Graduation Day

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20110506-100758.jpgThis morn­ing I will be grad­u­at­ing with a Master’s of Arts in Inter­na­tional Rela­tions. Through­out the pro­gram I had no inten­tions of walk­ing in a cer­e­mony because I wasn’t excited about the accom­plish­ment. Don’t get me wrong; I am very excited about the edu­ca­tion and mov­ing on to a PhD, but at a cer­tain age I think we begin to not want atten­tion on our mile­stones. It’s almost like turn­ing 30. After that birth­day you really aren’t excited about telling peo­ple how old you are.

All of this changed one day recently when I thought about the fact that my son will be there to see me grad­u­ate! Sud­denly, not only was I excited but I was finally proud of my accom­plish­ment. It’s amaz­ing what chil­dren do for us. In many ways this was a trans­for­ma­tive moment.

He won’t under­stand what’s going on around him; he’s only four months old. Nev­er­the­less, hav­ing him there is one of my proud­est moments. I’m con­fi­dent that the pride I’m feel­ing today will be dwarfed by the pride I will feel when he takes his first step, or when he says his first word.

I’m look­ing for­ward to putting my cap and hood on him and tak­ing pic­tures of my future grad­u­ate. The accom­plish­ment is as much his as it is mine.

Posted in: Family

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I Died Last Night

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I died last night.
I closed my eyes and took one last breath.
Gasp­ing, try­ing to hold on.
Only to real­ize that there was noth­ing to hold on to.

The world I wanted to stay in wasn’t real.
It was a façade made up to make me feel as though I was in con­trol,
As if I were the cap­tain of my soul,
With the world fig­ured out and the answers in my clutches,
But if that were so I would not have had to die!

You see, my death was nec­es­sary.
It was the only way for me to escape a false real­ity built upon mis­con­cep­tions, lofty ideals, and ideologies.

What I thought I knew, and built mon­u­ments around, was destroyed at the time of my death.

I tried des­per­ately to hold on because dying is painful– don’t let any­one fool you.
Let­ting go of the world you grew in, lived in, thrived in, and pros­pered through is as painful as real­iz­ing that you can’t breathe; your nos­trils are blocked and your mouth is shut; no air; chok­ing, gasp­ing, strug­gling; only to find that the more you strug­gle, the faster you slip away into death.

I died yes­ter­day.
I closed my eyes and took one last breath.
And as I said good­bye to my old life,
I said hello to a new world, full of new thoughts, new ideas, new pos­si­bil­i­ties, new per­spec­tives, a broader world view; a brand new life.

But then I real­ized– by the time I build mon­u­ments around this new world,
It will be time for me to die again.

I died last night, and tomor­row, I’ll prob­a­bly die again.

Posted in: Poetry

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Resting in Who You Are

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So often I find myself in the dri­ving gear—always push­ing and try­ing to get to my des­ti­na­tion. Although both drive and pas­sion are nec­es­sary for suc­cess, too often we get caught up in the hus­tle and bus­tle of try­ing to be suc­cess­ful. It’s in these moments that we begin to lose our­selves and begin to stray away from our orig­i­nal pur­pose. It’s in times like these that we begin to work for the sake of work­ing instead of work­ing to ful­fill our pur­pose. I real­ize that I’ve been work­ing just to work—focusing so hard to get ahead that I’ve lost track of what I was orig­i­nally try­ing to accomplish.

I had the chance to speak with a very suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man and com­mu­nity leader today. I was so impressed by him that I asked if he ever con­sid­ered run­ning for office. With all of his con­nec­tions, expe­ri­ence, and pos­i­tive accom­plish­ments I sug­gested that he would be a sure win. He looked at me and said, “I’m well known through­out this state. I have thou­sands of peo­ple who sup­port me. I can raise mil­lions of dol­lars in a few months—but I’m not inter­ested in run­ning for office.”

When I asked why he con­tin­ued, “I won’t run for office because I’m suc­cess­ful. The rea­son I am suc­cess­ful is because I am doing what I am doing what I am gifted to do.” Then he made the most pro­found state­ment: “I’m rest­ing in who I am.”

This is my new motto. I am rest­ing in who I am. I am rest­ing in what I do. The hus­tle and bus­tle of try­ing to make some­thing hap­pen only takes you away from who you are. We shouldn’t try to be suc­cess­ful, we should just try to be the very best that we can be.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t work hard. No. We should work extremely hard. But there is a dif­fer­ence between work­ing hard at try­ing to be suc­cess­ful and work­ing hard at being the very that best you can be.

When you rest in who you are all you have to focus on is how to become bet­ter at what you do. When you rest in who you are you don’t have to chase oppor­tu­ni­ties or try to force any­thing to happen—your gift will make room for you. There is peace in rest­ing in who you are because you don’t have to try to be any­thing but what you are nat­u­rally. You still find peace even when you have to push your­self to learn more or to develop your skills more because all that you are doing is becom­ing a bet­ter you. It’s free­dom: free­dom from hav­ing to be any­thing other than what you were meant to be.

