First a quote: “When anger enters the mind, wisdom departs.” – Thomas A Kempis
I awoke after a restless night’s sleep in the wee hours of the morning, again today, with the scent of coffee gently poking at my senses. The aroma seemed to be saying, “Get up, get going, and start writing.” My publishing deadline was now less than 12 hours away and I was still at a complete loss for words, or anything remotely meaningful to share.
Moving to my favorite “thinking chair,” coffee in hand, I sat in the morning darkness, contemplating today’s MMM missive. The only light in the room was the blueish tint radiating from the screen of my laptop. Other than the barely audible sound of warm air being pushed around the room by the furnace, the house was quiet.
I sat in silence, just as I have for the past three mornings, in search of meaning, right words, direction, in search of “sense making,” and with any luck, maybe even a dash of wisdom, or touch of inspiration. None materialized, least of all wisdom.
I flirted with the idea of not publishing at all this week.
I’m guessing, like most of you, I have been experiencing a full range of emotions since last Wednesday afternoon, some of which I’m embarrassed to admit, even to myself. Those emotions seem to ebb and flow across a broad spectrum, from negative, to positive, and back again, in a seemingly unending loop.
The other thing I observed, in my quiet reflection, is that my logical self has a natural desire to rationalize, and even defend, my illogical emotions. It is like a subconscious desire to place blame, to finger-point, and to justify my emotions as someone else’s creation. This phenomenon has always been easy for me to see in others, I just dislike admitting that it happens to me as well.
Just maybe, as Thomas Kempis suggested centuries ago, I couldn’t find wisdom today because my mind was too busy processing, and fending off, unproductive emotions.
My heart’s desire is to make a positive difference in the world in which we live. While I can’t control what others do, or say, I can take responsibility for how I think, for what I say, and what I do.
In the absence of wisdom or brilliance of any kind, I offer a couple of thoughts for your consideration:
- We are human, all of us are human! We are human before we are left or right, blue or red, liberal or conservative, mask wearers or mask rejecters, eat our hotdogs with mustard, or heaven forbid, ketchup. Please feel free to choose whatever contrast you would like to use. As humans, indeed as Americans, we all have dreams, hopes, aspirations, fears, concerns, problems, aches, pains, and emotions. We want a better a world for our children. Let’s start there. Let’s start with what we share in common.
- We can choose how we process, and respond to, our human emotions. We can be reactive or proactive. We can control our emotions, or we can let our emotions control us. We can choose to be response-able… that we are able to choose our responses intentionally. Click here to read: At My Best by Choice!
- Words, like tools, can be used constructively or destructively.A hammer can be used to constructively build a castle, or destructively, as a weapon, to harm, tear down and destroy. Words are much the same, they can be used to encourage, discourage, inspire, ignite, or incite. What we say to each other matters!What we post on social media matters. What we blog matters. What we report matters. The stories we tell ourselves, and others, matter.
I don’t pretend to be wise, or to have answers to the complicated challenges our country, or our world faces. I do know that it will take each of us, and all of us, to make a positive difference. I choose to begin with me. I’m working hard to learn from my mistakes, to grow, improve… to be the “best version of me” I can be.
I wish to inspire. My intentions are to be helpful, not hurtful. We can, and should, dream bigger. We can do better! Won’t you join us in that goal.
How will you live, love, or lead differently, or better this week?
PS: instead of bonus quotes this week, I’m going to share a poem I memorized years ago which was written by Robert Fulghum. This poem is an excerpt from his book by the same title. Sharing this poem just felt right to me today. Mr. Fulghum called this his credo. It was titled “Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”
Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (an excerpt) by Robert Fulghum
ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned—the biggest word of all—LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Think what a better world it would be if we all—the whole world—had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are—when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.