Today, a women working in a bakery saw me. She saw me as a valuable being and not just another customer in a long line of customers, or another obligation in a long line of obligations. It was a rare and special treat…sweeter than the cake she helped prepare.
There are a few things in life that refresh our souls in a manner that nothing else can. I had two of them today: the first crisp and cloudless day of Autumn, and an encounter with a remarkable human being in an unremarkable place.
I never liked Phantom of the Opera…until I understood it was about my own struggle with the dark side.
I dissed Sci-Fi…until I found it could teach me essential things.
I mocked country music…until, okay, I still mock country music.
I hated tomato juice…until I tried it.
I ignored animation…until I laughed my way through Toy Story and Shrek.
I never made the effort to learn enough about other cultures…until important people came into my life from other cultures.
I undervalued my enemies…until I knew they were like me.
I didn’t appreciate other points of view…until I listened carefully.
I can become bored with my partner…until I look at him as an eternal, masterfully-created being.
I wonder how much wonder, joy, insight, pleasure, and happiness I have missed because I confidently and callously refused it.
This quote by Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, captures a most remarkable secret for staying out of trouble with ourselves. “I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge.”
(Sadly, instead, many of us learn to ignore the simple voice within, and spend a great deal of our short lives attempting to convince ourselves and others why we had to.)
It’s never been about proving yourself to someone
It’s never been about how you compare to anyone else or get revenge for injustices
It’s never been about your fame or success
It’s never been about your money
It’s never been about your education or how smart you are
It’s never been about your face or your body
It has always been about the kind of person you are
While you do what you were born to do
“If you have time to whine and complain about something, then you have the time to do something about it.”
That might sound trite…until we calculate the astonishing amount of time that we have wasted whining and complaining.
With just a little of that wasted time, I have found that I can…
- Ask the Universe for wisdom and help
- Offer what I do have without complaining about what I don’t
- Seek out mentors and inspiration to counteract my feeling of helplessness
- Decide to do what I don’t want to do
- Take a baby-step toward something meaningful
Probably worth the discipline it takes to watch what I say…
People in my life need love. I’m not sure how to give it.
I need to write. I don’t have the words.
Work must be done. I am too distracted.
There are great needs. I feel I have nothing to offer.
I make too many mistakes. I need hope.
I am confused. I need ideas and direction.
It’s the frustrating place or it’s the human place.
It is the place where awareness of my own limitations can debilitate or move me to humble and confident dependence on the source of everything.
The Universe is an abundant place. I wish I had treated it as such in the past.
Neil Gaiman’s delightful short story, Calendar Tales, contains a vignette about a woman who finds a genie in a lamp. When the genie asks for her three wishes, she says, “I’m good.” Eventually, the genie gives up asking, but stays around, settles in, and becomes her partner. One day she asks him if he has any wishes. He says, “I’m good.”
Relationship 101 lessons:
- Contentment, self-reliance, and confidence are great for attracting the perfect partner.
- There is nothing sweeter than a good relationship with ourselves…and, then, someone to share it with.
Sometimes, I wonder at the richness of my life. I am not wealthy or famous or young and beautiful. Yet, I have what I always wanted: a clear conscience, people to love, and work that makes a difference.
This was true for me.
Although, I am aware that many never face the obstacle of self-worth, for some of us, finally believing we have innate, unalterable value is a major find; buried treasure that sets us free!
No need to prove our value by achieving something.
No need to prove our value by proving someone else wrong.
No need to worry about what strangers perceive our worth to be.
No need to compare our worth to that of any celebrity, billionaire, politician, artist, intellectual, sports hero, family member, or ex.
No need to fret about being underappreciated by the arrogant, self-centered, or heartless.
No need to pretend to be someone other than who we are.
Now, there are storehouses of resources: ample reserves of time and energy…to make a difference.
In an elevator, I noticed light flashing randomly over the walls and ceiling. Looking for the source, I found it to be my watch band, reflecting wildly from slight movements of my hand. Something so small making all this beauty.
Of course I have seen it before
this reflective wonder
That I often ignore
But today I think of my own light
(and nothing is as small as it seems)
I feel my own power
Pulsing around me unseen
As wireless signals reach my phone
I chill to the knowledge
“I am not alone”
Ttransmitting energy everywhere
Now feeling electricity
In my fingertips and hair
Sensing the calling
The calling to shine
The calling to trust
(the magnified reflection) of my tiny and unlikely shine
Not many people look forward to being around boring, uncaring, or shallow people, but we often feel roped into these situations to fulfill work, social, or family obligations.
Or we might find ourselves in other painful environments where our opinions don’t seem to matter, we are treated like a number, totally ignored, disrespected, or criticized.
To avoid the energy drain of these scenarios, I developed a three-step fix that really works for me (and also stops my complaining about these experiences):
- Focus on what energy I bring with me rather than what lack I perceive exists in others. Everyone is looking for ways to feel valued. How can I alleviate the lack of that for others?
- See myself as a force for good in the world wherever I am. I have the power to make a difference with a genuine smile, a compliment, a resource, or a benefit of the doubt.
- Think partnership; when someone else loses, so do I. Rather than get defensive or aggressive, can I take a minute to recognize the source of my antagonist’s pain and turn a disagreement into a win-win instead?
I pledge allegiance to living stress-free
Remembering worry doesn’t work for me
And neither does angry fretting (unfortunately)
I pledge allegiance to living stress-free
Because controlling people and things
(I don’t control) is the job of Kings
My worry and stress never helped one single soul
Only pulled me deep into a sucking hole
Where there was no benefit for me or anyone
Just an embarrassing waste of adrenalin*
*Some of us, who insist upon worrying, believe, erroneously, that the opposite of worrying is not caring. However, this is not the case. Often, surrendering is the only wise way to effectively care…and much more efficient.