Category Archives: Open-ended Thoughts

Every Meal is Proof the Universe Wants You Here

The universe arranged this buss up shut with beef, pumpkin, and aloo with an orange solo for me. Universe works wonders.

Right before you dig into your next meal, stop and consider your situation. Imagine that you have no past, that you were just plopped into existence at that very moment. Consider just what that moment is, and what it could have been.

No matter what your situation, it at least includes some food that you can eat, probably in comfort. It also includes some degree of health, ie life, otherwise you wouldn’t be eating or reading this.

It includes some man hours in terms of preparation, the harvesting of some things that grew out of the Earth that resulted from millions of years of marvelous engineering, and probably the forfeited life of an animal.

In that moment, everything is arranged so that you may have that meal and keep it moving.

Considering these things before every meal has given me a sense of joyful indebtedness to the universe. As meals keep rolling in, you can’t help but wonder “why?”

When Does a Runner Become a Runner?

Do you have a to-do list or a bucket list? Most of us do. Some of us have “make a bucket list” on our to-do list. Each list has things to check off and do, followed by the satisfaction of being able to say those are things we “did.” I went skydiving, I ran onto a football field naked, I got an STD in Thailand.

Those are things we did–but what about things we do? …and keep doing? What item is on the list that you want to do everyday, from here till as far as you can see?

If you ran a marathon, are you a runner?

Read this:

An inspiring quote, truly applicable to anyone

Any path to greatness is surely filled with practice and repetition. Something that happens once can certainly impact your life. But what can happen in just one day that actually defines your life? It’s what you work on day-in, day-out that will define you.

A runner runs. Whether he runs a marathon, never runs a marathon, or runs with one leg, he is on a quest to express the runner in him. He sees the kind of runner he would like to become but he doesn’t know the extent of how great a runner he could be. And he’s curious, he wants to find out. Nothing that can happen in one day will give him that answer–it is purely a matter of journey.

What’s worth doing every day?

Seek and Find Out

Nadal after winning his first grand slam

“Seek and you shall find.” Wow! What a big guarantee. If I seek, I shall find? Honestly, that sounds like a cheesy, empty promise that I can find in a fortune cookie in a second-rate Chinese restaurant where they yell at you when taking your order at the counter.

A lot of people are job seekers but they aren’t finding. Some people send out daily applications, visit recruiting agencies, and have created personal branding website things. Often times it leads to the business venture. So many fail in their first year because stuff just couldn’t work out.

Being fit is important to a lot of people. They invest in the athletic wear, get the right supplements, buy a gym membership or home equipment. But it’s hard when you have a big family or a demanding job.

As a country we want change. Our political leadership is failing us, we seem more and more divided, and we just can’t take it anymore. What can we do?

There are people who get jobs, start businesses, are fit with jobs and families, and people who bring about change, however. Are those people different or have some special set of talents? The more I learn from people I admire, it seems not.

Gary Vaynerchuk is one of those online guys who has a big following, started some great businesses, and became a best-selling author. His simple response when asked about what made him so bad ass was “I out worked you. Straight up, I out worked you.”

As a nation, it’s hard to say we’re seeking political change when the average American spends over an hour per day watching TV and being active voting for Project Runway contestants on Twitter, but not one hour per week researching candidates or economic policies.

As a person trying to get fit, it’s hard to say you want a six-pack when you don’t work out because “you don’t feel like it.” Saying you want to start a business but you don’t have time because you have to check out Perez Hilton.

You get where I’m going with this. The first step is honesty. Trusting that what you’re doing right now is exactly what you want to be doing, that you’re lying to yourself when you say you want to be fit as you shove a Twinkie into your face. Every second you’re making a decision. Every second you spend watching TV is a decision to watch TV and not to learn to play the harpsichord or whatever you (say you) want to do. The first step is that honesty…”so this is what is important to me.” How does that sit with you? Does this provide fire under your behind to make you want change? (Related post on embracing dissatisfaction, opens in new window – No Shame In Dissatisfaction)

Some people might respond “well, I’m not willing to give up my side things or distractions. I guess I don’t really want x y or z if it comes at the expense of my relaxation time when I get home from work.” Okay–that is good and dandy. There is nothing wrong with that.

