Posted Thursday, May 31, 2012
I was recently on a plane and the flight attendant spoke up about the safety information she was about to share. She said, "It is better to know this information and not need it than to need it and not know it. This information could save your life." Good point!
Here is a list of "truths" that may save your life—specifically save you from living a life that EVEN YOU believe is not worth living.
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Posted Friday, May 11, 2012
About a year ago—my second marriage came to an end. Somewhat suddenly with circumstances that make most people gasp. However, this is not a story about the ending. This is a story about the beginning.
You see—my former wife and I became engaged to be married in DC during the summer of 2006. It was a fairy tale engagement. I showed up at her work on a early Friday afternoon and swept her away in a limo to the airport. We made our way to the bed and breakfast in DC where I pulled out all the stops to make her feel like a princess: rose petals, wine, a concert, clothing, a picnic in our favorite park with huge waterfalls, and of course a poem expressing my desire to be with her. Forever.
Last week I was in DC. I've told you that I love it there.
My cousin took me for a hike and I had no idea where I was going. It soon became clear after we arrived that we were at the park where I had asked my former wife to marry me. My first thought: "Ughh—I don't need this—maybe we should go somewhere else." My second thought: "I wonder what the universe wants to teach me today. In this place. With so much emotion. This should be fascinating."
I chose to stay. Boy am I glad that I did. Read More »
Posted Monday, January 09, 2012
Today is January 9th and it still hasn't gotten that cold here in the Chicago area. We've had a few mornings with some slight flurries and some temperatures in the low teens—but frankly not that many. I am still running in shorts several times per week and haven't seen a reason to switch to tights yet. What a gift.
This, however, might be a problem. Winter—snow—AND—cold—is important. Important for the trees. Important for the pollen count next summer. Important for creating a great deal of snow melt for the spring. Winter strengthens our world—makes it more resilient to disease. Winter kills off bacteria. Winter enhances the circle of life and participates in evolution by killing off the weakest of the animals—leaving the strongest and smartest to survive and create another generation.
Winter is a good metaphor for life. It represents death and dying in our lives. Death is needed.
No matter what anyone says, no one enjoys the pain and discomfort of howling wind and bitter cold. We enjoy the fireplace when we get back to the house—but the cold seeps into our marrow and makes us cold at our core. Getting let go by the company you trusted with your future is like that. Failing miserably while chasing your dreams is like that. Hearing the doctor tell you that you have cancer is like that. Discovering your children are into drugs is like that. Divorce is like that. Losing a parent is like that.
So now what? Winter is coming—if it isn't already here for you. How do you respond to winter? How do you respond to not being in control. How do you respond to the depth of emptiness that comes when you realize that you can't make it better? You can't fix it?
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Posted Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Imagine you in your home, winding down from a long day and the door bell rings. You open the door and there is a solitary unicorn standing there. You are understandably surprised. You are shocked when the unicorn starts speaking to you and in english says, "Get on! Let's go for a ride!"
What's your response? Of course you are going to get on the unicorn. You are either in a dream or it's a chance of a lifetime—so no matter what—you are going to go for a ride.
Is there anything magical in your life? Anything that has you in awe? Is there anywhere in your life where you experience unbridled joy?
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Posted Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Things are rarely as they seem.
As I looked across the table from this amazing woman just a few days ago—that is the thought that kept knocking around in my head. Her co-workers surely believe that she is on top of things and her supervisors definitely think so as they promote her again and again. There is no doubt that she makes an impact. No doubt that she is worth every penny they are paying her.
On the flip side though—the stuff that matters to her. The stuff for which she would give up her salary and lifestyle to make safe and get in order—is far from perfect. How do we get here? How do we end the insanity.
She offered her strategy during this time—her strategy is to "surrender to imperfection."
Hmmm! That's awesome!
Sorta like the opposite of Lexus' "The relentless pursuit of perfection." Read More »
Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2011
How are things? I mean really how are things? Today, in this moment?
If you are like most of us, you are waiting for something out in the future for things to be OK. Are you waiting for your relationship with your spouse or partner to get better? Waiting for your kids to get out of the phase that they are in? Waiting for your slightly injured knee to improve?
This is real stuff. Marriages are sometimes tough. Raising kids is tough. Our bodies seem to betray us when we need the stress relief of exercise the most. So what do we do? We push through it. We hear that voice inside our heads that tells us to "stop whining and get moving. Deal with it!"
I'm here to offer a different perspective. There is so much to discover in those places of toughness—I wonder if we don't miss out on the living available to us by pushing through it. By coping. What if we stopped in those moments and asked the questions beneath the surface? What if we asked ourselves some whopper questions in the areas where we are waiting for things to get better and stayed with the questions long enough to experience ourselves and our lives? Read More »
Posted Tuesday, October 04, 2011
It's 9 days ago. I'm lying face down on a tattoo parlor table. The pain is beyond what I imagined. It's not stopping. I tell myself it will be over soon. Soon is taking quite a while. Each branch of the tree has to be traced and filled in. The leaves need to be added--each leaf another needle. Eventually, I embrace the pain. I stop cringing. I lean into it. It becomes the metaphor for why I'm here--1000 miles from home, alone, getting a tattoo of a tree on my back.
I'm here because my friends loved me and believed in me and sent me to a world class leadership program. I'm alone because I must be, and I'm getting a tree on my back because the tree is the symbol of my true life.
Beauty and pain are inextricably linked. Authenticity--what my new tattoo represents--is not possible without pain.
So, many years ago I set clear intentions for my life: I want my insides to match my outsides. I want to be real. I want to live authentically. I knew at the time that this was not an easy task. I knew it would cost me things to live out those intentions. Mostly I knew that I would have to drastically change for those intentions to turn into reality.
Today--I turn 40.
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Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2011
I have a problem. I like to be right. I've always been this way—at least as long as I can remember.
In grade school, sometimes the only thing I had to hold onto was the fact that I was right about the answer. One not so emotionally intelligent teacher gave me some advice on how to deal with bullies that called me names; she told me to tell them to "prove it." For all the bullies and for the bullied out there—you know what happened when I said "prove it." The bullies just started chanting prove it, prove it, prove it.
I learned though—that I could know the most and have at least some confidence as I went through my life. I definitely enjoyed proving people wrong—which didn't win me very many friends as a young student.
So midway through high school, I decided to completely choose my religion. I was cocky, bold, and used to getting picked on. Not such a great combination. I soon took the messages of love that were given to me by my church and turned them into messages of exclusion. I was genuinely worried about the souls of my friends, my girlfriend, and co-workers. I quickly learned as much as I could about how to evangelize everyone who was far from God (at least from my point of view.) I wore t-shirts that proclaimed my devotion to Jesus and every conversation I had with someone that didn't believe like I did was an opportunity to tell them about the "good news."
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Posted Monday, August 01, 2011
So I met someone famous last week. Stacy Allison. She is the first american woman to summit Mt. Everest. I know. Impressive. You have maybe heard the stats—only one in 10 people that attempt Everest, make it to the summit and for every four people that make it to the summit, 1 person dies trying. Yikes.
Stacy is good friends with one of my friends and the three of us went for a long run together. After I gawked and got over my nervousness, I discovered pretty quickly that Stacy is just as human as I am (surprise) and the three of us had a very pleasant time together talking about the good, bad, and the ugly in our lives.
She gave me a copy of her book as well and I started reading it as soon as I got a chance later that day. I was fascinated with the story of a young girl trying to find her life and stepping into risks again and again.
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