The sense of danger must not disappear:
The way is certainly both short and steep.
However gradual It looks from here;
Look if you like, but you will have to leap.
This stanza from W.H. Auden’s poem is certainly about risky love, but the sentiment can be applied to a multitude of decisions in our lives that will take us off the beaten path, away from the mundane, and into a more adventurous, fulfilling life.
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to becoming that person we admire.
We can’t kid ourselves forever. Living vicariously on our couch through media, books, sports, fantasy or our children will never be enough.
Today, I wish that courage to leap for you and for me.
(originally posted in October 2015)
(“Dragons hoard gold because the thing you most need is always to be found where you least want to look.”)
People end up alone in life because they hang on to their particular criteria for companionship and refuse to look in an “inferior” or threatening place (which might require serious humility or honesty).
Face the dragon. Do we really have to?
Isn’t there another way to get what we want?
Can’t we just do what we’ve always done
Rather than risk exposure on a battlefront?
An example close to home:
I have tried for years to get an idea off the ground for suicide prevention and I know I should keep trying because it can save lives, but…
I have perfectly good reasons
Not to follow my heart’s suggestion
Courage is such hard work and
Uh…okay…I really hate rejection
Let’s encourage each other. I’ll face my dragon if you face yours.
When the voice tells you to give up
Get out! Get out and go anywhere but where you are
In search of a different voice to tell you
Success lives right next door, so very close to your despair
When the voice says the pain is too much
Get out! Get out of your story into a story of courage
Where the poor and defeated rise up to turn pain
Into passion for millions of forgotten sufferers
When the voice says whatever you do won’t help
Get out! Get out into an infinite universe
Where every invisible particle and connection
Crackles with impressive power all around you
When the voice says you are worthless
Get out! Get outside to see — or inside a curious mind to hear
About your improbable existence among the teaming billions
Of living things–every one of them essential
When the voice says no one cares
Get out! Get out quickly and be your own big bang of care
Explode with a clear and bellowing voice to replace
The numbing, nagging one making slaves of millions
(He or she. Please, forgive the gender specific quote. )
I wrote this poem because I wrestle with the unrelenting voice of discouragement every day and have found that if I shift my perspective I can hang on five minutes longer.
Love your life
And the living of it
Love your commission (whatever it is)
And its wild call to courage
Love the days difficult to bear
Especially those that threaten to kill you
Love the uninviting terrain that must be scaled
And the raging rivers that must be crossed
Forgive their unforgivable harshness
And, most importantly, love all who travel with you
Especially those with nothing to give
Love all of them the same
Because you have trained your eyes to see
And your heart to love the unfathomable designer of us all
Then love will come to you, easy and strong
Abundant and plenty
When and where you need it
To irresistible you
(originally posted April 2015)
No one wants to hear us whimper about it.
Breathe in strength
Breathe out resolve
Smile at the future
And get back to work
When I am afraid of what I might lose
When I am trying to get something from you
I am not free to wield the power of integrity
The power of character
Or the power of courage
After speaking today, several people complimented “my energy” and “my unique power.”
I was keenly aware that their impression came solely from the battle I had waged against myself (for days) to be in that surrendered place of power and not in the place of fear and need.
The ultimate position of power is bringing all of who we are to the moment minus attachment to an outcome.
(By the way, that power position is reflected in the following quote (and was a turning point in Cranston’s career.)
“If the individual receives no satisfaction from his work for its own sake, he dies internally, a condition which no financial reward can justly compensate.” – Timothy Gallwey
This quote describes the inner struggle I experienced while working to support my family in the wrong job.
Sometimes, for a season, many of us are constrained to do so. In those cases, rather than die inside…
Don’t give up hope. When things were the darkest for me, it was because I believed having a job that fully engaged my talents was out of reach. (It wasn’t.)
Be completely present. For the sake of those we serve. “The anecdote for exhaustion is wholeheartedness.” – David Whyte
Challenge yourself. Character goals. Physical goals. Relationship goals. Efficiency goals. Success is sweet…no matter how small.
This March…march into your best life.
“When we blend our unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals.” -Deepak Chopra
For many years, while working as a mediocre middle-manager, I told people I had no talents.
Privately, I wondered if caring about people and talking could be talents.
This morning, I offered up to the Universe my inclination to care about people and to speak honestly about my failures.
Yesterday, someone paid me to do that (and, I could tell it made a difference).