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

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

Laugh or Cry?

Enjoying the comic episodes of life more could actually save our lives: bearing us courageously over the inevitable rough seas of disappointment, doubt, and despair. A good laugh tells our cells there is hope somewhere on the horizon, somewhere in this mysterious, whacked-out world.

It also makes us less of a drag to be around.

Want more hope? Want more companions?

Smile at the absurd.

Is It Black or Is It White?

This quote is not for the faint of heart, the young crusader, or the know-it all. I was all three when I argued on the black and white side. Similar to author Jeannette Walls, I graduated to gray after failing to force an ambiguous, mixed-up world into a tidy black and white box. Good people did screwed up things. Bad people did good things. Bad things turned out good. “Good things” turned out not so good.

No one managed to have a tight rein on truth.

Jeannette Wall’s parents (as chronicled in The Glass Castle) often let her go hungry. Despite this fact, she knew they loved her. Their behaviors took “dysfunctional” to a whole new level, yet their whacked-out worldview toughened and trained her voice to speak for millions.

If You Are Wondering

If you are wondering

What your life is about

Or if your life has been a waste

Or if you ever had anything at all to offer

If you are wondering 

What you should do

Or if it will even matter

Let me just say

That very small things can make

A very big difference

A good deed brightens a dark world

 

If you are wondering “what deed?”

Or where you would get the energy or the money

Start smaller

A text, a call, a smile, a prayer, a compliment

A kindness that someone never expected

A good deed brightens a dark world

Today

Anyone

Any time

Right now

Ground Zero

People in my life need love. I’m not sure how to give it.

I need to write. I don’t have the words.

Work must be done. I am too distracted.

There are great needs. I feel I have nothing to offer.

I make too many mistakes. I need hope.

I am confused. I need ideas and direction.

Ground zero.

It’s the frustrating place or it’s the human place.

It is the place where awareness of my own limitations can debilitate or move me to humble and confident dependence on the source of everything.

The Universe is an abundant place. I wish I had treated it as such in the past.

Are They Evil or Just Constipated?

Humans are mean, uncooperative, or difficult for lots of reasons other than being “evil.” (It’s important to remember that when hurt, or when on social media.)

Sometimes they have been scarred by evil.

Sometimes they are blinded by fear.

Sometimes they are just as prone to screwing-up as I am (when hurting).

When I remember to take this into consideration, tolerance and compassion come easier.

 People who are not afraid to be tolerant and compassionate are the type of people I want to be around.

That’s All I Need to Know?

This Keats quote has more punch to it when his circumstances are factored in; dead at twenty-five after years of poverty and painful illness. In spite of that, Keats lived with good spirits, focused on the beauty in the world and the truth revealed through that beauty.

Sounds way too simple…until I read something moving, or see a beautiful child or a stunning sunset, or am the recipient of an unexpected kindness. At that point, the meaning of life is distilled into such simple purity that I understand what Keats was getting at.

Or, when meaningless cruelty, inexplicable suffering, or aborted happiness knocks me off my feet, and I realize I don’t know what I thought I knew, then, Keats’ reminder that I really never knew is a lifeline to sanity.

Most True Breakthroughs Are “Break-withs”

“Most true breakthroughs in life are break-withs; creating a break with the mediocrity or mistakes of the past.” -Stephen Covey (from the forward of Crucial Conversations)

Breaking with our mediocre behaviors (especially when it comes to emotion-laden relationships) takes resolve and the humility to learn new techniques, but this is our best chance for the lives of our dreams.

A few “breaks” that have radically improved my quality of life:

      Break With                                 New Technique

        Playing the victim                                     Setting Boundaries and Contingencies

         Getting defensive                                         Healthy Emotional Detachment 

                Arguing                                                                  Active Listening

                Judging                                                     Giving the Benefit of the Doubt

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When we hear ourselves complaining, criticizing, whining, or attacking it’s a good sign that we have settled for a mediocre existence.