Archive for November, 2022

Revisiting Brothers K

I remember reading The Brothers Karamazov in college. The thick, beautiful, never ending book which refused to be skimmed. Reading it was an act of slowing down, and yet because of the circumstances: pressure from school work and social obligations, I had to read quickly. As my eyes read the words, my heart was saving them to process for a later date. As if I were a bear feeding off that book to keep me fat and happy through the winter, I ear marked, underlined, and adored passages. I’ve forgotten the many of the plot details, but still remember wrestling with the questions it posed, and the desire to both finish it fast and to linger within its pages. It sits on my shelf now inviting a re-reading. Which books do this for you?

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
― Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

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Finding a Way

We all know the Mike Tyson quote, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Of course this means that you don’t really know how you’re going to react until you’re facing a problem.. It’s easy to assume that the quote means that your plans will fall apart in the face of adversity. However, that’s not just it. There’s hidden wisdom in the quote.

A better way of looking at it is you don’t know how you will react until you face the problem itself. Imaging outcomes can be helpful, but also deeply misleading, or lead to obsessive contemplation of options. It’s especially tricky if you’re inclined towards unbridled optimism or worst case scenario thinking. 

Far better to reflect on that fact that you don’t have an ability to predict future outcomes and the best you can do is to cultivate strength from handling past situations in which you overcame uncertainty and adversity. 

Perhaps a mantra of, “whatever comes up, I’ll find a way” is a healthy way to be. What are your thoughts? 

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still lakes

A metaphor is a frame. The right one changes how you see yourself and the world. When you can’t express yourself directly, aim for a metaphor, even if you don’t understand why you selected what you select.

Unravel it when you have a clear head. Look into it to find insight that transcends simple language.

The best metaphors are still lakes. 

“If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then to me.” —Macbeth, William Shakespeare

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Greeting Hope

The thing about hope is you have to accept it when it’s offered to you. It’s a fragile thing, hope, and it needs to be cultivated with care. It’s dismissed easily. If you aren’t careful, you can crush it like an absent minded hiker stepping on a blooming flower. Accept hope as a gift to be cherished and not argument to be cross examined. Let it heal you and invite you to somewhere where possibilities thrive.

Hope is a form of intentional imagination.

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Control what you can, let go of what you cannot.

Sounds easy but the practice takes work.

I wonder if we get better at it as we age, or if there’s a practice for it.

Some people are wired differently. ‘Letting go’ comes to them with greater ease. And others ruminate and turn over their thoughts as if they were a rubric cube to be solved.

For those people who easily accept what is presented to them and experience less stress or concern, I want to know how they became that way. Is there a practice, an experience, an idea that gave them the grace and insight to be free of rumination.

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Is there a thought or image which continues to surface for you. I have two. The first is a still lake surrounded by fireflies. The serenity of the scene brings me peace and intrigue. The mix of fire, water, nature, and light puts my mind at ease.

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the flowers

Pretty wordless tonight. I suppose sometimes you have to surrender to the knowledge that you don’t have power to affect an outcome. Sometimes hope replaces willpower, and that the relationships you’ve built, the flowers you planted along the way will provide the shade you need. And that community will care you forward, carry you far. Thank you for the flowers.

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Elephant Love

Elephants followed her everywhere she went.

When she danced, they danced.

When she lay on the earth, they lay next to her.

At night she disappeared into still lake and in the morning surfaced again, laughing at me.

“I’m no a goddess,” she assured me, “I’m just your ordinary Lotus girl—flowering on the outside and mud in my veins.”

I had no charm then. We both knew it.

I dreamed of dazzling her, so I bought tickets to the circus and invited her along.

“Do you think I want to watch animals cooing for our pleasure?”

She was angry, furious, and forbid me from watching her dance with the elephants.

“If you want to impress me,” she said emerging from the lake one morning, don’t follow me.

I haven’t see her since that night. 

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3 Words

The incredible power of three words.

Select three words for how you describe yourself and find 3 more of how others describe you.

Then, ask them.

Notice the differences between self perception and group perception. This sounds like such a simple exercise, and yet its implications are profound.

You may have heard of the company What3Words, which maps the earth using words as coordinates, enabling hard to find places to be easily discoverable. 

The same concept, three words, both used to help you find yourself. 

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Wise Man

Tonight I spoke with a truly wise man, a man with a keen sense of humor who believes that the soul wears many bodies and when we die, we shed our body like a change of clothing.

This man introduced me to new ways of mediating and the power of doing so for 20 minutes daily.

The beauty of his words were magnified by the fact that he lives in the world: the world of business, of Zoom, of hustle, and yet integrates his mindful practices into daily life. I shared my passion for community with him, and he reminded me that community lives inside me.

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