Is there anything I can do to help?
After Earl Morse, a Veterans Hospital PA realized that many of his patients wanted to see the new war memorial in D.C. but would never make it there, he offered to fly with two veterans to the capital. Then he started recruiting pilots and volunteers to help with others. Today, joining groups with similar goals, Honor Flight has given honor and closure to well over 160,000 vets.
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
Criticizing or despairing could never unlock the magic this question does.
Always good to remember when the need around us breaks our hearts.
Help! There’s an armed robber on the loose! He stole all my hope and my sight so that I cannot see and appreciate nature and simple pleasures anymore! He left me an empty shell, longing, and vacuous. He told me that he was going to make my life a living hell and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it!
He was armed and loaded with my lethal belief that my happiness depended, and would always depend, upon a certain person, condition, experience, substance, or thing.
I believed every word he said and it was true!
Before taking charge of his future, Tony Robbins sat in his 400 sq. ft. apartment, crying over feeling helpless and lost.
J.K. Rowling thought she was the biggest failure that ever lived.
Before Billy Joel’s success, he was broke, homeless, loveless, and thought suicide was the answer.
Buckminster Fuller thought his life was worth less than his life insurance.
Even the best of us can be tricked by this illusion.
I refused to be tricked yesterday, and will refuse to be tricked today. The “illusion of lack” is deadly.
Did you wake up with a sigh?
Disappointed and low?
Low enough to be shackled again
with the same weight tomorrow?
Then, sigh and frown
And keep looking down
While walking past a wall of books
Without opening one
Or go online
To the same ole places
And go back to bed
Without going to TED
Then sigh and frown
And keep looking down
Just pick up a book
And let the power out
Open the sky
With one tiny, courageous click
Imprisoned angels are standing by
Borrow joy. Borrow strength. Borrow inspiration. Borrow power.
Release the angels.
(I wrote this after challenging my blahs with, just open a book, any book, to any page.
I did. The lights came back on.)
My name is Pam and I am an addict. I have been addicted to attention, self-pity, really greasy, high-calorie fast food, men, solitaire, and my own opinions. I escaped being addicted to gambling, sex, drugs, and alcohol but that doesn’t make me any better than those whose addictions are different from my own.
When I felt desperate for one of those things that I was addicted to, I found only one cure for my despair: a radical change in my state of awareness.
This was brought about by:
- Life-threatening fear and pain
- Working on something I loved to do or could do well
- Really good books
- Bold and brave people who “slapped” me out of the victim status
- Another obsession (only recommended if it is healthier than the prior obsession)
Looking back, I can now see that the number-one cause of my business and personal failures was an unwillingness to seek out wisdom and listen to the wise.
I just thought I knew better
Or, that you didn’t get it
Or, I could figure it out myself
Or, that I didn’t have time to listen
Or slow down long enough to consider
That you might see things from a better angle
Or there might be a way, proven and tried
Of my limitations
But, I kept my pride.
It only cost me
Lost opportunity, money, and time.
Even if you think they are the one who is not a good communicator.
I was always so quick to justify myself (and condemn others) that I missed my chances to adjust and grow. That translated into lost opportunities, broken relationships, hurt feelings, and unnecessary confusion.
- My friend told me I often hurt people’s feelings with my sarcasm. I said I was just being funny and quit hanging out with that friend.
- My boss asked me to quit talking so much and be more sensitive to people. I rolled my eyes. She fired me a few months later.
- My children said I didn’t listen well. I argued with them.
Formerly, I mocked this quote. But now, even as a proponent of faith, I believe this plunge into the dark depths of doubt is as necessary as it is painful. I know no other way to take the arrogant edge off of acquired knowledge and to eliminate the bias of personal experience.
(Maybe this is why I like hanging out with people who have suffered.)
But, ironically, it is doubt, not faith that has given me the freedom to experience all people, thoughts, and other potential obstacles in this world through the eager senses of a curious child.
The documentary Life Itself about Roger Ebert clearly points to passion as a key element of his wildly-successful career as a movie-critic.
Watching it made me think how often passion is the main ingredient.
In a “former life,” I turned a couple of dying restaurants around by simply adding my passion and demanding passion of my associates.
The difference between an employee who just shows up and gets by, compared to the employee that brings all of his energy to the job is the difference in a restaurant being a dive and the restaurant being a legend.
Likewise, when our life feels anything but legendary, the question to ask might be, “Where did I lose my passion, and how soon can I leave to go get it back?”