I fell…hard

Her leaving me only accelerated my impact with rock bottom. I was already on a downhill slide and barely maintaining. My jobs had slowly become unbearable: I felt underutilized and unappreciated. Add to that a year that had been filled with death and sickness of those close to me.

So when she left, I was thoroughly crushed. My ego was shattered: An ego that had made me dependent on another. Most of my life, my being had not been enough: I always needed something external: More money, a perfect relationship, more fun, more connections. Simply being wasn’t an option.

So there I was, at the end of that year, cracked wide open. Completely vulnerable. All my identities shattered into pieces. And with everything gone, all that was left was a naked human consciousness. Alone.

But not alone from a lack of friends or love. Quite the opposite: Friends helped me regain my confidence and my self-awareness. They helped me find my humanity as an individual. And they helped me find that special someone: My self.

So much of life is trying to find something, or someone, to make you feel good enough. Satisfied. Accomplished. But relying on something or someone is not sustainable. Because everyone moves on, whether they choose it, or death chooses for them.

As I saw my weakness, I recognized it in the people around me as well. I saw the whole of humanity, each person in their own pain, moving forward through their fear, anxiety, happiness, and joy. And we were all sharing this human suffering.

In the end, I reached the answer to all life lessons: The one fundamental requirement to make it through the suffering of life:

Gratitude.

Gratitude for simply having the opportunity of the human experience.

I knew the value of gratitude before hitting rock bottom. But this time, I realized it from a place of suffering. I felt it, instead of telling myself I should feel it.

And once you realize it, you can share it with whoever may cross your path in life.

I will always remember what she said when she left:

“You’ll always be more stable on two legs than four.”

Meaning, it’s less risky alone, than with a partner.

I thought she was wrong, but after awhile, I learned that she was right.

People are a wonderful risk. Life is a wonderful risk.

If you really want to live.

Perfection

I can’t stand it, I can’t allow it,

no more abuse, no more overreach,

no more imbalances, no more people going without,

no more disparity, differences, no more inequality,

no more violence, no more hurt, no more offense,

no more disrespect, no more struggle, suffering pain,

in my life or anyone else’s, we can fix this,

if only we give some people the control over everyone.

We can smooth everything out, everyone out, 

equal shares for all,

equal men nurses, equal women nurses, equal men police,

equal women police.

Equal outcomes are only fair.

It’s because I love you, that we need to force this on you.

It’s good intentioned.

Follow my path, I promise

No one will hurt anymore.

Curiosity will save us

Continuing down the other path.
Of judgment and hate and control.
Is the wrong direction.

The country was not founded upon that.
Instead, it is based on openness.
Allowing you to be who you are
To do who you are
Without attempts to control you.
Most of the time.

Americans respect the human spirit
So much so, that they trust it
To decide and choose.
To make mistakes
And try again.

The wonder of the human spirit!
Of what it can accomplish.
America respects human potential.
so that it can create.

Curiosity will save us.
Not fear of others.
Not anger.
But love of what is
Curiosity.

Something went wrong.

I made myself some coffee and watched the local morning news.

They had a poor reporter out in the snow, on a side street, pointing out the snow still on the road.

Flurries continue, they said, be careful out there.

So I decide not to drive to the gym.

After making some breakfast, I looked up in surprise.

They had a live video of all the highways.

And they were completely clear, traffic moving smoothly.

I was shocked.

Just a half hour ago I had felt cautious

Because of their stories on the uncleared side streets.

This is what media does: Focus on the problems.

They exaggerate them…they ruminate on them.

Hour after hour, day after day. 

They create a story. 

And in every good story, there must be conflict.

They will always find something wrong.

And after listening to them long enough

You will begin to have their same mindset

Finding wrong in everything around you.

And you won’t even know why

You became so fearful of the world.

The battlefield

Change the world if you see the opportunity
Change it from a place of mindfulness
Because anger and hate distort reality.

Problems appear larger, more threatening
And people are no longer human beings
But enemies or allies.

A world of absolutes
An ideological world
A dark place
Where everyone is with you
or against you

And life becomes a war
Any action justified 
It’s us against them
On the battlefield…in my mind.

No harm intended

Old George Orwell got it backward. 

Big Brother isn’t watching. 

