What’s Stopping You?


Thinking is my fighting.

yoga-woman


Running. Which way?

a-good-day-Erica-Hopper

It makes me wonder, Do we spend most of our days trying to remember or forget things? Do we spend most of our time running towards or away from our lives? I don’t know.

Markus Zusak


Painting by Erica Hopper via christinasanantonio.  Bio for Markus Zusak

Let’s pretend

Let’s say that you are driving this semi-trailer truck.
Let’s say you are hauling 25,000 pounds – a full load.
Let’s say it’s a snow covered road in Ontario, Canada.
Let’s say you are rounding the corner on a two-lane highway.
And let’s say that you see two sets of headlights coming at you
- – One from a Snow Plow
- – The other a fully loaded semi passing the Snow Plow on a double, solid yellow line…



You are a fish on a line. Getting Unhooked.

Miroslav Minar - woman

“Sixteen thousand—that’s how many words we speak, on average, each day. So imagine how many unspoken ones course through our minds. Most of them are not facts but evaluations and judgments entwined with emotions—some positive and helpful…others negative and less so (He’s purposely ignoring me; I’m going to make a fool of myself; I’m a fake).

The prevailing wisdom says that difficult thoughts and feelings have no place at the office: …leaders, should be either stoic or cheerful; they must project confidence and damp down any negativity bubbling up inside them. But that goes against basic biology. All healthy human beings have an inner stream of thoughts and feelings that include criticism, doubt, and fear. That’s just our minds doing the job they were designed to do: trying to anticipate and solve problems and avoid potential pitfalls.

…Leaders stumble not because they have undesirable thoughts and feelings—that’s inevitable—but because they get hooked by them, like fish caught on a line. This happens in one of two ways. They buy into the thoughts, treating them like facts (It was the same in my last job…I’ve been a failure my whole career), and avoid situations that evoke them (I’m not going to take on that new challenge). Or, usually at the behest of their supporters, they challenge the existence of the thoughts and try to rationalize them away (I shouldn’t have thoughts like this…I know I’m not a total failure), and perhaps force themselves into similar situations, even when those go against their core values and goals (Take on that new assignment—you’ve got to get over this). In either case, they are paying too much attention to their internal chatter and allowing it to sap important resources that could be put to better use. [Read more...]

Luck likes you best when you’re looking for it the least

Anna Luyten-Portrait - Portfolio - Stephan Vanfleteren

“…Did you know they have performed studies? Tests? Surveys and scientific trials into the idea of luck, into the phenomenon of good fortune? Of course they have. They are trying to answer why some people enjoy endless, seemingly effortless heaps of happy fortuitousness and serendipity, while others – do you know anyone like this? – are in a state of near constant, ass-clenched frustration because the world refuses to obey their narrow and twitchy expectations, and therefore they are always sick, broken, late, damaged, loveless and lost, and nothing good or happy or fortunate ever seems to happen to them. Don’t believe it? Just ask them…

It’s a dead-simple thing, really: Luck is a choice. Luck is a modality, a way of operating, a thing you can switch on in an instant and then enjoy its throb and heat and pulse forever and ever until you die, like a cosmic rabbit vibrator for your soul…

“Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected. As a result, they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. Lucky people, on the other hand, are more relaxed and open, which means they see what is there.”

See? Obvious. But there’s a catch: Despite its simplicity, it’s not at all easy to change modes and switch that luck energy on. After all, misery is addictive. Millions of people are deeply attached to their suffering, their haphazard convictions, their inability to see how their own nervous monofocus and attachment to particular goals or obsessive desires might be blocking out all manner of opportunity right here and now, in the white-hot immediate moment. [Read more...]

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah

zip line, zip lining

The hotel made us sign a waiver before we stepped on the bus. We had to sign a second waiver at the check-in after we arrived at the Tour Site.

Please read carefully, complete and then sign below.

