No one to listen

When a tree falls, it still makes a sound. Even if no one is there to hear it.

And it’s the same with your art. Just because people are not seeing it doesn’t make it any less generous.

No need to give up. You can always try again.

Emphasis on process rather than outcomes

Our culture continues to become more and more complicated each day. Sometimes, the “right” answers are not apparent. And sometimes what we think are the right answers end up failing spectacularly.

It requires patience. The problem is tensions continue to grow in unresolved conflict. Rather than letting the loon noises get away from us, we can instead focus on the process.

While favorable outcomes to adversity are nice, we can’t expect those types of results anytime. When we focus on the process, we are no longer attached to the outcomes. And when we can be at peace with outcomes, we are free to do the work we always wanted to do.

Compassion over power

The other day, I could see a host of ants gathering near the base of the garbage can coming from a nearby crack in the concrete.

My first reaction was to go grab a spray. Wisely, instead, I moved the garbage can 4 feet over and they magically went away. No food source, no ants.

Our first instinct can sometimes steer us towards violence. That’s is sort of what humans do, right? (Fight or flight.) There are more solutions than we can imagine if we just stop and think.

Indeed, it is truly easy to let power go to our heads.

Flowers and humans

No one demands a flower to grow. They just do. With no rhyme or reason, they do it to multiply and survive.

Humans are such unique creatures. Because our only goal isn’t just to produce offspring and to survive. Survival of the Fittest is certainly abundant in our culture. Just look at the Gordon Geckos of Wall Street.

And yet, we can also choose to pull out of this rat race we have created. Our biology demands more but we can also use our hearts to say enough. Not only that, we can choose to give our resources to help those who don’t have plenty.

That makes us more unique than we even realize. Having empathy is what makes us human.

The ego can’t get out of the way

It is told that Sir Galahad, one of the three Arthurian knights who finds the Holy Grail, succeeded in finding immortality.

But immortality is a curse if you think about it–all the people you would have to say goodbye to.

People don’t want to live forever. It is our egos that can’t get over the fact that nothing lasts forever.

Letting the mind wander

In two years, my three-year-old will be five.

I think how wonderful it will be to have him out of diapers, be able to sleep better and be more independent.

But I think in two years, I will also wish my then five-year-old will be three. Because I was too busy wandering, I missed what was right in front of me now.

Regret is indeed a powerful teacher. Tomorrow is not guaranteed but only today.

How the sausage is made

The reason we can eat a hotdog is that at the moment we forget how a hotdog is made. When you must make it yourself, you are more aware of the process to produce a piece of food.

And we are more likely to eat the vegetables going bad in the crisper drawer when again, we know the time someone spent to get that piece of cabbage there.

Awareness. That is all we miss. Awareness is the key to decision-making. Without it, how could we know what is going on?

Are we grateful for all the hands that prepared this food?

Learning something new for the first time

There is nothing quite like it.

It’s a light flipping on in the dark. Prajna. Clarity.

The thing is, the older we get, the harder it is to learn something new.

We think we know everything there is to know about the world we create.

And when you are master of the universe, what then?

You must become incompetent, at least temporarily, to accept the wisdom of a teacher.

(As they say: When the student is ready the teacher will appear.)

Except it really is difficult to admit, “I don’t know what I am doing” in our connected world. I mean, who wants to look incompetent?

Hence, it is more difficult to move a full-grown tree than it is to influence a sapling.

We only grow up when we decide to quit learning.

Indeed, the reason we never forget to ride a bike is that we never forget the feeling of learning something new.

Imagined order

70,000 years ago, human beings created language, launching us into what has been called the cognitive revolution.

The invention of language is perhaps the most important event in our human existence. “Intelligence”, as we like to call it, is what separates us from the “animals”.

The letters on this screen mean nothing except when we assign meaning to them. Until we agree on 2+2=4, we can’t develop the mathematics to build a bridge.

Imagined order is nothing without cooperation. Because when human beings can agree, we can accomplish great things. These imagined rules, boundaries and worlds, however, only survive in our minds. We cannot touch it, but we can point to it.

The win

After the success of The Sandman comic, author Neal Gaiman was approached by Stephen King who told him to simply, “Enjoy this.”

Entrepreneurs, artists, and ruckus makers are focused on the next thing, to “make it”, and sometimes we forget to celebrate the win.

We worry so much about hitting the ideal that we forget how far we have come to get here.

Enjoy it because the next moment is here.