I saw an advertisement that included a mountain view and a Jack Kerouac quote: “Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office of mowing the lawn, climb that goddamn mountain.” Ignore for the moment that this particular quote was being used to sell sports equipment…….
I suspect that in the end, I won’t be thinking of my personal scorecard of how many experiences I had. I don’t believe that I will be thinking of how exciting or boring my life was. If I am able to think at all, I would hope that I would be totally engaged in that moment. I hope that I will not be regretful about things done or not done, and that I will not be worrying about the possibility of or absence of an afterlife. I hope that I am able to be in the moment, totally aware of the wonder of it all.
If fact, the same approach should be embraced right now. Instead of focusing on filling my life with this or that, accumulating things, or hording experiences like trophies to a life well-led, I aspire to life each day present and aware.
I haven’t posted in a while. I have this silly notion that I must have something profound to say. There has just been a lot of life happening:
- My wife is out of town working for two months;
- My daughter had her lower spine re-fused (3rd surgery is 18 months);
- I had to fire someone for drug use;
- I continue to play in a band;
- I work at the office each day; and
- I strap on a work belt and work on our house reconstruction evenings and weekends.
Life is really very good!
We have all felt at some point like we are misunderstood. We have all experienced the feeling that people cannot accept us as we are. It is possible that this is a reflection of our own inability to understand, accept or empathize with those around us. When we have an aversion to someone, their lifestyle or their perspectives it is unlikely that they will accept us in return. Sometimes we demonstrate our aversion to people around us by being overt or even confrontational with how “different” we can be. It should not seem strange when people cannot accept us when we are in their face with how different we can be. A better path to finding acceptance from others is to accept them for who they are first. Show them understanding and empathize with their experiences and they will be more likely to accept you.
Cerocahui, Chihuahua, Mexico, April 2009
We are so busy trying to stay ahead, find acceptance, and achieve happiness. We get all caught up in making things be the way that we think they should be. At the same time, natural unpredictability and instability are constantly working against us. When nothing works out as planned we become frustrated, anxious or depressed. So we become even more absorbed in a fight of building our happiness against forces that seem to be constantly undoing it. We get so absorbed in all of this, that we miss the wonder of everything that just happens. The wonder is what occurs naturally without us making it happen. If we are too focused on trying to make happiness happen, we could miss it entirely.
Rio Boloños, September 2008
Rest and recreation are essential for a full and balanced life. It becomes less valued, however, if we do not include work into our lives in a meaningful way. I know people who either do not work or have structured their lives so that everything revolves around recreation. None of those people are particularly happy. Many look at the amount and quality of recreation as if they are trying to maximize a scorecard. Their lives are dedicated to experiencing the most and highest quality recreation possible. So in that line of thinking, the person with the highest score wins. Since it is impossible to get and do everything they are often unsatisfied and resentful. A balanced life is one where work is valued as much as play. Work can provide meaning, purpose and ultimately a sense of reward in ways that play cannot. Embrace your time working and be present in it just as you embrace play and are present in it. You just may find it to be every bit as wonderful.
Home, October 2011
Everyone has received tough feedback at one point or another. This week I received some from more than one person. How do we react when we hear it? Do we experience denial, frustration, anger or resentment? Yes! It hurts and I feel embarrassed that I am not a perfect human being. I sincerely hope that accept this feedback with the compassion that was intended by those who gave it to me. I aspire to accept it fully so that I can improve and be a better person.
One simple meditation that I practice is to focus on being present in conversations and truly listen to what people are saying. I think we all respond better to people who listen. If we want to be appreciated and have healthy relationships it seems that all we need to do is be engaged in our conversations and really listen.
San Ignacio, BCS, Mexico, November 2012
It is helpful to be aware of the infinite depth of things. Sometimes when I am in my kayak I look into the water underneath me. I become aware of the fluid space between me and the rocks on the bottom of the river. I wonder at the particles, the atomic particles, the subatomic particles and the endless space between them. I imagine the vast amount of life underneath me such as fish, algae, bacteria, etc. I marvel at the vastness of the infinite space between me and the river bottom and all that could exist within it. Then at a moment in my meditation, I become aware that all of this exists in just the few feet between me and the river bottom. Then, I marvel at the infinite space of the universe all around me.Rio Boloños, September 2008