Men complain about their female exes, romantic interests, bosses, and co-workers being the b-word, manipulative, or impossible to please. Women complain about men being selfish, self-centered, and shallow.
If we want to stop repeating the madness and find movie-quality soulmates, partners, or heroes, here are the rules:
- Quit assessing people by their outward beauty or body type (when I meet a man whose primary measurement of a woman is how fit, pretty, or built she is, or a woman who obsesses about bald, overweight, or old, I know I am in the presence of the immature and lonely)
- Look at all people the same (don’t measure by what they are or do, $$, or possessions)
- Forgive everyone (bitter people are not attractive)
- Honor your suffering instead of complaining about it (the nicest people in the world are often those who have suffered most)
- Give generously (and forget about getting something back)
The other night I marveled at the almost-full moon. The next morning, it was full…and on the other side of the sky. I was asleep when it all happened. No one asked for my help or my expertise to keep the earth and moon in their orbits.
When I am trapped in my own dramas, it certainly helps to remember this…and that…
- I am a very small puzzle piece in a very big picture
- the only rational explanation for me being here is to learn awe, gratitude, and usefulness
- my stress, angst, jealousy, anger, or bitterness may be utterly ridiculous
- history, science, and astronomy are great perspective enhancers
Some leaders define Vision simply as imagination plus courage. This definition reminds me that any remarkable accomplishment happens because someone had the courage to stand for what could be. And that…
- My imagination has a purpose.
- I have ideas that can make a difference.
- Many brave people before me have tenaciously fought against unbelievable odds for ideas that mattered.
- Their imagination and courage made a difference for me.
If I have imagined anything that can benefit others and if my dream makes me feel alive, chances are…this is what I was born to do.
And, if I want to accomplish anything, I must remember this on the days my efforts appear useless.
“To be angry at people means that one considers their acts to be important. It is imperative to cease to feel that way. The acts of humans cannot be important enough to offset our unchangeable encounter with infinity.” – Carlos Castaneda
Okay, I know these are radical statements, especially for those who suffer unspeakable injustices. Yet, Castaneda’s point warrants consideration in this political climate of hatred and fear, and in our personal lives where certain people drive us mad.
Even if you don’t agree with Castaneda, no one in their right mind can deny…
- it is difficult to take ourselves so seriously when we consider how temporary it all is
- inevitable death puts everything in perspective
- arguing with what is is useless
Save your energy. Be a change agent not a victim.
When I do not focus my intention on self-improvement and contribution, I move into a getting-by-with-the-least-amount-of-pain mode. When I allow my life to become all about survival, or vacations and parties, eating and drinking, comfort and rest, I set myself up for big-time disappointment and frustration. Life often refuses to cooperate with these objectives, throwing stuff at us like sickness, financial struggles, uncooperative people, weather, unplanned events, and…ultimately, death.
Even focusing on accolades and achievements is a dead end if not connected to self-improvement and contribution (see cheating to get ahead, narcissism, or any other type of ends-justifies-the-means rational).
For me, the intent of radical self-improvement and contribution is about valuing every other being no less or no more than I value my self. Waking up every day with this intent changes everything.
Occasionally, my nightmares illuminate my character, slapping me in the face with awareness; i.e., those dreams where I have the opportunity to save others’ lives, but, I chose to run and save my own skin instead. Or, when confronted with threats, I panic, turn into jelly, lie, or freak out.
Those dreams are alarms, letting me know that I have work to do on my inner life.
It is easy, and much more convenient to think that I am better than I really am, yet, dreams such as these put a stop to that nonsense.
“Love is misunderstood to be an emotion; actually, it is a state of awareness, a way of being in the world, a way of seeing oneself and others.” – David Hawkins
This quote describes the most significant and productive shift in my life.
Before this shift, instead of putting on “love glasses” to look at life, I wore “make-it-through-the-day glasses,” “what’s-next glasses,” or worse, “I-hate-this glasses” through which life appeared a chore. Especially when I had been hurt, when life had been harsh, or when there seemed to be no hope of change, “looking at the world with love” seemed ridiculous.
Yet love always turned out to be the only lasting way out of pain.
Relief never depended on someone or something else. It was always my choice.
Put on a new pair of “love glasses.”
Find unexpected ways of being: ways to love even what is unlovable.
And watch the world change.
If you haven’t already done so…
New Years Day is a perfect time to challenge yourself to go twenty-four hours without saying anything negative, critical, or fearful, AND catch those thoughts (that led to the words) before they have a chance to become destructive. It’s a small request…sort of.
It is actually much more difficult than it sounds since most of us have been on auto pilot for quite a while when it comes to complaining, criticizing, and condemning. On my first try, I was reeling from the quantity of thoughts and words that needed retrieving. I hardly had time to do anything else! But, removing my toxins from the airspace and using the space for productivity instead benefited so many people that it was well worth the effort.
And, there was another lingering benefit: my awareness.
Once I realized how whacked my everyday words and thoughts were, I had the impetus for serious change. So…I did it again. And again. Until now. And the beneficiaries will be:
- people (such as me) who need the benefit of a doubt
Have a REAL Happy New Year…for a change.
I wasted a lot of time before I owned this truth:
“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda
I often lived as if depression, pain, and frustration were my default settings when I was actually in charge of those settings. I could have told my mind and body what the “default settings” were.
When I told my body that I hurt or couldn’t go on, I derailed my body’s remarkable, natural ability to recover and to heal itself. When I said, “It’s no use. I don’t have what I need to succeed,” I derailed my mind’s natural function of problem solving. My mind took my instructions and quit looking for answers.
Now, I have learned to use what I say to myself to make myself strong, not miserable.
Things I am sure about.
People in my life.
That might sound pessimistic, yet, after reading countless biographies and observing the lives of generations of family, friends, and associates, it is simply realistic. Even the most accomplished politician, star, athlete, entrepreneur, or inventor has been (or will be) subject to the ravishes of time.
Once I have accepted this, I can live without drama.
The aim is to balance the terror of being alive with the wonder of being alive.
– Carlos Castaneda