Thursday, October 31, 2013

If a Tree Falls and No One Hears It...?

The question goes, "If a tree falls and no one hears it, does it still make a sound?" I'll shake this question up a bit and ask, "If you experience or see something, and no one else responds to it---did it still happen?"

At one time or another, each of us faces a situation in which we strongly experience something that no one else responds to. Know the feeling? Without anyone else echoing what you saw or felt, you may wonder whether you imagined it all. Throughout life, it can be challenging to hold onto your true experience when you're getting the message from others that it's better or more convenient to dismiss it.

You're like the tree (without the falling part necessarily). The tree still falls even if no one is there to witness it happening. That's what's most important. In your own life when you go through something that's important to you, it bears the same significance regardless of whether other people acknowledge it or not.

It can feel frustrating to know your experience and then to doubt it because you feel alone there. The experiences you have that don't fit a formula or can't be categorized can feel like that the most. What's most important, however, is that it really did happen---for you. The tree doesn't care if anyone heard it fall or not. For humans, it's more complex than that. Still, we can learn from the tree in keeping the integrity of our experiences even when there isn't a witness to them.

This month, take in those moments that no one else but you responds to. If you make a joke and no one else laughs, you can still enjoy the joke for yourself. If you see or hear something crazy and there's zero reaction around you, remind yourself that the event still happened for you. If you see a hummingbird zip in front of your face, a lady bug appear on your clothing just when you need a little luck, or an unexplainable's okay if no one else is there to see it or react to it but you. Sometimes the coolest moments are like that.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Door to the Invisible

Imagine you're facing a door, and on the other side of that door is change. In order to move forward you have to open the door without really knowing what's on the other side. The change is invisible to you from where you're standing, and the only way to see it is by opening the door. Will you open it?

Often, doors to change become visible to us at times when we're ready for them. They're not always there, but when they appear they challenge us to make the next move of turning the knob and stepping through the threshold. When the door's there, it's hard to ignore it. It won't let you forget that there's something you have to face on the other side.

It can be tempting to ignore the unknown and stick to the familiarity of your side of the door. Besides, nothing's forcing you to make the change. However, by pretending the door isn't there, you can miss out on good opportunities and learning experiences. Even though you have no idea what's on the other side, that's okay. Important doors often lead to places where we've never been before.

Do you see a door you can open toward change? It could be in any area of your life such as personal growth, career, relationships, family, or health. If you're standing there contemplating whether to make a move, remember it's okay that you're not sure what's on the other side. But the door is there for a reason. Open the door to the invisible.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Perfect: The Enemy of Good

Why is perfect the enemy of good? Think about it. The message of "perfect" is that you'll someday attain a status beyond which there's no point of trying, or learning, or growing. If you're perfect already, what's the point of interacting with life and getting something out of it?

"Perfect" tricks you into believing that there is a solution and an endpoint.  Do you think that any individual in the history of mankind created something unique by aiming for perfection? It seems to me that more innovative results came from casting perfection to the side in favor of creativity, autonomy, and doing the best you can. If you aim for perfection, you're placing yourself in a sterile bubble by default.

In a bubble of perfection, of course you can see the exact results you want to see in your health, social sphere, family, finances, and personal omission. You'll have to omit all the stuff that's not going perfect. What does this mean? You'll have to omit a part of yourself in order to reach perfection. Human beings aren't meant to strive for perfection, they're meant to adapt. By adapting to the world around us and the unique events we're each going through, we stay open to possibilities. Perfection doesn't leave room for possibilities. Why? Because it's too perfect.

Next time you're aiming for perfection, ask yourself what your mind, heart, and body are really rooting for. Are they seeking adventure? Are they seeking to break out of a bubble of certainty in order to taste what life is offering? Are they asking you to push yourself beyond previously held limitations to get to know yourself better and what you're really made of?

It doesn't help to seek answers outside of yourself and from other people. Is it worthwhile to get down on yourself because a bunch of people who don't even know you don't believe you can reach your goals? Who knows you better than yourself? These are questions to ask yourself when the dazzle of perfection starts glittering stronger than your true desires.

Perfect is the enemy of good. Remember that when you're asking yourself to jump out of your skin to be something you're not. Is the effort worth the risk?

