If I dig deep enough – all the way to the very core of my inquiry, a big part of my quest is about making sense of it all.
Searching for the answers I seek, I have a difficult time understanding that not everything in life is logical. Most of it is a mystery and yes, it is with a great sense of gratitude that I respect that there are miracles happening every single moment of my life. However, I am also hardwired to remain cynical about the magic and skeptical about letting go and giving into the mystery of life unfolding as it should be. Letting go of not being able to control more of my life.
Most of life actually is quite chaotic and a huge mystery. Our desire to apply logic only fools us and typically it is for self-preservation. Read: Five Logical Fallacies That Make You Wrong More Than You Think
and most of what I try to control, including people I love, only holds me back from opening my heart to something bigger, stronger and more fearless that I can ever be.
Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what’s next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little.
The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark. – Agnes de Mille.
I have always felt very uncomfortable the moment I began to feel even slightly comfortable. Some of my dearest friends have called me out on this. They say I have “commitment issues”. Maybe. Who knows. I just like the momentum of daring, trying, risking – smartly. Exposing myself and my mind to something new.
Today’s post is a passage taken from week seven “Recovering a Sense of Connection” from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
The passage below resonated with me. Why? Because I fool myself daily because while I think I am taking risks, I am not taking big enough risks. The type that will catapult me to the next level of living adventurously. Here we go. Let me know if this rings true with you as well.
We’ve all heard that the unexamined life is not worth living but consider too that the unlived life is not worth examining. The success of a creative recovery hinges on our ability to move out of the head and into action. This brings us squarely to risk. Most of us are practiced at talking ourselves out of risk. We are skilled speculators on the probable pain of self-exposure.
“I’ll look like an idiot,” we say, conjuring images of our first acting class, our first hobbled short story, our terrible drawings. Part of the game here is lining up the masters and measuring our baby steps against their perfected craft. We don’t compare our student films to George Luca’s student films. Instead, we compare them to Star Wars.
We deny that in order to do something well we must first be willing to do it badly. Instead, we opt for setting our limits at the point where we feel stifled, smothered, despairing, bored. But yes, we do feel safe. And safety is a very expensive illusion.
In order to risk, we must jettison our accepted limits. We must break through “I can’t because. . .” Because I am too old; too broke; too shy; too proud? Self-defended? Timorous?
Usually when we say we can’t do something, what we mean is that we won’t do something unless we can guarantee that we’ll do it perfectly.
Today let me carve out time – time out of my busy schedule to nurture my soul. To do the real living. Not just the busy work.
Let me not rush into another day without taking moments for myself. Time to meditate, move and to feel my wild heart beating.
Let me remember to acknowledge that this day is another chance to create something valuable for the world.
Let me take all of my worries and turn them into wonder, so I may creatively transform my concerns into care. When I worry about having enough money, energy, health or friends, may I learn how to generate new ways of seeing my problems and new ideas to design a life that heals myself and others. Today I will strive to see and to know that nothing lies beyond my capabilities if it is a must.
I know that I will sometimes fail, but failure offers insights that are invaluable to my growth.
How to use fear before it uses you – Anthony Robbins
Today let me generate new, fresh ideas to solve my problems and to create something better, something brand new. Ideas that are useful, helpful and brilliant that will help not only me, but others who are trying to make their way in this world while becoming better versions of themselves. I must remember, no ideas is so big that I can not take the first step.
The Ultimate Guide to Becoming an Idea Machine by James Altucher
Becoming better starts with taking care of me. Nurturing my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
10 Ways I Can Nurture Myself Today
- Set reminders on my smartphone to stop during the day to stand up and stretch.
- Forgive someone who has caused me pain.
- Listen to an inspiring podcast from Tara Brach.
- Remember to eat a light, low-carb, healthy lunch.
- Stay thankful for everything I already have.
- Go for a long walk when the rain lets up.
- Call my husband and laugh for five minutes on the phone.
- Pray a little each hour while asking for guidance and humility.
- Take care of a nagging problem. Deal with it head on.
- Discover new music while having dinner.
Oh to be Anti-fragile to be a part of Things that Gain from Disorder
Each day I remember to nurture and care for myself, I get one step closer to becoming a stronger version of myself than yesterday. Some nurturing things will work better than others. It really is a matter of trial and error and protecting myself from getting stuck, transforming when necessary but keeping a sense of broad freedom and opportunism.
Experimenting with new ways of living by trial and error = freedom.
Reclaiming my Personal Power
The black swan is a graceful reminder to move from any position where you feel powerless and at the mercy of external forces; it is time to reclaim your personal power.
Cherish My Unlovable Parts. Turn them around. Realize how many of my bad thoughts and actions can really be useful.
- Obsessive worrying demonstrates that I actually care.
- When channeled correctly, my panic-like anxiety is like a fiery ball of glorious energy.
- My anger and frustration is simply a hidden desire to make life better.
- My apparent laziness and constant shortcutting is really a search for a more efficient and productive way to create.
- Wanting to do it all while feeling confused in simply my inner child looking for guidance while letting the world know, I want to contribute.
- The resentment and rage I sometimes have can be directed into a forceful power of purpose.
The best gift you can give anyone is your full and true presence.
Distractions are everywhere, and who has the time for anyone, really?
I resolve from this moment forward to make more time for truer communication with those I love. This is what makes life more memorable.
Inspired by Becoming Wise
I’m thinking about how important it is to listen generously. How to compassionately communicate and hear another’s soul, even through the most difficult conversations.
To listen with an awakened heart & mind. To listen openly, without trying immediately to fix the problem at hand or impulsively come up with an answer right now.
