Enlightened Conflict

odd little waiters bringing things you don’t always like

September 20th, 2014

odd waiters and stones

 

 

——

“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.”

=

Lemony Snicket

—–

 

 

 

 

So.

 
I wrote thoughts on fate on sept. 22nd 2013 in a post called ‘seize fate’:

http://brucemctague.com/seize-fate

 

 

 

I mention that post because I used what Beethoven actually said … “I shall seize fate by the throat.”

 

 

 

Uhm.

 

 

That means Beethoven would have strangled a shitload of odd little waiters.

odd waiter glass

 

 

 

Ok.
It’s easy to think of Fate as odd little waiters as some strange unknown people guiding our direction in life … often by giving us the unasked for dishes.
Personally?

 

 

I like the thought that we have some destiny … some fate … awaiting us.

 

That there is some reason for being here.

 

 

Yup.

 

 

 

Every.

 

Single.

 

One.

 

Of.

 

Us.

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

The struggle I imagine I have in my head with regard to this whole Fate and having odd little waiters bringing my fate to me is … well … that I like doing … and not waiting.

 

 

 

And the thought of permitting something theoretical like ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’ to take me by the hand and lead me somewhere doesn’t sit well with me.

 

 

And I also imagine that part of Life is figuring all this shit out.

fate meets coincidence

 

Fate is a combination of reacting <to circumstances thrust upon you like dishes you never ordered> and being proactive <thrusting yourself into and against circumstances>.

 

 

 

This also suggests the ability in shifting the course of things.

 

 

Yikes.

 

 

Whenever people attempt to shift the course of things … things can go horribly wrong.

 

 

But doing nothing … and not making the attempt?

 

fate seize by throat
Maybe just as risky.

 

 

 

Fate is more than assuming history … or what will be … has a shape.

 

Fate actually assumes in some way you have a role in shaping it.

 

 

 

 

“Fate makes demands of flesh and blood.

And what does it most often demand?

Flesh and blood.”

 

 

=

Russian proverb

—-

 

And this means meeting the dreams of fate … flesh & blood … or what is called ‘Kairos.’

 

 

=

<kairos: http://brucemctague.com/where-time-and-destiny-meet >

=

 

 

Kairos is the ability to adapt to and take advantage of changing circumstances.

 

 

The concept suggests you can manage what fate has in store for you if you manage the circumstances as they arise.

 

 

 

This also suggests that fate has a whole kitchen of possible dishes to serve you … not just one. And depending on what you do and how you act and what you say … the odd little waiter may end up bringing you something other than what it thought it was going to bring you a moment ago.

 

 

This also suggests some boldness.fate waiters andreas

 

 

 

Not really that ‘fate favors the brave’ but rather having the audacity to believe in this wild and wacky and somewhat chaotic world … you can actually have a say in your fate.

 

 

This also means that even if you balk at the concept of ‘being bold’ … suffice it to say that fate favors those who actually show up:

 

 

 

Interestingly … it was JK Rowling who said something along the same lines …

 

 

“Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.”

=

J.K. Rowling

—-

 

Showing up is what it is all about.

 

 

 

It seems almost weird to even suggest this … but … simply showing up can have dramatic consequences.

 

 

 

Yup.

 

 

Even something as unspectacular as ‘showing up’ can be a choice which has dramatic consequences to your destiny.

 

 

We think of fate when looking in a rear view mirror.

 

 

And often we do so without thinking about the choices … and the choices WE made … led us to the place where we saw what we saw in that rear view mirror.

 

 

And I imagine we rarely think about showing up as a key choice with some dramatic consequences.

 

 

 

Regardless.

 

 

You know … I imagine we all have to believe in some way we are here for a reason.

 

 

And that is where Fate or Destiny resides.

 

 

Somewhere in that ever elusive ‘reason.’

 

 

What do I mean?

 

 

 

Fate and destiny are the end accomplishment.

 

 

 

 

But it’s kind of up to you to figure out what that destination is.

 

 

 

fate

Unfortunately fate or destiny … well … they tend to be quiet fellows <or women>.

 

 

 

They tend to keep their thoughts to themselves.

 

 

 

Even worse?

 

 

They have a tendency to hide so you can’t sit them down and say ‘what is my fate?’ … ‘what is my destiny?’ … ‘tell me where to go’.

 

 

 

 

That makes life a little tricky because it makes some really important shit unable to be seen. So you have to make some guesses. Or maybe we should call it some ‘leaps of faith.’

 

 

So.

 

 

I read somewhere there is the seen and the unseen.

 

 

That not all is certainty in the world because if there were … there would be no opportunity for faith.

 

 

In other words … there would never be any opportunities for a ‘leap of faith.’

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

Certainty sounds pretty frickin’ nice … but … it would also seem to be a pretty dull world without that ‘faith.’

