A Constant State of Thankfulness

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I know it may seem strange that my dog, Bob Marley, would be my source of inspiration and reflection. I’m a dog lover and have been for most of my life. This little guy is seven and has been ill the last month or so. It’s the first time we’ve dealt with major sickness in the time we’ve had him. It caught my family by surprise.

The surprise was found in the nature of a first time, but it also caught me taking his constant companionship for granted. I’ll confess that I always thought of him as a constant, constant as the earth I walked on everyday. I know better.

As Bob Marley has been recovering (too soon to say full recovery), he reminds me everyday that now is what is constant. Epic living is found in that statement. There’s a chance you’re thinking that you’ve heard this story before. More flip advice from a world full of lists and how-to formulas. Maybe so, but ask yourself when you last said thank you for the following:

  • The breath of life
  • Your family (immediate)
  • Your luck
  • Your work (not your employer in this example)
  • People who helped you get to where you’re at
  • Friends who stuck with you when things got ugly
  • Your health

I’m advocating the now because it breeds a constant state of thankfulness. Discovering thankfulness when it’s too late is painful and ripe of regret. You can start now, right now, if you want to.

The Who of You

The above TED Talk got me thinking about many things. David Brooks stirred my soul and provided confirmation of the state of things. The state of who, or what, should be master.

It really is about the who of you.

I stand on the battleground of souls and lives. This was evident to me over 10 years ago, as it is now. As noble as that may echo, it really doesn’t matter, outside of the context of what you want life to be. Many are living under the sun and hope that will produce happiness and contentment. It doesn’t. All of the striving, all of the ignoring, all of the convincing self-talk will never provide lasting results. If it did, we’d have satisfaction. Ever notice how America continues to scream out that you need more education, more career mobility, more recognition, more money?

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

The wizard had a great gig, until Toto got in the way. He had us convinced that we could fool the audience with tricks from a traveling carnival. He told us the curtain was an absolute necessity to keep the audience from discovering what was real. “They will never understand,” he whispered to us in the deep of night. We believed him.

Now, here’s the irony, in my modern culture (an eroding one), most are still trying to conjure a spell or trick. We panically negotiate with the audience. We tell them what they thought was true, was just their imagination. We hope for the miracle of distraction. Maybe they won’t figure out who we really are.

As we face the truth, the deceptive self-talk kicks in:

  • “It could be worse, some people don’t have a job.”
  • “You tried before, and it didn’t work.”
  • “They won’t look at someone, who’s done that.”
  • “You need to make sure, you’ve got x number of followers and likes.”
  • “No one would think less of you, if you gave up.”

Ten years ago I had an audience that said, “OK, Eric, show us another trick.”

Find the who of you while there’s time.

 

Why Mindfulness Matters

I posted this over a year ago and I returned to Andy’s TED Talk a couple of days ago. It was a great reminder of a precious gift.

So why does mindfulness matter? It matters because if you’re like me, there is a ton coming at you everyday. Social media, email, work demands, family issues, and the list could go on. I’m so thankful that I found yoga. It has helped me in so many ways with this war (mental in this case) we’re in. The mindfulness and physical lift I get are two big ones that leap out.

In the clip, Andy Poddicombe, points to some insights I plan on expanding in my mind. I want to do a better job of managing my thought-life in the here, and on.

I Thought About Tomorrow

I thought about tomorrow and today interrupted.

This week has been the week of impromptus. Enter your fears and wonderment. Getting news that surprises will make you feel that way.

Taking life and learning for granted is a subtle deception. More subtle than i ever new. This comes from a man who feels vigilant in the pursuit of know what’s most important. I feel my Lord saying, “everything Eric, everything.”

I’m free-falling now.

The Core

core

Photo courtesy of Nicholas_T

 

In the exercise world, your core is one of the most important areas of the body to strengthen. If your core is strong, much of the rest of your physical wellbeing will follow. As I was reminded of from a coaching client last week, the muscle you build doesn’t just remain that way. It takes continued work to grow. He happens to be going thru rehab on his knee. The physical therapist he uses advised him that during his time of post-surgery recovery, sitting on the couch, he lost muscle. Wow! It was only 30 days or so. By the way, this guy is in great shape.¬†

How does this apply to the core in your life?

