How to Know If My Conscience Is Really Clear

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Anyone who has struggled to sleep with a bad conscience knows there really is no softer pillow as that of a clear conscience, and that slipping into sleep with this caliber of peace is one of life’s greatest rewards.

Yet, still I have tried to justify and rationalize things I know are not right. And, at times have conveniently mistaken a clear conscience for…

  • denial and/or projection of guilt on someone else
  • ignorance of my responsibilities

A know a real clear conscience when it has cost me something.

Often, the cost is…

  • courage to seek the highest integrity against the pull of self-protection
  • a willingness to be quiet long enough to really hear
  • the disciplined work required to understand another’s point of view
  • owning my dark side
  • ego-obliterating apologies

The Expiration Date Is Written All over the Mirror

My expiration date is everywhere

As I look in the mirror

So what?

I smile at the future

However short or long it is

Because today

I commit to doing the most I can

With what I have even if

In a body past its prime

 

I can fret about what I have lost

Or am losing

Use my time that way

And my money 

For temporary solutions

Or I can get on with it

With a laugh at myself

For fighting with a reality

Too long denied and resisted 

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To Maximize Time and Effort

I can plow steadily ahead 

With passionate intent

Or I can listen first

At the feet of wisdom

 

I can plunge heart-first

Into painful obstacles

Or stand high on shoulders of giants

To see far past them

 

If I refuse the pain

Of patient humility

I will wish later for the sustenance 

Of its sweet and proven fruit 

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Worth the Courage It Takes

When I am frightened to do what I think I might need to do

I often pretend I never heard the idea at all

When my heart skips a beat thinking of a risky move

I often turn up my activities to ignore the nudge

When the call of the wild arrives on the wind and waves 

I drown it out: nose to the machinery of the day

Cheating myself of the exhilarating plunge

Into the cold stream of courage

The one with the postcard waterfall cascading

Into the meadow of the dreams I have almost forgotten

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“Resetting Ourselves to Zero” Encore

My writer friend, Dana King, used this term to describe an approach for learning from others. Here are some critical times I needed (but didn’t use) this approach:

  • A boss told me that my attitude was negative, arrogant, and oppositional. I told him he was wrong.
  • A potential agent criticized my script. I told him I wasn’t interested in hearing his suggestions.
  • A Grammy-nominated editor suggested removing certain scenes from a film I made. I was convinced my idea was better.

In each of these cases, the reaction I chose brought my success to a complete, expensive, painful (and now embarrassing) halt.

Today, I’ll practice “resetting myself to Zero” by hearing without saying but, however, or no.

humility

(Original Post 2014)

It Went to Spam

There are good reasons I never changed.

Rules are rules. Mine are set so that…

  • Your advice goes to spam
  • New opportunities go to spam
  • Hope goes to spam
  • Anything that causes discomfort goes to spam
  • Anything that requires change or action goes to spam
  • Anything that speeds up my heart rate goes to spam

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But…wait a minute…I didn’t know the Universe was trying to reach me…if only I had known…but…

  • It seemed ludicrous
  • I never got it
  • I thought it was not for me
  • I assumed it was a hoax
  • I was afraid

Avoidance and Justification for It

Certain parts of my work trigger an avalanche of fear and inadequacy.

So, I find something else to do, anything except what I know I should be doing.

It’s so predictable:

  1. I stare at the computer.
  2. I can’t think of anything helpful.
  3. I play solitaire.
  4. I decide my obstacles are too daunting.
  5. I abandon my work for whatever else presents itself.
  6. I wonder why I’m getting depressed.
  7. Then everything goes south on other fronts.
  8. Until I return to the work with courage.
  9. I ask for next steps.
  10. I get answers and inch forward.
  11. Eventually, I wonder why I was ever afraid.

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Here’s what I don’t know: the outcome.

Here’s what I do know: courageous living has its own reward.

Given Up on Buried Treasure?

Got no treasure hunts

Scheduled?

Given up on hope

Long ago?

Then why does your heart still ache

For something more? 

What is that

Tingle for?

Treasure Map Key:

T – Treat Every Moment as Friend Not Foe

R – Reject Resentment

E – Enjoy the Challenge of Change

A – Appreciate the Diverse and Unique

S – Surrender Judgment

U – Unlock your Heart (if it is frightened of pain)

E – Engage Others

 

Let-the-Treasure-Stay-Buried Key:

B – Bash yourself for believing there might be more

U – Underestimate your gifts and who you were born to be

R – Resist adventure and new ideas

I – Insist on perfection from yourself

E – Envy those who appear to have it better

D – Decide to do what you have always done

 

(Original Post 2013)