Renaming Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th was my mother’s lucky day.

I can’t remember ever having a bad Friday the 13th, well, except maybe the day I went to see “Friday the 13th,” but, the superstitions part of me still wants to have it’s say. When Friday the 13th comes around, I hear myself thinking, “Uh-oh, watch out!” But, this year, I do not intend to listen.

Several years ago I started naming my years. Even-numbered years had always been my favorite until I noticed that the odd-numbered years had been more productive for me.  So, instead of entertaining doubts at the beginning of 2018, I named 2018, “My Best Year Ever.”

And…it has been.

I’m carrying over that lesson:

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Fail Early, Fail Often, and Fail Forward

Getting my head around this understanding of failure has been a real challenge.

Failure, to me, was always…

  • embarrassing

  • debilitating

  • terrifying

  • depressing

I spent many years hiding rejection scars, pretending I hadn’t failed, blaming and shaming myself and others about failures before I ever experienced the joy of failing forward.

“Failure is not your enemy but your guide to improvement.”

Changing to the habit of excepting my humanity, even laughing at my propensity to fail, has brought me massive relief…and always…closer to success.

What We Think of You

What we think of you doesn’t really matter.

In the early 1700’s people thought Johann Sabastian Bach’s music was “mediocre, too complex, and unsatisfactory.”

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Huh. So glad Bach didn’t get discouraged and quit before I had a chance to hear “Sheep May Safely Graze” three-thousand (okay, three hundred) years later.

Gee, I guess public opinion can be wrong.

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I can, and should, learn and grow from what other people say about me, but if I start measuring my worth by it, everyone loses.

Looking for “greener grass?”

“The grass is greener where you water it.” – Neil Barringham

Have you watered lately? Today? Right where you are?

If not, don’t be surprised if, when you jump the fence for greener pastures, you find that it takes work to keep the grass green there as well.

In fact, smart people take the “water can” of generous thoughts, kind words, compliments, and hope with them wherever they go, just in case a little “greening-up” is required.

At home, at work, in the neighborhood; it works everywhere.

I sure like hanging around those kind of people.

“Soul Food”

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Today, I made three people’s day by merely passing on specific compliments I had just heard about them. Those individual conversations only took 1.5 minutes, total.

And, I bet we will get more of the exceptional behavior that was noticed and appreciated.

And I felt joy just relaying the info.

Wait, let me count: that was a win-win-win (the complimented, the one who initiated the compliment, and the mediator of the compliment) times three!

Soul food…distributed.

What a productive 1.5 minutes!

Important Times to Play

My challenged nephew has reminded me that being goofy, making up a stupid song, quoting a comedian, doing a silly dance, and laughing out loud at my own seriousness are effective recovery techniques, especially when…

  1. I feel mean

  2. I want something that isn’t good for me

  3. I feel overwhelmed

  4. I am disappointed

  5. I am sad

  6. I am afraid

  7. I am jealous or angry at someone

  8. I feel wronged

  9. Things don’t make sense

  10. I have a resting bitch face

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In My Hand I Hold…Only This Moment

“…only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand–and melting like a snowflake.” –Francis Bacon

Sometimes I am shocked into considering the ridiculous brevity of my life by…looking up at the vast universe or by looking back into the history of generations of people who have already lived and died. Sometimes it is a brutal confrontation with death in a dream or in an unexpected tragedy. But, when this happens, my life takes on the more noble qualities of:

  • a sense of urgency to live fully today
  • a sensitivity about what really matters
  • a renewed commitment to live with courage, compassion, and surrender

I can make the sparkle and the melting count today. I can do what I was born to do with cheerful abandon.

Or, I can fret, fear, despair, complain, and squander what little I have left.

(encore post from July 2014)

Are You Worth Knowing?

My Top-Ten List of People Worth Knowing:

10. People who are using their unique talents to make a difference

9.   People who are using their brilliant minds to make a difference

8.   People who are doing unappreciated jobs to make a difference 

7.   People who are courageous

6.   People who make me laugh

5.   People who never give up

4.   People who have suffered

3.  People who are generous and kind

2.  People who are forgiving

1.  People who are real

“Learning” People

Discussing with a client his need to be completely present with people while they were talking, he said,

“I can fix this if I focus on people in the manner I focus on learning to play the guitar. Learning an instrument requires my full attention. I thought I already knew people.”

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…just like learning an instrument.

The Confusing and Disturbing Truth

My work is mostly about unraveling misunderstandings between people.

So many accusations. So many disappointments. So many troubled relationships.

I’ve found that one of the most helpful ways to deal with how people disappoint us is to remember that we are a “people” too, disappointing others just as others have disappointed us. Kipling’s quote below is harsh but contains so much truth.

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When I quit defending myself long enough to admit my own dishonesty, disguising parts of myself I think others won’t like, I can forgive others for the same.

Accepting the crazy part of being human sure makes it easier to believe that others are doing the best they can, as well.

Wholesale condemnation, even though it makes me feel temporarily better about myself, only makes it worse for everyone in the long run.

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