New time of day.
A mid-day oasis.
A sabbatical from the morning crush.
No scramble to find a seat.
Tourists staring out the window.
Day visitors chattering.
Students with headphones bobbing their heads.
And a smattering of Suits.
The Sun beams through the windows overheating the railcars.
The train clacks Se détendre. Se détendre. Relax.
We pull into Grand Central at 3:51 pm, 10 minutes late.
The crowd meanders out of the car.
I zig zag around them.
I have a 4pm call and need to get out of the tunnels to get a cell signal.
The escalator to the Exit is out of order. I look up the stairs. Way up. And groan.
I take them. One at a time.
Counting them off.
I look up. Dear God. I’m only about half way there. Where the h*ll is the Oasis now.
Heaving now. Gasping for air. Middle age wheels are coming off.
I steal a peak at my watch. 3:58 pm. 2 minutes until the start of my call.
Pay attention. A toe stub would be a calamity, serious mellon damage.
A backward tumble is unimaginable.
3 steps left.
76.77.78. Could this be what a heart attack feels like?
I dig into my bag. And pair my bluetooth ear piece to my phone.
“Good afternoon everyone. I’m going to put my phone on mute. Please take the lead.”
Wow, I managed to get that out.
Superman leans against the sign post on Madison and 46th.
The chattering continues in his right ear
as he watches the yellow cabs flying by.
The delivery trucks.
All a symphony. An orchestra.
He waits for the Walk signal pondering the antidote to his Kryptonite.
And there it is.
If tomorrow wasn’t promised,
what would you give for today?
Forget everything else.
Forget everything else.
Forget there was any sun light left,
what would you spend today thinking about?
We get one opportunity in life.
One chance in life to do whatever you are going to do.
To lay your foundation.
Whatever legacy you are going to leave,
Leave your legacy.
And its found through your effort.
Wins and losses come a dime dozen,
But effort, nobody can judge effort.
Because effort is between you and you.
Effort doesn’t have anything to do with anybody else.
Because every day is a new day.
Every moment is a new moment.
So now you’ve got to go out and show them
that I’m a a different creature, now,
then I was five minutes ago.
Because I’m pissed off for greatness.
Because if you aren’t pissed off for greatness,
that means You are ok with being mediocre.
And no man in here is OK with being mediocre…
SMWI*= Saturday Morning Work-out Inspiration
“Pay attention to when the cart is getting before the horse. Notice when a painful initiation leads to irrational devotion, or when unsatisfying jobs start to seem worthwhile. Remind yourself pledges and promises have power, as do uniforms and parades. Remember in the absence of extrinsic rewards you will seek out or create intrinsic ones. Take into account [that] the higher the price you pay for your decisions the more you value them. See that ambivalence becomes certainty with time. Realize that lukewarm feelings become stronger once you commit to a group, club, or product. Be wary of the roles you play and the acts you put on, because you tend to fulfill the labels you accept. Above all, remember the more harm you cause, the more hate you feel. The more kindness you express, the more you come to love those you help.”
- David McRaney
Quote Source: Brainpickings - The Benjamin Franklin Effect: The Surprising Psychology of How to Handle Haters. Image from Amazon.
I couldn’t get comfortable. It was a straight back chair. I’m infused with a dull, throbbing haze. The prior evening included two cocktails, a late night dinner and four hours of sleep short of requirements for base level performance. A modest change in daily routine – having a disproportionate impact on operating equilibrium.
I’m sitting. Sort of. Restless. The metal bars on the seat back are leaving tracks, the comfort of r-bar. Rough, cold steel on skin. I’m twisting. Trying to find a comfort zone. Those seated behind me zig when I zag. I cross my leg one way. Then pull it back and scissor it over the other. I sit upright. I slouch. I throw my right arm over the back of the chair. Then the left. And then go through the cycle again.
I glance around. The room is fidgeting.
He walks onto the stage. He sits in a panel chair. He takes a drink of water. And waits for the interviewer’s first question.
He’s wildly successful.
A Horatio Alger story. He grew up in a family with modest means. His Father worked in government service. His Mother at home with the children.
The room is quiet. Locked-in.
His energy fills the room. His mind is whirring.
He shares his view and insights on a wide swath of territory. Domestic policy. Economy. Government. Immigration. Social issues. Philanthropy. The Arts. Conservation. His Love of Country.
