Month: January 2014

And I’ll do my part.

My name is Christopher Simkonis.

I live my life by a simple set of guidelines.

 

The primary set comes from Jesus Christ.

 

Feed the hungry

Give drink to the thirsty

Clothe the naked

Shelter the homeless

Visit the sick

Visit those in prison

Bury the dead

 

The secondary set is my own list.

 

Express gratitude.

Cultivate optimism.

Avoid over-thinking and social comparison

Practice acts of kindness

Nurture social relationships

Develop strategies for coping

Learn to forgive

Increase flow experiences

Savor life’s joys

Commit to your goals

Practice spirituality

Take care of your body

Do Your Part

Every single day, I try to remind myself of one compelling fact that I have come to learn about life. That fact is that you create it. It is a simple but misunderstood truth, and it isn’t going to change. We are all born with free will. We create our lives. If we want to be loved, we need to start loving others. If we want people to be faithful to us, we have to faithful to others. If we want patience, we have to show patience to others. We can be the change that we want to see in the world. And that is something that no one can ever take away from us.

If you want to be okay with who you are, then start being okay with who everyone else is.

Find yourself, know yourself, and believe in yourself.

Because if you can’t, how can you expect anybody else to?

Purpose? Yeah, I have one.

To love. To change. To listen. To speak. To learn. To live.

To make damn sure that every person that I meet is affected positively by me.

How do I do it? How can you do it?

Start now.

Be honest and genuine in everything that you do.

Forget what your parents told you, forget what your friends tell you, forget every piece of media you have seen that’s aimed at controlling you to believe anything you don’t truly believe in. Go outside of your comfort zone, meet people, ask questions, and find out for yourself what your purpose is. Live on principle. You can take control of your future by being true to yourself, and by being true to others. Do not ever think that you aren’t good enough, or smart enough, or creative enough, or beautiful enough to do something extraordinary. All you need to do is listen, learn, speak, and then act; to make our community a place where you’ll want to raise your children, and give them a template for how to raise theirs.

Today I challenge you to convince people that you’re genuine by the fire in your eyes, the passion in your voice, and, most importantly, the smile on your face.

The Key to the Kingdom

I believe that I can now say, with some confidence, that, at 24, I am truly living the life of a musician and writer. And it feels good.

I wouldn’t even say that I planned it to be this way. It’s one of those things that just feels right, that just feels like Christopher.

And I’m happy. I truly am.

I have about a dozen songs that I’ve written over the past several months, and I’m working on recording demos of them so I can get ‘Lori & the Gorillas’ off the ground. I know that all of the effort will pay off once it’s done and I can start playing shows again.

But things are moving forward. I’m looking towards the sky more often. I hold my head up higher nowadays. I’m working towards the life that I want, and being with the people I want to be with. It’s all coming together.

I’m still working on figuring out my finances so I can go return to school. I know that it’s going to take some time but I have plenty of patience and faith in the future.

Things may seem out of control sometimes.

But life is good great.

To Be Human

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakableviolence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.”

62

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Surely they intend to topple me
from my lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.
Do not trust in extortion
or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.

One thing God has spoken,
two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
according to what they have done.”

Grace, and your role in it.

Whenever I hear older people, usually males I see at the donut shop or in public square, making dirty jokes or commenting about how a woman looks or is dressed, I say something about it. I don’t just shrug it off or laugh with them or agree. I look them right in the eye and say, “really? did you really just say that? that’s messed up.”

I do this for a number of different reasons.

1. I am absolutely sick and tired of people who are rude, disgusting, and perverted. If you want to talk like that, you can go home and sit in front of your television and say whatever you want to it. But don’t do it in public, to complete strangers, or when you’re around me.

2. These are human beings you’re talking about. Why are you trying to degrade, patronize, or humiliate them? What are you honestly getting out of it? Is it the shock value? Cause I’ll tell you, it’s pretty shocking; shocking and completely uncalled for. And it has no place in any environment!

3. I want to make sure that if I ever have a daughter, she won’t ever have to be subjected to this kind of harassment, intimidation, or humiliation. And I want to know that I did my part during my generation to try to get rid of this backwards, ignorant, and downright demented way of thinking and treating women.

I want to make sure I’m doing my part to make this world a better place. And if that means standing up to someone who’s older than me and putting them in their place, I’m willing to do it. Your time is over, those days are long gone.

If we want our children to be treated with respect, we had better start treating other people’s children with respect.

If you want to change the future, start now, and don’t ever stop.

