Posts Tagged With: perspective

New Eyes

I just completed 10 weeks of my fitness regimen and here’s my obligatory BEFORE/AFTER photo. 😉


After dropping 10 pounds in the first few weeks, I’m now at the place in my training where I’m working on gaining muscle mass. This almost seems backwards in a world that spends so much time, energy and money on LOSING weight. So I’ve had to change my perspective of what it means to train, my overall definition of healthy living and recognize that my success, failure or whether or not I should feel satisfied, is not found in the constantly changing numbers on a glowing digital scale.

Take a look at my photo again real quick.

Understand that I didn’t put up this photo hoping people will say something like, “Hey, great job, Riis!” or “Wow, you look fantastic!”. No.  This photo is up because I want to point out a few of the obstacles that sometimes prevent us from celebrating every success… big and small. See, I wouldn’t look at this photo and see success. While others may see the result of commitment and determination, what I see is all the work (at least in my head) that still needs to be done. I feel the weight of where I want to be and the hard reality that I’m still not there. I want  you to understand that even after considering my progress, I’m still struggling with feelings of dissatisfaction. I wrestle with feeling like I messed up somewhere or that I’ve fallen behind or that I should have hit some ridiculous milestone…  and that I’m failing.

But I’ve got new eyes.

And these eyes show me that every morning I wake up is a victory. Whether I complete 2 push-ups or 200… it’s a victory. Spartacus workouts, 5k hikes, 45  minutes of hardcore cardio on a spinning bike… the fact that I’ve done any thing at all, is a victory. So when I’m tempted for some bizarre reason to pick up those old, negatively-tainted eyes, I look at a picture like this and remind myself that I’m one step closer than I was the day before. 🙂

Categories: fitness, health, personal, photos, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Empire

There are days when I look at all of my responsibilities and my life feels justifiably overwhelming. Being an eternal optimist, I often analyze and rethink my approach to some things in order to actively change my perspective. So last night, after going over everything that is on my plate (of responsibility, that is), I decided to give myself permission to embrace these responsibilities as an asset, looking at them in a positive light instead of rejecting them as a liability and seeing my life as full of burden.

That being said, I’ve decided that I AM THE HEAD OF AN EMPIRE.

Okay, I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out! Here’s the definition…

em-pire (noun): an extensive operation or sphere of activity controlled by one person

Now let’s look at the extensive operation and sphere of activity that I control…

  1. I am a husband and father of 5 (soon to be 6) children. In this role I am the primary Financial Planner, Head of Security, Sibling Mediator, Home Renovation Supervisor, Academic Counselor and Chief Life Strategist. (Direct Staff: 7)
  2. I am the Music Director for the worship team at my church. As the keyboard player, I perform every Sunday, presiding over 3 other musicians who look to me for musical changes, and giving vocal and visual cues to 5 singers. I teach all new songs to the group and I’m currently in the process of recording and producing the team’s first commercially viable worship album of original material. (Direct Staff: 9)
  3. I am a Program Analyst. I work for a non-profit assisting children and families affected by violence and abuse. Specifically, I’m part of a nationally recognized program that encourages fathers to become more involved in the lives of their children. I’m a member of the Program and Policies cluster in charge of determining program direction and growth. I’m responsible for processing intakes for all clients (last fiscal year there were more than 700). I’m also a key member of the Conference and Training committee. (Direct Staff: 4, Indirect Staff: 10)
  4. I am a Writer. I’m in varying stages of completion on 3 novels. I’ve actively participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2002. I maintain two active blogs (on Xanga and WordPress). And I have an extensive collection of original poetry and short stories. (Direct Staff: 1, Indirect Staff: 1)
  5. I am an Entertainer. Wearing the Singer-Songwriter hat, I’ve written well over 600 songs to date. Some of which have been featured in various media. I’ve been a studio singer for several movies, TV shows and commercials. Wearing the Actor hat, I’ve had leading roles in local stage productions, bit roles in film and TV productions, and puppet plays at home. (Staff: 1)

And that’s only a partial list. Altogether, I influence the lives of 32 people, coordinate services throughout Los Angeles County, and make decisions involving multiple industries, including religion, finance, social services, education, and entertainment. I certainly think that qualifies as an empire.

This is my EMPIRE!

So instead of seeing all the things that pull on me, keep me exhausted and then being upset over it, I think about the fact that I’m being trusted to manage this complicated life machine and keep it running. And you know what? I think that’s pretty awesome. (now if I could only find a nice comfy bed)

So… tell me about YOUR empire?

Categories: opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DOVE NOTE #9: Perspective

You know… perspective is a fascinating thing.  It can affect your entire outlook on life.  While at the place I worked previously, I would often tell my wife, “It seems like whenever I look up, I’m back at work” and it was depressing. :-/ I could never live in the moments that I spent at home with my family because whenever I was home I was thinking about being at work.  I know that this was due in part to the fact that work life was EXTREMELY stressful. And as much as I tried not to bring it home with me, I would fail… miserably.

But ever since starting my current job, I think and see differently.  Now I smile and say, “You know honey, all I do is blink and I’m back at home.” 🙂 I relish in the moments that I’m at home and enjoy every second.  For a while, I used to say, “I turn around, and here I am back in bed with you” 😀  It may seem like a small thing, but I tell you, perspective makes all the difference in the world.

Categories: Dove Note, Series | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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