And without breaking stride, he injects self-deprecating experiences.
We’re in his web.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: I’m 6x years old. My Father passed away about this age. When you are 50, you believe you have another half to go. When you turn 60, there’s a keen realization that 2/3rd’s is gone. A shift from a ‘lot to go’ to ‘what’s left’. I don’t know when…when my mind or body will no longer permit me to keep up the pace. But I have a lot that I want do…a lot I need to accomplish.
He pauses. Reflects. And continues. (The wildly successful man continues…)
A: What I really worry about is getting “that call” at night on one of our children. He shakes his head. Let’s set that aside. I worry about my children growing up with appropriate balance, with the appropriate values, given that they have been surrounded by great wealth. That is why I plan to give most of it away. At the end of the day, I want my children to be happy.
That is all that matters.
That is all that matters to me.
Forbes: How Successful People Stay Calm:
TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control. If you’ve followed my work, you’ve read some startling research summaries that explore the havoc stress can wreak on one’s physical and mental health. The tricky thing about stress (and the anxiety that comes with it) is that it’s an absolutely necessary emotion. Our brains are wired such that it’s difficult to take action until we feel at least some level of this emotional state. In fact, performance peaks under the heightened activation that comes with moderate levels of stress. As long as the stress isn’t prolonged, it’s harmless.
While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when faced with stress, what follows are ten of the best. Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.
- They appreciate what they have
- They avoid asking “what if”
- They stay positive
- They disconnect
- They limit their caffeine intake
- They sleep
- They squash negative self-talk
- They re-frame their perspective
- They breathe
- They use their support-system
Read full article @ Forbes: How Successful People Stay Calm
Thank you Tarique
Luhrmann doesn’t want to give in to the pressure to repeat himself. During the making of “Gatsby,” he said, he felt challenged and alive, “not panicked that somehow the universe was leaving me behind.” That is the way he needs to feel about his next project, whatever it is. “I’d love to have done James Bond,” he said. “I’d love to just go and do a rom-com or a jeans-and-T-shirt film, because that would be fun.” But he can’t. “It is both maddening and also has a degree of exultation about it, but I’m addicted to doing not that which I really want to do, but that which I feel must be done.” His job now, he said, is “to draw some kind of lines. I have a big inner life. My struggle is how to organize it. How to aim the gun.”
~ Amy Wallace on Baz Luhrmann, Do I or Do I Not Want To Do? (How to Decide)?
Mark Anthony “Baz” Luhrmann, 51, is an Australian film director, screenwriter and producer best known for The Red Curtain Trilogy, comprising his films Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge!. In 2008, his film Australia was released, starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. His version of The Great Gatsby was released in 2013. On 26 January 1997, he wed Catherine Martin, a production designer; the couple has two children. (Source: Wiki)
My journey from NYC westward continues. A five hour non-stop flight has morphed into a surreal 2 day experience with stops at JFK (with 2 plane changes), LGA (with full airport evacuation), Detroit and Chicago. This is the last leg of the journey. (Prior posts for this trip are referenced below along with the post dedication.)
The 45 minute hop from Detroit to Chicago was quiet. No chop. A Quiet cabin. Light snow was falling in Chicago carpeting the catering trucks and the luggage carriers. A slender, stoop-shouldered man guided the aircraft in. His hoodie was covered in snow. His fluorescent batons offered a soft illumination. It’s feeling a lot like Christmas Eve. In February.
The City that works. The Machinery was humming this evening. Plows. Sand trucks. Baggage handlers. Crew. De-icers coating the aircraft in a lemon colored bath. A beautiful orchestra. All to get us somewhere safely. I’m feeling gratitude.
My Son was born here. In Chicago. I burroughed deep and back to find a moment. Susan is pulling him on a red sled to greet me as I walk home from the train station returning from work. His chubby cheeks are red. His hair is matted and wet from layers of clothing. His smile…a lighthouse beacon. His arms reaching up. “Dada! Dada!” I reach down to grab him. I hold him close. I can feel his warm breath on my neck as he nuzzles. I miss my son often. And especially when I’m tired. Like now. When the aching just won’t stop.
