Not Enough Present

“There are only two days in a year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow.” -The Dalai Lama

All forms of guilt, regret, resentment, and bitterness are caused by too much past and not enough present.

All forms of anxiety, worry, stress, and fear are caused by too much future and not enough present.

If I seriously respect and inhabit the moment before I try to sort out or make sense of all other points on the time-space continuum, I won’t hurt as much.

How this spells out practically:

  1. Schedule daily reflection/meditation time.
  2. Deal ruthlessly with any of my wimpy objections or manic interruptions to this practice.
  3. Always stop, ground, and center before reacting to any unexpected or unwelcome circumstance.

Freedom that Doesn’t Leave Us Empty

I hope it has never happened to you, but following the novelty of freedom after quitting a job, leaving a relationship, retiring, or, as in Mandela’s case, getting out of jail, comes the “what-do-I-do-now?” stage.

Misusing our freedom by allowing ourselves to over-indulge for extended periods of time, or to become lazy will inevitably steal the joy of freedom.

Funneling our freedom into making a difference for others is real freedom.

That’s the freedom for which we were born.

Feeling Unfairly Overlooked?

I spent years as a disgruntled employee, feeling unjustly slighted, before I even tiptoed close to the possibility that it might be my fault.

I now wish I had made sure I wasn’t part of the problem before I accused so many people of evil.

The same was true for the times I was dumped or I felt ignored in relationships.

There was more to the story.

There is always more to the story.

It’s called…their side.

Some of the reasons we don’t know their side are:

  • they are afraid to tell us

  • we don’t listen and respond well when they try to tell us

  • candor (with ourselves and others) is a very rare skill that few have mastered

So, instead of wasting my time retelling my sob story to myself and anyone who will listen, I started learning how to fix the parts that were my fault.

It’s pretty amazing how fast my life got better.

 

 

What To Do when Every Path Looks Uninviting

When all you feel is pain…

When life is so absurd you cannot believe it is really happening to you…

When every path looks uninviting…

Here are the instructions:

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

You are now entering the territory of heroes and legends.

Recurring Final Exam Dream

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I didn’t realize it was so common. You show up for the first time to a class on the day of the exam and feel so confused about why, oh why, you haven’t been coming to the class all semester. My class is like Calculus. What was I thinking?

(see Psychology Today article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/radical-teaching/200909/recurring-final-exam-dream)

Lately, the dream has shifted to managing a nightmarish shift in a restaurant, wondering where I was when everything cratered?

Whatever the setting, both dreams alert me to an inner state of feeling utterly under-prepared.

Shiver!

But, the really cool thing about having the dream is the opportunity to peer into my sub-conscious and be totally honest with myself.

Breadcrumbs on the path to authenticity.

And authenticity is the foundation of joy.

When Mission Is Out of Control

Image result for mission quotes

People who are driven by mission are awesome, unless:

  • They won’t shut up about the mission
  • Mission is such an obsession that they don’t see the people around them

I am a mission-driven person. I have so much I want to accomplish, but, there is nothing more noble to accomplish than to give great energy to whoever is around me, right now. Losing sight of that makes my mission frickin’ annoying.

Reality Check (or Chick)

One of the great perplexities of life is how everyone can have such strong opinions about how to fix the world and other people yet, no clue about how to fix themselves.

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I’m trying to clear up my own airspace by not sharing my unsolicited, authoritative opinions so often. I think it may stop Global Boring.

(Like…take care of your own stuff, Pam.)

Wow, that was tiring sitting as judge and jury for the whole world. What a relief. I feel less fatigued already.

Now, for the real work.

“It’s easier to play God than to love God in others.” -Dr. Henri Nouwen

The Illusive Great Life?

Image result for in order for your life to be great you must first learn to appreciate it

In order for my life to be great, I must first appreciate it…made no sense to me when I thought my life sucked.

Whatever.

I always told people, “I do appreciate my life, but…”

I wanted a better life now, and everything seemed to be against me. I didn’t know that the “but” was the obstacle. That craving, that longing, that discontent stopped me from loving what I already had enough to feel the joy. Because…

Joy attracts more joy.

I had to start smiling at my life, my future, and my predicaments. Really.

Because…

Joy attracts more joy.

Unhappiness pushes away joy…and people…and opportunities.

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Now, I know.

Now, I know my first routine (and most important) of the day is to feel more joy. Especially, when I feel there is none.

“This Is What’s Gonna Happen.”

This Reba McIntyre quote parallels similar quotes by Oprah and hundreds of other successful people; reflecting the simple power of aligning our thoughts, words, and emotions with our desired future.

The problem for many of us is that our focus is on our frustration about what is not happening for us.

(Not the emotion of lack, frustration, or impatience; the emotion of joy, fulfillment, energy, and love. Feel it now.)

Unpack the Story

Everyone has a story. If I ask the right questions and have a little patience, I might hear it.

Speaking in Mississippi and eating dinner with a group of crusty oilfield foreman and superintendents, I asked them to share something interesting about their lives. The quietest and most resistant said, “I’ve got nothing to say. There’s nothing interesting about my life.” I left him alone and asked the other guys. After a lot of laughs and revelations, I came back to him and nudged a little.

He reluctantly mumbled, “Well, a long time ago, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crashed in my backyard and my new wife and I helped get survivors to the hospital on my 4-wheeler.”

Image result for lynyrd skynyrd plane crash site

Image result for lynyrd skynyrd plane crash site

We spent the rest of the evening listening to his story.

Everyone is interesting.