Carpe Diem Feed

don't worry

 

Don’t worry about tomorrow, because it will come and go, like yesterday, and the day before.

Don’t worry about yesterday, because it’s gone. It has come. It served its purpose. It is done.

So, worry about today.

Right here. Right now.

Today.

Take today and live meaningfully. Live deeply, because it’s a moment full of infinite possibilities. It’s a day like no other, brimming with promises and whispers of glorious things. Things you just can’t get at tomorrow. Things you can only and must get at today.

You have a bit of time. So, take advantage of it.

Time is at your service.

Time is your secret weapon because it will not be here tomorrow. For tomorrow, you will reap what you sow, and gather what you plant today.

That’s a lot of flowery words, you might say.

Perhaps, but what do you expect with all this planting and reaping that you’re doing?

I just don’t know a better way to illustrate the importance of getting at something today. And I don’t mean just getting at it but working it with purpose. Dreaming with tenacity. Planning and executing with tremendous determination and focus.

You say you want things, but yet you are unwilling to fight for them.

You say you’re tired, but you’re wasting what needs to be done today. To do something, anything, so that you are but a dash and a pinch of purpose ahead of where you were yesterday. Which might leave you less tired. More invigorated.

You’re afraid to fail but who isn’t?

You’re afraid to make mistakes because deep down you’re worried what people, the same people who have long ago given up their own dreams, might think or say.

Don’t worry about those people. They don’t worry about you and they won’t be there tomorrow. They imprison themselves in their many regrets of yesterday.

You say you need a bit more time, but time is all you have. At least today. At least for a little while longer.

You say you’re not good enough, but you’ve wrongly assumed we have someone else. You’ve wrongly wished we would find someone else to replace you.

There is no replacement.

You’ve all we’ve got.

And we’re glad.

You’re irreplaceable. Unrepeatable and unique.

Stubborn at times? Yes.

Crotchety for a period of time? Absolutely.

With a dirty mouth to boot, when there’s no call for it? Perhaps. On occasion. Yes.

You are who you are.

That is no great matter for concern. We’re ok with it because only you can do what only you can do.

Warts and all. Imperfect as you are.

You make us laugh. You make us cry. You make us think and dance.

You contribute a great deal of meaning to our life and it stings when you brood and worry about tomorrow.

It will hurt when if hide yourself today or on any other day.

So, don’t hide from us. Don’t retreat. Abandon. Forget. Imagine things that are simply not true.

Don’t worry about tomorrow.

Quickly forget the mistakes and failures of yesterday.

Embrace today.

Only worry about today.

Worry about this moment.

Go and do something only you can do.

Until we meet again, my friend.

Have yourself the very best day.

 


the dead of winter

 

The shimmering, colourful lights are slowly beginning to disappear, one house at a time. They are vanishing with deliberate purpose. The long and exhausting period of preparation, followed by a frantic but brief celebration, has come and gone.

And now we turn our gaze to spring. The slow, subtle, unassuming pace of the coming of spring.

But if you get still and quiet for a moment, and look to the left and to the right, it will hit you any minute now.  

Winter is here.

It’s sincerely cold outside, and you realize, perhaps for the first time, that winter has only just begun.

Nature seems to be sleeping, or at least playing possum. Everything that was once vibrant and colourful, beautiful and vivacious, is now pretending to be dead.

And what about you?

What are you doing?

Going for a nap? Hibernating? Finding a nice cave to snuggle next to a grizzly bear, and fight her, along with her cubs, for a warm blanket?

Are you going to wait until it gets warm and sunny? Wait for a more reasonable time to do something? Wait for tomorrow and another tomorrow? Or are you going to get to work on your dreams?

Waiting for tomorrow is a horrific trap. Waiting for the right time is another.

We have to remind ourselves that we are not separate, but very much a part of the whole. A small, fractured piece, yes, but a piece of the infinite whole, regardless.

