2/2/12: Live well
There is someone you rarely think of, whose life you’ve changed by existing.
They may be a family member, lifelong friend, coworker or person you passed on the street. What would you do differently knowing others were looking to your life for guidance in their own? What in your life sets an unsafe example for others to emulate?
If we each lived in the responsibility and excellence of leadership we’d be far less starved for moral aptitude in the world.
Live well. Be excellent at everything you do
In archery, the bow is drawn to build up resistance so the arrow can fly farther, faster. Sometimes the bow needs to be strengthened to propel the arrow toward the target. When our vision is met with resistance, instead of questioning yourself, get prepared and dig in.
Recognize resistance as the drawing of the bow.
If the running back slows to battle with every defensive player they run up against they’ll never reach the goal.
In our lives, the defense chasing after us might be work, family, friends, enemies, old habits, self-defeating or self-indulgent mindsets. How much of our progress is slowed, how much of our energy drained by battling with these defensive players we should be running around and past toward our goals, our purpose, our happiness?
Let’s recognize quickly what we need to avoid and move past so we can move in purpose and with speed towards the end goal.
1/26: Investment Returns
They say be careful in choosing to argue with a fool: It will be unclear whether you’re agreeing or arguing. They say show me your closest friends: They’ll show you who you are.
At best our relationships at work, home, with family and friends will advance, improve and challenge us. At worst they will stifle, stagnate, and spoil us. Be selective with yourself: There is nothing wise or fruitful about burning time, energy or resources. Know where your best relationships are, and make sure they receive more time, energy and resources. Investing otherwise is buying losing stock.
I once came home from vacation to find my home burglarized. I got a piece of chocolate cake and sat on the porch, thanking God I wasn’t home when it happened.
Many of my friends have been laid off, excited to have a season close with a blank slate and open opportunities before them.
There are no bad days, bad meetings, bad times, bad meals, bad company, bad sessions, or bad moments. There are bad dispositions.
You can always, in every scenario take the time to reset yourself and remember your life is your play. You choose how your character performs in every scene. That can be rewritten instantly, any time and is only up to you for approval. The scene may be different next time the curtain rises and you choose how you’ll fit in.
“There is a good side and a bad side to most people, and in accordance with your own character and disposition you bring out one of them and the other will remain a sealed book to you.” -Mark Twain
1/23: Wei Wu Wei
Action of non-action.
Every time we react to a circumstance, person, thing, or condition we are at once strengthening that thing or person and at the same depleting ourselves. It’s more powerful to choose a course of action or inaction, than to chart the path of reaction.
Let’s learn to discern the difference between what’s worth our time and what isn’t.
1/19: Grasping at Shadows
“Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.” -Aesop
If you find yourself caught driving at high speed in the fog, you slow down immediately and focus on the markers of the road. Chasing dreams and fighting hard to achieve life’s vision is one of life’s most noble pursuits. If you find your vision hazy, your dream clouded, slow down. Make sure you have the right substance within your grasp.
Distract: Verb, to cause to turn away from.
Have you ever been violently distracted, only to realize you were fighting against something better for you than you could comprehend?
Most of the time, our resistance, distraction, lack of focus is a spotlight if we adjust perspective, and realize it’s shining on something we’ve turned away from.
1/12/12: Listen and Do
archaic: to give ear to : hear
1: to pay attention to sound
2: to hear something with thoughtful attention : give consideration
3:to be alert to catch an expected sound
“The first duty of love is to listen.” -Paul Tillich
How much do we pay attention? How alert are we? How thoughtful and considerate are we? Human expression is the first and most powerful step towards interacting with another: We’ve all felt the sting of silence. When one speaks, we honor them and ourselves by give nothing less than an alert, attentive, thoughtful, considerate ear.
The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.
The second duty of love is to do. How do our actions reflect our spirit? How does our inaction bind it? How much have we allowed to get in the way of our doing? A loving touch for a stray dog or warm blanket for a kitten is more powerful than the very gift of life to a loved one from someone with bad intent.
…Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns… Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even the most opulent king in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
Our day may be bright or gloomy; We may be well-rested or tired; We may have a million dollars in surplus or debt; We may be bathing in familiar warmth and comfort or rocked by cold and watery waves of change… All of it is simply our circumstance. What will you be happy with? What will you need to sustain you and what are you fighting a losing battle for? Let nature remind you of how perfectly we are provided for, and let yourself relax.
“Loving a child doesn’t mean giving in to all his whims; to love him is to bring out the best in him, to teach him to love what is difficult.” -Nadia Boulanger
There’s a lot to be learned about life and love from children: Discipline is not among those lessons. As adults, it’s hard as heck to accept discipline as we’ve come to know it: Punishment, enforcement, control. In fact, if we adjust our lens, we can embrace discipline in its Latin origins: Teaching, learning, perfecting. When faced with the challenge to battle for what’s wise instead of what’s easy, let wisdom win out.
“Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” -Abraham J. Heschel
1/1: Who knew?
“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth. Not going all the way and not getting started.” -Buddha
Two years ago, if you were to explain the who, what, when, where, why and how of the past 48 hours of your life, how would you respond?
The beauty of life is continuously unfolding change, newness unimagined.
Look forward to 2012, 2014.
12/30/11: Rock and Roll
“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” -Leo F. Buscaglia
When the world is shifting and changing around us, the most dangerous thing we can do is pretend it isn’t. The next most dangerous is to look for something, anything familiar and hold tight in fear. Trust yourself and know that your whole life has prepared you to handle what comes your way.
Rock and roll.
“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” –Anatole France
12/29/11: Familiar Trouble
“Beware of the temptation to cling to the familiar which seems like light when in fact it’s darkness.”
If you want your circumstances to change, you can’t expect to see change in your circumstances. Real change is something you haven’t seen before. Be open to what’s new and different. It might be your pathway to greatness: Cutting yourself off to the unfamiliar might mean cutting off your own future. Be disciplined enough to make wise and careful choices in your life.
Routines are not reflective of wise choices made in a purpose-filled life. Routines are a choice made once and repeated.
(Quoted and paraphrased from teachings by Pastor Toure Roberts)
“But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”
We fulfill ourselves, and our fullness fills others though friends, family or loved ones may or may not be near in presence or in spirit. Never take your company or solitude for granted. Cherish time together or alone and let every moment rest on your heart, full.
“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.” -Wayne Dyer
When did you last take inventory of what’s good in your life, and all
you are thankful for no matter how large or small, costly or not,
present or remembered? An impoverished spirit can have the finest
jewels, home, food, spouse, land and riches yet still find fault in
everything, always looking for more, discontent. When we live with a
spirit of abundance, everything in life is transformed for the better.
Taking inventory every now and then, from the miracles of touch,
taste, smell, sight and sound to the larger gifts of life, reminds us
of just how much we have to be thankful for, making it easier to
appreciate life for all it is.
“Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.”
“Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than
you need.” -Khalil Gibran
Angels I know are spending their last dollars on toys for the less
fortunate; giving toys to thousands of families with none for their
own; Investing all the love and energy they have into making this time
of year special for the people they love. The beauty is, these angels
feel truly joyous; Truly blessed… Humbled by their circumstances and
honored to honor others.
“Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but
it is giving me that which you need more than I do.” -Khalil Gibran
12/22/11: Taking care of yourself
“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less
than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep
peace in your soul.” ~Max Ehrmann
Stay attuned to your body, your spirit, your mind, your mood so you
can sense imbalance early. Never be afraid to admit it when you
aren’t well, and take whatever steps needed to care for yourself. It
is up to you to acknowledge your needs and receive the love and care
we need to survive. Your world will wait for you, because you own it.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t
matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” -Dr. Seuss
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at
least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die;
so, let us all be thankful.” -Buddha
You’re alive. That alone, is a miracle.
Enjoy this day.