  1. Has a doctor advised you not to participate in certain activities?
  2. Do you have any fears of the following: closed or open spaces; heights; and/or animals?
  3. Do you have any vision, hearing, or balance problems?
  4. Have you ever had an attack or stroke?
  5. Do you frequently suffer from motion sickness?
  6. Do you have a history of blackouts or fainting?
  7. Do you have motor skill impairments or difficulties?

I understand there are inherent risks in going on the tour, including but not limited to equipment failure, acts of other participants, adverse weather conditions, and forces of nature, and I hereby assume the risk.

“Dad, I can’t believe you’re doing this!”
Silence.
“Dad, you didn’t check off #2!”
Silence. I couldn’t look up at her. I looked down at the clipboard. It was shaking in my hands.
“X” marked the spot. My last rites.

[Read more...]

Just inch yourself out of that back line. Yes. Go. Now.

165869_amy-poehler_JLC

Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. And by doing it, they’re proven right. Because, I think there’s something inside of you—and inside of all of us—when we see something and we think, ‘I think I can do it, I think I can do it. But I’m afraid to.’ Bridging that gap, doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that—THAT is what life is. And I think you might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s special. And if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself. Now you know. A mystery is solved. So, I think you should just give it a try. Just inch yourself out of that back line. Step into life. Courage. Risks. Yes. Go. Now.”

— Amy Poehler


Amy Meredith Poehler, 41, is an American actress, comedian, voice artist, producer and writer. Raised in Burlington, Massachusetts, she graduated from Boston College in 1993 and moved to Chicago, Illinois, to study improv at The Second City and ImprovOlympic. Poehler was a cast member on the NBC television show Saturday Night Live (SNL) from 2001 to 2009. In 2004, she became the co-anchor of the Weekend Updatesketch along with her friend and colleague Tina Fey. Poehler’s work on SNL earned her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Since 2009, she stars as Leslie Knope in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, for which she has been nominated for three Emmys forOutstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, two Golden Globe Awards, and one Screen Actors Guild Award.  (Source: wiki)


Sources: Quotes – Thank you sundoginthesky.  Portrait: Frame.Latimes.com

My Mind? No. The Mind.

portrait, black and white

Imagine if for the next twenty-four hours you had to wear a cap that amplified your thoughts so that everyone within a hundred yards of you could hear every thought that passed through your head. Imagine if the mind were broadcast so that all about you could overhear your thoughts and fantasies, your dreams and fears. How embarrassed or fearful would you be to go outside? How long would you let your fear of the mind continue to isolate you from the hearts of others? And though this experiment sounds like one which few might care to participate in, imagine how freeing it would be at last to have nothing to hide. And how miraculous it would be to see that all others’ minds too were filled with the same confusion and fantasies, the same insecurity and doubt. How long would it take the judgmental mind to begin to release its grasp, to see through the illusion of separateness, to recognize with some humor the craziness of all beings’ minds, the craziness of mind itself?”

“But I think it is very useful, and indeed more accurate, to call it “the mind” instead of “my mind.”

- Stephen Levine


Stephen Levine, 75, is an American poet, author and Buddhist teacher. He was born in Albany, New York, Levine attended the University of Miami. He spent time helping the sick and dying, using meditation as a method of treatment.  He is the author of several books about dying, Levine and his wife Ondrea spent one year living as if it were their last. For many years, Stephen and Ondrea have been living in near seclusion in the mountains of Northern New Mexico. They are both currently experiencing significant illness which prevents them from travelling and teaching.  One of the most significant aspects of Stephen’s work and one for which he is perhaps best known, is his pioneering approach to working with the experience of grief. Over 34 years, Stephen and his wife Ondrea have counselled concentration camp survivors and their children, Vietnam War veterans as well as victims of sexual abuse.  Although Stephen acknowledges that our experience of grief is perhaps at its most intense when a loved one dies, he also draws our attention to grief’s more subtle incarnations. “Our ordinary, everyday grief,” accumulates as a response to the “burdens of disappointments and disillusionment, the loss of trust and confidence that follows the increasingly less satisfactory arch of our lives”. (Source: Wiki)