We are not on the outside, looking in. We are all part of this one marvelous creation, and we get to give back, push back, with gusto. 

We don’t get to pick our life.

Pick and choose the right season. Pick and choose the right mood. Who we are, our challenges and scars, or what we are capable of becoming.

Winter is the perfect time for silent reflection and map making.

The forgotten artisan craft of dreaming.

Planning. Preparing. Practicing. Investing. Risk taking.

Leaping into the unknown possibilities.

Take this time of year and design your map, if for no other reason, than that its dark and cold outside.

It’s icicles on the testicles kind of cold.

Dangling participles on the nipples kind of cold. (Ok. I may have gone too far here, but very few words rhyme with nipples).

It’s cold. It’s winter. And I get that you’ve got a terrible vitamin D deficiency.

But get over yourself already.

The sun rises late and it fades early.

Such is winter.

No matter.

The hours in your day remain the same.

Don’t waste this beautiful moment.

Don’t waste the quiet, self-reflective days of winter. Don’t ignore today, imprison yourself in yesterday, and wait endlessly for tomorrow.

It’s your turn. Your time.

The spring and summer can wait.

Embrace Winter. Make your map.

Where are you in your life?

Why are you here? What brought you here?

Where do you want to go? What do you need to get there?

What do you have? What do you need?

When are you going to get started?

 


sobriety and Jose Mujica

 

You have probably never heard of Jose Mujica.

His words and heart felt wisdom continue to haunted me. They have haunted me ever since I heard him for the first time, in the brilliantly magnificent documentary, simply titled; Human.

(Not only human, but Human).

Forget binge-watching whatever is on your list and see it for free online.

His words were planted inside my mind a while ago. They have grown much and continue to sober me up.

I am grateful for his candor and his message. His suffering and his call to happiness.

If you are not familiar with Jose Mujica, you should know that he was the president of Uruguay from 2010 to 2015, but prior to that, he led quite the life and suffered as farmer, a freedom fighter, a prisoner, for over ten years, and a hostage.

Today he preaches the philosophy of sobriety.

Sobriety.

Not an easy idea to embrace or sell in North America.

A consumer society, in a progressively vicious battle between a culture of life and the culture of death.

Sobriety is somewhat contrary to our materialistic, consumer wants and desires. Somewhat sobering, as we recover from our New Year’s celebrations, and the universal hangover that slowly dissipates from our collective consciousness.

Somehow, I don’t believe there are many people are ready to listen, but they should.

We need to study the philosophy of sobriety.

I think its best you hear Jose Mujica for yourself, but I while I have you here I will guide you through some of his insights, if for no other reason than some safekeeping.

I take no credit for any of his thoughts. They are his ideas. Earned through years of suffering. Years of meditation. Years of practice.

I only offer a bit of commentary. Because as brilliant as they are in their own right, without my words and yours, they will never spread. And they should.

They need to spread deep. The need to fly far and wide.

Deep into every human soul. Into every crevice of your mind.

You need to take it easy on yourself. Stop beating yourself up for not having or not doing what you imagined you should be doing by this point.

You are not a cog in a wheel. You are not a drunken sailor.

But you do need to renew your love affair with life.

You need to fall in love with the act of being, and it can’t be done half assed or on a part time basis. At some point, and hopefully this happens for you really soon, you will dare to leap. To jump, go all in, and finally embrace, once and for all, everything, in its totality, and allow the act of living to permeate your life.

Because.

Either you’re happy with very little, free of all the extra luggage, because you have happiness inside, or you don’t get anywhere!

You don’t need to get anywhere.

You have everything you need.

You either have it already, or if you lack something, it is readily available to you. It is not easy to get, of course. Worthwhile things are never quick or easy, but they are abundantly available. The problem is that most people never try, but they are yours, if you only reach out and take the time to look for them.

Ask and it will be given you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be open.

This is not a call for a life of poverty. It is an invitation for sobriety.

