“Great leaders don’t rush to blame. They instinctively look for solutions.” Nina Easton
Unplanned interruptions are annoying. Unnecessary complications are upsetting. During the course of a busy day, any number of these undesired occurrences can wreck havoc on otherwise engaging plans. When they barge into our lives we can react in a variety of ways:
a. We can fume and pout, stomp and complain. However, once we stop our ranting we still have the problem.
b. We can blame others. Call people onto the carpet. Dole out disciplines. However, at the end of the confrontation we still have the problem.
c. We can assess the problem. Plan a course of action and implement the proposed solution. We will still need to review how the problem came to be and what consequential actions may be required so that the problem does not re-occur. But at the end of the problem solving, we no longer have the problem.
Efficiency is part of my reason to forgo the ranting, complaining and blaming. It is just a waste of energy. Energy is so precious.
“Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.” Henry Ford
“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” Denis Waitley
Oh, the nebulous world of Risky. The definition depends on the day. When I was young, it didn’t seem so risky to climb a ladder, reach a little to paint in that wee corner of the wall. Today, I am older, and the days of climbing ladders has ceased. It is deemed too risky. The wall may still need painted, I just have to find a new way to get it accomplished.
As a nurse, my mind has turned into radar to detect risk. As we rehab our 200 year old home, my job is risk management. With an adventuresome, courageous and competent engineering husband I stay plenty busy in that role!
I use the sliding scale of “risk : benefit” ratio. Many activities carry some degree of risk. However, the benefit may outweigh the potential risk. Conversely, the benefit may be low and the potential risk too high. On occasion, the risk is high for me, but the benefit for mankind may be huge.
“I wondered how many was like me. Like me wanted to be free. Had thought bout leaving, but stayed for some reason. Then somethin happens. Takes you over your edge-that edge of fear not knowin what’s on that other side. Not willin to take the first step to move to some new spot. Then somethin kinda forces your foot. An you step out.” ” Leo and the Listener”, by Faye Hager
So much can happen in a year. A day can be busy. A week can be full. A year can change your life. They are all made up of moments.
One year ago today, my son was diagnosed with stage IIIb cancer. He didn’t live close by. I wasn’t there when the doctor told him. I was 2000 miles away connected by some unseen electronic air wave cell phone line.
He made it. He went through chemo/radiation pre-surgery. Then a 15 hour radical surgery and then follow up chemo. We traveled by air to be there. To touch. To love. To cry. To encourage.To hope. To fear. To despair. To move into another day.
PET scan showed no cancer. Celebration!
Yet…this day brings back haunting emotions. Life is very short. We all live one phone call away from very sad news. Life changing information.
My philosophy? Live each day without regret. Love. Forgive. Don’t try and be perfect.
Islands bring adventure! Beauty! Exotic sights! Or perhaps they can bring danger, hunger and isolation.
By definition an island is surrounded by water. Without a means to leave the island by boat or swimming one could feel trapped there. Emotions can be like islands. We can feel so overwhelmed by an emotion that we believe there is no escape. When the emotions are jubilant, we don’t mind. We would like to live on the jubilant island forever! But when emotions are dark, we wish to seek light and an escape from such despair, sadness or loneliness.
One must start with John Donne’s declaration. ‘No man is an island’. No matter how isolated one feels, there is a way of escape. The first step is an act of the will-a desire to escape. The desire must translate into actions or the presumed desire is not real. It is an illusion which further traps the inactive person in despair.
So how might one bridge the water which seems to obstruct escape? Remember, we are not islands. We are people with connections to others. Approaching others may not be easy. A bridge may have to be built or repaired. A person may have to learn to swim to escape. Sometimes we can build the bridge alone. Sometimes we can teach ourselves how to swim. Sometimes we need external instruction. This instruction can be obtained via a friend, a counselor, a book, or a sage. When we want to escape, we must take the action required for that desire to become a reality.
“Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering.” Dalai Lama
“Only when your consciousness is totally focused on the moment you are in, can you receive whatever gift, lesson, or delight that moment has to offer.” Barbara De Angelis
A life is full of many moments. Some I love, some I tend to resent. I remember when my children were young. Somedays would be more taxing than others. Often during those times a friend would say, ‘they are going through a phase, they will move into another soon.’
I gave that a lot of thought. If I hurried them through every phase, the end result would be to rush their lives. Lives are so short anyway. Why would I rush a life away?
Today, my children are adults. My parents have passed away. Illness and disease have come and gone. And I have asked myself again-would I wish away any of these phases of suffering?
My answer is, no. All the moments have made me who I am today. The good and delightful, and the sad and sorrowful. They comprise me.
Phases do come and go. Some are short, and some seem as though they will never pass. My goal is to keep moving through the phases. Embrace what I can and try not to get stuck in any one place.
“To reach a port, we must sail – sail, not tie at anchor, sail not drift.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Expectation is the mother of all frustration.” Antonio Banderas
I have an apparently peculiar quirk. I think that I should only have to do something once. Say it once. Touch it once. File it once. Isn’t that the teaching of efficiency? Oh dear…I have another quirk-I think things should be efficient.
No wonder some days annoy me. My expectations that things should run efficiently and smoothly are adversely affecting my blood pressure. Ah…a splash of insight. Many of the above expectations occur in an office and are impacted by other people; other people who are messing with my mode of efficiency.
Wait. That still admits I have an expectation of efficiency. Perhaps I could change that to a desire for efficiency, but realize that a multitude of events, and people, will complicate my hope. I do get paid for that complication. However, it does slow things down. Damn…another expectation-that I will get a lot of things done in a day. Some days it takes all day to get someone to get labs done right, packaged correctly, picked up and processed as they should be. How could that take so long? I don’t know, but some days it does.
What am I left with? Go to work, don’t expect people to be competent, an office to be efficient, or to get much done. There! My frustration could vanish.
But who would I become?
Best I keep my quirks, and learn how to manage letting go of my expectations of others. Perhaps that was the mother of invention to the happy hour/cocktail after a day’s work!
I have such a strong urge to want life to be normal. For a day to be normal. But, what is ‘normal?’ Who gets to define that? I may want to define it, but in so doing, I could mess up my journey. I might create a beautiful straight, unobstructed path. I guess that could be okay. But I would miss all the adventure and awe of discovering what is around the corner. Of becoming who I am to become.
From time to time, we get to share a part of someone else’s journey. He/she will be the one to trek the entire path, but sometimes we get to walk awhile with them.
Such is my life right now. Walking along with someone I love. Right now, the path is rather dark and hard to see. We are inching along and moving forward. As I try to hold the torch to add illumination, I am inspired by what I see. A life full of courage and determination. A person who does not worry and fret, but who surges on with hope.
“We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.” Ben Sweetland