Spouting simple answers has always come natural to me. I am on a remedial path now.
Journalist and self-described, “Industrious Optimist,” Lara Setrakian used this cartoon illustration in her TedTalk about improving the “adult education” that comes from news reporting, away from fear and simplicity toward the wholeness (or integrity) of complex truths.
Following the road less traveled, entering the narrow gate, education of the heart, enlightenment, and truth all depend upon the gravitas of love not dogma; giving the benefit of the doubt and resisting fiery indictments, ethnocentrism, and condemnations long enough to grasp the deep kinship we share with fellow residents at this very temporary, planetary address.
We all must decide. Go with the herd on the easy path, eventually terminating at the cliff, or take the longer, lonelier path and brave the uphill climb?
I may not be happy with numerous things in the world…but, I am happy with a gazillion other things (like clean water and internet access).
I may have aged a lot in the last few years…but, my face has fewer bumps (because I have a dermatologist who took them off).
I may have a larger waist…but, I have a larger purpose too (because being attractive was never a sustainable project).
I may have fewer admirers…but, I have learned to do the admiring (because, after all these years, I have finally accepted myself, which, by the way, gives me more time to admire others).
Because, it is so important to give myself a broader perspective (on issues both large and small), I have made a pact with myself to always balance the info I allow in my head. If I am fed bad news, I feed myself good news. It’s that simple. It’s not being Pollyanna positive, it’s being productively practical; just opening my eyes a little wider.
I am in charge of the feed.
Thank you Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield for your example: http://www.interestingshit.com/nature/good-news-stories/
On the History Channel series, Alone, Callie North appears to be disconnected with reality when she first builds herself a chair instead of a shelter. (She used the chair to sit and admire the beauty of her Patagonia “home!”)
Later, it becomes clear that she knew the priority of fortifying her mind with beauty and gratitude in order to sustain her body through the rigors of the ordeal. While her competitors were wrestling with their demons of hunger and discontent, Callie appeared physically and mentally strong, even light-hearted. If not forced to tap out due to infected spider bites, her unorthodox strategy may have brought her the win.
It certainly brought me inspiration…and the message to keep my priorities right.
(I don’t usually watch this series, but so glad I “met” Callie North!)
Today, I inaugurate myself
As the commander in chief of my own future
I celebrate my promotion
To the role of the productive leader
Of my life, full of promise and hope
Out off yesterday’s role of
Chicken little, hopeless victim, or discouraged martyr
Today I will usher myself
With a flourish and a solemn promise
Into my new position of power
Supported by the noble and the brave
Who have gone before, and will come after
Those who chose, and will choose
Action over words
Mercy over malice
And resolve over fear
If you haven’t already done so…
New Years Day is a perfect time to challenge yourself to go twenty-four hours without saying anything negative, critical, or fearful, AND catch those thoughts (that led to the words) before they have a chance to become destructive. It’s a small request…sort of.
It is actually much more difficult than it sounds since most of us have been on auto pilot for quite a while when it comes to complaining, criticizing, and condemning. On my first try, I was reeling from the quantity of thoughts and words that needed retrieving. I hardly had time to do anything else! But, removing my toxins from the airspace and using the space for productivity instead benefited so many people that it was well worth the effort.
And, there was another lingering benefit: my awareness.
Once I realized how whacked my everyday words and thoughts were, I had the impetus for serious change. So…I did it again. And again. Until now. And the beneficiaries will be:
- people (such as me) who need the benefit of a doubt
Have a REAL Happy New Year…for a change.
- Remind me that life is much larger than my own drama.
- Confront me with my need for historical knowledge.
- Challenge me to care about the millions everywhere who suffer in the wake of war.
- Confirm the fragile nature of life as I know it.
- Give me a sense of urgency to contribute good to the world.
Those of us who are younger than WWII most likely will think of the movie or give the day a passing nod. But, if we choose to give it more than that, we will be the beneficiary.
Our short lives are pleading for us
Begging for us to stop and care
Our mission here might simply be
To be aware
I thought I had a pretty good grasp of what happened at Pearl Harbor until I was confronted with the stories of a family who never received the remains of their son, missing in action from the USS Oklahoma, and from survivors who were stuck in the upturned hull of the USS Arizona for thirty hours, watching hundreds of their shipmates drown while desperately waiting for rescue.
As in this sad case, I have often assumed I knew more than I did, and so offended those who really knew.
When I reach for a broader knowledge of things I have not experienced (instead of assuming I understand), I honor the suffering of those who really know. When the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor comes on Dec 7th, I’ll be prepared to learn.
10. Complain about the holidays.
9. Go on and on about what you can’t eat or shouldn’t have eaten.
8. Get mad about black Friday.
7. Get drunk.
6. Talk behind relatives’ backs.
5. Pretend to be interested.
4. Be self-absorbed, competitive, or talk about yourself all day.
3. Ignore or judge people as unworthy of your time.
2. Be depressed about not having relatives to be with or about having relatives to be with (instead of finding a way to make a difference for someone).
1. Feel entitled.
I have so much to do.
I have just enough to do.
I heard myself playing the “so much to do” sound track as soon as I woke up this morning. After quickly changing the verbiage to “just enough to do,” I felt lighter, stronger, and in control.
The “I’ve got so much to do” mantra is dangerous because it subtly tells my brain…
- “Oh no, I am in over my head.”
- “Poor me.”
- “This won’t be any fun.”
- “It’s not fair.”
- “My life is a load of trouble.”
- “Work is not a privilege.”
Many of us are so used to this too-busy mindset, that we spend the whole holiday season complaining about having to go to parties, buy gifts, or prepare meals: all privileges that half of the world doesn’t have.