Sunday, May 21, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 141]:~ Designing Your Own

~:[CH6 - Day 141]:~ Designing Your Own
Being an artists, I realize that it's something that is hard to do because so many people are there to criticize your work and many times, they don't truly understand it. Non-mainstream art is definitely more of a challenge for people and if you don't take the time to think about it, to read about it and to ask questions about it, you may not truly understand. Visiting the awesome 14th Factory would have been better on a cooler day, regardless, it was amazing to see all the various types of works that were more than just the social media friendly pieces that everyone will be jealous of. Sometimes, it is in the finest details of these pieces that we find the true qualities of a piece of art. In this piece, the meaning came in what was produced, but more importantly in how it was produced. Sitting down with people from all around the world, they took their favorite book, shredded it, and wove it into this larger piece as they talked about why the book was so special to them. Not only did the book they were talking about become part of the piece, it also took with it, the story of this person who contributed the book to this piece. There was great effort and meaning put into the creation of this piece and that sums up what we need to do in life. I our lives, we are going to be judged constantly and people will criticize us, misunderstand us and sometimes, ignore us all together because we may not fit what is in their image. However, our goal should not be about pleasing everyone, but about producing what we hope to produce, incorporating the experiences of others in our lives and as we weave the story of our lives, to put must effort and meaning into it. Truly, what we create may not be what other had imagined or even what you yourself imagined, but it's nothing to be ashamed of. The effort and love that was put into making the piece will be evident and while it may not be evident to all, you cannot be discouraged. They'll be snags and imperfections in what you create and at times, you may want to start all over, but the reality of it all is, be proud of what you created. You designed this piece and because of how it was created, this piece includes pieces of you within it. We live in a time where everyone has their opinion, however, never allow that opinion stop you from weaving your story the way you want to, if you know in your heart you're heading in the right direction. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 140]:~ To Your Heart's Content

~:[CH6 - Day 140]:~ To Your Heart's Content
I'm a pretty competitive person. I've always grown up that way, but also was taught to remember good sportsmanship and character. Sometimes, the competitiveness takes over and later on, I'm filled with regret. However, these experiences have also given me perspective in life. While I talk about this with my students and athletes all the time, I always have to remind myself that simply doing something is just as good, if not better than winning. Competing and participating, giving your all, and showing good character far surpass winning when it comes to the scale of success. Why? As I talked to my students individually, you can get a sense that there is a fear of failure. They're afraid of trying something new, or giving their full effort, or even loving with all their heart because they think to themselves, "what if I fail?" Failure is not falling short of your goal, rather, from running away from the challenges that may bring you heartbreak. Life is tough as it's filled with many pitfalls that everyone of us is subject to. We're all just as likely to fall in, however, is it really failing? For some, today was not the best of days. We fell short of a CIF title in volleyball despite a hard-fought spirited battle. One of my athletes missed her PR after an amazing freshman season. My high jumper barely missed winning a CIF championship, but still qualified for Masters. Ergo, despite the amazing performances this evening at Cerritos Got Talent, there was only two "winners" selected. However, the successes and failures of life should not stop you from singing to your heart's content. It should not stop you from taking risks, exploring and truly testing what you're made of. It should not making you live with the perspective that there is only one "winner" and that thinking otherwise is something that people who cannot win will think. As while it is true that there will only be one champion crowned in most championships, a championship can be full of a number of winners who display the qualities and features that you want to see in someone you consider a "winner." As while this world will continue to focus on who eventually gets to the top, for me, the only battle I face is with myself, as I know if I win or not, simply by knowing if I have conquered what I set out for. As while it's easy to measure something based on wins and loses, the true measure of success can be based on the overflowing love from the heart, the unbreakable spirit and the courage to rise up, even when the odds are stacked against you. Don't be afraid of losing, rather, tackle life ahead on and sing to your heart's content. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 139]:~ To Make You Smile

