Thursday, January 24, 2013

Choose Life



      Starting over is never easy. 2012 served to be a very interesting year for yours truly. It has been a period of transformation, pain and growth. I was forced to deal with many issues that have been haunting me since childhood. When we choose to depress troubling emotions into the dark corners of our subconscious mind, they're bound to eventually surface. And surface they did.






            I have to be totally honest; making the transition from NFL player to Citizen Q has been very difficult for me. I've tried to find my niche' in society in a multitude of avenues over the years. I’ve searched for success in a construction company, a record label, a cigar bar, a stint in the mortgage business, mental health advocacy in addition to coaching high school, college and NFL punters. The most satisfaction has been helping young punters develop and helping people navigate through our bipolar gauntlet. Sharing, helping others ... most satisfaction. Go figure. There are no coincidences.

       Living with bipolar disorder for the last 16 years, I've learned that I have a propensity for the extreme. According to the theory of reincarnation and karma, my excessive lifestyle in previous lives is continuing to play out. The dramas I'm living out in this lifetime are simply a continuation of the evolution of my soul. Point being that I have some karma I still need to work through. Personally, I had enough of this cosmic tough love. It’s time to move on from this shit.

      For more on Bipolar Disorder, Reincarnation and Karma, click here : (http://holisticstressrelief.com/page10.html)

     Manic enthusiasm has been a blessing as well as my lifelong Achilles Heel. Moderation has never been one of my stronger skills. All or nothing. Go for broke. Be the best or nothing at all. This attitude served me well while playing professional sports. Well, kind of. The desire to be the best gave me the ability to excel at a very high level on the playing field. But with such high expectations, the pressure to perform led to very high levels of stress and performance anxiety. Not to mention having to play through injuries most of my career. One of my coping mechanisms was drugs and alcohol. And we all know where that path leads.

    The last year has presented many opportunities for my spiritual growth. To finally understanding what is important in life has been a painful blessing. I’ve been trapped in the material world. My levels of happiness and self worth were totally determined by my conquests. I had no idea who I was as a person. I had no idea what true friendship was. And I definitely had no idea of the concept of ‘unconditional love’.

    The niceties of The Matrix can be very alluring. The land of make believe that wants you to think that enough money, power and prestige will lead to happiness. Nothing could be further from the truth. The material world is a trap; an endless lie also known as the Ego.

    To this day I struggle with ‘staying present’. I often catch myself thinking about the life I had, the opportunities I’ve failed to take advantage of and the fact my unborn children would be in college if I had married when I graduated from Michigan State. This is my unquiet mind. I’ve been known to constantly replay mistakes and engage in ‘what ifs’ as if I could wave a magic wand and change my history. Dwelling on the dead past and/or imagined future is not only unproductive, it’s insane. All we have is the present moment. The quicker we realize this, the easier it is to move on and start living life.

     It’s been over a year of recovery since my last break. I’ve been forced to face my demons and adjust my lifestyle accordingly. A steady diet of acceptance, compassion for others, selflessness, humility and forgiveness (including myself) have been my recipe for success. Growth hurts, man. Realizing you’ve been doing it wrong for over 47 years is not an easy pill to swallow. The pain that I’ve endured has given me a profound reference point in the evolution of my soul. I can definitely say that I’m a survivor.

     I’ve been blessed with a very supportive and loyal family. It is during these times that you find out who your allies are. The true friends that are willing to accept you for who you are. I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that the clean-up after a crisis is difficult. But after the smoke clears, the cream rises to the top. New friendships are born. Old ones are rekindled. The rest just fade away.

     I think the message here is that it’s never too late to make a comeback. Knowing life is transient, the trick is to never lose faith in our ability to overcome adversity. Nietzsche said, “What does not kill us, only serves to make us stronger”. That being said, life is always going to present challenges. It’s on the darkest days that we learn the most about ourselves. If we look at ‘life as teacher’, we can break the chains of the blame game and finally realize that everything happens for a reason. There are no coincidences.

