Life Is Not Complicated, stop and smell the flowers…

Many of us lead busy lives. We juggle careers, family and extracurricular activities while trying to pay bills, set up nest eggs, chase our dreams, raise children, perhaps care for aging parents all as we struggle to maintain our sanity in the process. Throw in a desire to exercise and (for many) meditate, worship and sleep and you can use up every second of your day. Thing is, while we are doing all we can to survive the day to-day grind and live up to our responsibilities, we neglect a basic human need: The need for affection. The need to love and be loved…One should never be too busy to take a moment to express a thought or loving word or share good news. These are the moments that link hearts. They are the ties that bind. ~Life Is Not Complicated: Flowers

I am not an overly sensitive person. I rarely (very rarely) wear my heart on my sleeve. This is an aspect of my personality few understand. I find it so interesting how many friends and family who, after reading Life Is Not Complicated, called me saying, “Now I know why you are the way you are!”. As if they had unearthed a secret that up until that point masked some kind of enigma! I did not know how to take these reactions at first! But most went on to explain that they just never quite got why (or how) I was so pragmatic about life; why I didn’t dwell on sadness, mourning, or why I was seemingly void of feelings or emotion under circumstances that would rattle most people. (First let me clarify: It is not that I am void of feelings. I just know that in order to overcome disappointment, we cannot be OVERCOME by disappointment. All about perspective). Some say they envied my ability to remain so focused, so resolute no matter what. Others, as I mentioned, just couldn’t grasp the notion. But it got me thinking. One of the best things about writing this book is, it forced me to look at my life through the eyes of those closest to me (And even through the eyes of people with whom I was only informally acquainted).  In examining my life up until this point, and after hearing some of the feedback I am reminded of the chapter entitled Flowers.
Let me preface by saying: I am definitely not one to let the opinions of others change me, shape me, deter me from my goals or otherwise affect me in any way I do not deem necessary for my personal growth. This is one of the guiding principles I write about at length in Life Is Not Complicated. However, having lost so many loved ones before reaching this level I do understand how important it is to have balance. Not that my parents, grandparents and Uncle Rube Earl ever doubted I loved them, but in the case of my Uncle Rube, I was so busy working on making him proud, I missed the opportunity to share my achievement with him. It’s as if I got so caught up in reaching the destination I neglected to visit while on the journey. To know you are loved, and to be shown love… two very different things. Sometimes, the latter gets lost in the busy shuffle.

Carlos Parents FlyerThat epiphany really hit me hard. And I had to remind myself, and I want to remind you, it does not have to be that way. Look I get it. We want so much in life. We do so much to accomplish even more and we are constantly going and thinking and planning and preparing and we have our eyes on this prize and we are reaching and running and dealing and grinding and our entire existence becomes as fast-moving and complicated and run on as this last sentence! And before we know it, we realize we missed out on some important moments, lost touch with “home base”, with what keeps us grounded and stable. And sometimes, we discover this sad fact too late.

I will never make excuses for working hard and being progressive and focused. It is who I am, and has gotten me quite far in this life. However, I acknowledge, there must be balance. What good will the fruits of labor be if you cannot share the feast with special people in your life? Or if you are too tired to even enjoy the trappings of your own success? You can have the drive just don’t forget to put it in park sometimes… take in the scenery, enjoy the moment. Don’t spend so much time chasing your future that you run over your present. Remember: “One should never be too busy to take a moment to express a thought or loving word or share good news. These are the moments that link hearts. They are the ties that bind”. ~Life Is Not Complicated: Flowers

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