Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Not Willing To Give Up On People

Today was an interesting day. I have been going through a few different things over the last little while. School, finances, my faith, my relationships and social life, my career aspirations, and pretty much everything except my family has become an issue as of late. It has been draining to say the least. However, with a little faith and putting God first, things have slowly been coming back into order. I don't know if I can really get into everything so I will try to sum up the best that I can.

I have been working hard to get a consulting internship for this next summer without too much success. I am not sure why that is the case but so be it. However I am a hard enough worker and aggressive enough to not give up at the first sign of opposition so we will see what happens. Either way I have already have had four different companies tell me no, one after a few interviews, and another my most likely option, but again for some odd reason I am hopeful. However, we were in a class today for advanced business writing and public speaking and in one of the exercises we needed to go in groups and explain in a minute who we are and what we want to do. Open to interpretation and not specific... I know. Annoying. At the end of everyone's presentations we had already chosen our group representative in advance because he had yet to present to the entire class but the interesting aspect was this:

Before we finished in our group, I decided that we needed to go around and give each other constructive criticism because our rep was having second thoughts and doubts. So I gave everyone honest and sincere feedback, first the constructive criticism and then a sincere compliment and afterwards asked for my own. It was a great exercise but the results were amazing. Our representative at first, although having a good story and relatively good use of gestures was unable to emotionally convey much of anything in his tone. But after talking about how to emphasize things and how if you smile more your tone naturally changes and how when he laughs or tells a joke his tone changes, it was amazing to see him actually present his minute speech. In fact, he won the competition. He did an unbelievable job. But the best compliment I got from the whole thing was before he ever presented the whole team looked at me and said that I fit consulting so well because that was exactly what I was doing and then to see him overcome his fear and succeed made me feel successful by helping to empower him to absolutely nail his presentation. It felt good. It felt really good.

As I said before though, I have been struggling a lot lately. I finally decided to ask for a priesthood blessing of comfort and direction and it said that I needed to read my scriptures more and seek inspiration. That through my faithfulness and by using the Atonement and attending the temple, I would be able to find the comfort and direction I needed. I must really be a piece of work but it's true. There are things I need to change right now in my life to get back on the right track and the best time to do them is now. And the amazing thing is that this was the third day in a row that I read my scriptures. It wasn't very long but it was enough. Today I read Doctrine & Covenants Section 6 and the verses that stood out the most to me I took a picture above to share.

On the flip side, I haven't been willing to give up on a specific girl I met up at the college lately. I trust her more than I have trust most people and I don't know why. She is super busy and flakey too but she has so many qualities that I am looking for and I enjoy spending time with her so much that I just accepted and dealt with that for a while. But I have been frustrated and annoyed and it finally got to a point where I decided to just talk to her about it. And the thing I found is that she is afraid. She is afraid her parents won't like the people she dates because in the past they would not approve and constantly point out their flaws. She is afraid of getting hurt and being disappointed. She is afraid of losing her friends and disappearing into a potential relationship. And she is afraid of committing to anything because she is unsure of where her life is heading right now since she is so close to graduation. She has plenty of reasonable and real concerns but after talking I feel and I hope that she won't let those stop us from getting to know each other better.

Challenges are bound to come up in life and how you approach them and how important people and things are to you will help you decide which battles are most important to you. And for me, I am willing to sacrifice and fight for people. I invest in people and I make them a priority in my life. I want to support and love others so that they can be successful, see their own value, be happy, and become better people. But to do that I have to be the right kind of person myself. I need to be someone that people trust: authentic, genuine, caring, and selfless. I am passionate about it and I am doing my best. I just hope that I will continue to get and make opportunities to not just talk about that but show it too, in all aspects of my life.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happiness = Family

I love those moments where you think of something and it gives you hope. Sometimes I can be down on myself or the situations I find myself in and I really shouldn't. I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to. Some opportunities close and others present themselves. In the end, everything will be alright though. God has a plan. I felt that at the temple this week when I went and worshipped there with a new convert. We talked about the plan of Salvation and how true happiness and the real purpose of life is centered around the family and the relationships and bounds that we foster and grow there. It is hard not to smile when I see how my extended family and how my brother have continued to grow their families and the happiness that children not only find in the simple things in life but in each other. Their accomplishments and successes bring us joy. The fits they throw over the littlest things sometimes bring a hidden smile knowing the future.

Maybe that is what God does with me when I throw my fits in life. In the long run, those moments are so small they may not have even existed and yet we are so emotional because of the sacrifices and investments of emotion and time that we put into things and into people. Children love you unconditionally. How you love them back isn't as important as that they can love you in their eyes some times. It is trust. I want that. I want to love like that. I want to be loved like that. Some day I hope I will be lucky enough and the world will be prepared enough for me to have a family. Scary thought... Still, it is where happiness and love and security are learned when we are centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have been richly blessed with the family I was born into and blessed to share in their successes and I share in their trials. We will continue to do it as we have always done... Together.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Moon Brings Clarity

This whole weekend was a long one and it is only halfway over too. It has been a rough start to the semester. I was caught on the east coast for Christmas unable to make it back for the first week of classes and so I have been running wild trying to get that done and have still been unable to. Then there was the pitch we made for the University Venture Fund. We were successful in securing funding for one of our investment companies for their Series D Round. It was a fascinating process but it took many long nights in a row, usually climbing into bed around 3:00 in the morning.