 

 

<at least in my eyes>

 

 

 

 

Therefore.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes you kind of have to reach out … either with faith … or maybe out of sheer frustration … and grab one of the odd little waiters by the throat and say ‘here is my fate … this is my destiny … now go back to the kitchen and return this frickin’ dish.”’

 

 

 

So, in the end, maybe Fate sometimes does need to be seized by the throat.

 

 

 

“I shall seize an odd little waiter by the throat and order my fate.”

=

me

——–

In the end.

 

 

You have a choice with regard to your fate …and that’s to show up and make some choices … make some leaps of faith.right thing wrong choice

 

 

 

 

 

I cannot suggest nor guarantee that all choices will be good or even guide you well … but making choices at least means your fate is a little less in the hands of some odd little waiters serving you things you haven’t ordered.

 

 

 

================

note: I also wrote this: http://brucemctague.com/coincidence-and-fate

 

 

startling

July 9th, 2014

hugh life nature and you

——–

“To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.”

Emily Dickinson

———

Life is startling.

 

 

Well.

 

That is if you let it be.

 

So often we spend time comparing ourselves to others … comparing our lives to others …comparing what we have versus others … and comparing where we are … versus others.

 

Others, others, others.

 

 

Life isn’t a race.

 

It is a journey for fuck’s sake.

 

———

“Stop comparing where you’re at with where everyone else is. It doesn’t move you farther ahead, improve your situation, or help you find peace. It just feeds your shame, fuels your feelings of inadequacy, and ultimately, it keeps you stuck. The reality is that best day of my lifethere is no one correct path in life. Everyone has their own unique journey. A path that’s right for someone else won’t necessarily be a path that’s right for you. And that’s okay. Your journey isn’t right or wrong, or good or bad. It’s just different. Your life isn’t meant to look like anyone else’s because you aren’t like anyone else. You’re a person all your own with a unique set of goals, obstacles, dreams, and needs. So stop comparing, and start living. You may not have ended up where you intended to go. But trust, for once, that you have ended up where you needed to be. Trust that you are in the right place at the right time. Trust that your life is enough. Trust that you are enough.”

Daniell Koepke

———

Life can be a shitload of fun if you enjoy it.

 

 

Yes.

 

I can guarantee on the journey:

 

–    Your car will break down <on occasion>

–    You will get caught in a downpour <so strong you cannot see an inch in front of your face>

–     There will be nights so dark you will feel alone

–     You will get lost

–    You will have an accident

–    <add in any unfortunate mishap you can think of>

But.

You will drive <you do actually get to steer you know>.

You will experience shit.

 

 

You will laugh & cry & be disappointed & be delighted.

 

 

You will be … well … startled.

 

startling success

——–

“One of the interesting things about success is that we think we know what it means. A lot of the time our ideas about what it would mean to live successfully are not our own. They’re sucked in from other people. And we also suck in messages from everything from the television to advertising to marketing, etcetera. These are hugely powerful forces that define what we want and how we view ourselves. What I want to argue for is not that we should give up on our ideas of success, but that we should make sure that they are our own. We should focus in on our ideas and make sure that we own them, that we’re truly the authors of our own ambitions. Because it’s bad enough not getting what you want, but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want and find out at the end of the journey that it isn’t, in fact, what you wanted all along.”

Alain de Botton

——-

 

 

Aw.

 

I don’t know.

 

 

Maybe I have a whacked out view on what and how Life is and should be.life love alone valentines day

 

But.

 

Startling?

 

Whew.

 

 

It sure sounds like a good Life.

 

stars and shrinking

July 1st, 2014

stars and shrinking human

——-

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I bet they’d live a lot differently. When you look into infinity, you realize there are more important things than what people do all day.”

Calvin and Hobbes

——-

So.

We seem to focus so much on what we do every day … the ‘doing’ in Life.

And while Life doesn’t force us to do so it certainly encourages us to do so.

 

Life does this by throwing obstacles and things to do and responsibility in front of us seemingly as we take each step into the day.

Because Life does this … it is seemingly impossible to do anything BUT think what we do all day as the most important thing.
And I am not here to suggest what we do each day isn’t important.

 

 

Well.

 

Maybe I am just thinking about it.

Thinking about it in a way to make sure we aren’t doing so because we are … well … shrinking.

 

Shrinking before the immensity of Life.immesnity of life norman-mailer

 

Now.

 

Immensity of life.

 

Let’s face it … it is easy to shrink before it.

 

Day to day, surprisingly, is actually easier for us to face. Not suggesting it is less difficult … just easier. It is represented in … well … things.

 

Things to do.

 

Things to say.

 

Things to check off on a list.

 

Things to put on a list.

 

There is never a shortage of ‘things.’

Life is … well … immense.

 

Immense in its intangible and vagueness.