Self-Reliance

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in Self-Reliance, said

“Imitation is suicide. Say what is true for you and every heart will respond to that iron string.”

Long ago, I made a personal commitment to cast as much light as possible on other people. I felt that there must be a God out there because I sensed the power of natural beauty and human beauty blended together.

Because the lesson to be learned here is to live well for today, for yourself, and for your family.  Do not simply hope you will live for what you leave behind. No one lives forever. Legacy’s aren’t eternal.

How do you live for today?

We’ll break it down into four parts.

 Add value to everything you do.

Be as self-sufficient as possible.

Form a viewpoint on key issues and make your voice heard.

Criticize others sparingly.

The ‘Real World’ Excuse

At 24, my eyes are more open now than they have ever been. I’ve come to realize a lot about the world, and a lot about the true nature of individual human beings. I was told, like many people are, that people aren’t to be trusted; that there is this thing called ‘The Real World,’ and that people in it will cheat you and steal from you; a place where people will use you for everything you have and lie to your face about it. I was told to look out for only myself in that world, and that to stay alive and well in the dog eat dog world we live in, I’d have to only worry about myself.

Then, I slowly but surely realized that none of that is true. The real world is whatever you make it, and, if you take it for what it is, and if you look at the world around you taking no precepts to what it should be, it’s an extraordinarily beautiful place where people are good, honest, and helpful. Like anything else, if you look for the bad in the world, you will find it. And the same is true if you look for the good. But I truly believe that even if you don’t look for the good that you will find the good. You will see that the world has so much to give to you, and is full of things that deserve our appreciation and humility.

The warmth of the sun on a windy day. The absolutely wonderful explosion of color seen on every mountainside in Pennsylvania. The unbelievable amount of diversity in every city across the United States. The fact that no matter where you go in the world, you can build friendships, choose to do what you would like to do, and the only thing on this planet that’s stopping you from being exactly who you always wanted to be, is you.

All you have to do is find out who your true self is. But that’s just the beginning. Now go out and let everyone else see and appreciate who you are. Not just for your sake; but for the sake of everyone else. It’s the least you owe to the world.

The Lighthouse

“We must never cease from exploring. In the end, all of our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.”

-T.S. Eliot

On a dark and stormy night, the captain of a ship at sea received a frantic wake-up call.

“Captain, captain, wake up.”

“What is it?”

“Sorry to wake you, sir, but we have a real problem.”

“What is it?”

“There’s a ship in our sea-line, several miles away, and they refuse to move.”

“Tell them to move.”

“We have, sir. They just won’t move.”

“I’ll tell them! Move starboard 20 degrees.”

The signal returned, “Move starboard yourself, 20 degrees.”

“I can’t believe this,” roared the captain. “Who is this joker? Does he know I’m the captain? Tell him who I am!”

The signal goes out, “This is Captain Horatio Hornblower, the 26th, commanding you to move starboard 20 degrees, at once.”

The signal returns, “This is seaman Carl Jones, the 3rd, commanding you to move starboard 20 degrees, at once.”

“I can’t believe this. What arrogance. We’re a battleship. We could blow them out of the water. Let him know who we are!”

“This is the mighty Missouri, flagship of the seventh fleet.”

The signal returned, “This is the lighthouse.”

I challenge you to constantly study your direction of travel in your personal life and in your career and check for alignment between where you’re going and your “true-north” principles. Apply this test to your personal life, yourinterpersonal relations, your managerial work, your leadership, and your organization. By doing this regularly, you will start to build a culture that aligns itself with principles and with a common vision and mission. Things will fall into place, and failure will not be something you will ever have to face.

Purpose

I am only one, but I am one;
I cannot do everything
But I can do something.
What I can do, I ought to do
And what I ought to do
By the grace of God, I will do.

 

Did you ever just suddenly get the impulse to tell someone how awesome you really think they are? That’s my life; That’s how I feel most times of the day.

For most of my adult life, I’ve heard people complaining that the only thing that separates man from animals is that we’re conscious of our own eminent death. But I’m saying forget that. I’m here to say that what separates humans from animals is not the fact that we know that we’re going to die, but the absolute truth that we’re so conscious of the fact that we’re alive. We see, feel, touch, and smell, we have feelings, and feelings about those feelings, we care about people around us and want to be loved and held and cared for. We are so aware of the life in us, that it is impossible for someone who has faith to be pessimistic about the world around them. We can always see hope in life, love in hope, and life in love. Or at least we can always keep trying to see it. Not just for ourselves, but for our brothers, sisters, and children, and for every other living creature on this planet.