The crazy part of thanksgiving is we're not that thankful-at least most of us. It's not a conscious act that makes us un-thankful. Most people have good intentions. However, as you know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Can you feel me here?
I used to wonder in my homeland why people tend to get thankful at Thanksgiving and during the general holiday season. I don't any longer. It's very clear that we Americans like entitlement. Yes, you heard me, we like entitlement(s). Look around and look within, the beast lives within. Whether we're impatient for traffic to "get moving" or anger that we didn't get a pat on the back from our employer, we feel like we're owed. I won't even pull out my list of embarrassing things in my past that made me feel entitled. I live a different life now than I did in those days past. Just the same, I have to keep careful watch over my reactions to circumstances that don't cater to me.
Here's some encouragement to consider:
Take a moment and ponder present or past losses. When you do that, you'll find out what's worth being thankful for
Find some way to remind yourself daily to be thankful. I use my iCloud calendar to do this. Find a system that works for you
Exit the stuff not worthy of the gift of time. I can't figure this one for you, it's a dance you must do alone
If the herd says go left, you should think hard about going right. The herd got us into this constant state of distraction
Read this profile of a man who knew he was running out of time and did
I use Grammarly for proofreading because my mind runs faster than my fingers.
Besides the above tongue and cheek, Grammarly is a fabulous tool I found by accident. The folks at Grammarly reached out to me for a test drive. At first, I thought they were sent by some old english teacher who had been following my every sentence.
I used the online tool in a couple of situations and it performed well. It's fabulous for the daily writer or the professional who needs to make the best impression possible. My wife asked me whether I could try the free tool in WordPress or Word. That's an option, I want something as robust as Grammarly. You can sign up for a free trial at their site to see if it's a fit you.
By the way, it won't cramp your ability to get your message out. We all know how important a message is.
I feel like I could re-post this everyday, for the obvious and the not-so obvious truth that we need courage.
Back in January, I watched a You Tube clip from 1965 of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was taken from a segment of Meet the Press. Dr. King was being interviewed by journalists about events that had occurred in Selma, Alabama. The questions were tough and circumstances of the time even tougher.
So what did Martin teach me?
I don't know what was going through Dr. King's mind as he spoke on that Sunday morning news program, but it seemed like he was being carried by something greater than himself. Remember, there were more than a few people who wanted him dead.
Courage is manifested by something greater than ourselves.
Sadly, we live in a time where real courage is often not summoned. We now manufacture events and circumstances to show our faux-courage. We've found a way to manage authentic courage out of our daily lives. Our careers, our parenting, our relationships are often managed to avoid the difficult and daunting.
I find myself thankful for what Martin taught me. The reality that every human being is called to something courageous. It may be small or it may be large. But regardless, we are called.
The question remains, are we listening to that voice?
I haven't dedicated much space here on the subject of money. The deal on money for me is pretty straightforward:
Give 10%, Invest 10% and live on the remaining 80%
Don't chase money
Number one is a guideline and number two is a non-negotiable.
The deal on money is also about the crazy stuff people will do to get it. And by the way, it applies to the poor and the rich. Equal opportunity stuff in every shape and form. For example, some pro athletes make multi-millions over a short period of time and many will end up broke a few years after retirement. All that chasing for what? Crazy.
Focus on creating great art and work. Money always follows that, sometimes in a wierd way, but eventually it will. Good financial wellbeing is found here.
In a lunch this past week, I rediscovered what I love about entrepreneurs. I observed an entrepreneur (other than myself) in their zone. It was a cool moment for me. Listening to his ideas, listening to the what could be dreamed, listening to what problems could be solved. I felt at home.
More and more, I am embracing the meaning of entrepreneur. Being a risk taker is the difference maker.
We all are entrepreneurs, whether we know it or not.
Had a conversation with my wife last week, indirectly about the fog that comes with life. The conversation was my wife talking and me listening. I learned a lot about her and I learned a lot about myself.
So what about this fog?
In that conversation with my wife, she expressed her unhappiness with the current state of things. Normal. It wasn't about our marriage, but the fog of life. The Circumstances that press against us. Since I've got a good pulse of who's out there, I know you feel me. We concluded once again that life is tough work. Regardless of what you hear from _______, life is tough work.
When she finished and we moved on, I asked myself why I'm often not fazed by the fog thing. All of sudden a rush of memories came over me. I started 40 years backward. Each one checking a box. I came away not just knowing, but understanding.
It is abundantly clear that I have had a life checkered with fog (tragedies, struggles, crossroads, etc.). I'm sure, upon reflection, you might say the same. The point is not about which is better. Even though, in America, many have duped into believing that the best life is the one absent of problems. We act in a manner that says this is true. One thing is clear for me. A good part of my life has been shaped by my fog. I seriously doubt that I would be doing what I do, if it wasn't for those crucibles. I am thankful.
My understanding today is we need to see fog as clear. Real life is found here.
Got to thinking about the importance of mindfulness this morning. I did this review back in 2012. This is an art I've learned through Yoga. Taking time to just be is vitally important.
Quiet the Mind by Matthew Johnstone is one of the best books I've read in a long time. The way the book is constructed is truly captivating. The only way I can describe it is simplicity. The book only took me 30 minutes to read and I was fully engaged the entire time. I don't know if it's available for Kindle or the iPad, but it would definitly be a good book for that format.
Now for the content. Mr. Johnstone takes you on a journey through the art of meditation. He does this in a non-threatening way. So regardless of your religious or thought-clearing methods you won't feel uncomfortable. The author gets high marks for this. He also speaks to the reader in a way that you can't help but relate to. It's as if Mr. Johnstone knew you before you even read a page.
This book is illustrated beautifully and the words used are an equal companion. I highly recommend this book. It inspired me on multiple levels.
Proud swagger out of the school yard Waiting for the world's applause Rebel without a conscience Martyr without a cause
Static on your frequency Electrical storm in your veins Raging at unreachable glory Straining at invisible chains
And now you're trembling on a rocky ledge Staring down into a heartless sea Can't face life on a razor's edge Nothing's what you thought it would be
All of us get lost in the darkness Dreamers learn to steer by the stars All of us do time in the gutter Dreamers turn to look at the cars Turn around and turn around and turn around Turn around and walk the razor's edge Don't turn your back And slam the door on me
It's not as if this barricade Blocks the only road It's not as if you're all alone In wanting to explode
Someone set a bad example Made surrender seem all right The act of a noble warrior Who lost the will to fight
And now you're trembling on a rocky ledge Staring down into a heartless sea Done with life on a razor's edge Nothing's what you thought it would be
No hero in your tragedy No daring in your escape No salutes for your surrender Nothing noble in your fate Christ, what have you done?