Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I would like to let you know that I have moved my blog from this site to eriklparker.wordpress.com! You can still access it by visiting www.ParkerExperience.com, which will forward you right to the site. I hope you are well, gearing up for a great Christmas and ready to rock out 2010!!
Live, Laugh and Love!
Monday, December 14, 2009
I was just thinking, this is the first time in my life that I am taking a step back to look back on the past year. Not that I haven't had the chance for the past 22 years, I just haven't. Maybe it was taken over by the joy and anticipation of the Christmas Presents, maybe it was fearing the death of my father, or knowing that just around the corner is the anniversary of his death, and maybe it was just that I didn't feel that I was happy enough with my life to reflect on it.
Whatever the reason, moving forward I would like to take you through my reflection of 2009.
-A guy with a dream took office as the first Black President of the United States, whether you like him or hate him, that's definitely a feat!
-I was surrounded by the best group of people I could have asked for to produce the 2009 Country Showcase at Belmont. This was an amazing accomplishment, and probably my proudest moment to date.
-I became the first in my family to graduate college with a bachelor's degree. I followed my dream 4 years prior when I made the leap from California to Nashville and I got the chance to take joy in completing it when I walked across the stage with my grandmother and brother in the audience.
-I made the decision that I didn't want to live my life in my old selfishness, but rather to motivate others follow their dreams and take a leap of faith through The Parker Experience.
-I created my job title of: Motivational Light Designing Manger. It encompasses everything that I have a passion and drive for. What I have dreamed of for a long, long time.
-I met some of my now closest friends, and I'm not sure how my life would be different if I hadn't come in contact. I don't want to know.
-I lost my job with the second largest lighting company in the world due to the slow economy. It all came full circle when talking about unemployment rates...Gives me plenty of time to work toward The Parker Experience, aye?
-I lost my mother without talking to her for the past 11 years knowing that I hadn't had a real relationship with her, but also realizing that I never would.
-I am able to spend more time than I have in 3 years with my family while winding down the year. Extremely happy to be able to be around all of them!
-I sat at a table to make a list of what happened in 2009 and realized that it was the year that I became the most content, happiest person I could possibly be. THAT is the best thing I could ask for in a year!
-I looked into the new decade and cant help from smiling when realizing that amazing things are to come. Amazing memories are to be shared. Dreams are to come true.
That is my reflection of the past year...what stands out to you from 2009? What are you looking forward to in 2010?
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I received a phone call from my brother yesterday with news that I didn't expect for quite some time. I don't get to talk to him much, so its always nice to hear from him but he was calling to tell me that my biological mother was in the hospital. All he knew at that point was that she went into cardiac arrest sometime throughout the day and that the doctors were unsure if she was going to make it once they brought her out of the induced coma. That's a whole lot to think about when you are working, setting up for an event the following day.
There is a long back story with my mother that was factored in with my emotions. The last time I saw (or heard) from her was when I was promoted from 6th grade into junior high, over ten years ago. My parents separated when I was really young and she was “in and out” of communication until I just stopped hearing from her. All of my siblings have began to build a relationship with her over the past few years, but I have yet to build that relationship.
With all of that said, hearing this news both saddened me and made me unsure of what I should have been feeling. I mean, she is my mother, she did give birth to me and she did raise me for those few first years of my life. It seemed as if she enjoyed her personal time a lot more than time to begin to build a true relationship with her children, but as the youngest of all of us I may be a bit more biased in that area.
After a night of pondering, I was reminded, once again that everything happens for a reason. I firmly believe this! Yes, it does deeply sadden me that there is a chance that I could loose my mother. It saddens me to think that we never had a 'true' relationship and that if she is gone, there would be no possibility. It saddens me to think that I would be a true orphan before my 23rd birthday. It really does make me sick to my stomach. But knowing that EVERYTHING has a purpose, EVERYTHING has a reason, and EVERYTHING that happens helps form the person that I will become. There is a reason that my grandmother took us in as little kids, raised my brother and I (before adopting four more of my younger cousins), sent me to college and encouraged us all to follow our dreams. There is a reason that I found this out the day before I left to spend a couple weeks with my family. There is a reason that I was laid off from my day-job. There is a reason that I am surrounded by the people that I love, respect and enjoy. There's a reason for it all!