Jose Mujica believes that we have either invented, or else, inherited a consumer society, and a progressively sick mind. A society that today, probably feels a bit exhausted, from all those Black Friday deals, and Boxing Day sales. I bet there are many poor souls who are probably not even clear headed enough to realize, that those credit card bills, that took so little effort to accumulate, will take a lifetime and years of labour, to have disappear.

When you buy something, you are not paying with money. You are paying with the hours of life you had to spend earning that money”.

Think about that.

Tell me that this is not a sobering thought?

Tell me that this doesn’t change the conversation about the worth of our salaries, and how much time we should be willing to sacrifice to earn that money? Tell me that it doesn’t sober you up, in terms of how you spend your life earning a living?

The difference is, that life, is one thing money can’t buy”.

You will never get more time.

You can’t buy it, but you can always find a new way to earn a little more.

Hell, leaving the country and converting all your dollars into some pesos, for example, would create a whole new reality in your life, if you were willing to be a global citizen, and not just a Canadian one.

Our school system doesn’t help either.

The ‘normal school’ is nothing more than an old, worn out, industrial factory, nudging students into three pathways, so they can become very dutiful consumers, or at the very least, won’t become a financial burden to our society.

Human beings may be the only animals capable of self-destruction”.

It doesn’t take much effort, or thought for that matter, to realize how true this is. It doesn’t take much time to come to grips with the truth how often we become our own worst enemy. Hindering and spoiling our own happiness, instead of living in the moment.

You are never truly finished.

You can always pick yourself up again. It’s always worth it, starting from zero again, once, or a thousand times, so long as you’re still alive”.

A thousand times.

A hundred thousand times, a million-million million times.

Your mistakes are never fatal, as long as you continue to have life in you, or the desire to begin again.

Don’t kill your dreams. Don’t let them die.

It is never easy to rise from the ashes, but you have to believe that you can. You have to keep a hint of a spark and always pick yourself up again.

You are never defeated until you give up the fight”.

And it is never good to give up the fight.

So, keep fighting. Keep kicking. Keep punching.

Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Keep dreaming. Keep living. Keep hoping.

Rethink what you need. Reimagine what you can’t live without.

See money as a tool and don’t let its love steal your time.

Be sober.

Be kind.

Be alive.

 


the problem with the future

 

We think we know who we are, but we don’t.

We also have the creepy ability to rewrite our own history to suit our desires.

But the future.

The glorious future is what causes us some real concerns.

Dr. Daniel Gilbert wrote Stumbling on Happiness. It is a funny and brilliant book on how the mind works and how it shapes who we are.

One of the thoughts that has become my own is how our mind projects itself into the future.

Our vision of the future seems to be nothing more than our perceived reality of the present, except better, or worse, depending on how you woke up this morning.

As obvious as all of this seems, we cannot see the future.

We cannot really imagine what is coming because we don’t have the architectural plans, nor all the building blocks. Our mind is deficient. Not really deficient, that’s not really fair. Our mind is simply not designed to be a holistic mystic seer. But because we ask, our mind does what it can. It predicts, for better or worse, what our life will look like, with what limited information we have provided.

This is why we have problems with our future.

We are either ecstatic about what is to come, and then are left feeling disappointed. Or we brace ourselves for the worse, and are pleasantly surprised, and feel somewhat guilty.

My mom and dad made the decision to come to Canada and we arrived in the winter of 1985, because the prospect of remaining in Poland was dire. My father was a political prisoner, and an active member of the Solidarity movement in the city of Bydgoszcz.

He could not stop being an agitator, even if he tried. So, facing further persecution, or worse, being taken away in the middle of the night, to be never heard from again, he projected his future and made a hard decision. After some deep soul searching, my mom and dad looked for a way out, and I find myself here, writing far away from home.

After being carved up by the Russian, Prussian, and Hungarian empires, Poland gained its independence on November 11, 1918, to would lose it once again in 1939, and again in 1945. After sixty or so years of totalitarian oppression, my parents projected a future that looked bleak and unforgiving.