    I’m thankful for my newfound connection with my creator and thank him/her for the opportunity to uncover my true self. I’ve found that avoiding the trappings of materialism and finding a way to get outside of ourselves is the path to enlightenment. Extending unconditional love to all human beings and helping the less fortunate is the special sauce. It’s taken me over 47 years to finally get this … and I thank God every day for the wisdom gained from my journey.

Anyone who’s experienced crisis, anxiety and/or depression has been given a window to see what is really important. We can finally see the trees for the forest. This is why I share my experiences on this blog. First and foremost, it’s a tool for my recovery. Second, and most importantly, I hope that it gives others the strength to carry on.

We all have a choice…. Choose Life.

GM

Monday, January 7, 2013

Friends, Family and Lydia


         Last night I received the sweetest phone call from an old friend of mine. I attended Shrewsbury Boro Grammar School with Barbara McNeal (Speece) in the late 70’s. After a few interactions on Facebook, she called to tell me how much she appreciated our friendship. Barb, who lives in Michigan, is also my female Rottweiler Lydia’s Vet … always quick to give much needed advice and loving care to my beloved canine. During the call, we reminisced about growing up in New Jersey and all the fond memories we had in our adolescent years. I can’t tell you how much it moved me that she took the time to drop me a line. The timing was perfect.



           Over the holidays, I've received many kind texts and emails from those that are truly concerned about my journey. Many mentioned how I've touched their lives in one way or another. These are the times I cherish. Once again realizing that my I'm making a difference. It would be easy to throw in the towel. But the restructuring of my life is starting to pay dividends. I’m so thankful for those that have stuck by my side.

           I’m coming up on one (1) year of recovery since my last manic episode. I've been battling depression and anxiety since January of last year. Sobriety, active recovery, meditation, working out and a good diet have all contributed to my spiritual growth over the last 12 months. I’m reading a lot and have been actively blogging again…which is a good sign. But the work is never done. Recovery will always be a constant in my life.

          Probably the most satisfying aspect to this chapter of my life has been the new relationships as well as rekindled old ones. My new friends I've made through recovery groups, my family’s love that never wanes and my true friends that never stopped believing in me.

       When we go through tough times, it’s easy for people to put us in a box and write us off. It is these times that we really find out who our true friends are. I’ll be the first to admit that those of up from both poles need to avoid giving Bipolar and depression a bad name. If we slip into our old ways and fade into darkness, we usually have had a hand in the drama. Our Ego takes over; self-pity and righteousness run rampant.

       When manic, we can become frustrated when friends and family can’t ‘keep up’. Usually we have some valid points that we incessantly want to get across. But the tact, or lack thereof, could have been adjusted in one way or another. Even though we think we’re telling the truth, we must remember that the ‘truth without Love is just mean’.

        Most people with ‘unquiet minds’ can’t seem to turn off the ‘ass-kickin’ machine. When manic, the assault is on others. When depressed, the assault is on us. And as I've said before, the subsequent clean up is never pretty.

    Why do we find it necessary to dig up the past and figure out ‘what happened’ to us? And when our mania subsides, why do we find it necessary to beat ourselves up to the brink of suicide? Why do we always have the urge to dole out unsolicited advice; pointing out the faults in others when in reality when should be cherishing our many similarities? 

       These are questions that are answered when we come back down to earth. When we realize we’re all doing the best we can on our quest for happiness. Granted, some people are a little further along their path to enlightenment. And others show us signs that they have some things to work on or work out. But I now know that it’s not my job to play God and push them along their path. God has his/her plan for all and it’s up to me to let people evolve at their own pace. Acceptance, support and the showing of unconditional Love will not only contribute to my sanity, but to the harmony of all those I come in contact with on this planet.

     The moral to the story is that the human interaction that we experience with our friends and family is indispensable.  The support and Love we share will not only change our lives, but all those that we coexist with in the universe. We’re all in this together. And the sooner we take the necessary steps to unite and experience unity-consciousness, the more fulfilling our lives will be.

