Friday’s Focus—Knowing Nothing

They say, in life, you never stop learning. I remember my father even telling me that as a kid. I can’t imagine going through my days in a stagnant haze of knowledge that doesn’t change, and sometimes (it seems) life gives you a crash course on learning where it’s sink or swim, kiddo; let’s see what ya got kind of thing. When that happens, you can run but you can’t hide. There is no amount of distraction/destruction of your choice and, there is no sandbox deep enough to keep your head buried in, to keep up a denial for very long. Lately it seems as if there are problems and glitches everywhere, and it’s not just me feeling this way. So many people I talk to have been having their share of issues, trials, and personal crises.

For many people, dealing with now daily stresses has become one hour at a time instead of one day at a time. My husband and I have a running quip: “What do you know?” “I know nothing.” No one has all the answers though many think they do. When I say, “I know nothing,” I mean it as an open, palms-up approach to things that keeps me spiritually honest and humanly humble. In the grand scheme of things, the things that really matter, I really don’t know anything, but I’ve learned and what I see is a lot:

Flowers will still grow through cracks in a sidewalk.

Nothing lasts forever but plastic bags and roaches.

Reactions and anger are really fueled by fear.

There are good people still around and sometimes in the most unlikeliest places and guises.

Standing up for yourself and what you believe in takes a certain amount of courage that we must each learn to cultivate in ourselves. No one else can do it for you–nor should they.

It still matters to be nice.

Every star in the sky and every drop of water in the oceans yields in own mysteries that will take lifetimes to discover but is fascinating to behold in the meantime.

We have have become dehumanized in taking care of each other.

It’s okay to cry.

It’s okay to be angry.

We can’t forget that there are actually flesh and blood people with names and personalities behind each set of paperwork on a desk and every screen name.

Sometimes all it takes is one good cup of coffee to hit that re-set button.

Sometimes strangers are kinder than the people we know.

It’s always on the days you’re running late that either (a) you spill your coffee [on you]; (b) your kids tell you (of course mentioning it for the first time) that their school project is due that day; (c) your pet had an “accident” in the house (and you stepped in it); (d) you forgot your password to your computer and now it’s locked you out; (e) all of the above.

What have you learned today?




Friday’s Focus—Is Your Glass Half Empty or Half Full? Both!

If you see a glass of water on a table, how would you describe it? Would you say it was half full or half empty? Thinking back, I’ve said it both ways, depending on what my mood was at the time. Some say that how you see the glass determines whether you are a pessimist (half empty) or an optomist (half full), but no matter how you see it, it’s actually both—it just depends on your view.

I got started on this train of thought during one of those up at 2 a.m. sleepless nights, and I looked over toward the nightstand, hoping I has some water within reach. I could see the red light from the numbers of my alarm clock shining its spotlight on a water bottle. At first I was disappointed that it was half empty (note, “half empty”), but as I grabbed it and started to drink, realizing I was thirstier than I thought, I was glad that there was water in it at all and I was happy that it was really half-filled rather than not at all (note, “half full”). The amount of water that was in the bottle was neither good or bad, it was just my view of it that made it half full or half empty.

Just as there are two sides to every story, there’s more than one way to look at something. My nocturnal thoughts reminded me that nothing is set in stone and that, yes the way we see something is undeniably shaped (and sometimes tainted) by our experiences, but they can change (our thoughts and experiences, that is; which also begs the question which creates which—a chicken or the egg kind of thing but that’s for another post). So if you find yourself thinking that your glass is only half empty or half full, maybe look at it instead as simply a glass with water in it—part full and part empty. It all depends on how you view it.