R U OK? Day

R U OK? is an Australian not-for-profit suicide-prevention organization founded by Gavin Larkin in 2009.

I love this a-conversation-could-change-a-life initiative as I love its US counterpart of Hi, How Are You? Day.

Today, in the States, Hi, How Are You? Day reminds us to show genuine concern for “how people really are.”

Because “How are you?” is too often a mere rhetorical question rather than an expression of a legitimate desire to know, being willing to ask the deeply sincere version and really listen (rather than talk) can be a life-saver for those who struggle with suicide ideation.

Not being too busy or too frightened to take such an initiative is the critical point.

I hope many will find “we are ear” for them today.

When There Is Nothing to Do

Even the busiest among us will run into boredom in certain seasons of our life.

So, at times when things are slow, when no one is calling, or when feeling useless I can prepare.

Instead of being bored or disappointed with myself for wasting time, I could…

  1. Send notes of acknowledgement or thanks to people I haven’t seen in a while
  2. Reach out to other people who are lonely and also have nothing to do
  3. Text, voice mail, or email family members, coworkers, and friends to tell them why I appreciate them

(If we all made a vow to do this when we were bored, we would radically reduce global boring.)

And, being oneself is primarily an acknowledgement that we are here, right now, for a reason.

Why This Is Not a Joke

When resources are sparse and our circumstances are bleak, this poster feels like a cruel joke.

Yet, when we dismiss our cynicism, we’ll experience why visualizing unlimited abundance is worth the effort:

1) Dreaming puts a smile on our face. (Ask your friends, family, and coworkers which they prefer, the smile or the grimace?)
2) Visualization is scientifically proven to change our body chemistry, disarming harmful toxins that feed dis-ease. (Ask your body what it wants, angst or relaxation?)
3) Relaxing into hope stamps out doubt, worry, and anger. (Ask your past which worked better, despair or faith?)
4) Stopping long enough to recalibrate gives us the energy to take positive steps forward. (Ask anyone which works better, giving up or gearing up?)

(Original post 2013)

How I Justified Exaggeration

When telling a story…

  1. It wouldn’t sound interesting enough if I didn’t exaggerate just a little
  2. Otherwise my story wouldn’t get the cred it deserved

When I was a kid…

  1. I didn’t want to get in trouble
  2. I didn’t know how to get attention

When I was hurting…

  1. No one seemed to understand
  2. I didn’t know how to communicate my pain

Finally learning to accept myself with all my flaws, brought…

  • freedom to tell nothing but the truth
  • healthy detachment from how others responded to me
  • new, unaffected ways to describe inner pain, boundaries, and needs

It is also the rule of…

  • relationships that thrive
  • good nights’ sleep
  • uncomplicated lives
  • the best definition of success (even if telling the whole truth gets us in trouble, at least we will have a clear conscience)

What Measurement to Use?

My nephew was depressed about his IQ, so we discussed other measurements that were more important. We finally decided that he had a head start on life since becoming “as a little child” was the “kingdom of heaven” criteria.

“Let the little children come to me.”

I am so at home with people who measure others by kindness versus status, looks, intelligence, or money.

Remembering that topsy-turvy economy keeps me sane…especially when the distribution of those other commodities seems a bit lopsided.

Wasted or Not?

The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom may seem a bit corny, yet, these are my reasons it was worth reading:

I always need to be reminded that…

  • I am not alone; we are all connected in ways we are unaware
  • I am much more than my mistakes and, they will work out for good in the big picture
  • My life counts more than I think
  • I am not an inconsequential loser or a nobody

Mitch Albom said he was inspired to write these books by an uncle who thought his life had been a waste. I wish I could thank that uncle.

Am I Missing Something?

A smile is an opening

For the right words

But also for the right thoughts

Which create the capacity

For receiving 

What we could not receive before

“Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.” -Tagore

Create the capacity. Enjoy what you have been given. Get ready for amazement.

Steps for creating capacity:

  1. Smile at the future
  2. Forgive yourself
  3. Be gentle with others
  4. Relax into now
  5. Open your arms to give and receive
  6. See the gifts
  7. Feel the joy

Steps for shrinking our capacity:

  1. Feel cheated
  2. Mourn the loss
  3. Resist reality
  4. Hold grudges
  5. Worry about not having enough
  6. Be selfish
  7. Keep talking trash about ourselves, others, and the world

It’s Rigged!

“Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.” – Rumi

This is almost comical for those of us who have had difficult lives. As some of you, I spent lots of time complaining about life being rigged against me or in someone else’s favor.

It sure seemed as if it were!

But, now I believe I was totally wrong.

Since I quit talking that way (to myself and others) and started affirming the Universe’s benevolence toward me, here are some changes I have noticed:

I have more…

  • joy
  • courage
  • synchronicity
  • amazing people in my life
  • much better results
  • dream fulfillment!

And less…

  • frustration
  • disappointment
  • fear
  • resentment
  • anger
  • jealousy

In short, the most significant revelation of my life has been that life has always been rigged in my favor.

Where Will Peace Find You Today?

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi 

It is so very common to complain and despair about the peace we did not find during the holidays, when finding it was always up to us, not to our circumstances or how other human beings acted.

Peace may find you in the music

Or it may sneak up on you in nature

Peace may discover you in art

Or in a smile from a grateful stranger

But, wherever it is, let’s rendezvous there

Leave the scarred place of judgment behind

Go, reaching for peace’s nurture

To soothe away the illusion

Of your troubled and complicated life

Tired of Being Stuck?

Having been stuck in the first circle many times, I know first hand that these thoughts never lead to an exit. They keep us in the circle, driving us deeper into despair. As in a real traffic circle, unless one moves into a turn lane there is no access to an exit.

Productive reasoning is not positive thinking. It is allowing my mind do what it does best: solve problems.

In the first circle, I render my mind unproductive by repeating the same ole mantras, basically shutting down it’s natural ability to find the exit.

IYAD = If you always do
WYAD = What you always did
YAG = You always get
WYAG = What you always got

Tired of being stuck? 

Start by changing the driving instructions you issue to yourself.

(original post 2014)