I'm not asking for sympathy by any means, but I write this to ask you to do me a couple favors. Please send prayers or good thoughts to my mother during these times that she is in need. I am unaware of everything and will blog more when I know much more details. And keep in your heart the desire to grow through experiences, and know that even though something may suck right now, there's a reason for it! Always remember to follow your dreams with your passions at heart, and your legacy will follow!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I was blessed to spend some time with a great friend of mine and her family over Thanksgiving, which made me think of a few things we often overlook. At least I know that I do too often...
**1.Showing people that we care about them...Maybe you're uber busy or maybe you don't feel much like going the extra mile, but don't let it stop you from showing someone that they matter to you. From experiencing it on both sides, sometimes they might need someone to talk to, sometimes they just want to see your face, and sometimes it just takes that unexpected call or note to brighten their entire day. Make sure you don't just tell your friends and family that you love them, but go a little further and show it. As some old dude that is way smarter than me once said, “Actions speak louder than words.”
**2.Taking time for ourselves...Being a dude that would much rather give than take, I totally didn't get this concept for a long while. When I finally just decided one day that I was going to do nothing but what I wanted to do, I realized why I was so frustrated. No one can appreciate what you do for yourself more than you do, its almost like a Pause/Reset button...gives you the strength to work harder, and the emotional relaxation that may be just what the doctor ordered.
**3.Cherishing what you have, not dwelling on what we don't have...I need to take that advice the most because I dwell on things that I don't have too often, but some things that I know for certain is that I have an amazing family, great friends, and a college degree. Even with no job, a car that could break any day and the messiest room EVER, I do know that at the end of the day I have more than enough to get me through the next day: a loving and caring support
**4.But don't take it for granted...Going back to the first thing, you never know when its someones turn to leave, when your best friend gets in a car accident, when your parents divorce...Don't take anything for granted, so cherish it while you can, and make sure people know that you care!
I hope that even one thing caught your eye and that you took something from my scattered thoughts. I know that it is probably common sense, but as we approach Christmas, as many people are trying to get through their last days of school, and even more people are looking for something they don't have in front of them, I feel like its stuff that needed to be said.
Remember, everything happens for a reason! Work toward your dream with your passion at heart and everything will work itself out in the end...Even if its not what you've imagined!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
So I know that tonight is a big night for a bunch of my friends in Nashville. For some, Keith Urban's "All for the Hall" benefit concert for the Country Music Hall of Fame is taking them to a better place. For others, midterms and papers are making them wish they were graduated already! Everyone else that reads this, I hope this finds you cuddling with a blanket in front of the fire, getting ready for the weekend!
All of that said, I'll keep this short but I have a question for you. Please, comment on this post with your answer....I will expand on the thoughts in a later post, hopefully not too long in the future!!
--What does the term Economies of Life mean to you? Think beyond money and what everyone talks about when discussing the current 'economic situation', but what is the term Economies of Life?
I thank you sincerely!!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Think about the worst time of your life...
With that time in your mind, think about the way you dealt with the situation, or what it was that pulled you through it...The things you did, the food you ate, the people you saw...It is different for everyone, and it changes through out our lives, but it is exactly what I am talking about when I mention aides to our Pridefulness (Just made that up), or our lives and ambitions.
When I was working third shift at another grocery store while going to college in Nashville I SWORE I was being beaten down. In reality, I would get a couple hours of sleep a day if I was lucky and was trying to juggle a full course-load at college...that was the worst thing because I couldn't think, couldn't function, could barely breathe most of the time...I thought I was literally going to die; if not from the lack of sleep, from falling asleep at the wheel, or with the hammer many of my teachers wished they had to get me "more engaged."
There were a couple things that got me through one of the toughest obstacles I've faced in the last few years, and I want to challenge you to look at these when you are hating your life and everything about what you do and see if they can help you get through the times:
-First, start by not hating EVERYTHING...Possibly the toughest thing, and it relates back to my last post. Do what it takes to enjoy it, or at least see the benefits it has on your lives as well as others.
-Talk to a friend, make time to hang out. Even though I was possibly the most grumpy dude you'd ever met, and even though I was beyond exhausted bout to fail out of school I made sure I was awake to go to dinner with a few of my closest friends. I was blessed to have a group of folks that would deal with me, and understood what I was dealing with. Encouragement, honest opinions, a slap in the face for doing something dumb and an occasional visit to you at work with a Red Bull: That's what friends are for...its a two way street though, make sure you return the favor when they need you by their side.
