The Destroyer

If you want to find out where everything went wrong

If you want to figure out how all the chaos got started

If you want to discover when the loving stopped

Or the joy vanished

And the easy became hard

If you want to track down the villain in the story

And punish him

Then do it quickly

Track down the fear in your own heart and disown it now

Because it is faster than cancer

And more destructive than the impact and shrapnel from a thousand bombs

It has tutored your ego into malice

And baited your intellect into stupidity

It has sucked your blood until you were the real vampire, the real boogie, the scariest zombie

From the most gruesome nightmare ever dreamed

And it was you all along

You! who gave fear the key

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Cry Baby Alert

Nothing shakes me out of my self-centeredness, ethnocentrism, and poor-me problems more than reading biographies and fiction about the struggles of passionate men and women in other times and places. The first book that called me out on my bull#h*t was Les Miserables. When I read it many years ago, the plights of Jean Valjean, Fantine, and Cosette, representing the real problems of the time period, shook me hardily out of the illusion of my “difficult life.” Other books followed suit: Roots, Tale of Two Cities, A Good Earth, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Man’s Search for Meaning, The Hiding Place, etc. And, more currently, Jungle of Stone, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Endurance, Pillars of the Earth, Outlander, The Glass Castle, Same Kind of Different as Me, and countless others.

I hope you don’t have the same tendency that I have to become a small-minded cry-baby. But if you ever do, I hope you will let a book rescue you.

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A Balanced Inventory

I may not be happy with numerous things in the world…but, I am happy with a gazillion other things (like clean water and internet access).

I may have aged a lot in the last few years…but, my face has fewer bumps (because I have a dermatologist who took them off).

I may have  a larger waist…but, I have a larger purpose too (because being attractive was never a sustainable project).

I may have fewer admirers…but, I have learned to do the admiring (because, after all these years, I have finally accepted myself, which, by the way, gives me more time to admire others).

Because, it is so important to give myself a broader perspective (on issues both large and small), I have made a pact with myself to always balance the info I allow in my head. If I am fed bad news, I feed myself good news. It’s that simple. It’s not being Pollyanna positive, it’s being productively practical; just opening my eyes a little wider.

I am in charge of the feed.

Thank you Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield for your example: http://www.interestingshit.com/nature/good-news-stories/

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Show Me Yours First

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“The Universe is asking…show me your new vibration, I will show you miracles.”

That might sound stupid or “New Age,” yet the times when I have recovered from despair, found hope when I thought there was none, somehow discovered a way out of a bind, or seen a miniscule ray of light in the deepest darkness, it has been because I did the changing. I quit waiting for something or someone else to change.

Although, it was as easy as…

  • admitting I might be wrong
  • changing an “I can’t” to an “I will”
  • thanking instead of complaining
  • questioning instead of denouncing

It was very difficult to accept that responsibility.

Most people never do.

There is an energy, a vibration, about us that repels help or attracts it. If you doubt that, think about the people you avoid, and why.

The Moon Was on the Other Side

The other night I marveled at the almost-full moon. The next morning, it was full…and on the other side of the sky. I was asleep when it all happened. No one asked for my help or my expertise to keep the earth and moon in their orbits.

When I am trapped in my own dramas, it certainly helps to remember this…and that…

  • I am a very small puzzle piece in a very big picture
  • the only rational explanation for me being here is to learn awe, gratitude, and usefulness
  • my stress, angst, jealousy, anger, or bitterness may be utterly ridiculous
  • history, science, and astronomy are great perspective enhancers

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Recipe for Accomplishment

Some leaders define Vision simply as imagination plus courage.  This definition reminds me that any remarkable accomplishment happens because someone had the courage to stand for what could be. And that…

  • My imagination has a purpose.
  • I have ideas that can make a difference.
  • Many brave people before me have tenaciously fought against unbelievable odds for ideas that mattered.
  • Their imagination and courage made a difference for me.

If I have imagined anything that can benefit others and if my dream makes me feel alive, chances are…this is what I was born to do.

And, if I want to accomplish anything, I must remember this on the days my efforts appear useless.

Courage.

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If I Bought a Filter

If I could buy an automatic filter that would not only clean the air, but also remove all of the harmful things I think, say, and do, how different my life would be!  I would…

  1. Think more clearly
  2. Sleep better at night
  3. Become a stronger and kinder person
  4. Be happier
  5. Be less competitive, jealous, or angry
  6. Have more peace and patience
  7. Be more productive
  8. Play better tennis 🙂

Since this miracle “filter” doesn’t exist, my job is to create a routine for myself that functions as the “filter.” It may be a lifetime project, but so far my filter consists of:

  • Setting an intention of radical self-improvement and contribution
  • Daily meditation and prayer
  • Reading and learning from others
  • Honest, on-going evaluation
  • Owning my mistakes quickly

A small price to pay for all the benefits.

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When the First Thought Finds Me

When the first thought finds me

Let it be the weight of light

When consciousness comes

Let it be a tiny whisper of surprise

That I have survived the night

Helpless and adrift in those dark hours

And have somehow landed safely

On the sun-soaked shore of another day

 

When the first thought finds me

Let it not be an anchor of dread

Or a tangled net of worry

Tugging me to the bottom of myself

Away from the light playing purposefully

Above my head

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I wrote this poem for a personal reminder to purposely choose a first thought in the morning: a thought that doesn’t call for a sigh or a groan.

Lemony Snicket Wisdom

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When things don’t go right, go left is good advice but I must do it quickly; move to plan B before I have time to fret, fear, or flounder. Otherwise, I will bog down from the weight of all the disappointment and frustration.

Like this morning, when things started to crumble around me, I couldn’t even get a foothold to change my direction in the onslaught of minutia and miscommunication; redoing my work, spending twice as much time and effort with nothing to show for it in the end. So, I just had to stop, quit taking myself so seriously, and trust that who I was in the moment would be more important in the long run than anything I might accomplish.

It was an anxiety-erasing, temper-soothing directional change. Thanks Lemony Snicket.

Knowing I Don’t Know

Knowing I don’t know is real knowing

and my best days will always start here

Painful experiences have shown

I don’t ever know what a day might bring

even if I have a good plan

I don’t know what I’ll do that will actually help

or what I will do that will do significant harm

I often don’t know what my friends truly think of me

or how my enemies have helped me

I didn’t really know what I thought I knew yesterday

and that is particularly embarrassing

So, I will fall into the knowledge of my unknowledge,

Abruptly, ungracefully, wounded, and bleeding 

But, a fraction closer to the appointed resting place

In the arms of an omniscient Universe

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(Which, btw, is inexorably tied to “fearing” God)