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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

5/17 - 5/24... Days 138 - 145

Wow so much happens in a week where to begin.

This blog is going to be a little different.  A client of mine and I were talking the other day about it being graduation season and how time seemed to have passed so quickly since our time at the University of California Santa Barbara.  I told him that one day I wanted to give the commencement speech to the graduating class.  He said, "I think that would be great, for your next blog you should write your commencement speech you would like to give in the next five years."

Why not I thought, it would be fun.

So before I get into sharing my thoughts for the graduating class of somewhere between 2012 - 2016 let me share with you a few updates.

I have my first radio interview coming up Wednesday June 1st at 5pm Pacific Standard Time.  I will be interviewed by Pamala Oslie on her radio show.  Full info on the show is posted at the bottom.

Today at 215pm I have a surgery consult to see if I will need surgery to repair a hernia.  I am pretty sure I will as this thing is big and it is starting to cause a lot of discomfort.  I am really excited more than anything as I look at it as an opportunity to experience a different side of life, to put this whole hernia business in the past, to move forward and no longer have an injury limiting certain things I can and want to do.  I will keep you all posted.

Thank you everyone for all your kind words, thoughts, good energy, and advice you have been passing on to me and my Mom.  Still have not figured out what the problem is, but hopefully through process of elimination they will get there soon.

Carpe Diem!  I have to share with you what someone posted on facebook yesterday.  I kid you not I about did a happy dance when I saw it.  I yelled out "YES!" at the top of my lungs.  My friend I was sitting with asked me if I had just won the lottery?  "No," I replied... even better, "People are really starting to get what Carpe Diem means."

From facebook: "Sorry about your injury, but very good outlook. I think that is what I was missing about your message. You said Carpe Diem and so I always thought it meant that you had to do something spectacular everyday, but I get it now it is the frame of mind. Thanks so even at nursing school I can Carpe Diem. Very cool!!"

Read and re-read the above.  I cannot tell you how happy I was seeing this.  Ok and on that note... onto graduation! :)

Good afternoon everyone.  Wow, it was not that long ago, well at least it seems that way, that I was sitting where you all are right now.  How many of you are a little hung over from a long night and early morning of celebrating?? C'mon, show of hands please, don't be shy!  Ahh, fantastic, I was one of you!  How many of you have opted to wear shorts and tank tops under your gown's instead of the more formal, "picture" attire?  Very good, very good, I was also one of you as well.  And how many of you define your educational experience here at UCSB not by the lectures you attended, or the tests you took, but by the experiences you had??  I was, and still am one of you.

When I joined the ranks of UCSB in September 2000, I was one of the most shy, most awkward, most insecure 18 year old males you would ever meet.  Unfortunately we do not have media out here as I have some great pictures to prove it.  I weighed in at about 165 pounds vs the 220 pounds I am today.  I had long hair that was a "bull cut" you may have to google that to look up the hair due.  I was so shy that IF, which it was a big IF, in those days, a girl ever spoke to me I would turn bright red in the face.  In fact I can remember one time in Psychology class a girl in section turned around and looked at me to ask me a question about Pavlov, or Freud or something like that and you would have thought she had just asked me if I wanted to strip down naked and do the wild thing right then and there.  I turned bright red in the face, broke out in a full on sweat, and blurted out some lame response.  To try to make myself to "appear to be cool," I remember leaning back in the desk thinking it gave me some sort of edge or something.  She never sat near me again!

The few friends I had at the time and I used to sit around and discuss interactions with a girl.  We bought a book that analyzed intra-personal interactions.  What did a touch of the hand on the shoulder mean?  What did eye contact me?  If she said a quick HI or a more long drawn out HIII was there a difference?   I remember laughing at our lack of "game" then and I still laugh at it now when I revisit those memories with friends.  

As funny as I thought that was at the time, I knew I needed and wanted to make some changes.  I was 6ft 3in tall at 19 years old and I had barely been kissed let alone gone all the way with a girl.  I was 19, I had raging hormones, I wanted to get laid.  I figured I had to be the only 19 year old virgin alive.  Of course I would make up stories about sexual exploits and conquests to offset my lack of mojo, but they were just that stories, fabrications far from the truth.

I was so socially awkward that the only way I felt I could ever loosen up and connect with people was when I drank.  So I drank.  Not only did I drink and party, but I also shunned studying because that was what all the "cool" kids in high school had done.  I was rewarded with a 1.13 GPA at the end of my first quarter Freshmen year: 1 "F" and 2 "C-" grades.  I was on my way with my college career.

