“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break, and all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”
— L.R. Knost
"The ocean gives back what the ocean is given."
Wise words from a wise grandpa.
Something I've found true in my life, and I have no idea where I heard or read it first.
Life is what happens when you had other plans.
Born thus, I ask to be no other man than that I am.
From Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles. Wise words? Boastful words, inviting hubris? True words, at least, I think. True of me, certainly. And therefore my motto (and no - I didn't kill my father, then marry my mother!)
When I was a teenager, I had a notebook filled with quotes. My bedroom closet had sliding mirrored doors and I took colored sharpies and wrote quotes all over the glass, and invited those who came over to do the same. They were quotes from authors, actors, politicians, philosophers. Funny thing is, I don't remember most of them. One day I cleaned the mirror and never put anything back on it. My dogs destroyed the notebook.
The quotes that stuck with me over the years weren't the kind of things found in history books or classic movies. It was simple profundity, those passing statements from people with more experience and perspective than I had at the time. Don't get me wrong, I've been deeply moved by the art of words (I have a quote from Frasier tattooed on my feet) but it pales in comparison.
"Oh, come on. If you're alive and breathin', you got issues."
--> Andy, a classmate of mine in the massage therapy program. He was about twenty years my senior and unbothered by pretty much everything. This was his response to my insistence that I am a deeply flawed individual. I didn't realize it at the time, but the man was Zen personified.
"You can go deeper. I'm not made of sugar."
-->A client I had at a spa in Atlanta. She was an elderly (and surprisingly athletic) German lady who chuckled and said this when I asked how the pressure was. She said she grew up working and was tougher than she looked.
"Hey, you're alive and on two feet, so I'd say you're doing alright!"
--> A man I met in a hospital elevator while visiting my grandfather. He asked how I was doing, and I said "Okay, all things considered." This was what he had to say back to me.
I think the reason these three stand out so much to me is because they were all spoken to me at pivotal times in my life- they were exactly what I needed to hear to keep me grounded. Andy was uninterested in entertaining my self-pity. The German client implication that she was not some frilly, frail thing that would just dissolve away reminded me that I too, am made with grit. The man in the elevator reminded me that in despite of the despair that surrounded me, there is still something to be grateful for.
I haven't seen any of these people in many years and likely never will again. There's a part of me that hopes that the wisdom they've so casually passed on to me is wisdom that was once casually passed on to them somewhere along their journey. It seems like the natural order of things.
"When life gives you lemons make orange juice, and have them wondering how you did that."
Getting Motivated Again
I found this on the Facebook page "The Write Practice," and it motivated me to work on some projects I have been procrastinating on for a while:
"The secret to being a writer is that you have to write. It's not enough to think about writing or to study literature or plan a future life as an author. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work."
- Augusten Burroughs
To do or Not to do
"You can always edit a bad page.
You can't edit a blank page."
I've felt a lot of pain in my life. Probably no more than the average 40-something has, but my pains were real because they were mine. I could have become a sad person and moped around, that would seem totally appropriate. Or I could have pushed past it with happiness? I went the latter route but I had some help.
I grew up with the Muppets. No matter what was going on in our tumultuous house I could always rely on Kermit and crew to be on TV every Wednesday afternoon, and they'd show me the happiness laying outside my four walls. I know this was a truth, even if it was a different show, for many kids of my generation. It was the 80's...if you were there as a kid you know what I'm talking about.
"Why are there so many songs about rainbows?" I can't even write it without smiling until my cheeks hurt!
Just like Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" can conjure up tears, Kermit can spin any day into a positive one just by strumming the first couple chords.
But for me the real gem of a quote comes from the alt-rock Muppets band, The Snowths. To this day I often include "Mah-na Mah-na" within my corporate email signature. Those...are my words to live by!
Someone's mean... Mah-na Mah-na!
Something goes bad... Mah-na Mah-na!
It's raining on your picnic... Mah-na Mah-na!
Life's just made better with a simple Mah-na Mah-na.
Seize the Day!
Live in or be in this moment!
Dont live in your past, it’s already gone.
The future isn’t here yet.
Grab hold of right now because this is what you have to forge your life forward with so make the most of the moments you have Now!
I have made it a rule not to carry over the strife of yesterday into the next day. I do my best to make peace and begin the next morning as a clean slate.