Sunday Morning

A homie named Cruz spent his last dollars taking a Metrolink train sixty miles to Los Angeles from San Bernardino, where he had relocated his lady and newborn to avoid the dangers and desperation of his previous gang life. He had a part-time job but could not get his boss to give him more hours. Now he sits in my office, rattling off a list of the pressures and needs of his family. With no safety net in sight but me, he speaks of no food in the fridge, no lights, landlord looming, no bus fare. When he finishes this breathless account, Cruz stops, shaken and exhausted. He grows teary-eyed and says quietly, “I just keep waiting.”

“For what, son?” I ask.

“For the last to be first.”

~ Gregory BoyleBarking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship


Notes:

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

bryan-cranston-a-life-in-parts

But it’s not odd to me. Actors are storytellers. And storytelling is the essential human art. It’s how we understand who we are. I don’t mean to make it sound high-flown. It’s not. It’s discipline and repetition and failure and perseverance and dumb luck and blind faith and devotion. It’s showing up when you don’t feel like it, when you’re exhausted and you think you can’t go on. Transcendent moments come when you’ve laid the groundwork and you’re open to the moment. They happen when you do the work. In the end, it’s about the work.

~ Bryan Cranston, A Life in Parts


Related Post: Bryan Cranston – Breaking Good

Get Up. Inhale. And don’t stop dancing.

Jeffrey_Vanhouette_05-dancer

Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you’d think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise.  We are alive against the stupendous odds of genetics, infinitely outnumbered by all the alternatives who might, except for luck, be in our places…

We violate probability, by our nature. To be able to do this systematically, and in such wild varieties of form, from viruses to whales, is extremely unlikely; to have sustained the effort successfully for several billion years of our existence, without drifting back into randomness, was nearly a mathematical impossibility.

Add to this the biological improbability that makes each member of our own species unique. Everyone is one in 3 billion at the moment, which describes the odds. Each of us is a self contained, free-standing individual, labeled by specific protein configurations at the surfaces of cells, identifiable by whorls of fingertip skin, maybe even by special medleys of fragrance.  You’d think we’d never stop dancing.

~ Lewis Thomas, M.D., Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher


Notes: Quote Source: Thank you Whiskey River. Photography: Jeffrey Vanhouttes via Ignant.de

 

When the world quiets to the sound of your own breathing, we all want the same things

Mitch-Albom

I used to think I knew everything. I was a “smart person” who “got things done,” and because of that, the higher I climbed, the more I could look down and scoff at what seemed silly or simple, even religion. But I realized something as I drove home that night: that I am neither better nor smarter, only luckier. And I should be ashamed of thinking I knew everything, because you can know the whole world and still feel lost in it. So many people are in pain-no matter how smart or accomplished – they cry, they yearn, they hurt. But instead of looking down on things, they look up, which is where I should have been looking, too. Because when the world quiets to the sound of your own breathing, we all want the same things: comfort, love, and a peaceful heart.

― Mitch Albom


Mitch Albom, 55, was born in Passaic, New Jersey.  He is an American best-selling author of the blockbuster bestsellers Tuesdays With MorrieThe Five People You Meet In Heaven and For One More Day. His books have sold over 35 million copies worldwide. He was an acclaimed sports journalist at the Detroit Free Press and he is a frequent participant on the ESPN Sports Reporters. Albom has also achieved success as a screenwriter, dramatist, radio broadcaster and musician.

He grew up in a small, middle-class neighborhood from which most people never left. Mitch was once quoted as saying that his parents were very supportive, and always used to say, “Don’t expect your life to finish here. There’s a big world out there. Go out and see it.” Albom once mentioned that now his parents say, “Great. All our kids went and saw the world and now no one comes home to have dinner on Sundays.”


Credits: Portrait. Quote: Thank you Geoff.


It seems too good to be true

galaxy-life-stars

“Some things occur just by chance. Mark Twain was born on the day that Halley’s comet appeared in 1835 and died on the day it reappeared in 1910. There is a temptation to linger on a story like that, to wonder if there might be a deeper order behind a life so poetically bracketed. For most of us, the temptation doesn’t last long. We are content to remind ourselves that the vast majority of lives are not so celestially attuned, and go about our business in the world. But some coincidences are more troubling, especially if they implicate larger swathes of phenomena, or the entirety of the known universe. During the past several decades, physics has uncovered basic features of the cosmos that seem, upon first glance, like lucky accidents. Theories now suggest that the most general structural elements of the universe — the stars and planets, and the galaxies that contain them — are the products of finely calibrated laws and conditions that seem too good to be true. What if our most fundamental questions, our late-at-night-wonderings about why we are here, have no more satisfying answer than an exasperated shrug and a meekly muttered ‘Things just seem to have turned out that way’?

It can be unsettling to contemplate the unlikely nature of your own existence, to work backward causally and discover the chain of blind luck that landed you in front of your computer screen, or your mobile, or wherever it is that you are reading these words. For you to exist at all, your parents had to meet, and that alone involved quite a lot of chance and coincidence. If your mother hadn’t decided to take that calculus class, or if her parents had decided to live in another town, then perhaps your parents never would have encountered one another. But that is only the tiniest tip of the iceberg. Even if your parents made a deliberate decision to have a child, the odds of your particular sperm finding your particular egg are one in several billion. The same goes for both your parents, who had to exist in order for you to exist, and so already, after just two generations, we are up to one chance in 1027. Carrying on in this way, your chance of existing, given the general state of the universe even a few centuries ago, was almost infinitesimally small. You and I and every other human being are the products of chance, and came into existence against very long odds…”

Read more @ Aeon Magazine by Tim Maudlin: The Calibrated Cosmos: Why Does The Universe Appear Fine Tuned For Life?

And I loved this one too by Mark Morford: 40 Billion Ways to Dance.


Image Credit


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…]

You spring from an unbroken line of winners…

 

“Every living thing is, from the cosmic perspective, incredibly lucky simply to be alive. Most, 90 percent and more, of all the organisms that have ever lived have died without viable offspring, but not a single one of your ancestors, going back to the dawn of life on Earth, suffered that normal misfortune. You spring from an unbroken line of winners going back millions of generations, and those winners were, in every generation, the luckiest of the lucky, one out of a thousand or even a million. So however unlucky you may be on some occasion today, your presence on the planet testifies to the role luck has played in your past.”

~ Philosopher and cognitive scientist Dan Dennett

 


Sources:

Luck is hard work…

“…70% of American workers believe the key ingredient to being lucky in their careers is having a strong work ethic…

…Of 7,000 respondents in 15 countries…84% said they believed that luck – good or bad – plays some role in their professional lives.

…But they aren’t relying on kismet: participants consider luck to be something people create for themselves…

…Respondents said the most important factors in generating good fortune are solid communication skills, flexibility, strong work ethic, acting on opportunities and having a robust network, in that order…”

Source: Wall Street Journal, Luck is Hard Work


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