Returning back post winter break I needed to kick it up a notch otherwise I was going to get kicked out of school.  Having been placed on academic disqualification (How many of you made it onto that prestigious list?  And look at you, you made it! Way to go!),  I was ready to start winter quarter off with a bang and turn things around, and boy did I!  The first Thursday of the quarter I got so drunk in my room by trying to be "Cool" and show off to my friends how much I could drink.  I ended up blacked out and apparently spent three hours throwing up.  I was one phone call away from the paramedics coming and taking me to the hospital to pump my stomach.  My reward for being so "cool," I was put on probation with the dorms and reprimanded to community service.  So now I am the second week into my winter quarter as a Freshman, I am on probation with the dorms, academic dis-qualification with the school.  In my free time I go to mandatory academic counseling classes and on campus community service groups.  Way to go Jesse.

I was lucky, I had a moment.  Standing one night in front of the bathroom, shirt off, tooth brush in hand I noticed something about myself.  I had dark circles forming under my eyes, and this normally skinny kid was starting to get a beer belly.  I was headed no where really fast, I needed to make a change.  I realized I was so close to losing every opportunity I had worked so hard to get here for.  I knew if I let that happen I would be destined for a second rate life than the one I could have.  I made a pledge with myself then and there that I would dedicate the quarter to getting my grades up and getting out of trouble with the school.  Then, once Spring quarter began I would start working out.  And this time it would be different. Carpe Diem time.

Winter quarter ended and with it I earned a 3.38 GPA and a promotion to Academic Probation.

The first time I ever walked into the UCSB gym I almost peed my pants.  I walked in, saw all the big guys, in shape girls, and good looking people, got so intimidated that I picked up my pace and walked right out the other door, and did not return for over three weeks.  I was shy, I had zero self confidence, I thought I was the ugliest person alive, there was no way in hell I was going to be in this room with all these beautiful in shape people.

Spring quarter I had made a pack with myself no matter what I had to be in the gym for at least one hour in a row six days a week.  Not only that, but there was no giving up.  When I got to 10 reps and was ready to quit, I had to make myself do an extra five.  I had all sorts of rules to help give me structure and keep me on point.  Creating that self discipline, and finally getting a haircut thanks to the encouragement of a couple of girls on my floor, who both are still friends today, all that changed my life.

I kept working out and as my body changed so did my attitude about myself.  Yea I was learning in the classroom, learning about ancient Roman Civilizations, Geological formations, the difference between stalagmites and stalactites... I was learning all that, but what I was really excited about learning was myself and life.

I began to develop a little pep in my step when I walked.  If I smiled at someone I found they would often smile back at me.  I could tell jokes and people would laugh.  I began to be able to look at myself in the mirror and actually like what I saw.  I no longer thought I was the ugliest person around.  I began to get invited to parties.  I could talk to a girl, sans alcohol, and not turn red in the face.  I made some new friends, I GOT LAID!!  Thank you! :)

As college continued on, I continued to grow.  I expanded my horizons wherever I could and felt comfortable in.  I met new people, tried new things, sought after new opportunities.  That was one of the things I loved most about UCSB, I felt there was such diversity here that anyone at any stage of their life from any walk of life could find some sort of niche if they sought it out.  I found mine in personal training.  

I was walking to class one day contemplating what I should do with my life when I realized how much exercise had transformed my life.  I was not the same 18 year old that had shown up here a few years ago.  I was still shy, I still had my insecurities, but I was growing.  Wouldn't it be great, I thought, if I could become a personal trainer and help people really grasp the power of health and fitness.  Wouldn't it be great if I could teach them all that I have learned through my personal experience?  Luckily UCSB had such a program.

After I left college there was more opportunity to experience life, the goods and the bads, the ups and the downs, the successes and challenges.  I fell in love a few times, had my heart broken a few times.  I traveled around the world with some of the most well known faces in Hollywood.  I made some amazing friendships and ended some not so amazing others.  I lost a friend to suicide, a Dad to God's will; I gained valuable life lessons through both of those experiences.  I have traveled around the world through various charitable endeavors helping people in some of the most dire of situations.  Why?

I knew that the more experiences I had the more it would enrich me and allow me to grow as a human being. All of you sitting here today have just received a first rate education from one of the premier institutions in the world.  The world is at your finger tips!  Don't stop there, finger tips is holding yourself back, I encourage you to reach out and grab it with your hands.  Better yet, grab a hold of it, pull it close to you and squeeze it so tight, soaking every ounce of experience you can out of it.