 

I imagine I am suggesting we don’t <or at least make the attempt> shrink from purpose in Life simply using ‘what we do in daily life’ as an excuse.

shrinking focus on

But it is hard <really hard>.

 

Because ‘purpose’ is vague.

 

It is ‘doing good’.

 

Yikes.

But … does that mean doing good for whomever is in front of you at the expense of someone else? … or doing a greater good for the planet at the expense of someone in front of you?

 

Yikes <again> … yes … those choices are real.

 

Simplistically we try to believe it is simply ‘doing the right thing.’

 

But sometimes the right thing for you, or from your perspective, is the wrong thing from someone else.

 

It is ‘having a good heart’ <meaning well>.

 

But does that absolve you from meaning well but still causing harm because meaning well sometimes means not making the hard decision.

Or sometimes it does.

 

 

Purpose, to be meaningful, is a combination of intangible higher order type stuff … with some tangible daily <or weekly> decisions and choices.

 

And it is not easy.

 

And it is not easy on top of what you do in your daily lives.

 

I do believe most of us realize there are an infinite amount of ‘bigger things’ to be done.

 

I do believe most of us realize there are more important things than what people do all day.

 

And I do believe most of us shrink before the immensity of Life.

 

 

And I do not mean that as a criticism … just as something that is normal human behavior <or reaction to what is in Life>.
I don’t have answers here.
Just questions.

 

As in questioning whether I pay enough attention to things beyond what people, and I, do all day.

 

——

“I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.”
E.E. Cummings

——–stars and thinking boy

 

I imagine I believe that while I do not have the answer today if I keep asking the questions maybe I will get closer to an answer tomorrow … or in some day after that.

 

 

I kind of think that is what looking at the stars reminds us of.

 

horse racing & life

June 7th, 2014

horses Secretariat turcotte

“Place yourself to be out of trouble, that way you’ll be able to make your move. That’s the main thing — keep the horse out of trouble, and you should have no trouble.” Ron Turcotte <last triple crown jockey>

 

 

 

Well.

 

Today we will find out if we will have the first Triple Crown winner <win the Kentucky Derby, the Pimlico Preakness in Maryland and the New York Belmont Stakes in horse racing> in over 40 years.

 

 

But it is the quote that made me think about horse racing and Life.

 

First.

Keep the horse out of trouble and you should have no trouble.

 

Whew.

Life is kind of like that.

 

Navigating life is as often about keeping out of the way of trouble as it is positioning yourself to win.

Actually … they are almost two sides of the same coin.

 

And it sounds simple.

 

But keeping out of the way of trouble is difficult.

For several reasons.

One is that there are a shitload of moving parts <people and things> happening in Life all around you.

Second is that every time you may zig to get around perceived trouble … trouble zags and hits you smack into the face.

 

Think about this.

The winner of the last Triple Crown raced maybe 20000 races … and had 17000 losses <or not wins>.

Trouble arose 17000 times or so.

<but he won 3000 times>

 

horse zenThe winner of the last triple crown in over 35 years … and the rider of the only horse , the only non-human, selected by Sports Illustrated as one of the 50 greatest athletes of the 20th Century … now sits in a wheelchair because of a horse racing ‘trouble’ incident.

<but he won 3000 times including a triple crown>.

 

 

His thoughts on all his?

 

“I am just an ordinary man who was lucky enough to accomplish something.”

The guy won 3000 races.

C’mon.

He met trouble head on and did what he wanted to do.

That’s called Life.

 

 

Second.

 

Winning.

As in winning in Life:

 

“A lot of things have to go in your favor. You have to have a good support group. You have to have talent. You have to have trust that’s earned through adversity, going through good times and bad times, but you also have to have some good bounces and things have to go your way.”

 

 

The good bounces thing is what struck me.

Even with 3000 wins, even after all the winning … he understood the value of luck, of chance, and of fate.

And that maybe you have to have a lot of your own share of all three.

 

He understood that even if you are the best of the best … and doing the best of the best … the universe will sometimes do what it does.

 

In other words.

 

Success is never guaranteed.

Even if you are good … really good.

Even if you train … really train.

And even if you try your hardest.

The universe will sometimes do what it does.

 

 

Third.

 

Life isn’t about regret but rather an understanding of the moments … and horse hugopportunities Life provides.

 

 

“And our team is mature enough to understand that, to have perspective and to feel fortunate for this opportunity.”

 

 

I think it’s a little crazy when people say they deserve a chance … or deserve an opportunity … or because they worked hard that opportunity was deserved in some way.

 

Opportunities always exist … but you are not guaranteed to get them.

If you get an opportunity feel fortunate <and do your best to not waste it>.

 

 

Fourth.

 

Plans.

Or trying to insure success.

Or maybe it is the different paths to success.

