Let’s Be Honest about Walking a Fine Line

Things that I’d rather not be honest about but when I am, it makes me less judgmental and easier to be around:
I am disgusting sometimes too. It’s not just the people I criticize.
I have lied and manipulated facts when I was scared of getting in trouble.
I have made myself look better than I actually was.
I have feared rejection and looking unworthy to others.
I have sometimes done things to get attention.
Sometimes, I have even wished awful things upon cable and mobile phone companies (whom I perceived to be arrogant).
I have screamed at family members like a crazy woman and would have killed my sister if I could have gotten away with it.


We may not have killed people, but most of us have thought about it.
That makes me more prone to forgive people who actually fall off the edge.

Take the Word of an Overcomer

When life confuses or defeats me

I can listen to dark voices  

Of anger and despair

Or to the voices that call  

Out of the darkest places

From history

Or from the other side

Of tragedy

Voices that still sing 

A chorus of power

With shining eyes

Heads held high, defying

The worst that life can bring

A voice of triumph

Singing, yes! singing

In mysterious harmony

With my future 

our future selves

Listen carefully.

Worried about Doomsday…Again?

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I just saw that September 23rd has been predicted to be the end of the world.
Do you think they were referring to September 23rd in Australia or in the US?
I am curious because I will, ironically, be in Australia on September 23rd and, one day later, arriving back in the US on the 23rd. Which part of the trip should I be worried about?
I am speaking tongue in cheek, but, in reality, even barring a catastrophic end of the world tomorrow, September 23rd will be the end of “the world” for many.
The harsh truth is that many die every day…and one of them someday will be me.
So, I guess a “double” doomsday prediction should give me nothing more to worry about.
A very happy September 22nd to us all.

Got a Chaos Management Plan?

Do you have a chaos management plan (CMP)? Not just for North Korea but for the other times when your life is “nuked” by relationship, financial, or circumstantial violence.

We can’t be lulled into thinking we don’t need one, especially if we are currently quite impressed with ourselves and our “cool.”

It doesn’t take much for the props that make us feel cool to fall away and our inner deficits to be embarrassingly exposed.

My simple CMP:

  1. Accept what is.
  2. Forgive myself and others for the chaos.
  3. Invest in inner strength more than props.
  4. Expect chaos and smile at the future.

When Confronted with Injustice and Tragedy

When confronted with injustice and tragedy, (which is a frequent event if we keep up with the news)

Do not merely ask, “Who could do such a thing?” 

Also ask, “Help me recognize the depth of pain, loneliness, and anger in humans who think of doing such things.”

Do not merely ask, “How could something so terrible have happened?”

Also ask, “How can I be more in touch with the painful, tragic things that are happening in people’s lives all over the world, right now.”

Do not merely ask, “How can I physically protect myself and my family from this evil?”

Also ask, “How can I  psychologically shield myself and others from despair and live a courageous life in spite of tragedy?”

Angry, Miserable, and Unremembered

Upon seeing the anger in the eyes of a menial laborer working in atrocious conditions, author Gregory David Roberts says to the fry cook with his eyes, “I’m sorry that you have to do this work, I’m sorry that your world, your life, is so hot and dark and unremembered, I’m sorry that I’m intruding…”

With those lines, the author not only captured my interest in the book, but, most importantly, the kinship of my agony for the “incarceration” of countless souls who live unremembered and hopeless in darkness and drudgery.

Even though my personal agony was small by comparison, for years I felt imprisoned in mediocrity and anonymity, doing a job I didn’t like. Now, I cannot stand to see anything in a cage. I feel the silent rage of so many: refugees, strangers I encounter, and others I know well.

My prayer is that those of us who remember the pain will bring…

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However and whenever we can.

Dark Messages from the Night

I wake peacefully in an orderly room.

Yet, here, in the dazzling new light

Myriads of dark voices speak from the night

Of sirens, terror, and trouble

Obliterated rooms in cities of rubble

I throw off the cover and move fluidly to my feet

Hearing pained whispers of those incomplete

With missing limbs, children, and necessary things

My face wet with water while the desktop dings

Then, I choose my breakfast from a chilled collection

While feeble voices moan for help and protection

It is there I digest the message, You are not quite safe

Perched here, precariously, on the edge of fate 

 

This poem is not about fear, it is about awareness of the troubles millions experience on this planet right now, and about how easy it is to be oblivious to, and surprised by, the imminence of change.

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Dig Deep or Just Go with It?

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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?

A Balanced Inventory

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/

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