There will be countless challenges you will face that will try and keep you small, keep you from living the life of your dreams.  I encourage you to face them when they come, and they will come!  Do not run and hide, but plant your feet and stand firm - remember all a challenge is, is an opportunity to grow.  You remember how challenging that Econ test was?  Think of life's Challenges as big Econ tests, they won't kill you, they will stress you out, you will learn from it, and they will make you stronger.  

There will be thousands of critics and naysayers, people who will tell you over and over again that you can't, that you won't, that you shouldn't dream, that you need to be realistic, that you need to give up... the more critics that you have, the closer you are to success.  Where would the world be if General Patton, Gandhi, George Washington, Mother Theresa, and Abraham Lincoln listened to their critics?  WHERE?!  Embrace criticism, don't take things personally.  When the critics come and the naysayers say no, deepen your resolve, dig in and show them how great you are.

Every single experience for better or worse is a part of me and what put me in front of you today.  I would not have the perspective I have had I not had the challenges to face.  And the same goes for all of you.

So as I leave you today, I leave you with this.  Your lives are only what you choose to make of them.  Shit is going to happen! Hearts will break, people will die, fortunes will be made and lost; all of it will happen!  How you handle those challenges, how you choose to live your life in the face of adversity, that ladies and gentlemen is what will ultimately define you, and the greatness of your lives.  

Live happy, live well, congratulations and CARPE DIEM!

Radio Interview info:

On Wednesday June 1st 2011, I will be having a sit down interview with Pamala Oslie to talk about the 1000 Challenge. The interview will run between 20-30 minutes and as I understand it is broadcast around the world so YOU ALL can listen in if you like.

Psychic Pamala Oslie can be heard live on KZSB 1290 AM Talk radio in the Santa Barbara area and simulcast via the Santa Barbara News-Press online. This popular show receives calls from around the world.

Pamala's Live Webcast

Call in to talk to Pamala at 805-564-1290

or Toll Free 1-866-564-1290

Enjoy the pictures,

Carpe Diem,


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

5/12 - 5/16 Days 133, 134, 135,136 &137

See, finally I am getting back to blogging more than one time a week!  I knew I would get there sooner than later!  I am happy.  Blogging and sharing with all of you what is going on behind the scenes is very cathartic for me.  It leaves me feeling like I am constantly cleaning my slate, it is freeing.

I love reading all your comments and emails you all send.  I can't thank you enough for sharing.  I am especially happy to hear that many of you have been putting into practice concepts that I have been trying to teach/enforce throughout the 1000 Challenge, and from the way it sounds, many of you are improving the quality of your lives as a result!  WAY TO GO!  

I do try to read all the emails.  I can't always respond to every single one due to limited time, but I do try and read every single one.  I can not begin to tell you how much you all, your journey's, your successes, inspire me.  I have been moved to tears by some of the stories that have been shared with me.  I have been moved to tears of joy that so many of you have taken such an interest in my shirts.  I can promise you that I NEVER thought I would be sending shirts to all over the world, but here I am.  It is so cool for me to see all your pictures wearing Zero Limits, or 1000 Challenge shirts ... I smile every time I see someone else posting a picture, or someone sending me an email saying they love the shirts.  Thank You!

One of my goals this year is the hope that I can demonstrate through my life and the choices I make that happiness is something that is available to anyone and everyone who wants to work towards it.  Happiness is not just something that we acquire one day, it is a day to day choice we make, an attitude we choose to adopt to be happy.  The other day I got an email from someone telling me how jealous they are of my life.  That I am so lucky and that they could NEVER do the things I am doing because of this and that.  I told them that happiness is a choice.  The way I live my life, is a choice.  Allow me to share a few examples:

Since returning from Europe and all the other travel, I have been really critical of my self.  I have been having "fat days."  Fat days and fat moments are just that, days and moments where I feel fat (Yes, I have them too).  It doesn't matter if I am, or am not fat... the point is my feelings effect me in a certain way, just the same as yours do.  What can be a catastrophic thought or feeling for me, could be no big deal for you.  

So, when I get these fat feelings,I get really down on myself.  I have very high standards and high goals I set for myself, and while I know I will be back to where I want to be after another month of eating good and exercising well, I am still critical of myself. I made choices while traveling and in those choices I did not have as much room to exercise at the level I normally do and eat as healthy as I normally would.  I do  not regret any of those choices I made, but that still doesn't change the fact that I get down on myself in the present.  You will notice a drastic reduction in shirtless pictures being posted lately, why?  Because, I am very self conscious of myself right now.  So with this going on, I have choices... I could choose to be depressed about my "feelings of being fat," I could choose to be angry at myself, or I could choose to acknowledge my emotions, not run from them, but instead work with them.  I deal with it as it comes up, I allow myself to feel sadness, frustration, etc... in the moment and then I do my best to move forward and be happy in the 100's of moments that follow.