 

 

“…. I just have to ride him accordingly. I don’t think anyone can tell a jockey what to do. I had a free hand when I was riding most of the time, but when they tie your hand and give you orders to be placed somewhere or do this or do that — ‘I want you to lay third,’ or ‘I want you to lay fourth’ — it might be 10 horses in the race, and nine of them have the same orders.”

 

 

Or … as he summarizes direction …

 

 

“We can’t all be in the same place, so when the gate opens, you’re on your own.”

Turcotte

 

So many times we say ‘this is the way to win’ … but you know what? … everyone is trying to win.

Oftentimes winning is about context and managing the moment.

Someone can tell you ‘this is the way to do it’ but … trust me … in Life you have to use  free hand to win the race.

 

 

Lastly.

 

Humility … or maybe it is simply acceptance of what happens.

 

The year was 1965, and Turcotte, then 23, was aboard a horse named Tom Rolfe, whom he had ridden to a Preakness win after a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Turcotte made his move too early in that race and ended up losing by a neck at the line to a Florida-bred horse called Hail To All.

 

“It was completely my fault,” Turcotte said. “I knew the horse’s fitness and all that, and I should have waited a little bit longer, and I got the horse beat. I don’t know if I was one of the best (that year), but the best can get beat the same way.”

 

 

Whew.

So he admitted … yup … admitted … he was the reason it lost.

Yikes.

Imagine that.

 

But.

 

This guy had integrity.

 

 

In a sport that has been in the past the target of shady betting schemes, fixed races and other illegal activities associated with organized crime, Turcotte <along with Darrel McHargue and British journeyman Michael Hole> was named as an “Untouchables” – three jockeys who would never be coerced into rigging races.

It was a moniker made all the more impressive when Mafia member-turned-state witness Anthony Ciulla testified in 1980 to the widespread criminal element in New York’s jockey colony and how Turcotte was an incorruptible in an easily corrupted game.

 

This unimpeachable integrity may be Turcotte’s most defining and notable distinction.horses hello

 

Well.

 

I think everything else I have written about Life and horse racing is almost irrelevant compared to that last thought.

 

 

Unimpeachable integrity.

 

Well.

 

That is Life as it should be lived.

 

as I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge

May 6th, 2014

audrey hepburn eyes

 

“Success is like reaching an important birthday and finding you’re exactly the same.”

Audrey Hepburn

 

 

Well.

 

Audrey Hepburn, who died at 63, would have been 85 this past Sunday if she had lived <born may 4th 1929 in Belgium>.

 

Most people know Hepburn for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But after her movie career she was an active ambassador for UNICEF.

 

Hepburn exuded elegance.

At any age – young & older.

 

Anyway.

 

I have no idea why I decided to sit down and write about Audrey Hepburn. I didn’t know the woman. I didn’t particularly like any of her movies. But yet … I know that every time I see a picture of her I stop … not just to look … but for some odd reason I think.

 

And forgive me … but whatever it is about Audrey … it is something I struggle to put a thought or finger on.

Its there … and it is always there … just on the tip of my tongue or the edge of my mind or sometimes even something that seems to slip in and out of the side of my vision.

 

audrey hepburn smilePart of it is … well … she seemed beautifully imperfect.

An amalgamation of imperfections and flaws wrapped up in what appeared to be a sincerely relentless strength of character.

 

I can honestly say she is one of the few people from the past who I think I would have liked to have met. I think I would have not only liked her … but I think I would have respected her. I think she would have lived up to the bar of expectations … the sometimes absurd level of hope & expectations we place on famous people.

 

 

“She had everything I was looking for: charm, innocence, and talent. She also was very funny. She was absolutely enchanting.”  – producer for the play GiGi

 

 

She was lovely, adorable, sweet and charming … and spoke several languages including English, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, and German. And if a true test of character is what a child says about their parents … you should read or hear whatever her son says about her.

 

Ah.

 

And that character of hers.

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

My favorite story I have ever heard about Hepburn.

 

Apparently Truman Capote <whose writings Breakfast is based on> thought that Hepburn was ‘grossly miscast’ as Holly Golightly.

And I imagine he was correct because the Hepburn’s portrayal of Holly Golightly was adapted from the original.

 

Why?

 

“Because I can’t play a hooker” she admitted to the producer of the film.

 

Regardless.

She was stunningly attractive … in an imperfect way.

As she called it … a good mixture of defects.audrey hepburn perfect imprefcet

 

 

Hepburn’s iconic look was what she thought of as “a good mixture of defects.” She thought she had a big nose and big feet, and she was too skinny and not enough breast. She would look in the mirror and say, ‘I don’t understand why people see me as beautiful.’

Audrey Hepburn’s son Luca Dotti

 

 

I think it should remind us that imperfections well embraced exude character.

