One of the last things I do before I go to sleep is say a prayer of thanks. I am grateful for friends and family, breath and life, health and love. I have food, shelter, and the means to provide for my wife and son. Sound of mind, body, and soul.
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.
Of course, I want more. But in truth, I have more than I really need. If I only pursue the latest and the greatest, I will be a slave to every new generation of “stuff.”
I have so much, and that is enough. For this I am thankful. Truly, I am blessed.
As children, we are naturally flexible. But as we age, we tend to lose that flexibility. In death, we become totally stiff, otherwise known as rigor mortis.
A way to offset this stiffness is through stretching. We can push ourselves slightly past our comfort zones. Do this often enough, and we can regain some of the flexibility of our youth.
If we lay in the bed or sit on the couch too long, for example when we are sick, our muscle fibers shorten and we become stiff. Our bodies become dormant and the ability to move becomes more difficult. Bodies in rest tend to stay in rest. And if this is true, then the opposite is true. Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion. Motion leads to greater flexibility.
It is not just in our bodies that we can lose our flexibility. We allow ourselves to slip into routines. We mold ourselves into boundary sets (principles, standards, and ideals) that in time become difficult to break. If we become too afraid to step out of our comfort zones, our whole beings will stiffen. We will become dead to new possibilities.
Stiffness is thus a companion of death; flexibility a companion of life. –Lao Tzu
Our hope is to find the courage to move beyond the known. Beyond the safe and the comfortable. It is in this, we will find growth. We will find motion and in time become more flexible.
What is the one guarantee you have in this life? You are going to die? You are not guaranteed health or even old age? Only death. It comes for us all. No discrimination. Unless you are Enoch or Elijah, you are going to experience it.
Yes, you will die. But you are not dead yet. With this knowledge, how will you live the rest of your life? The seconds fly by. How will you use them? This is the one resource you cannot buy more of. Once your allocation is gone, it is gone forever.
But what about your problems? They are so numerous and cause so many limitations. We all have them, and we all have to make do with what we have. As you take in these words, consider:
You have your eyesight
You have the ability to read and/or hear
You have breath
There are those who lost the ability to see and to hear. All that have gone before us can no longer breathe. Yet, you have it. And if we think about it, there is so much more that we have. There is so much that we can be grateful for. What we have far outweighs all our problems.
Death is coming. But right now, we have life. It may not be perfect, but it doesn’t matter. Use what you got to make the most out of the time you have left.
Heaven and earth are impartial. They allow all things to die. –Lao Tzu
True power. True wisdom. If you want it, Lao Tzu has the key…
Knowing others is intelligent. Knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.
The Virtue of Temperance
Control. Discipline. Restraint. Call it what you will. But if you don’t have it, then life will be much harder. Rather than automating your life for success, your habits will be weak and detrimental. Temper your desires of excess. There is joy in moderation.
If you have arrived into a state of being that is less than you imagined. If you don’t like where you are. If the path you have followed turned out to be the wrong path. How do you correct the course and get to where you want to go?
You start by letting go. You have to let go of all the things that brought you to your current state. You have to change. You cannot repeat the same behaviors and expect a different result. It was those behaviors that prevented you from your success. It was those behaviors that you now have to strip away from your life. You have to change. You have to let go.
Identify the area(s) in your life that you are not happy about. Examine the behaviors involved. Begin to make the changes. They don’t have to be radical changes in the beginning. They can be incremental. Do it long enough, and in time you will be amazed of the progress. Start now. Let go of the old ways.
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. –Socrates
My metamorphosis isn’t complete. The process began years ago, but I was resistant to the change. I knew I needed to change, but it was hard to let go. I wasn’t happy with my physical condition. Lack of attention to my diet and an inconsistent exercise regime is a recipe for mediocrity. At my best, I was only mediocre. That is not where I wanted to be. I had to change. I had to let go. But it wasn’t only in my body that change was needed. I needed a change in my heart and a change in my mind. And though I have started making changes, I am far from where I need to be. It is process. A very long process that requires my constant examination of what I am doing. Keeping a journal has truly helped.
Why I am doing it? Because I can be better. I haven’t added enough value to this world, which means I haven’t maximized my potential. And if I am not maximizing my potential, then I am not getting the most out of this life. If I don’t change, I cannot become what I might be.
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. –Lao Tzu
I have spent weeks meditating on this quote. I don’t know what I might be. All I know is that I am moving in that direction. It is my path. The only thing preventing me from my destiny is holding on to old me, the old ideas, and the old behaviors. I have to let go.
Over the last several months, I began a habit of storing most of my projects on a thumb drive. I did it for convenience, because it gave me the ability to have the same data at work and at home. Those projects are what I believe the foundations of my life’s work, at least what I am presently hoping for. I only kept it on one thumb drive, so I had to protect it. If I lost it, my foundations would be lost. I didn’t lose it. That cheap little thumb drive that hadn’t been backed up in over a month stopped working. My foundations have crumbled. There goes my life’s work. My world is crashing around me.
Okay, that may be a little dramatic. The foundations have already been laid. I just have to rebuild. But in today’s world, we hear phrases like “my universe is falling apart” pretty often. In some instances, it doesn’t take very much to have one of these apocalypse events take place. When was the last time the sky really fell? Sometimes the anxiety we create is so great that we become blind to everything outside of our immediate surroundings.
After completing my 30th day in a row of meditating (This is becoming the newest habit I am most excited about), my perception on this tragic loss of thumb drive is much different than it would have been in the past. My world is barely a speck in the universe. When time is added to the equation, that tiny speck is even more insignificant. Time and the universe continue on. In the grand scheme of things, this instance is nothing.
If our own individual worlds are so insignificant, then one might ask if there is any point to our existence. There might not be. But what if your individual world had a greater effect on other worlds? If I only live for myself, then the chances of my world crashing around me tend to be much greater. But if my mission in life involves others, then my universe gets much larger. All of a sudden, these minor setbacks become less apocalyptic and the mission goes on.
Note: I have learned a lesson here that I should have remembered from the past. This isn’t the first time I have lost data. I need to back up my work on a regular basis. Maybe even spread it around, so all my eggs are not in one basket.