This quote reminds of the need to recognize my own mystery and possibilities. I seldom associate a drop of water with a majestic ocean or a devastating flood, yet each seemingly insignificant drop has magnificent properties and the imprint of power.
If I want to live as peacefully and as powerfully as water, I must
- surrender to the mystery
- never underestimate my complexity and beauty (and that of others)
- value my connection to the whole
- appreciate my uniqueness and impact (and that of others)
- change willingly and as easily as water changes to ice or vapor
Larry Loftis’ new book, Code Name: Lise ejected me far away from my petty concerns and everyday drama.
Odette was a housewife and mother of three small girls before taking on the dangerous role of spy that landed her in serious pain and hardship. It wasn’t in vain, and now, over seventy years later, I have joined a myriad who have benefited from her service and that of so many other forgotten heroes.
I dare anyone to read this true story without being inspired to be more…more courageous, more patient, more sacrificial, and more passionate about life.
“How will I survive?” or “How will I be successful?” are the wrong questions. The important question is, “How can I be useful?”
Jim Collins was speaking to entrepreneurs and business owners in this quote, yet it has critical application to our personal lives.
While working on a suicide-crisis line, I met countless people driven toward suicide because of these two wrong questions just as the questions had reeked havoc in my own journey.
How can I be useful? is my new mantra.
Shifting to a simple surrender of our assets to meet needs around us restores momentum and sanity.
Fear-based decision making will always drive us off course.
You may have had a disarming connection before.
I was simply reading the introductory poem in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao when my insides jumped up in recognition of Derek Walcott’s sensitivity and his far-reaching spirit writing. Maybe the sudden jolt of recognition was for his gift, or his anointing, or his understanding of a deeply hidden pain. Maybe for a fellow traveler known before these bodies.
But I cannot deny my union with the hovering, invisible truth.
I cannot deny the grip of his words urging me to live large, authentically, and honorably.
I cannot deny the visceral tug that pulled defenseless tears from my eyes and my weakened knees to the ground.
Moments such as this remove the veil from the rhyme of existence.
Ever wonder why we love to hear about the rich and famous getting caught doing something wrong?
“An envious heart makes a treacherous ear.” – Zora Neale Hurston
In her book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston hits an uncomfortable bullseye with this observation. We don’t like to admit envy drives our gossip-hunger, yet it often does. If we want to break the “treacherous ear habit” we’ll have to want for “our neighbor” what we want for ourselves, which, by the way, isn’t humiliation. “No,” you might say, “It is justice that drives me.” Maybe so. Yet, according to our own preferences when we screw up, mercy feels much better than judgment.
So, it is probably the safer choice (for our own future misfortunes) not to rejoice in others’ failures.
I have read two books recently that I should have read years ago. The content would have accelerated my growth through difficult circumstances.
But the reason I didn’t read them is pathetic; I was jealous of the authors.
I had convinced myself that one author was too young to be insightful and the other was not profound, just lucky.
Too often I have stymied my own growth by hanging on to a prejudice and refusing to learn from a perceived competitor.
So, I will now be suspicious of these behaviors:
1) Writing someone off before I know them
2) Protecting my own ego by condemning someone else’s
And…I will call it what it is: plain and simple jealousy, driven by insecurity and immaturity.
Original post: July, 2013
Learning to trust and be trusted has been the most important and courageous journey of my life.
Dare to Lead‘s illuminating road map:
Boundaries (to be clear about our expectations) – setting, communicating, and maintaining boundaries with ourselves and others
Reliability (to be able to relax) – doing what we say we will do
Accountability (how we fix things) – being willing to apologize and take responsibility for mistakes
Vault (to feel safe)– keeping things confidential that need to be confidential
Integrity (character) – doing what is right vs. what is fun, fast, or easy
Non Judgement (kindness) – agreeing to ask for help and say what needs to be said without judgement
Generosity (loving as we love ourselves) – extending the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others
Sometimes, getting inspired is more challenging because something is clogging the pipe.
Whether a man or woman, Ernest Gaines writes brutal truth to us about trying to prove something in order to feel or appear worthy. Doing that makes us fools.
Hustling for worthiness will always shut down inspiration and threaten mental health…ours and everyone else’s.
Talk about time-bombs that disable wells! There are always inspiration (well-maintenance) problems when we are driven by guilt or shame or fear.
If our well is dry, we need a new source of inspiration.
If our well is not dry, but still not doing the job, there may be a clog in the pipe.
Is it pride? Is it dishonesty? Is it an apology or forgiveness that you have withheld? Is it fear or shame?
Go after that.
I am just now reading the book, Unbroken about Louie Zamperini’s story of survival.
Inspired to become a stronger person by the story, I know that means keeping a fire burning inside me that is brighter than the ones that have threatened, and will threaten my survival.
I had never thought of challenges this way before. Now that I have, I will let pain remind me to dig deeper within before I panic, give up, or curse God.