Before It Destroys Us

Sea beach water wave

It is in the eyes of those that love us most where we allow ourselves to break down.

Most of us have experienced it: a look, a touch, a text. It’s not what it says; it’s who it’s from.

That’s all it takes. The dam breaks, the flood finally wins.

We compartmentalize so well that we often forget — try to forget, WORK to forget! — that the water’s rising, been rising, and won’t stop rising as the wind whistles and howls.

We’ve perfected the art of fooling ourselves, of building fortresses.

Thankfully, our friends, our family, our angels can see over the walls, past our facade with its carefully placed bricks.

Armed with nothing but the knowledge of the labyrinth to our own delicate heart, they can get inside, widen the cracks, and free the storm before it destroys us.

The greatest flood, the blackest night hasn’t the slightest chance of taking us down because we, the most tender and frightened of species, have the courage to love and to be loved.

Second Dates

Two women holding long stem wine glasses with red liquid

On my way to drop off my daughter at school, sometimes I catch a funny radio segment on the Marcus & Sandy show called “Second Date Update.”

Marcus and Sandy call up someone who ceased communication with another person after a first date and then they ask that someone why they disappeared and if maybe they want to go on a second date. The ignored person waits quietly on the line while this inquiry takes place.

It never goes well.

The person interrogated usually has a completely different version of reality from the one making the inquiry. Accusations are made. Counter-accusations are made. They end up fighting over whose reality is the right one. Marcus and Sandy have to step in, cut the call short, and come up with some sort of lesson learned.

I’ve yet to hear an episode with a happy ending, with an offer and an acceptance for a second date.

This, to me, alludes to the real reason people get ghosted.

The fact is realities are bound to be different.

Where things go wrong is in the lack of acceptance of the other reality.

The hard truth? Perhaps we make it clear, in our actions and in our talking, that we’re not going to be able to hear a different story.

In general, in love and work, we don’t take criticism very well.

The next time someone disappears on you, instead of blaming them for living in a different reality, ask yourself what you’re doing to demonstrate that you can’t handle hearing about theirs.

After all, criticism, when delivered authentically, is an offer to help you improve yourself, to merge your inner reality with the bigger story that’s going on around you. And about you.

Second dates don’t happen because the first one was perfect. They are awarded to those with the humility to hear what went wrong and the openness to expand their story, regardless of how true they believe it to be.

Be What You Want to Become

Unrecognizable woman riding train and looking out window

People tend to hold back in making transitions.

We get safely stuck in planning, worried that the first step we take will be in the wrong direction.

Ironically, we waste time by worrying we’re going to waste time.

Don’t wait to become what you want to be.

Start living in that space immediately. It’s available to you. Just think a little smaller.

Take a little piece.

Step into it and see how it feels, what it does to you.

Put your hands to work, walk onto new ground, create for just a few, give something away, do it for free, hack together a micro manifestation of a piece of a vision, open a new door and step forward.

Above all, stop browsing.

Pull something off the rack.

And wear the future now.

Kindness Don’t Come Easy

Brown and black flower on pink surface

We all like nice people.

Well, nice people work hard. Kindness don’t come easy.

It’s not like kindness is the default mode for our personalities like, if we do nothing, we just end up being nice.

Nah. Kind of the opposite, actually.

Kindness is an everyday effort, a muscle to be exercised. It can become a habit after a while but it still takes work to maintain.

Ready for the first step?

(Don’t worry, you got this.)

The first step in being kind to people is being kind to yourself.

Every day.

Here are some things you can do:

Meditate on kindness. If you don’t meditate yet, you’re missing out. There are plenty of apps out there to help you stick with it.

Make a list of 5 things you will do for yourself every day. Simple stuff like “Make my bed” and “Go for a 10-minute walk.”

Write a 1-page mantra about the great things you’ve created and achieved in your life. Then read it every morning. (Yes, I do this.)

Read and watch good stuff, especially early in the day. Be selective, not reactive, lest the news headlines and social media posts will get to you first!