But I want to make you think. I want to impregnate your mind with something that could drive you crazy, crazy enough that over even months of thinking about it, you reach the point you can’t sit. Did you ever wonder: What can you say that you actually tried your best at…and failed?

What have you done where you have sacrificed your TV time, where you have done something when you didn’t feel like it, where you could say you did everything in your power to accomplish, and failed? Could you be rich? Could you change the world? What can you say that you cannot do even if you gave 100% of yourself to? What if you closed off your cell phone and spend all day working on it? Is there something even worth giving this 100% to? It certainly would be a beautiful passion. Something that you’d stop watching TV for, stop doing things that you can admit are not necessary. Can you call yourself a seeker until you have tried?

Aren’t you curious about the extent of your abilities? What would it be like to die and say “I never tested myself?”

Here’s a good video for those who have not seen it. Good motivational tool. “The Secret to Success” by Eric Thomas

By the way, curiosity is a great form of motivation. I wrote about it a little in the post Why You Should Have Curiosity .

The Expectations Box

box.

“You can’t be let down if you don’t have expectations.” The worst part about expectations, however, is not that they allow the possibility of let down, but rather that they tend to cause tunnel vision. Expectations cause us to look for what we think is there versus what could be there.

It’s probably an instinctual part of survival–if every time you see a bear you get attacked, you are likely to run the next time you even smell a bear. But with this good comes a bad. Our mind becomes conditioned and we enter the process of reaffirming our beliefs.

If every girlfriend you had cheated on you, it is possible that you begin to expect all girlfriends to cheat on you. If you’ve been robbed four times and every time it was a black male, it’s possible that you begin to keep your guard up around black males. If you get poor service at the post office and the DMV often, it’s possible that you expect that government workers to be lazy.

What happens when we allow this to take place? We keep the girl who truly loves us at a distance. We push her away. We close out relationships with an entire race of people. We bring down the postal worker as we approach them with a stink attitude. The next person in line finds a hurt postal worker.

We could have had love. We could have found a friend. We could have made someone’s day.

But expectations don’t just affect our relationship to others.

I grew up with several interests, and one of them was money. I was fascinated with it and I had grandiose dreams for my future. Throughout school I had small businesses on the side, my father and mentors were business men, I even went to school for business. Money was going to be a huge part of my life. I had that expectation. Well, right now, I’m letting go of that expectation and for the first time opening up to the idea that money is not what really drives me. I’m finding more fire in things such as reading and writing. Life begins to look a lot different, but I am very glad to be here. I wouldn’t change it for anything and it makes me happy with my path. My expectations of me were boxing me in.

Good: “What if you dropped expectations of others?” Better: What do you expect of yourself? And are these expectations allowing you to be open to a you that is entirely different from the one you know?

You think you know you, but you may very well have no idea. Expecting good behavior from yourself surely is helpful. But do you expect yourself to act up when your significant other talks to the opposite sex? Do you expect that you won’t finish things you start? Do you expect to miss your bedtime again tonight? Why is that you? Can you at least be open to the idea that that isn’t you? And the you that you envisioned, being secure and thorough, and sticking to plans…can you give that you a chance? Please?

Is it because you’ve missed your bedtime ten nights in a row? Is that why you expect you’ll miss it again tonight? Isn’t that expecting the girlfriend to cheat, the postal worker to be an ass, and the black guy to be a thief? Aren’t you imposing the same faulty judgment process on your own self?

Maybe you’re the person that you dream yourself to be, that secure person who does everything they say they will. Maybe you are totally different from who you think you are.

You Will Die

Time's 'a Tickin'!

Focusing on our own mortality could be a very helpful technique used to breathe spirit into our daily lives. Boredom and laziness are not part of a healthy human being-ness; they represent a spirit so covered up with societal expectations, media garbage, and lack of questioning. Curiosity, wonder, and satisfaction from daily work are what every human soul craves. I think we slip away from these blessed states when we “forget” that we will soon enough die.