Thank God for Friends, Family and Lydia.

GM

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I AM Enough

      The ringing in of 2013 had a special meaning for me this year. For GHM Jr., 2012 was a very painful, yet enlightening year. I have to admit, while counting down the days to 12-21-12, I was really focused on spiritual growth. I can credit my always developing consciousness for that.

      The last couple months living in Colorado had given me time to reflect. Spending time with quality people and lots of animals(2 Llamas,1 horse, 32 Alpacas,  3 cats and 5 dogs to be exact) has been a blessing. I can feel my tether to Mother Earth growing stronger daily.

      It's not easy talking about failure. Having to spend 3 months in a rehabilitation facility for severe depression can be observed as a sign of weakness. I can't look at it that way. I'm growing. After 48 years on this earth, I continue to learn. Similar to waking from a bad dream, I've been forced to re-think how I conduct my life. Mind, Body, and Spirit. I'm learning that 'we win some and we lose some'. I get on my knees every day and thank God for the lessons that are paving my way to a higher state of consciousness. Man ... too many damn lessons .... and painful ones at that. Anger. Judgement. Resentment. Jealousy. Conditional Love. The list goes on. However, I'm now wide awake.

     So this is where I'm at ... the proverbial crossroads. It's up to me to choose the right path. It's never easy coming to the conclusion that I've been doing it all wrong in this game of life. Stuck for so many years. Trapped in the pattern of chasing external people, places and things for internal happiness.

    In my previous blogs, I've written about finding 'it' and never wanting to let 'it' go again. Easier said than done. For me, happiness and joy are some slippery suckers. When not careful, happiness and joy can slip out of our hands at a moments notice. And this slippage usually occurs when I lose my connection with the Tao, Source, God or whatever you want to call it.



     I'm reading a very insightful book right now called The Handbook to Higher Consciousness by Ken Keyes, Jr. It speaks of many addictive behaviors that we all have been programmed to do at a very early age. Breaking these habits are essential to spiritual growth. Unity is also a common theme. Having a subject-object mindset of 'them' vs 'us' keeps us trapped in the lower Three(there are 7 total) Centers of Consciousness that focus on Security, Sensation and Power. When we're constantly focused on satisfying the ego, never thinking we are enough, we set ourselves up for a ride on the Pleasure-Pain roller-coaster. When I finally figured out(again) that I AM enough, my life has become more fulfilling and much less stressful.

     The Fourth Center of Consciousness is that of Love. Having the ability to accept whatever anyone says or does and love them unconditionally is a very challenging task. But once mastered, we realize that life unfolds naturally.When we accept life on life's terms and look at all people as Beings of Light, we control our own destiny. I've said it before, 'Our pain is self-chosen'. Meaning ... we are what we think. Throw in the Law of Attraction and I've found the only person I can blame is the man in the mirror. Instead of blame myself, I choose to thank God for the opportunity to continue to grow.

    Obviously I'm a slow learner. I made some serious mistakes in 2012. And the clean up has been difficult. Losing friends, opportunities and my girlfriend of 6 years are some of the things I regret. But I must keep moving forward with my newly gained wisdom of 2012. I've been blessed with a rekindled relationship with my father. Totally accepting him for who he is .... warts and all. I'm talking regularly with my brother and sister. And my mother is always a breath of fresh air for me.Thank God for family.

    My path to enlightenment has had some undesirable side tracks. With a close connection to my creator and a true desire to love all humans unconditionally, I'm starting to see The Light again. Life is as much a test as it is a journey. We will always have our personal lessons to learn and Karma to work off, however I've discovered that it's how we react to adversity that shapes our lives.

    Let life happen. Avoid meddling with the Divine Order that will guide us once we 'let go'. Our purpose on this earth is to spiritually evolve. I've been blind to this for a very long time. Evolution is painful.... Thank God for pain.

GM