Saturday, September 3, 2016


…On the way to Taos, NM I read Rob Bell’s book, “How To Be Here.”  It really moved me, even though a lot of what he has to say is stuff we already know, or more importantly, should know.
Here are some random excerpts of my favorite bits (I hope you find some inspiration in these, some, if not all):
How we respond to what happens to us—especially the painful, excruciating things that we never wanted and we have no control over—is a creative act.

 We have power, more power than we realize, power to decide that we are going to make something good out of this.  When you ask what new and good thing is going to come out of even this, you have taken something that was out of your control and reframed it as another opportunity to take part in the ongoing creation of the world.

Are you breathing?
Are you here?
Did you just take a breath?
Are you about to take another?
Do you have a habit of regularly doing this?

Suffering and loss have this extraordinary capacity to alert and awaken us to the gift that is life.

Boredom is lethal because it reflects a static, fixed view of the world—a world that is finished.

It can be intimidating or it can be liberating, because if everybody starts with a blank page, then everybody starts from the same place.

There is a difference between craft and success.

Craft is when you have a profound sense of gratitude that you even get to do this.

Craft is when you relish the details.

Craft is your awareness that all the hours you’re putting in are adding up to something, that they’re producing in you skill and character and substance.  Craft is when you meet up with someone else who’s serious about her craft and you can talk for hours about the subtle nuances and acquired wisdom of the work.  Craft is when you’re humbled because you know that no matter how many years you get to do this, there will always be room to learn and grow.

Success promises something it can’t deliver.  As soon as you reach your goal, success creates a new one, which creates anxieties and stresses.
Success is when you’re seduced into thinking that your joy and satisfaction are not here but there—somewhere in the future, at some moment you accomplish X or you win Y.
Success can never get enough.

It makes your head spin, because you get that thing you were desperately working for, for all those years, and when you get it, you realized that it isn’t what you thought it was.

No one get a free pass from heartbreak, discouragement, and the dull, weary thud that comes from asking, Did I waste my time?

Far too often, we don’t start because we can’t get our minds around the entire thing.  We don’t take the first step because we can’t figure out the seventeenth step.
But you don’t have to know the seventeenth step.  You only have to know the first step.  Because the first number is always 1.
Start with 1.
It’s too overwhelming otherwise.  It’s too easy to be caught up in endless ruminations: What if Step 4 doesn’t work?  Or What if there isn’t money for Step 11?  Or What if people don’t like the results of Step 6?
You start with your 1, and then you suspend judgment on what you’re doing, because you don’t know what you have when you start.
No one does.

When you are constantly judging what you’re doing, you aren’t here.  You aren’t present.  You are standing outside of your life, looking in, observing. 

“And that’s when we began writing our own songs…We knew we had something; you could feel it, the hairs stood up on our arms, it just felt so different.  We didn’t know what it was, but we liked it.  I just came up with this riff for ‘Black Sabbath.’  I played ‘dom-dom-dommm.’  And it was like: that’s it!  We built the song from there.  As soon as I played that first riff we went: ‘Oh God, that’s really great.  But what is it?  I don’t know.’” Rony Iommi

 Stop thinking about shit that ain’t happenin’.

 When we’re young and we want something, we do whatever it takes.

Somewhere along the way in becoming adults, it’s easy to lose this potent mix of exploration and determination.  We settle.  We decide this is as good as it gets.  We comfort ourselves with, It could be worse.

Risk sometimes leads to failure, and failure is overrated.

Failure is simply another opportunity to learn.

You want some risk in your life.

Risk is where the life is.

Risk keeps thing interesting.  It wakes us up, it gives us a sense that we’re alive and breathing and doing something with our lives.

The first thing you have to do is throw yourself into whatever it is you’re doing.

Throwing yourself into it begins with being grateful that you even have something to throw yourself into.

Sometimes we don’t throw ourselves into it because we believe the small things are beneath us.

Or it may have been done or said by someone else.  That’s a distinct possibility.  It may have been done or said before.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel because you don’t have to invent anything.

Sometimes we don’t throw ourselves into it because we put ourselves out there in the past and got criticized or shot down.

The actor Mark Ruffalo went to six hundred auditions before he got his first part.  Six hundred No’s before the first Yes.

Find me one person who’s doing something interesting in the world who hasn’t felt the hot sting of a No.

When we don’t throw ourselves completely into it and he hold back our best efforts because of what happened in the past, we are letting the past decide the future.

We have to surrender the outcomes because we cannot control how people are going to respond to us and our work in the world.

The satisfaction is found in knowing you’re here, you’re alive, and you get to make something with your life.

No one has ever done this before. 
No one has ever been you before.

“You may be talented, but you’re not Kanye West.” Kanye West

“I can’t dance like Usher.  I can’t sing like Beyonce.  I can’t write songs like Elton John.  But we can do the best with what we’ve got.  And so that’s what we do.  We just go for it.” Chris Martin, Coldplay

It’s exciting to keep moving.

We have this morning, this day, and aren’t we lucky?  All we have is today.

There is power in the details, power in this moment, power in treating this meal, this book, this bird outside the window…treating it as a sacred gift that it is.

“The meaning of awe is to realize that life takes place under wide horizons, horizons that range beyond the span of an individual life or even the life of a nation, a generation, or an era.  Awe enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal.” Abraham Joshua Heschel

A friend of mine often asks, What is lacking at this moment?  Because the answer is usually “nothing.”

After I suffered a concussion that later left me in a fixed state where everything slowed down and I saw everything in a clear way, I learned that my life—my average, ordinary, routine, everyday life—has infinite depth and dimension and meaning and significance.

I learned that the present moment, with all its pressure and heartbreak and work and struggle and tension and questions and concerns, is way more interesting and compelling and mysterious and even enjoyable than I had ever imagined.

I want you to learn to live like you’re not missing a thing, like your eyes are wide open, fully awake to the miraculous nature of your own existence.

I came here today to tell you that I can see the ocean now.
Do you see the ocean right in front of you?
Stand back and see that person you love from a slight distance.
Like you never have before.
Like you’re meeting him for the first time.
Like you’re getting a tour of your life and this is our first encounter with her.
Like I just pointed him out and said to you, This is __________.



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