Blog Post # 202 – The Judge

The judge.

Some of us play the judge frequently.

Watching, assessing and deciding whether the people standing before us are worthy of our love, our attention, our time.

We view them in a binary, black-and-white fashion.

Good or bad, smart or dumb, important or meaningless.

We can be very harsh in our judgment.

But are we truly qualified to judge another?

Do we know what is in the heart of another?

The fact is that we don’t know their pain, their life experience, their tribulations.

In many instances, we are in no position to judge.

The harsh voice of the judge, the strident way we assess others, can be very destructive.

It can cause us to be unkind, to say mean things.

Which does no good for us nor the person who hears these things.

The object of our scorn.

And of course, the harshest victim of our interior judge is ourselves.

We judge ourselves very harshly.

Sentencing ourselves to hard labor for the mistakes that we have made.

For today, let us judge a little less harshly.

To give a pardon to ourselves and to others.

Step down from our high position.

Realize that we are all in need of a little forgiveness.

Blog Post # 201 – 10 Min x 2

Time for another experiment.

10 minutes for ourselves.

2 times a day.

For the next 30 days, I am going to find 10 minutes a day in the morning and in the afternoon to center myself, be present and see where my mind goes.

I will be waking up 15 minutes earlier so I can capture the 10 minutes right away.

After lunch, I will find 10 minutes a day to walk around the block.

I will bring my old tennis shoes to the office for this purpose.

During these 10 minute blocks, I will have no agenda, no reading material and no forced thoughts.

I will see where my mind takes me.

I will check in to see where I am at.

I will listen to my monkey brain and try and slow down the chatter.

I plan to reflect on what the day has brought thus far and ascertain whether I can steer it in a new direction.

The key to all this is the listening part.

Instead of fighting frustration or charging through the day, my centering time will help me get in harmony with where I really am.

See how I’m feeling. See what I’m thinking. See where I’m at.

As summer slides away and fall begins, we find ourselves in a new season.

My plan for the first month of this new season is to chip away at the grind of the day.

To carve some time for me.

And to listen.

What’s your plan?

Blog Post # 200 – You Are Alive

You are alive.

Your number has not been called yet.

Blood is coursing through your veins.

The heart at the center of your chest continues to pump.

Your lungs take in air and breathe it out without you even having to think about it.

You are alive.

We get so caught up in the events of the day that we forget to be grateful for simply continuing to exist.

For the moments we get to share with those we love.

For the challenges that we face each day.

For the emotions that come at us in various forms.

You are alive.

So you have to fight.

You have to strive to improve.

That is the trade-off for getting to stay on this planet.

Seems like a fair deal to me.

You alive? You strive.

Grateful for all of the blessings and abundance in our lives.

No matter how big or small those gifts may be right now.

Today gives us the chance to reach for our goals.

And to contribute back to this world that has given us everything.

Enjoy the fact that you are alive … today.

Blog Post # 199 – Sports, Politics or Entertainment

Sports, politics or entertainment.

When we were young, we played 20 Questions with my mother.

One of the best early questions to ask was sports, politics or entertainment.

Helped narrow down the realm of possible solutions to the puzzle.

Nowadays, our society seems to be so distracted, primarily by three forces – sports, politics and entertainment.

We even have people who cross over from one of these fields to the other.

Reality TV show hosts running for President.

Ex-jocks hosting Good Morning America.

The lines between entertainment, politics and sports are constantly blurring.

In addition, sports can unite a city. Help build bridges between different communities.

Politics tend to be a bit more divisive – pitting us against them the vast majority of time.

Entertainment can stimulate (or deaden) our minds.

The point is that the people who bring us our sports, deliver our politics and entertain us have gotten extremely sophisticated at what they do.

They study our brains to figure out how to motivate us and to make us angry.

It may be a good idea to step back from each of these three areas and to focus on ourselves.

Will our lives be fundamentally better simply because our sports team won a playoff game?

How much of our attention are we willing to give to politicians who just want to get ahead and don’t really have our best interests at heart?

Do we really need one more show about the Kardashians?

This isn’t meant to be a rant or diatribe against popular culture.

Just a humble invitation to engage in our own sports and exercise, to advocate for ourselves in all aspects of our lives and to find ways to entertain ourselves through creative outlets.

Like I said before, vote for ourselves and our dreams and aspirations.

No one else is going to do that for us.

Blog Post # 198 – “What are you prepared to do?”

“What are you prepared to do?”

This is the question that Jimmy Malone (Sean Connery) asks Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) as their quest to bring down Al Capone continues in The Untouchables.

How far are we willing to go for something that we truly believe in?

That word – willing – is such a powerful word.

For we must become willing to do something before we are actually able to do it.

