Silence

Silence

 

In Khalid and Marshmellow’s song, Silence, Khalid sings,

I’m in need of a savior, but I’m not asking for favors
My whole life, I’ve felt like a burden
I think too much, and I hate it
I’m so used to being in the wrong, I’m tired of caring
Loving never gave me a home, so I’ll sit here in the silence

Franz Kafka wrote a story called, The Trial, about a respectable banker, Joseph K, who is suddenly arrested by mysterious persons for no apparent reason. This odd and unreasonable arrest leads Joseph to ask for the first time in his life the question, “Why?”

Raising this question always sparks a search for an answer. “As long as (we) struggle only with the problems of everyday existence—food, work, health, and sex—we are not very much above the animals; we begin to be (human) when we start to wonder what life is all about.”

There is a time and place for quiet introspection, for considering who we are, why we are here and how we might make things better while we can. We will do well to keep guard over petty jealousies, self-loathing and the mundane things of life. Avoid trivialities and reach for the stars.

Can’t We Get Along

I’ve always been a big James Allen fan. Allen believed there are four tendencies in the human mind which interfere with our ability to get along. The four tendencies are: Pride; Self-love; Hatred; and Condemnation.

Allen was convinced if we’ll be a little more modest, a little less interested in our own petty wants and wishes, a little slower at tossing the first stone, and a little faster appreciating people we have yet to understand, there’s a good chance we can become friends with people we never dreamed of knowing.

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The four foundation stones which contribute to friendship are: Humility; Self-surrender; Love; and Compassion. Whenever these four things are present, there exists a possibility for unity and peace. The problem is these things run contrary to human nature. I don’t always want to put my neighbor’s interests first. I find it hard to bite my tongue, to control my temper, and especially hard to love people who disagree with me. And my compassion tank, oh my! that runs awfully low at times.

In Allen’s words: “Where two are determined to maintain an opposing opinion, the clinging to self and ill-will are there, and Brotherhood is absent. Where two are prepared to sympathize with each other, to see no evil in each other, to serve and not to attack each other, the Love of Truth and Good-will are there, and Brotherhood is present. All strifes, divisions, and wars inhere in the proud, unyielding self; all peace, unity, and concord inhere in the Principles which the yielding up of self reveals. Brotherhood is only practiced and known by him [her] whose heart is at peace with all the world.”

I want a heart at peace with all the world.

Not Their Life

It is good to acknowledge that each of us has our own life to live. If I choose to live my life in a way that dissatisfies you, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to admit, it is my life to live, not yours. And what suits me may not fit you at all. I might enjoy sleeping outdoors on air mattresses and in canvas tents, while you prefer relaxing in plush suites at the Hampton Inn. I might take a late night stroll through a dimly lit village, while you would never dream of taking such a risk. Each of us is different, which is why each of us is so interesting. I guess Karle Wilson Baker captured the crux of the issue in a poem she wrote called, Creeds (Macmillan 1938).

Blue Skies

Friend, you are grieved that I should go
Unhoused, unsheltered, gaunt and free,
My cloak for armor – for my tent
The roadside tree;

And I – I know not how you bear
A roof betwixt you and the blue,
Brother, the creed would stifle me
That shelters you.

Yet, that same light that floods at dawn
Your cloistered room, your cryptic stair,
Wakes me too – sleeping by the hedge –
To morning prayer!

So enjoy who you are, who you were meant to be, and don’t worry if some don’t get it. It’s not their life to live.

Atmosphere

In the chorus of Kaskade’s Atmosphere are the words, All my life I’ve been a star, holding a light up in the dark. When I look around I feel like I sense a great crowd of people wandering around in the dark. Either the bills are piling up, work is going badly, relationships are strained, or the losses seem insurmountable.

In The Ancient Mariner Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote:

A man all light, a seraph-man, On every corse there stood. This seraph-band, each waved his hand: It was a heavenly sight! They stood as signals to the land, Each one a lovely light.

We don’t have to fix things – or people. Shining a little light with a kind word, a personal gift, or a moment of a busy day will go a long way toward lifting someone’s spirit. We can be a heavenly sight for a person who needs to know they’re loved.

Check out Kaskade’s Atmosphere, and shine your light today!

Real Beauty

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In a recent interview, Dustin Hoffmann said he would not have been physically attracted to the character he played in Tootsie. Now he realizes his life would have been enriched if only he had taken time to get to know some women who were less than eights on the Bo Derek Scale.

Which raises the question: What is beauty?