12/20/11: Feed the magic
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
– Dr. Seuss
When your thoughts turn to temptation, negativity, or sadness
recognize it. Then remind yourself it is possible, however difficult,
to choose to see the opposite. Meditating on the mundane, on those
things you wish were different, fueling discontent, is like stocking
the fridge with cake when you’re on a diet. Direct your thoughts back
to your reality and let it shine with wonder. Give yourself happy
food if you need it, with visual reminders of what you love about your
life. Fuel positive thinking with intention.
“The magic in each moment cannot be explained or defined. Yet it is
easy and wonderful to feel.”-Ralph Marston
“I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don’t have as many
people who believe it.” -George Carlin
One of the most liberating truths we can embrace is our own personal
power. When we live and act in authority with a pure heart, our power
is neither manipulative, arrogant, fearsome or controlling: It is
beautiful, uplifting, inspiring, loving, and challenging.
“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and
the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times
more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of
punishment.” -Mohandas Gandhi
12/18: The real story
“Confidence in others’ honesty is no light testimony of one’s own integrity.” -Michel de Montaigne
Our life stories are no more or less powerful or true because of our station. History is no more than written testimony. We can learn so much about life from the history and testimony of friends, family, even strangers if we share and receive with an open, true heart.
“I am not struck so much by the diversity of testimony as by the many-sidedness of truth.” -Stanley Baldwin
12/17: Own Your Life
“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.” -Lao-tzu
Self-mastery is as much a matter of control as it is release. We have to learn to master our own behaviors, thoughts, and actions in life while also releasing care and control over those of others.
“Don’t think you can attain total awareness and whole enlightenment without proper discipline and practice. This is egomania. Appropriate rituals channel your emotions and life energy toward the light. Without the discipline to practice them, you will tumble constantly backward into darkness.” -Lao-tzu
12/16: Sword of happiness
“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that
you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”
Choosing joy is not frivolous. It is the most serious, effective,
difficult and life-changing weapon in your arsenal.
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting
something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating
what we do have.” -Frederick Keonig quotes
12/15: The Danger of reckless and timid driving
“Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation.”
“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.”
– Saint Augustine
When we set out to do anything purposefully, we’ll assure the best outcome with the right balance of humility and self-worth.
There are two types of drivers who cause traffic jams and accidents more than any other: Timid drivers and reckless drivers.
When humility turns into self-deprecation we’re like timid drivers: Stopping and starting, unreliable and afraid. When a sense of self-worth turns to self-aggrandizing we become like reckless drivers: Blinded to our surroundings, disregarding measures of safety and law. Both postures make us dangerous to other motorists on the road.
We all have incredible, unique talents and passions: Let’s be powerful and unwavering in their application and balance that out with humility and awareness.
12/14: Dancing in the Spirit
“Great dancers aren’t great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion.”
When we dance with abandon we release our thoughts and lose control over our bodies. When we allow ourselves to move, arch, stretch, twist, push and spin with passion, we are truly at peace. In the act of giving over our bodies to the spirit of life joy shines in our movement, true and pure.
“Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.”
12/13: The success of failure
“Most of our faults are more pardonable than the means we use to conceal them.” ~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld
We will make mistakes. We will fall. We will fail. When we are whole, those moments are simply moments, passing. When we are successful, our expectation of life remains at the fullest, highest level of potential. When we are at our best, we are true, honest, and accepting of our struggles, ready to face and tackle them. Life is neither moments of perfection and glory, nor flaw and tragedy: Life is in the moments between, and your spirit resting, still.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill
12/9/11: Reveling in exhaustion
“I’ve got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom.”-Thomas Carlyle
When we are living purpose-driven lives our compulsion to fulfill our dreams and passions will push us to our limits. Physical exhaustion is just that. Our bodies are our power tools, our vehicles, our vessels, meant to be used. Remember to keep your mind and spirit lifted: Feel the sweet reward in knowing your exhaustion is an odometer tracking the distance moved toward your goals.
“The vision of a champion is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when nobody else is looking.” -Mia Hamm
We are of no help to anyone, nor ourselves when we move in the absence of peace, rest and wisdom, without the quiet stillness in our hearts that begets discernment. Let’s do what our hearts call us to do, but remember our bodies began to die the moment we were born and care for ourselves lovingly.