Let me share another example:

The last week, I have been missing my Dad, A LOT.  As I have been playing catch up with life here in Santa Barbara, I have had a lot of time to reflect.  For the first time, I sat down and started scrolling through all the pictures of the 1000 Challenge to date.  I was in shock... I could not believe how much I had done/accomplished/experienced.  For a minute it didn't seem real until I started to flash back with all the memories that go with each and every picture.  It was in these moments I started thinking of my Dad - what he would say, would he be proud?  I could almost hear his voice calling out to his office mates, "Hey, come here and check out Jesse on George Lopez!"  I know he would have been excited about that.  Dad loved all the late night TV shows.  

I moved away from home when I was 18.  My adult life has been spent in Santa Barbara, first with school, and now with my work and my life.  I only saw my Dad on the quick trip homes here and there over the years.  So I do not have a lot of memories of him as an adult.  When I saw my Dad in the mortuary, it was the first time I had seen him in over a year.  This is where my sadness comes from - when I close my eyes and try to remember my Dad the first thing that pops into my head is him lying there in the mortuary, completely still, no breathing, his skin icy cold.  And when that image pops up into my head I can still hear every sound, remember every feeling and thought that was going through my head.  It is hard!  This does not happen every time, but it happened enough this last week to challenge me more than I cared to be challenged.

I share the above with you because again, happiness is a choice.  There are plenty of moments each and every day, this last week especially where I am sad and miss my Dad.  I can't change the past, but what I can do is choose to focus on my happiness and going on living the best I can in the present.  I know that is what he would want, and I know he would be proud of me because of it.  You see, i get sad just like all of you.

I also get rattled, get scared, get frightened, and have those days where things don't go to plan just like all of you... let me share:

Last Friday, May 13th I check my voicemail.  It was about 1130 am and there was a message from my grandfather saying my Mom was in the hospital, the doctors think she may have a brain tumor. I panicked, I cried, I had 1000's of thoughts race through my head, "What, How, Why? This isn't fair, my Mom is all I got! I can't go through this again, etc..."  Time stood still.

I had a long talk with my Grandfather after about what to do.  My Mom is not in a good situation, she is on disability already from an injury she sustained while moving out of her house that went into foreclosure after my Dad died.  She has no insurance - she is not in the greatest of health to begin with as a result of all the stress she has been under since my Dad died.

I spent the whole day, until later that night wondering if my Mom was ok, what was going to happen.  I felt overwhelmed, I felt scared, I felt lost... I didn't know what to do.  

There is a park here in town that I have wanted to visit for the 1000 Challenge, I decided to go to that park to walk around and collect my thoughts.  I found a spot to sit and as I was sitting there, taking pictures of course, a mosquito landed on my leg.  I was wearing jeans and it got stuck in the jeans while trying to steal my blood from me.  For the next 20 minutes I lost myself in trying to take the "perfect" picture of this mosquito... it was amazing, it was an escape, it was liberating.  Why I share this with you is because I made a choice.  There was nothing I could do to help my Mom during those hours.  Me sitting at home, worrying and being sad was not going to help, but what I could do is do my best to continue on with my day as best as possible.  I did, and in those moments that simple act of photographing the mosquito I had made a choice to be happy.  Did I stay "happy" the rest of the day, no, I still struggled, but what I gained was the knowledge that I can empower myself, I can find happiness even in the scariest of situations.  I didn't live the rest of the day feeling overwhelmed like I initially felt, instead I lived it concerned.  I am just like all of you... I have life challenge's, just like everyone else.

Finally late at night the MRI results came back ruling out a tumor.  My Mom, as of this writing, can barely see.  She says she has double vision where it is stacked on top, instead of seeing side to side.  She has a sustained headache that has been with her for about 10 days and she is constantly feeling Nauseous.  She has her next doctor's appointment on Thursday - she is really scared.

Earlier today, a good friend of mine sent me the following and I thought it was a perfect way to close out this blog:

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each  morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved  perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.  
His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After  many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled  sweetly when told his room was ready.  
As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description  of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.  I love it,' he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just  been presented with a new puppy.  
Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait.'  
'That doesn't have anything to do with it,' he replied.   
Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.   
Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is  arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.  'It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice;  I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the  parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful  for the ones that do.   
Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day  and all the happy memories I've stored away.. Just for this time in my life.   
Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in.   
So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank  account of memories!   