Then there was the books I read over the break and the people I have met since I have been back. It was a huge whirlwind of emotion and information. When I finally land on my feet I am with friends but I am alone. It is hard to explain. It is a process of both running away from where you have been but also running towards who you want and want to be. So I decided I would take a trip back to Provo and try to find myself among my memories and in a way I did.

Earlier I had caught up a bit with some close friends of mine that I have known for about 5 years now. I probably know them better than they know themselves and vice versa. It is something that you see in few friendships where you can cut through the surface and get to the heart of the conversation. My friend has carried things through her life for a long time as have I and we are able to work through them and talk about them together. But I had forgotten what that felt like. The ability to ask the right questions and see into someone's heart. The ability to reach out to help them realize that they are loved exactly how they are without having to use any words at all. The ability to put a smile on someone's face by helping them see the perfection within the imperfection that all too often is highlighted in the mirrors we have in life. And then afterwards to be able to do that whole thing again with one of their roommates, a perfect stranger. It is both a blessing and a curse. I would love to get know them better but as always my timing is never quite right and everyone I know seems to be struggling in one way or another - hard relationships, tough times, or broken hearts and broken engagements, etc.

Life is hard but there are moments of clarity. There will always be periods of time where we are stretched thin or brought to our knees but there are other times too that are moments full of peace and meditation. A sunrise or a sunset... Mine the other night was a full moon. Visiting those same friends, I was snowshoeing through American Fork Canyon. There was no lights or lanterns needed and as that full moon continued to rise higher and higher in the sky, its light shone on the glistening snow. Everywhere you looked, the shadows painted a picture of the sloping drifts. Light and dark mixed with a beautiful myriad of blue and grayish tones. Never before had I understood or ever seen real "glistening" snow. It was as if wherever you looked the sparkle or light of the very stars above had fallen and were now scattered around my feet. It was as if a peace of heaven surrounded me.

This was after I had made a choice. We were snowshoeing and not a whole lot of people brought the required gear, myself included. We had planned to cross a stream or two unknown to me but when we got to these areas, only a pair of the men in the group had boots so that they could stand in the water. However, that pair did not have the strength between the two of them to move the logs into place or were vocal or decisive enough to take up the part of the leader. Knowing that I planned to leave early and would have to cross later on my own, I decided to jump into the water as well. My tennis shoes got wet and my socks soaked and my pants would later freeze into the shape of bellbottoms, I stood freezing in the water helping people across. One of my friends whispered loud enough for me to hear,

"You stubborn ass. Your toes are going to fall off and I'm going to laugh." "Thanks Chuckles." "Honestly, you shouldn't be doing this." "You are probably right, but did you honestly expect to find me anywhere else?" "No. I guess not."

Although I was only being sarcastic and playful her answer carried sincerity. It's true. In my life I have made my fair share of mistakes and sadly, sometimes more often than not. I overthink things and I often am too strategic. I think 3 or 4 steps ahead and so instead of being in the moment I am working an angle to get where I want to be. But when sacrifices need to be made, I can rationalize things and can come up with whatever reasons I want to but in the end my friend knew me better than I did. I came up with my reasons after I had stepped into the water.

I don't know everything in life and I certainly haven't seen everything either. Honestly, I want to help people. What drives me is that I want them to succeed. I am willing to sacrifice or take on other people's pain so that they can be happy. Still, I feel blessed to have shared such a sight that I will never forget as the moon shone across that snow. I don't know if it was the beauty of it or the temperature but I forgot (or couldn't feel) how cold I was and instead just lived in that moment. It was a gift that the moon could truly bring such clarity to my life and that the experience could bring me back to me.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Heartbeats in a Lifetime

There are very few things that I found more amazing and miraculous than my anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics classes in my undergrad in mechanical engineering at BYU. If you think about the human heart, it is the perfect pump in every regard. It's steady, consistent flow is constant and continual for the length of a person's life. There are moments here and there that may cause the heart to slow, race, or even skip a beat from time to time but it typically never stops beating. It is because of this that we continue to live life each and every day and also why each and every day is a miracle and a gift. There are a million ways why or how a heart could fail and life could end but we have hope that has grown from waking morning after morning that we will see another day even though we will never know when our lives may end.

Think about the miracle of life for a second. An average healthy human heart beats 72 times per minute and an average adult will live to be 80 years old. Accounting for minutes, hours, and days over an average lifetime, this means that an average human heart will beat 3,027,456,000 during a person's lifetime. Think on that for a minute. Time is as continual as that heartbeat and we have on average 3 billion of them.

The heart is more than a miracle muscle. It is where we attribute love, compassion, fear, and most of our feelings. Where do we find the courage to tell someone something deeply personal or impactful? Where do we hide the words we are too afraid to say aloud? Where do passions or sacrifice originate? Where are our desires born inside us? Where does the soul reside when it is not seen through our eyes? Is it pure? Is it strong? Is it broken? Sometimes I wonder if there is someone out there that their heart beats for me. There is so much I do not understand or am unable to explain but I can say this: Through the experiences I have had in my life, I have come to know that the heart is both a miracle and it is wonderful.