Paradigm

You can’t know what’s outside your paradigm. That’s what a paradigm is.

It’s enough to accept that we don’t know everything, that there is more out there, to begin to change that paradigm. But it changes on its own, you don’t change it.

We just need to be aware that we have one.

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Chasing Happiness

I started reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” by Mark Manson a couple days ago and this piece just floored me.

“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.”

We shouldn’t chase the positive, but we can be ready to accept it when it comes to you. Sit in your negative experience and experience it positively.

I’ve read a lot about the stoic philosophy of being ok with being unhappy, unsafe, etc. But this line really made me understand it better. We need to come to an understanding that each instant in our life is just an instant. It will change. We move through it. So why be upset about it? Can we learn from it, use it?

What’s Your Thing?

Do you have a passion for something? Something that you do really well? Something that you think about constantly? A thing that you live to do?

I’ve grown up hearing people ask about that. At every stage of my life I’ve heard people on tv, writing articles and books, and now podcasters and social media gurus, droning on about finding your niche, your passion, your thing that sets you apart. “That’s where you’ll fit in perfectly! If you can make a career out of it, you’ll be the happiest person!”

So, what’s mine? Reading my blog, scrolling through my social media feeds, looking around my house, you probably wouldn’t be able to guess it. I’ve always felt a bit uninspired on the “passion” front.

When I was a kid, getting some friends and playing was the goal. When I was a teen, I focused on, well, honestly, getting any boy to chase me. And then I kind of fell into theater work, sets and stages, lights. I went to work in that field and did well. Then I got married and had some kids and raised them. I have things I like to do. I can sew a bit, knit, make soap. I read a lot. I love to read. I’m not a big people person, but I do like people watching. I like to go out and do things, but generally I’d rather do it anonymously with my favorite person or two.

But today, it hit me.

I have a passion for being in this world among the people I love. It’s simple really. I am truly passionate about being, that’s it. And that’s what I write about. When I find something interesting, I write about it. When I find something that works for me, I write about it. When I’m confused, angry, or frustrated, I write about that too.

What’s your passion?

Abundance

You know how we get a person that does not hoard what they have, one that shares openly with others, one that cares about how others near him feel?

Abundance. A person raised without the fear of having what he has taken away (not forcing a child to share) does not hoard what he has. A person that is raised around openly sharing parents (when they ask you give) shares openly with others. A person that is raised being respected, one that isn’t told they’ll get something to cry about, one that isn’t shamed for being scared and forced to face it, one that is touched, held, caressed, and loved even when they are angry, sad, or frustrated, ends up caring how others feel.

The opposite holds true as well. Force a child to share his toy and he will hold tighter and hide what he has. Tell a child “No you can’t have a bite of my ice cream or a sip of my coffee.” “You sleep over there in your bed.” “This is my living room, go play in your playroom.”, will grow up to be a person that does the same to the people around him. Bully a child into submission to your will, to do what you want him to do, through violence or the threat of violence, and he will become a bully to those smaller than him too.

Ask and accept a no.

Give what you can.

Be kind and accepting.

Fill their cup and they’ll have plenty for others when they are ready.

There is a choice. Really.

“The year 1968 was a good one to come out with a dashing anthropological adventure yarn claiming to prove that warfare is ancient and integral to human nature.

The year began with the revolution in Prague and the TET offensive in Vietnam. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s worst dream came true in Memphis, Robert Kennedy was felled in a hotel kitchen, and blood and chaos ran in the streets of Chicago. Richard Nixon slinked into the White House, Charles Manson and his lost followers plotted mayhem in the dry hills above Malibu, and the Beatles put the final touches on the White Album. The year ended with three American astronauts, for the first time ever, gazing back upon this fragile blue planet floating in eternal silence, praying for peace.”

From “Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it means for Modern Relationships” by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha

This book is world shaking, seriously. I got it because it was recommended from another article about relationships and how our culture may have a skewed idea about what human nature really is. It’s about sex but it’s rocking my whole world and relating to every aspect of my life.

This paragraph made me stop and think about my friends who believe humans are irreparably damaged goods, probably even evil from the get-go. I’ve had this idea that we really aren’t for a long time. I’ve started to think maybe somewhere, somehow, everything became skewed. Like the Little Mermaid says, “I just don’t see how a world that makes such wonderful things could be bad!”

