If you think you do not have the power to make someone happy, think again.
It doesn’t take money. It doesn’t take position. It doesn’t take intelligence.
It only takes a smile.
Or a thank you.
Or a text.
Or a good wish or prayer.
You don’t even have to walk or talk for that.
(But, if you have money, power, and/or position use those things too.)
The problem with depression is that we spend too much time thinking about what we can’t rather than about what we can do.
Right now, I’m going to think love and send love to someone who needs it.
And the next time I feel useless, I’m going to do the same.
The world is full of people who will never tire of that.
Breathe life back into whatever is dying within you.
Relationships? A breath of fresh air comes with focus on the things we delight in about someone.
Goals? Fresh eyes for your whys.
Work? Life-breath for work comes with wholeheartedness.
Projects? Fresh air flows in with questions versus abdication. (i.e. What would it look like if it were easy?)
I tried it the other day when I was sighing about my stranded suicide prevention project.
I asked myself:
- Is it a worthy project? Yes.
- Have others given their energy for less worthy projects? Yes.
- Do I have confidence that it can help others? Yes.
- Is there one step I can take today on the project? Yes.
And, voila, the project has new life.
I wanted to argue with Stephen Hawking about this, but his tenacity made that difficult.
The movie about his life, The Theory of Everything inspired me to let go of my many excuses…
But, I have failed too many times.
But, nobody wants my work.
But, I don’t know what to do next.
But, people will laugh at me.
But, I don’t have connections or anyone to help me.
Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, also reminded me that the success of anyone’s work is the work, not the fame, or the fortune, or what the audience or critics might say about the work.
If there are things inside me that want to be born, why would I shame them into silence with my excuses?
(Original post 2015)
It sounds bizarre to believe the whole world belongs to us when we feel (and most likely have experienced) quite the opposite: poor, helpless, and abandoned.
But, I am starting to understand why it might be true.
Just the other day, while working on a discouraging project, I decided to exchange an attitude of scarcity and defeat for an attitude of hope. It took a day or two, but, I began to…
- attract abundance from “nowhere”
- have new ideas
- feel joy and energy to take steps forward
- be an encouragement instead of a drain to others around me
To know nothing is lacking is to agree with the same abundant Universe that has remarkably sustained me until now.
Said no one.
Yet, learning to welcome criticism is a fast-track to happiness.
To avoid anxiety, indigestion, depression, frustration, fits of anger, revenge, and sleepless nights, learn to be friends with criticism. Because…
- regardless of how right or good we are, others will always misunderstand, disagree, and (inadvertently or purposely) taunt
- criticism is ubiquitous; an international pastime
- criticism reveals gaps in our knowledge
- accepting criticism takes humility and one can’t get enough of that
Self-acceptance conquers the pain of criticism.
This quote seems a bit radical, but after reflecting on it, I found reason to believe it.
Humility equals wisdom because it allows us to:
- discover wisdom well beyond our own personal limitations
- acknowledge that we don’t know as much as we think we know
- appreciate mystery
- listen better
- surrender our illusion of being wise
T. S. Eliot was a pretty smart guy. Mostly because he was a humble inquirer.
“To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life.”
― T.S. Eliot
Tim Ferriss passed this quote along in his Five-Bullet Friday email. It is an important quote for me to remember.
So often I review my day with disdain for the smallness of my existence rather than with a smile at the useful things I did, the courageous things I said (or the chicken-shit things I didn’t say), and the amazing beauty I was privileged to see, hear, or touch.
My wish for myself and others is that we would believe this quote enough to stop chasing an image of success that sucks the life out of those useful, courageous, and beautiful moments.
Possible reasons why we make too much of “that long groan which underlines the past”…
- We haven’t forgiven ourselves for being human
- We haven’t forgiven others for being human
- We are reliving our pain, slights, and failures over and over again
- We are not counting it all as training for our future
- We are taking ourselves way too seriously
- We do not comprehend how little time we have left
- We have a pattern of whining, blaming, and complaining
Now, I am ready to erase that groan at the past with a smile for the future.
“How will I survive?” or “How will I be successful?” are the wrong questions. The important question is, “How can I be useful?”
Jim Collins was speaking to entrepreneurs and business owners in this quote, yet it has critical application to our personal lives.
While working on a suicide-crisis line, I met countless people driven toward suicide because of these two wrong questions just as the questions had reeked havoc in my own journey.
How can I be useful? is my new mantra.
Shifting to a simple surrender of our assets to meet needs around us restores momentum and sanity.
Fear-based decision making will always drive us off course.
People are a mess. Life is often a mess. Things happen. Death is inevitable.
But, sing anyway.
Look it square in the face and sing.
That may sound absurd, but when I do, I find courage. Sometimes, even a smile.
Music seems to connect me to a harmony above the chaos.
That’s a good reason to test the hypothesis, anyway. (Especially when we consider how important music has been in all the stages of our life, how imbedded it is in our memories, and how much music meddles with our emotions.)