When you can’t do it for yourself
Do it for those who never had a chance
Who died before their time
For those who had to push through the pain
Or trudge through battle fields, cold, and rain
For those who kept going when there was no light
Who kept fighting
After they had lost the fight
Do it for them, if you can’t do it for you
Be the ball, take the shot, cop the attitude
You’ve always had enough to master today
Now go and give it away
Whatever it is
You got this.
When I am with someone who says something critical about another person or group, I immediately;
1) Regret the times I have spoken harshly about others (without giving them an opportunity for rebuttal or explanation)
2) Feel compassion for the person or group being criticized
3) Feel compassion for the person criticizing
4) Hope for a more generous world where tolerance and the benefit of a doubt are readily available
If we only say things about others, in a manner that we wouldn’t mind someone saying the same about us, what a big shift in the airspace there would be…
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.
Accept it and laugh on.
My romantic relationships and my work relationships improved when I quit worrying about how I was being perceived, or how I was being treated, what had just happened, or what was going to happen next. So did my tennis game. And my relationship with my kids and in-laws. And my health. And my joy. And my ability to have a good night’s sleep.
It took me over thirty years to figure that out with relationships. Over ten with something as inconsequential as tennis. Still working on it with new clients, new challenges, and strangers.
Most of us spend our waking hours splintered out in so many directions that we don’t even know what true focus is. People who bring their complete attention and focus with them wherever they go are so rare that when we are lucky enough to meet one, we cannot forget them. They are distilled and refreshing power: the power we have always longed for.
When I am preoccupied with the faults of exes, politicians, competitors, or relatives, I may be with the majority, but it is the mediocre majority.
When I am preoccupied with the faults of others, I will be tied and bound to ineffectiveness, derailed from happiness, and blind to my own culpability.
When I am preoccupied with the faults of anyone, I will miss the best opportunities of my life while groveling for my own self-worth at the muddy feet of jealousy.
And even worse, by my example, I will pull others down with me, to wallow in the smug and dirty alleys of vanity.
No hustling for worthiness.
No valuing myself by someone else’s measurement.
Shouldering responsibility for my own happiness.
Allowing others to belong to themselves.
Drawing nourishment from the one and only, unique relationship with my Creator, from which all sustaining relationships are born.
Honoring the fleeting, fertile moments in this body, here and now.
In a recent, vivid dream, I was being treated with great care and attention in opulent surroundings. I loved the special feeling this gave me, yet, in the dream, I also knew the lavish treatment was frighteningly subject to change; based completely upon my money and allegiance.
On the other hand, in real life, I can be okay with “third-class treatment” if I am detached from others’ opinions of me. Not in-your-face, making-a-statement detached: instead, a healthy independence where I care about people simply to care about people (not to influence what I might get in return).
This is the purest state of peace I have ever known.
This is one of the major themes of Gregory David Robert’s experience as portrayed in the book (soon to be movie), Shantaram. Also in Tim Tebow’s book, Shaken. Although, one book deals with the dark realities of life and the other, mostly with those of a fallen football player, the lesson is the same; losing is often the win we need for the long-haul. Accept the pain of losing as it comes, and our character development and re-direction will have countless beneficiaries.
I was pleasantly surprised with that reality recently when my challenged nephew was invited to an event sponsored by Tim Tebow’s ministries; ministries that would not exist if Tim Tebow had not been kicked off of three NFL teams.
This insightful Emerson quote feels especially true when there is nothing on the agenda, when the phone is not ringing (and the mail is not dinging), when we are ill, not sure of our next step, or broke.
How do we use the “gift” of the day when the days feel like empty ghosts passing by? The key seems to be asking versus saying, “My life sucks” or “I’m completely useless.”
“Is there anything I can do today to make a difference for someone?” prompts ideas, seemingly from out of nowhere, like sending kind texts or emails to those with whom I haven’t spoken in a while.
Then, there will be more energy to catch the ghosts and unwrap the gifts.
To condemn a liar is easy.
To admit our own lies is hard.
It always stumps me that social media is so full of indictments against liars. I hate lies too, yet, I know that not lying is something most of us have not mastered. I often wonder how so many people have conveniently forgotten their own lapses and gotten on their high horses about a habit that is so universal.
Humans (that includes me) have lied to avoid pain (prompted by some derivative of fear), unable to come up with a way around the pain without lying. Humans usually don’t set out to lie until the adrenaline starts pumping out a desperate plan of escape. Then, unfortunately, some will continue down the “socio-path,” addicted to the lie, unable to distinguish truth from lie, or to remember life without the lie.
Ironically, in order to spot, and avoid being victimized by, these pathological liars, we must simply recognize the “why” and humbly own this ugly side of our shared humanity.