“Bouncing Forward”

Instead of “bouncing back” from trauma and loss, Sheryl Sandberg, in her book Option B, suggests the possibility of, and preference for, “bouncing forward,” citing multiple examples of how real peoples’ lives improved after horrific ordeals of pain and loss.

As Sheryl Sandberg, I do not want to minimize the pain of having “option A” ripped from our hands, only point out that believing in “Option B” will do us a heck of a lot of good. Rather than succumbing to the mantra of “I can never recover from this,” we can join forces with those who bounce forward by asking, “How can I make this pain count?”

Here’s to a day of bouncing forward…not just back. Cheers.

Want Ecstasy?

“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).

Ecstasy.

Ticket to Freedom

Awareness of my being is my ticket to freedom…when in pain, anger, frustration, exhaustion, jealousy, despair, boredom, desperation, or fear.

Much too easy to say from my desk chair, yet I have found this to be a lifeboat in the most terrible situations.

When I stop, notice my breathing, pull into an awareness of the trillion cells keeping me alive, and shift my thoughts to the incomprehensible majesty of the Universe, my sanity returns…with power…to meet life on its terms.

“Attachment (to anything temporal) is based on fear and insecurity – and the need for security is based on not knowing the true Self. Chasing security creates anxiety; it ends up making you feel hollow and empty inside, because you exchange your Self for the symbols of your Self.” -Deepak Chopra

Is It Black or Is It White?

This quote is not for the faint of heart, the young crusader, or the know-it all. I was all three when I argued on the black and white side. Similar to author Jeannette Walls, I graduated to gray after failing to force an ambiguous, mixed-up world into a tidy black and white box. Good people did screwed up things. Bad people did good things. Bad things turned out good. “Good things” turned out not so good.

No one managed to have a tight rein on truth.

Jeannette Wall’s parents (as chronicled in The Glass Castle) often let her go hungry. Despite this fact, she knew they loved her. Their behaviors took “dysfunctional” to a whole new level, yet their whacked-out worldview toughened and trained her voice to speak for millions.

August.

AUGUST.

au·gust
[ôˈɡəst]

ADJECTIVE
respected and impressive:
synonyms: distinguished · respected · eminent · venerable · hallowed · illustrious

Who says we can’t make this month impressive, distinguished, respected, eminent, venerable, hallowed, and illustrious? However we arrived here (even if July dumped us unceremoniously) on the doorstep of August, we made it. There is no mistake about it.

Maybe we should remind each other to treat August as it deserves.

 

 

Why “I Understand” Is Not Enough

If we want someone to hear our side of the story, we can’t start with it. We must start with their side of the story, so they know we get it.

If someone communicates to me in this manner, I find no need to defend myself (because they are defending me) and I can listen to the other side of the story with ease.

For example, if someone felt as if we had disrespected them when, we feel they misunderstood us and were overreacting, the following would get us the best result…

  1. I understand that you felt disrespected.
  2. I never want you to feel disrespected.
  3. I am so sorry that you had to go through that experience.
  4. (Then (and only then), the other side of the story)

If, instead, we merely say, “I understand,” be prepared for the other person to roll their eyes.

 

 

Living “Palms Up”

Preparing people for depositions, attorney, Bob Goff instructs his clients to sit with their palms up. He maintains that following this simple instruction works to prevent defensiveness, reacting in anger, or tensing up when stakes are high. Good advice…not only for depositions, but for life.

Rather than approaching life with clenched fists, open palms signifies a non-threatening posture of acceptance and openness.

A palms-up morning routine of meditation is now my reminder to offer up all that I have for good, trusting that what I have will be multiplied to meet the pressing needs around me. By doing so, I replace the feeling of overwhelm with a feeling of confidence in the abundance of the Universe.

Here’s to a palms-up kind of day! Cheers!

What Difference Does It Make?

Craving significance is a huge part of our human condition.

When we understand how our work matters, everything changes. We have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. We have a reason to overcome obstacles. We have a reason to keep going when pain is unbearable.

One of the greatest gifts we can give each other is to acknowledge the difference we make. Great managers do this. Good people do this.

“If it breathes, it needs encouragement.” -Charlie Chaplain

To Freak-out or Simplify?

Hmmmm, which is better? To freak-out over my concerns or to keep it simple?

What if…? WTF? How will I make it? Why am I such a loser? Who do they think they are? Why is this happening to me? What am I going to do?

Or…

I’m going to do the best I can with what I have, trusting that all will work out, breathing the oxygen that miraculously feeds my trillion cells (while traveling through the Universe at one-thousand MPH on a planet made of hot molten lava).

If You Are Wondering

If you are wondering

What your life is about

Or if your life has been a waste

Or if you ever had anything at all to offer

If you are wondering 

What you should do

Or if it will even matter

Let me just say

That very small things can make

A very big difference

A good deed brightens a dark world

 

If you are wondering “what deed?”

Or where you would get the energy or the money

Start smaller

A text, a call, a smile, a prayer, a compliment

A kindness that someone never expected

A good deed brightens a dark world

Today

Anyone

Any time

Right now