A supermodel, who most men would argue is one of the most physically attractive women on the planet, Petra Nemcova, said something in Esquire this year that made me realize she is even more beautiful than I’ve ever thought. She said: Surrender is a very important word … And I think often in life, we fight things, and we fight and we fight, and we never get anywhere. We just get pushed back. And sometimes just by letting go, we actually reach the destination.

She’s right. Surrender is a very important word, and living with a willingness to let go makes her truly beautiful. Self-sufficiency is not all it’s cracked-up to be. Someone, somewhere said, A year of self-surrender will bring larger blessings than fourscore year of selfishness.

As Easy As Folding Clothes

Folding clothes is pretty easy. I grab my t-shirts by the neckband, fold them once in the middle; then again in half, so I can stack them in a pile in my dresser drawer. Simple enough.

I wish I could handle my problems just as easily.

Problems can be thorny, though, have lots of curvy sides and take unexpected twists and turns. You may find yourself not knowing exactly what to do.

When that happens, remember the quote from the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife. Ms. Niffenegger said: “Love the world and yourself in it, move through it as though it offers no resistance, as though the world is your natural element.”

Do that and solving your next problem will be as easy as folding clothes.

Not Losing

Isn’t it strange? We roll up to a crossroads in life that forces us to make a life-changing decision, and immediately we begin to count our losses. If I do this, I’ll lose that, and I’m not so sure I want to give up anything I have right now.

There are only three ways to proceed through an intersection: left, right or forward. You don’t want to put it into reverse, because that’s going backwards. Choose one of the three available ways you have and enjoy. New paths always lead to new places.

Time Rushes By

I can’t imagine where winter’s gone. A few days ago I would swear I was home raking leaves onto a battered tarpaulin that has seen its better days, and now I’m watching D. L. Hughley crash and burn on the new season of Dancing with the Stars. I know that time is passing, because I set my clock to Daylight Savings Time, but this is ridiculous. Time is getting away from me at breakneck speed.

The psalmist asked for a favor. He prayed, “Lord, let me know my end, and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is” (Psalm 39:4).

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I guess it helps to grasp that life is brief, and to appreciate the fact that we have a limited amount of time to accomplish our life’s purpose here. It’s alright to waste a little time with friends when you need to chill, but waste too much and you may short-change yourself some priceless seconds you can’t get back at the end. Saul Bellow’s rallying cry for the fifties middle-class in America still fits. You’d better seize the day!

Bulletproof

I wish I had thick skin. Didn’t worry about what people thought or said about me. Could feel like I’m free to be the me I am.

Like Sia …

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I could say: “I’m criticized, but all your bullets ricochet. You shoot me down, but I get up. I’m bulletproof. I am titanium.” As it is, unlike Sia, I am not titanium. I’m more like a latex balloon. Not as square as a box, but still confined to a standard shape and size. It’s time to slip this skin and break free! Be who I want to be. But that can be dangerous. I’ve reconnected with an old friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said: Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.

Thanks, Sia –– and Ralph. Doggone it. I am summoning the courage to be myself in a world that is constantly trying to make me something else.

I’m bulletproof!

The Sound of Missing You

Well, let’s see. I was at the gym this morning, jogging a little on the treadmill, lost in Ameerah’s The Sound of Missing You, and suddenly I noticed I was asking myself, What is missing from my life? It’s clear in the song that Ameerah is missing the person she has been with for awhile. She can dance with anyone she wants, but when you’re missing someone you’ve grown close to, being beautiful and having oodles of choices doesn’t make you less lonely.

Listen to the song. You’ll hear what she’s missing: hearing her partner’s voice; what they had when they were together; what they would still have if they’d worked things out. Now all she hears is the sound of missing someone she loves.

When I was listening this morning I realized the missing you sound can come from many quarters: a failed relationship; a job you used to love without realizing it; a friend you lost contact with because you didn’t want to make the effort to stay in touch; a pet that wandered off; a dream that died because you were too frightened to pursue it.
So beware! That missing you sound can slip up from the strangest places –– and knock you off your feet!

I Love It

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In Icona Pop’s song “I Love It,” Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt celebrate the end of a frustrating relationship. Whoever they were with was at a completely different place in life. In the song they sing, You’re on a different road. I’m in the milky way. You want me down on earth, but I am up in space. Whenever that occurs in any relationship, the result is always friction. Aino and Caroline are so annoyed they say, We gotta kill this switch.

 

But is there another way?

 

Whenever you get frustrated with someone you know or work with or even love, take a deep breath, grab a little time for yourself, and make sure you’re being as patient as you can before you decide to kill the switch. It’s always better to bear some grief from someone you know than shut them out of your life forever. Remember the Proverb: A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.