Honoring, not Threatening, the Past, Present and Future

 

There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats;
For I am armed so strong in honesty
That they pass by me as the idle wind.

~ William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From Merriam Webster

Threat ~ an indication of something impending

Anxiety ~ painful or apprehensive
uneasiness of mind
usually over an impending or anticipated ill

 

I accepted the offer to participate in a 30 day writing prompt challenge. In a nut shell, somebody takes a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, talks about it and provides a thought that the participants are then supposed to write about.

In all, I am enjoying it very much. However, I am just past the week mark and realized a pet peeve I didn’t know I had. Two of the first six prompts contained variations of the idea, “If you knew you were going to die, go broke, lose your piece of apple pie, and witness the end of the world in the next month, week, 15 seconds, think about what would you do and live your life like that now because therein lies your authentic self.”

Seriously? No. Apocalyptic April is nothing like Legacy April. The two aren’t even close to the same person. The first throws caution to the wind, expends all her resources, forgos responsibility in the face of last minute life cramming. The latter, while enjoying her life and remembering what is important, holds a balance of worth, appreciation, betterment, responsibility and relationships. I am betting most folks feel the same way.

I can appreciate the intention of the prompt – think about who are you when you feel free to be who you are. But, I have realized it drives me nuts to have it encapsulated in a doomsday message. It is as if only through threats and anxiety are we able to be honest enough to know ourselves. I don’t buy that. In fact, I find it almost counter productive. Our authentic self is not meant to be apprehensive and fearful with no hope for a tomorrow. We are meant to be encouraged, empowered and comfortable knowing, regardless of the number of days, we are purposeful.

Today, I encourage you to throw off the apprehension of expectation and appreciate where you are in its entirety. Yesterday is honorable and good in its lessons and memories. Today is purposeful and present, poised to be whatever we mold it. Tomorrow, while not to be expected or worried over, is more likely to come than not. It is a privilege to know that we are here and capable of creating positivity in a space that has not yet happened. I don’t have to consider my lost of means or life to appreciate that. In fact, I appreciate it more knowing that it is there to be lived – not feared.

 


Featured Photo from Yoni Lerner

The Warrior and The Butterfly : #trust30 Challenge

This is the Day 6 Prompt of the #Trust30 challenge.

While I believe the original idea was to have most of the posts in one location, I am tweaking. This is the first one here at MLWFY. There are quite a few over at My Beautiful Chaos, and they all get Tweeted.

I haven’t seen all the challenge prompts so I may not even publish all of them depending on the content. But, so far, it looks like fun and I appreciate Glad Doggett for turning me on to it.

Day 6 Challenge | Jonathan Mead | Come Alive

Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you had one week left to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? In what areas of your life are you preparing to live? Take them off your To Do list and add them to a To Stop list. Resolve to only do what makes you come alive.

Bonus: How can your goals improve the present and not keep you in a perpetual “always something better” spiral?

I have made it a personal challenge to find balance between my inner butterfly and my inner warrior. Oh come on, you know what I am talking about. Those two sides of the personality – one all positive thinking, meditative and granola, the other boot straps, sweat, rolled sleeves and damning the torpedos.

While these two character attributes like each other fine, they initially had no interest in working together. They just didn’t see the benefit. The approaches were just too different and it seemed like one had to be wrong for any situation the other was right for. They just took turns and left me with the added anxiety of choosing which was better suited for a particular task.

It was a joyous day when all parties involved learned the beautiful ways in which the warrior and the butterfly could work together to make my life easier.

It is true that some things just “gotta get done.” I have responsibilities that I have offered to others, bills to pay, children to feed, needs to fill – the warrior is required to “handle it” when it needs to be handle – regardless of whether it makes the butterfly dance in the sun. The butterfly, however, can remind the warrior of the beauty in all things – even when it is’t fun or downright unfortunate. She can encourage and strengthen and remind the warrior that the work of the strong is good – if it was easy, everybody would do it and this makes us special.

It is true that connection with our inner self, our center, our core, is so very important. My butterfly is instrumental in keeping my compass pointed at my true north, reaching in and listening to the still, small voice, slowing me down to evaluate whether choices are in line with my personal mission – even if the warrior is loaded for bear insisting that an okay plan today is better than a great plan tomorrow. The warrior does stand at the ready. The strength and determination allows the butterfly to feel free to fly as high as she would like, dream big, jump high, take risks – all the while knowing that the warrior is prepared to lend her strength to any task that may arise.

I have today, it honors my yesterday and prepares my tomorrow while giving me purpose in the present. I can meet whatever it brings. There is nothing better.

**Photo Credit to Pan

Reconnecting with Bliss

Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss.
Nothing is as rich.  Nothing is more real.

~Deepak Chopra

My favorite things about today’s quote may not be readily apparent. In fact, it took me a bit to figure it out myself. You know how when you look at a piece of art, hear a great piece of music, take a bite of a great piece of food – you know you really like it, you just having trouble putting the words to the feeling. Then I realized my appreciation is in three parts.

First, he uses the word “reconnecting.” This word is totally encouraging. It suggests that bliss separation happens. We shouldn’t feel inadequate or inept if we find ourselves in a funk. We can be encouraged that it has happened to others as it is happening to us, and we can reconnect.

