Dona Nobis Pacem

Posted: Tuesday, November 04, 2014 by Travis Cody in
25

Welcome to the 11th Blog Blast for Peace and my 10th participation.

Trav's Thoughts went dark nearly a year ago, on 18 November 2013.  I knew when I made the decision to stop blogging that it was the right one.  The time spend was easy to divert to other activity, but I did miss the community.  So it's a treat for me to take Peace Week and reconnect.

Such a treat, in fact, that I ask you to forgive me.  I'm about to go on at length.

On Sunday I posted Peace Quotes.  Did you happen to notice that there were only 29 instead of 30?  Yeah, #11 was missing.  I did that on purpose because the words spoke to...well, they spoke to what I kind of wanted to speak to this year.

"The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock.  The most successful people recognize that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.

For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday, and along the way, lessen the suffering of others.  You'd be surprised how far that gets you."

That comes from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.  I'm pleased that I haven't gotten too late in life to get this.  I really get it.

There have been times in my life when I have just drifted.  I didn't put any effort into where I was going or what I was doing.  I settled for what was good enough without considering what I really wanted.  It isn't easy to create love, manufacture meaning, or generate motivation when you don't know what you want. 

Figure out what you want, and life is a go.  Figure out what you want, and you'll generate motivation to go get it.

It's hard to know what you want.  Do you know?  I mean, do you really know?  I was fortunate as a boy to have my grandfather, who always told me that whatever it was I did, I should do it to the best of my ability, even if it was something I wasn't sure I really wanted to be doing.  "My boy," said he.  "There will come times when you simply must do the thing in front of you.  When those times come, stand and do your very best.  No regret comes to a man when he knows he has given all he has to a task."

When I was a kid, I wanted to play football and be a Marine.  My mom and my sister sacrificed and supported so I could play.  Mom took me down to talk to the local Marine recruiter when I turned 16.  She let me visit colleges when I was being recruited for football.  She never said a word about financial considerations, which I knew were problematic.  

Then the Marines and football were taken away by a devastating knee injury.  The thing in front of me was recovery and rehab.  Grandpa said to do whatever was in front of me as well as I could, so I gave everything I had to that.  And I healed physically.

Mentally I didn't recover.  And so a few years later I found myself in Los Angeles in a job that was making me miserable.  My grandma asked if it was really where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do.  Grandpa asked if I was giving it my best.  No, no, yes.  They told me there was no shame in coming home.  I'm not a quitter, said I.  It's not quitting, said they.  It's re-setting the path.

A few years later I was underemployed and renting a room from some friends, and on my way to rock bottom, still not mentally recovered from the greatest disappointment of my life.  "Son," said my stepdad.  "What are you doing?  You're just not going to find anything as good to you as playing football or being a Marine, so grieve for that loss.  Stop trying to replace it.  Give yourself a chance to think about what you can want.  And when you have an idea, let's talk about it and see if we can't figure out a plan to go get it."

Well, when you put it that way.  

It was just a simple little thing I decided I wanted.  I wanted a Monday through Friday office job with weekends off and real benefits, and maybe some vacation time.  So we put a plan together and I went and got one.

Hey!  This figure out the want and put a plan together thingy works!

I authored a string of small successes.  New stereo?  Put together a savings plan and got one.  Weekend trip to the mountains?  Found the right weekend when my friends were free, got a Friday off, got some cash together, and off I went.  New car?  Talked to the bank, figured out cash flow for a monthly payment, shopped around, and got one.

I know what you're thinking and you're right.  Those things were small potatoes.  But I learned playing football that you've got to practice.  You've got to get the technique down.  You've got to do reps to ensure muscle memory.  So I practiced want/plan/execute.

And I began to heal mentally.  Finally.  

Then I got cancer.  And guess what?  Want/plan/execute worked for cancer too.  It started well before diagnosis, when I wanted to be completely healthy, in mind and body.  As I let go of grief for what I couldn't do, I started to work on what I could do.  I worked as hard in the gym as I had when I first rehabbed my knees.  And I paid attention to my health in other ways.  So when I found something totally wrong...a hard mass where none should be...I got it checked out right away.  I found it so early that the lab could barely stage it.  

I wanted to beat that bastard.  So I worked with my family, my friends, and my docs on the plan to beat that bastard.  We executed on that plan, and I beat that bastard.  

Still with me?  

I wanted a better job with a fatter paycheck and some kind of future.  Put together a plan to get out of my hometown where I was going nowhere.  Got down south...I was ready for LA now baby...got a better job that paid for college, bought a townhouse, finished my degree, and you know what happened next.

I sold my townhouse for three times what I owed on it, got out of California, moved to Washington, found my career at the company from which I expect to retire...and met Pam.

OK gang.  That's a lot of rambling.  Let's sum it all up.

My family's hands of love built the foundation that made everything in my life possible.  Grandpa taught me to put my best effort into everything I do.  Grandma and I were connected spiritually from my first days, and she helped me understand that re-setting isn't the same as quitting.  Mom taught me how, when, and most importantly why to sacrifice in the short term to benefit in the long term.  Sis taught me that hugs heal, and let me be to my niece what Gram was to me.  My stepdad taught me how to remake a stalled life.

Pam...well, she is everything in that quote way up there at the beginning of this very long Peace post.  She is the love we created when I smiled at her and she thumped the back of my head.  She is the meaning we generated together when she let me see the pain of the loss of her parents, and when I let her see the pain of my loss of football and the Corps.  She is the motivation we generate every day, to be honest with and to trust each other with everything we are.  

My family's hands of love built the foundation of my personal peace so that Pam and I could build the home that sits upon it.