~:[CH6 - Day 139]:~ To Make You Smile
It's always one of the most difficult lessons to talk about, but also the most impactful. I want to do my best to send a clear message to the students that good character ultimately reigns above all else - money, power, and respect. It's hard because we are not always going to stay on track. We sway from the path and our job is to find a way back. To find a way to overcome our troubles and find a reason to smile. True happiness does not come from the money that we can collect over our lifetimes. Sure, we can buy more things, but can we really buy everything? The same goes for power and respect. The times I have felt the best in my life and the times I felt the most well off was when I did a good deed, went above and beyond for someone else, or got goosebumps from seeing the reaction that someone else has from the assistance that I can provide. I don't need a thank you, a gift or anything of that sort, but simply a "I will also try to do the same things." Yes, pay it forward. The happiness in my life has always come from students, athletes, colleagues, friends, family and of course, God. I may not always be the most open about it all, but truly, when I get home it's all that runs through my mind. When most others have already gone to bed, I use the quiet time to think, to ponder, and to hope for the best for the loved ones around me. It's not enough that I can simply think of them, but I must continue to make an effort to be there for them, no matter how much energy I must expend in the process. I am not where near where I should be, but when evaluating myself tonight, I am progressing. I have hope that I can get there. As I walked through Disneyland with my friends, the crowds bothered me and it could have been easily to yell out and to allow it to ruin my day, however, when I look back on the entire day from class to the closing of Disneyland, I could only smile. As while there are so many things that are waiting to bring you down, a smile can be one of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal. As while darkness can overcome your life, your smile will be there to brighten your day and there is no better way to find that smile than to trust in the loved ones around you and put good character first in your lives. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 138]:~ The Life of a Gesture

~:[CH6 - Day 138]:~ The Life of a Gesture
I've always thought about how far a gesture can go. Sometimes, the simplest gestures become great things that you could never have imagined. Sometimes, you don't think twice about what you did, yet that same gesture means the world to someone else. Sometimes, what starts out as a thought, becomes something that changes your life forever. As I created each page of this book that I am making for my sponsor child for her graduation, I am reminded about how I just quickly decided to sponsor a child. It was ten years ago and I am not sure if I really thought about what it meant. I sent my monthly payment, wrote a letter, as we shared prayer requests back and forth. From when she was just a small child, to the graduate I will see again in a few weeks, I am amazed at how this grew into something that I believe has been one of the greatest joys in my life. When meeting with the family and project team,  I am inspired and my heart is full. To see them all smile makes me forget about what they do not have, as a pure smile is more valuable than most things that you can buy. As I created this book, I was reminded that the money and wealth you can have may open up doors and give you opportunities, but by the end of the day, it all means nothing when you can't smile, when you can't love, and when you can't soak in all of the wonderful emotions that exist in this world. As I rolled through class, ate dinner with the team and connected with some friends, I saw that sometimes the smallest gestures on your behalf can become the most priceless things you've ever created. I never dreamed that I would be so happy and excited about my sponsor child when I first started this program ten years ago, however, now I cannot even imagine my life without being able to provide for her and her family. What I have given to them has already multiplied and I am grateful every day that the timing worked out as it did. As while at times you may consider your gesture small, just be ready, because that seed you just planted will one day grow into something so amazing. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 137]:~ Records Made to be Broken

~:[CH6 - Day 137]:~ Records Made to be Broken
I was excited for today. I was pretty confident that the record would be broken even though there wasn't "race conditions" and even though we weren't training like normal. It's amazing that last year, we were scrambling to fill GFS spots, but this year, we had a slew of GFS athletes, a team who eventually won the title. I guess when you think about it though, records are made to be broken. I always see how the bar is raised every time someone betters a mark set previously. People strive to beat the previous mark and somehow, we find new athletes to top the previous marks, sometimes making it seem easy. If you combine these four athletes' PRs together, it would total 23:17 and while they did not run that mark, they still ran solid and broke the record. Sadly, it was our last running day of the season as we will begin to transition into other things, but when the end arrives, it also means that a new beginning is headed your way. It's an opportunity to strive for even greater things so that you can find out the potential that you have inside of you. Today a record fell, but if these athletes keep working at it, they'll find themselves shattering even more records, because with the right mentality and work ethic, they'll continue to improve and find themselves zooming by all of those athletes of the past, raising the bar for all those who come after them. Never settle and keep striving for greater things, because you definitely have the ability to get there if you really believe that you can.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 136]:~ Self Love

