Blog Post # 223 – Inside Us

Inside us.

Everything that we need is inside us.

We don’t need a guru.

Don’t need a new self-improvement course.

The answer is internal.

Digging deeper.

Listening more.

Being still.

Opportunities abound, but what we need is focus.

An intuitive search for clarity.

Our solutions rest inside us.

We have studied enough.

The right answer will come to us.

If we center.

Let it come to the surface.

For if we do not center.

If we keep looking outside of ourselves for our own clarity.

We will be like Odysseus searching for a path back home.

Yet our focus will be in the wrong direction.

We must look inward and listen to our unfiltered intuition.

The whole world is waiting.

Inside us.

Blog Post # 222 – For Real

We say we work hard.

But do we really?

We claim to be grateful for this life we have.

But are we really?

We tell ourselves that we like to help others.

But when was the last time that we actually did?

There is the life we think we have.

And the life we really have.

The person we see ourselves as.

And the person that we really are.

Our job, of course, is to unify the person we want to be with the person that we actually are.

To be grateful, truly grateful, for the simple gift of being alive.

Of still drawing a breath.

Of still being mobile.

Of still contributing to the world around us.

And to use that gratitude to push ourselves to be the best person that we can be.

To (re)start down that path today.

Unity of the projected self and the actual self.

No one else can do it for us.

No book can instruct us how to do it.

We have to find it in ourselves to stretch, strive and struggle past our obstacles.

To our greatest selves.

For real.

Blog Post # 221 – Ancient Hatred

My eldest son has been studying Mesopotamia in history class.

The area where civilization began.

We quizzed Ismail off flash cards that he prepared this weekend.

Many of the questions were about military leaders and big battles that occurred three thousand years ago in and around modern-day Iraq.

Yesterday, I spent the day at the immigration office with two of my clients who are seeking asylum in the U.S.

They each fear returning to Iraq due to the sectarian violence.

Killing. Kidnapping. Ransom. Torture.

Religion. Race. Tribes. Ancient grievances.

I spent 7 hours with an asylum officer and my clients listening to a litany thing of horrible things that we humans do to each other.

When I got in the car, the NPR host was interviewing a woman who worked for Amnesty International studying the religious violence in Iraq as the Shia-backed Iraqi army retook Fallujah.

A new assault on Mosul began this week.

It occurred to me that we, as humans, have been fighting with each other since time began.

Hating each other. Killing each other. Justifying all of it in the name of fairness, religion or whatever other rationalization that we can come up with.

Ancient hatreds.

It really, really saddened me.

It is quite a thing to hear an immigration officer ask the beautiful 14 year old twin boys of one of my clients whether they had ever made a bomb, hurt anyone or kill anyone.

Luckily, American law provides that if my clients establish a credible fear of being persecuted if they return to Iraq, they will be allowed to stay.

One small step towards peace.

Saving lives and shielding our clients from hate.

The fact is, we cannot save everyone.

But if we can change the trajectory of the lives of even a few, all of the hard work is entirely worth it.

God bless them. God bless us. Peace.

Blog Post # 220 – Be Still

Be still.

Emphasis on be.

Be still and the answers will come.

Be still my monkey brain.

Be still my beating heart.

Be still.

Center.

Focus.

Surrender.

Be still.

Be gone chatter.

Be gone distractions.

Be gone churning mind.

Be still.

The answers are there.

They are right there.

If we can only be still.

The distractions fight our stillness.

The noise tries to drown out the quiet.

We must be still.

Dig deeper.

Focus harder.

And be still.

Find a moment or two today to be still.

All of the distractions will be there waiting for us when we return from the stillness.

Until we are still once more.

Be still.

Blog Post # 219 – Without Us

We tell ourselves that they will not be able to manage, without us.

That things will not get done, without us.

Indeed, the world might stop, without us.

We use this mindset to drive us.

To motivate us, to keep us going.

Without us, the world is basically screwed.

At least that’s what we secretly think.

But the reality is that the world was here long before us.

And it will hopefully be around a whole lot longer after us.

Without us, the world will keep spinning.

Without us, life will go on.

Without us, our loved ones will be okay.

We need to let go of this delusion that the world will stop when we pass on.

It is simply vanity. And maybe a little fear thrown in.

Abandoning the mindset of our essentialness to the world frees us to simply live.

To live in the moment and realize that while we can and do contribute to the world in a meaningful way, we are not the center of the universe.

We are certainly unique and have our own abilities, but the world does not revolve around us.

The world will be just fine.

Humanity will survive.

Without us.

Blog Post # 218 – To Sleep

Sleep.

