How I Justified Exaggeration

When telling a story…

  1. It wouldn’t sound interesting enough if I didn’t exaggerate just a little
  2. Otherwise my story wouldn’t get the cred it deserved

When I was a kid…

  1. I didn’t want to get in trouble
  2. I didn’t know how to get attention

When I was hurting…

  1. No one seemed to understand
  2. I didn’t know how to communicate my pain

Finally learning to accept myself with all my flaws, brought…

  • freedom to tell nothing but the truth
  • healthy detachment from how others responded to me
  • new, unaffected ways to describe inner pain, boundaries, and needs

It is also the rule of…

  • relationships that thrive
  • good nights’ sleep
  • uncomplicated lives
  • the best definition of success (even if telling the whole truth gets us in trouble, at least we will have a clear conscience)

Ban Excuses!

Whatever happens, take responsibility…instead of blaming, shaming or making excuses for ourselves and others.

Even if wronged, ask…

  • How do I move forward productively?
  • How do I keep from doing the same to others?
  • Have I ever done the same to others? (Be humble enough to entertain the possibility, keeping in mind that it is easy to forget how we hurt others but difficult to forget how others have hurt us.)
  • Besides my own perspective, what are others’ viewpoints?
  • What can I learn from this experience?
  • How can I avoid wasting my energy on blame and shame?
  • What narrative will I choose about this experience? The narrative of a victim or the narrative of an overcomer?

It Was Always that Simple

It occurred to me the other day that whatever happens to me or whatever goes wrong with my health, finances, or circumstances, no one can take away my ability to give love.

Good thing.

Because giving love through the gifts of my being has been the highest joy of existence.

So, rather than fret about the future, I can rest in the certainty of purpose and meaning.

It was always as simple as that; I am here to give love; to make life better for as many people as possible.

And, I happen to believe that death will not stop my love.

If I am wrong, showing the astonishing light of my being on my way out is a very good way to go.

You Are the Gatekeeper

Sometimes it seems like we just can’t get a break; as if all doors are barred against us.

As a writer, I have been turned down by more people than I can count, as a petitioner for jobs or speaking and acting opportunities, the gatekeepers often made me feel as if I had no right to knock.

Stand up comic, Mike Birbiglia gives this piece of advice, “Don’t bow to the gatekeepers because, in essence, there are no gatekeepers. You are the gatekeeper.” 

I now know that the best thing I can do for myself everyday is to “summon up my own gatekeeper” by recovering my…

  • inner power
  • purpose and mission
  • positive energy

If I have forgotten who I am, how can I expect anyone else to know?

Living Vicarously on our Couch?

The sense of danger must not disappear:
The way is certainly both short and steep.
However gradual It looks from here;
Look if you like, but you will have to leap.

This stanza from W.H. Auden’s poem is certainly about risky love, but the sentiment can be applied to a multitude of decisions in our lives that will take us off the beaten path, away from the mundane, and into a more adventurous, fulfilling life.

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to becoming that person we admire.

We can’t kid ourselves forever. Living vicariously on our couch through media, books, sports, fantasy or our children will never be enough.

Today, I wish that courage to leap for you and for me.

(originally posted in October 2015)

Focus Equals Inner State…Always

I put clean dishes away in a warm kitchen

As I sip my tea to the purr of Leonard Cohen

Whatever else may happen to me along the way

I have just now, most assuredly, visited heaven

 

Had I focused instead on that funky pain in my pounding right ear

Or what my clueless family member should not have done

I would have plodded blindly through my tasks

Oblivious to its gift; this purest form of fun

 

I may be tossed mercilessly about and into labyrinths or holes today

Unbalanced or badly broken by life’s unexpected pitch or sway

But even there, in the darkness, focused on the simplest moments and simplest gifts

I can remember that heaven is, and is never so very far away

How Much Do We Believe in Due Process?

I dare you.

Take one day and count the number of times you pass judgment on someone or something 1) without giving them a chance to defend themselves, 2) without calling for witnesses, or 3) without examining contradictory evidence.

I dare you.

Imagine a world where we don’t casually and chronically contribute to the complaining or criticizing of institutions, politicians, decision makers, or acquaintances; where guilt is proven before we jump onto the band wagon of discontent.

I dare you.

Remember your own offences before drawing attention to someone else’s.

Today I was imagining what a lifetime graph of my mistakes and offenses would look like; how many times in one day, one week, one year I have needed forgiveness and forgetfulness from those who share the world with me.

Does Everyone Have to Face the Dragon?

(“Dragons hoard gold because the thing you most need is always to be found where you least want to look.”)

An example:

People end up alone in life because they hang on to their particular criteria for companionship and refuse to look in an “inferior” or threatening place (which might require serious humility or honesty).

Face the dragon. Do we really have to?
Isn’t there another way to get what we want?
Can’t we just do what we’ve always done
Rather than risk exposure on a battlefront?

An example close to home:

I have tried for years to get an idea off the ground for suicide prevention and I know I should keep trying because it can save lives, but…

I have perfectly good reasons
Not to follow my heart’s suggestion
Courage is such hard work and
Uh…okay…I really hate rejection

Let’s encourage each other. I’ll face my dragon if you face yours.

Save Yourself All the Drama

“Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself and never mind the rest.” -Beatrix Potter

When things seem whacked or difficult, rather than take Beatrix Potter’s healing advice, it is much more common to:

  • panic
  • blame somebody
  • accuse the Universe of hating us
  • collapse into a helpless, energy-less, victim mess
  • lash out in anger, jealousy, or rage

…which all lead to more pain and drama.

Or practice Beatrix Potter’s uncommonly-used alternative to bring sweet and swift relief:

  • prepare for the whacked and difficult everyday by leaning into the power and mystery beyond ourselves
  • accept reality without arguing with it
  • identify productive next steps
  • If there are none, release it
  • breathe in miraculous oxygen to feed your magnificent body in our improbable world