, regardless of the hard times that you've encountered. Mahalo nui loa.

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  8. "....when we feel pain at an intense level it validates to us the impact that a person had on our life as well as the depth of love we felt for that person."

    Thank you for this - and for sharing your stories.
    Very needed & welcome

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  9. Jesse you always have such beautiful words and insight to share. I remember after my dad passed away, I too would pick up the phone to talk to him. It is always a sad reminder that they are physically not here anymore but they are always in your mind and heart. As your memories of Paul come back to you, he will also be a part of your smile as you remember his! God bless you!

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing Jesse. It is at times hard to share one's pain with people you are close to, but to share it with all of us is exceptional. Maybe some day I will be able to truly let you know how much you have impacted my life in such a good way. I used the 10 of 10 pic from this blog as my PC background. I'm sure all 4 guys in the pick are awesome, I know for sure that 2 of them are.............you are TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY AWESOME!!!!!

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