Am I a Dog Growling over My Bowl?

When I am seething with jealousy and bitterness at someone who has what I want, I am like a dog growling over my bowl. I am thinking there is not enough to go around and I want what is mine.

I begrudge their good and…poison myself in the process.

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When I know scarcity is an illusion, that not a human soul can keep me from what is rightfully mine, I am then free to identify with the needs, wants, successes, and failures of others without comparing myself to them, resenting them, or being passive aggressive toward them by pretending to care.

The essence of cool and a cure for jealousy…believing there is no scarcity.

My heart is at your festival. – William Wordsworth

Petty, Pedantic, Preoccupied, Predictable, Powerless?

Sometimes the only thing that reminds me of the neglect of my plants are pathetic looking, drooping leaves. Then I run quickly to get the water. When my inner life needs nourishment there are also warning signs:

1) Preoccupation with my appearance

2) I become so pedantic and predictable that I bore people to death

3) I start being petty and argumentative

4) So preoccupied with my plans that I fail to appreciate things and people around me

5) A feeling of powerlessness and overwhelm

Activities, narcotics, people, food, and drink can only stop the “droop” temporarily. Real presence and energy comes from within.

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When It Is Good to Lower My Standards

It is not always a bad thing to lower my standards. It is a good thing to do when…

  • I have been too critical of myself (as I have aged, I’ve noticed that my appearance standards {ahem, obsessions} have not contributed to mental health)
  • I am too critical of others (my standards do the most harm when used to facilitate a feeling of superiority)
  • my standards were unreasonable (perfectionism) or alienated the people around me (self-righteous)
  • I based my self-worth on my standards (lack of awareness of how ridiculously messed up I am)
  • I bragged about or felt compelled to talk too much about my standards (insecure)

Or, prepare for the institution.

For Less-Opportunity Social Stratas

For those of us who were born without

For those of us who will die early

For those of us with disease or deformity

For those of us who never knew the “right people”

For those of us with low IQs

Who didn’t go to school

Or have a job

For those of us without a home, shoes, clean clothes

Or love

There is the equanimity of sun and rain

Earth’s free gift of light and water

And, yes, a path that leads to the finish line

Where we are welcomed with honor

That Dream Again

The car is totally out of control on icy roads, wrecking into things, gaining speed, fish-tailing on the edge of dangerous cliffs. As I am being thrown around the car, I am astounded that the driver is allowing this chaos by not even attempting to steer!

Then, horrified, I realize that the focus of my disbelief is sitting in the backseat! I am in the driver’s seat! It has been me, all along, who has abandoned the steering wheel and gotten us into this mess!

I don’t need a psychiatrist to interpret the dream. My subconscious is screaming, “Wake up, quit blaming others for your stress, and take responsibility.”

(Photo courtesy of Mental Floss. Click on photo for link to 12 Common Dreams and What They Supposedly Mean)

Next stop for me: apology…to my “passengers.”

Who Is My Mentor?

From the way I act sometimes, it would appear I am being mentored by an adolescent, wild animal, or politician.

Immature behaviors that display my arrogance, impatience, or lack of awareness flow like water out of a firehose, unless, I make a point to model my behaviors after someone noble and worthy; one who has learned to think carefully before speaking or acting.

So, today I am going to admire my heroes, focus on their powers of self-control and grace, instead of whoever or whatever is in my face.

What a difference it makes when I saturate my mind with Abe Lincoln, Helen Keller, Nelson Mandela, and so many other world-changers who overcame the pull into mediocrity.

Dear God, Please Help Them to Change.

A manager I know has a very inspiring poster on his door about leadership and accountability. It is obvious that he knows the value of these qualities.

It is also obvious that he avoids conflict.

Outside his door, the employees fester with discontent, confusion, drama, and unhealthy competition. Turnover is high. Energy is low.

He hopes that someday things will improve.

He doesn’t know that it is his move.

He also doesn’t know that once he sets clear boundaries, has the courage to quit making excuses, and to follow up tenaciously with coaching and development plans, his fear of conflict will go away.

Those things that we complain about, that keep us awake at night, that drain our energy during the day are actually in our hands to fix. Here is the formula:

  1. An apology
  2. Honest ownership of the dysfunction
  3. Agreement to start over
  4. Setting a when-things-fall-apart contingency

For the manager to his employees, it might sound like this:

“I owe you an apology. I have failed you by not communicating my expectations clearly and by failing to deal with things as they came up. Can we start over? Here is my specific wish-list. What is yours? Let’s talk again in a few days, see how we are doing, and recalibrate if necessary.”

Sometimes, the relationship will not work despite our best efforts, but we will never know if it could have been fixed if we don’t take responsibility for our part first.

Check-up:

  1. Are you assuming people know what you are unhappy about?
  2. Are you expecting those around you to read your mind or to interpret the world through your eyes?
  3. Have you been honest enough to state your desires with emotional detachment (minus the drama)?
  4. Have you remembered that your happiness is not dependent upon what others do but upon your own courage to move forward?
  5. Do you set contingencies in order to avoid indigestion and regression when things go sideways?

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End of Week Check UP

Just to make sure that we are not merely self-help groupies who laud clichés but fail to implement, here is the follow-up…

  • Did I remember the ripple effect; that I cannot know the full story or the impact of my life (when I was tempted to undervalue a situation)?
  • Did I remain hopeful (in setbacks and disappointments)?
  • Did I remember to appreciate now (instead of complain about it)?
  • Did I take responsibility for the things that have come into my life (instead of playing the victim)?
  • Did I bring music (instead of noise) to those around me?

Things Always Get Crazy When…

 

Things always get crazy

When I don’t know what to do next

And feel empty or useless

Unless 

I remember the answer may be love

Or removing obstacles to love

Not about accomplishing something.

Otherwise

Things can get so crazy

That I will forget about those who,

So similar to me,

Might not have a clue about what to do 

Or how to do it either

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Shhhh. Wait a Minute.

I’m deciding

I’m committing to a path of power

I’m seeing the world as a canvas, sunlight’s prism as my medium

I’m watching the story unfold as a masterpiece

I’m hearing the cheers of those who have overcome

I’m laughing with the joy of triumph

I’m wrapped in the arms of the Universe who whispers, “Well done.”

I’m remembering who I am

Now, I’m ready

For anything.

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Time well spent.