A friend of mind equates having questions to being curious. We all have questions, but most of ask them like a lawyer at a deposition—“Never ask a question if you do not know the answer.” We spend so much time avoiding the “stupid question”, nodding our heads when we have no clue. As we age and our ego dominates, we prefer to look smart than learn anything. Questions do not make you curious.
Writing is part of my meditative process to clarify my thoughts, to align my actions and to focus on my purpose. I write about my emotions, my shortcomings, and my ideas for a better world through poetry, prose, and what I call rantifestos every day, some of which I post here on my blog and on social media. I share them to help others move along their paths to live and lead with compassion.
We live in a society where our health is an afterthought. We subscribe to a trickle-down theory for our well-being. We are told to fit in, to conform, to assimilate, and to get along. This crazy tension between these pressures and who we are, want to be and are meant to be, undermines our well-being. So much of our society tries to push us into molds behind the façade of independence and individuality. As the old Asian proverb espoused, “The nail that sticks up will be hammered down.” Expectations to go to college, buy a big house, nice car, get promoted, buy more things, the kids go to college and try to outdo their parents and the vicious cycle continues. The stock market soars, GDP rises but we feel like we have more debt than dreams. A recent study of adolescents showed that suppressed “meaning” and “dreams” were the sources of their anxiety. Can you hear the hammers?
So much of our society operates from a trickle-down mentality.
I have no brakes on
…analysis is for those
who are paralyzed by life.
A scary thought: Do people live their lives the way they drive? I wonder sometimes. Having taken a basic course on the Sebring racetrack, you learn the techniques to be efficient and fast. When to go slow, when to hit the gas and when to brake. Kinda like life. As I have been traversing mountains of late, I have noticed how some drivers brake up hill. Constant application of the brakes while going up the mountain. Used to bother me but now it fascinates me. How fear, lack of competence, and perhaps unfamiliarity can trigger such non-intuitive living, I mean driving.
Separating ourselves from the “other” has been the plight of humanity and part of our storied evolution. Tribes, territories, and Darwinian strategies to cull the herd. I think therefore I am. There is no WE in survival. I must separate myself from the “inferior” people who dilute the march towards progress.
Covid, voting, giving time, money, religion, parenting, social media, race, gender, disability can spawn mythical islands of isolation and separation. Dream-like places where we are all powerful, we control everything and conveniently eliminates our dependency on so many people and resources. An island oasis that is superior because it has exiled the unwashed bad apples.
How do you read this quote? Optimist, pessimist, fatalist?
Yet we know that birth portends death. There are a finite number of grains of sand in the hourglass.
As Stephen Covey advised, “Begin with the end in mind.”
But how do we use this to our advantage?
Some of us romanticize death, many fear it, and most deny it.
It makes me sick as I am counseling people making career changes, leaving one job for “greener pastures”. So consumed with leaving they can’t really remember how they grew as people. They can’t tell a credible story about how they optimized the time there. “Too busy”, “Too much stress” “office politics” so many reasons why they did the minimum work. Work good enough for the position, but not extraordinary experience of learning and growing. And some do not depart with the most basic milestones—a better resume, a better human development story, a better mentor, and a better network.
For the Ego kills the ability to feel the pain of others. For this is the test of our own struggles. Do we feel in our hearts and our bodies what others are experiencing? Or do we rationalize it? That is the Ego doing it’s dirty work, making the tragedies of the world explainable, justifiable and fixable. And therefore not MY problem. The further we remove ourselves from the ills of the world, because we can’t let them interfere with our self-important pursuits, our true inner selves are submerged beneath our separateness from the world and each other. And our best self, our virtuous self, gets sedated and suppressed.
We like to read lists. We like to make lists. When we cross things off a list we feel productive. We are getting stuff done! Check the box. Complete a task. Keep moving forward.
The list never ends and we are busy.
Check, check, check
We like checkboxes to give us the illusion of control over the world and yet we miss the big picture.
When we reduce to life to checkboxes we can miss what is happening around us. We miss the serendipity, the possibility and any awe and wonder that the world—that’s all 😊
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