And then, just like that, on June 4th, 1989, it was all over.

Communism was dead. Poland was once again a free country.

My mom and dad, who have known oppression their entire life, were unable to see a different future. It is no surprise that they could not see the end of the Red dragon, in just four and a half years.

But it was too late.

The return back to Poland was almost impossible. They did not want to uproot me once again from the Canadian soil, I was beginning to call home, so they embraced the possibilities of the moment.

The problem of predicting the future can be devastating sometimes, because many of us give up on ourselves and our dreams, simply because we are certain we know what is to come.

But we can’t divine anything.

The world didn’t know Communism would fall in Europe. That spandex and hairspray would dominate the music scene in the 1980’s. That the internet would revolutionize how we connect and interact with each other.

There is much we don’t know about the future.

Quite frankly. We know nothing at all.

The only thing we can do is prepare.

But how do we prepare for something we can’t see?

We get to work, we embrace failure, and remain open to any and all possibilities.

That is the key to happiness.

Get to work.

Paint. Draw. Make Music. Plan your garden. Quit smoking. Lose a bit of weight. Ask for forgiveness. Offer absolution. Get a new wardrobe. Try new things. Meet new people. Revisit old things. Get over yourself.

Fail.

Try new things and be horrible at them. Keep failing and falling until it becomes as easy as breathing. Become fascinated with your own ability to play the fool. It’s hard at first, but if you do it often, people are funny creatures, often distracted by bright shiny objects, and so they will eventually fail to notice you.

Accept all possibilities.

We are not in control. Control leads to ruin.

We don’t ask life questions, she asks us.

It’s important to be open to all possibilities.

To be able to return or accept a compliment. To be able to earn a living doing something we thought would remain a hobby. To be able to go back and be a child again. Not childish. We have enough old men with small idea. But a child. A little you, with unbridled energy, and a tenacity of living life to the fullest.

You cannot run toward the future.

You have to stay right here.

Get to work. Don’t chide yourself when you fail. Embrace possibilities.

If you do.

You won’t regret the future.

You will have stumbled upon happiness.

 


where are you going?

 

Quo Vadis?

Where are you going?

Or more precisely, where are we going? Where are you taking us

You stand on the shoulders of giants and without your ancestors, you would not be able to inhale or exhale a single breath, or clumsily manage a simple step. You are going for them.

You also belong to a family. An extended family. A family that includes some characters, but all of them share your passion and devotion. You are going for them too.

There are also so many people you have met along the way, but perhaps didn’t make time to notice until now, that have collectively contributed so immeasurably to your life, in so many hidden ways. Unsung heroes and heroines. You are going for them as well.

But where are you going?

I ponder that question daily. I give thanks each morning for being able to take a breath, and quickly count the blessings in my life. What remains is to begin asking what’s next.

What’s next? Where should I go? What should we do?

Why? How? When? Where?

I have learned much from Mr. Zig Ziglar, but one of the most beautiful metaphors I ever heard is the one about being a ship in the harbour.

It takes great effort to sail and the ocean is often a very dangerous place to be.  Navigation is crucial and no picnic either. But any ship anchored in the harbour, does not share a better fate. Inevitably it rusts and serves no ultimate purpose.

You and I must guard each other so we do not resign ourselves into being anchored by a melancholy shore.

Ships were built to sail. You and I were born to see the world.

We have to sail with purpose. We have to live with gusto. We have to tread the waters of our lives with determination and freedom.

But not absolute freedom.

Absolute freedom is a dangerous illusion.

Freedom is not an absence from something. It is a choice to be enslaved by something.

If you bellow the word freedom from the top of the mast, and refuse or seek any direction, you will die alone, somewhere in the undiscovered vastness of the ocean.

The ocean is a vast and often unforgiving, but so is life, if you don’t care to discover or ask where you are going.