Cheryl found me eerily calm during this journey. I had many hours to contemplate why. She no longer covered my business and left about the time I started blogging. This hobby. This community. This labor of love. This stringing of words together and having someone actually care to read it. A miracle drug. It stills and softens the mind. It injects peace where none formerly existed. Albert Camus said “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” This. THIS allows me to turn away from the world.
My finger lingers over the Publish button. The cabin is dark with the exception of a handful of us hunched over our screens. 35,000 feet in the air, my wireless icon is flashing. I’m wired.
It’s a miracle. All of it.
Me. Family. Our dog. Friends. You, yes you, reading this. This iPad. My Eye sight. This plane flying. Pizza. (I’m famished.)
All of it.
Too big to figure out.
Too important not to find a small corner of it to call my own.
My finger hovers over the Publish button again. Proof read it again? Is it too much? Is it over the top? Is it good enough?
Friend, you’re asking yourself the wrong question. The only question that matters to help you decide if you should hit Publish:
Is it a miracle?
Same trip – related posts:
- Just another manic Monday
- Star Log: Flight DL2282. The Epilogue.
- Flight Log DL1131: Y.C.M.T.S.U.
- Flight Log: Motor City USA
This post is dedicated to Shara who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to book and re-book flights, get seat assignments, and keep me moving forward to my destination at all hours of the day and night. Thank you Shara.
My journey from NYC westward continues. A five hour non-stop flight has morphed into a surreal 2 day experience with stops at JFK (with 2 plane changes), LGA (with full airport evacuation) and now Detroit. There are still two legs to go however let’s camp out in Detroit for a moment. (Prior posts for this trip are referenced below.)
Heading to MotorCity USA.
We are descending on a gentle, clockwise turn into Detroit Metro. The pilot touches the giant bird down – a 30 ton sparrow gliding into her feathered nest.
I catch myself humming a tune from one of Detroit’s finest: Seger.
I think I’m going to Katmandu,
That’s really, really where I’m going to.
If i ever get out of here,
That’s what I’m gonna do.
I step out of the jetway at Detroit Metro Airport. It’s gleaming. Lined with wine bars, a Spa, a Suishi Bar and a Online Café. My lungs are pulling me to the aromatic L’Occitane En Provence body soaps drifting onto the walkway. I’m traipsing through a meadow in the South of France.
I’ve lolly gagged over to Gate 38. My flight leaves from Gate 30. Plenty of time.
Then. I stop.
I’m in the Delta Terminal. I missed my connection from Detroit due to delays out of NYC. Shara re-booked me on American Airlines: DET – CHI – West. Yes, another painful connection via Chicago but we’re advancing.
I’m in the wrong terminal. My heart is racing. This “miss” is on me.
I need to take a shuttle bus. The Blue Shuttle to the North Terminal.
I glance at my watch. 5:00 pm. Flight departure is 5:40. Still no shuttle. I’m rattled. Sweet Jesus.
I arrive at the North Terminal. 5:20. Agent states that the final gate call has been made. “You need to hurry.” I get through security and run to the gate. A-30. Last gate in the wing down a long corridor. Natch.
5 passengers are left to board. And 3 others hover by the desk…Wait List passengers hoping for no-shows.
I hand the Agent my boarding pass and my ID.
Agent: Sir, you are now booked on the next flight.
DK: Can you please check again?
Agent: Sir, you are on 8 pm flight. It’s right here on your boarding pass.
DK: Ma’am, I have a reservation on the 5:40 pm flight to Chicago connecting to another flight heading West at 8pm. The boarding pass is wrong. Please check again.
Agent: Sir, did you check in late at the ticket counter? Your boarding pass has you ticketed for the next flight. These other Wait List passengers are now entitled to a seat because you arrived late at the gate.
DK: (PAUSE) Ma’am, I don’t want to be difficult. Can you please do me a favor? It will only take you a minute. Check my flight connection out of Chicago. If I miss this flight, I miss my connecting flight. (I lean forward and whisper. She leans in.) Then, would you kindly check my mileage status and my lifetime miles on your fine airline? Then, I might suggest that you can make an informed decision whether or not to bump me in favor of these other passengers that didn’t have a confirmed seat.
The Waiting area passengers have been watching the show with interest. So what’s it going to be? The Rules or the pushy Mustachio Slav from NY.
The gate area is Silent but for the Agent tapping on her keyboard.
Agent: Mr. Kanigan, you’ll be seated in Seat 11c. Thank you for flying American.