Credits: Thank you Whiskey River from the Stephen Levine and Ondrea Levine’s Book titled Who Dies?.  Portrait: Abdelkader Benali by Stephan Vanfleteren 

She’s coming home…

Lady in Moon Light Illustration

The image has been
a counterweight to darkness.
Pitch Black.
Every Father’s nightmare.
I call it up. The image.
To block. To deflect.
Her sinewy silhouette shimmering against the moonlight.
Waves lapping her toes on the shore line.
Her eyes closed.
Wind gently rustling her hair.
A need to believe.
No.
A longing to feel.
Her at Peace.
That she is safe.
Today.
She’s coming home.


“Parental love, I think, is infinite…Not infinitely good, or infinitely ennobling, or infinitely beautiful. Just infinite…”
~ Adam Gopnik


There are moments when you…


…There are moments on the brink, when you can give yourself to a lover, or not; give in to self-doubt, uncertainty, and admonishment, or not; dive into a different culture, or not; set sail for the unknown, or not; walk out onto a stage, or not. A moment only a few seconds long, when your future hangs in the balance, poised above a chasm. It is a crossroads. Resist then, and there is no returning to the known world. If you turn back, there is only what might have been. Above that invisible crossroads are inscribed the words: Give up your will, all who travel here…”

~ Diane Ackerman


Passage Excerpt from nytimes.com.

Eddie Catlin – Actor. Peter Batchelor - Narrator / Voice.  Music Credits: “Preparing” by In The Nusery. “Hope Renewed – Instrumental” by Martin Sebastian Holm.

We see things out of focus

baby feeding cat with spoon

“When we’re in high-drama mode, everything is a crisis. But that’s often because we need the adrenalin or we’re bored…

…The hardest thing about perspective is it means we need to grow up. Or maybe we don’t. One way to have good perspective is to see the world through the eyes of a child. We innocently report. We accept how others think and feel. If something is had or sad, or we’re scared, we say that. We say how we feel and what we want and need. We know that when we’re tired, we see things out of focus. And when things get too difficult, we either go play in the park or we take a nap. Somehow we know that everything will work out.”

~ Melody Beattie


Image source: Justbesplendid. Quote Source: Melody Beattie

Related Posts:

Connecting those threads

Picaso - Cory Smith

New leadership books pour over the dam each day claiming to share a secret sauce.  A cow rhythmically chewing and regurgitating its cud. But far less effective.  It largely comes down to these eight lines from James Autry.  Period.

Listen.
In every office
you hear the threads
of love and joy and fear and guilt,
the cries for celebration and reassurance,
and somehow you know that connecting those threads
is what you are supposed to do
and business takes care of itself.

~ James A. Autry


Source: 800CEORead - Bring Your Emotional Self to Work.  The words above were written by James A. Autry and are included in Love and Profit: The Art of Caring Leadership (p.32).  And all of this reminds me of the John Maxwell quote:  “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Image Credit: Cory Smith – Ix.com

Three Drops*

dry eyes, eyes,

Three drops.*
Fall asleep wondering if this is the solve. (Please.)
Amygdala firing up on ailment. (See.)
Doc said there may be issues later in life because of trauma. (Has it arrived?)
One month of angst. (Eradicated. With three drops.)
One could ask why did you wait so long. (Or, one could avoid asking.)
And one wouldn’t have a good answer.


* Disclosure:  Turn your eyelids inside out? Heresy.  Wear contacts? Nothing touches my eyes.  LASIK surgery to correct nearsightedness?  Don’t come near me with your surgery solution.  Apply your own eyedrops?  Can’t do it.  Keep eye open so drops can be applied for you?  Impossible.  Squeal like a baby when drop splashes on eye?  Absolutely.