For this reason, we need a compass.

This is why we need respect and obey the Northern Star.

In order to get anywhere in life, we must suspend our stubborn, unapologetic notion of doing what we want because we have always done it. We have to choose a new path. A direction of discomfort and trepidation.

We need to pick a new untrodden trail and unequivocally respect our journey. Obey the laws and directions of that journey. Be aware and ready for the impending weather, and adjust accordingly for the unapologetic rotation of the earth.

We need a compass.

A good compass.

We need a Northern Star.

A plan.

A good plan.

Something tangible.

From someone wise.

Only then and only armed with a good compass, can we navigate our very own ocean.

We cannot sail without direction. If we do, we will be left alone to our own frustration and the misery of some wretched company.

If we sail with a compass, we will dock in many unimaginable ports. Learn many things. Exchange ideas with unbelievably gifted people.

We will live a life we could never otherwise have imagined.

A life invisible if you are resigned to stand on the shore or be docked in the harbour.

 


mining an abundant mind

 

Your mind is perhaps the most powerful device you have ever mistreated or underutilized throughout your life. The most important tool that doesn’t get sharpened too often, and stays unused, perhaps even a bit rusty, in the back of the cluttered shed.

But your mind the key to everything.

You just can’t outperform what you believe you cannot do. You can’t outperform a low self- esteem, a loser’s limp, or a toxic attitude towards everything, but thank God, it’s Friday.

You cannot mine the gifts you don’t believe you have. You cannot become the person who you don’t feel you deserve to be.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

It can all change if you let go and begin to nourish your mind.

Feed and grow a mind that believes in abundance. In infinite promises and opportunities. A universe of abundant possibilities.

There is no genie lamp.

You can’t find one on eBay, rub it, and hungrily demand that this or that come true, like a petulant child.

Life is much better. Much fairer. Far more forgiving. Far more encompassing.

The fact is, we cannot feel ourselves into the future. We just don’t know what tomorrow is going to show up to greet us. We cannot accurately predict if the things we are working for will provide us the life we think we will embrace, or gut us into assuming the fetal position.

In the middle of this coming winter you will probably dream of getting away to Cuba, Mexico, or perhaps one of the glorious Caribbean islands. Nothing but glorious sun, you’ll hear yourself say. You will say it. See it. Dream it. You will save your money, find the time, and jump on a last-minute deal to paradise.

You’ll arrive in the happiness you anticipated when it was cold and dark.

The moment you land however, and before you even unpack, you’ll sense the beginning of a cold. Worse, you will probably drink too much on the first night and spend what remains of the morning, dancing with the toilet, babbling like a fool.

Ok. I’m not saying that this is inevitable. I’m simply saying that we have no idea what will happen to us in the future.

We take our cues from the past. We feel the future. We live and toil in the present.

Your mind is the key to everything.

You have to mine your mind. You have to dig and believe that it can produce abundance.

You cannot serve two masters. Things are either scarce, or there is plenty of them.

If life is scarce, it is probably better to give up now, then to deal with a lifetime of disappointment. It is better to quit before you begin, than be crushed under the weight of inevitable defeat.

But what if the word scarcity is just a concept buried deep inside your mind? What if abundance is nothing more than a different concept of the same mind?

What if you get to choose the way you want to see the world and act accordingly.

If you believe you are fit, won’t you do things that fit people do? If you believe yourself to be a musician, won’t you be performing something somewhere?

Scarcity will inevitably lead you to deep frustration and competition. Abundance will guide you towards hard work and selfless cooperation.

You have the power today to decide what your mind is going to mine.

Believe you can, or believe you can’t. Either way, you are right.

All things considered.

Believing you can is much better.

 


leap before you're ready

 

I know. I know. You’re not ready. 

You could use a little more time. A few more moments. A few extra adjustments. A sign. An epiphany. A transfiguration? A message of encouragement from an Angel? Perhaps a signal delivered by three wise men from the East?  A really, really, really, really, bright star in the sky?

