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Mastery of Self

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Release Date: 11/03/2023

Am I My Brother's Dog's Keeper? show art Am I My Brother's Dog's Keeper?

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam is having a harder and harder time walking his dog due to his neighbor's dog that won't go away. ----- “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain asked this of God after his brother Abel went missing and God asked Cain, “Hey. Where’s Abel?” Cain claimed he didn’t know. Cain had killed Abel, by the way, and was trying to hide it. How about this question – “Am I my brother’s dog’s keeper?” I remember growing up in a neighborhood where everyone let their dogs run. There were few fenced in yards. No such things as invisible dog fences and fancy dog...

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Bored show art Bored

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam is board so he's thinking about paddling across the Pacific. Or planting a few ferns. ----- I’m bored. And that’s a problem. Somethings been nagging at me for a few weeks and I now know what it is – I’m bored. There’s little adventure in my world right now. Very little discovery. And when boredom sets in get panicky and a bit rash. Too often, I over compensate. This morning I spent way too much time on the Molokai to Oahu web page. It’s a 32 mile stand up paddleboard race from the Hawaiian island of Molokai to the island of Oahu and it takes most...

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Flourish show art Flourish

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam says we know we're all busy, very busy, but are we doing what it takes to flourish? ----- What does it take for a human to flourish? Such a simple question to understand but to answer, not so easy. Listening to a podcast last weekend, this question arose between the host and his guest. The guest pointed out that, in his opinion, everything being promoted as valuable in our Western society today is detrimental to human flourishing. What is being promoted, he said, actually leads to loneliness. And he might be right. So, what is being promoted out there? One...

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Breach show art Breach

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam Marston had a client breach a contract and he's trying to use lessons from Marcus Aurelius to keep himself from absolutely losing it. ----- I’m reading Marcus Aurelius’ book called Meditations written in about the year 175. They’re notes to himself about the thoughts he’s having and how he’s working to keep his head on straight. He’s writing to work things out. No audience in mind, just for him. Throughout his writings several themes arise. First, he’s aware of the presence of death. The topic of dying is never far. Second, he has to keep...

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Staring At the Clock show art Staring At the Clock

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, what was Cam doing today at 4:59am? Well, he wasn't getting out of bed. That we know for sure. ----- Most mornings I’m staring at the clock about 4:30 am waiting to get up. I won’t allow myself to get out of bed before 5am. Getting your day started at 5am means you’re aggressive. You’re eager to get going. Getting out of bed before 5am means you have a problem. They’re slight gradations. Minutes matter and 4:59am is a good bit different from 5am. I stare at the clock until it turns 5 when I feel like it’s ok to jump up and get the coffee started....

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Don't Get Sick show art Don't Get Sick

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam has seen much more of the healthcare world these days than he would like. His advice: Stay well. ----- I’ve been given an up a close look at our health care system over the past several months. It’s been, well, disappointing. And this comes after hearing a remarkable speaker discuss the importance of customer service on company culture. I made a reference several months ago to the pain I’ve had. It’s finally been diagnosed as polymyalgia rhumatica, or PMR. It showed up around February first and has been a part of every day since. It’s a sickness...

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He's Not Roscoe show art He's Not Roscoe

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

Each spring Cam sits in his morning reading chair and see's a friend just outside the window. But Cam won't give him a name. He absolutely won't. ----- My lizard friend is back again. He shows up on the air conditioner every spring just outside the window. He stays there quite a while each morning, arriving about half an hour after sunrise. I sit each morning in my reading chair and keep an eye out for him. And suddenly, he’s there. I grew up calling these things chameleons. Wikipedia, however, just told me he is a green anole and he is often mistakenly called a chameleon, likely started by...

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Talking in the Locker Room show art Talking in the Locker Room

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin' It Real, Cam Marston takes a moment to observe the fingerprint of time. And wishes he hadn't. ----- Talking to a naked man is awkward. It’s just…awkward. There are men that have come my gym at the same time every day for decades. And their work in the gym may have kept them alive but it has not kept them from aging. There is nothing firm on them. There’s nothing taut. Age plus gravity has left a sagging fingerprint. And talking to a naked man, especially one with some age on him, is, well, awkward. They’re standing there, towel over their shoulder, not around...

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Persevere show art Persevere

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's KIR, Cam Marston wonders if he could do the same thing for fifteen years and know, just know in his bones, that it would pay off. ----- I’ve just watched the documentary on Steve Martin called "Steve! A Documentary in Two Pieces." I’ve always liked Steve Martin. What caught my attention the most is that he did his standup act for fifteen years. The vast majority of that time, his audiences were very small. In one video clip, he’s counting the number of people in the room during his act – there were fifteen people there. He got what he thought were big breaks that bombed,...

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April's Fool show art April's Fool

Keepin' It Real with Cam Marston

On this week's Keepin It Real, Cam Marston hypothesizes on what a parenting podcast from him and his wife would sound like. ----- My wife and I sat together at the beach last week laughing as we retold stories and reminded ourselves of the humor of parenting. Especially as Gen X parents. We decided to compose a social media post together. The date was April first, and that date matters. The post read the following: We are frequently asked how we’ve raised four perfect children. Here’s our response: We are excited to announce our new Parenting Podcast called Gen X Parenting Tools. Go check...

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A similar theme repeats itself across all faiths. It's a discipline I have little of.

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A friend of mine claims he’s a genius. He has little evidence of this. Just an over-confident assessment of his himself. He’s quite entertaining. He believes the lunar landings were a hoax, but of his own genius, he’s certain.

Last night I told him I was struggling for a topic for this week’s commentary. I hadn’t seen or thought or felt anything that moved me to write about it. So, I asked him for ideas. He blustered and bloviated and finally got around to saying this: The greatest enemy each of us face is staring at us every morning, every afternoon, and every evening before we go to bed. That enemy can be found in the mirror. It’s us. It’s me. It’s you. We’re our own enemy. We sabotage ourselves every day. Things that we know we should do, we avoid. Things we know we shouldn’t do, we do. It ranges from having too many cookies before bed at night to not making the sales calls, or having the tough conversations that we know need to happen. The list infinitely long. We blame others, we blame bad luck, even blame the devil from time to time. But the vast majority of the time, our greatest enemy is ourselves.

Now I would love to tell this self-proclaimed genius he’s wrong but, he’s right. And his description certainly describes me. I have remarkable discipline about some things in my world and remarkably little discipline about others – like gobbling a fistful of cookies on the way to bed at night. I know I shouldn’t do it but down the hatch they go. And I eat them quickly hoping the guilt will go away quickly.

Another enemy is when I try to make a joke when my inner-knower is whispering for me to hush, that I’ve gone too far. The joke may be more hurtful than funny. That happened on last week’s commentary, and I heard about it and I’m sorry. I ignored my inner-knower.

Next to my bed lie a stack of books. One compares Jesus’ and the Buddha’s greatest messages and how similar they are. Another is by Father Anthony DeMello who was a Catholic Jesuit priest from India and knows many of the stories of the Indian deities and shares their lessons alongside the lessons of Christianity. I frequently return to a wonderful book on the lessons of the Bhagavat Gita, a story out of India written 500 years before Christ. All these religions, these faiths, these pursuits of spirituality, while vastly different in important ways, emphasize so many of the same points. And it’s these similarities that fascinate me. That catch my attention.  

One that shines through repeatedly is the mastery of self. Heaven, bliss, enlightenment, you name it. These spiritualities claim they can only be achieved through mastery of self. Self-control. I have so little. I know it. And I think about it each time I gobble the cookies and make the bad jokes.

And I can already hear friend demanding a commission for this commentary.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to Keep It Real.