Spreading wisdom instead of pain

In our daily lives we face some fundamental choices. Some are mundane, like deciding what to have for breakfast, which route to take to the office or which hashtag to attach to a social media post. Others, of course, are far more profound.

So isn’t it interesting how often many of us obsesses over the prosaic, yet respond reflexively or out of habit to those that make the most difference?

In the choice between practicing judgment or forgiveness, ownership or blame, humility or self-righteousness, many of us get it wrong time and time again. And in doing so we unconsciously choose spreading pain over wisdom.

In her TED talk “Choices that can change your life” Caroline Myss does a splendid job of laying this out. She reminds us that choice is the most powerful thing we’re born with–and that’s why it terrifies us. She reminds us that we hesitate to commit to a decision because then we might have to do something about it. She reminds us that the words we choose matter. She reminds us that three words are lethal: “blame”, “entitled” and “deserve.”

If you are anything like me you may get stuck in your own reactivity. You may find it challenging to overcome a life time of habits. You may find it hard to make a different choice, even when you know one path calls you to your higher self.

But deep down we all know it makes far more sense to share our wisdom than to perpetuate and spread our pain–or the pain of others.

Once we realize and accept that we have a choice, then we have the opportunity to make a different one.

h/t to “Shepak” for continuing to call me to my higher self, albeit from afar


That which we worship

“What people revere, they resemble, either for ruin or for restoration.” – Greg Beale

The word “worship” most often has a religious connotation. But we can revere, adore, exalt, venerate and glorify many things beyond whatever concept of a Higher Power we have–or don’t.

We can worship money.

We can worship being right.

We can worship a bigger house filled with more and sexier stuff.

We can worship the demonization of people different from us.

We can worship busyness.

We can worship expanding and protecting our ego.

And on and on.

Of course we can also worship compassion.

Or generosity.

Or acceptance.

Or forgiveness.

Or love.

The thing to remember is that which we worship is a choice, each and every day, in the present moment.

The other thing to remember is that, ultimately, we become what we worship.


Start where you are

We humans are rather peculiar.

Many of us think our only way forward is from somewhere in the past. Our starting point is often stuck back in a time when we were laid off from our job, dumped by a lover, slighted by a friend or somehow or other left damaged and wounded on the side of the emotional highway.

Regret keeps the clouds from clearing, resentment keeps us trapped in a cage. If only those things had never happened…

Other times, our point of departure is set anywhere but today. We tell ourselves we will finally be happy when we find the perfect partner, get the bigger house, own a fabulous new car, receive the promotion we’ve always wanted. We define our okay-ness by clinging to the idea that we are defined by possessions and external forces. We grasp futilely to an idealized future.

We resist letting go of the past and moving on in the vain hope of relitigating events that didn’t go our way.

We resist accepting that the future is unknowable because of a pathological desire to be in control.

We resist the notion that we are good enough just as we are. And while none of us is ever truly and completely okay, we are all going to be fine.

We make ourselves crazy by being everywhere but right here, right now

As Pema Chodron reminds us: “when the resistance is gone, so are the demons.”

In fact, we can work with the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. We can embrace self-compassion.

We must start where we are, not obsessing over our past mistakes, nor re-living our glory days.

We must start where we are, not fantasizing about some mythical future.

We can accept reality and move from there.

As it turns out, there is no other way that works.