-I LOVE to drive...Me and my van have spent some serious time together!! When I get discouraged, when I can't find the meaning in what I do, when it seems that life is stabbing me in the chest with a 6 inch blade just so I can feel the pain' I would get in my van and drive all around town, in the country and wherever I can get my van to think about everything. Imagine every scenario possible (even though its not actually what is going to happen), figure out my next step (which will still change a thousand times), and spend time alone figuring out why it is that I do what I do. Belmont was a HUGE step for me, and when I would get incredibly depressed about being so far from my family in California I would hop in my van (which is the closest thing to my home in Nashville) and go look at the huge houses and think to myself, "THIS is why I'm here, THIS is why I'm killing myself, THIS is why I am working so hard...to one day be able to move here, and to be able to bring my family with me."
-Along those same lines, you ABSOLUTELY HAVE to look toward the future. Think about everything you're working for. Think about the changes you are going to make. Think about everything you have to offer. This is all about you, and as my buddy Aaron Luke put it, "You gotta have a bad gig before you can appreciate the good ones." I wish that I could win the lottery and not have to worry about the little things anymore, but I know that if that happened, I'd probably have a hard time understanding the true meaning behind what I do. It means so much more if you hit the bottom before you get to the top!
Figure out what puts a smile on your face when you're down...figure out what means the most to you...cherish the moments that you fight for and cherish the moments that are given to you. Live today as you would live your lifetime and enjoy it!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The other day I was hanging out at a pretty famous eatery, also known as Burger King, when I happened to notice the crew of people that were in charge of keeping it going and making sure the customers were 'having it their way'. There was Dooder Manager, the cook folk, and the 4 people around helping the customers. If you have never experienced fast food before, there is a person at the front register, a person getting orders, and two people for drive through. The person that really caught my eye was a female that was probably 18-19 years old taking orders in the front and cleaning the lobby. Even though there was not a smile in sight within the operators of the restaurant, this girl even made it more explicit and noticeable that she was not happy in the position that she held. She would make comments while taking orders, and when cleaning the lobby along long the lines of people being dirty and how she was annoyed that her manager asked her to come back to the register to take an order and flat-out how she was sick of her job. All of this was going on in front of customers, when we just wanted to enjoy some food and air conditioning after working in the warehouse for a bit! This girl’s attitude made me think of one thing...PRIDE in yourself and everything you do.
We all do things we’re not proud of whether its through a job, in school or in our own time. We may not be happy having that job to get us from one month to the next but in the end it is our job, which is much more than what so many people have these days. Love it or hate it you hold a position that a lot of other people would love to have. My first job was at a local grocery store chain, Bel Air Market. I held up the bottom of the totem pole as a courtesy clerk doing anything from bagging groceries to assisting the most annoying, demanding customers to playing janitor. Trust me, when I was taking the trash out for the meat department or deli I was not in love with my job; the blood that would drip from the bottom of the bag, or the potato salad and cold slaw all on the ground when the bag broke...THOSE were the days!! I would get chewed out because I asked the customer if I could assist them to their vehicle...I was not in love with my job in moments like this, but I totally DID enjoy seeing the product of my work and I DID take pride in everything I did. Let me tell you, I can take out a mean bag of trash, clean the floor like a pro, and bag the best bag of groceries you can imagine. Don't even question that last one...TRUST ME, many of my friends know that when I go to the grocery store I usually have to change some of the bags around because the clerk does not know the proper way to bag. Nothing against them, they just weren't trained properly...
There are things you're not going to be happy with. There are things your not going to enjoy. There are things you swear was created by the devil himself!! (Been there too) BUT if you change your attitude, even a little, the experience becomes much more enjoyable. If you look at each day as a day closer to your dream, each crappy job as the next step to doing something you love, as each challenge a way to test your own values, morals and ability to overcome it you will be a much happier person.
Take pride in everything you do..and as I man I worked with for a short bit, Eric Kilby, said "Have confidence in everything you do, even if you do something wrong, be confident in it all the way!"
I will explain how I overcome some of the worst moments in Part 2 of "Pride and Hell."