If I just live each day as it passes rather than in fear or resistance of what might happen, I win.
Either way the future goes, I win.
If what I want to happen happens, I will not have wasted my time worrying.
If what I fear happens, I will learn and grow and become stronger (or I will die, which no amount of worrying will prevent). So, I may as well face whatever the future holds with a smile and be heroically sexy. (Courage and power and joy are very attractive.)
The alternatives are the antithesis of sexy:
- self absorption
I choose the attractive, sexy hero option.
Breathe life back into whatever is dying within you.
Relationships? A breath of fresh air comes with focus on the things we delight in about someone.
Goals? Fresh eyes for your whys.
Work? Life-breath for work comes with wholeheartedness.
Projects? Fresh air flows in with questions versus abdication. (i.e. What would it look like if it were easy?)
I tried it the other day when I was sighing about my stranded suicide prevention project.
I asked myself:
- Is it a worthy project? Yes.
- Have others given their energy for less worthy projects? Yes.
- Do I have confidence that it can help others? Yes.
- Is there one step I can take today on the project? Yes.
And, voila, the project has new life.
- I forget to delight in the people and things around me.
2. I start to compare my situation to others. I begin to envy, pity myself, or focus on petty inconveniences.
3. I start to want things I don’t have.
4. I lose my inner light and strength. I become dark and common.
“Some day I will be able to ___________________________ or, I will begin today to _________________________________.”
“It takes time to forgive someone, or today I will refuse to play the victim, and begin to forgive.”
“I know I am unhappy with my life, but I don’t have the _______________ (courage, money, time) to change my life, or today I will start taking baby steps toward my goal.”
“Someday I will be healthier and run a marathon, or today I will begin by walking around my neighborhood.”
“One day I will be happier, or today I will live with joy and gratitude for what I already have.”
“One day someone will love me and change my life, or today I will be my own hero, I will love myself and change my life.”
“To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life.”
― T.S. Eliot
Tim Ferriss passed this quote along in his Five-Bullet Friday email. It is an important quote for me to remember.
So often I review my day with disdain for the smallness of my existence rather than with a smile at the useful things I did, the courageous things I said (or the chicken-shit things I didn’t say), and the amazing beauty I was privileged to see, hear, or touch.
My wish for myself and others is that we would believe this quote enough to stop chasing an image of success that sucks the life out of those useful, courageous, and beautiful moments.
“How will I survive?” or “How will I be successful?” are the wrong questions. The important question is, “How can I be useful?”
Jim Collins was speaking to entrepreneurs and business owners in this quote, yet it has critical application to our personal lives.
While working on a suicide-crisis line, I met countless people driven toward suicide because of these two wrong questions just as the questions had reeked havoc in my own journey.
How can I be useful? is my new mantra.
Shifting to a simple surrender of our assets to meet needs around us restores momentum and sanity.
Fear-based decision making will always drive us off course.
People are a mess. Life is often a mess. Things happen. Death is inevitable.
But, sing anyway.
Look it square in the face and sing.
That may sound absurd, but when I do, I find courage. Sometimes, even a smile.
Music seems to connect me to a harmony above the chaos.
That’s a good reason to test the hypothesis, anyway. (Especially when we consider how important music has been in all the stages of our life, how imbedded it is in our memories, and how much music meddles with our emotions.)
You may have had a disarming connection before.
I was simply reading the introductory poem in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao when my insides jumped up in recognition of Derek Walcott’s sensitivity and his far-reaching spirit writing. Maybe the sudden jolt of recognition was for his gift, or his anointing, or his understanding of a deeply hidden pain. Maybe for a fellow traveler known before these bodies.
But I cannot deny my union with the hovering, invisible truth.
I cannot deny the grip of his words urging me to live large, authentically, and honorably.
I cannot deny the visceral tug that pulled defenseless tears from my eyes and my weakened knees to the ground.
Moments such as this remove the veil from the rhyme of existence.
“The chances that you will wake up are in direct proportion to the amount of truth you can take without running away.” – Anthony De Mello
Running away is often my modus operandi when I don’t agree with someone.
But, it has been very easy for me to talk about how others are blind and clueless about their own choices.
Cringing at the times in my past when I said and did stupid things (that I thought were smart), alerts me that these lapses in judgment are still happening.
So, I must learn how to:
- ask for help; listen instead of talk
- believe it when people tell me how I can improve
- quit justifying myself
- keep reading
- keep seeking other perspectives
- accept criticism without running from the discomfort
“The heart is a muscle like any other and the best exercise you can do for it is called picking yourself up off the floor.”
– I Wrote This Just For You (2011 Central Avenue Publishing)
It feels like you can’t get up
It feels like the pain will never subside
It feels like it’s no use
It feels like living is meaningless
Don’t believe the lie
Get up anyway
And keep doing it
Your heart will soon astound you with its strength
When I think of what I would have missed if I had not…