Off we go to Chi-Town.
Same trip – related posts:
My journey from NYC to the West continues. A five hour flight is now rolling into 2 days and I’m still on the ground in New York. If you missed yesterday’s excitement, the posts can be found here: Just another manic Monday and here: Star Log: Flight DL2282. The Epilogue.
And, the journey continues:
- 10:00 am. Back in car this morning. This time to LaGuardia Airport. Gorgeous day. One would have no idea of the pandemonium caused by Mother Nature yesterday. (Feeling Good!)
- 10:50 am. Made good time. Head for Kiosk to get boarding pass. Message blinking telling me to see agent. (Nope. Not going to ruin my day today. Just a minor technicality)
- 11:25 am. Still with ticket agent. She’s struggling to issue a boarding pass for second leg of the trip. After 20 minutes of working it, she looks up sheepishly, grins, and says: “Why don’t you just have it issued at the gate in Detroit?” I stare at her. She can read me. “He looks like he’s on the edge. He’s smiling but he’s teetering. And any Man with the confidence to be wearing that grey streaky mustache, isn’t likely to be sold ‘The-get-your-boarding-pass-in-Detroit-B.S.-Story’ I’m selling.” Yet, The Man walks away shaking his head and mumbling. Agent breathes deeply…having avoided a sure fire confrontation with some crazy Slav looking mustachio.
- 11:35 am. I’m through security without incident with a vice grip on my driver’s license, watch and wallet. No bloody mishaps today.
- 12:00 pm. First call for boarding.
- 12:05 pm. Announcement blares on intercom. “All passengers, crew and employees must immediately evacuate the building. All passengers, crew, and employees must evacuate the building!” The reason: hit this link.
- 12:45 pm. Thousands rush back into the terminal and file through security check-in (again).
- 1:30 pm. Boarded flight. Plane 1/2 empty. Announcement explaining the delay: waiting for two ticketed passengers (tools?) to make it back through security after the evacuation. (This is NY people. This was a sputtering flare. Get on the damn aircraft.)
- 1:45 pm. We push back from gate
- 2:00 pm. Captain: “We have a problem with our Nose gear. We need to get a tow back to the gate to have our maintenance crew check it out. I’m sorry folks but we can’t fly without this fix.” (Nose gear is malfunctioning! Really? WTF. NFW. You need Nose Gear right? I then grab my nose and wonder if I need my nose hair clipped.)
- 2:15 pm. Waiting for tow. (2 flights out West from Detroit. I’ve missed my scheduled connection. Closing in on “timing out” of Plan B.)
- 2:30 pm. Jet engines powered down. And we sit. (You’re testing me People. You’re testing me.)
Note to Self: DK, they’re thinkin’ you’ve moved to fiction writing because you can’t make this sh*t up. (*Y.C.M.T.S.U.)
No one. I mean no one, beats high-stepping Caleb in a foot race.
Don’t miss Caleb’s color commentary at end of the race.
“The strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success. The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control….
It’s odd to think of people feeling simultaneously superior and insecure. Yet it’s precisely this unstable combination that generates drive: a chip on the shoulder, a goading need to prove oneself. Add impulse control — the ability to resist temptation — and the result is people who systematically sacrifice present gratification in pursuit of future attainment.
But this success comes at a price. Each of the three traits has its own pathologies. Impulse control can undercut the ability to experience beauty, tranquillity and spontaneous joy. Insecure people feel like they’re never good enough…A superiority complex can be even more invidious. Group supremacy claims have been a source of oppression, war and genocide throughout history.”
~ Amy Chua & Jed Rubenfeld, What Drives Success?
Read entire article in NY Times: What Drives Success? Worthy…
And, January, 2014 is over next week.
Image Source: TheTimBurtonWorld
Caleb here…bringing you your Hump Day smile.
DO YOU SEE A SMILE?
Should I bring Dorothy Parker back?
Good answer. Here’s Dorothy:
WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS?
10″ of snow. -16º F with wind gusts up to 24 mph from NNW.
BRING ME MY SAHARA!
