“I don’t know why I go to extremes. Too high or too low, their ain’t no in between.” Billy Joel
In between is the sweet spot. The place where we find the seemingly elusive balance. Where the pendulum rests.
Decisions are often are made in extremes as a result of something going too far. An argument, a policy, a death. As if going to the completely other side will somehow bring balance and the pendulum will rest. But gravity is inevitable and the pendulum slowly swings back to center – in between.
In between can also be a place where guilt resides when we don’t do enough. Or, when we do too much and our relationships and health suffer.
However in between is where we find solutions. Where we compromise and seek first to understand – first inside ourselves then with others. In between is judgement free. In between is where forgiveness and love live.
“The space between is where you’ll find me waiting for you.” Dave Matthews.
Today Glenn and I celebrate 20 years of marriage. Like all things good in my life, it was a journey to get here. And I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s easy to see the pictures of togetherness and love because nobody wants to take a selfie when they are in the middle of a heated argument. But here are some things we’ve discovered along the way.
We’ve had to fall in love with each other over and over again. We’ve had to stay committed when it was easy to leave. We’ve had to talk about the hard things and leave our egos at the door. We’ve had to admit when we were wrong and leave being right out of it.
We’ve watched our bodies grow old and come to love our wrinkles. We still find each other incredibly sexy. We find comfort in knowing we will be there to care for each others ailing and aging bodies.
We’ve learned the art of compromise and the significance of making lasting memories. We learned that marriage is a garden that needs tending to daily in order for it to grow and bloom.
These things we’ve learned…and we are still learning.
“Like a bee in a flower bed, the human brain naturally flits from one thought to the next. In the high-speed workplace, where data and headlines come thick and fast, we are all under pressure to think quickly. Reaction, rather than reflection, is the order of the day. To make the most of our time, and to avoid boredom, we fill up every spare moment with mental stimulation…Keeping the mind active makes poor use of our most precious resource. True, the brain can work wonders in high gear. But it will do so much more if given the chance to slow down from time to time. Shifting the mind into lower gear can bring better health, inner calm, enhanced concentration and the ability to think more creatively.”
― Carl Honoré, In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed
As the plane’s wheels hit the runway, my body feels the force of the halt pressing my back against my seat. The sound of the wind against the wing flaps roars and within seconds we have gone from 500 mph to 25 mph.
I have embarked on a 10 day journey on an island. This is a far cry from my daily routine of cramming 36 hours of work and play into 24 hours.
It is now Day 2 and island life is starting to set in. My amazing husband listens to my struggle as my mind still races looking for something to organize, or a problem to solve, or a client to help. I still have to make a conscious effort to slow my engines. The wind flaps are up and I am grinding to a halt. I have arrived.
Imagine being honored with a bronze statue to immortalize you and at the unveiling the statue is said to look like someone else? Does that invalidate the artists work or make it any less of a masterpiece?
Participants at a recent Q and A with best selling author and speaker Seth Godin, were hungry for the magic formula that led to his success. This was a common question asked several different ways. Seth’s formula was simple – Be You. Write about issues that matter to you. Be causal about your passions. Be inspired by others and add your unique perspective. The world is full of people and places that inspire us! Don’t let what others think stop you from sharing who you are with the world. It’s only their perspective.
Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else. Judy Garland
Only we can create the best version of ourselves, and we are perfect just the way we are. We have everything we need inside of us to be, do and achieve anything and have everything life has to offer.
Be you. You are a masterpiece. Believe it, or bust.
“When learning is purposeful, creativity blossoms. When creativity blossoms, thinking emanates. When thinking emanates, knowledge is fully lit. When knowledge is lit, economy flourishes.”
― A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Indomitable Spirit
Life is a journey – so we’ve been told over and over and over. Who we are at the beginning of the journey naturally changes over the course of the time as our bodies and mind age. Consistent attention to improving our physical condition gives us strength to endure even the most challenging trails. However, no matter how strong we are physically, if we don’t have the mental strength to overcome roadblocks on our journey, we could unconsciously choose a path of least resistance.
Consistent attention to improving our mental capacity takes a conscious effort as well. This is often referred to as personal growth. It can be painful and leave your ego a little bruised. It can also be freeing and leave you with a deeper understanding of yourself and what you are truly capable of.
If you happen to meet someone along on your journey that inspires you, and causes you to see yourself better than you see yourself, you are likely to have met someone who is growing personally. If they lift you up and add value to your life they are growing personally. If they are grateful, and humble, and love you unconditionally they are growing personally. If they see failure as an opportunity, they are growing personally. If they are quick to forgive and apologize, they are growing personally.
Personal growth must be intentional and consistent, just like working out. Outside of a life event that unexpectedly causes us to grow, you must make a conscious effort to do so. Here are some suggestions for a personal growth plan.
Choose a word for the month that represents your intention and what you want to focus on, i.e, Courage, Fun, Time,
Write 5 thing you are grateful for everyday
Read a page or chapter from a personal growth book (Follow me on Goodreads for some suggestions
When I was high school in Jersey, we ate Wise potato chips at lunch. I wish these tasted like sour cream and onion, or barbeque or vinegar or salt and vinegar, or cheddar, said no one. Or, “who thinks these would be better with ridges?” They were delicious just as they were, crunchy, salty and greasy. Nowadays, there are over 20 varieties of Wise potato chips. Crest toothpaste, now comes in 36 varieties. Baskin Robbins…well, that’s a constant.
Much time is wasted laboring over choices. What more do we need to occupy our minds. I mean there is no lack of distractions and shiny objects in our life, and now another time suck is choice. Why? Because of the fear of making the wrong choice. In fact, I believe we know the choice we need to make and then talk ourselves out of it, or find enough people to help us rationalize why the wrong choice is the right one and we become paralyzed by a fear to choose so we don’t make a choice. Kapeesh?
The resources we have available to make choices range from our abstract intuition, to concrete education. And then of course there is no choice, which is still a choice. Some people never make their own choice and choose what the masses choose because to choose differently would mean to be different, and different sticks out and can be subject to criticism or ridicule.
Today I invite you to just make a choice and feel the decision. You get to choose again if you don’t like your choice, and, you get the experience of choosing. Or not. You choose.
Imagine being in the company 2500 people who all smile at you and make eye contact with you as you walk past them. Who engage in meaningful and stimulating conversation. Who are not complaining about anything. Happy people. Shiny people. Shiny Happy People.
One third of the folks I had the honor to spend the week with were from other countries. Our colors, minds, hopes, dreams, ambitions, disciplines, motivations melded together. We were one.
I sometimes wish we all looked the same. I wish we didn’t see each other from the outside first. I wish we all shined bright and were just white masses that emitted a brilliant light. Our age, body type, skin color, hair color, height, weight, religion, and and and, would not define us.
If we all looked the same then we would have to actually talk to one another to find a connection, or not. However at least we made the effort and a conscious decision, not a superficial one.
I talked to everyone I could and smiled at everyone I met. No judgement based on anything. I knew we were all together for a common purpose of finding ways to add value to people. What if we gave that same chance to people outside of an organized event that attracted like minded people? What if, for a change, were blind to physical form, and connected with the essence of someone. What would our world be like?
I chose to regard the 2499 people I met this week as white masses of brilliance, emitting love, passion, and a desire to leave the world better than they found it. I’m holding hope for all humanity.