One day. Someday. No way.

You’re ready.

You may not know where you are going or where you’ll end up being, but you are certainly ready to begin today. You have to dig deep and find the courage to start. Embrace your tenacity to leap.

Leap before you’re ready.

Leap before it’s too late.

Your life has been a series of leaps, nudges and pushes anyway.

You were happy and content to contemplate your quiet existence, when suddenly, the woman who professes to love you pushed you out. Or maybe she was a bit more unfortunate and had a doctor cut her belly open so that from your mother you were untimely ripped.

Yet, if you think back, you were not afraid to lift your head. You weren’t critical and skeptical. Negative or pessimistic.

You began to crawl because you wanted to see and play your part; lend your voice to the symphony of existence.  You shoved anything and everything into your mouth.

Dirty. Wet. Dry. Big. Small.

Everything.

You hit your head. Bruised your knees. You fell down. You rose again, and again, and again.

You learned to crawl, you learned to walk. You even got the hang of digesting solid food.

You began to speak and excel in so many things.

Unbelievably complicated things.

You’ve done well.  You’ve done well throughout whole life, so why stop now?

Why do you look back so often and wonder about what could have been?

You’re gazing in the wrong direction.

Stand your ground and leap.

Leap before you’re ready.

Leap before it’s too late.

Like before, you will learn along the way. Some things you know. Some, you’ve forgotten. Others you’ll discover when you need them.

Like before, generous people will arise out of nowhere. They will be there to guide and encourage you. They will help you out.

How do I know? Because we are social creatures and despite how we feel or see ourselves, there has always been someone guiding, helping, and directing us towards our dreams.

Fear is far worse than death.

We can’t do anything about death, but we can certainly do something about fear.

You can’t write a book about what you don’t know. You can’t sing about what you haven’t experienced. You cannot play an instrument you’re not familiar with.

Most importantly, you can’t help others, unless you leap and have something to offer them.

The world doesn’t need any more bad news. Fake or otherwise.

More accidents, harassments, corporate takeovers, wars, family conflicts, drunkenness, addiction, depression, medication, complaints, gossip, and our right wretchedness.

The world needs you.

The world needs the best of you.

The best of you that will only become visible if you leap. If you jump. Without hesitation. Despite of fear. Despite the trembling. 

The world needs you to begin today. To begin right now. 

So, leap before you’re ready.

Please leap, before it’s too late.


the glass half-full, half-empty debacle

 

The glass may be half full, but it sure as hell ain’t half empty!

Reading the Ben and Rosamund Zander incredible book, the Art of Possibility, I realized recently that this seemingly age-old example, that so clearly divides the pessimists from the optimists, is nothing more than a distraction from the real, meaningful questions.

There is a glass.

It’s half full. 

Why?  I don’t know.

You are asked to decide if the glass that you see, or metaphysically behold within your mind’s grasp, is half full or half empty.

If it is half full you are an optimist, if half empty, you are a dejected pessimist.

But let’s hold on for a moment.

Clearly there is some water in the glass and there is the glass, but how to you behold, measure, evaluate and embrace nothingness?

If you believe the glass to be half empty, you draw a line in the sand, and disappear into futility and absurdity. You place yourself on the side of something that doesn’t exist.

The same holds true for the word nothing.  The word is an illusion because it is a placemat for everything that doesn’t exist. But if it doesn’t exist, then certainly it doesn’t need a placemat, because we never need mention or think about it again.

Welcome to the linguistic cluster stank.

I think we need a better question. A better analogy and a fresh metaphor.

What if we were asked if we would bring a fish finder on our boat, while we angle our way to some Large Mouth Bass or a Muskie?

How would we answer?

If you would bring a fish finder on your boat, you are concerned with catching a big fish. You want to measure your experience.

As a sense of pride, investment, or just because you’re hungry, you will judge and evaluate your day based on what is in your belly or in your fridge.