Human attempts to conquer nature are as old as humans, almost, and death has not escaped our cross-hair. Pills to make us live longer, research into DNA to see if we can reverse the aging process, and freezing ourselves are all attempts we have made to escape the seemingly inescapable. So far, no luck.

We don’t seem to want  to die, and we try to avoid it in more subconscious ways. Leaving a legacy is one of the most common thoughts of dying men and women: “What will I leave to my kids?” “How will I be remembered?” “Can I make a donation to get my name on a wall somewhere?” The curiosity, wonder, and helpful attitude endemic in human being-ness is often buried as we try to make ourselves feel whole and complete through things such as money and status. We will never be good-looking enough, rich enough, or popular enough to avoid the same death as everyone else.

Curiosity, wonder, and that helpful attitude in humans brings about joy and progress.  The best scientists, reformers, and performers of any kind have all stated that they were never motivated by money, but rather by passion to learn and discover how great they could be, how far their could go, or how real they could make their dreams. So what does death have to do with all of this?

First, let’s look at direction. The closer one comes to truly realizing that they will die, the more valuable their time on Earth becomes. You probably know when you meet someone who has had a near death experience, as they often change their entire life course, usually to go on and encourage others to follow their dreams. That should be a big enough give away right there, bucko. If you can really spend twenty minutes trying to visualize what your last hour on Earth might feel like, it very well may make your heartbeat increase as your head becomes flooded with lots of questions. The big things to pay attention to are “I should have,” “I would have,” and “I could have,” as one who faces death must truly wonder “what if I just did what I thought I should do?” “What if I was the spouse, sibling, child, me that I always envisioned, rather than giving into my excuses to not be that person?” Curiosity runs abound. Things that you “have” to do start to lose footing…you might see that what you have to do is actually what you really, deep down, want to do. From the second we are born, our time is ticking. We only can begin to live once we realize what we’re actually doing here is dying.

Next, consider the strength of living a life of principle. “If nothing is worth dying for, then nothing is worth living for.” If you believe that your race should be treated fairly, great. If they are legally treated as secondary citizens and you say “hey stop that!” and the government says “No, shut up or we’ll kill you,” and you respond “Oh, well…that’s that,” you’ve just decided that hanging onto life is more important than your principle of equal treatment. What would a life look like where nothing was worth giving up your life, though? You would essentially be clinging to life, trying to safeguard it, not giving your all for your principle in fear of losing it. This is a shame because you are going to lose it anyway.

Coming to terms with one’s own mortality leaves one powerful in the face of fear. This is useful because sticking up for principle can be quite scary. But consider that some of the most effective men and women in history were fearless.  “I know I am going to die, so why give up on my principle?” Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and Socrates were all people who faced serious consequences to their well-being because of their curiosity and dedication, yet it never fazed them, even though it did end up in some of their deaths. Those people were full of life, and maybe realized that since they will certainly die one day, the only way to die is to die doing exactly what they believed they should do.

Finally, if you are going to die tomorrow, your neighbor taking your parking spot really isn’t going to cause you to spend fifteen minutes brewing over what an inconsiderate penie-head he is. Some might say that if we are all going to die tomorrow, “we might as well go commit crime, steal, rape, pillage, do drugs, etc.” Over and over, this is shown to not be the case. I just talked a guy who was in an area that suffered serious emergency flooding. He said he was astounded at the way people came together to help one another. My friend Jonny Boy told me a story about people in the Twin Towers, who stayed by strangers in wheel chairs, unwilling to abandon a fellow human being. Stories like this are a dime a dozen, pal. When death is imminent–which it is, if we choose to acknowledge it–there is less room to screw over your fellow human being. If I have two hours to live and so do you, I’ll probably ask you if there’s anything I can do to help, as we see ourselves as travel companions here on Earth making our last wishes.

Do you think Gandhi or MLK, Jr. ever said “I’m bored?”There is so much to do and learn here on Earth, and tomorrow isn’t promised. We will die soon, and we could die in our sleep tonight.

What do you want to see, know, have accomplished on your last day on Earth?

Which is more relevant to you? Why or Why Not?

Thinking…will have to post my answer later. Would enjoy reading your comments.