What Am I Remembering?

If I want to do Memorial Day right

I must choose what I am remembering

“with malice toward none…”

A good place to start

Progress instead of pain

Noble memories pulling me out of

Suffocating ruts into a wide place of change

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(original post: Memorial Day 2018)

When Being Depressed Is a Good Thing (Encore)

  1. When we have been brave enough to get real with ourselves – Sometimes the absolute shock of seeing ourselves sans the protection of our ego will initiate a mourning for our old, though totally inaccurate, self-image.

  2. When we have been kind enough to “weep with those who weep” – There is beauty in the gentle tread of someone willing to share pain.

  3. When we have been insightful and passionate enough to bear the weight of the world’s sadness – A Chicago Tribune reporter in Abraham Lincoln’s time commented, “…the man’s gloom came from a depth of character. His speaking went to the heart because it came from the heart.”

  4. When we have been honest enough to do the right thing in spite of the consequences –

Lincoln's resolve

Abraham Lincoln is my kind of depressed man.

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Top Ten Reasons Abraham Lincoln Was Magnetic

10. His stories were funny.

9. He was passionate and dedicated to his tasks.

8. He wasn’t out for his own gain: sacrificing frequently for those he served.

7. He was a born a simple man, but worked hard, persevered, and hung on to hope against all odds.

6. He was a lifelong learner and a speaker whose persuasiveness came from deep well of insight and love.

5.  He saw people as his equals: treating the poor and powerless the same as the wealthy and famous.

4. He spent long enough in depression to sympathize with those who battled personal demons.

3. He understood first hand what it meant to be a loser, rejected, hungry, hopeless, and unloved.

2. He listened well because he had trained himself not to be judgmental or arrogant.

1. He didn’t take himself nor his ego seriously.

Lincoln obviously was not perfect, but so often, his words have bailed me out of self-pity and other pathetic emotions.

When I meet someone who has any of  his qualities, I am drawn to them as a bug is to light.

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Recalibrate

People-watching is a common pastime, yet it can quickly turn into people-judging, unless…before opening our mouths, or even before formulating a thought about someone, we remind ourselves of this…

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Protecting ourselves from jerks, asserting ourselves, or claiming our rights, is often essential. Yet, even in these cases, it is important to remember:

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Navigating relationships with bosses, coworkers, relatives, or romantic partners can be an emotional roller-coaster or even a dangerous mine-field. Remembering this lessens the tension and redeems the experience…

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In the end, relationships are everything. In the end, it will always be about our relationships and how we handled them…

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Allies or enemies.

Friends or foes.

Lovers or strangers.

And always, when stakes are high.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all.” Lincoln

 

Got Trouble on Christmas Eve? (repost)

Got pain?

Got loneliness?

Got the opposite of peace and cheer?

Most of us have been in that place which is made painfully worse by the holiday.

On those occasions, regular inspiration won’t do. I have to reach for the super-inspirational.

There is no mortal that inspires me more than Abraham Lincoln, because:

  • He was ugly
  • He was uneducated
  • He was poor
  • His mother died when he was young
  • His father was mean
  • He suffered severe depression
  • His wife had mental illness
  • He lost many elections
  • His children died
  • He was in charge of a brutal, relentless war that appeared hopeless
  • He was unpopular (until the war was won and then he was shot)

But, he persevered and changed our lives.

Happy Holiday.

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“He Did Not Pretend to Be Anything Other than He Was”

Lincoln's Honesty

What a sense of humor!

I know I have quoted Lincoln in many blogs, but his humility and strength of character to live life without illusions about himself is such a powerful inspiration to me. This quote about his inability to be photogenic is a classic example of that quality.

Sometimes it comes as such a shock to us when unfortunate circumstances force us to face the weaknesses of human nature in ourselves or others, but Lincoln never seemed to be surprised by it.

What freedom there is in living without illusions about ourselves! To access that freedom, I will:

  • Laugh at myself
  • Have realistic expectations
  • And, do the best with what I have

We Are All in Various Stages of “Mental Illness”

Lincoln was so totally and completely himself that he was often criticized for his public tears and melancholy, and perceived as being weak by his critics.

An English journalist, after visiting the U.S., wrote, “Abraham Lincoln was regarded as a failure. Why he was elected, nobody, to this day, seems to know.”

Edward Everett, Senator and Harvard professor observed, “He is evidently a person of very inferior cast of character, wholly unequal to the crisis.”

Who was more mental? Lincoln or his critics?

Since we are all subject to being so wrong when we think we are so right, why not lighten up about ourselves? We only need to look back and remember the stupid stuff we have said and done to be reminded.

Judge not.

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When Being Depressed is a Good Thing

  1. When we have been brave enough to get real with ourselves – Sometimes the absolute shock of seeing ourselves sans the protection of our ego will completely throw us off our game and initiate a mourning for our old, though inaccurate, self-image.
  2. When we have been kind enough to “weep with those who weep” – There is beauty in the gentle tread of an understanding of, and a willingness to share, the pain.
  3. When we have been insightful and passionate enough to bear the weight of the world’s sadness – A Chicago Tribune reporter in Abraham Lincoln’s time commented, “…the man’s gloom came from a depth of character. His speaking went to the heart because it came from the heart.”
  4. When we have been honest enough to do the right thing in spite of the consequences –

Lincoln's resolve

Lincoln's Melancholy

When I Feel Deflated

It is usually because I am disappointed with myself, my circumstances, or someone else.

My role model for fixing “the flat” is Abraham Lincoln.

Talk about someone who had to keep going when things were terrible!

His son died in the war, his wife went crazy, his generals didn’t obey his commands, the destruction of war was unending, and many of the American people hated him. His heart must have been one big ache, but he kept his focus on what he could do, not what he couldn’t do, as indicated by this quote:

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”

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That gives me hope.

 

Best Arguments for Destroying Our Enemies

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When I look at people as my enemies I miss at least three important things:

  1. All of us are struggling with the same things: that quest for pleasure and the avoidance of pain.
  2. Coexisting on that quest is very tricky. We all knock each other off the sidewalk sometimes.
  3. None of us has it figured out, and, consequently, do things that are really whacked.

So why not forgive?

My most persuasive arguments for forgiving?

  1. It makes my face look better
  2. Bitterness never got anyone anywhere (except more messed up)
  3. If I am light-hearted it is easier for me to find love and meaningful work (the two things I ultimately need)
  4. It expands my world instead of shrink-wrapping it
  5. I’ve been forgiven, too, when I didn’t really deserve to be