~:[CH6 - Day 136]:~ Self Love
There's a number of self-help books that cover the topic of self love. What is it exactly? I've never really been too much into the selfie game unless I'm snapping a picture with other people in it. I've taken selfies to remember what I wore on a day, but never really to show myself off to the world. What was I scared of? What was I running away from? I think one of the hardest things in life is to find the balance between yourself and others. You want to give and share with others, but also balance that with care and concern with yourself. On Sunday, I talked about how mothers tend to give so much of themselves and as amazing as it is, sometimes, it's not healthy for them to do that. As while giving is an important aspect of life, you must equally learn to receive especially when it's from yourself. We all venture on that road of self discovery. Who are we really? What are we all about? Why are we even here? When you learn to love yourself, you'll begin finding answers to those questions and then in turn, you'll be ready to love those around you. It's a tough thing to do. We're often too tough on ourselves, too critical, and really hold ourselves back at times, when in reality, we should begin to trust in ourselves, believe in ourselves and become the biggest cheerleaders for ourselves. Yes, like in all things in life, there are limits to what you should be doing in these cases, however, for many of us, we need to find it in ourselves before we will be able to grow enough to truly help those around us. I've still got a way to go before I get to where I want to be, but maybe this selfie is a good place to start. I'm far from perfect in this picture, but I'm perfectly fine with that, as it is in my confidence to take and post this that I inch closer to the perfection for which I aim. While I may never get there, at least I'll find myself learning to love myself more in the process and in turn, being able to love those around me more. What's not to love about that?

Monday, May 15, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 135]:~ Healing, Growing, Loving

~:[CH6 - Day 135]:~ Healing, Growing, Loving
The schedule threw me off a bit today, but it was actually quite nice. The Mondays are always a challenging thing to get over, but today, wasn't too bad at all. Today was filled with a mix of emotions with a few lows, but a lot more highs. With good news and the bad and a bit of a cold to fight, I sat down and turned to a bowl of soup for a cure. It's strange how in life that something so simple can make you feel a thousand times better. I would have been happy with just the broth of the soup, but as I drove home, I had a skip in my step and felt much better. Life always seems to be like a roller coaster ride and no matter how high you get, you're bound to head back down, even if ultimately, your destination is up. However, isn't that the process that we face? Isn't that life itself? The pain you feel sometimes is unbearable and makes you want to crawl up inside of a hole. You want to hide from the world and one day, just one day, you may consider climbing back out. While there are so many fancy treatments and medicines that may help you, your healing can being with something as simple as a bowl of soup - a word of kindness, a simple gesture, or even a smile. Healing is never easy, but after the pain, the healing allows growth and the growth allows you to love again. The scars will remain, but by the end of the process, you'll find yourself able to open up your heart and risk it all. Life has all its complexities, but sometimes, the simplest things can be the answer to your problems. Today it was a bowl of soup that has allowed me to heal, to grow and soon, will allow me to love again, as tomorrow is a new day as I set out with a heart and soul that is ready for all that is ahead.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 134]:~ The Love of a Mother

~:[CH6 - Day 134]:~ The Love of a Mother
I was not an easy child to raise. I was too quiet when I was little, but always making noise because I was always getting into trouble. A scratch here, stitches there, hospital visits and more. Even to this day, my mother has dealt with my antics and loved me endlessly. Through all those moments when you are young, you never rarely take the time to truly understand the importance of the love of a mother. I see the difficulty that is required in being a loving mother, as there is so much sacrifice and so much of yourself given that you rarely have enough energy for yourself (if any at all). While time and energy is sacrificed, the smile that is on the face of their mother when with child is unmatched and you always wonder why that's the case, even when their child is crying their eyes out. There are days where it's not easy and when voices will be raised, but in most cases, it's done out of love. I am forever indebted to my mother who has always given so much of herself to me and even more to those around her. She always has gone above and beyond and has taught me so much about caring for those around you, about having a loving heart and the importance of thinking of the needs of others, as well as your own. There are so  many great moments I have been able to share with my mother and I am grateful everyday for those, even the ones I cannot remember. As I cooked dinner tonight, I tried to put the same love and attention that she puts into preparing her meals, making sure that we are all satisfied and content. I am thankful for my mother, but also thankful to all those who are called mom, biological or not, as I appreciate all that you do to raise your children so that they live a successful life as an adult. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 133]:~ The Distance

