My Friend Steve:
I met my friend Steve in a park on the west side of Chicago in a rougher neighborhood at a homeless feeding. I was on the street at the time and passing through the city riding freight trains to the west coast of the United States.
Steve was 17 and told me he had been running away and riding trains since he was 14, but something always brought him back home.
Several months after meeting him in Chicago We ran into each other once more in a soup kitchen in Portland Oregon. It would be like this for several more years even after I got off the street. Steve was fearless, I remember getting pictures of him from India and Nepal trekking to Everest base camp. After going back home for a summer he had gotten a job and saved up just enough money to fly to India and Europe.
Over the years I would run into him in the basement of the University of North Carolina library in Asheville. According to him, the library had the best calculus book he had found and he would sit in the library studying it. His goal was to teach himself to build and program synthesizers. He was obsessed with Electronic music.
One evening I found myself in the basement of the same library at the University I would run into Steve.
Hopping on a computer I scrolled through some social media messages until I came across one that stood out. It was a message from someone back when I was on the street. Reading further my heart sank. Steve was dead, not just dead, he had killed himself.
I was devastated, a lump in my throat formed as my mind raced into a blur of confusion, shock, and grief. I knew Steve had been running from something just as I had when I was on the street, but where I had chosen to turn around and get help he had failed to face the monsters he had been running in circles from, and now he was gone.
Strive for greater alignment:
How are the decisions you are making in your life aligning to your goals?
What adjustments can I make to align closer?
‘A house built on rock can weather any storm but one built on sand will wash away ‘
No matter the outcome we may have in our minds, the decisions we are making every day are what get us there.
The problem for many of us isn’t that we aren’t taking action. For many of us, it’s the foundation we move from. Our habits and choices affect the quality of action and balance we create.
When we experience trauma or adversity the gap between us and hope can feel like a chasm but hope often is the “why” so many of us are desperately searching to move from helplessness to help ourselves.
According to Anthony Scioli and Henry B. Biller Authors of the book ‘Hope In The Age Of Anxiety’ Hope is linked to three vital needs
- Our relational patterns and experiences
- Our Talents, Goals, and sense of Purpose
- Trust, yearning, instinct, drive. Turning fear into determination as a motivator.
- Transmuting the energy of fear into motivation and determination to move forward.
For many of us, we can become so focused on the outcome that we get stuck in our blind spots, old patterns, and programming, how we see ourselves, and messages about ourselves we’ve been made to believe. These blind spots and unconscious ways we see ourselves must be brought to the light, felt, seen, and rewritten for us to welcome in the new life and version of ourselves we are striving for.
Often we find ourselves turning our gears and repeating the same mistakes and problems.
Many times this takes having a new experience that shatters the old belief and often times this means taking a risk that can feel scary and threatening to our old identity
A recipe for realignment:
- Disconnect / Set Boundaries
- Step away from your routine
- Have some fun
- Do something for yourself
- Make a change in your environment
- Disconnect / Set Boundaries
- Ground / Be Your Own Authority
- Seek out and employ new techniques to clear your mind, reset your energy and come back to your body and the present moment
- Spend time in nature / Forest Bathing/nature and neuroscience
- Disconnect from your device
- Heart Math
- ReConnect / Take Action
- Come back with a fresh perspective
- Make a change
- Implement new habits
- Set New boundaries
- Start Slow
- Start Small
- Grow habits Create momentum through small achievements, Dopamine, and rewards
Listen to yourself / Be your own authority:
People will try to tell you who you are, where to go, what to do, and how to live your life
But only you can determine what is possible and what you are capable of and it starts by developing that relationship with yourself.
The more you listen to yourself the more your inner voice and compass get stronger and the more you trust your own decision making
The more trust and confidence you develop the more power you have to discern and direct the flow of your life and the better boundaries emotionally you can create with people
Often times when we restrict access to our energy the people around us who are used to getting our energy relating to us or interacting with us in a certain way can get mad hurt or try to take it from us without our consent through manipulation and often times these reactions are unconscious and speak to a greater unfulfilled need that the person has. Many times the energy you give or the way you interact relate or just are can become a crutch for others and people start to rely on this way of being to fill a space in their life that they haven’t worked on or have not figured out how to fill. But when we pull our energy back and direct it in our own lives for our own use we become an example and stop being a crutch or a punching bag or someone to take from. We go from being the victim to the victor.
- What happens if I’m scared they’ll retaliate?
- What do you look for from others that you can give to yourself
- What do others look for from you?
- Does providing this to others help you?
- Does it hurt you?
- Watch how you spend your time
- What habits do you have
- Who do you hang around
- What media do you consume
- Messages about yourself
- Other people
- And the world do you expose yourself too
- How Does it Make You Feel?
‘And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.’ ` Anais Nin
Taking action is always the scariest part. We can prepare and prepare and prepare but until we take that risk of being seen heard witnessed whether it is sharing about our trauma, trusting someone with our love, or going after something we’ve always wanted to do the chance that it might not work out or that we will be rejected and retraumatized can seem daunting. Brain science shows that our experiences create neural pathways and when negative experiences impact our lives continuously our brain begins to become hardwired towards those negative experiences, how we’ve created them, and what they feel like, it tricks us into recreating them as a way to keep ourselves safe but it is precisely recreating and doing the same thing over again that keeps us stuck.
‘Insanity: Doing the same thing over expecting different results’
When we begin to make decisions that challenge how we’ve known things to be or how we’ve experienced life we give ourselves not only the opportunity to experience a new outcome and create new neural pathways but also a chance to observe how our decisions truly impact our life and learn from the situations and people around us.
Jeff Spiteri is an author of the unpublished book ‘The Bridge Within’ a memoir chronicling his experiences as a homeless young adult riding freight trains around the United States and the childhood trauma he uncovered along the way. Jeff is proud to use his voice as an instrument of influence, guidance and impact with young adults and educators sharing his experiences and tools for resilience and healing.