Awareness of a need for change.

Willingness to try and change.

Then, and only then, change can occur.

Do we throw ourselves 100% into fulfilling our dreams?

It is so much easier, of course, to just dabble in epic change.

To stay on the fringes of an extraordinary life.

To settle. To sit back. To let someone else take the lead.

Screw that.

We must dive in.

And to do so with reckless abandonment.

The forces of oppression hide from our eyes with distraction, busy-ness and a soft life.

This work is hard. Super-difficult.

We have to be prepared to overcome any obstacle. To stomp on indecision. To stake our flag at the top of the mountaintop and defend it against all comers.

If not, we will wallow our time in misery and silence. Waiting for the day that we check out from this life. Like lambs at the slaughterhouse.

Not me. And I hope not you. Fight the power.

Blog Post # 197 – Our Legacy

How will we be remembered?

Not in the history books, but with those who knew us.

Those who loved us.

Were we kind?

Were we gentle?

Were we hard-working?

We should do everything we can today to infuse the memories of others with the love we bring to the world.

Every conversation that we have with our loved ones leaves an imprint.

We convey energy – positive or negative – with every interaction.

Our mental fingerprints.

Do we build others up or tear them down?

Do we convey how we really feel in our conversations?

Do our tongues reveal what we really feel or do they lash out in anger?

For today, let us be the peacemaker, the stalwart, the hero.

Let us let go of the ties that bind us.

And be an instrument of light and love to everyone around us.

Peace.

Blog Post # 196 – Start Today

When did it turn?

That moment when you gave up.

Said to yourself, “screw this. I’m not going to change.”

When did you give up?

What led you to throw in the towel?

Life throws a lot at us.

Too much, in fact.

So it is okay to feel overwhelmed, underappreciated and stressed out.

Really, okay.

But that does not make it okay to quit.

To quit stretching, dreaming and striving.

Forget missed opportunities.

Disregard the mistakes.

You cannot take them back.

But you do have an opportunity today to change.

Every day offers that chance to change.

For the better or for the worse.

We can turn it back.

We can refuse to give up.

We can try again.

This life – it is for learning.

Really learn from our mistakes.

To say enough is enough.

And to turn the tide back towards greatness.

Your greatest you.

Start today.

Blog Post # 195 – Humble, Not Humbled

Accepting, not disappointed.

Centered, not distracted.

Grateful, not entitled.

Happy, not glum.

Healed, not wounded.

Here, not elsewhere.

Logical, not emotional.

Peaceful, not agitated.

Present, not projecting.

Positive, not defeated.

Reflective, not reactive.

Serene, not angered.

Singing, not grumbling.

Striving, not settling.

Strong, not flabby.

Tempered, not extreme.

This is what we strive for.

This is who we are.

Humble, not humbled.

Blog Post # 194 – Students > Gurus

We are students, not gurus.

The race continues.

We seek to improve a bit each day.

To learn, to discern, to glean and to share.

We look inside and study ourselves.

We sense the rhythm of our responses.

The truth is there when we sit still and let it bubble to the surface.

Distractions abound and frivolous time sucks beckon.

We forgive ourselves for time wasted, errors made.

All with the goal of incremental improvement.

We ask how we might have handled a given situation differently.

We hold our experiences gently in our hand for we know that time is fleeting and we must act quickly to glean the importance of what just happened.

These things we do not only to help make ourselves better but in order to improve the circumstances of those around us.

This world is not going to get any better if we don’t step up and make it happen.

For today, let us glide through the day. Let us observe more, talk less. Listen intently – both to others and ourselves.

To learn from what is going around us instead of striving to control it.

To cling softly and gently.

To appreciate every single moment.

It is all that we have.

Blog Post # 193 – Who Did We Help?

Who did we help today?

Have we gone outside our comfort zone today to make life a little easier for someone else?

Did we collaborate and help someone else achieve their goals?

The capacity to assist another person on this planet is one of the great human traits.

Some amazing people – like Mother Teresa – devoted their entire lives to helping others.

We don’t have to be so magnanimous and selfless.

But we can do something today to help another.

We have the entire day to find one or two ways to ease someone’s suffering, to care for another, to make a quick call to a lonely friend.

We must be aware of our surroundings and actually notice the needs of others.

The mindset of helpfulness can give our work life more meaning.

We can view ourselves as someone who trudges to work each day, clocks in, works, clocks out.

Or we can think about how we are helping people.

It is hard to think of a job that doesn’t help someone else.

But if you aren’t feeling fulfilled, maybe because your job is not impactful enough.

That you aren’t helping enough people.

If you truly help, your work life will feel fulfilling and you will be happier.

When we come to the end of our days, it will be the people that we helped the most that will surround us.