From Horace to Dr. Oz, numerous medical and psychological studies have proven that a daily practice of quieting the mind and transcending day-to-day survival adds years (worth living) to our lives.
So, why do most of us try to live our lives without it?
- It’s much easier to focus on what is in front of us?
- What we do seems more important than what we are?
- We believe we are the general manager of the universe?
- We have forgotten the unfathomable mystery of our existence and how utterly dependent we are on the force behind that mystery?
The only way out of fear, confusion, anger, negativity, disappointment, exhaustion, and pain…is in.
Don’t wait until it’s over to discover there was no shortcut.
Resist the urge.
Resist the urge to spout blame, shame, accusations, and comparisons.
To do so is as common as oxygen but as toxic as cyanide.
Trying to balance the scale by bringing others down is often driven by guilt and always steals your gravitas.
Noble people know their own value and do not have to defend it.
It’s a magic vaccination; when I give the benefit of a doubt, when I refrain from accusations, when I invest my emotions in showing mercy instead of in judging others, gradually (and suddenly) the sting of criticism loses its power. I am able to say, “It’s okay. Forgive them for not understanding” to my own amazement!
How it works is a mystery
(But it just does)
Kindness somehow crawls into my soul
As malignancy had done before
But now it is love that calls the shots
And keeps the score
Let my mind
Immune system prepare for sweet relief
Of a quality it could never know before
(Original post October 2014)
“Each of us has a glow, an inner glow, which we can use to illuminate other people’s darkness. That’s what love is, that’s what a relationship is, that’s what being a parent is, and that’s what being a friend is.” – Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
When I read this quote in Elise Ballard’s book, Epiphany, my mind went to catching lightning bugs as a child and watching them light up everything.
I never realized I could do the same.
Rabbi Shmuley had no evidence of his own “glow” until someone “glowed” by telling him he was going to be a great light to others.
How do we glow today?
It may be with words, or it may be by doing something for others that seems unpleasant to us…or so someone else won’t have to.
“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
I am directionless and ignored
Moored, anchored to fear and noise
But suspect I am able to learn
Can untangle the hopeless ropes
And that I have less time to burn
Than it feels like while formless and stagnant
On the tributary that leads to
Of an ocean of information
Yet, if I act now and go
I may arrive, dip in my toe (cautiously at first)
And shape myself into something quite new
Batteries were included?
I Think I Am Enough = Happiness
I Think I Am Not Enough = Unhappiness, Pain, Boredom, Anger, Anxiety, Hatred, Jealousy, Depression, Fear, Despondency, and all other forms of Lack
In my experience, believing I am enough involves:
finding the courage I have inside and untapped
rejecting jealousy and comparisons to people who I think are cooler than me
accepting myself and my circumstances (especially the things I do not like)
saying nice things to myself when I screw up
changing my self-talk to forgiveness and understanding versus judgment and shame
You always were enough.
When I am afraid of what I might lose
When I am trying to get something from you
I am not free to wield the power of integrity
The power of character
Or the power of courage
After speaking today, several people complimented “my energy” and “my unique power.”
I was keenly aware that their impression came solely from the battle I had waged against myself (for days) to be in that surrendered place of power and not in the place of fear and need.
The ultimate position of power is bringing all of who we are to the moment minus attachment to an outcome.
(By the way, that power position is reflected in the following quote (and was a turning point in Cranston’s career.)
My friend told me she owned at least one-hundred, maybe even two-hundred pair of underwear, and that she was still buying more.
Before I could make her feel guilty about not giving the “underwear money” to the needy, she explained her fetish. She had grown up very poor in Thailand without the basics…including underwear.
Her vulnerability reminded me that everything we do has a story behind it, a very human story.
Best reason to give the benefit of the doubt.
Actor Bryan Cranston (a.k.a Walter White) tells the story about a week-long rainstorm that inevitably led to the discovery of acting as his vocational calling. If he had not been stranded at a roadside picnic area in a pup tent during a motorcycle trip, he would not have been forced deep into his soul for answers.
The next morning: sunshine.
Suffering is inevitable. Leaning into it, learning from it, and really experiencing it sounds miserable, but ironically, is the least painful way to address it.
Who will stop the rain?
I guess it will have to be me.
“In the world you will have trouble, but, be cheerful because I have overcome the world.”
It is going to rain anyway, we may as well do more than get wet.
Anticipating interruptions has become my primary manner for warding off frustration.
In a work environment, my sanity rules (adopted from Bernie Beck) are:
- Tasks generally take 50% longer to accomplish than you think they will
- 25% of my time should be unscheduled to account for the overflow and the unexpected
- Be gracious to interrupters
- Manage up, across, and down by setting boundaries
- Expect the best, be prepared for the worst
- Be gracious to interrupters
- Remember that relationships are more important than efficiency
“Extraordinary things happen to extraordinary people to prepare them for extraordinary destinies.” -C.S. Lewis