You see ladies and gentlemen, happiness really is a choice.  We all have good days and bad days, but we have choices on those days to.  I am not lucky, I made my life what it is today and I hope that as the rest of this year goes on you will all continue to see me create the life of my choosing.  In addition to that, my hope is that you to will be empowered as you follow along and realize that you, just like I, have choices in your life.  You can choose happiness, or you can choose whatever else.  I don't know about you, but I choose happiness.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem, 


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tues 5/3 - Wed 5/11 .... Days 124 - 132

So I still miss blogging.  When I made that statement last time I really had intended to getting back to doing a blog post more than once a week - it has been 9 days since my last one. 

These last two weeks I have been playing catch up from all the travel.  It is amazing how dependent I had become on my computer.  Being without one since mine self destructed in Europe has been a challenge.  I finally have a semi functional system going right now then enables me enough computer time until I get my new one, which should hopefully be sometime next week.  I am not going to lie as hard as it has been not having regular computer access like I am used to, it has also been kind of freeing.  With a working computer, I am always thinking about how I need to do this, I need to do that, I got this email that needs to get answered, this client that needs this or that.  Without the computer, I have the preceding thoughts, and I also have the accompanying "oh shit, I have to do all that and I don't have a computer!" panicked thoughts that go with it.  However, there is also a lot of freedom.  I can either panic and stress, which is no fun, or I can look at the time as a gift... Happy Birthday Me!

At a time in my life where I am at my all time busiest having these forced breaks from the computer and working world has been amazing.  I have had more time with friends, more time to brainstorm, more time to develop client programs; there have even been a couple of days where I was able to find the time to take a second shower after a long sweaty day - something that has not been a regular luxury since the start of the 1000 Challenge. :)  I have resolved, once my computer situation is fixed, to incorporate "broken computer hours" into my regular day and week. 

I LOVE MY WORK!  And as such it is not uncommon for me to sometimes get lost in it.  My days start around 430am and end around 11pm.  And there are days, if the opportunity is there, where I can happily work from the time the alarm goes off until my head hits the pillow, save for workout breaks and a break to go and tackle whatever is up for the 1000 Challenge that day.  However, as much as I love work, part of what this year and the 1000 Challenge is all about is balance - creating and the maintaining of a balance with all aspects of my life.  So while I love work, even I can get burnt out at times - I don't want this to happen, hence the pledge to have broken computer hours.  Broken computer hours will be that time where I just pretend my computer is broken, hence shutting down my mobile office for the day.  The time is then my time to use as I choose. 

I am constantly putting reminders in my phone of things I need to do on the computer, but then there is no computer, so my phone looks like one big Christmas tree with flashing reminder lights constantly blinking.  It is funny the relationship I have with my phone.  It is a very love hate as it is another piece of technology I have become overly dependent on, and like the computer, it too has mandatory broken hours. 

With emails and text messages becoming my primary means of communication, my thumbs have become one of the strongest points on my body due to all the thumb typing.  However, with that added strength they are also becoming disproportionately developed, muscularly, when compared with the rest of my fingers.  Going back to the theme of balance, I either have to A.) learn how to text with my pinky fingers (that sounds like more work than it is worth,) B.) start an intense conditioning program for my fingers to get them caught up to the prowess of my thumbs, or C.) implement broken phone hours and give my thumbs a few hours off each day... hmmmmmm????  As much as I was looking forward to ring finger pushups and pinky finger curls, I think I will go with C. 

There is nothing in the mandate or the contract we sign with our phones, and with our computers when we get them that says we need to be available 24/7.  That is something that we indoctrinate into ourselves, at least I know I have for myself.  I am not saying that desire or that commitment to your job is a bad thing, I do think though that it can be very misdirected at times.  Think of all the additional time you would have for family, for friends, for life, for challenge lists of your own, if you had broken technology hours.  No phone, no computer, and no TV, try it out, what do you have to lose?

As I said earlier, much of this last week has been devoted to getting caught up.  Caught up with work, caught up with friends, caught up with 1000 Challenge updates, caught up with life, in general.  I had a really cool week of challenges this last week, largely due to the diversity of them.  Animals, historic sites, picnics, beaches, and police sirens were all involved, and all provided a completely unique experience from the next.  One in particular stood out and that was my ride along with the Santa Barbara Police Department this last Saturday.