 

Imperfections well used exude character … and elegance <not awkwardness>.

 

Imperfections well accepted become perfections.

 

And within all of this imperfect perfectness … she also somehow exuded … well … humanness. Maybe the better word is … some sense of being relatable.

She never seemed to step down from the unattainable clouds to bless us with her presence … somehow she seemed to be already among us … beautifully unnoticed.

 

audrey hepburn look busMaybe she was able to do this because she didn’t live a perfect life … but never dwelled on the imperfections Life dealt her.

 

In one interview Hepburn spoke about growing up during World War 2:

 

“I have memories. More than once I was at the station seeing trainloads of Jews being transported, seeing all these faces over the top of the wagon. I remember, very sharply, one little boy standing with his parents on the platform, very pale, very blond, wearing a coat that was much too big for him, and he stepped on to the train. I was a child observing a child.”

 

 

She also occasionally acted as a courier for the resistance delivering messages and packages.

 

And … during the war … Hepburn, who was a talented ballet dancer, secretly danced for groups of people to collect money for the Dutch resistance.

 

 

“The best audience I ever had made not a single sound at the end of my performances.”

Audrey Hepburn

Well.

This is from a woman who at the pinnacle of her fame was applauded on the streets.

Ladies & gentlemen readers … this is called ‘perspective.’

 

Fame has a tendency to warp perspective.

It didn’t seem like it did for her.

 

She said she lived life unconditionally. And she did … and didn’t.

Her love life certainly wasn’t perfect … and her own self esteem seemed to wander into some dark places on occasion.

 

But.

She worked hard to be the best she could be … but she never talked about how audrey hepburn 86hard she worked.

She just did it.

 

My sense is she always showed up … she always did things … always did what she thought was right … and let the chips fall as they may.

 

Anyway.

 

I apologize because I typically try and make some point when I share my thoughts.

But even though I am writing about things that I think should matter to us … I still haven’t figured out the elusive ‘thought’ that Audrey Hepburn seems to capture.

 

I admit I loved her attitude toward life:

 

“I decided, very early on, just to accept life unconditionally; I never expected it to do anything special for me, yet I seemed to accomplish far more than I had ever hoped. Most of the time it just happened to me without my ever seeking it.”

Audrey Hepburn

 

 

I admit I loved the blend of her style and her demeanor.

 

I admit I loved her beauty because she embraced a fantastic sense of audrey hepburn tomboytomboyishness lady elegance <yikes … figure out how to do that ladies>.

 

I admit that I loved what I perceived she had … that Audrey had something so lacking in the world today … a combination of classy accessibleness.

Or maybe she felt above us and yet among us.

 

I admit that whatever it was … whatever she ‘had’ … she exuded it.

 

I struggle to believe we ever <and on this I truly mean ever> see the likes of the tomboyishly elegantly lovely Audrey Hepburn again.

 

And that is surely our loss.

 

—————————————————————-

 

After her death … Gregory Peck went on camera and, very emotionally, recited her favorite poem “Unending Love” by Rabindranath Tagore.

 

It is a truly perfectly lovely poem for an imperfectly lovely lady.

 

 

“If my world were to cave in tomorrow, I would look back on all the pleasures, excitements and worthwhilenesses I have been lucky enough to have had. Not the sadness, not my miscarriages or my father leaving home, but the joy of everything else. It will have been enough.”

Audrey Hepburn

 

 

Gregory Peck video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DL_yVhwxCSY

 

The Poem:

 

 

Unending Love

 

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…

In life after life, in age after age, forever.

My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,

That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,

In life after life, in age after age, forever.

 

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, its age-old pain,

Its ancient tale of being apart or together.

As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,

Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:

You become an image of what is remembered forever.

 

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.

At the heart of time, love of one for another.

We have played along side millions of lovers, shared in the same

Shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell-

Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

 

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you

The love of all man’s days both past and forever:

Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.

The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours –

And the songs of every poet past and forever.audrey hepburn

 

 

Rabindranath Tagore.

back where we began

April 24th, 2014

beginning finished

 

“And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – t.s. eliot

 

 

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” – T.S. Eliot

 

 

Life has a set of rules we live by.

In fact … lots of rules.

Rules on how to live life … how to think about life … how to look at life.

There are so many rules it gets confusing.

 

Trust me.

They are all there … unwritten … yet etched in people’s mind and heads … because we live … well … in a community that functions because there is an understanding among its members.

 

Some may call it civilization … or being civilized … I don’t really bucket it in do your best rulesanyway other than in other Life has its rules and requires some responsibilities.

 

I imagine I am suggesting that some of those rules are good.

The responsibilities ones.

I will call it kind of the responsibility compass:

 

Be mindful of others.

Do the best you can.

Be the best you can.

Don’t kill anyone.

Don’t purposefully do the wrong thing.

