Who’s Passing Out the Inspiration?

What are you inspiring?

Every little bit of empathy decreases the amount of pain in the world.

Let’s inspire each other to get better at it.

Here are some simple ideas:

  1. Be the gossip stopper. When someone says something uncomplimentary, change the subject by saying something good about the person mentioned.

  2. Give the benefit of the doubt when feeling slighted.

  3. Believe that everyone has the right to be seen as innocent UNTIL proven guilty.

  4. Invest more time this season in improving how we see others versus how we look.

Unexpectedly Busted

I was unexpectedly busted by the book, Wonder. 

Twice.

  1. I thought I had been a good citizen in high school toward a classmate with severe craniofacial deformities. After the book, I realized I treated my classmate with pity instead of with respect and inclusion. I was polite, never a bully, yet, I basically thought of him as an obstacle to navigate, never as an equal. How could he be? I was popular and cool (I thought). He wasn’t. He didn’t have the currency we traded in.  I never once thought about his possible insecurities while wallowing in my own personal torment over a pimple.

  2. When my niece complained to me about all the attention her challenged brother received, I reproved her for being selfish. After the book, I saw a more complete picture; siblings of special-needs kids have valid concerns about their place in the solar system.

I am late. Yet, I am sorry.

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Image result for wonder quotes book

 

Detour School

I reluctantly read my first Jack Reacher novel. Don’t usually read this genre, but have to admit, I had at least two take-aways:

  1. Fictional albeit, Reacher’s amazing courage and healthy detachment is a powerful inspiration and reminder that “hero status” is my responsibility and my possibility. (Validating Joseph Campbell’s theory that myth enlarges our world.)
  2. In the book, Reacher had a rare lapse of foresight and was thrown two-hundred miles off course at the worst imaginable time, without means to communicate to someone waiting in a precarious place for him. Instead of despairing, he stayed calm. As a result, he solved his case because of the detour (following a U-Haul truck, meditating on its mindless ad!) 

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Fretting never got me anywhere. Loving a detour may.

 

Wonder

Today I was thinking about this book and how difficult it is to feel like a freak. Most of us have things about our appearance that embarrass us or that we wish were different, but Augie’s face caused people to run, cringe, look away, or ridicule. How petty our concerns are in comparison to those who deal with debilitating deformities.

I’m glad the movie comes out in November. It is a good thing to be reminded of what really matters, what bravery looks like, and how genuine love expresses itself to those who feel unlovable.

The people I want to be around are the people who look beyond the outward appearance; not those who parcel out acceptance and approval to the “elite” (however they have chosen to define it).

Johnny Cash University

This morning, in my meditation, I listened to the soundtrack of Johnny Cash’s story, Walk the Line. Never a country music fan, I am surprised that the movie was so inspiring and that the lessons in his story still brought a big smile to my soul.

A few of the lessons I learned from Walk the Line (Johnny Cash University):

  • childhoods are filled with tragic loses that are sometimes very difficult to unearth and process
  • our untutored coping methods are usually destructive
  • messy lives still tell the truth
  • if we sing the song no one else is singing we will bring hope to others
  • hang on ’til the end

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Harry and Snowman

“Don’t trot, but gallop to see this movie…” the critics said.

I saw it on an American Airlines flight and so glad I did. And so glad it is available on YouTube and Netflix.

Watch it only if you want to be reminded that everything counts, that life happens for us not to us, that flat tires are part of a bigger plan, that those who are kind to animals win, that horses are more than horses, and that miracles happen.

On so many levels, this movie gives hope; hope that there is meaning behind our existence and that horrible tragedy can transform into strength and yield good for our future and for others.

I Thought I Needed Martians

I can so relate to this quote from the author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Into my teens, I frequently sat out in the woods hoping and waiting for Martians to take me away. I did this for two reasons:

  • I was bored with my life
  • I thought I must be an alien because I was so very different from (and inferior to) my peers

But, the Martians never came.

Instead, I was forced to grow up–and into an appreciation for my life.
It took a while, but today, I can marvel at the miracle of:

  • me
  • sunlight
  • living things all around me
  • mistakes that turn into miracles
  • and the countless other humans who feel so much like I did

(originally posted Feb 2014)

Will You Hear It?

Today, I found encouragement in the messages of The Glass Castle movie (in theaters August 11, 2017).

The message that we don’t have to be ashamed of those things over which we had no control.

The message that there is hope for kids and employees and spouses who are under the thumb of crazies.

The message not to give up on the escape plan.

The message that there are essential things to love about everyone.

The message that we can survive (and somehow thrive under) radical pain and confusion.

The message that all of our stories hold much more mystery than we ever dreamed.

 

The Crazy Truth

I hold these truths to be self-evident (and freeing):

1. None of us are normal.

2. All of us are more screwed-up than we realize.

3. It’s okay to be a work-in-progress. (Embrace criticism.)

4. We make things worse by pretending to be normal and projecting blame and shame on everyone else.

5. Delighting in each other (and ourselves) in spite of the crazy is the way out of self-inflicted torture.

6. “The only way to beat my crazy was by doing something even crazier.”  (from Silver Lining Playbook) Translation: By focusing fanatically on a larger goal and larger world outside of my suffocating angst, I overcame it.

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Accept it and laugh on.