Had lunch with my friend Graham, which is a good thing, because lately, the news feed has me just about shooting around the room backward with frustration, anger, and a sense of betrayal. What’s wrong with our political system? What’s wrong with our media? What’s wrong with our… (blank of your choice here).
Graham made a profound point: We’re nose down in social media, clicking nineteen-to-the-dozen. Our attention spans are getting shorter, our memories less functional. We seem to be both hypervigilant (when was the last time you were more than a mile away from your phone and were OK with that?), and yet, we’re also unable to concentrate.
Those are symptoms of trauma, by the way, but Graham had another explanation: We’re awash in a sea of content, information, apps, and chats, but at the cost of the sort of wisdom that feedeth the intellect, heart, and conscience. We’re starving for wisdom and perspective. Not rants, click bait, or viral memes that are–at best–a laugh or a groan. The seldom resonate with wisdom, reason, perspective, and relief from the isolation of trying to live a meaningful life and being just one person.
Bet you wish you could have lunch with Graham occasionally, too, huh? His point was timely for me, because I get soooooo upset with what I see on social media, and in the news. And yet, I have been fortunate to have come across some people whose compassion, intelligence, shrewdness, and creativity have stuck with me. I have been given some wisdom, though I haven’t always heeded it as quickly as I should. Some of the life lessons I hope I don’t have learn all over:
Be kind, tell the truth. (Ram Dass)
Steer clear of people who can’t take responsibility for their shortcomings and mistakes. They are People of the Lie (Scott Peck’s term), and they don’t care who’s hurt while they preserve their myth of competence and virtue, as long as it isn’t them.
Don’t make tough decisions when you’re tired. (My mom.)
When you’re facing something intimidating, try to take it on a little at a time with the support of people who love you. (boyfriend from decades ago)
If you’re faced with a tough choice, sometimes the best you can do is select the option that you’re less unhappy about, and sometimes, all of your options will stink. (My dad.)
Dream BIG. It could happen. (My daughter.)
There is wisdom out there, and good people, and reason to hope. Share some of yours.
To one commenter, I’ll send an audio version of “The Heir,” the book that started my Big Dream coming true.
Amen, Amen and AMEN! The Golden Rule is golden for a reason. It seems so simple, but treating people as you want to be treated is so elemental.
Also important is developing an attitude of gratitude. The most unhappy people I have come across in life have lacked it. I think they may be the same ones you refer to as “the people of the lie.” Regardless of how much they have, they still feel that they just don’t have all they should have. Somehow they feel the world owes them more. They can’t have compassion for others because they are too focused on what they don’t have.
There are studies that prove keeping a gratitude journal helps with mood, provided you stick with it. Just jot down five things about each day you’re grateful for. Doesn’t even take a minute, and it’s free. What’s not to like?
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I was at our club’s dog show for three days. Had a fabulous time seeing friends and meeting some Facebook friends. I was so busy walking dogs, grooming and showing that I hardly had time to check my email or Facebook posts. I’ ll admit it was nice, a relief of sorts.
There are days that I wish people would remember the Golden Rule– and treat others as you would like to be treated. It’s simple but it works.
When faced with a big decision make a list of props and cons before you decide which path to take (My Dad)
Set a goal and figure out how to reach it.
Never argue when you are tired– you can’t take back words said in anger.
I listened to the audio version of The Heir and loved it. Narration was supurb — loved Gayle and Dev’s voices! I realized how much I adored Anna and Westhaven’s story.
Thanks, Susan–the narrator is James Langton, who was born in Yorkshire and educated in Scotland. The voices he does for the MacGregor series are even scrumptious-er.
That business about not arguing when tired… there’s also data that says letting the sun down on your anger is a great idea. Call time out, take a recess, catch your breath. Nobody steals your battles, but insights can’t grab us when we have our dukes up.
I think I posted this one before, but it’s a good one – Remember HALT. Never make an important decision when you’re Hungry Angry Lonely Tired. (Courtesy of a wise pastor)
That is well worth repeating, but assumes we can find a place where we’re not Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Strikes me that pastor has pretty much described chronic poverty, which defines the lives of more than twenty percent of our children and nearly a third of our seniors.
Daunting thought, and there I go, shooting around the room backward again.
One thing that I have always said is “Don’t go to bed angry.”
That is so hard for me when I get into a tizzy about something, but lying in bed with my engines whining is no use to anybody. Sometimes, I get up and walk, sometimes I write. I try not to let anger steal the covers.
My favorite bit of wisdom is “it is, what it is”…….and wish I would always remember to believe it too!
A wise saying from my first voice teacher,”the notes have already been sung, you can’t change them. Move on, you’ll be happier.” I think this can apply to many other things besides music….she was such a lovely, wise lady!
My mom offered me the same sentiment. “Put it behind you. Move forward.” Hard to do, but good words.
I”ve gotten to the point that I ignore any of my friend’s political posts on FB — I can’t bring myself to care about all the hate out there on all sides.
I love the advice and life lessons you’ve passed on, Grace. I honestly can’t remember who passed on the following lessons to me, but I often remind myself of them:
“Pick your battles.”
“One size does NOT fit all – or even many.” We’re all too different.
“There is not usually only one best way to get a job done.”
Sadly, I’ve had to remind myself about these lessons on almost a daily basis at work recently….
I am completely loving JACK! I had forgotten that Sir Jack (or rather Sir John Dewey Fanning) was in THE VIRTUOSO. It had been ages since I read Valentine and Ellen’s story so I had to re-read the book. 🙂
Stephen Covey’s “circle of concern and circle of influence” come to mind when I realize what I’m worried about and what I can do bear no resemblance to one another.
Must be intimidating to write sometimes, knowing that many arrows have been “shot into the air.”
Friday, was a good day. I am doing a volunteer job on working on a history project.
I had a really good salad outside. I met a girlfriend at Dairy Queen. I had a small vanilla ice cream cone. I went by Barnes and Noble and loaded the new Grace Burrowes book. I bought “Columbo” for my mom. I bought Hamilton, I don’t know if I’ll read it or not. I made sure yesterday that my husband knows he is appreciated. He is in my opinion the best cat daddy in the whole wide world. I think it is about looking people in the eye and telling them you appreciate them and not being in a hurry.
Hmmmm… don’t make decisions when you’re tired. Well I’m tired most of the time and my decisions are not the best but when you’re always tired lean on those you trust. If you don’t know who they are I’ve found there is always a listening Ear and when I speak to Him I can find my way through the fog of fatigue. It not what He says but how He listens.
Honey, DON’T LET THEM GET YOU TWICE… They get you when they get you (hit you, knock you down, call you names, etc) AND THEY GET YOU AGAIN ( and again and again and again…..?) whenever YOU change WHO YOU ARE or how you act because of what THEY did….. This mother’s fortunate “find” in her brain when my little boy was bullied at the bus stop on his first day of kindergarten and walked home crying and didn’t want to go back… That was forty years ago and my whole family has used the phrase hundreds of times since then! Go Team Whelan! (PS: I’d started writing this on another of your comment requests but now couldn’t find it… It’s really helped us a lot so I hope it’s an appropriate share here. PLEASE KEEP WRITING; I LOOK FORWARD TO EVERYTHING U WRITE and have read them all!
“Be grateful for the problems that can be solved with money.” It helps me maintain perspective when I remember that even when my resources are limited, that type of problem usually beats the heck out of the others.