“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
When things look hopeless, I must remember this.
When things feel like they will never change, I must remember the dead branches, the brittle, dry grass and the brown leaves of winter, and how they disappeared in Spring.
I must remember how time throws the magician’s cape over emptiness, and, in the last act, unveils unexpected abundance.
Don’t argue with me about how simplistic or sentimental this is.
Argue with your heroes.
Argue with Mandela, Lincoln, Jesus, Maya Angelou, Helen Keller, Elon Musk, or whomever.
Argue with the peacemakers and the rain makers, with the overcomers whose voices echo down through the harrowing and hallowed halls of pain, endurance, disappointment, and impossibility.
Argue with them about how your situation is different.
Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices, petty sacrifices such as…taking time to consider that:
a stranger’s discomfort is as important as our own discomfort
a co-worker’s success is as valuable as our own success
a family member’s inconvenience is as irritating as our own inconvenience
or, very specifically, what it really means to love our neighbor as ourselves
When coming face to face with my selfishness or petty thoughts of self-importance, I often feel disheartened that I have learned so little about being a good person. But, the other day, when my ego surfaced, I thought: “Well, at least I noticed!”
(Before, I wasn’t even aware that the thoughts were the essence of bad manners. So, that’s a little progress, right?)
Man without smiling face should not open shop. -Chinese Proverb
I think of this proverb every morning as I start my work.
It’s more than a reminder to be friendly. It’s a reminder to find personal tranquility before I waste my time going through the motions.
Am I prepared for what life might ask of me today?
Knowing that angels will arrive with the requests,
Will I be ready to give up my best
For someone else who needs it more?
Will I anticipate the alms-gatherers and the wounded
Who have been tasked with my growth
And prepare ahead of time for giving?
Will I choose the solid and higher ground
When my pedestal of self-regard is ravaged or broken?
Will I freely yield my opinions when hanging on
Only obstructs peace and hinders love?
Will I smile at a future so different
Than what I had imagined yesterday
And relax into eternity
As youth and possessions slip away?
This is my unexpected and unflattering theme of 2018: overestimating my knowledge.
Of course, I have been warned about this pitfall into arrogance all my life, but thought I was different; I really did know. (I know. So sad.)
Every book I have read and many experiences I have had this year have challenged my prior “knowledge” about a person or a topic. I’m finally convinced that I should quit representing myself as an authority on everything. (So sorry friends, family, and clients. Oops.)
Somebody stop me! Please.
Maybe I’ll even listen more.
#1 Beauty Tip for those of us who struggle with erratic or chronically low self-esteem: Quit talking, thinking, obsessing about your flaws.
You suppose you are the trouble
But you are the cure
You suppose that you are the lock on the door
But you are the key that opens it
It’s too bad that you want to be someone else
You don’t see your own face, your own beauty
Yet, no face is more beautiful than yours.
#1 Beauty Tip for those of us who struggle with narcissism:
Quit talking, thinking, and obsessing about yourself. You are good enough, but no better than anyone else.
(Beauty is much more stunning when it doesn’t make us nauseated.)
When I say this to myself everyday, it’s much more difficult to feel bored, depressed or entitled.
This is why I now appreciate Science Fiction, and writers such as Ray Bradbury and Neil Gaiman.
It’s the way they make me notice impossible things.
I drank water today
And my body knew how to get it to the trillion cells that needed it
I didn’t train or even request
Specialized enzymes to metabolize nutrients
Yet they worked, without a break, so I could wake
And take care of my to-dos
I didn’t set up a sophisticated filing system in my brain
That sorted the essential instructions
I would need
To spin through the galaxy at 1000 miles an hour
In Born a Crime, Trevor Noah mentions The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and how much Roald Dahl meant to his early development.
Me too, Trevor! (Although…I didn’t discover books until adulthood.)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was only a smidgeon of Roald Dahl’s contribution to a body of literature that delicately touches our noble core and expertly lifts us out of mediocrity.
Yet, one of the interesting things about Roald Dahl is that he didn’t know he was a writer. He was a pilot in the Royal Air Force until he crashed and subsequent injuries left him unfit to fly. He was working a desk job when, because his boss was out of town, was asked to provide details about wartime experience that could be used for a news story.
So lucky for the world.
Which makes me wonder…what important talents still lie dormant within you?
Cool-weird is salt-of-the-earth good.
These are the unique, rare, unorthodox, unaffected, delightful-just-being-themselves people. It doesn’t matter if they are rich or poor, popular or marginal, powerful or challenged, fashionable or not, their realness refreshes and challenges wherever they go.
Then, there are the annoying-weirds:
- trying to be noticed
- imitating their idea of cool-weird
- frantic for approval
- preaching their brand of weird
- wanting to appear detached from opinions
- flaunting their superiority over status quo, or
- cluelessly crossing uncomfortable boundaries
How do we know which category our weird is in?
It’s very tricky. If we are in the later category, it takes being a learner vs. a knower to figure it out.
We have to be willing to ask…and listen…and notice…legitimate reasons we shouldn’t be weird.
But the annoying-weirds usually opt to know instead of learn.