Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 21)

Embracing The Big Love Around Us

Are you getting in your own way of happiness?

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day frenzy of just being human.  From the moment the alarm sounds, we’re often on a race to hurry up and get to a desk where we can stop for a few minutes and then hurry up and get on the phone, to a meeting, across town to the bank, stop by the post office, pick up the kids, bathe the dog, hurry back home to be sure we’re in the kitchen so we can hurry up and get dinner on the table and sit for a few minutes before hurrying up to binge-watch the new series and finally, hurry to bed so we can start it all over again the next day.

Somewhere, along the way, we pass ourselves.  Some part of us is looking out the window.  Or noticing how the light is bouncing off the leaves as the season changes.  Or remembering how glorious it felt to hike that trail on a cool fall morning or run through leaves giggling.

But we don’t have time to stop.  And oddly, that’s a comforting thing.

We have our duties.  Our roles.  Our safe little worlds with no surprises. Even though sometimes, it feels like the walls are about 3 inches away, and getting closer.

And closer.

So that soon, our world is very, very small.  And that candle inside us that used to shine so brightly and lead our way when we were first dreaming of what our lives can be…that candle is struggling to stay lit.  It’s an inertia that slowly creeps through your bloodstream like a silent snake…robbing you of your curiosity.  Your desire to know more, to explore unknown places and have adventures.  Little by little, it seeps your energy.  Like the death eaters in the Harry Potter stories it seems to hover overhead and suck the very life out of you.

A beautiful essay on the OnBeing Studios blog, “Beyond The Myths We Tell Ourselves, Big Love is Waiting” offers some wonderful insight.  (OnBeing is an amazing multimedia project featuring a nationally broadcast public radio show, a portfolio of podcasts, and a digital publishing platform reaching millions of people each week.)  Author Ali Schultz reminds us we are “not Atlas supporting the world; the world is supporting us.”

Schultz goes on to say:

When I step out from the house of cards I’ve built for myself, I feel love. Big love.The clear path to such love requires excavation. We must, as Rumi notes, remove all of the blocks we’ve placed in our way to keep us from it. Somehow, somewhere, in all of our evolutionary neurological wiring, our wires have crossed so that we fearing being loved more than being safe, small, sure, busy, and turning away from the big open arms of life. We think we’ve got it all figured out. While our gifts for self-preservation and survival are strong, all we’ve figured out, really, is how to make sense of the world into which we were thrust, or find ourselves. Great skills, no doubt. But if we rely on them solely, we guard ourselves from another way of being with the world.”

“The big open arms of life.”  What a wonderful image. So why are we so afraid to let go….to give up the control we mistakenly believe we have, and just let the energy and inspiration around us fill us?

Is that we don’t think we’re worthy?  Or that we can’t remember how to find that energy?  Are we giving into society’s obsession with youth and forgetting that we, baby boomers, anyone over 50, are the ones best equipped to recognize just what the universe can do for us…and know we have had it inside us all along?

More words from Ali Schultz:

“Perhaps the biggest form of self-denial is turning away from the grace that’s always there for us, right now here in the present, and has been with us throughout the arc of our history. Without a story to perpetuate or mental mazes to get lost in, you stop perpetuating the story, the delusion, that you’re alone holding it all together yourself. And, then, you can feel life rush in and join you in conversation. When you open to the world, big love is waiting for you.”

Taking a risk is scary.  Changing your life is scary.  Even just deciding you are going to realign your daily priorities can be scary, because others are going to react to what you are doing.

But you know what?

What’s scary can also be liberating.  Exhilarating.  It can lift you up like a cool autumn breeze invites an eagle to soar to newer heights.

Maybe we can each stop carrying our world, give our backs a rest, and wait for the world to rush in.  What a delightful thought that is.

 

“That is the mystery of grace:  it never comes too late.

    Francois Mauriac  

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Helping Texas survive.

The devastation in Texas is breaking my heart and the heart of so many.  What can we do?

Donate to reputable organizations like The Red Cross, or Salvation Army, or the charity of your choice who is forwarding financial resources to the affected areas.

What else can we do?

Pray.  Keep those affected in our thoughts and hearts.  And do not judge.

We wonder how it could be this bad.  How could some people not flee when they got the first warning.  Why does it seem we are always so unprepared.

Remember, things aren’t always as they seem.  We might have the financial resources to drive away from a natural disaster.  We  might have family or friends to stay with.  We might have a car gassed up and ready to make the trip.

Not everyone does.

Some of these people have just enough to pay their bills and exist.  

They don’t have a car.

They don’t have a family who can help them, or house them safely.

Some of these people can’t even walk.  So please while you are watching the television coverage, don’t ask why they didn’t walk to a bus stop.

They need our help.  They are victims.  They are scared.  Lonely.  Desperate.

Lest we judge, let’s consider what it’s like to be sitting in water.  With no lights.  No air conditioning.  No fresh food.  No plumbing.

Maybe next time, they’ll make better decisions...if they can.

Until then, let’s extend some grace.  It could very easily be us.  Nature doesn’t discriminate.

I confess to feeling this pain acutely, being originally from Texas, and having spent the first 30 summers of my life in Port Aransas on summer vacations…walking the beach, collecting shells, fishing, enjoying the simple beauty.  And now it’s been dealt a serious blow that will take years to recover from.

But I know Port Aransas, and the rest of Texas, WILL recover.

Because people are strong.  We know how to keep going.  And all of us, particularly boomers, whether we  are from New York, Canada, Florida or anywhere else, can help.  We can send positive energy.  We can write a check or donate some old clothing.

We can stand with these battered, exhausted people.  They need us.  And we need them.