Image Source: LetsBeConnor

Made me think…

Chart: Ignorance Fear Certainty - Ben Greenman


Source: Ben Greenman via Ilovecharts

See

eye blinking gif

Start your day with anxiety. First thing. Every morning for last month. Sharp pain for 75 seconds.  Then poof. Gone.  Until the next morning.  I google it.  Up pops Just Answer. Eye with a customer question describing the identical experience:

I wake up every morning with a sharp pain in what I believe is my optic nerve. The pain is so bad that it sometimes makes my eye water when I try to open it wide. It is also painful to press on my eye when closed.  The pain is always in my left eye and there are some days that I wake up without pain. My eye does not seem to be more red or bloodshot than normal. The pain does subside as the day goes on and I haven’t experienced any vision problems.

I quickly close my eye and pain subsides. Water fills the vacuum.  (The human body is.  All on its own. Repairing.  Soothing. A miracle.)

I open and close several times. Blinking.   (The body is a miracle.  The mind, my mind, on the other hand, can be a torture chamber.  I need to see.  I need to read. Heart begins to race. Relax pal.  Just Answer Doc said it’s just dry eyes.  Yes, that was the first line.  And the rest? What about the rest?  This will right itself by itself.)

What if?

Mind quickly shifts gears to Sunday’s paper.

You are four years old.  You run to answer the door bell.  Life from that moment on changes. For you.  For your family. Forever.

Josh Miel, you define courage.  You define perseverance.  You are an inspiration.

(On the other hand, you pal, have dry eyes.)

[Read more...]

Clarke’s Pool

Clarkes Pool

The photographs of Clarke’s Pool are described as a walk down memory lane for “three generations of Castlegar kids who learned how to swim.”  Well he’s partially right.  It was also the training ground for the suburban kids like my brother Rich and me who hailed from Ootischenia (pop. 856).

Rich’s recollection of the pool was that it was “one of the scariest places he’d ever seen.”  Ominous.  Large.  Deep.  Dark.  Intimidating.  With a “giant” slide coming down high above from the rooftop.  My memories were frighteningly similar.  Yet, the picture today certainly doesn’t align with the Stephen King-like depiction of the darkness banging around our heads.  The pool was smaller.  And shallower.  And brighter.  With a kiddy slide jutting off the side of the garage.

The prize? [Read more...]

Now

black and white, portrait, fashion model, model

Most days I cling to a single word.

It is a mild-mannered creature made of thought.

Future, or Past. 

Never the other, obvious word.

Whenever I reach out to touch that one, it scurries away.

—Laura Kasischke, opening lines to “Riddle” from Space, in Chains


Laura Kasischke was awarded the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry for Space, In Chains.  She is currently a Professor of English Language at the University of Michigan.  She attended the University of Michigan (MFA 1987) and Columbia University.


Image Source: Wedebrand via Here And Now.  Quote Source: Apoetreflects

Why…

black and white, pondering, thinking, think, thoughts, hope, aspirations, fear

Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music and rhythm and song and laughter?
Why am I afraid to live, I who love life
and the beauty of flesh and the living colors of earth and sea and sky?
Why am I afraid to love, I who love?
Why am I afraid, I who am not afraid?
Why must I pretend to scorn in order to pity?
Why must I hide myself in self-contempt in order to understand?
Why must I be so ashamed of my strength, so proud of my weakness?
Why must I live in a cage like a criminal, defying and hating, I who love peace and friendship?
Why was I born without a skin? Oh God, that I must wear armor in order to touch or be touched.”

~ Eugene O’Neill, The Great God Brown and Other Plays


Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953), was an American playwright who won the 1936 Nobel Prize in Literature “for the power, honesty and deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works, which embody an original concept of tragedy.”  His plays involve characters who inhabit the fringes of society, engaging in depraved behavior, where they struggle to maintain their hopes and aspirations but ultimately slide into disillusionment and despair.  O’Neill wrote only one comedy (Ah, Wilderness!): all his other plays involve some degree of tragedy and personal pessimism.


