#truelove #allowing #dating
You probably have a long list of things you want to build. You may want to build a successful business, a great childhood for your kids, or a wonderful relationship with your spouse. You may want to create a better life for battered women or disadvantaged children. Whatever it is, it’s very important.
The ingredients for the things you build are resources. Wikipedia defines resources as “a source or supply from which benefit is produced.” Wikipedia goes on to say that “resources typically are materials, money, services, staff or other assets that are transformed to produce a benefit and in the process may be consumed or made unavailable.”
The resources you use to build things are your skills, money, time, or anything you might need in order to build that thing. In the process, these resources get consumed. That includes the most precious resource you have: time.
You can get more help, more ink pens, more chocolate, more friends, and more money, but you can never get more time. Time is the great equalizer. You, me, Oprah, Donald Trump, the Dahlia Lama, Abraham Lincoln, and your mom all have (or had) the same 24 hours in each day. The amount and quality of time you spend living is directly determined by how you use your 24 hours.
Every second you spend doing one thing is a second you can’t spend doing something else. Does making the bed give you a more loving relationship with your spouse? Does making the bed make your business more successful? Does making the bed help your kids become better human beings? Does making your bed improve the lives of those who you want to help? If you’re creative enough, you can say yes to any of those questions, but add to the end of the question, “more than anything else I could do right now?”
You can’t ever get more time. Spend it wisely. As you do everything you do today, ask yourself why you are doing it.
There was nothing unusual about this phone call. After all, I’m a psychologist. People rarely call to let me know things are rolling along smoothly.
And this Mom definitely had something salient on her mind. She had long suspected her teenage son, an honor’s student and accomplished athlete, had been smoking pot. But on this day, she had discovered the paraphernalia to prove herself correct: the tiny baggies, the rolling papers, the resin-stained, trippy-colored little glass pipe.
All the signs were there. She had a major league crisis on her hands.
But was this really a crisis, in the true sense of the word? The definition of crisis suggests an unstable, dangerous event that will dramatically impact all future events.
Unstable. Dangerous. All.
Crisis is big. Crises are rare. They hardly ever happen. We thankfully experience precious few actual crises in an entire lifetime. A serious injury; that’s a crisis. A death in the family. A wreck on the highway. 9/11.
Regardless of actual frequency, however, we live in a state of crisis far too often. We are crisis junkies. We tune to 24-hour news channels announcing crisis continually, screaming for our attention from every corner of the screen. Something terrible is happening, right under our noses. We’re in danger. They’re out to get us. We’re getting screwed. Words like collapse, devastation, catastrophe, disaster and, of course, crisis are all tossed casually around as if they’re ordinary.
And sometimes, we respond as if we’re in crisis when nothing at all is going on. I have experienced, and have had reported to me, that panic attack that comes “out of the blue.” Fear and anxiety are such the status quo, we don’t know much different. So, if we cannot find a crisis out in the world, we can create one within the confines of our own weary bodies.
And the anxiety that accompanies all of this “crisis” is far from benign. It is killing us, literally and figuratively. Our immune systems are compromised, our anxieties making us sick. Our bodies are on high alert, so we tax our organs, from heart to brain, to the point of exhaustion or all-out failure. And we are so focused on making it through the day that we enjoy far too few of our moments. We’ve convinced ourselves that, in order to survive, we need our backs to the wall. Anxiety and crisis, we have taught each other, are requisite.
That gradation between crisis and, say, issue, or problem, or situation, is neither negligible nor unimportant. Because when we are in a state of crisis, or convince ourselves we are, our minds and bodies automatically respond in kind. When we slip into crisis, we quickly move from a can-do, problem-solving mode to a mere survival mode.
Now, once upon a time in human history, the crisis mode was beyond handy; it could save our lives. We developed this remarkably keen ability to respond to crisis, almost instinctively, way back when man was faced with the physical threat of consumption by sabre-tooth tiger and the like.
Focus your resources. Run for your life. Scramble up the tree. Make it to tomorrow.
Mere survival. That’s the only reward for making it through crisis.
Of course, we hardly ever have to run from sabre-tooth tigers anymore, given extinction and all. Yet our bodies and minds still maintain this crisis response. And we unwittingly respond to the ordinary, everyday stuff life tends to present to us as if it’s crisis.
When I called the presumed weed smoker’s Mom, I asked her how she was handling the situation. She confirmed that she was in “full panic mode.” In the first few minutes of the call, the subject shape-shifted from her discoveries in his room, to wondering whether his grades might be dropping, whether he can keep his job, whether he’s hanging with the wrong crown, whether he could still go to college, and ohmygodwhatifhesdoingheroinshouldicheckhimfortrackmarks?
There was no good available in her mind to outweigh the bad. The athlete? The Honors student? The sweet kid she raised? All of that was over now. Now there was only The Massive Weed Crisis of 2014, the dramatic, awful shift that would negatively impact everything that was to follow, the beginning of the end. The Crisis.
I am not knocking this Mom. We all respond unnecessarily to life’s myriad issues, mislabeling far too many of them crises. To manage the corresponding anxiety, we pop a Xanax. We light up a cigarette. We pour our first drink just a little earlier today. We’re so desperate to quiet our noisy minds. But we’re going about it all wrong.
