I have taken you for granted.
I am surrounded by you everywhere and have forgotten to notice you.
I have used you, haven’t I?
I have used you to complain, to sigh, and to curse
Instead of laugh.
And have ignored the refreshment you give to my one trillion cells.
Without you, I can’t go on living (and that is not a metaphor).
Please don’t leave me.
Give me another chance (or several) to show you the gratitude your deserve.
Right now, I apologize.
I breathe in a breath full of you and promise to thank you more often.
It’s a good place to start.
Tom Wolfe’s new book, The Kingdom of Speech, is so intriguing and entertaining that I missed a dozen turns while listening to the audio in my car. Never would I have imagined being so captivated by the history of scientific research on the subject of speech acquisition! Yet, wow, what a journey Wolfe took me on, dicing up historical legends and institutions, serving them up with scathing humor, and alerting me to the marvel of speech and mankind’s embarrassing inability to define it.
Again, I am moved by what I don’t know…and haven’t even thought about knowing. I hope it will remind me today to be more…
- humble when I am tempted to think I am hot stuff
- aggressive in using my free time to learn (instead of veg)
- respectful of all fields of knowledge and their impact upon us all
Right before my sister’s body convulsed in the terrible grip of death, I received a gift from her learning-challenged son. He had been with me at her hospice bedside saying goodbye. After asking his mother to say hello to Elvis for him in heaven (which even garnered a wisp of a smile from her solemn, sedated face), he gave me his mother’s hand and said, “She’s gone. God took her with Him. Couldn’t you feel God here in the room?”
His confidence that she was no longer in that body has saved me from reliving the strange savagery of her end…over and over again.
I was reminded of this mystery of our souls’ departure by Temple Grandin’s story of Autism and her sensitivity to the death of animals. When the body of a euthanized horse collapsed, limp and empty, she asked about the spirit, “Where did it go?”
Also in Elizabeth J. Church’s words about the heroin’s father’s death in The Atomic Weight of Love: “Where did all of that energy go? What happened to the bounty of his being, his love for us, for me?”
It’s an important observance and question. Those who see a bit differently often see more than the rest of us.
Ever had your world completely shattered by one bit of knowledge?
Ever been surprised by how wrong you could be?
Ever looked back at your faulty assumptions from just a few years ago?
Ever embarrassed yourself because of your knowledge gaps?
Once we get over the fact that we not all-knowing, it’s easier to hunger after instruction, knowledge, mentoring, coaching, and wisdom. The following link is to a TEDTalk about Camels (of all things), but contains a brilliant path to awareness.
“We are all just one shard of a bone away from seeing the world in a completely different way.”
Whatever we do, we must keep learning…at any cost…for our own good.
- Dashed expectations.
- Disillusionment and pain.
- No new options in sight.
- Deciding recovery (of whatever it was that was lost) is impossible.
- Resignation to despair.
There is nothing I can do about steps 1-4. But Step 5 holds transformational power. If I alter Step 5 to: Decide to accept the world as it is and passionately work to find an alternative path, Step 6 is eliminated from the DNA.
“Life isn’t about finding pieces of a puzzle, it’s about creating…and putting those exceptional pieces together.” -Glenn van Dekken
In the past, the darkness and the inconvenient rain depressed me.
Now they remind me that I have learned to find sunshine inside.
I don’t have to be disappointed anymore.
I can take what comes and love what is.
I can quit bracing myself against life and, instead, embrace it as it comes.
I can quit wasting my days with longing for something else.
I am my own fortune-teller; whatever comes will be my fortune.
It’s so easy to do.
Survival takes heaps of time and effort. Who has time to practice happiness? Just think how much time we spend just brushing our teeth!
But, what if we could multi-task?
- Open your mouth wide to insert toothbrush. Gee, is that a smile? Enjoy that toothy grin for a few seconds.
- While brushing, instead of thinking about your wrinkles or how much you hate getting out of bed, think of one excellent memory. Conjure up a wonderful day or a wonderful person or a wonderful place. Ahhhh. Think on it.
- While putting up your toothbrush and toothpaste, give thanks for the memory, and for the privilege of brushing your own teeth. Many, many people in the world will not have those opportunities today.
Blog inspired by…
While driving the other day, I thought about how the tiny, yet very complex ice crystals (just beginning a performance on my windshield) would eventually shut down big trucks, airplanes, institutions, and the routines of thousands.
I thought about their powerful transformations from vapor to ice.
That amazing, transformational power, though hidden, was everywhere; the power that pushed the mountains up from inside the earth and even the chemical reactions exploding within my own body at that very moment.
So why had I lived as if I had none?
Had all my worry, depression, and fear sprung from this failure to tap into the ubiquitous power that was even in the air I was breathing?
What would happen if I put it to use?
I was never powerless.
I asked a woman the other day what her ideal job would look like and she jumped completely over the question and introduced me to her “censor.” Without a moment’s hesitation, the “censor” gave an automated response, “But, I have financial obligations.”
I wonder how many times we have missed something important because our “censor” is programed to intercept incoming hope.
Our brains are ready and willing to help us find a path to our best lives, but, when the “censor” says it’s not practical, possible, or probable, our problem-solving personal super-computer slumps over to the corner of our existence and shuts down.
I am just becoming conscious of the many times in a day that I under-utilize my God-given brain by telling it what is possible.
Inventor and designer Buckminster Fuller spoke from experience. At the age of 32, he was fired from his job, his family had no savings to fall back upon, he had a new baby to support, and he felt responsible for his sister’s tragic death. For the insurance money, he decided killing himself was the only solution. Until he miraculously heard these words…
“You do not have the right to eliminate yourself. You do not belong to you. You belong to the Universe…You will fulfill your role if you apply yourself to converting your experiences to the highest advantage of others.”
In whatever manner the world “de-geniuses” us, Buckminster tells us to keep going.
Whoever we are, we have unique insight and value to give.
Give it. Don’t give up. Be you. Wait…with hope.