Thank You

“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.”

-Octavia Butler

I spoke with my friend Rob recently. We were best friends for years, he was one of the Best Men at my wedding (I was lucky enough to have two). We were friends until we weren’t friends. A divide came between us,  a chasm that grew over time. I had no idea why. I blamed him for being too caught up in his own thing.

I was newly married and in love. We were in the honeymoon phase and although I missed my friend I had filled the void. The silence between us grew longer, each passing day adding to its mass.  The silence became a fact of life. That chapter had been closed.  I would probably never again speak to him.

Fresh out of prison and newly divorced led me to conduct a personal inventory.  There was a lot missing. One of the most glaring omissions was Rob.  I missed my friend.

I called him out of the blue, I believe he was shocked to hear my voice. I also believe he was happy to hear it.  We spoke for about an hour. I had always wondered what had happened between us and boy did I find out. Rob, being as insightful and articulate a person I know, laid it all out. I received the verbal equivalent of a punch in the stomach.

I had grown too self consumed, my arrogance and ego had skyrocketed. I had said one too many things that hurt his feelings.  He withdrew not because he was consumed with his own life, but as a means of self preservation. His best friend was behaving in such a way that was damaging to him.  He had to protect himself.

A best friend is one who you confide in, who knows your darkest thoughts, biggest fears and insecurities. They know your hopes and your dreams. They want to do anything to help you achieve them. They know your best of times and your worst of times.  They are the ones standing by you for both of them – especially the bad. A best friend is someone you can be yourself with, someone you can be vulnerable with.  I would trade-in all of my acquaintances for just one best friend.  I’m lucky to have two.

I had betrayed this relationship.  My arrogance, ego and greed had made me blind to my behavior. I was standing at the edge of a lake throwing boulders into the still water, thinking the waves that were created could never reach me.  I was a self centered ass who believed the blame lay on anyone but myself.  A narcissistic attitude of, “it’s not me, it’s you.”

I hung up the phone, tears filling my eyes, an anxiety attack dangling on the precipice.  I felt like shit that I had caused pain to my friend. I also felt joy that we were once again talking and that he had the courage to share his feelings with me. Which in turn made me feel like crap for being such a douche. A vicious cycle.

I replayed the conversation in my head, I listened to what he said. I looked within myself and it was as though a burden I had been carrying had been lifted. I could feel the unraveling of my self centeredness, the untangling of past attachments. I felt free, I felt lighter, my next steps were the easiest I had taken in years.  It was for lack of a better term and hopefully not sounding melodramatic, a life changing conversation.

The next time we spoke I Thanked him. I Thanked him for having the courage to share and for having such an impact on my life. For freeing me from the baggage I had carried for far too long. I will Thank him again. Thank you Rob, I am very fortunate to have you as a friend.

And I will take this opportunity to Thank all of my family and friends for everything that they have done for me during this time. I’ll call you all personally as well, a blanket “Thank You” on a blog seems a bit like a shortcut.

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.”

– Charles Dickens

So my 1% today is expressing Thanks to those who have been there for me, made an impact, helped me and supported me.

Thank you,

Craig

It begins now

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

― William Hutchison Murray

A year ago at this time I was in Federal Prison begging the hand of death to take me in my sleep. Contemplating how I could end my life while I was awake. I was consumed by darkness.

I sit now in my apartment in Brooklyn grateful to be alive and with the gift of a second chance at life. An opportunity to take a shitty situation and turn it on its head. To be the man I want to be. To live life on my terms doing what I love.

I’m going to share with you the details around my crime, my punishment, my gift of a second chance over time. This entry is my first step, this is my beginning.

I am so grateful for my second chance at life and have embarked on the journey of improving myself 1% a day.  This website is what will hold me accountable to that. This is about pushing myself outside of my comfort zones, about doing things that scare me, about helping those in need, about creating the best version of myself I can be. It will be an evolutionary process, but one with a few key objectives:

1. Add value to those around me

2. Live a meaningful and fulfilling life.

3. Live with passion

1% a day for an entire year = 365 Percent

“So live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”

― Viktor E. Frankl

I am nervous as I write this. Worried about what my family, friends and strangers will think about what I have written. I enjoy the act of writing, more appropriately, I love it. But I do not like sharing what I write. I am afraid to share, afraid of judgement, afraid of failing.

So I buried myself in the minutia of creating the site. The template, the background colors, the font, anything and everything to distract me from posting. And quite frankly to talk myself out of doing it. Using the rationalization that,

“I have to wait until it is perfect.”

I realized that this was the voice of Fear. I also realized I am sick and tired of Fear.

365percent.com won’t be perfect and neither will I. I will make mistakes and I will move on. So the layout, the template, the background colors may all change over time. My writing may change, hopefully getting better as I find my voice. But none of that is important right now.

What’s important is this:

Take the first step.  Begin it now.

In this age of over sharing, posting a blog entry may not seem like a big deal.  But it is to me.  Hitting the “Publish” button is going to take courage.  But the tide of fear is changing. I can already feel the relief of taking this step flowing over me.  As with most things in life, the triumph over fear far outweighs the fear itself.

So this is my 1% for today; doing something that scares me.

Craig