We don’t sleep enough.

We don’t get enough quality sleep.

A chronic lack of sleep can result in serious health problems.

We do too much.

We run around too much.

We don’t rest.

We fiddle with our devices right before bed, depriving us of sleep.

Our bodies are denied the ability to recharge.

We try and make up for this with caffeine, caffeine and more caffeine.

Coffee, soda and energy drinks are multi-million dollar businesses.

The thing is that we need more sleep so that we can be more awake.

More alive.

More present.

If our bodies are constantly seeking more sleep and rest and we repeatedly deny the sleep, it will catch up to us eventually.

For today, let us get the sleep and rest that we need.

Let us take breaks and give our body the ability to recharge.

Peace.

Blog Post # 217 – Nothing Left

Nothing.

Nothing left.

Nothing left to give.

Nothing left to give to you.

No more ideas.

No more effort.

No more striving.

I give up.

I am done.

I check out.

I quit.

These words sound terrible.

Defeatist.

Left for dead.

And they are false.

We always have more.

More left.

More to give.

More to give to those we love.

More ideas.

More effort.

More striving.

We can’t be beat.

We won’t be beat.

We will rise.

We will stand.

And we will keep going.

Because our destiny is bigger than this.

We were not put here to fail.

To quit.

To abandon ship.

Lo, we are here to soar.

And today we will.

Blog Post # 216 – Crimes and Misdemeanors

One of my favorite movies is Crimes and Misdemeanors, directed by Woody Allen.

Allen plays somewhat of a loser with impure thoughts.

Martin Landau plays a married man who is trying to end an affair with a woman who refuses to let him go (who could live without Martin Landau, right?).

Landau considers whether to have a hit man get rid of the woman.

His are the crimes, Allen’s dabbling in impurity the misdemeanors.

Both characters are connected to the moral center of the film, a man who is losing his eyesight played by Sam Waterston.

I often think of this movie and of our collective “sins.”

Some are crimes. Real crimes.

Most are just misdemeanors. Not so serious, but still an offense.

Allen’s movie, I think, makes the point that there are a whole lot more similarities between those of us committing crimes and those perpetrating misdemeanors.

We like to minimize our own culpability and to maximize the offense of others.

Not much compassion walking around these days.

The women and men sitting in prison are all someone’s son or daughter.

Many are married and a parent to someone.

We like to think that we are oh so very different than criminals.

But I am continually amazed at how we treat each other.

How we talk to each other.

All too often, the things we say are unkind, hurtful and damaging.

Not to mention our actions.

When did we become so angry? So jaded?

This environment of negativity is potent and very, very real.

Makes me sad.

For today, let us end our misdemeanors.

Let us bring peace to this world. Even if it is just in our own little sphere.

Anything else would be criminal.

Blog Post # 215 – Stop It

Stop talking. And listen.

There is beautiful music playing.

Stop bitching. And be grateful.

The world is a beautiful place.

Stop trying. And implement.

You have so very much to offer us.

Stop blaming. And find your role in the mess.

There is clean up work to be done.

Stop whining. And be a leader.

We need you to lead us.

Stop seething. The anger that you channel accomplishes nothing.

Let it go for your own good and for ours.

Stop worrying. Things are as they are meant to be.

You didn’t know that already?

Stop waiting. The clock is ticking.

There are only so many days left.

Stop lying. Be true to yourself.

Your best self is what we are after.

Stop it. Just stop it.

If it isn’t helpful, leave it behind.

And go!

Blog Post # 214 – Unequal Sadness

Sometimes, life is difficult.

Extremely difficult.

Where awakening brings pain.

Falling asleep induces nightmares.

Bad things happen.

We get disoriented, untethered from our moorings.

Our routine abandons us.

We feel lost.

The randomness, the unfairness of personal pain seems overwhelming.

We ask ourselves why is this bad thing happening?

Oftentimes, the answers elude us.

Where do we go for solace?

How do we react in these stressful times?

Do we turn to an addiction, a compulsion, comfortable patterns?

Or do we vow to weather the storm?

This blog post is not meant to be a rah, rah “you keep your head up” kind of post.

Instead, let us be angry. Let us feel our sadness.

Please allow us to grieve with you. Please share your emotions and allow them to be. To just be.

I’d like to say that we all struggle with the same sadness.

But life does not distribute sadness equally.

Not fair, but that is how it seems.

For today, let us grieve. Let us feel sad. Let us be present in our despair.

But let us not isolate. Let us not turn to our compulsions. Let us face the raw emotions in their completeness.

And let us do it together.