Be honest <or maybe just don’t lie about anything big>.

Do the right thing as often as you can.

 

Yet.

 

Some of these rules are confuxing <or are ‘confuxed’>.confuxed

 

They are fucked up <or they fuck us up> and they are confusing.

 

Why?

Because there is a lot of vagary and non specifics. There is a lot of room to roam within these Life responsibilities … or … uhm … our responsibilities to Life.

Within all these rules and responsibilities we not only have an almost infinite boundless area in which we have freedom to roam … but we also don’t have any specific rules in how to go about living Life … or even how to live life.

We also struggle because we want to use last year’s words … while next year’s words are awaiting to be spoken <but most of us can’t identify those words>.

 

Anyway.

Oddly … all of this vagary and boundaries are both boundless and restricting.

 

And maybe it is because we view these unwritten rules as too boundless we tend to begin building boundaries in the sense of constricting or measuring in steps what we do … or how we should view Life.

 

And maybe we shouldn’t view it that way.

 

While there are gobs of books telling us how to think and what to do … there is no ‘one way.’ There is no secret nor is there any magic formula.

 

That’s why life begins and ends and has something in the middle.

 

Something in which the only real destination that matters … or is real … is the end.

Everything else is simply a stop sign … maybe a yield sign … not a dead end sign.

 

So many people set specific destinations in life.

Goals .. milestones … whatevers.

 

beginning lamourOnly to find it isn’t really a destination … simply a rest stop on the highway. In fact … many of those destinations, which are desired and have been well defined outlined and tasked, turn out to be places we reach and as you take a look around with a satisfied sigh of completion … well … you end up saying …  ‘shit. I’m lost.’

 

Or.

You get there and say to yourself … now that I have made it here … what the fuck was I thinking … I want to go farther.

 

 

 

“We didn’t come this far … to only come this far.”

Unknown

 

 

And then you start all over again.

 

It is quite possible that you … well … arrive back where you started <metaphorically … not literally> … and maybe … just maybe … you will actually know it … understand it … for the first time.

 

I stopped telling myself that I’m lost.

I’m not.

I’m on a road with no destination, I’m just driving with hope that I’ll find a place that I like and I’ll stay there.

I’m not lost, I’m on my way.

Ahunnaya

 

 

Life is never linear.

Life is perpetual circles and cycles.

beginning energy continuous

And yet we constantly try to make it linear only to be constantly disappointed when we end up back where we began.

And disappointed when the words we vocalize end up being last year’s words.

 

All I imagine I tend to think about is that, in Life, there is truly only one beginning … and one end.

 

Everything else is somewhere in between with some wrong way signs, some yield signs and maybe some stop signs … and I imagine that means most of us feel lost on occasion.

 

And maybe we should simply think we are … well … on our way.

dance along death’s icy brink

March 31st, 2014

 

dance on the brink kids

“Cease, Man, to mourn, to weep, to wail; enjoy thy shining hour of sun; We dance along Death’s icy brink, but is the dance less full of fun?” –  Richard Francis Burton

 

 

Well.

This is about attitude.

 

And business.

 

And the occasions in your work life when you have the opportunity to dance on the icy brink of Death.

 

Oh.

And about the fact that dancing is … well … dancing.

 

Now.

Unfortunately many people don’t look at it that way.

 

They look at where their feet are instead of what their feet are doing.

They get freaked because they are being asked to dance along Death’s icy brink.

 

Let’s be clear about this moment.

 

You may be on the icy brink of Death <in some business situation>.

 

The sun is out.

The spotlight is on.

In fact … these are not the dark days … the plodding grind it out days … nor the days burdened by mistakes or failure.

 

These are the days where as you dance on the brink it is clear and uncluttered and bright and warm and … well … this is it.

 

These are the moments which business people dream of.

 

You know what I mean … THOSE moments.

 

Everything clears … and is clear … and you have the opportunity to dance. dance where we evolveTo do your thing. To … well … suffice it to say … most of in business dream of these moments … and they are often few and far between.

 

 

Yet.

 

So often.

 

Instead of taking the opportunity to dance.

 

They mourn. They weep. They wail.

 

They don’t see the opportunity to dance. They only see that their feet stand on the icy brink of Death. They only see uncertainty … and <possible> death if they slip.

 

Now.

Let me be clear.

No really good business person actually aims to dance on the icy brink of Death. But that’s not really the point.

Much of business is simply managing the moments that arise.

 

Some shit you can control.

Most you cannot.

And the majority of the time these moments to dance, your moment, is not created by any plan you have developed but rather in spite of your plan. No plan goes as planned. And therein lies the dances that occur on the icy brink of Death.

