Escalators Don’t Stop When You Get Off

My posts thus far have been more philosophical than directly practical (although I’d argue they are deeply practical in many respects). So I thought I’d throw in a few directly practical posts from time to time in case no one remembers to teach Vera some very important lessons that apparently have been overlooked in many households. The first one involves the all-important matter of escalator etiquette. Continue reading Escalators Don’t Stop When You Get Off

Bursting Our Bubbles

We live in bubbles. Perhaps not all of us. But certainly the vast majority of us.

I was reminded of this fact this past week when I read David Brooks’s column in the New York Times. Brooks, a preeminent columnist for one of the world’s preeminent newspapers, was seeking to understand the motivations beyond supporters of Donald Trump. Here is what he concluded:

[M]any in the media, especially me, did not understand how they would express their alienation. We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough. For me, it’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country.

That’s a startling admission. David Brooks, who presumably has to have his finger on the pulse of the country if he is to do his job well, admitted, “I have to change the way I do my job.”

Why? I think it’s because he forgot we all live in a bubble.

It’s easy to forget. And it’s easy to forget that we need to burst our bubble from time to time. Continue reading Bursting Our Bubbles

It’s Not About the Stuff

The world spends a lot of time and effort trying to convince us it’s about the stuff. Entire industries — indeed, entire economies — are based on this premise. In a myriad of subtle and not-so-subtle ways, we’re told we should acquire and accumulate. And in that acquisition and accumulation we will find satisfaction, meaning and happiness. But nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading It’s Not About the Stuff

Memories are iffy. Take good notes.

I remember two things from first grade (which was my initial exposure to formal education since our school district didn’t offer kindergarten):

  1. being the only boy who wore shorts the first day of school; and
  2. losing my Mickey Mouse watch on the playground (or it may have been Donald Duck, I’m not sure).

Everything else is a blur.

The first was a source of embarrassment, which is ironic considering my year-round Colorado uniform these days is shorts and sandals. I got over the embarrassing thing. The second memory was traumatic as well. That watch was so cool. Losing it meant my world had come to an end at an early age, or so I thought.

So, you might be thinking, what’s the big deal? I survived. Yes, I did, although that doesn’t mean there wasn’t deep scaring. But probably not.

The big deal is this: you can’t trust your memory. The danger lies in not being mindful of that fact. Continue reading Memories are iffy. Take good notes.

Life In A Box

Max 59

This is Max. For nearly 19 years he was part of our family. He lived in a protective environment. He was an indoor kitty. Rarely did he venture outside, so foxes, coyotes and hawks were not a threat. Yet he lived in fear. Not every moment, of course. But it didn’t take much. An unusual noise. The sight of a dog outside. A visitor. It took very little to drive Max under a bed. He was the quintessential scaredy-cat.

It’s true that few if any people are scaredy-cats to the degree that Max was. Most people don’t find solace in boxes or hide under beds. Or do we? Perhaps it’s just that our boxes are different from Max’s.

Indeed, it could be that fear plays a much greater role in our lives than we care to admit. It could be that living a courageous life is the only way to live one’s life fully, in all its potential and magnificence. These are hypotheses I believe to be true, Vera. If I am right, your relationship with fear will have a major impact on the way you live and experience you life. Continue reading Life In A Box

The Greatest Threat to a Happy Life

I have about 200 ideas swirling around in my head. What topic should I address in this first substantive blog post? The lessons I’ve learned and unlearned over the past 61 years are many. And who knows how many I have yet to learn and unlearn? It makes sense to lead with the most important. Yet how does one prioritize? This morning it occurred to me to do it thusly (don’t see that word used often, do you?): Begin as though you had only one post to make.

So if I could leave only one message for our granddaughter, Vera, what would it be? Here is where I cheat just a bit. There are two: a 1 and 1A. I’ll address 1A in the next post. Today, I begin with what I consider to be the greatest threat to anyone’s happiness. Continue reading The Greatest Threat to a Happy Life