Monday, October 7, 2013

The #*!*?! Keeps Coming

During life, most of us hold our breath and wait for a time that finally feels calm and accommodating to who we are. Do you know the feeling? We work, try, and grapple, hoping that times will change and things will get easier. After small periods of calm, we're usually thrown back into the mix of stress and ups and downs. Just as you're waiting to get off an emotional roller coaster, life often buys you a ticket for a new one. What's that about?

The truth is, the #*!*?! keeps coming. The illusion that if you wait long enough or try hard enough, that all the messiness and frustrations of life will stop is just that--an illusion. So what do you do? A big part of living in and staying healthy in reality is coming to terms with the #*!*?! Keeps Coming phenomenon. None of us have a human-desired control over life. We live in a world that is wild no matter how we try and contain it. When you live in the wild, you have to prepare.

You prepare first and foremost by taking care of yourself. With the knowledge that storms, lightning, and droughts may be around the corner, you still have to keep up with physical and mental-emotional fitness as much as you can. Preparation helps you to get through new and stressful periods of time that you may not have foreseen (since we don't have crystal balls at our disposal).

You can also make more peace with the fact that #*!*?! Keeps Coming. Have you wanted it to be different? If so, in what ways? Ask yourself if the positive changes you're hoping for live in fantasy land or in reality. Reality tends to repeatedly present challenges with a common theme if we're ignoring the bigger picture. Unless we face the challenge head on here and now, we'll often be met with it again.

Finally, it's okay to step back and not try so hard all the time. Trying your best is admirable. However, some forms of trying resemble banging against a wall over and over again. No matter how hard you try, the wall is still there and you can't imagine it away. Try what you can and be open to adapting along the way to new strategies if you have to. Try with a clear, realistic, and flexible mindset.

#*!*?! Keeps Coming can be a relief in some ways. It lets you be a human in this wild world. It helps you to realize your limits as you're using your potential. Sure, maybe that one person is frustrating you. Maybe that one situation is difficult, but should it be all up to you to solve the conflicted interaction? The workplace is experiencing some tension. Why should it be your job to solve all of it? Ask yourself why you have to sit at home with all of the world's problems on your shoulders.

This week, notice how the #*!*?! Keeps Coming. Let it live and breathe in your life, so that it doesn't completely consume your days and weeks. As you come to terms with the persistent knocking of the #*!*?!, maybe finding solutions to all of life's problems will feel less important. Maybe living your day as it is will become more so.

The Turtle, the Rabbit, and You

The story goes that the turtle was slow and steady, but he won the race. The rabbit was faster from the start line, but he thought he had a big enough lead to be able to take a nap when tired. While he was napping, the turtle won.

The turtle was slow and steady and the rabbit was fast but lazy. This story brings up an interesting dilemma. How do you want to approach things?

The fear of being too slow and behind everyone else can rear its head in life. It tells you forcefully that you haven't reached where you need to be. You should be somewhere else. This somewhere else is in line with where everyone else is. The punch line is always that you're not good enough.

You might feel the opposite and more like the rabbit. You're so fast that you've reached the end, the destination---without actually crossing the finish line. You can just stop where you're at and nap without looking further. Do either of these feelings sound familiar?

The pace you're at in life is unique to you, but it can be easy to judge where you're at. Very often the judgement is unfair and not helpful toward where you want to go next.

How fast or slow can you go and still reach your goal? Does it matter what other people think about your decisions?

Life isn't a race. Ultimately, you are on your own path. Ideally, you don't want to be so slow so that you can't imagine the possibility of reaching your goal. In that case, fears and anxieties are most likely blocking your path. However, the steadiness of the turtle is helpful to emulate so that you don't give up.

You also don't want to be so fast and hurried that you prematurely run out of energy and feel tired before you near the finish line. In that case, you're probably running toward goals forcefully and somewhat blindly without a realistic pace. The strong potential of the rabbit, however, is helpful to see in your own life.

Most likely, you're somewhere in between the turtle and the rabbit and going at your own speed. Don't worry what others say, but look honestly at whether you feel too slow or too hurried in your efforts. It's not all about the finish line, it's about how you want to run your journey.

This week, take realistic steps to get where you want to go, and focus on running at a steady and confident pace.