 

And I say that because a shitload of people don’t dance because they are too busy regrouping around the ‘plan’ to see what went wrong. To discuss why the dancing on the edge nohell we have this ‘opportunity’ to dance … ON THE ICY BRINK OF DEATH they moan … and gnash their teeth … and wring their hands … and seek to blame someone.

In other words … do anything but dance.

 

 

And you want to frickin’ dance.

 

 

Well.

 

Those who want to dance in those moments? Those are the people you are looking for in business. They do not focus on the uncertainty of dancing on an icy brink … they are only certain they know the dance.

 

Those who see dancing as dancing. Where they dance is almost irrelevant to them. They aren’t clueless as to the location of the dance <therefore they are careful where they put their feet> but other than that … they don’t care where the dance is … just let them dance.

 

Enjoy the sun … the clarity … stop the mourning and wailing … and frickin’ dance.

 

My point?

 

Pretty simple.

In business all that matters is being able to dance and enjoy it. Because if you enjoy it you will be successful.

 

If you focus on where you are dancing … well … I imagine in some way you are claiming dancing is best, or better, in some places rather than others.

 

I believe those who don’t care where they dance are the best of the best. The business people you kill for. The ones you pay a little extra for to keep around.

 

But that’s me.

 

And, in fact, I know I have seen some great dancers … mostly younger … who never get an opportunity to dance on the icy brink of Death not because opportunities don’t exist … but because senior management does <a> anything but dance when on the icy brink, <b> anything to get away from the icy brink or <c> anything to explain why the opportunity to dance was actually occurring on the icy brink <or all of these or any combination of these>.

 

Once again.

Good business people don’t seek dancing on the icy brink of Death.

 

But neither do they not dance there if the opportunity arises.

 

Anyway.

danced on the edge

Just think about it.

 

Because in the end … dancing in business is fun. It’s the stuff that gets the heart pumping and when good stuff happens … and … well … that’s kind of why you are working for gods sake … those moments. All the rest of your working life is nothing but … well … no dancing.

 

So why miss any opportunity to dance … no matter where it is?

 

forever and one second

February 6th, 2014

 

Alice:                    “How long is forever?one second width

White Rabbit:    “Sometimes, just one second”

 

<Tim Burton … from Alice in Wonderland movie but never in Lewis Carroll’s books>

 

Ok.

Regardless of whether this is a made up literary quote or not … it is a thoughtful thought.

It is kind of Tim Burton’s version of Mr. Margorium’s “37 seconds is a lifetime if used well.” < http://brucemctague.com/waiting-versus-living  >

 

I imagine I am writing about living instead of waiting … and recognizing that even if you do live … some moments in time are different than others <although they all surely look the same as they appear on the watch>.

 

But.

Time is a funny thing.

It can ebb and flow all within a finite amount of time.

It can increase speed and decrease speed and yet remain an extremely identifiable finite amount of time.

one second yearsIt can take years of asking and creating questions … and a second to answer everything.

 

All of which makes me think of two things:

 

–          Memorable moments

–          Moment of clarity

 

Obviously they are not the same thing … but could end up being the same moment.

Anyway.

 

First.

              Memorable moments.

 

I sometimes call these untangled moments.

Life is a tangled snarled bunch of moments. But every once in a while you inadvertently pull the right end of the string and the knot is released … everything becomes untangled.

 

It can be a smile from some across the room.

It can be a falling star.

It can be something really big … a seemingly small decision made amongst many.

 

Frankly … you don’t notice many of these ‘one seconds’ when they happen.

 

“In real life turning points are sneaky. They pass by unlabeled and unheeded. Opportunities are missed, catastrophes unwittingly celebrated. Turning points are only uncovered later, by historians who seek to bring order to a lifetime of tangled moments.” —Kate Morton, The House At Riverton

 

It is in reflection that these seconds last forever.

A moment etched in time.

These are truly ‘a second that is forever.’

 

Finally an interesting paradox … explained for you.

 

Now you can tell someone how one second can also be forever.

 

Second.

            Moments of clarity

 

Clarity is an amazing thing.

It can be forced externally <let’s call these ‘oh shit’ moments> and internally <I call these ‘lock picking’ moments>.

 

Oh shit moments.

Physiologically ‘oh shit’ moments actually causes the mind to become intensely focused. focusThis physiological response actually permits our brains to record more data than normal.

 

Physiologically what also happens is that memory then ends up replaying the information in slow motion mostly to assimilate all the additional information stored in there.

Think of it like filming something with a high speed camera and then replaying it at a normal speed.

 

I cannot figure out if time slows down … or our mind speeds up … to accommodate more information.

 

Doesn’t really matter.

Oh shit makes us focus … and when focused our minds are pretty amazing computers. They create moments of clarity. These moments may be fleeting <and some of us actually miss the clarity moment as it passes by> and we become simply overwhelmed by all the data.

 

That leads me to the internally forced moment of clarity.

