Category Archives: Inspiration

The Other Side of Fear

other_side_of_fearI friend of mine posted this image with a quote from Jack Canfield. For those of you that are somehow unable to read the quote, it goes, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

I couldn’t agree more.

I used to be afraid of almost everything important. I’m not talking about phobias or fears of “scary” things like snakes, spiders, scorpions, graves, darkness, heights or things like that.

I’m talking about fear of companionship, friendship, family, success, and giving over my heart to other people for them to do with as they wish. This fear paralyzed every relationship I had before they even started. The people I grew up with (mom, dad, grandparents, cousins, etc.) were already established in my heart. I had very little fear of them, but there was some. It was all on me, not them. They rarely gave me reason to be afraid, but I found reasons within myself to not want to be close to them. I couldn’t bring myself to trust them. Again, it was all on me.

Sometime in my sophomore year of high school, I met a wonderful girl a year ahead of me in high school. Her mother was our french teacher, and we shared that class together. She was always a friend to me. Early on in our relationship, I kept her at a distance. By this time in my life, my ability to do this was well-honed and sharp as a razor. I could easily cut someone out of my life without them even knowing what happened. Katie disarmed me with her kindness and warmth. My razor fell by the wayside and rusted so quickly, I didn’t realize it had done so. She brought me out of the iron casing I’d wrapped myself in. I was free of my protective, and restrictive, armor. I was vulnerable in the cold wastelands of high school.

This was not an overnight process. It wasn’t until I was near the end of my junior year (well over 20 months after Katie and I first met) that I peeked out the shell and found that happiness could be had. Sure, there was a chance to be hurt, but I had to take that risk. With it being the end of my junior year, I realized Katie was about to leave to go to college since she was about to graduate. Without her there to hold my hand in friendship and drag me through the painful birthing processes as I escaped the constriction of my armor, I felt lost.

I wanted to crawl back into my armor.

Then a girl I’d met through Katie called me out of the blue during summer vacation. She continued where Katie left off with kindness and friendly love. It wasn’t until years, perhaps decades, later that the glimmer of an idea popped into my head: Did Katie arrange to “hand me off” to Heather because they both knew I needed it? To this day, I’m not sure, but I like to think their secret conspiracy was for my betterment.

Heather introduced me to a whole slew of friends. I’d love to list them off here, but there are too many. I don’t want to do any of them the disservice of forgetting their names on my list of vital people that helped me grow strong after I cast off the internal supports of my distance from others.

During my senior year of high school, I made a decision. It was a hard one to make. I could still see my protective gear in the rear-view mirror of my past. It loomed in my shadow and demanded I return to its safety. My fragile, yet strengthening, psyche of what friendship meant wanted to flee to its protective coverings. I decided not to allow that to happen.

I turned my back on my past and swore to forge a new me.

I had moved past the barrier of fear that kept me from being the true man that I would eventually become.

The person you know today is nothing like the boy he was so many decades ago. The confidence I have in myself, the willingness to make friends, my drive to excel against all odds, and the compassion I have for others are due to the massive emotional efforts of Katie and Heather.

Almost everyone I’ve met since those distant days of high school has supported me and held me up.

The most important person in my life today that keeps me going on my path is my wife, Kimberly. It’s for you that I continue to strive to excel. It’s for our son that I want to make proud that I do what I do.

The point of all of this?

I’m certain you have fears as well. Again, I’m not talking about phobias or those strange things that go bump in the night. I’m talking about deeply internal fears of you build for yourself.

You can get past them. Perhaps not alone. Probably not alone. Find someone in your life you can trust and extend your hand. Ask for help. There are people out there willing to help you for as long as you need. It won’t be an overnight process, but you can do it. I know you can.

Work past your fears and get to what you want. Get to what you deserve.


Christopher Nolan — An Inspiration

Christopher Nolan was an Irish writer with exceptional talent, and a great desire to write. His drive to put words down on paper overcame the facts of his birth. He was born without the ability to move anything other than his eyes, and later advances in medicine granted him the ability to move his neck. With a stick strapped to his head, Nolan was able to write beautiful poetry, and even a novel.

Here are some quotes of Christopher in a NY Times article.

“My mind is like a spin-dryer at full speed, my thoughts fly around my skull while millions of beautiful words cascade down in my lap.”

“Images gunfire across my consciousness and while trying to discipline them I jump in awe at the soul-filled bounty of my mind’s expanse.”

These quotes are going on my Quotes Page for they deserve the company they’ll find on that electronic summary of what moves me.

Christopher was an inspiration to me in his life, and will continue to stand on that pedestal even in death. The world lost a great writer in Christopher this week at the age of 43. I can only hope to attain such lofty goals as he did in his short and rough lifetime.

I feel we have a little something in common, which lightens my heart even with the news of his loss. Here is a quote I once rambled off about myself and a friend of mine managed to write down for me.

“My ideas are brilliant sparks of light that illuminate the dark pathways of creativity just long enough for me to see my next step.”

Without my sparks, I feel I would be lost in a world of despair and darkness. I assume (safely, I hope) Christopher probably felt the same way.

You will be missed, Mr. Nolan. Thank you for what you brought into this world, and may you use all ten fingers (and toes!) on your next typewriter.


Arthur C. Clarke’s Last Vision

I read this article on CNN a while back, and it inspired me a great deal.

If Clarke and Pohl, with all their age-related disabilities, can produce a novel, then why can’t I? I’m young (my 35 years as compared to their 91 for Clarke and 89 for Pohl), healthy, intelligent, and creative. Other than a severe lack of time on my hands, there is nothing stopping me from producing quality writing. The lack of time issue can be resolved with less time in front of the idiot box, and more time banging away at the keyboard. Now that my vacation is over, I feel it is time to prune the idiot box time back and see what I can do with those extra hours that I will gain each week.

Am I ever going to produce work at the level of Clarke or Pohl? Maybe. I honestly doubt it. That glorious pair of writers have more literary ability in their toenail clippings than I have in my entire existence. I’m not bashing my abilities, mind you, but it’s like comparing the brightness of a distant star to Sol during Summer Solstice. Sure, I have brilliance and abilities, but it’s hard to see my light when standing anywhere near one of The Greats of fiction.

Rest well, Arthur. Your brilliance will shine on longer than you think it will.

Thank you, Frederik. Your Herculean efforts to bring us the vision of Clarke’s last glimmering light are greatly appreciated.