Source: The Telegraph. (A Bactrian camel with a mouthful of snow at the zoo in Frankfurt, Germany)
I have led too serious a life; but that perhaps, after all, preserves one’s youth. At all events, I have travelled too far, I have worked too hard, I have lived in brutal climates and associated with tiresome people. When a man has reached his fifty-second year without being, materially, the worse for wear — when he has fair health, a fair fortune, a tidy conscience and a complete exemption from embarrassing relatives — I suppose he is bound, in delicacy, to write himself happy.
~ Henry James (1843-1916) from The Diary of a Man of Fifty
- Henry James: “The Diary of a Man of Fifty“ is FREE at Amazon for Kindles/iPads.
- Henry James was an American-born British writer, regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr. and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James.
- Image and Quote Source: Brainpickings
We become religious,
then we turn from it,
then we are in need and maybe we turn back.
We turn to making money,
then we turn to the moral life,
then we think about money again.
We meet wonderful people, but lose them
in our busyness.
We’re, as the saying goes, all over the place.
Steadfastness, it seems,
is more about dogs than about us.
One of the reasons we love them so much.
~ Mary Oliver
- Thank you MJL for sharing the poem. I must check out Mary Oliver’s book “Dog Songs.” Amazing reviews on Amazon.
- Poem Source: ”How It Is with Us, and How It Is with Them” by Mary Oliver, from Dog Songs via Writersalmanac
- Thank you Susan for the picture of our Zeke.
Source: themetapicture (Spotted in the window of a biology professor office…)
“What is it about upward mobility that undermines the health of these young Americans? In our studies, most participants are the first in their families to attend college. They feel tremendous internal pressure to succeed, so as to ensure their parents’ sacrifices have been worthwhile…Some young people respond to the pressure by doubling down on character strengths that have served them well, cultivating an even more determined persistence to succeed. This strategy, however, can backfire when it comes to health. Behaving diligently all of the time leaves people feeling exhausted and sapped of willpower. Worn out from having their noses to the grindstone all the time, they may let their health fall by the wayside, neglecting sleep and exercise, and like many of us, overindulging in comfort foods.”
~ Gregory E. Miller & Edith Chen, Can Upward Mobility Cost You Your Health?
Polar Vortex my a**. Getmeouttahere!
Appears Caleb is getting a bit testy on Hump Day. He could benefit from some Crest Whitening strips.
Source: David Stephenson
Day 1 following end of extended vacation.
I hang over sink. Splash water on my face.
I step in shower. Ice Cold. Hurry out. Hug towel. Fail to rinse shampoo out of hair.
Shave. Razor cut over old scar. Blood dribbles. Minor cut. Unstoppable bleeding. Curse.
Dab dab dab hemorrhage with tissue. Jab and stick Kleenex to cut. Pleased that it sticks.
Stare at socks. Need navy to match suit. Trouble distinguishing navy from black.
First attempt with tie, hangs below belt. Second attempt, short at belly button. Victory on third.
Slide work shoes on. Wiggle toes. Foreign fit after two weeks off. Look down, scuffed.
Slide watch on. Date: December 16. Time: 10:00. Stare. Decision made to re-set later.
Step outside. Temperature 51º F. Temp yesterday: 23º F.
Fog. Soupy. Thick. Light rain drizzling. Eerie.
Early, yet traffic is heavy.
Mind racing like pistons.
Back to work.
Related Posts: Driving Series
“HAPPINESS has traditionally been considered an elusive and evanescent thing. To some, even trying to achieve it is an exercise in futility. It has been said that “happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you…Social scientists have caught the butterfly. After 40 years of research, they attribute happiness to three major sources:
- Genes: ~ 50% of happiness is genetically determined.
- One off-events: Up to 40% comes from things that have occurred in our recent past – but won’t last long. Happiness dissipates quickly from a big raise, a new job, a move to California.
- Values: 12%. That might not sound like much, but the good news is that we can bring that 12 percent under our control. It turns out that choosing to pursue four basic values of faith, family, community and work is the surest path to happiness.
Empirical evidence that faith, family and friendships increase happiness and meaning are hardly shocking…Work, though seems less intuitive…Work can bring happiness by marrying our passions to our skills, empowering us to create value in our lives and in the lives of others. Franklin D. Roosevelt had it right: “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” In other words, the secret to happiness through work is earned success. This is not conjecture; it is driven by the data. Americans who feel they are successful at work are twice as likely to say they are very happy overall as people who don’t feel that way….You can measure your earned success in any currency you choose. You can count it in dollars, sure – or in kids taught to read, habitats protects or souls saved.”