Catch nothing, and it was a wasted trip. Catch a lot, and you will return over and over again.

If you don’t bring a fish finder, or even leave the boat at home, and simply cast your fishing rod into the lake or river, you are going to measure your experience by something else.

You are probably with someone, or are seeking peace and solitude on your own.

There is nothing to measure and judge.

Being surrounded by nature, being close to the water, enjoying your home-made sandwich, and your thermos tea, gives you validation why it is wonderful to be alive. How great it is to be human.

The same can be said of swimming.

If you are Malcolm Phelps, your goal is to swim the fastest from one end of the pool to another. You chase gold medals. You are satisfied with silver and bronze. You feel dejected if you don’t make the podium.

If you are a competitive swimmer, you judge your day by the strides you have made or lost. You base your happiness on a measureable outcome.

If you put on your board shorts on the other hand and go surfing, or you dawn a polka dot bikini, and head to the ocean for a swim, you involve yourself with something completely different.

There is nothing to accomplish by swimming in the ocean. There is nothing to do. Nothing to find. Nothing to conquer. Nothing to regret and push towards.

It’s just you and the ocean. United at last. Happy and glorious.

So, drink your glass of water because hydration is good for you.

Grab a snack and head to some water.

Stop judging your day, begin to imagine the possibilities!

 


the summit and the climb

 

You cannot get to the summit without the climb, and there is no reason to climb without the summit. Both are important. Both draw their breath from the other. But your life will be only be shaped by submitting to one of them.

Reaching the summit is an achievement. A measurable, bankable, and an undeniably great achievement. Making your climb on the other hand, is long, at times tedious, forgettable and wholeheartedly rests in the realm of possibilities.

No one can fully measure the significance of each your steps, and you will make countless steps along the way. There is no journey and no summit without any one of them. All of them matter.  They are all extremely significant.

We can’t reach the peak without the steps.  Without the ones that made us stumble.  Without the ones, we made in hesitation and later in sorrow.  The ones we were forced to take.  The ones that made us slip and fall, but we cannot forget about the ones that made us skip and jump.  The ones that made us laugh and scream in excitement.

We can’t reach the summit without any of the steps that made us embrace the journey we are on in the first place.

At the closing ceremonies of the third annual Invictus Games, hosted in Toronto recently, Prince Harry made a heartfelt address to the many wounded warriors that sat in front of him.

He told them, and I am paraphrasing, that today they reached the top of the mountain.  They have persevered, overcome, and have reached their glorious summit. They should enjoy the view. They should soak up the feeling of victory and never forget that dreams come true.

He also told them to remember that tomorrow will inevitably come. The extraordinary will once again slide back into ordinary.  Saturday night, will turn to Monday morning. Summer will become Winter.

He told them to make a plan. To decide to be great. To start a business or start a ruckus. He told them that their acts can be simple like calling a friend they haven’t seen in a while, or doing homework with their kids. He told them to support one another. To dream out loud. To work towards the next summit.

I learned much that evening.

I learned the meaning of the old cliché that life is a journey and not a destination.

I heard it so often but I never understood the meaning.

It’s the process.  The journey.  The climb.

So, enjoy all the little, seemingly unconnected moments. Embrace the insignificant little things, and quickly forget your missteps.

You have a choice to make.  You are free to either be infatuated with the mountain peak and spend your life chasing the high of another brilliant performance, or you can fall in love and cherish the friendship of the rigorous climb. 

Quite frankly, we will spend the majority of our lives walking and climbing.  We will spend most of our days, which will quickly turn into years, moving forward, marching towards the next horizon. When we get there, and we will get there, we will see a new horizon. A more glorious sunrise that we could have imagined, and we will once again continue our journey. We will take a new step.

I hope you decide to be a person of the climb and not the summit.  I hope you decide to participate and share your gifts with the rest of us because there is never a good reason why you should hide.

Don’t hide.