As I’ve advised in writing, and in the flesh, your life’s core is even more vital than what I described above. Your life’s core is made up of some things you’re familiar with. It includes your mind, your spirit, your emotions, your physical, etc. They are your sustainers (as I like to call them) and they are the measure of who you Really are. Sorry, if you were thinking being the CEO of the next WhatsApp would be the difference maker. Kinda ironic in an age where many aspire and pursue that. The truth is found in something(s) not seen.

What happened to our core strength?

Outward signs of success are sweetly seductive. They whisper, they sigh, they touch, and above all they promise. All this to lure you into a net very difficult to escape. My friends, most don’t escape. It’s too risky to escape. To be left with a life like:

  • Outward and inward struggles to regain a life left in the wardrobe
  • Failing, again and again
  • Loneliness
  • Awakening to see real worth
  • Finding out who really is for you
  • Seeing people through the lens of love
  • Life over the sun

Isn’t it interesting how those first few bullets, daunting as they are, lead to what we’ve dreamed of? My experience shows you can’t have the last 4, without the first 3. That’s the difference.

I won’t give you some list of all the things necessary to strengthen your life’s core. You need to figure that out for yourself. You can seek counsel from me or someone else, but you’re the one calling the shots That’s the only way it will be authentic. I can give you one secret, though:

Start paying attention and do what you know you need to do.

There’s One in Every Crowd

one in every crowd

Picture yourself going along and things are flowing as you like. You might even feel genuinely successful. And behold, out of nowhere (feels like that) comes the one. The one who wants to point out where you’re off or what you’ve missed.

There’s one in every crowd.

It’s not fair to have someone come in and point out the latest rumor regarding your project, or point out all of the terrible dangers ahead if you proceed. Alas, life is not…

I now look for these folks. Yep, that’s right, I look for them. I see them as a barometer of what I may be onto. Does my idea make anyone feel threatened or uncomfortable., Remember, Martin Luther King, Je. had folks tell him that forming boycotts was too risky. There are numerous examples of people who the status quo felt were dangerous. You might call them an annoyance, which they are, we just need to see the bigger picture. You don’t want your movie dominated by a jealous bit player. These types have often given up and given in. They don’t want to see you rise. The mission is too important to crumble under the weight.

I have a warning for you. The people who take on these roles in your story can be deceptive. Look at them as old hands who know how to upset the cart. They come to you subtly and in a caring manner. Don’t get sucked in. I would even advise you do something ¬†daring. In your next encounter, ask a probing question for motive and then embrace silence. Don’t say a word no matter how uncomfortable it feels. Count 10 breaths in your head, stare into space, but do not speak. The uncomfortable silence is designed to bring out motive. Best that you know who and what you’re dealing with.

It’s not a question of if you’ll meet the “one in every crowd,” but when. The encounter after is what makes all the difference.

What About Now?

boy on the boat

You’ve got plans, I’ve got plans. Most of these plans relate to the future. It’s a future that no one can be certain of. Watch out for those who say otherwise.

What about now?

You can be certain about now. The now is 100% certain. Are you shocked by how little attention we pay to it? The now is often treated as a person we meet at a party, who might be the best connection we could make, but we’re preoccupied with the anticipated arrival of the beautiful one. Always looking past to get to something else.

Do you find yourself looking past your now?

I understand many will wait and let life come crashing in with some big disruption, before turning their heads. The irony is we’re warned every day to live now. Few heed this because of an arrogance marketing and innovation often produce. And by the way, it’s not the fault of marketing and innovation. The fault lies with us. We pervert and corrupt, in order to convince ourselves the lies are true. Even Eric Schmidt declared that robots will one day be omnipresent in our lives. Into the future we go, be damn the warped logic. Humans doing what humans do.

Is it time to pay attention to the now?

I search out each day to find beauty and wonder. Yes, it is soft and it is an art. That’s one way I embrace my now. I also own it. If I’m going to be surprised by an impromptu appearance by death or some debilitating disease, I want to be found in my now. Mine equals ownership and all the responsibility that comes with it.

Here are some things that are found in the now:

  • God
  • Beauty
  • Love
  • Music
  • Breakthroughs
  • Tolerance
  • Understanding
  • True Hope
  • Success
  • Integrity

Planning for the future can be virtuous, but not being able to stop in the now is a recipe for distraction and regret. I know you’ve heard this before. Thing is, you and I are terminal, we should live that way.