The truth is, we (humans) could go both ways. Kindness and abundance makes for happiness, more kindness and abundance. The more love, the more kindness, the more open and communicative we are, the more those around us do the same. When a child expresses anger or frustration in ugly/hurtful ways, punishing it in ugly/hurtful ways only creates a feedback loop of the same ugly and hurtful actions. We’ve chosen to create a different feedback loop in our home and recently I’ve begun attempting to create that feedback loop in other areas of my life. It seems to be working.

What Can I Do?

Aubrey Marcus is in my brain the last few weeks. His interview with Tim Ferriss was amazing, so much so, that I went out and ordered his book the next week. I finally got to reading it and I’m captivated once again. I love reading his words. It’s like he’s in my head!

I highly recommend “Own The Day.” It’s a great manual style book that can change your life and your perspective on a lot of things. Many of the things he suggests are things I’ve already been doing. Some I’ve tried and gave up on, but I’m trying again because his explanation of why or how gave me a new reason to give it a chance.

From his blog, I started reading “Sex At Dawn: How we mate, Why we stray, And what it means for modern relationships” by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha. That’s a book to wrap your brain around! Buckle your seatbelt while you read that one. I’ll be writing more about it later.

And then, of course, I had to listen to his podcast while I do the dishes, ‘cause that’s my thing. And the first one that comes up is The Game of Life with Erick Godsey. It took me three mornings to hear it all and I was floored the whole time. Where have these guys been all my life?! Lucky for me, there was a .pdf to download that had all the “quests” and notes written out. It’s in my hot little hands now!

The very end of the podcast, he read a poem he wrote called “Why.” I had to sit down by the second stanza and by the end I was bawling. It just touched my soul.

The quest from the podcast episode that really hit me was “Quest 9 – Serve Your Medicine”

And from the .pdf, “Everyone is trying their best, and you can help their best be better, even if just a little, if you serve your medicine.”

He talked about defeating Self-Judgment and Self-Criticism with Forgiveness.

I imagined it like this. If you were climbing up a ladder, would you be helping more if you immediately reached back behind you and gave someone a hand or a hint to make climbing easier, or would it be better to leave them down there at the bottom, get all the way to the top of the ladder and then yell down instructions?

We don’t need to be at the top of our game to help those around us do better. We can help from right we are. I may not have this whole life thing figured out, but I do know I’m doing better than I was yesterday and what I’ve learned so far I can pass on right now.

So what’s holding me back? Am I so critical of myself that I don’t think what I have to say is important enough to be said? Much of the time I re-read what I wrote or even think about my notes and wonder what the point is. Anyone can write this stuff. There’s no revelation in it, nothing original. But then again, no one has seen this flower from my perspective, through my eyes, from my experience. Why not describe it again? Would a painter not paint a sunset because someone else already has? Would the painting not be as beautiful on my wall?

So, I think he’s got something there. This is resonating a lot. Now if I can just find a way to remember this feeling, to put it on a post-it reminder.

But there is something else. Distraction. I’m distracted way too easily by inane things. I scroll through Facebook looking for entertainment like I open the fridge a hundred times looking for the perfect snack that never appears. I need to find a way to remember an insight or idea I had earlier and then be able to focus and write about it later. There’s good stuff in this brain. I just need to find a consistent way to get it out.

I get a lot of ideas while I’m reading, but then lose them by the end of the book. I’m wondering if it would help me to make a few notes after my morning read and throw some sentences together to come back to when it’s my time to sit and write. The same goes for podcasts and even some social media posts that inspire me.

It’s like I’m in a room full of butterflies. I see one that fascinates me and I want to catch it to take a closer look. Two things can happen when I reach for it. The first is that I can crush it when I finally get a hold of it. That’s when I doubt my ability to think clearly and communicate, or when I decide that my words aren’t worth speaking.

The second is that I get distracted by the others floating around and start chasing those as well. That’s when I remember the laundry in the dryer, the book I read yesterday, the disgusting display I saw on Facebook, or the thing my husband said. Exhausted and disgusted with my lack of ability, I give up and walk away.

So this is my quest, to share my medicine. I currently have the most amazing life. I’ve never felt better, both physically and emotionally. I have talented and intelligent kids that are starting to move mountains. I have an interesting and evolving relationship with the most wonderful man. I have some great friends and family and honestly, I’m working on that front a little better. That’s the only word I can use to describe it, “better.”

The bottom line is that our family has lived a different lifestyle, an odd way of doing a lot of things. Every day I learn more, more veils are lifted, more doors are opened. Can I help others out there see those doors, or at least that they are out there?