Middle of the Night Assessments

Thinking, thinking, thinking of all the ways I have screwed up, relationships I had marred, the many flavors of stupidity I let fly out of my mouth, and my inaccurate estimations of myself at the root of all these embarrassing displays of weird. In the middle of the night I can quickly label myself as unredeemable or I can remember that it is the middle of the night when I am most prone to be out of whack.

I can wait until morning for judgement, when rested, when I will see that I am more than this: still a work in progress, a mixture of bright and dull, awesome and not so awesome, light and dark, sunshine and shadow.

 

Distilled Power

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.

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About Time

If you haven’t seen this delightful 2013 movie About Time, it is a refreshing reminder to relish life, one ordinary day at a time. If you don’t want to see the movie, or feel like your life is too ordinary to get excited about, try this:

  • Look out your window as if you were on vacation, traveling to your city and your neighborhood for the very first time
  • See your family and friends as if for the first time
  • Forget about what you want them to do differently and delight in them just as they are

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Stay tune for great joy. And…it’s about time!

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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Belonging to Ourselves

No hustling for worthiness.

No valuing myself by someone else’s measurement.

No comparisons.

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.

Loving the Attention Too Much?

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.

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Falling Upward

This Richard Rohr quote pretty much sums up the tragic plots of countless movies, TV shows, books, and plays (see Shakespeare, Kite Runner, Game of Thrones, This is Us, etc.), but also sadly, wars and worse.

You might recognize this illustration from Madmen. Same song, second verse.

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We’ve heard it since we were children

We must forgive

Starting with ourselves

Yet, we try to beat the odds

And hold on to vapor

Groping like madmen

For the protection of liars

Who will go down with us

Unless we collapse into truth

And choose to fall upward

It Is Never Enough

Even if I am acknowledged

Accomplished

Or have crossed the goal line while the crowd roars

It will not be enough to sustain this hungry spirit of mine

It will only crave more on another day

No, that deep cavern of need

Must be spring-fed

From a deep reservoir within

No accolade

No award

Can ever be worth as much

As this

My own affirming voice

“I am enough.”

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Going from Pressure to Pleasure

Feeling the Monday morning pressure? It’s no coincidence that in some countries, more heart attacks happen at 9 AM on Monday morning than any other time of the week. Many of us start dreading Monday as soon as we wake up on Sunday.

An easy way to open this pressure valve is to find your pressure-to-pleasure question. The following have worked well for me: 

  • How can I have fun while I work?
  • How can I make this task a challenge to myself?
  • How can I utilize my gifts more fully as I work?
  • How can I bring my entire, unique self to this task?
  • How can I appreciate the difference I am making today?

Patrick Lencioni, in the book Three Signs of a Miserable Job, attests that these are the signs:

  1. Performance is unnoticed
  2. Performance is unrewarded
  3. Performance is irrelevant

If we must stay on a job where we feel unnoticed, unrewarded, or irrelevant, we will have to find a way to do those things for ourselves.

When It Is Okay to Feel Superior

“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstances.”

– Bruce Barton, Ad Executive, Author, and US Representative

I have a daily blog because I got fed up with my own whining. I got tired of believing my circumstances were too much for me. Feeling inferior had run its pathetic course.

Today, I don’t have to prove I am superior to you, Donald Trump, or anyone else. But, I will summon my superiority and call out (with authority) “Bring it on!” to any circumstance that comes along.