Uncategorized

Memories: Two kinds

At a basic level there are really only two kinds of memories.

For many of us, the first type are all too familiar–and the most problematic. We remember the pain of the past: a failed relationship, the promotion we didn’t get, the hurtful comment of a relative or friend, an apology we “deserved” and are still waiting for, any number of actions that somehow or other hurt our feelings. And on and on.

The other kind are those that lift our spirit: remembering the birth of our child, the feeling of first falling in love, hoisting that trophy, crossing that finish line (literally or figuratively) or, as we do in the United States today, honoring the memory of those who died in service to our country.

Until someone invents a time machine that allows us to go back and attempt to fix that which didn’t go as we would have wanted or planned, ruminating on negative memories keeps us stuck and limits our potential. At some point, as Lily Tomlin allegedly said, “we must give up all hope for a better past.” The only thing that allows us to move on is to forgive unconditionally and let it all go. Easier said than done, I know.

While it’s possible to get just as stuck on positive memories–and at this point you might want to sing an impromptu version of “Glory Days”–they still typically fill us with love, warmth and compassion. They remind us of what’s possible. They serve to put life in better perspective and sharper relief. They steep us in gratitude.

Most importantly, when we acknowledge the two kinds and are aware of the keen differences, we can more clearly see how getting attached to one set is not in our best long-term interest.

And then we get to make a different choice.

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This post was also published on my business blog.

Uncategorized

Out of ignorance or fear?

There are all sorts of reasons we stay stuck, fail to take action on the things we tell ourselves really matter, spin on items big and small.

Whether it’s deepening (or ending) a personal relationship, finishing our book, quitting a soul-crushing job or starting that new business we keep talking about, there is an aspect of our evolutionary biology that holds us back.

Vulnerability is scary.

Bringing our ideas, wishes and dreams into the light risks criticism–or even ridicule.

All too often, The Resistance is real.

Half the battle in overcoming our fears is to accept the reality that we crave both growth and safety at the same time. Yet there is simply no talking ourselves out of the fact of our hard-wiring. Our job, then, is to learn how to quiet the lizard brain and press on.

Ignorance is a different matter entirely.

Ignorance is often a major contributor to stoking our fear and anxiety. One needs neither an advanced degree–or any degree at all–nor dedication of substantial time and effort to see how much our society is burdened by irrational fears borne largely out of misinformation, misunderstanding and verifiable mistruths.

The fact is, in the developed world at least, most people have plenty of access to all the information they need to be reasonably well informed. Most folks have the tools to apply a decent level of discernment.

If it matters to you and you don’t know, your ignorance is a willful act.

In fighting our stuckness, in being willing to put our art out into the ether, in exposing who we are to another person, in contributing to a better world, it’s important to understand what holds us back.

Fear is a dragon to slay. Ignorance is a choice.

 

This post was simultaneously published on my business blog

Letting go of ego · Open heartedness · Radical acceptance · Self-compassion · Uncategorized

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.

 

A world of abundance · Chase remarkable · Uncategorized

I’ll see it when I believe it

If we start with the premise that we are a failure, it’s easy enough to notice all the supporting evidence.

If we reflexively lean toward the narrative that a group of people is to be feared, than everyone who resembles them–or who has a “funny name”– starts to look like the enemy.

If we begin with the fundamental notion that we live in an world of scarcity, than we can only see that our gain comes at someone else’s expense.

And, to paraphrase the old saying, if we believe that we have the right hammer–and it’s our only tool–than all we see are an awful lot of nails that need pounding.

Of course we can choose to believe that we are enough, that we have enough, that we do enough. And then we start to see someone who makes mistakes, not is a mistake.

We can decide to believe that all human beings are born good and inherently worthy of dignity and respect. And then we bear witness to our common humanity and find ourselves standing on the side of love and forgiveness more often than the side of hate and judgment.

We can believe in a world of abundance. And slowly, but surely, potential reveals itself and a veritable banquet of possibilities emerge–none of which require us to beat out anyone else.

The stories we tell ourselves matter.

Believing is seeing, not always the other way around.

What we believe, we become.

 

H/T to Brene Brown and the late Forrest Church

A version of this post originally appeared at http://www.stevenpdennis.com

Being vulnerable · Embrace the present moment · Smile at fear · Uncategorized

When we live in fear

When we live in fear we spin endlessly in worry about the future, rather than seeing the beauty and potential available to us right here, right now.

When we live in fear we assume the immigrant is coming to take our job–or even to kill us–rather than appreciating that they might be the next Einstein or Hamilton. Or that they are simply deserving of compassion and safe refuge.

When we live in fear we cling to the false idolatry of perfection, rather than celebrate our inevitable mistakes, our rough edges, the cracks that let the light in.

When we live in fear we seek validation from others, rather than accept our inherent worthiness and warmly embrace our differences.

When we live in fear we only see the worst case scenario, rather than have faith that we can handle just about anything that might come our way.

When we live in fear we are alone, disconnected, detached, instead of being held safe in the knowledge that we are all in this together.

When we live in fear so much of our energy is wasted trying to control the uncontrollable.

When we live in fear our starting point tilts toward hate, not love and toward revenge, instead of forgiveness.

When we live in fear we see change as the enemy, the dragon to be slain, when dropping our sword, taking off our armor and letting down our guard might just allow us to tap into a world of abundance and unleash a little bit of magic.

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The power of now · Uncategorized

What better time than now?

If you are anything like me, you might find yourself procrastinating from time to time. Or maybe even more often than not.

Maybe you tell yourself there is a perfect time to start that new project or to share that innovative idea with your boss.

Maybe you will update your resume and start looking for that new job once you get those few spare minutes that never quite seem to come.

Maybe you will start that diet once the Girl Scout Cookies are gone.

Maybe you will start living a life worth living in the morning.  Or after the weekend.

Maybe you will tell that person you love them when the moment is “right.”

After all, you are busy.

It’s taken me a long time to realize that there is no such thing as the perfect time or the right moment. Or to admit to myself that I’m always busy in some way.

If it’s important, it’s time to get started.

What better time than now?

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