Friday, July 25
So, let’s talk about it…one facet at a time.
I will submit to you that the opposite of peace is chaos. You don’t have to agree…just walk with me for a bit. Chaos is actually present in life naturally. In fact, at times, it is a very necessary part of nature. But that doesn’t mean that it’s exactly good for a person’s life. See, the biggest thing that comes along with chaos is uncertainty. It’s the very nature of chaos. And in people, uncertainty brings rather large loads of stress. I don’t know very many people that are able to deal well will large loads of stress. Stress, in small measures, is a good thing. Science has shown that stress in large levels can actually affect a person’s health and well-being. It becomes a nasty spiral in the wrong direction.
So, if the opposite of peace is chaos…what is peace then? Wow. I think I just set myself a very difficult challenge here. Peace, I think, is different for everyone. Ha! I took the cop out…sue me. For me, peace is a matter of being in harmony with my own life. OK. OK. That sounds like some Zen bullshit. But that’s how I look at it. My life has a certain rhythm and I have figured it out. It’s not about a schedule, just ask anyone that knows me, and it’s not about my life being organized, again anyone that knows me will blow that up. My peace comes from having figured me out. I never used to have a lot of peace in my life, but I realized that I really didn’t know much about me. Sure, I knew my favorite color, my favorite drink, my favorite way to have sex. But I didn’t really know much about the deeper part of me.
It became something that bothered me, so I started digging. What was it that made me truly happy? What was really important to me? Why couldn’t I find the peace I wanted in my life?
Want to know something really weird? When I started to answer those deep questions about me, I started to see why I wasn’t at peace. I wasn’t living in harmony with my own life. So, I started out small; little things that I could easily change. And as I started getting more in line with the rhythm of my life, I started finding a little more peace. By that time, when I felt that little bit of peace, I WANTED MORE! It became like a drug. I found that some of the things that were causing chaos in my life, started becoming smaller and smaller and finally, they were gone. I was sleeping better, feeling better, laughing more, and just enjoying life so much more than I had in so many years.
So, maybe peace is partly living in harmony with your own life…and maybe it’s partly accepting yourself and actually living your life in harmony with yourself?
Whatever your own personal definition of peace is, I KNOW it is something worth working towards. I can’t tell you how to find your own peace. If I could, I’d be R-I-C-H! But, I’m always willing to help out a fellow traveler.
I do hope to see you on the road to peace. It’s a great journey, at least mine has been.
Thursday, July 24
Certainly not someone that dresses is tight tights and fights crime on the streets. Nah, that’s just silly. Some people look to movie stars and athletes as their heroes. Nah, I don’t think that’s it either. Sure, they may be talented and good at what they do, but heroic? Doesn’t meet the criteria. So, what then IS the criteria?
Well, Heroes have been presented to us for hundreds and thousands of years. They have been used in stories to illustrate worthy qualities. Things like intelligence, strength, patience, cleverness, charity, faith, love, and a whole slew of others. And, over the years, heroes in our stories have changed. We no longer have heroes like Jason, Hector, Ulysses, Arthur, Sinbad, or Beowulf. If you look at these old story heroes, they all seem to have a few things in common. Most of, it is their very humanness. They may be powerful and strong and smart as a whip, but they all have their own flaws and faults. They were never perfect. They fell and were mean and horrible sometimes. But they were STILL heroes. Why? How could a man that lied to everyone he ever met and built himself up into something that he never was, be considered a Hero? I believe it was because he came to KNOW his own flaws, he accepted them, and worked to overcome them. Which, in the end he does. And Beowulf IS a true Hero.
So…back to the original thought…where are the Heroes of now? I know that they are there. Most of them are the quiet, simple people that hold the Heroic Qualities to a high level and refuse to compromise those qualities. They are not perfect, just like our Heroes of old, but they always do their best and, hopefully, recognize their flaws and work to remove them. Some of them find themselves thrown into the spotlight; the NYFD on 9-11 comes to mind. THEY are heroes, each and every one of those men and women that went up, when all others were going down, that shoveled debris with their hands because they knew someone was trapped underneath. They are the easy ones to recognize. But they are still a very small minority.
“Everyone’s a Hero, everyone’s a Star…” It just doesn’t make sense to me. I certainly don’t feel like a Hero. I KNOW that I have a lot of flaws. In fact, I have several people (some good friends) that take the time to point them out to me! How lucky am I?? But Heroic? No way.
But sometimes, just sometimes, I catch the look in my son’s eyes and I feel heroic. Sometimes I can believe that everyone has the potential to be heroic, if only we reach down far enough and pull it up to the surface. You see, I believe that everyone is built to be able to recognize the Heroic Qualities. We all recognize their opposites too. And while we may be more entertained by the opposites, we have a natural respect and appreciation of the Heroic Qualities. We can see them in anyone. The boy that stands up to the school bully, the family that takes dinner to their elderly neighbor, the driver that stops to help change a flat. These are heroic moments in people’s lives. Unfortunately, most of us leave the moment behind and return to our mundane lives.
But what if…what if we held on to that moment for a bit? What if we took that small bit of heroism back with us into life and built upon it? Slowly we could build up those Heroic Qualities that we all have inside and we could…each and every one of us…become a Hero for today. Oh, you probably won’t be in any sort of spotlight, at least not big ones. But there will be people that see you as their Hero. It might just be your family and kids, or your friends or coworkers. Or, it might be someone that you will never actually meet again or maybe not even see in the first place.
You might be a little intimidated at the thought of trying to be a Hero, don’t be. Most Heroes didn’t want the jobs. So you’ll be in good company.
Give it a try.
I’ll be watching for you to be my Hero.
Wednesday, July 23
Everyone likes to talk about friends. The ones they have, the ones they had, the ones they wish they had, the one they wish were more. But what IS a friend, really? Webster’s defines a friend as “one attached to another by affection or esteem”. Gee, that’s a bit dry and doesn’t even come close to what a true friend really is. So let me try something out here. A friend is:
Someone that believes in you, even when you’re wrong and making an ass out of yourself. Accepts you as you are, with no need to change you into what they think you should be. One that will always be there to help you get back up, no matter how far away you happen to be. One that will cry with you when you need to, or walk with you through the tears when you can’t walk through on your own. Someone that can see life the way you see it, even though life in their eyes may be different. Someone that will make fun of you, and you will always know that they love you because of it.
So, that’s my kind of friend. The kind of friend I try to be and the one I wish everyone else would work towards. Friends are not family. You get the benefit of choosing them and trying them for a while before you decide they can stay. So often, people feel the need to wear this perfect stage mask around other people. We all do it to some degree. We have work masks, friend masks, family masks, and sometimes, sadly, personal masks. Masks are designed for only one reason, to hide what lies beneath. It takes a certain amount of courage and self-confidence to live life without a mask. But there is the beauty in unmasking, the more you do it, the more confidence you build. God has made everyone perfect. He doesn’t make things wrong or bad or unsightly. Everyone seems to believe that they are less than they really are.
So, let me tell you this today…whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever is going on in your life right now.
You are beautiful. I know it.
You are amazing. Give me a chance and I’ll see it.
You are awesome. Just let it come through.
I want to know you and see if, underneath everything, we could be friends. So, come out from under your mask, just for a bit, and see what life without it is really like.