“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:
- Schedule daily reflection/meditation time.
- Deal ruthlessly with any of my wimpy objections or manic interruptions to this practice.
- Always stop, ground, and center before reacting to any unexpected or unwelcome circumstance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
In order for my life to be great, I must first appreciate it…made no sense to me when I thought my life sucked.
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.
Joy attracts more joy.
Unhappiness pushes away joy…and people…and opportunities.
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 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.)
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.”
We spent the rest of the evening listening to his story.
Everyone is interesting.