So why a police ride along?  Through the 1000 Challenge, I want to be able to experience as many facets of life as possible.  Law enforcement is a unique sub group in our culture, we (and I am making a generalization here) often look at police officers in a similar way as we do celebrities, we know they are real people, but they don't quite seem real - in the way you and I are.  They are different, we interact with different, we view them differently much in the same way we do with celebrities.

With celebrities we have intimate relationships formed with people who we have never met.  They are constantly in front of us, TV, Magazines, Movies, Internet, you name it them and what they are doing are in our face.  I am more well versed on Lindsey Lohan's latest legal mishap than I am of what is going on in some of my closest friends lives, as I am sure many of you are too.  We grow up watching them, we are raised with them constantly around and as such we form a bond with them - that they are someone special and it is an exciting thing to be in their presence if the opportunity arises.

With Law Enforcement we form a similar bond, but rather than there being a surge of excitement when being in their presence, we have a twinge of fear, like we must have done something bad.  When you are driving through town, and a cop car drives past you, towards you, or anywhere in your field of site, how many of you sit up a little straighter, tense up a little more, check your speed, hold your breath, hide your cell phone... put on your best, "I am a good citizen face?"  I know I do, every single time, even if I am already being on my best behavior, I make my best better because in my mind I think, "there's a cop, cops are trained to get people who are doing something wrong, am I doing something wrong? I could be? Shoot, what if I am?! I don't want to get in trouble!"  I consider myself a good citizen, but I definitely like to "fudge" a traffic law or two, and thus I sometimes feel like I am "due" to get caught.

We grow up watching countless programs, movies, shows, reading books about who cops are and their role in our lives.  We are taught that cops get and punish the bad guys and are there to protect the good guys.  Cops also take on the role of the ultimate authority figure, they are the law! We all have been "bad" and punished by an authority figure at some point in our life, and I would wager none of you enjoyed those experiences, I certainly didn't.  As a result we learn from an early age to associate "messups" with punishment.  As an adult, if you mess up there no longer are the parental figures around to punish you, there are the cops, and the cops take people to jail with all the other bad guys. 

I also had pre-conceived judgments of the police department going into this evening, some of them were as follows:  I see cops driving fast through town, I assume they are doing that just because they can, they can do it and they can get away with it, whose going to tell them no?  They are the law, they are the supreme authority figure.  I live in Santa Barbara, a relatively safe community, how hard can the job be, you just have drunk people to deal with on State Street on a Saturday night.  They, cops, just want to give us, citizens, as many tickets as possible so they can try and meet some sort of ticket quota.  The list could go on, but I think you are getting the point. 

Saturday night changed my entire outlook on what I perceived the police force to be.  I left thrilled by the opportunity I just had and ashamed of the judgments I had carried around in my head for so long.

The night began with a domestic violence call, then a noise violation call, ironically for a wedding party, then a heroin abuse call which lead to an arrest, for six hours, call after call came in, some minor, some potentially more concerning.  Every time a call came in that wasn't a life in danger call, that cops went speeding through town without their lights on, not just because they could, as I originally labeled them as doing, but because it is their job to serve and protect the public as quickly and as safely as possible.  Also they have a partner already at the scene waiting for them to get there. 

The couple of times the board was not lit up from calls, we drove through the area of town that is most notorious for gang members and drug abuse.  The officer I was with pointed out areas that were on their constant watch list, areas that they frequented to catch heroin addicts in the act.  He showed me a picture of a man who was wanted for murder, a member of a local gang that lived in the area we were patrolling through.  Beyond all of this though, what i was most impressed with was getting to see the human side of the officers.

On any given day, police officers interact with a broader spectrum of the human experience than just about any of us.  They are not just police officers, they are also relationship counselors, big brother figures were kids on the streets, therapists; they are the people willing to deal with humanity at its worse so the rest of us do not have to.  One officer I was talking with told me about how he is constantly talking with his colleges about how to keep their marriage successful.  He has been fortunate enough to have a long lasting marriage, but many others struggle.  "It's a tough job," he told me, "you have to learn to leave it behind when you go home.  If you come to work and give a 110% of yourself to this job, which is very common especially for new officers, you have that much less you can give to your family."   Hmmm, sounds like balance to me?