~:[CH6 - Day 133]:~ The Distance
I woke up early and headed to Moorpark. I wish it was closer, but you deal with the cards that you are dealt. It was a lot warmer than I had hoped for in Moorpark and all did not go as I had hoped, however, after two qualifiers, a few PRs and some good challenge races, I had a great moment in my coaching career. Interestingly enough, it came when one of my athletes ran his worst time of his career; a time he had jogged faster all season in dual meets. As just a freshman, he struggled after his first race with the combination of illness, the competition and the heat. He didn't look good at all and before the 3200m, I thought it would be wise to pull the plug, but he kept saying that he didn't want to quit, even if he knew it wouldn't be his best race. He wanted to go out and give his all, even in his current state. I was impressed as I expected a survival story, but saw a freshman mature into someone greater. He battled through and hung with the pack through three laps and even came through at 5:00 at the 1600m mark, just off of where he was when he PRed. He faltered from there, but there was a reason he was smiling when he came back to the tent. He battled and didn't back down, even when everything seemed to point to taking a pass. He had the mentality to do what he could even if he knew that he had physical limitations. When he came back from his race, I couldn't have been more proud, even though it was one of his worst marks of his career. I thought that would be my best story from the day, but from the present, I got transported to the past. Directly from the meet, I jetted over to Long Beach for the wedding of my friend of twenty years. I cannot even believe it has been that long. We met at a cross country meet and my thoughts of her have not changed. She was an incredible person, with a big heart and one of the toughest people I've ever met. As an athlete, she tackled impossible odds and as a coach, she expected nothing less than the best from the athletes and never allow them to make an excuse or to give up. She made it tough on them, but in the long run, she made them into amazing people ready to tackle the world. Of course, tonight was made even more special as it was a reunion of sorts of some of my former distance athletes who I have spent so much time with and who I've kept in contact with. It was so special to seem them all, to catch up and to celebrate with them and Grace at a beautiful venue on a beautiful day. I stepped out to the waterway and smiled to myself before going back to see everyone, because I was reminded about how blessed I was. Everyone here tonight knew the battle that our distance freshman had today. There are days where you just don't have it, but much like Grace would push the athletes that celebrated tonight, he pushed through and battled to a victory that surpassed the time that will be recorded into history. They knew how tough those moments in life could be as they survived some of the toughest moments in our programs history, yet they knew that their tradition of an ohana could carry a program into the future, surviving even the worst of times. I'm just not so sure that they would realize that their impact would still be in effect nearly a decade later, as today, I saw the same spirit and same drive that I saw born ten years ago. It's strange how coincidences happen like how the connection between CIF today and the wedding in the evening would exist. If you really think about it though, maybe it's not a coincidence at all. but regardless, I know that whether it's tomorrow or twenty years more from now, I hope that I find that the distances we traveled together is exactly what bring us back together and that the love that we cultivate will live on for generations to come. Ohana. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

~:[CH6 - Day 132]:~ Just the Right Mix

~:[CH6 - Day 132]:~ Just the Right Mix
It's wonderful to have a good, dependable friend. The one who always has your back and always is down to spend time with you. It's also nice to have a mix of people around you who you can grow with in a range of capacities, as you try to balance the combinations in your own life. Sometimes too much of one thing or too little of another can throw off that balance, but there are those moments when you get that balance just right. One of my goals this year was to try and reach out to as many of my friends as possible to maintain the contact that I had with them as they have a special role in my life. They may not all overlap, but in some way shape or form, they have become part of that mixture that makes life so sweet and I hope that I can be part of that combination for them. With only a few left on the list, I look forward to expanding and also trying to continue to reach out to those around me who make life as grand as it is. It's strange as in life, you experiment to find the right mix, but at some point, you come across exactly what you were looking for all this time. For now, the mixture I found is just right and I hope to maintain that balance, as those around me are what make every day better. Sometimes I am stressed, at other times I'm lost, but in the end, I find a way to see all that is good around me and smile, because how can you not when life is this sweet.