Fear seeks safety. Love seeks Truth. Please read and enjoy. Productive, truthful feedback welcome.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Garlic or Kindness


My role models, Gale and Mabel

Do you have a role model? A heroine or hero?
I do. My grandpa and my grandma, Gale and Mabel. I have others but they are the first people I remember admiring. The first people I wanted to be like.


And I still do.
Remember them.
And admire them.
And try to be like them.
Even thirty-some years later.


I remember her subtle wit.
During her last days this side of heaven, she was asked why she didn’t just let go.
I just want to see how it all turns out.
A logical impossibility but spoken with a twinkle in her eye.


I admired his penchant for answering questions with humor.
At 78 he water skied.
Behind a boat.
On a big lake.
When asked where on the lake he’d like to go.
Why don’t I just follow you guys?
A spot on answer, but clearly not what we were going for.


And I especially liked their kindness.
Oh, the kindness.
Soft.
Warm.
Strong.
Even.
Freely given.
To everyone.
At all times.
Kindness.
Oh, the kindness.

The thing is, I don’t recall specific examples. That’s probably because they weren’t merely being kind. They had in fact become kindness itself. It was in them. So much so that it seeped out. Oozed out, really, kinda like someone who had way too much garlic, except kindness smells better. And not everyone likes garlic, but who doesn’t like kindness?

So during the 20 or so years we shared time on this earth, I got to watch kindness. I got to experience kindness, their kindness. I believe that's why they became my role models.

Their model profoundly shaped my choices as I navigated this thing called living. And for the nearly 40 years since, based on their example, I have chosen kindness.

Am I kind? That’s not for me to say. What I can tell you is that I try to be kind. And not only do I try to be kind, it is my goal to become kindness. Like they became.


Garlic or kindness? I am a pretty big fan of garlic, but kindness is even better.

Who is your role model?
Whose past has profoundly shaped your present?

Perhaps more importantly, whose future are you shaping today?
We may have no idea, so just for good measure throw in a touch of kindness.

~~

Thank you for reading.

CHECK OUT The Bottom Turtle ~For musings from Dave on how to Love More and Judge Less link to his new book.


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Ineffective Prisoners

Part 5 of a 5 part series on serenity.


Fill your bowl to the brim
And it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
And it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
And your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval
And you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back
The only path to serenity.

~ From Tao Te Ching as translated by Stephen Mitchell

This week let’s explore the fourth line together:
Care about people’s approval, and you will be their prisoner.

Sometimes we worry what others are thinking about us.


“We would worry less about what others thought of us if we realized how
seldom they do.” (Ethel Barrett)


And sometimes we worry about what others are doing. Or not doing.

"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

"Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42, NIV)

Martha, instead of joyfully going about the preparations or possibly foregoing them altogether, missed both chances at serenity. Had she lovingly made the necessary preparations Martha could have presented Jesus her gift from a heart full of joy.

Let’s picture what that might have looked like were Martha to have chosen joy.
You can almost hear her singing as she sets the table, readies the meal, and perhaps even pours a goblet of wine for her guest as she sits down to join her sister.
That is serenity.

But what do we get instead?
Instead, we might picture her banging the silverware drawer shut, slamming the pots on the stove, and perhaps quaffing her own two fingers of whiskey before storming into the sitting room and interrupting the very one she is 'serving', to, with righteous indignation of course, call out her 'ungrateful' sister.
Serenity? Not so much.

When we find ourselves in either of these modes—caring what others think about us or thinking others need to meet our self-imposed expectations—we diminish our present effectiveness. We don’t do ourselves as well as we could because we are too busy doing others. In effect, we have volunteered to be their prisoners.

Care about people’s approval, and you will be their prisoner.

Do YOUR work (not theirs), then step back. The only path to serenity.

~~
Thank you for reading.

CHECK OUT The Bottom Turtle ~For musings from Dave on how to Love More and Judge Less link to his new book.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Unclenching your Heart

Part 4 of a the 5 part series on serenity.


Fill your bowl to the brim
And it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
And it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
And your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval
And you will be their prisoner.


Do your work, then step back
The only path to serenity.

~ From Tao Te Ching as translated by Stephen Mitchell

This week let’s explore the third line:
Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.

Fear seeks safety.
Love seek truth.

I have long since forgotten where I first read those words, fear seeks safety, love seeks truth, but that dichotomy, that sentiment (fear versus love; safety versus truth) and I have carried each other over the decades as I continue to navigate the paradoxes of life.

On one hand . . .
we want to be safe, but we find that we must protect that which makes us feel safe, that which gives us the illusion of safety: From a doorbell camera here to a border wall there. It touches each of us near and far. All in the name of safety. All ultimately rooted in fear.

On the other hand . . .
we want truth, but to be truthful often exposes us to vulnerability, which quite ironically takes us right back to our desire to be safe.

Play along with me here. Keep your elbows comfortable bent and reach both arms out in front of you, turning your palms upward. In your right palm, place all of your possessions. In your left palm, place love. In your right hand you have what you possess. In your left, you simply have love. Stay with me here.

Close your eyes to do this next part: Turn your attention back to your right hand, to your possessions. Picture someone reaching in to take some of your possessions. What did your right hand naturally do?
Now turn your attention back to your left hand, the hand of love. Picture someone reaching in to partake of some of that love. What did your left hand naturally do?

For me, my possessions hand involuntarily clenched, while my Love hand opened more and actually lifted upward.

Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.

Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.

~~
Thank you for reading.

_____________

CHECK OUT The Bottom Turtle ~For musings from Dave on how to Love More and Judge Less link to his new book.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Sharpening your Knife

Part 3 of a the 5 parts series on serenity.


Fill your bowl to the brim
And it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
And it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
And your heart will never unclench.
Care about people’s approval
And you will be their prisoner.


Do your work, then step back
The only path to serenity.

~ From Tao Te Ching as translated by Stephen Mitchell

This week let’s explore the second line:
Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.
Over sharpening is when we have done something too long or too much or so meticulously that by the time we get to the point, the point has lost its edge, or the reason has lost its purpose.
Over sharpening makes things less by becoming more and happens throughout life by . . .
Adding one more pinch of seasoning,
Wearing one too many accessories,
Over packing for too many just-in-case scenarios,
Using too many words when fewer is better,
And even citing too many examples of counterproductive excess.
You get the idea.
When we spend so much time doing the work of doing our work, we don’t leave room to step back.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

~~
Thank you for reading.
_____________

CHECK OUT The Bottom Turtle ~For musings from Dave on how to Love More and Judge Less link to his new book.