 

The first is what I just explained above. Focused minds overwhelmed by data offer an open window to a moment in clarity.

The challenge?

Life slams the window shut pretty frickin’ fast.

You have to almost train yourself, and your mind, to see thru the window for the moment it is open.

 

The second is truly the ‘lock picking’ moment.

 

Lock picking moments.

Why do I call it ‘lock picking’?

 

one second beautyI don’t know how to crack a safe or pick a lock <and I imagine I wouldn’t broadcast it if I did> … but I do know what it feels like to have a moment of clarity when thinking about something. It is like having all the tumblers in the lock suddenly align and you hear the click of the lock unlocking.

 

And, yes, I swear I hear a sound in my head when it happens. Oh. And it is a frickin’ beautiful sound.

 

I am often asked to describe it … and I do so … but I cannot explain the noise of the moment of clarity when the tumblers align.

I imagine it is just in my head.

But I tell people that is what you are seeking. When everything just falls into place your mind will tell you in some form or fashion that you have entered into a moment of clarity.

 

Interestingly … maybe this is just me … but I have found that these moments are also very similar to the first one I described in that Life doesn’t hold that window open for long.

 

What I mean is that I have learned over time to write it down or say it out loud to someone when the tumblers fall into place.

Maybe the mind simply opens that door which you just unlocked and closes it behind you and you immediately enter a new hallway with dozens of other locked doors and the mind moves on.

 

I don’t know.

 

All I know is that moments of clarity are simply moments. They may echo in eternity <lasting forever> … but only if you actually recognize them.

 

If you don’t?

That one second just gets buried under the mound of other missed seconds.

 

 

“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” – David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

 

 

And yet … within the multitude of drops … the limitless ocean called Life …one second can be forever.

Uhm.

Can.

 

You just have to make sure you pay attention.

 

That said.

I will end with two relevant quotes from two great thinker/writers:

 

“Forever is made up of now.” – Emily Dickinson.

 

 

“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.” ― Kurt Vonnegut

 

 

Kurt & Emily probably loved Alice in Wonderland.

 

There is no why … because how can there be in a world of nonsense … where we seek to find some sense?

The ‘forever one seconds’ always end up being trapped in amber.

 

Here you go … the full Tim Burton script:infinite i sweaer

 

“It is better to be feared than loved.”

“The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?

Alice: I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would.”

“I’m not strange, weird, off, nor crazy, my reality is just different from yours”

”Alice: How long is forever? White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second”

 

In the end I can only chuckle.

 

One second?

 

Of course one second can be forever.

<and I am not entirely bonkers>

shrinking

January 24th, 2014

 

“No one and nothing is worth shrinking for.” – Indigo Williamsshrinking goethe

 

 

Well.

I’m a pretty pragmatic guy.

 

But.

Sometimes you have to push back a little … push back against reality.

Or maybe what everyone else sees as reality.

 

Now.

This isn’t about hope. And, shit, not even dreams and dreaming.

 

This is simply about … well … not shrinking. Or maybe not getting the life sucked out of you. Life is tough enough as it is … and Life does a pretty nice job of trying to erode you <wear you down> … that is its version of shrinking you.

Wearing you down.

 

It’s tough enough just keeping an eye out to insure Life doesn’t shrink you.

 

But other people?

Well.

They ain’t as big and important as Life.

 

Notice Life begins with a capital L and people begins with a small p.

 

That should make my point.

 

There are a lot of people out there who walk around as if they are a capital P type person … and maybe they have some title … and they even maybe have earned some respect … and absolutely you should listen to some people more closely than others … but no one is worth shrinking for.

 

I have seen many people … and often some very senior experienced people … fawn over little p people with big p titles … and if you look closely you can see them visibly shrink before your very eyes.

Its sad.

And slightly frightening to watch.

 

Me?

That’s proof enough that I will not permit that to happen.

 

Some people are more important than others … but no people is worth shrinking for.

 

Lastly.

How people use Life in a sneaky way to encourage you to shrink.

 

 

“People will kill you over time, and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases, like ‘be realistic’.” —Dylan Moran

 

Sneaky.

These people <who have likely accepted self shrinkage> are doing and saying things so that you become like them … shrinkers.

stop hand

They will be relentless. And you need to say “stop.”

 

Yes … yes … yes. There is a pragmatic side.

Absolutely.

You have to keep your eyes open and your mind clear and judge what is happening around you … but even a realistic decision shouldn’t diminish … shouldn’t shrink you … it <at its worst> should just put you on hold. A momentary situation until you can grow some more.

 

Shrink? Never.

Just watch out … because people <small p and big p minded people> can be sneaky in their attempt to encourage shrinkage.

 

In the end?

 

No one or nothing is worth shrinking for.

 

Simple as that.

 

Enlightened Conflict