Source: Thank you Whiskey River for quote.  Wiki and goodreads for bio.  Black and White for image.

All The Best Things In Life…

Illustration, chart, venn diagram, life, living, regret, embarrassment, fear, relationships, communication


My initial reaction to Wendy MacNaughton’s illustration was “Wrong!  Wrong! Wrong!”  I let it marinate and then returned to it.  My reaction shifted to “please, please, please let it be wrong.”


Wendy MacNaughton.  I’m a big fan. She’s an illustrator and graphic journalist with a long list of brand name clients including the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, NPR and a slew of others.  Some of my other favorite illustrations include:


Source: Explore

Lightly Child. Lightly.

It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig. Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me…So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling, on tiptoes and no luggage, not even a sponge bag, completely unencumbered.

- Aldous HuxleyIsland  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          


Credits: Image Source: amisfitlikeme. Quote Source: creatingaquietmind

Grounded.

illustration, sketch, black and white, simple figure, woman figure

It’s Monday, October 29th.  The day that Hurricane Sandy hit the Tri-State Region.

I’m scrolling down the new WordPress posts for bloggers I follow.  My fingers sliding clumsily on the touch pad. Scrolling. Scrolling. (Cursing because I haven’t figured out this d*mn touch pad. I miss the eraser thing in the middle of keyboard.  Getting old.  Hating change.  Big clumsy fingers. I slide fingers in wrong direction and I’m taken to another website.  I lose my place.  Need to start back at the top.  Grrrrrrr. Can this be so difficult pal? )

My eyes flitting from post to post.  Scanning images and topics of interest.

My eyes land on the image on the left.  I freeze.  (What is it about this image?  I can feel its soothing effects.  The ‘Work’ clutch now slipping from OVERDRIVE to neutral.)

A few lines.  Black lines.  White background.  A simple image. A simple, beautiful human image.  (Let’s not get too carried away.  It’s certainly not that simple.  And nothing I could ever draw.)

I found it to be startling.

[Read more...]

Parental Love

Source: romymisra.com via ilovecharts

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What are you doing hiding under the table, are you hiding?


Source: Thank you Steve Layman via Mme Scherzo

Does Fear Drive Us?

does fear drive us


Author: Karl Haendel.  Source: creatingaquietmind

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High Self-Confidence Is a Curse? Yep…

atelophobia

Yes, the old saw is at it again.  New research is turning over on its back yet more conventional wisdom.  Many of my emotional shortcomings (short fuse/anger), phobias, indulgences (salt) are proving to be either normal or critical to success – I knew I just had to wait it out…

This time it’s Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, an international authority in personality profiling and psychometric testing who posts “Less Confident People Are More Successful” in the HBR Blog Network.  (Important Disclosure: HBR could post just about anything…unicorns, Sasquatch, Ogo Pogo, mermaids – - and I’m a buyer.) Here’s some excerpts from his post:

“…There is no bigger cliché in business psychology than the idea that high self-confidence is key to career success. It is time to debunk this myth. In fact, low self-confidence is more likely to make you successful…”

“…After many years of researching and consulting on talent, I’ve come to the conclusion…If your confidence is low, rather than extremely low, you stand a better chance of succeeding than if you have high self-confidence. There are three main reasons for this:”

[Read more...]

The Modern Troubleshooting Flow Chart…

Check out Kurt Harden’s blog @ Cultural Offering for great posts including:


trouble shooting chart


Source: Kurt Harden @ Cultural Offering

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Your anxiety should be somewhere between checked out and freaked out…

From WSJ.com: Anxiety Can Bring Out the Best

“Somewhere between checked out and freaked out lies an anxiety sweet spot…in which a person is motivated to succeed yet not so anxious that performance takes a dive. This moderate amount of anxiety keeps people on their toes, enables them to juggle multiple tasks and puts them on high alert for potential problems.”

anxiety


[Read more...]

Scared of the dark?

Walking to my front door at night


Source: xkcd.com via Ilovecharts

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