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

No One Is Listening

No one is listening when we…

  • nag

  • preach

  • repeat ourselves

  • brag

  • make excuses

But, we keep doing it, with irrational hope, ignorance, or annoying arrogance.

Suggested alternatives (only if we want to be heard):

  • Ask more questions.
  • Mirror emotions.
  • Listen without interrupting.
  • Drop our agenda and just be present.

Transformation of the Unappreciated

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.

Disabling the “Shut Down Switch”

While teaching a management class, one of the participants continuously spouted off condemnations against his boss, his company, stupid coworkers, and the “tragically unmotivated younger generation.” When solutions were offered for one of his complaints, he shut it down with a standard reply; It won’t work. Tried that. You can’t fix stupid.”

He reminded me of me; of the times I refused to listen to anyone who challenged me to take responsibility for change.

As much as we hate a Know-It-All, sometimes the Know-It-All is us.

To keep myself from throwing cold water on others’ suggestions, I am learning to say:

Tell me more about that.
What am I missing?
What else?

By disabling my shut-down switch, I listen, learn, and grow up.

What’s on the Menu?

And, the rest of the quote…

Every time you get angry you poison your own system. Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.

Maybe it wasn’t what we ordered, but it made it to our table anyway. When we just pick up our knife and fork and get busy cutting those problems into bite-size pieces (instead of getting angry at whoever or whatever caused us the extra trouble) we’ll save a heck of a lot of time and energy.

And, it will sure taste better than poison.

Got a Chaos Management Plan?

Do you have a chaos management plan (CMP)? Not just for North Korea but for the other times when your life is “nuked” by relationship, financial, or circumstantial violence.

We can’t be lulled into thinking we don’t need one, especially if we are currently quite impressed with ourselves and our “cool.”

It doesn’t take much for the props that make us feel cool to fall away and our inner deficits to be embarrassingly exposed.

My simple CMP:

  1. Accept what is.
  2. Forgive myself and others for the chaos.
  3. Invest in inner strength more than props.
  4. Expect chaos and smile at the future.

What’s the Payoff?

Why do we get so much enjoyment out of telling people how busy we are, how hard we work, how little sleep we got, how people disappointed us, or what went wrong at the restaurant or auto shop?

I understand the need to vent or get sympathy from others, yet this type of complaining often becomes our conversation MO.

Is it because we don’t have anything else to talk about?

Do we think this gives us some type of status in the brotherhood/sisterhood 0f whiners?

Is it because we think other people don’t have enough frustrations of their own?

Whatever the reason, complaining only adds more unrest, emptiness, and static to our already crowded lives.

When we decide to bring “music” instead of noise to the world, our conversations might sound more like this…

“I was thinking about you today and how glad I am that you are in my life.”
“Tell me the highlight of your day.”
“Have I told you lately how proud of you I am?”

Want a better payoff?

While You Do What You Do

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

My Insomnia is a Mental Junk-Food-Junkie

The author of Alphatudes, The Alphabet of Gratitude, wrote the book because she suffered from insomnia. Instead of counting sheep, Michele Wahlder decided to go through the alphabet and count all the good things that began with each letter. Before she made it through “D,” she was sound asleep.

So brilliant.

For those of us whose minds go on a feeding frenzy at the wrong time of night: chewing on our screw-ups, problems, and random mental junk food, and/or regurgitating every conversation and event from the last decade, this tactic may be worth a try.

Even if it doesn’t put us to sleep, we will have fed our ravenous, nocturnal mind a much more nutritious bedtime snack.

Image result for insomnia quotes

Will You Hear It?

Today, I found encouragement in the messages of The Glass Castle movie (in theaters August 11, 2017).

The message that we don’t have to be ashamed of those things over which we had no control.

The message that there is hope for kids and employees and spouses who are under the thumb of crazies.

The message not to give up on the escape plan.

The message that there are essential things to love about everyone.

The message that we can survive (and somehow thrive under) radical pain and confusion.

The message that all of our stories hold much more mystery than we ever dreamed.