I’m done chas­ing suc­cess. From here for­ward I’m rest­ing in who I am. Care to join me?

Posted in: Inspiration

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America is Still Beautiful

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Our nation is phe­nom­e­nally won­der­ful and amaz­ing. Do we have our bad days? Absolutely. Do will still suf­fer from big­otry, hatred, and other social ills? Unques­tion­ably. Nev­er­the­less, our infighting—our fam­ily bickering—has never been able to divide us to the point from which we can­not unite under the same star span­gled ban­ner. Just like any other fam­ily, Amer­ica strug­gles with inter­nal issues that those on the out­side seek to cap­i­tal­ize on. Nev­er­the­less, when the call of patri­o­tism goes forth some­thing amaz­ing hap­pens. We are instantly trans­formed into some­thing more than indi­vid­ual cit­i­zens of a divided coun­try. Our nation goes through a meta­mor­pho­sis right before our very eyes: black & white, red & yel­low, brown and oth­er­wise fade away; party affil­i­a­tion sub­sides; labels become irrel­e­vant; and all that remains is Amer­ica, the beautiful.

Our nation is still beau­ti­ful because not one page in our often dif­fi­cult past is ugly enough to wash away the beauty of our pur­suit for a More Per­fect Union. Our nation is still beau­ti­ful because we, her cit­i­zens, still know that this is the great­est coun­try in the world; and for all of her chal­lenges, there is no other place we would rather be. Our nation is still beau­ti­ful because she has planted a seed of patri­o­tism deep inside each of her chil­dren that never ceases to blos­som each time storms threaten to rain down on her.

This is where her beauty lies. It resides so deeply inside of each of us that, even dur­ing a period in which we feel that we can be no more divided, an Amer­i­can vic­tory still evokes spon­ta­neous cho­ruses of, “My coun­try ’tis of thee, sweet land of lib­erty, of thee I sing.” No mat­ter how much we fight and argue, Amer­ica is still beau­ti­ful because there are hun­dreds of mil­lions of patri­ots that would proudly stand together to defend her.

Amer­ica is still beau­ti­ful because she has never lost her beauty; and as long as the blood flows in the veins of unlikely com­pa­tri­ots, we will always be will­ing to shed that blood side by side so that our chil­dren will have the oppor­tu­nity to sing as we did:

Oh beau­ti­ful, for spa­cious skies, for amber waves of grain. For pur­ple moun­tain majesties, above the fruited plain.

Amer­ica, Amer­ica, God shed His grace on thee, and crown thy good in broth­er­hood, from see to shiny sea.”

 

Posted in: America

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Family Day

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I grew up in a large fam­ily. I have three sis­ters and two broth­ers. My par­ents raised us all so there were many days when all eight of us were at the din­ner table talk­ing about the hap­pen­ings of the day. I con­sider us to be closely-knit; how­ever, in recent years I’ve noticed that we really don’t spend much time together. The major­ity of us live less than 20 min­utes away from each other, yet we may only see each other once a month. What’s more we don’t talk on the phone much at all. Nev­er­the­less, I still feel as though we are a very close to one another.

Today was chal­leng­ing day. Sun­days usu­ally are for me; but today was more-so than the aver­age. By the time I got home all I wanted to do was be with fam­ily. My wife had din­ner ready and my son was enjoy­ing his newly learned tech­nique: rolling over from his back to his stom­ach. All of a sud­den I had the urge to call all of my imme­di­ate fam­ily mem­bers. You’re prob­a­bly won­der­ing why this is blog wor­thy. Good ques­tion; I’m glad you asked.

Friday-past I spoke of not being able to enjoy the com­fort of a gloomy Fri­day after­noon because of my pas­sion and drive to always get up a work—even on a day that one should obvi­ously enjoy in bed with one’s sweet­heart. Today, my drive drove me into the ground. I’m phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally drained—for many rea­sons that aren’t worth dis­cussing. But what is worth dis­cussing is the beauty of hav­ing loved-ones who love you sim­ply because you are you. You don’t have to do any­thing spe­cial to impress them. You don’t have to worry about them accept­ing you because they already do.

When I called each of my sib­lings they each had a com­fort­able & casual con­ver­sa­tion for me—as though we talked every­day. That’s the beauty of rela­tion­ships that are sus­tained sim­ply by the love between them. The fact that we rarely see each other, or the fact that we don’t talk every­day, didn’t—and doesn’t—affect our con­nec­tion. And so I’ve real­ized, yet again, how impor­tant it is to unplug from your drive every-now-and-then to sim­ply enjoy the com­pany of your family—no busi­ness, no agen­das, and no drive—just family.