Having balance in life, in different aspects of your life is so important.  If we give and give and give to one area, that is that much less we have to give to another, and that much more we have to take from another because we don't have anything left to give.  Life is like a see saw, it is a give and take, a balance.  Our technology does not own us, we own it.  We are not our jobs, our jobs are roles we play in order to contribute to society.  Sure there are exceptions to this, but just because you are a lawyer during the day, does not mean you have to be a lawyer at night when you come home to your friends and family.  It is a choice, you can flip the off switch to that just the same as you can with your TV.  Balance, Balance, Balance... it will take a lifetime to master, but only a few seconds to improve.  Give it a try.  And to any police department officers, friends of, family of that may be reading this - I apologize for my pre-conceived notions, thank you for proving them wrong.  It was an honor to have that experience Saturday night. Thank you.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem,


In case you didn't get a chance to see my cameo on George Lopez Tonight check out below.  I show up around minute 7 or 8 :)


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tues 4/26 - Mon 5/2 Days 117 - 123

It amazes me what can be accomplished when you really dedicate yourself to something and are determined to accomplish that which you set out to do. 

I am finally home and here to stay for awhile after what seems like a whirl wind, mostly unplanned, two months of around the world adventures.  Returning just three days ago from Europe, I was treated with the opportunity to see and experience some of the most amazing sites, Europe, and the world, has to offer.

I got to witness the changing of the guard in Red Square, Moscow, Russia.  I spent hours walking through the streets of Amsterdam marveling at how beautiful the city is.  I fell in love with Amsterdam and cannot wait to go back there again in the future, when the weather is nice of course. :)  From Amsterdam I went to Cologne, Germany, a city famous for its' cathedral (which is spectacular) and even more memorable, at least as far as I go, for its' Kolsch Beer... YUM!  The weather was dreary and cold in Cologne and was soon traded in for the warm weather in the South of France, Marseilles, to be more specific.  With the few precious free hours I had here, I spent hours walking the streets during the wee hours of the morning, trying to soak up as much of the culture as I could.  Talk about an ancient city, Marseilles is as ancient as they come, that is until I landed in Rome, Italy.  Rome... WOW!  I mean this city, every corner you turn, every street you walk down... you can't help but to say WOW!!  In all the history classes I took throughout my educational career, no ancient civilization was talked about more than Rome.  And for me, to have the opportunity to be in this ancient city for just a few hours, I was not going to waste one second.

When traveling with clients, especially this type of trip, my free time is typically the hours between 10pm and 730am.  Most of the time the 10pm hour is shot because we do a lot of group dinners and have the occasional beer or two.  So time is pretty scare.  Depending on the day I can usually sneak out an extra hour in the afternoon.  On Monday, I think that must have been the 25th, the entire group had off and so we were able to visit all the big, more time consuming places, like the Van Gogh museum.  I also have a great deal of work that requires a few hours of me being on the computer each day.  So you can see that of my nine or so available free hours (don't forget I have to eat, sleep, and exercise at some point) there is not a great deal of time available for site seeing.  All of this information is important as I hope to show you all what you can accomplish with desire, dedication, and a little time.

Going to Moscow, I was familiar with the area I was staying in as I had been there once before two years ago, so I had a good idea of what I had and had not seen/experienced. I got to the hotel ran up the stairs dropped my bag off and was out on the street within five minutes... no time for resting, changing, showering, or jet lag... I got a limited amount of time and a tremendous amount of opportunity to see and experience Moscow.  A late night led to an early morning and the choice of either sleeping, or getting up after just a few hours and Experiencing Moscow, I'll give you one guess as to which I chose. 

When I got to Amsterdam on Sunday night (I think, the days all blur together), what better time to experience the Red Light district than on Easter (I am being sarcastic).  Walking through the Red Light district until about 230am local time, I had more than ample time to see, experience, and be frightened by what I saw there ( I am much more innocent than I gave myself credit for).  I went to bed about 3am ( the average bed time for me during this trip was between 2:30 and 3:30am, as I continue in my story you will see why.  Average wake up time was 6-6:30am). 

Monday was the only day off in honor of Easter Monday which means I am presented with a choice, sleep in, or explore?  After a 3am bedtime the night before waking up at 630ish or so was rough, but I wanted to see the city in the early dawn light.  I anticipated being tired so I employed a little trick I have learned to help with the fatigue... I went for a run.  As long as you can just GET UP and out of bed, your body will do the rest.  So camera in hand I set out for a running tour of Amsterdam.  Trust me any fatigue I felt and sleep lost was well worth the sacrifice and soon a distant memory as I got to see the city at this time of day.  It was so beautiful and so peaceful.  Some of my favorite pictures I took over the entire trip were taken during these hours. 

