Posts Tagged 'trials and tribulations'

The Critic and the Poop

pigeon1

We’ve all been criticized at times. Sometimes brutally or without thought. The intent may or may not be to help. Keep in mind that there will always be someone around to tell you that what you’re doing isn’t good enough. Feel free to listen to and act on the facts, but you’d do well to filter out the emotional baggage the sender may be trying to bestow upon you.

That’s part of the struggle of choosing your own path. Of course, nobody ever erected a statue for a critic. On the other hand, statues are the ones that get pooped on by passing birds. There is no way to avoid this if you want to get anywhere or do anything great.

It washes off.

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Choosing Battle

battleeyelens

I enjoy playing and watching sports, particularly basketball and football. I enjoy the skill and competition, though I could live without the macho testosterone driven parts. Nevertheless those moments when things really heat up can be revealing.

I remember watching an NBA game one night where the Timberwolves’ player Kevin Garnett, whom I love, and is a respected battler on the court, found himself facing off against a player on another team (I don’t even remember who it was anymore). Kevin’s unintentional body language in that moment revealed even through a wild swinging punch he threw that he did not want to be engaged in that fight. It was so obvious to anyone tuned in to that sort of thing. But of course he had a reputation and pride to uphold, so he went through the motions.

Character is revealed in the heat of battle. Do we really want to be there, or would a quiet escape suit? Do we push through and do our duty, in spite of the risk and fear?

Examine your internal monolog as you read and think about this. My guess is it’s probably coming from a moral orientation. You see failure to step up to the plate as morally wrong, and a shortcoming.

That can be true, but if we get off of our moral high-horse for a moment, we can also understand that everyone has certain things worth fighting for. We just don’t all have the same ones. Sure, some have a higher predisposition toward fighting, but every man can be a coward if he doesn’t believe in either the cause or his chances of winning, or at least saving face.

It’s too simplistic to view character through the polarized lens of black and white, of you have it or you don’t. Character is more nuanced. What is a person’s character telling him or her is the right thing to do? Amazingly, someone could be doing a thing that we feel is immoral, but is actually consistent with that person’s character and view of the world or situation, and not wrong.

Oh, but it is so hard for us to accept this, because we’re so programmed. And we have our own agenda.

 

Middle

firewalkdudetracks

Every journey has a beginning, and then some space we generally call the middle, once we know where the end is. But not every journey has an end, so the middle is hard to define. Further, when you are in the journey, you sometimes don’t know where you are, other than along a path somewhere. Somewhere in the middle of it.

The beginning may be the most important part. Getting over the inertia of standing pat to get moving is a big deal. But the middle Space – That’s where the action is. The hard work. The grind.

Somewhere around the middle you reach a point of no return. You’ve gone too far to turn back, but can’t see the end. The test to push through. Who you are comes out in that space. Courage is forged. The courage to love.

The brave are broken hearted.

When You Can’t See…

speedbump

This is part of a church parking lot near my residence. It is on a route I commonly run as part of my fitness routine. Due to my schedule, I often get up at 0-dark-thirty, braving the cold to run in the morning. There are some lights around, so it’s not completely black. I discovered one morning they had added this feature to the road connecting two lots. I didn’t see it. Imagine running along in the solitude of your thoughts, listening to an old Boston record, then suddenly finding yourself face down on pavement! That fast it jumped up and grabbed my passing foot. (I realized later these had replaced some that were there before, but had been painted with stripes so they stood out in low light.)

My iPhone took the brunt of it. I am nothing if not determined, so I got up, shook it off and ambled on, the inconvenience of darkness suddenly transformed into a protective cloak preventing anyone from seeing my dumb move.

It occurred to me later that when you’re unable to see them, mere speed bumps become stumbling blocks. Getting blindsided is emotionally taxing in the moment, but generally illuminating as we get some distance and reflect. Never one to pass up a good metaphor, I thought about some ways this impacts our lives.

  • An automobile accident – Even the person not at fault will play it back to see if there could have been a way to be more observant, to avoid it. Maybe more alert next time.
  • A hurtful word or phrase – spoken in haste, without proper regard to for the message the hearer takes away. Slow down and think it through before letting emotions carry you too far.
  • An unwanted business or political outcome – Were you wrong, incompetent, or apathetic? What can you do better next time?
  • A breach of trust – Was the trust well grounded?
  • A personal setback – We you trying to leap beyond your means, or was it other circumstances you should have been able to see?

Getting back up and getting on your feet is the easier part. The real key is in taking the lesson being offered to you. Not just during the time of heightened awareness produced by the emotions, but in an embodying, long-lasting way. Some would call that wisdom.

 

 

 

 

 

From the Outside…

mood-swing…your trials and tribulations don’t seem as grand.

Internal monologue amplifies personal drama.

Consider how much the empathy of others really means to you. Do you truly need it? Is it really what’s going to get you going and get you past whatever obstacle there is?

All of that will comes from within. When you succeed at seeing your problems through the eyes of others — all of whom have their own issues — you begin to realize it’s up to you.

It’s easier to turn off that droning monolog of drama once you get to work on conquering whatever the issues are.

Get to work.


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