“We rise by lifting others.”   

     Robert Ingersoll

 

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Getting Un-Sunk.

The sunk cost effect.  Chances are, you’ve lived this at least once in your life.  And you could be living it right now.

Have a pair of shoes in your closet that kill your feet so you never wear them, but can’t get rid of them because of what they cost?

Absolutely hate going to work every day, but hesitate to quit and find something new because you’ve been there 10 years and invested so much time in it?

 Then you’ve discovered the sunk cost effect.

Scholars tell us sunk costs are backward-looking decisions we humans make because we choose to continually reflect on our past decisions, we attempt to make sense of them and we reference the past in order to justify future decisions.  Apparently, much of it comes down to the fact that we don’t like losing.

Maybe if we stay in the relationship it will get better, which will prove it wasn’t a mistake all along.  If I try really hard, I can convince myself I love living in this house, because after all, I paid a lot for it, so why not spend more money on improvements.

And then there’s the good old demon of dreading the energy it can take to actually make a change.  Staying in the rut is so much easier, right?  Especially when we fear facing the reality that maybe whatever we’ve sunk so much of ourselves really was a mistake, and we are scared if we acknowledge that and move on, we’ll just die of misery.

We’ll have to feel bad.

Others will shake their heads and wonder what’s wrong with us.

We will have failed.

And it’s that feeling of loss that can take over our minds…blocking out all the possible benefits of making a big change, like new opportunities for growth, new relationships, new adventures and more.

Because remember, sunk costs are those you can never recover.  You spent the money on the dress you can’t wear, and it’s not coming back whether you give it a way or you let it take up space in your closet for 20 more years.  You bought the ticket for the terrible movie you would love to leave after 10 minutes, and whether you leave, or make yourself sit through it, that money is gone.

Gone. Over.  If you don’t accept that and move on, you will find it harder to make choices for better experiences in the future…instead, you will keep trying to reduce the bad feeling of a past loss.

Sunk costs are bad at any age, but I think they can be most troubling as we get older.  We feel we should be smarter, wiser. We should be at a place in life where we like where we are.  Like all those happy, pretty people in the commercials flying kites and laughing with grandchildren…all our past decisions should have been the right ones.

Right?  We’re supposed to be happy now, right?  And if we’re not, we sure don’t want to admit it and acknowledge maybe a choice we made just wasn’t the right one.

But what if that’s the only way we really can be happy?

It’s scary.  Scary to imagine everyone around us thinking we’re nuts to reverse a decision, make a big change, maybe return to something we once gave up.  Or to see us “suddenly” stop doing something, or leave a relationship, or change our lives in a big way.

Sometimes to win, you have to quit something.  Give up something.  Throw in the towel.  Then, you can turn your energy forward and let the universe propel you where you should be.

You can’t get spent time back.  But can you make the most of what’s ahead.  And you can start right now…because now is all we really have anyway. 

 

“There is no future in the past.”
Anonymous

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Stop the Hate.

It must be exhausting to hate anyone not like you.

That would pretty much mean you hate everyone, right?

Or does someone who hates enough to harm a person just choose the reasons why they are different…like their skin color.  Their accent.  Their favorite team.  Their sexual preference.

So, you hate everyone who is polka-dotted.  Because they are polka-dotted.  And that’s enough.

But you also decide you love everyone who is paisley.  Because after all, all paisley people think just like you, right?

Oops.  

Maybe not.  Have you considered you might more in control with the polka-dotted person than the paisley person?

Wow.  Gosh, could that paisley person—the one who agrees with you that all polka-dotted people need to go—what if he or she turns out to have something in common with polka-dotted people?

Now what?  Again, do you just hate everyone?

Could it be mutual hate isn’t the personality trait you should use to choose your friends?

It’s so easy to watch news clips of people in other places acting stupidly and shake our heads and sigh and then go back to our lives.  After all, it’s not us.  It’s not our neighborhood.  It’s not our friend or relative.

Or is it.

If we aren’t speaking up, our silence is saying volumes.

If we aren’t shining the light on such massive ignorance, we are just as guilty.

If we let a friend, relative, spouse or anyone else joke about running down a crowd of people and waving nazi flags, we might as well have been there ourselves.

It’s hard.  People we care about often have very different views of the world.  Fear and ignorance are everywhere.  Refusing to be silent when it seems vulgarity is a value can be lonely.

Many boomers and beyond know too well what happens when fear and hatred take over.  Anyone who thought differently in the 1950s risked losing their careers if someone accused them of being communist.  Millions died in WWII because their eyes weren’t blue enough for a mad man while the world watched.  Lynchings and church bombings and horror raged through rural America when people fought for their human rights.

And only a few each time truly stepped up to say no, this is not right, we will not tolerate this.

Let’s stop a minute.  Breathe.  And look around.  Can we make a difference?  Can we try and diffuse some of the rhetoric?

Or at least not join in it?

I want to believe that most people, in their heart, are basically good.  I”ll confess lately it’s sometimes hard to hang onto that belief.  But here’s a thought:  maybe a few times a day, just sit quietly and send out thoughts of love and acceptance to the world.  Imagine it spreading like a giant wave across the globe.  And where you can, be nice to someone.  Do something unexpected, like tip a lot more than you might normally. Smile at someone on the street.  Thank the crew that picks up your garbage.   Help an elderly person get their groceries to the car.

It may be tiny. But if it’s an act of kindness, it could grow.  And grow.

And before you know it, it could turn hate into peace.  And wouldn’t that feel so much better?

 

“Happiness can only exist in acceptance.”

      George Orwell

 

 

 

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