I was reading When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron and she writes, “We are killing the moment by controlling our experience. Doing this is setting ourselves up for failure, because sooner or later, we’re going to have an experience we can’t control: our house is going to burn down, someone we love is going to die, we’re going to find out we have cancer, a brick is going to fall out of the sky and hit us on the head, somebody’s going to spill tomato juice all over our white suit, or we’re going to arrive at our favourite restaurant and discover that no one ordered produce and seven hundred people are coming for lunch. The essence of life is that it’s challenging. Sometimes it is sweet, and sometimes it is bitter. Sometimes your body tenses, and sometimes it relaxes or opens. Sometimes you have a headache, and sometimes you feel 100 per cent healthy. From an awakened perspective, trying to tie up all the loose ends and finally get it together is death, because it involves rejecting a lot of your basic experience. There is something aggressive about that approach to life, trying to flatten out all the rough spots and imperfections into a nice smooth ride. To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. From the awakened point of view, that’s life.” Continue reading
You want to be the weakest person in the room.
The weakest student, teacher, parent and colleague.
Because then you can learn and grow from those who are stronger than you.
You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
So raise your average.
If you are the strongest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.
We all strive to be competent. To do things right. To not make mistakes. To not look weak. But the only way to evolve is to fall down and rise again.
In order to do this we have to try. We have to share. We have to be vulnerable. We have to take a chance. We have to embrace failure.
And by doing this, you can find a beautiful treasure that you had no idea was there.
As author Anne Lamott said, “We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”
We are on that ship together. And we are waiting for you to sing. It doesn’t matter if you don’t hit the right notes. It’s far worse if you don’t start singing at all.
In Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird, she reminds us how to get through writing and life when she says, “Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'” Continue reading