I don’t know what your rela­tion­ship is with your fam­ily mem­bers. It could be that you are estranged. Maybe you have no liv­ing fam­ily.  Nev­er­the­less, you should strive to have at least one per­son in your life that wants noth­ing from you other than to love you. You need at least one per­son that isn’t con­cerned with how many times you called them—or if you called them at all. There has to be some­one who isn’t con­cerned with your accom­plish­ments or your failures—all they care about is you, your hap­pi­ness, and your well-being.

I’m lucky enough that the peo­ple in my life who fill this role are my fam­ily mem­bers. They had been there all along, and as long as they are liv­ing I know they will always be there for me. And some­where between try­ing to con­quer myself and take on the chal­lenges of the world, I have to be sure to recharge my life by tak­ing the time out for a good, old-fashioned fam­ily day.

 

Posted in: Family

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The Human Condition

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The human con­di­tion is to be aware of our real­ity yet dream and hope for more despite any unlike­li­ness of ever achiev­ing more. We will always die although we have always and will always seek immor­tal­ity. We will always have con­flict although we will ever seek peace. We will always seek jus­tice and equal­ity although they will ever be elu­sive. We will always desire what we do not have even though we wish to be con­tent. And it is those desires that will always drive us to want more, although want­ing more is the source of our dis­con­tent and, there­fore, our condition.

There is no solu­tion to the dilemma because there is no dilemma. Our con­di­tion is what makes us human and arguably what makes the life of mankind beau­ti­ful despite the dis­ap­point­ments. What’s more, it is our pur­suit of these noble ideals which makes mankind evolve into a more per­fect cre­ation. It is not the accom­plish­ment of these goals that mat­ters as much as our relent­less pur­suit of them against all odds.

Posted in: Philosophy

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Gloomy Friday Afternoon

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The sounds of rush hour traf­fic splash­ing through the rain mixed with gen­tle rum­blings of a storm that has since passed over fill the room as my wife tries to feed Ben­jamin. In actu­al­ity, Ben­jamin is try­ing to feed him­self. He’s not coör­di­nated enough to hold the bot­tle; but that lit­tle detail doesn’t deter him from trying.

Deter­mi­na­tion. I know his mother has it, but he had to have got­ten it from me. Deter­mi­na­tion to do some­thing that may be just beyond your abil­i­ties and skills set runs in the Dixon blood­line. It’s why I always went after the girls I knew I couldn’t get. It’s why I chal­lenge peo­ple I’m likely not able to defeat. It’s why I take on more than I likely can han­dle. But really, is that determination?

Maybe it’s insan­ity or a mild case of delu­sions of grandeur. Maybe it’s me set­ting myself up for con­stant failure–a life­time of dis­ap­point­ment. Maybe I shouldn’t allow this Dixon trait to plague me as it did my father who was opti­mistic until his dying breath–and even then I bet he tried beat the odds.

The alter­na­tive is never try­ing because the odds are against us. As osten­si­bly depress­ing as this option appears there is a com­fort in rest­ing in what is certain–never hav­ing to worry if you will suc­ceed because you only attempt what is guaranteed.

Com­fort. Com­fort is where I am now. My bed on a gloomy Fri­day after­noon presents a moment of repose that I rarely get; and although the peace­ful sounds of the rain­drops drip­ping on the con­crete beck­ons me to rest from my usual chaotic and bor­der­line insane drive my deter­mi­na­tion dri­ves me yet again to try what is unlikely and improb­a­ble. And while the sun is wrestling to come from behind the storm clouds I wres­tle with com­fort of com­pla­cency and the pain of persistence.

But there is obvi­ously only one answer here. Just as Ben­jamin will keep strug­gling with the bot­tle until he can hold it him­self, and as the sun will keep fight­ing until it breaks through from the clouds, I will for­ever be per­sis­tent, even though it strips me from ever hav­ing the peace that you find on a gloomy Fri­day afternoon.

Posted in: Uncategorized

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Ten Life Changing Moments eBook

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You can down­load or print this eBook by open­ing the link.

Posted in: Uncategorized

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BpDixon

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Test­ing one two three. I want to see what the big first let­ter really looks like. I have no idea why it has taken me so long to start blog­ging con­sid­er­ing that I have so much to say about so many dif­fer­ent things. Peo­ple are look­ing for some­one to lis­ten to. Why shouldn’t it be me? Why shouldn’t it be you? As much as I have to say, you too have within you the words that oth­ers can only search for. In fact, that’s all we really do as authors; we sim­ply express with words what oth­ers are feel­ing but can­not quite put words too.

And so, this test has turned into my first blog post. Will I leave it here or take it down because it is unpol­ished and rather unfo­cused? Time will tell. But if you are read­ing this, this means time has told. Wel­come to the BpDixon.com!

Posted in: Uncategorized

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