Wednesday, June 25, 2014

in which I do not use my words

Since I seem to have nothing to say these days, I thought I would pass along some things I've read recently that have made me think. I'm not a huge fan of inspirational quotes, because so often when you pull things out of context, you lose much of their meaning. Also, it starts to sound like you're designing those idiotic inspirational posters. But, like I said, I got nothin' these days, so here you go.

Brene Brown, in Daring Greatly, on the value of allowing yourself to be vulnerable: "Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it's understanding the necessity of both; it's engaging. It's being all in. Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection."

Jim Palmer, in Notes From (Over) the Edge: "When are you going to stop taking cues from others about what you should be and do in life? When are you going to stop denying your authentic self to satisfy the expectations and scripts others have put on you? When are you going to start listening to that voice inside you? When are you going to start trusting your own internal guidance system? When is the violation of your true self going to be a bigger violation than displeasing others?"

Bob Goff, in Love Does: "There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I'm tempted to turn it down all the time. I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement.... It doesn't come in an envelope. It's ushered in by a sunrise.... It's the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day. Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I've seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live."

Tara Brach, in Radical Acceptance: "The belief that we are deficient and unworthy makes it difficult to trust that we are truly loved. Many of us live with an undercurrent of depression or hopelessness about ever feeling close to other people. We fear that if they realize we are boring or stupid, selfish or insecure, they'll reject us....We yearn for an unquestioned experience of belonging, to feel at home with ourselves and others, at ease and fully accepted. But the trance of unworthiness keeps the sweetness of belonging out of reach."

Tara Brach also tells the story of Ed Brown, a Zen teacher who is also a cook. Early in his career as a cook, he spent considerable time and effort in trying to create a biscuit recipe that measured up to his memories of the biscuits he loved as a child. Until one day he realized that this remembered perfection was actually Pillsbury biscuits that popped out of a can. His biscuit recipe was just fine, once he realized that his standards had been shaped by forces he no longer wished to support. Moments like that one, Ed Brown says, "can be so stunning, so liberating, these moments when you realize your life is just fine as it is, thank you. Only the insidious comparison to a beautifully prepared, beautifully packaged product made it seem insufficient. Trying to produce a biscuit--a life--with no dirty bowls, no messy feelings, no depression, no anger was so frustrating. Then savoring, actually tasting the present moment of experience--how much more complex and multifaceted."

What words are inspiring you these days?

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