Read full article in NY Times: Arthur C. Brooks, A Formula For Happiness
See video: The Secret to Happiness: A Few Simple Rules
Yup. This about sums up the week!
Source: Thank you Anake
I grow tensions
in a wood where
Each wound is perfect,
encloses itself in a tiny
Pain is a flower like that one,
like this one,
like that one,
like this one.”
- Robert Creeley, ”The Flower”
Robert Creeley (1926 – 2005) was a major American poet of the 20th century. He was born in Arlington, MA and was a teacher, a scholar, and a fierce presence: “I look to words, and nothing else, for my own redemption either as a man or poet.” He lost the sight in one eye in a car accident when he was two years old. The loss of his eye and his father, both early in life, affected Creeley profoundly. For the first half of his life he travelled as an outsider, his heavy drinking often leading to brawls with friends and strangers. Creeley was sometimes an angry young man who wanted “the world to narrow to a match flare”. Unable to sign up for World War II because of his sight problem, he joined the American Field Service and drove ambulances in India and Burma. He returned home with two medals…Just days before he died, he gave his final reading — in Charlottesville, Virginia — breathing from what he called “portable wee canisters of oxygen about the size of champagne bottles”. In between the poems Creeley said very simple things that rang true: “There has been so much war and pain during the last century. We need to learn how to be kind; kindness is what makes us human.”
(Read full Bio by Robert Adamson @ Jacket 26)
“Although people say they want to be thanked more often at work, fewer than 50% of Americans polled for the John Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic organization, reported that they would be very likely to thank salespeople, their mail carriers, or cleaning crews, and just 15% express daily gratitude to friends or colleagues. 74% never or rarely express gratitude to their bosses—but 70% said they’d feel better about themselves if their bosses were more grateful.”
“I’d like to answer all my phone calls, return all emails in a timely manner and mean the how-are-yous; not hide my broken hallelujahs, not save my gratitude for characters in books. Put love on sale, like I should…I’d like to whisper to only a few souls under a blanket instead of shouting at hundreds over these virtual rooftops. I’d like to inhale people and exhale skin, explore huggability and memorize the art of breathing…I’d like to get up once a week with no other agenda than laziness in bed, no time, no musts or shoulds or have tos. Eat breakfast for dinner, juice for lunch, and talk to trees, and cry, walk backwards, love my solitude, and understand my doing by undoing.”
~ Andréa Balt
- Source: Thank you Make Believe Boutique
- Read more by Andréa Balt: 30 Questions
- Find Andréa Balt on Facebook
WHAT IS IT?
WHAT IS IT?
GET IT OFF!
GET IT OFF!
GET IT OFF!
Called out of ourselves by the scent of a wild rose, the stunning yellow spike of goldenrod – and we answer back
“Crickets call to the east. A chopper ratchets a mile to the west. I sit in the middle, my left ear seduced by the soft cadence, the evershifting song of crickets in spring. My right ear is hollowed out, hard, both braced against and invaded by the clipped din of machinery. I am beginning to cry. I have felt the breath and nudge of the Dreamtime and know that it is beyond my threshold of perception, just beyond my reach, just a slip of consciousness away. I long for my serpentine thirst to be quenched by the dreaming, long for the look and feel of ultimate belonging and the sensuous play of being embedded, in bed with the world, dug in and dirty. But the phone rings, my endless list of things to do nags, haunts, and fills my consciousness. I too perceive the invisibles. In this case, they are mostly petty preoccupations- the trip I must make to Safeway, the phone calls I must return, the mail piling up- and the fact of my father, growing old, alone, 3,000 miles away. A phone call to him does not appear on my list. I feel such sadness as daily obligations fill my badgered view. I go blind in order to forget. The daily demands of our lives cause us to narrow our field of vision, shaping and minimizing our view to match a preoccupation with phones and texts or a long list of tasks that are never complete.Then in unconscious defense against the onslaught of modern business as usual, we further minimize the sensations we receive with self-inflicted doses of numbing. Most of us, I dare say, are numb to varying degrees, and for good reasons. This state of being is what James Hillman calls ‘anesthesia.’ Anesthetized, we no longer gasp in sudden wonder, inspire or become inspired as the beauty of the world enters us, for we are artificially numbed. David Abram calls this state ‘collective myopia,’ implying that we see little beyond our comfortable and constrained personal environments, we lack depth perception. When awakened, perception is motivated, like a hunger of the body. And like lovers, our sensing and sensual bodies are fed on sound and scent, feasted by late afternoon light. Because we hunger for the eroticism such sensation affords our bodies, we are pleased to be called out of ourselves by the scent of a wild rose, the stunning yellow spike of goldenrod- and we answer back.”
