I saw a lot of tributes to MLK Jr. yesterday. This one inspired me the most. The first element of his instruction for having a life “blueprint” was to have a “deep belief in your dignity, worth, and somebodiness.”
The word is odd but it hits the spot for me.
Especially when circumstances kick me around.
Especially when “everyone else” seems more successful and more…everything.
Especially when the world seems to be an unloving place for so many.
Inky Johnson lost his career in one football tackle. When he woke up in the hospital after a life-saving surgery, the doctor told him, “Son, you will never be able to use you right arm and shoulder again.” Inky responded, “You’re wrong. I’m alive. I’m gonna use this for the rest of my life.”
And he has. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cznfzIP1tTs
When I use the things that life brings me with gusto, my happiness doesn’t derail, joy doesn’t skip a beat, and I don’t multiply misery.
I want adversity to reveal my strength, not my immaturity; my patience, not my whining; my discipline, not my laziness.
Adversity will come. I will move with it (as Inky demonstrates)…deeper into my core of power.
It only took a lifetime to…
- forgive myself (and others) for being human
- learn the value of me
- quit comparing
- notice the teaming life around me
- smile (instead of sneer) at my uniqueness
- delight in the Universe
- laugh at being a (valuable and unlikely) speck on a speck
- remember how to get the most out of life by playing
So, back to the dishes.
If we do them or do any other act of service with resentment, superiority, complaining, bitterness, distaste, or a judgmental attitude we are probably doing more harm than good. Kahlil Gibran compares this behavior to a baker putting poison in the bread that he bakes.
Even the “love chapter” in the Bible labels acts that are done without love, however impressive they may be, as noise, bad music, counterfeit money, and a waste of time.
Most humans have “antennas” up for insincerity, arrogance, anger, and condescension. Nobody is really fooled by our “service.”
Maybe we should just do everyone a favor and quit kidding ourselves.
I whined about my workload more times than I can count. Once, when I said, “I’m the only one who ever does the dishes around here,” someone responded, “So, don’t do them anymore. I’d rather have a dirty kitchen than be around a martyr.”
Although, not the answer I was going for, he had a very good point. No one enjoys the poor-little-me martyr. Setting boundaries and agreements is a much better option.
In offices and homes all over the world, people are getting bitter about other people not shouldering their fair share of the work and carrying around bitterness about it. That bitterness infects and dismantles relationships, contributes to ulcers and illness, and sucks the fun out of any environment. I’m not advocating rewarding irresponsible behaviors, only managing them productively.
Tell people what you need.
Agree on a plan.
Set contingencies for exceptions and failures.
Follow through without drama.
Important Information about our “vibe:”
Being unaware of our own energy is a very common ailment
Vibes are not neutral. They are either spreading energy or sucking it out like a vacuum cleaner
Most difficult people think they don’t suck
Control freaks don’t have a good vibe
I usually don’t know that I am gone into the controlling, negative, or “bia” zone until someone tells me
If we haven’t given people permission to comment on our energy (without getting their heads bitten off), odds are we are part of the bad-vibe problem
If we think people are jerks, uncaring, a-holes, idiots, well…expect more of the same
(Your vibe attracts your tribe.)
Recalling the Currency
We have forgotten it in this new world
Where trading is in the tangibles
One day our heart swells uncomfortably in our chest
Or tears come embarrassingly out of nowhere
For a song or an image or an undeserved kindness
We, unsure why
May plan a life and
Work hard to cover the discomfort of the something
Tugging from our forgotten past
Yet, always in the end
We will recall the currency of love and invisible miracles
Because everything is praise and success for Tesla and Spacex right now, it would be easy to underrate Elon Musk’s pain behind his bold life. Just a few years ago, he had mammoth failures and crushing criticism from everywhere, even from his heroes.
The following quote captures a day in the life…
In 2018, I can use Elon Musk’s reminder that giving up and living small is not the option I want to take.
The first step I must take in order to become the very best version of myself is to pay attention to my thoughts and words. Besides catching myself saying negative things, I also review my conversations to catch the times I exaggerated, wasn’t completely honest, or talked too much.
When I take the time to really hear myself, it is sometimes painful, yet, that pain gives me more incentive to grow and change.