Fall in love with the climb. Embrace your bruises and scars. Take a step upward. Climb with confidence. Climb with meaning.

You will get to the peak of the mountain. 

I believe in you.

You will get there and for a moment, you will bask in the glory of it all.  You will feel great, but all of your memories and all of your stories that you will begin to tell, will not be about what you saw, but rather who you were with, what you overcame, and what you had to sacrifice to get there.

Learn from Prince Harry and the Wounded Warriors.

Keep climbing and encourage others along the way.

 


a small fuss about the in between

 

Our experience of living is like water, cupped in palm of our hand.  The more you try in desperation to hold onto it, the more it slips between your fingers.  Luckily, there is plenty more just below your waist.  It will never be the water you once held in your hand, but all you have to do, is dip your hand back in the ocean, and draw out some more.

To be happy, you need to come to terms with the fact that you are not in control. 

Everything is borrowed and transitory.  Short term.  A tent, not a pyramid.

And that’s a good thing. 

I’m not sure how many more heartbreaks, shootings, senseless slaps across the face, disease, or people’s brokenness, numbness, and hatred I can see and hear about.

Thankfully, we are only tiny part of the universe, and thank God, for the infinite majesty of space.  Thank God for the courage not to take ourselves too seriously. 

Thank God for rule number 6.

Our very lives depend on our heart and its health, but we have so very little to do with it.  We owe a debt of gratitude to our parents for giving us a heart, and one day in the distant or not so distant future, that heart will decide to stop.  It will all end.  But in the meantime, you and I are given the task to speed it up, or to slow it down.

I think that is what life is all about.

It’s not about being born.  It’s not about dying.  It’s what you do in between.

It’s about the speeding up and the slowing down. 

Your entire life is a collection of events and memories enthroned with a continuous wave of ups and downs.  Just like a heart monitor, monitoring your pulse and blood pressure. 

Up.  Down.  Up.  Down. 

We are unhappy on either end of the monitor.  We get uncomfortable on the down swing, and we get oh so nervous on the upswing.  We dream of things getting better, and we fear things getting worse.  It seems we love the middle.  We are most comfortable and happy, right in the very middle. 

It doesn’t matter where we are, or how long we have been there; how old we are, how smart, what race, sex, orientation, or religious affiliation. 

It doesn’t seem to matter in the least. 

We all carry with us, the blinding illusion of control.  Of mine and yours.  Of right and wrong.  Of this and that.

We are stubborn and audacious.  We demand much of life, and we speak to her like a servant.  We ask her for things, like a spoiled child, and we demand quick answers.  We stomp our feet, clap our hands, and place unyielding demands on our life.

In truth, it is life that gets to ask us questions.

How do you like the changing of the seasons?  Can you change and adapt?  How do you like the people I have placed in your path?  Can you learn and grow? 

What will you do with an irregular heart beat?  With a monarch butterfly?  The discovery of new planets?  The extinction of another species?  With a disease that strips you of your immune system? 

What will you do with a drunk and violent husband?  A cold uncaring wife?  With beautifully autistic children?  An angry sister in law?  Childish presidents?  And the sudden death of beloved celebrities?

What will you do?

What will you think, when you know you are not in control.

You weren’t here once and you won’t be here, one day.

But you are here right now.

Carpe Diem.

What do you want to do?

When you get cancer, do you want to go for a run across the country?  When you are thrown in prison for twenty-seven years, do you want to become a world leader?  When your wife leaves you, do you still want to remain in a good relationship with the mother of your children?

Stop and listen.

Y our life is not a test.  Don’t believe the false illusion of dwarf minds.

Life is not a test. 

But she asks and demands answers to many questions.

Many magnificent but often painful questions.

It all leads towards something. 

It seems to point in some benevolent direction.

Take courage that you are not in control.

Let go.  Leap forward.

You get to decide.

Decide to be live.  To answer her questions, and be ready and grateful for some more.