The tricks our minds play

I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago about a topic that tends to come and go in my life. It is one that always seems a bit hard to put into words. I can remember a time almost ten years ago when I was sitting on our bed in a loft we were living in. I had this surreal moment when I looked around and thought: all these things happening in my life are all a distraction to get me to not look at the painful stuff. A clearer thought was: working through the painful stuff is what moves you forward to that next level of understanding. It was not a fun time in my life. That day I was alone. Chris was traveling in China and life felt rough, bumpy, and not much fun.

The conversation from a few weeks ago circled back to that same feeling. Do we all have the craziest of lives because it keeps us distracted from the real and raw stuff we are supposed to be looking at the most? We do not want to so we stay hyper-focused on all that we have to do? We stay extremely busy, and then we never have to get really quiet and listen to that voice inside that tells us where we should really be looking? It has been true for me from time to time. I like to think that I am still listening even between all the many responsibilities and deadlines. Am I lying to myself though? Is it really possible? Or do you just need to walk away from it all, whether for a week, or month to really be able to see inside?

I just finished reading a book called “Dinner with Buddha” by Roland Merullo. At first it was a hard book to read. I could not get into it, and then as I found a few morsels of inspiration I was pulled into the quiet, thoughtful ideas inside. While it is a novel, it reads like a self-help book. There were quite a few ideas that come from the story and analogies the author shares. This idea in particular resonated as it made me think of that day ten years ago, and the conversation from a few weeks ago:

“Plugging along at monk-speed, I couldn’t help but wonder if it wasn’t all some kind of trick we were playing on ourselves. Maybe the more we crammed into a day the less we actually experienced. Maybe the addictive hurry was all a kind of racing away from our existential predicament, as if we could outrun old age and death, and as though, if we kept busy enough, kept moving, traveled farther, checked more items off the to-do list on any given day, then, like astronauts in orbit, we’d escape the bonds of ordinary time. Or escape, at least, the manic workings of our minds.” Page 118-119

Is that truly why we do so much? We are trying to get away from our minds and true thoughts? I sure hope not, but I can see it being true. I know it from the tricks my mind plays on me. Yet I want so badly to slow down, stop moving, get rid of the to-do list and live moment by moment into what my mind wants me to learn, however painful as it may be to look into all that is there for me to learn.

What do you think?

People amaze me.

I am a people person. I am fascinated by other individuals. What makes them tick. What inspires them. What makes them do the things they do (whether good or bad). Really each of us have our own modus operandi — and that is what I care about understanding. I want to know what fuels people to live their lives. What creates a fire in a person, what calls forth their badass self.

Due to the fact that people amaze me, I have also been called out for staring. Yes, I stare. I want to learn everything I can about someone. From what they wear to their accent, to how they treat others, to how they get the job done, to how they relax. It all matters to me. Ever last bit. I learn a lot from others. Sometimes it is poise, other times leadership, sometimes it is patience, or passion, or humor, but I believe that everyone is on this earth to teach us something. Often we do not even know what it is they are here to teach us, but we know that they are meant to be in our life for a reason.

What if we tried to suck the learnings from every individual we encounter each and everyday? We could learn a lot. Not just what we want to be and do, but what we do not want to be and do. I learned a lot from my parents and how I did not want to live my life. Maybe that has made me more cautious and maybe that has meant that I have often taken the safe route, but what I experienced with them meant that I had a life with constant unknowns (food, electricity, etc). All I wanted was to know that I would have the basic essentials every day. If I have that now, then generally speaking I am good to go.

Can you tell that about people? Can you tell what they need? Is it words of affirmation? Patience for their life situation? Humor to get them through the day? Whatever it may be, we each need something different. We each are amazing, and need each other to be our best selves. How are you helping someone else be amazing today?