To drop the agenda.
I’m thinking about how improved my relationships would be if I just follow the emotion of the moment, if I let the conversation flow.
What if I tolerated more of them and watched my timing of words? What if I made room for the difficult to pour out, for the pain to set itself free? Dissipate.
How would the conversation go if I were more flexible with my speech? If I softened my tone? If I held out my arms?
What if I let the conversation move where it will, if I gave up control?
Imagine if I released myself of judging everything to not a single word. How would it look if I decided to just observe it all as if I had never heard it before. What would I see? If I listened less guardedly.
The next opportunity I have for a true conversation I will include words of kindness. I will believe that I am exactly what is needed to help heal the situation. Everything needs a measure of healing, don’t you think?
I vow to not let differences define what is possible between us. I can argue with your opinion, but not your experience.
I will try, yes I will try very hard, to understand why you are behaving the way you are behaving. Perhaps you are in pain. What can I say or do to help you soothe it away?
I won’t look with anger, but I will try to find the good in you, even during your worst of rage.
A More Courageous Conversation
Even more importantly, I will open up my vulnerable parts to keep the conversation real. It may feel raw, uneasy and probably very uncomfortable, but that is where we grow. I will admit my weaknesses and recognize that what I have done so far has gotten me here, not where I want to be.
Feature Photo – Artist: Egon Schiele
“Life requires of man spiritual elasticity, so that he may temper his efforts to the chances that are offered.”
“Change is essential for survival. All life forms must adapt to their fluctuating circumstances. All form of life result from the process of variation, mutation, competition, and inheritance. The universe is in a constant state of chaos. We each have chaos implanted into our bones. Nature wires all of us for change.”
“One of the most remarkable of man’s characteristics is his capacity for becoming used to conditions of almost any kind, whether good or bad, both in the self and in the environment, and once he has become used to such conditions they seem to him both right and natural. This capacity is a boon when it enables him to adapt himself to conditions which are desirable, but it may prove a great danger when the conditions are undesirable. When his sensory appreciation is untrustworthy, it is possible for him to become so familiar with seriously harmful conditions of misuse of himself that these malconditions will feel right and comfortable.”
“Set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, only offer a better cage. Truth is outside of all patterns.”
“There’s no such thing as a mistake, really. It’s just an opportunity to do something else.”
A snake doesn’t mourn when it is time to shed it’s skin.
Featured Illustration – Walt Whitman
A Life That Matters
(A Non Religious Funeral Reading)
Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived.
At the end, whether you were beautiful or brilliant, male or female, even your skin colour won’t matter.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched,empowered or encouraged others.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.
Adding More Life to Our Years
How do you add more life to your years? How do we know if we are living to the max, giving the most we can give? Do we just go by feeling? Do we continue to list and review our accomplishments? Add more to our resume? Create a bucket list of things we want to do sometime in the future?
What can we do right now to add more life to the moment in front of us?
We might listen to our heart more. Perhaps address the “psychic” pain of every day life and make adjustments to our day. Change what we don’t like about our living.
Perhaps we stop saying yes out of habit or obligation and start to consider what we really want to contribute during our lifetime. Volunteer maybe? Start a blog perhaps? Train for the marathon? Save up for the excursion?
Or better yet, maybe we wake the hell up. We stop sleep walking through life. No more numbing the brain with another glass of wine after dinner or taking the same route to work each morning. Perhaps we establish a healthy morning ritual to renew our sense of aliveness.
Could it be we create a new purpose. Develop a mantra to make people smile. Yeah, maybe that’s a purpose in life.
- Tackle the world’s bigger problems. Become an agent for change.
- Learn something new, every day. There are so many free ways to learn.
- Do something selfless, make things easier for someone else.
- Or maybe only respond to things that make us say Hell Yes! and say no to the rest.
I’m grateful for another chance. The opportunity to start from scratch. An opportunity to improve my attitude and behavior. This day is fresh, clean, unworn with emotional stains.
An opportunity to control my short temper, release my self-pity and remove envy of others.
I can help those right in front of me that need my help.
I am given this day as an opportunity to finish projects and work that has been nagging to be done.
Perhaps I will start something new that I’ve been wanting to try.
Maybe I’ll apologize, sympathize, empathize with others.
What are your grateful for right now? How will you use this day?
1. Understanding Certainty vs Accuracy
The Quest: How to know the truth.
Understanding that just because someone appears confident in what they are telling you, meaning they seem to be 100% certain about their story, doesn’t mean that the story is 100% accurate. Be careful and cautious about believing what you hear, read and watch. “Certainty” does not always equal accuracy. Stay cautiously skeptical.
2. Awareness of The Likability Bias
The Quest: How to remain aware of our behavior.
It’s such a simple concept to understand, yet we continually fall prey to it when we really don’t have to – and great sales people know how to use it. The liking bias knows that the more we like someone the more we are likely to buy something from them or help them in some way. Be weary of people throwing you compliments, those who are friendly too fast. This can have you purchasing things you don’t really need and over extending yourself to do something you really don’t have time to do.
3. Asking Bigger, Better Questions
The Quest: How to have better outcomes.
I have to admit I struggled with this one for a while, but I think I finally got it down and I will start with an example. I can ask myself “What do I need to do today?” or I could start with a better question “What should I do today to make it a more productive day?”
I can also get more detailed with each question. For example, instead of asking “Where can I learn editing techniques for my videos?” I can ask “What three editing techniques do I want to learn to make awesome videos?”
I’d love to hear what you have learned or what you find useful in your life. Please share in the comments below.