Second, he calls the bliss reconnection “real” – and it is. How many of us have gone through those darker periods? We consider those to be very real. In the same truth, moments of bliss have to be real as well. However, we fail to trust the realness of the lighter moments as fear tells us they are little less that vapor and imagination, therefore they will vanish quickly so let’s not get too excited. But the bliss is real and can be believed in.

Finally, and most importantly, Chopra does not define what the bliss is. He does not tell us how our inner spirit manifests or identifies this bliss. I personally find this connection spiritually via a theology that I have faith in. But I will tell you there have been periods in my life where that connection was confused and shaky. How encouraging it is to know that bliss is not judgement or condemnation but inner strength and light – and call that what you will.

Today, I encourage us all to identify our bliss. Remember that it is real, it is yours and it is up to you to define and hold on to. We are not talking about a superficial feel good moment that comes and goes with the change of the seasons. We are talking about the inner spark of immutable light that connects our authentic selves to the rest of humanity and beyond. It is characterized by goodness, strength and possibility. It is yours, ours, for the connecting.

*Featured photo credit ~ Cheryl Empey
*Chopra Photo – Public domain

Time, Dogma, Heart, Intuition

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
~ Steve Jobs

I am currently reading The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New Generation by Jay Elliot. Stay with me – this is not a book review (although I do highly recommend it).

It is a tale of the wonderful brain stuff that happens when a few somebodys tell you somethings you already know. However this time, they mix together in a new way to teach or remind you that life, regardless of our desire to believe otherwise, is good today.

During a meeting yesterday, I was reminded that building houses was not the most important thing we do. The most important thing we do is use our gifts and talents to afford the opportunity to create a moment in time better than when we left it – regardless of how much time that is.

Reading the thoughts of a man who knows Steve best, I am reminded that we are – with all our mistakes, flaws and missteps – amazing individuals. It is true that we do not always live up to our potential. We can become lazy, complacent and mediocre. But that is not because those things are who we are – it is what we do.

Today, I encourage you to slow down your brain for a second. I know that most of you are like me and 90 to nothing is all we know. But that type of consistent brain function, while productive for many of us, virtually annihilates the important process of reflection and effective consideration. Taking some time to swirl these ideas around in over stimulated brain matter has quite the soothing effect. Our time is limited. Our moments to create positive, effectual change is limited. However, instead of being frustrated by the limitations, the truth also exists that we are powerful in even having the moments to begin with.

Thanks for the coffee.

*Featured photo credit ~ Madison Groves
*Jobs Photo – Public domain

Joy and Responsibility of Self Awareness

If we shirk the responsibility of self-awareness, we empower other people and circumstances to shape our lives for us. We live reactively to their scripts and not our own maps.

~ Stephen Covey

Most folks know the following things about me:

  • I am a big thinker who enjoys new ideas and have issues in the area of details
  • I am a professional salesman
  • I am in the real estate industry
  • I have a large family
  • I am easily distracted and passionate
  • I can be loud
  • I have to concentrate to achieve follow through
  • I am working on getting comfortable in my own skin
  • I have no problem telling you any of this

As I look up at the above list, I realize that some of those traits can both be seen as real good stuff and amazing bad habits depending on who is doing the seeing. The wonderful thing is, I see them all as positive. I appreciate the fact that I can look into my own makeup and celebrate those things that are fantastic and forgive and improve those things that need work.

In the lives of each of us, there are traits and people who are less than supportive. They may not be intentional or unkind – they just are. It is important to realize that we need to neither understand nor alter these outside forces. We just need to recognize that there are there. Then the objective becomes to remember that we cannot change the forces outside of us, only those within us.

Today I encourage you to revel in your own self-awareness. Take time to really enjoy the you who makes your piece of the world a better place. Write down those talents and positive traits. Call someone and tell them what your list says and allow them to be excited with you. Include those things that haven’t been brought to a polish yet, but your fortitude is moving you towards improvement. That in itself is a win! Allow others to have their input (that sort of thing can be valuable). But do not allow them to speak contradicting routes into your plans. You are wonderful because you are who you are. Our maps are good. We understand adjustment. We appreciate a co-pilot, but have little need for a backseat driver.

Shining with Nelson

While writing today’s Turn Around Tuesday, I came across an amazing quote from activist, Noble Prize Winner, Statesman, former South African President and Madiba, Nelson Mandela.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

For those who are familiar with Turn Around Tuesday, you will be surprised to find that this was my response.

I am not being lazy, I swear. I didn’t have any big Memorial Day plans yesterday that have left me struggling today. Honestly, I am ready to write a full TAT. But, after a quote like that, what else is there really left to say?

Today I encourage you to read that quote again and decide where you fit in. Are you a shiner or a shrinker? At first pass, I think I am a shiner with overwhelming shrinker tendencies. Or, it may be that I am a shrinker with rare moments of shiner greatness. One thing I know for sure – my inner Warrior is dying to be a shiner.

This was followed by an invite to come here and dig into the idea a little further.

So let’s discuss – shiner or shrinker?

*Photo by manitou