Once the rest of the group got up and moving we charged it: the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam Zoo, and then capped it off with a canal tour by boat, which was awesome!!!!!!  I had a bunch of work I had to do that night so I opted out of dinner and stayed in and worked going to bed around 1230am (the earliest bed time of the trip).  The next day was back up bright and early and headed off to some of the local parks in hopes of getting some cool early dawn light pics (see below :) ). 

I was sad to leave Amsterdam, it was the first place I have been to in Europe that I really loved, I loved all the people riding their bikes, I love the boats going through the canals, it was awesome, if you ever get the chance to go, GO!

Cologne was again a place I had been to before so when the alarm went off at dark thirty running was out of the question as it was raining and freezing (not my favorite combination), so to help wake up I stuck my head out the window then ran out; heading to an area that I had not been to prior.  I went, I saw, I experienced, and then left for the South of France.

Landing in Marseilles after midnight, I was hungry (imagine that).  By the time I finished eating dinner around 2am I was faced with a choice, my friends and everyone else were going to go out and wanted me to come.  I knew we were only going to be in the city for a few hours so if I went out it meant I would miss out on some exploration time.  I chose to stay and instead walked around the city until about 3am taking pictures.  In bed by 4, up by 7:30 (it was a late starting day this day) I ran out of my room and out to check out the Cathedral, Fort, and hang out in the harbor and watch the boats, enjoy the sun, and dip my feet in the Mediterranean.

Arrival time in Rome was just after 11pm we got to dinner about 12am and finished around 1am.  I am not going to lie, I was tried at this point, but again I was faced with a choice go back to the hotel and be in bed by 130 or explore the city... hmmm, what to choose.  I was so close to opting for the hotel, but instead I, along with a few others, roamed the streets of Rome (like the play on words?) until about 330am and boy was it magical.    Hands down my favorite part of the whole trip was these two hours spent walking through Rome in the wee hours of the night.  The city is so dramatically lit up.  We were fortunate that there was no one in the streets so we literally got VIP viewing the the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and many many more.

Four hours later I was back up and charging through the streets determined to soak up every second I can in this magical city.  Later in the day I was treated with the opportunity to see St  Peter's square and the Colosseum... talk about WOW factor... simply amazing does not even begin to describe both of these places.  I took some cool pictures, which, once I get my computer situation resolved, will be posted on Facebook. I think some of the pics I took are pretty cool, but none do justice of what it is like to be there in person.

That night in Rome, I opted not to sleep.  We had to leave for the airport at 630am and by the time the option of going to bed even became a reality it was after 2am, so I figured the hell with it, I have come this far and I don' t want to waste the opportunity I have been given...

At the airport my body, which had held up for so long was done.  By the time the plane took off for the 13 hour trip back to California I was pooped - I had been up for 27 hours straight and had slept about 8-9 hours in the last 72.  What was amazing though, throughout this entire trip there were only a few moments I ever felt tired... those usually being those first waking moments when I had to make that decision, "stay in bed," or "Carpe Diem and experience where I am."  Once I chose the Carpe Diem route my body was filled with an unbelievable amount of energy.  It was fueled on by the excitement and opportunity in front of me to see new parts of the world. 

I share all the above with you because I learned something about myself and what I am capable of this trip when I am determined and dedicated to an outcome.  The 1000 Challenge is not just a side project for me, it is a way of existing.  I have to average almost 3 a day to make a full 1000 by years end. With many of my all day challenges coming up, there will be many days where I will only be able to do just the ONE challenge which makes it all the more important to really explore the foreign lands I have not been to. 

With the above driving me and me being determined to reach my goal of 1000 by years end, I dedicated every free second I could find to going out and experiencing the world around me.  It was amazing!  A couple of times I found myself asking, "How am I not more tired, this is so weird."  People asked me how I did it, to which I replied, "I have a lot I want to accomplish with very little time to do it in."  And it was not like I was mixing up some magic mo-jo potion, no; I was just living my life to the fullest and my body responded.  It rewarded me with extra energy.  It was fueled on by the desire I had and the dedication that I take into each day to make that desire a reality.

I challenge you all to try it.  To be successful at it, for the "magic mo-jo" to work you must be fully dedicated to it.  You must see and desire your outcome, you must believe in yourself, you must trust yourself, and you must be dedicated to yourself and your outcome.  No matter how big or how small the goal is... desire and dedication ladies and gentlemen... they are the fuel for life.

Enjoy the pics,
(I apologize, but due to my current computer situation and tech un-saviness, I am unable to include pictures on the blog at this time.  I will update as soon as possible.)

Carpe Diem,