On August 22, 2018 I took a leap into vulnerability and decided to post extensions of what I was writing about in my journal each morning. The content was not aimed at preaching ways for others to live more than it was about providing alternate perspectives to where my mind sometimes goes. I’m often writing to convince myself. As much as I could, I’ve tried to use universal language, avoiding the use of the first person “I” whenever possible, choosing to write in the collective “We” preferably more than the finger-pointing “You”.
Quite simply, I enjoy writing – I enjoy the writing process. Along the way, a few people have been kind enough to take the time to read my posts. I am grateful for and humbled by all that have taken the time to do so.
Even more humbling is that some people have taken the extra step to “like” a post. For this, even more gratitude! Every day, we swim in an ocean of content, and if there was something I posted that somehow managed to grabbed your attention or perhaps resonated with you in some way, offering a most sincere “thank you” doesn’t seem to capture how thankful I truly am.
To those that have chosen to follow this blog on WordPress or Instagram, my gratitude has no bounds. To be able to connect with people – total strangers – from anywhere in the world through writing is an honor. It’s also a dream come true for me. Writing has been a dormant passion for nearly two decades, and I appreciate everyone that has taken the time to read even a single word. Even if the connections are momentary, the gift is everlasting. Thank you!
Finally, a note of gratitude to WordPress for offering a platform for writers to share their thoughts, and to Instagram for providing a visual avenue to connect with people. It’s easy to crap on technology for all the negative content we see each day, but there’s a great deal of beauty and inspiration to behold as well. We find what we seek.
Frustration is defined as “the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.”
Even when life feels at its most impossible, the ability to change how we think is always in our control. We may never have complete control over external matters. How foolish it would be to think so, considering that not even logic has control over external matters. Logic, sense, common sense: these things still require an agreement of choice to be utilized.
We often become most frustrated in situations where we allow ourselves to be bothered by others, for their choosing not to embrace how we feel about something. Perhaps from time-to-time we are on the side of truth, but Truth ultimately doesn’t care about sides. Truth is a mute that stands resolute! Right and Wrong are more commonly stances of opinion. Ignorant chatter will never cease, nor will constructive discourse. Unfortunate events will never cease, nor will beautiful moments. Arrogant behavior will never cease, nor will selflessness. If reason is our guide, why waste time being frustrated, when we can be changing our mindset instead to focus our efforts inward – Aiming to stand in the center of the balance beam in silence alongside the Truth we seek.
What would we worry about if we never wanted anything?
What would we want if we knew there would be nothing to worry about for wanting it?
Is such logic found wanting? For to desire is human, and thus we err.
There is no greater sin than to mistake simplicity for the absence of significance.
To concentrate on our breathing means to focus deeply on our inhalations and exhalations – one by one – moment to moment. Consider the tenses that exist in a breath. Every exhale is the past tense of our inhalations. The following inhale is simultaneously the present moment and the past tense of our exhalation. As we inhale, the exhale to follow is the future – it will happen.
The important thing to remember is that one day, embedded in the present moment of an exhalation will also be your last moment. Your last moment. Moments will continue without a moment’s pause. This reality is not a display of the cruelty of life. It’s just the definition of reality: “the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.”
There’s little worse you can tell an anxious person than “calm down,” or a depressed person to “cheer up” or “get over it.” These directive directions are simplistic – oversimple if you will. As though that basic thought hadn’t occurred to the one experiencing the emotion. Directions don’t help!
When we do experience situational anxiety or situational depression though, a good question to ask ourselves is, “Does how I feel right now actually help me or my ego?” Are we looking to stay with a feeling because it validates our behavior? Are we looking to stay with a feeling because it’s become a cozy blanket to us? Perhaps a shield?
If we are looking to help ourselves navigate a situation that stirs up some anxiousness, frustration, anger, sadness, rage, or fear, the situation my be outside of our control, so instead of asking ourselves to relax, calm down, get over it, or cheer up, maybe the question we should ask ourselves in these moments is, “Does this help?” Is our emotional reaction going to change an event that already happened?
The best direction is through. If we attempt to go up or down as a means of getting through, we are only adding obstacles to a past event we cannot change. Knowing better doesn’t mean much if we don’t do better as a result.
“Be” is one of those words when standing alone just seems awkward, as though it must be misspelled. It seems to need words to either precede or follow it in order for it to become normal. Let it be. Be careful! Or, that it is an incomplete word: Be – Be what? Behave? Beware? Before? Beehive? Spit it out!
It serves as a good analogy though for what we often feel about what it means to simply be. It’s not enough. There needs to be more. It’s incomplete. It’s not important enough to not be accompanied by something else to make the task more complicated. We’re all too busy to make time to just be. Even when we relax, it’s often while watching TV, listening to music, talking a walk, reading a book, drinking coffee, having an adult beverage, doing a Sudoku, or walking the dog. We have learned to reject the act of being because we are too wrapped up in appearances and how we are perceived. Who has time to just sit there and exist? It’s too simple a task, therefore, it cannot be important.
However, this perception is fear based. For it is far more complicated than we think to take a moment to just be. To turn off our thoughts and just exist in the moment. As Eckhart Tolle suggests, thoughts are the most addictive things we humans know. Try going ten seconds without a fix of thought. We avoid being because it’s too hard; not because it’s too easy. That’s the lie we tell ourselves to stay in the comfort of the busy trap. We fear what we don’t know, and what we don’t know is how to unapologetically give ourselves time to just be. To appreciate stillness so that we may have more appreciation and perspective about the chaos that surrounds us. We always have the choice to go there, and for most of us, it won’t be a long stay. It will be seconds at a time.
We can all learn to steal a few moments; simply pause to steal the breath of day. It’s an innocent theft.
Imagine you’re taking a Sunday stroll. You pass a ball field where there is a group of children playing football. A few blocks later you pass a house where two children are playing catch. Then, a few houses down you spot a child on the front lawn, alone tossing a ball in the air: both quarterback and receiver.
Our first impression here might be sympathy; feeling bad for the child with no one else to play with. We might want to stop and offer to play catch. This would give us the chance to feel good about ourselves while also helping a lonely child. And, it would in fact be a touching thing to witness. A genuine act of kindness.
Let’s now consider something beyond our usual perception. Of all the aforementioned scenarios, the child playing alone is the only example of ownership and accountability. The child as both quarterback and receiver has no one else to blame for dropping the ball. The child is solely responsible. If the child chooses to toss the ball only a few feet up, there’s safety in that choice. The likelihood of dropping the ball is low. Conversely, if the child repeatedly attempts Hail Mary passes across the yard, requiring the need to sprint and dive for the ball, the risk of failure is high, as is the risk of injury, and it’s physically exhausting. The child is in control of the difficulty. The child is in control of the pace. The child is in control of the risk. The child is in control of every choice. If motivated by boredom, a simple toss may amplify the boredom and loneliness. If motivated by the desire to improve in preparation for competition, the risks of sprinting and diving don’t outweigh the rewards of getting better. Who feels sympathy for those who strive to be better? Perhaps the child is alone in a league of one’s own.