Searching for a Heart of Gold?

Searching for a heart of gold is a worthy quest, and not just for Neil Young. Neil Young might have been singing about a romantic connection, but we are all searching for hearts of gold in people we meet. It is like a quest for home.

A heart of gold is about honesty and authenticity. It is about loyalty and honor and about refusing to become small or vindictive in our words or actions.

And people with hearts of gold are not doormats, they are strong people who refuse to stoop to hatred.

To show respect to all people, even those who have disrespected us or treated others disrespectfully, is sometimes torture and often counter-intuitive. Yet, the reward of having that caliber of character is worth the exertion.

Bow to the Heart that Triumphs over Greed

Image result for all the money in the world quotes

Go ahead and deny this stubborn truth.

Go ahead and talk about all the luxury and power that money can bring into your life; how people will notice you, pursue you, flock to supply your every need.

Then, if you are brave enough, tear open the veil and look into the brutal face of greed; you were never the attraction. Watch your flock disappear when your fortune fails or wanes.

Face the horror of the pathetic defeat of money in a bout with loneliness, disease, or death.

Bow to the heart that triumphs over greed.

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Top Ten Reasons Abraham Lincoln Was Magnetic

10. His stories were funny.

9. He was passionate and dedicated to his tasks.

8. He wasn’t out for his own gain: sacrificing frequently for those he served.

7. He was a born a simple man, but worked hard, persevered, and hung on to hope against all odds.

6. He was a lifelong learner and a speaker whose persuasiveness came from deep well of insight and love.

5.  He saw people as his equals: treating the poor and powerless the same as the wealthy and famous.

4. He spent long enough in depression to sympathize with those who battled personal demons.

3. He understood first hand what it meant to be a loser, rejected, hungry, hopeless, and unloved.

2. He listened well because he had trained himself not to be judgmental or arrogant.

1. He didn’t take himself nor his ego seriously.

Lincoln obviously was not perfect, but so often, his words have bailed me out of self-pity and other pathetic emotions.

When I meet someone who has any of  his qualities, I am drawn to them as a bug is to light.

gravitas

gravitas morgan freeman

No Shows

I was fourteen years old the first time a friend “no-showed” and left me stranded on a weekend night. I was stunned and wounded. My expectations had been high and nothing had prepared me for the possibility of disappointment. As dysfunctional as my family was, I had been taught to keep my word and that others kept their word when the stakes were high. A sibling maybe, but a friend would never no-show and act as if nothing had happened.

Later I would be disappointed when…

  • clients, bosses, and coworkers told me they would advocate for me and didn’t
  • employers failed to follow through
  • employees no called no showed
  • romantic interests betrayed
  • and…I succumbed to being a no-show myself

But, at least I became wise to the why.

We over-promise because…

  • originally, we had good intentions
  • we were afraid to tell you the truth
  • we didn’t know how to say no
  • something better came up
  • the cost of fulfillment was too high
  • we were embarrassed, or didn’t know how to tell you our plans had changed
  • we hoped you would forget about it
  • it was always about us, not you
  • we wanted to avoid an argument, conflict, or tears

None of us are strangers to the “no show” pain. That’s why I am amazed that we can still rationalize doing it to each other.

Not so long ago, I had to choose between keeping a commitment vs. fulfilling a major bucket-list item. I struggled with it for a day or so and decided I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. I became a no show for people who were counting on me (even though I called and cancelled the commitment before flying off to Alaska). I wish I hadn’t.

The trip, although beautiful, turned into a debacle, complete with painful misunderstandings and disappointments.

Big lesson.

No-shows never win.

because I said I would

 

Marks of Greatness

“…the warmth of his dark-blue eyes certified a delicate mind and a cordial, brave nature. Fifty years or more had spent themselves upon him with no other effect than to tinge his demeanor with gravity and temper his words with forethought. The brightness of his soul was untouched.” -Lew Wallace (from Ben Hur)

Wow! These are the qualities I want to have:

  1. Bright soul untouched by age
  2. Words tempered with forethought
  3. Gravitas
  4. Brave nature
  5. Sensitivity
  6. Cordial with all

I’ll work on it today by:

  1. Hanging out with people like this (everywhere; in books, in other cultures, in the places I go, and the relationships I choose)
  2. Spending time quieting my soul so that I remove all obstacles to these behaviors
  3. Rejecting the easy way out

What could be more valuable?

face of depth

fearless

The Big Six?

Writer, Dana King commenting upon yesterday’s blog about qualities that draw others to us, dubbed them The Big Six. It might not be an exclusive list, but it still seems important to identify obstacles that prevent us from displaying these important attributes.

In the following list, I thought of the opposite of the quality and how it has taken root in my own experience.

Passion — Lethargy, disillusionment, or disengagement, supported by thoughts of, “It’s no use” or “Why try?”
Child-like Delight — Boredom, supported by “Been there, done that” or a lack of curiosity
Presence — Detachment, fueled by anxiety or self-absorption
Courage — Fear of losing something that I cannot keep
Contentment — Jealousy, bitterness, or negativity about my circumstances
Not Taking Oneself Too Seriously — Intensity or tension, born of defending my ego

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Hunger Gains

I know I’m late, but I recently read Hunger Games (because of a friend’s allegorical reference from the book), and am glad I did.

The hero and heroine’s noble character traits of courage, honor, and sacrificial service for others were inspiring. I can never get enough of that type of inspiration.

The pull toward a mediocre existence – keeping my body alive just to have creature comforts – is always strong, and I know this life leaves me empty.

I am hungry for more.

Reminders to live a noble life, and that my circumstances don’t have to define me, are priceless…whatever their source.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” -Emerson

hungerThanks for the inspiration!

Call It What It Is

jealousy-disease I have read two books recently that I should have read years ago. That’s sad. They would have really helped me.

But the reason I didn’t read them is even more pathetic; I was jealous of the authors. I had convinced myself that one author was too young to be insightful and the other was not profound, just lucky.

Too often I have stymied my own growth by hanging on to a prejudice and refusing to learn from a perceived competitor.

So, I will now be suspicious of these behaviors:

1) Writing someone off before I give them a freakin’ chance

2) Protecting my own ego by condemning someone else’s

And…I will call it what it is: Plain and simple jealousy, driven by insecurity and immaturity.

 

 

 

 

High Tolerance for Despair and Disappointment

I’ve never been known for either. But, just returning from Washington D.C., I am again inspired by someone who had admirably high tolerance for both: Lincoln. If he hadn’t, much about our lives (particularly in the U.S.) would be altered.

This reminder of the long-term implications of perseverance, hope, and the relentless pursuit of right in the face of opposition and failure has often given me the inspiration to hold on.

There was no light at the end of the tunnel for Lincoln when:

  • the terrible war trudged on, brutally killing and wounding over 0ne million people
  • public opinion was against him for his stand for equality and against secession
  • he faced death, illness, and depression in his own family
  • his own generals disregarded his orders

But, he didn’t quit.

lincoln

 

Two-Minute Tune-Up 1.4.13 Words that Give Life

I was refreshed by an ESPN story about the aborted football career of Marcus Dupree when two grown men, now past their prime, admitted their mistakes with each other.

Coach Barry Switzer confessed the way he had treated Marcus was his major career regret. Marcus Dupree owned his arrogance and premature exit of the Oklahoma football program as the greatest mistakes of his life.

Honest, humble, and vulnerable versus proud, bitter, defensive, and blaming.

Wherever we find these first attributes, we find refreshment, life, and hope.

While writing this I remembered a thirty-year-old apology I owed someone. I will give it today instead of pretending that it isn’t important.

Marcus Dupree Barry switzer