Life is hard. Joy is fleeting. Suffering is imminent.

Take some time.

We all need each other to be at our best.

Checks All The Boxes

Eclipse digital wallpaper

WordPress allows you to tag your posts so people can search them by category. Here are some of my categories:

Anxiety, Career Happiness, Change & Movement, Daily Mindfulness, Emotions, Empathy, Gratitude, Job Search Zen, Life Transitions, Overcoming Fear, Parenting, Power & Conflict, Replenishing, Self Help

I noticed that my posts about death seem to check all the boxes.

There must be something to that.

Death holds a lot for us but it’s the gift none of us want to open, and would never open. The cost far outweighs the benefits.

When it comes to love, we’d rather be incomplete.

We’d rather have who we have, forever and ever, and not learn a Goddamn thing.

A History Lesson

blue green and white textile

History is a funny thing.

Because it already happened we tend to think it is what it is, that it’s set in place.

But, if you’ve ever watched an old video of yourself, you know that we don’t remember things exactly as they happened. And what about when the video ends? Can you give a play-by-play of what came next?

These blank spaces. These misremembered moments. There are a lot of them – holes in a mismatched quilt.

If the goal of history is comfort and warmth, it’s understandable that we cut our quilts apart, gather the most whole pieces — the ones we enjoy viewing — and sew them back together.

We seem not to mind that the original pattern is lost, that we are being fooled by the warmth, and that the quilt was never ours.

But Beautiful Too

calm water under clouds

A friend sent a group text.

We knew it was a hard day for her. She’d lost someone. Today was the day the whole world was taking notice, was remembering, coming together, and sharing.

That’s a lot of weight.

Death is one of the only inevitable things. When it comes for you, it keeps coming. And not just for you; it comes for everyone and everything around you, at a quickening pace.

What heart can’t break from this?

“It was a tough day,” read her text. “But beautiful too.”

Wisdom in the dark.

In your toughest times, I wish for you not to keep your heart intact.

Rather, to keep seeing beauty as it falls apart.

(Thanks, J)

The Secret to My Fire

yellow and red flower in tilt shift lens

I always hope (and believe!) that things are more adventurous than they are, like I’m always on some great big treasure hunt, the greatest mystery of all time.

Clues are everywhere.

Pitfalls can’t stop me.

Something great lies ahead.

This is not just a story I tell myself. I honestly believe it, almost like a crazy person — that the combination of everyday things can contort into a riddle.

While my kids jump on the trampoline and my neighbor talks on her phone, I’m looking around for clues — the shadows on the fence, the curling line of ivy — comforted by the notion that the X may be underneath the leaves.

Right vs Kind

Woman explaining position to african american husband

Is it more important to be right or to be be kind?

Rightness is often for the individual, for the retention of the way things are. It relies on rules, often pre-determined by ghosts. Rightness creates wrongness upon its very utterance, which means a line is drawn and sides must be taken. Egos are at stake and words become stones.

Kindness is ALWAYS for more than one person. It erases lines, silences ghosts, and takes the weight out of stones.

Many work as one and breathe birds into the sky.

In color and light, they see more than just shadows.

Charge

pink ceramic pig coin bank

I don’t give discounts but I almost always have a pro-bono project on hand.

There are plenty of people down on their luck or just struggling with where to go and how to get there.

This time.

How lucky I am to have a skill that can make that all go away.

30 minutes on the phone and BAM:

Clarity.

Confidence.

Phone ringing.

Wanted.

Accepted.

Riding high again.

This time it was a meat packing plant delivery driver. Never had a resume, no idea how to use Microsoft Word. Struggling with email, even.

Oh, and don’t worry about me and my time. I get something too.

It’s like a shot in the arm, a reminder of why I do this thing, like stripping away the fancy layers and getting down to the dark red center. It’s like Barry Bonds going back to his childhood baseball diamond to get his groove on.

It’s like…

BAM:

Clarity.

Confidence.

Riding high.

Generosity. It works both ways.