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

Friday, April 27, 2018

Power, Control, and Hurt Feelings

When something hurts my feelings, I have allowed that thing to be in control. I could even rephrase it and say I allowed that thing to hurt my feelings. That is a bit better. And at least I am being honest with myself, but things are still in control. You have probably experienced this as well.

Clearly, neither statement is ideal. And perhaps less clearly, both suggest we have handed over our power. If we give things our power, we can become offended by them. Said another way, if we have become offended by some thing, we have given that thing our power.

There is another way.

We can retain our power. When we do we are likely to find that circumstances have less control over us. Offense is still possible but we have largely mastered our response. This is better than giving our power away, but it still requires us to spend energy deciding not to be offended, not to mention the possible condescension we hold toward that thing that dared to offend us. What do we do?

May I suggest yet another way?

How about if we give our power up entirely? This time though, we don’t have to give it up to circumstance. We can give it up to God. At least that’s how I refer to this infinite reality. Some call it the universe. Many call it Love. You may recognize some of its other names:  Peace, Shepherd, Provider, Healer, Faithful, Wise, Virtuous, Forgiver, Patient One, and Charitable.

Personally, if I am going to give up my power, it’s going to be to something so much more than I am. Something with all those names.

I have two, maybe three, of those names in my toolbox. You probably do, too. And these two or three carry us, up to a point. These two or three tools can help us master our response. Until they don’t. Then we have to dig deeper, or find a greater Source. I’ve tried both. Digging deeper helps, again, up to a point. As to the greater Source, I have found no limit to its help. Furthermore, I don’t have to master my response or spend any energy deciding whether I should feel offended or superior. All that disappears. It disappears because I am engulfed by Peace, guidance, provision, health, trust, wisdom, virtue, forgiveness, patience, charity, and Love.

So, when an unsolicited offense comes knocking on your door, don’t give your power to it—nor should you withhold your power from it. Rather, open the door and invite it in. Put on a pot of tea and set out a plate of cookies. Take the time to learn its name. And maybe, just maybe, you can share some of your names, too.

No power. No control. No hurt feelings.

Thank you for reading.


CHECK OUT Dave's book, The Bottom Turtle , for his story on how to Love More and Judge Less.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Now and Later

Patience honors Now, cherishing it in softly cupped hands, exhibiting faith that Later will unfold naturally. In response, Now and Later each grant Patience their fullness.

Impatience, on the other hand, rushes toward Later while squeezing the life out of Now. Impatience neither cherishes Now nor trusts Later, turning both moments into discarded promises.

Take a breath, and with each exhale, enjoy Now.
Later patiently awaits you.

Thank you for reading.


CHECK OUT Dave's book, The Bottom Turtle , for his story on how to Love More and Judge Less.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Do Rules Rule?

Rules are
made by those who don't trust others and are followed by those who don't trust themselves.

I admit, this quote is a bit one sided and, for most instances, not functional.

Also, I fully admit that there are times when I mollify myself with the above mantra, exasperated with the makers and keepers of said rules who unwittingly thwart my plans for doing (or not doing) what makes sense to me at the time.

I also accept that my propensity to dispense with the formality of some rules can drive other people just as crazy, my “. . . but I would be right!” thought-bubble notwithstanding.

And if each of us is honest with ourselves, I suspect even those in the middle ground are hedging closer to one pole or the other, rather than hugging dead center: There are those who see rules as rules and those who see rules as guidelines. Both would be right. Nonetheless, we each would favor our own spot to set up camp.

Now that we have made camp in our respective sites, let’s go exploring together.
Here’s what the trail map says:
  • Rules are restrictive by definition. They tell you what you can or cannot do.
  • Guidelines on the other hand are less restrictive.  They give you a rough draft of what is expected and invite you to use your judgement. (Hopefully your best judgement to the greatest good of all.)

For example, when the map admonishes us to Stay on the trail at all times!, that’s a rule. But when we come to a spot where the trail has washed out, we must momentarily get off the trail to reconnect, that’s a guideline.

Rules and guidelines are the yin and yang of life. You cannot have one without the other, not without falling out of balance.

Having only rules would reduce living to merely existing. There would be no choice.  
Having only guidelines might result in chaos. There would be insufficient structure.

Rules and guidelines of necessity work together, yet retain their own distinction.

Rules establish boundaries.
Guidelines stretch them.

Rules say you must!
Guidelines suggest you may.

Rules stipulate either don’t or do.
Within guidelines, experience tells us don’t, and curiosity pushes us towards do.

Rules create order and predictable outcomes.
Guidelines invite things that might not work.

You can stand behind rules. They are safe. They are specific. Their outcomes should not vary. And to a very large degree, rules serve a purpose.
You can walk beside guidelines. They are not necessarily safe, they are certainly not specific, their outcomes are much less predictable, but, like rules, guidelines serve a purpose.

And there’s the rub.

Both work—rules and guidelines. You might be a rules person or you might be a guidelines person. There will be times you will find yourself in a rules environment just as there will be times you will find yourself in a guidelines climate.

Neither one is a one-size-fits-all. To be successful you must be able to navigate both realms.

With rules you need to know them, but you do not necessarily need to understand them. You need only simply follow them. With guidelines it is helpful to know them, but it is of utmost value for you to understand them. You then will be able to refer to them.

So let me rephrase my opening quote:
Rules are created by those who see the need for order and are followed by those who best operate within structure. Guidelines are created by those who see that risk and growth go hand in hand and are followed by those who flourish when things are in flux.

What about you? Do you create structure from which others grow or are you one who grows because you see structure as guidelines?

Me? I don’t go out of my way to break rules. But neither do I avoid sidestepping those that don’t hold purpose in that moment.

How about you?

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

In Up to Your Neck

Day 1: The Plan.
“Let’s hike Buckskin Gulch. It says we have to hike through 10 pools of standing water but we should be okay.”

Day 2: The Hike.
“And back! That was 20 pools. Plus, the guidebook neglected to mention the water was barely above freezing.”

Day 3: The Sign.
Buckskin: Up to neck-deep pools

The Lesson
Sometimes it’s better not to know.

Had the order begun Day 1: The Sign, it is entirely possible day two might have read, Day 2: New Plan. Something safer.

We would have missed finding petroglyphs etched on the canyon walls.

And we would have missed the experience of freezing feet and toes. And surviving it.

We would have missed encouraging each other with words and looks that conveyed you can do it; and I got you; and just breathe, it’ll be fine.

We would have missed the telltale chatter of our teeth while in the pools and the exuberant chatter of our words on our hike back.

To be sure, do your homework, ask an expert, survey your surroundings. Take a moment and stand at the edge of the pool rather than to charge right in.

Then go.

If we do not try something because we might get in up to our necks, it is likely we will leave a great many great things untried.