Don't wait for love...put your love out into the world.  Don't search for meaning...define it for yourself.  Don't look for motivation...be motivated.  When you find yourself drifting...ask yourself if you know what you want and whether you are executing a plan to get it.  

Don't let your life live you...live your life.

I know what I want.  Pam knows what she wants.  Together we know what we want.  If we drift off course...and we will sometimes...we toss pennies at each other.  Pennies for thoughts.  Thoughts of what we want.  Plans to get there.  Execute on the plans.

We are happy.  We are peaceful.  We send those ripples into the world in the way that seems best to us.


Dona Nobis Pacem

25 comments:

  1. Jamie says:

    Oh I have missed you and the stories. Even if it is only once in a while, please blog now and then. All the best to Pam. Happy Blogblast4peace 2014

  1. I very much like that quote from Tyson. I've heard him say it before and it's a wonderful philosophy. Would that I could live up to it better.

  1. Everything we "have," we create.
    Of this I am certain.

    And I am honored to be creating a ripple of Peace this day ~ with you ~ and so many.

    Dona nobis pacem.

  1. Akelamalu says:

    I haven't been blogging much myself but how could we not blog for Peace?
    Peace to you and Pam m'dear. X

  1. Michelle says:

    Trav... that was awesome good.

    I haven't been blogging much either. 2013 was a mad mad year and as for 2014... yikes!

    but here we all are. Still here, still Mimi's peace bees. ;-)

    Love and best wishes to you.

  1. What a wonderful journey you are making - thanks for affirming our belief in good hearts and creating our lives to the best of our abilities. I am so glad you beat cancer...and found Pam.

  1. Resetting.
    That's a great way to look at things and sage advice. It seems to me you've lived some life. Nothing like proven experience to form philosophies and enjoy success.

    I'm glad you found Pam. I'm glad you beat cancer. I'm glad you know how to explain things so well. You are so level-headed it's almost scary! You and Pam have talked me off a ledge a time or two...

    You've put beautiful treasures on the page this week. Stories you can keep and re-read and pass on. Thank you for letting us into your world. What a great peace week it's been!

    The peace globes are stunning! Your globe is so personal and touching. Love it!

    Peace



  1. Travis: How wonderful, wonderful to have seen the light shining from your blog again! Peace enough for a fan, but I must say I loved the advice from your stepdad about figuring out what you can want. So true! SO glad you had him and your grandfather and your mom and sister, and Pam . . . I'm sure your strength, your courage, your common sense, all your gifts are enjoyed by many in your life. Peace to you and Pam.

  1. What an incredible post, so beautifully written. I wish I had known about your blog before you stopped blogging, glad you returned, even if it is just for a little bit. Cat Chat With Caren and Cody

  1. Inspiring!I too began to really live my life after the "C" Thank you for this post and wishes of peace to you and Pam and all of us :)

  1. Wonderful image; wonderful message. This is my fave day of the year to be a blogger. Whoa! You’ve lived a lot of life already and are wise beyond your years.

  1. What a great family you were born into so you could build a solid family of your own. Peace.

  1. Clooney says:

    That is such a beautiful peace globe and a very inspiring post, thank you Travis...Dona Nobis Pacem.

  1. I came over to your blog just when you decided to blog again. And I'm glad that I did....your words are some of the most powerful that I have read today!! You are so very lucky to have had such a wonderful family and I am glad that they supported you. My son went through much the same thing when he 'blew out his knee' in high school playing football and ruined his chances of playing college ball and be selected for the Air Force Academy. But he went on to college and chose his police career and is happier than he ever thought he could be. Sometimes things happen for a reason. Thanks for coming to visit my blog today!

  1. Jean(ie) says:

    I love it that you get it! You understand life. I'm smiling!

  1. This was beautiful written and very heartfelt :) Peaceful Pawkisses, Little Binky and Granny :) <3

  1. I'm glad you are back blogging, Travis, and you are so right about putting our love into the world. Peace to you.

  1. Hi Travis

    Your post comes to me today just at a time when I needed to hear your words. Thank you.

    Peace to You, Pam and your family.

    Nameste x

  1. So inspiring, Travis!
    Peace to you too!

  1. It is a treat to have you back to blog for peace. You have been through a lot in your life....and you give others hope. Thank you for showing the world hope.

    Thank you for visiting my blog. Peace to you today and every day.

  1. Hi Travis -- I've joyfully seen your comments over at my blog these past few weeks, and I just wanted you to know that it's taken me awhile to get back to you because I'm recovering my health this year. I had an exposure to new carpet at my day job last Dec, and I'm still getting over that (believe it or not.)

    I loved reading your Peace Day post and finding out a little more about you. I've definitely missed you this year -- it's great to say hi over the Peace Day event. Glad you're living life 'in real life' these days.

    Love to you and Pam from Brad and me.

  1. I agree that you are a staple of wisdom in your everyday sphere and in this movement. We love reading your words. They are so very inspiring.

    Thank you for sharing so much of your beautiful heart with us.
    Peace to you and yours always.

  1. Ferd says:

    That was a great share! Thank you, Travis!

    Like you, I have had some amazing people guide me over the course of my life, even during the years that I was too full of myself to listen. But now I see wisdom everywhere, all around me. I found it here today!

    I'm glad this day brings us out of the woodwork, thanks to Mimi. (even though I'm way late visiting)

    Peace always, Travis!

  1. The globe created by you and Miss Pam for Blog4Peace Day, along with this post, is #8923 in the Official Peace Globe Gallery @ blog4peace.com

    Thank you, Dancing Bee!