I began this blog 200 posts ago, and there’s nothing in this world that I don’t know…
Well, that’s not true, but I’m remembering my father sitting in his chair on our wrap-around porch singing old silly songs as the sun went down. “I was born about 10,000 years ago…” verse after unbelievable verse. There’s a lot in this world that I don’t know and will never know, and many things that I can know if I pay attention and try to be aware. One thing I became aware of is that my blog was hard for my mother to read in its old format. The light text on a slightly darker background was obscured through her developing cataracts. I hoping that this new look will be clearer for her.
Another thing that I’m becoming aware of is the way that thoughts influence energy. Life is difficult (opening line of M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled), in other words, living requires effort. Solving problems, finding food, making money, communicating – all of that takes some energy, but sometimes the energy returns to us if the process is positive and life-giving. When I feel drained and sad and depressed, it’s often simply because my thoughts about problem solving, making money, and other efforts of living are not positive. In another Summit with Steve this morning, I asked myself this question, “Are you going to roll up your sleeves or roll up your eyes?” Steve offered an illustration from our favorite National Basketball team, the Chicago Bulls (President Obama is also a loyal fan). Rookie Jimmy Butler, brand new to the team, has a life story that exemplifies the effort of overcoming obstacles. He was abandoned by his father at an early age, kicked out by his mother at 13, raised by a widow with 4 children who remarried a man with 3 more children, and finally made it to Marquette University and the NBA. He is part of the energy infusion we fans call “The Bench Mob”. They’re not “good enough” to be starters, but when they go into a game, they roll up their sleeves and get to work! Another member of “The Bench Mob” who has a totally different physical attitude is Omer Asik. We love him, because he’s nerdy-looking like us. He’s tall and skinny and white. He’s from Turkey. He is a great basket defender, but he’s pretty new to the team, too, and not as athletic as many players. He has this comical hang-dog expression when he fouls someone or misses a shot. He literally rolls up his eyes, instead of his sleeves.
Energy ebbs and flows. Sometimes I roll up my sleeves, sometimes I roll up my eyes. Here’s another comic example: Buster Keaton. Mr. Keaton had a stellar career in silent films. He’s a little guy, very physically strong. His acrobatic stunts on camera are amazing. His comedy is also about solving problems, thinking outside of the box and using his incredible energy. Of course, he doesn’t squander any energy talking! His reaction to social situations is great. He doesn’t let them deter him from going after what he wants, and whenever he fails, he simply tries a new tactic. See any of the clips from “College” (1927) that you can find…or the whole film! He makes a great movie star hero, in my book.
So, this one’s for me, my kids and anyone else out there who is putting effort into living. You are not your thoughts. If your thoughts of failure and shame are draining your energy, listen to them and then change them. Are you really ashamed of yourself? Or is that a perception of what you think ‘society’ thinks of you? The truth is you are a good person and you desire to be a good person (most likely – granted there may be exceptions). Roll up your sleeves, Good Person, and play!