~ Laura Sewall
It opened with the intention of a feather-light, human touch of good will.
And it hasn’t closed.
Like a snag on your favorite sweater that you keep pulling and pulling.
It was 4 weeks ago.
End to end it couldn’t have lasted more than 7 seconds.
She’s an executive assistant on another floor.
I was passing by to get to a meeting. In a hurry. (“‘Only the sick man and the ambitious,’ wrote Ortega, ‘are in a hurry.’” DK: Which one are you?)
“Good morning x?”
“Really Dave, you’ve worked with me for how long, 5-10 years? And you still don’t know my name.”
“I’m so sorry,” stealing a glance at her name plate. She caught the glance. Damage done. Twice, in seconds.
Later that week, I pass by her desk. And pause.
She talking to a colleague.
“I refuse to speak to him.”
He turns to me: “Wow, what have you done to her?”
Colaianni’s whispers: “When I hear my own name, I have as much a sense of it entering my body through my back or my hand or my chest as through my ears… “
Note to Self: And when I don’t hear my own name or someone calls me by the wrong name, I have as much a sense of it entering my body through the back of their hand to my face, my chest, the back of my head…
“All things are engaged in writing their history. The planet, the pebble, goes attended by its shadow. The rolling rock leaves its scratches on the mountain, the river, its channel in the soil, the animal, its bones in the stratum, the fern and leaf, their modest epitaph in the coal. The falling drop makes its sculpture in the sand or the stone. Not a foot steps into the snow or along the ground, but prints, in characters more or less lasting, a map of its march. Every act of the person inscribes itself in the memories of its fellows, and in his own manners and face. The air is full of sounds, the sky of tokens, the ground is all memoranda and signatures, and every object covered over with hints which speak to the intelligent.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Credits: Portrait: Stephan Vanfleteren. Emerson quote – Thank you Makebelieveboutique. Shakespeare Quote for blog title “What’s in a name?” – Soulsentences. Ortego quote: George Sheehan – Running & Being. Louis Colaianni quote from The Joy of Phonetics and Accents.
“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...]
Take a new route to work.
Invite a colleague to breakfast.
Schedule 5 minute breaks.
Whisper Good Enough.
Then let it go.
Let your emails pile up.
Just let them go.
Take a walk.
Leave your smartphone behind.
Steal 10 minutes to read.
Call a friend.
Send a thank you note.
Interrupt the pace.
Stop the frenzy.
Push your chair away from your desk.
Close your eyes.
You are now walking barefoot.
Surf and sand rushing between your toes.
Say the words:
Peace be with you.
Break the chain.
Do one thing.
Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.
Circle of Life (Lion King)
From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There’s far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round
It’s the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life
“I recently interviewed David Burns, author of “Feeling Good”… In his more than 35,000 therapy sessions he has learned that the pursuit of perfection is arguably the surest way to undermine happiness and productivity…
Have you ever obsessed over a report when your boss said it was already plenty good enough? Have you ever lost an object of little importance but just had to keep looking for it? Do colleagues often tell you, “Just let it go”?…
This left me wondering: what if trying to be average could actually accelerate your success?…
Overachievers have such high expectations of themselves that their “average” might be another person’s “really good.” So instead of pushing yourself to give 100% (or 110%, whatever that means) you can go for giving 75% or 50% of what you usually might offer. This idea is captured succinctly by the mantra, “Done is better than perfect”…
The word “perfect” has a Latin root; literally, it means “made well” or “done thoroughly.” Another translation would be “complete.” And yet today, we use it to mean flawless…
To understand why, we need to understand the role of fear in perfectionism: “If I don’t perfectly [fill in the blank] something terrible will happen.” Often perfectionists are so used to this anxiety that they no longer even consciously recognize it; it’s just the fuel that keeps them working, working, working and honing, honing, honing… [Read more...]