If we allow ourselves a moment, and perhaps a breath, we will quickly find that an awful lot of that noxious noise in our heads is just that. And allowed a moment of awareness, we carry the ability to silence those voices of doom easily, gracefully.
We need a revolution, away from the collective mindset of crisis and anxiety we’ve created, and toward peace of mind and kindness, toward ourselves and one another. We need to curb the harshness of our daily lives. We need to allow ourselves the space to gather the perspective to differentiate crisis from life. We have got to do away with our collective crisis addiction, so that we can think, and solve, and enjoy our moments. Otherwise, like the panicked Mom who discovered the weed, or that early hominid running for his life, we will never do anything more than make it through.
We owe it to ourselves, and to each other, to do better. Let’s agree to put an end to the Crisis Crisis.
— “In the heat of the game, I simply tried to stay in the moment and make decisions based on what was actually happening,” Jackson says in his latest book, Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.
That’s it! The perfect description of moment-to-moment awareness, oftentimes the end-goal of a mindful awareness practice. When you’re able to be in the actual moments of your life, rather than the done-and-gone past or fantasy future, you’re able to meet reality on its terms.
You’re lighter on your feet, way less weighed down with false expectations and emotional reactions. It’s a game-winning strategy.
— “Leadership is not about forcing your will on others. It’s about mastering the art of letting go,” (ibid).
Curiously, letting go can signal great strength. Yes, work diligently to establish the conditions necessary for each individual on the team to do what he does best.
And then, let it be. Mindfulness is a powerful tool for learning to release the mind’s grip on what it thinks is best. Which then creates space enough for others to utilize their full talents.
Synergy is a powerful tool for success. It cannot happen when one person is trying to force an outcome for the group.
— “The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome. The ride is a lot more fun that way,” (ibid).
Mindfulness and fun? Who knew?! The things that happen to you as you’re living your life are just that, things that happen.
What you tell yourself about those things becomes important. Life can be a big fat drag. Or it can be a blast. Cultivating mindful awareness invites you to enjoy the ride.
— ” … There’s nothing like a humiliating loss to focus the mind,” (ibid).
Life comes with losses. Defeats. Two questions: What will you tell yourself about the inevitable challenges (see above)? Will you fall into the humiliation, and stay there, or will you use the experience to re-focus?
The wild horse of your mind loves to be galloping around the fields and pastures of your experiences and your stories about those experiences. With no idea that she’s going absolutely nowhere.
There’s another option. Learn to rein in that wild horse, and use its power to focus mindfully on tasks and goals.
— “I think the most rewarding part of the job, and I think most coaches would say it, is practice. If you have it, a very good practice in which you have 12 guys participate, and they can really get something out of it, lose themselves in practice,” (NBA Encyclopedia).
Losing yourself in what you’re doing, when you’re so in synch with the moment that all else falls away … that’s an optimum experience. You feel “strong, alert, in effortless control, unselfconscious, and at the peak of [your] abilities,” says psychologist Mihalyi Czikszentmihalyi in his classic book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
Mindful awareness is a fantastic way to capture more of the sometimes-elusive state of flow.
It may appear paradoxical to use mindfulness as a tool for attaining your goals. But it sure has worked for Phil Jackson and his teams.
There were 40 of us. War babies. we played baseball in the street, football on our front lawn, flew kites, rode bikes, skated on the sidewalk. Grew up together.
One of my current happiest thoughts is that we kids on our block and neighborhood may have moved miles and even continents apart since then, yet with a few clicks, still converse on a consistent basis via email, text, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Skype and Pinterest.
Did we see this coming? Someone did.
They and others like them have brought our manner of communication to the level it is today.
Growing up in Inglewood, our friends and families were of the utmost importance. Still are. Just like yours. We maintain these relationships through communication.
And it’s so easy today.
Staying in touch through social media has become ubiquitous. I converse with dear ones, not only from my neighborhood, but throughout the world on a daily basis. Culture, politics, and religious beliefs rarely enter our conversations, as we generally communicate on a basic and fulfilling human level.
“Did it really snow where you are in Syria?”
“How was Harper’s Birthday?”
This mode of communication is not new for me. Being a ‘halfatechie,’ I started online with Compuserve back in the 80s — and to watch its growth from where it was to where it is seems a miracle.
Or is it?
You see, deep down, as far back as I can remember, I have believed that “Anything Is Possible.”
Who am I to say this?
In fact, who am I anyway?
Many of you know, many of you do not.
I’ll describe myself this way.
At my core I am a father, a friend, a storyteller, a composer, and author and a producer.
I am grateful for a career in the communication business myself. I started out with no contacts, no connections, no rich uncle, no experience, little knowledge about the business, and as far as I was concerned, no idea of what to do as I had just been told that due to emergency surgery, I couldn’t play my trumpet, which I thought was my golden ticket.
Why am I sharing this with you?
I’ve been so fortunate to experience such a wonderful career. Along this journey I have observed threads of thought patterns and practices that come as close as I have seen to ensuring success. Every single time, without fail, the undercurrent of these successes has been an undying belief that “Anything Is Possible”.
When I was a kid, I believed that if I changed my thoughts from negative to positive, that I would change my physical being. That was before I had heard of DNA. When I shared those thoughts, precious few of my family and friends walked away believing that I was still in touch with ‘reality.’
What I believed then has now been proven to be true.
I close with this thought, beautifully illustrated by my favorite artist, Yulee Kim.