He’s singing and dancing. 

He’s pulling rabbits out of a hat. 

Big Brother’s busy holding your attention 

Every moment you’re awake. 

He’s making sure you’re always distracted. 

He’s making sure you’re fully absorbed.

He’s making sure your imagination withers.

Until it’s as useful as your appendix. 

He’s making sure your attention is always filled.

And thus being fed, it’s worse than being watched. 

With the world always filling you, 

No one has to worry about what’s in your mind.

With everyone’s imagination atrophied, 

No one will ever be a threat to the world.

Excerpted from Lullaby.

Reality will never be your fairy tale

They sell us scenarios
Not specifics

We may think we’re getting a Wall
Or forgiven loans.
But what we get is the illusion of safety
The feeling of security and support.

Because they want us to think we need them.
When most things are fine enough
Before our minds start chattering with worry.

Because story tellers paint a dangerous world.
But the true danger is believing them
And giving them more control
So they can take care of us.

Real leaders empower you to do things.
They don’t take power in order to do so.

Fairy tales are nice.
But they aren’t the foundation of living life.

Feast on your life

The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror.

And each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say sit here, eat.

You will love again the stranger who was yourself.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes.

Peel your own image from the mirror. Sit.

Feast on your life.

By Derek Walcott, “Love after love”

After she left me, I got my space back

Finding a space to be yourself
Where you can be honest and at ease
These spaces are hard to come by
In a noisy world that creates dependence.
Because people want to help
And helping becomes controlling.

But a person’s space isn’t here to be controlled  
It’s an open space for listening, more than judging
It’s a space that empowers
Not divides based on finding imperfections to fix

It sees YOU
And it empowers YOU as an individual.
Rather than a piece of data in an end-game that is not about you.

Because they’re not really interested in you
They’re interested in your label, to sell a sweater, news post, or politics
What do you love?
What’s bothering you?
What was the best part of your day?
These questions aren’t asked.

Honest questions require listening
Rather than assumption.
The space of existence is not based on assumption.
The space is here for independence.

But the space has become toxic
It’s become noisy and divisive 
The space has become muddled and emotional and impatient.
But the solution is clear

You have a responsibility now:
It’s time for you to create the space around you
Others need that space, however small 
Because the larger space is compromised
Filled with intentions and generalizations
And confusion.

Instead of looking to that dysfunctional space 
We each need to create our own
For our friends, and family, and neighborhoods.
Because our country has become a place of outrage and anxiety

So now it’s up to YOU to provide that strength and stability.
Your strength and stability helps others
A solid place, of clarity
A space of confidence

Creating a committee program to take care of your neighbor isn’t strength
It’s moving responsibility from the person to the institution
It is strange and unnatural 
It’s the opposite of personal strength.
Instead of empowering you to control your own space
It seeks to control everyone’s space.

Create your space
This is our responsibility now.
Carve it out with disciplined intent
Carve it out with respect for yourself 
Because your space is most important.
Your space puts up boundaries for you and those you love.

Unplug

Finding a space to be yourself
Where you can live
Where you can be honest
Without constant judgment
Without superficial labels.

These spaces are hard to come by
In a world that’s creating dependence.
Because people want to help
And helping becomes controlling.

Because mama bear wants to keep you safe.

But the space isn’t about safety.
It’s an open space where people listen
Not judge
It’s a space that empowers
It’s not here to eliminate risk.

The space is here to allow you to take risks.

It sees YOU,
and not your group identity.
The space is here to give us INDEPENDENCE.

But the space has become toxic
It’s become noisy and divisive 
The space has become heavy and emotional and impatient.

But the solution is clear
You have a responsibility now:
It’s time for you to create the space around you
For others

The larger space is compromised
Filled with generalizations and blame
In an effort to promote diversity
It has promoted sameness, through equal outcomes.

It has forgotten the individual.

Instead of looking to that toxic space
We each need to create our own
For our friends, and family, and neighborhoods.

Now YOU must provide that strength and stability.
Communicate that power which others can lean on
A solid place, of clarity, and respect of individuals.
A space of confidence that trusts people to make their own choices.

Finding a space to be yourself?
That doesn’t work so well

Unplug from the toxic space.
And create your own space instead.