Archive | Books RSS for this section

“Please Call Me by My True Names”

    Call Me by My True Name

–by Thich Nhat Hanh (Jul 13, 2015)

Do not say that I’ll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands,
and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to, my people,
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all walks of life.
My pain is like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

Thich Nhat Hanh is a world renowned Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Aloha –  peace and compassion, Renee
41yAIcxmnRL._AC_US218_
Advertisements

Quotation: Thank you, President Trump

Garth-Lenz_Camp-family

Mekasi Camp Horinek and Pipeline Fighters

On March 23, 2017,  President Trump signed the permit approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline – where Native American led protests, says Wikipedia, have united environmental groups, citizens, and politicians over the potential negative impacts of the Keystone XL project.[92] The main issues are the risk of oil spills along the pipeline, which would traverse highly sensitive terrain, and 17% higher greenhouse gas emissions from the extraction of oil sands compared to extraction of conventional oil.[93][94]

On that day, Mekasi Camp Horinek, a member of the Ponca Nation, told reporter Alleen Brown:

“I want to say thank you to the president for all the bad decisions that he’s making — for the bad cabinet appointments that he’s made and for awakening a sleeping giant.  People that have never stood up for themselves, people that have never had their voices heard, that have never put their bodies on the line are now outraged.  I would like to say thank you to President Trump for his bigotry, for his sexism,

[for his attacks on our environment, for his support of gun rights over the rights of our children to be safe in schools, for his attacks on immigrants – in this country that is filled with people whose ancestors came as immigrants, for snubbing our Allies and becoming cozy with ruthless dictators, for celebrating hate and disrespect, for filling the pockets of the richest from the suffering of the poorest,  . . .]

for bringing all of us in this nation together to stand up and unite

From: Naomi Klein’s NO IS NOT ENOUGH: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need, p. 190-191.

Let’s stand together and VOTE on November 6th.

Aloha, in light and action, Renée

 

Banner source: https://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2016/08/listen-mekasi-camp-horinek-on-standing.html

Book: “Cherish Your Child” – Peace Talks

Ilana Fernandez, Psy. D. is mother of NINE children: seven step-children and two biological!   She has experience raising children, “the best training of all.”   Plus she earned a Doctorate of Psychology, practices psychotherapy, gives parenting classes and workshops, and trains other professions.     Dr. Fernandez has written the best parenting book I have ever read.   IF KIDS CAME WITH INSTRUCTIONS STEP #1 WOULD BE CHERISH YOUR CHILD EACH DAY IN SOME WAY has many practical and inspiring guidelines.

cherish-book

One of my favorite ideas is “Peace Talks.”

Ilana notes, “One of the more effective techniques I learned about helping children learn how to solve their own problems in a non-violent way was from a tape that my mom sent me from Canada by a parent educator named Barbara Calarosa. . . . I’ve come to call it peace talks.  It is worth explaining to children that it is very much like what our world leaders do when they come together to solve their conflicts with one another.

Peace Talks

  • Siblings or fighting peers sit in chairs facing one another just out of kicking or reaching range. [Ilana’s experience with children shines through here].
  • The main rule is neither person can get up from the chair until the other person says they can.  This forces them to reach a consensus that they have at least made peace for the time being, if not an agreement.
face-falls-off

Peace Talk

  • Usually one person is especially mad and they swear they aren’t going to let the other person up.  Comments like “you can sit there until your face falls off for all I care” are common.  The hitch is they can’t get up either until they let the person up.  This leads, invariably, to a discussion of what the real problem is beneath the anger.
  • They learn to communicate and problem solve and they are forced to listen and be heard by the other person.  . . .

Hash it out until each is ready to let the other person up.  You can at least model respectful language and talking from the heart” (129-131).

appreciate-3

You can find out more about Dr. Ilana Fernandez at https://www.mauimetamorphosis.com/

Aloha – in peace & light, Renée

Book: “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life”

The small book by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles shares advice from the residents of the Japanese village with the highest percentage of 100-year-olds in the world.  In addition to the wisdom about purposeful, active, shared lives of these seniors, the authors note the importance of  the Japanese concepts of wabi-sabi and ichi-go ichi-e.

“Wabi-sabi is a Japanese concept that shows us the beauty of the fleeting, changeable, and imperfect nature of the world around us.  Instead of searching for beauty in perfection, we should look for it things that are flawed, incomplete.

This is why the Japanese place such value, for example, on an irregular or cracked teacup.  Only things that are imperfect, incomplete, and ephemeral can truly be beautiful, because only those things resemble the natural world.

A complementary Japanese concept is that of ichi-go ichi-e, which could be translated as ‘This moment exists only now and won’t come again.’ It is heard most often in social gatherings as a reminder that each encounter –whether with friends, family, or strangers–is unique and will never be repeated, meaning that we should enjoy the moment and not lose ourselves in worries about the past or the future.

The concept is commonly used in tea ceremonies, Zen meditation, and Japanese martial arts, all of which place emphasis on being present in the moment.

In the West, we’ve grown accustomed to the permanence of the stone buildings and cathedrals of Europe, which sometimes gives us the sense that nothing changes, making us forget about the passage of time.  Greco-Roman architecture adores symmetry, sharp lines, imposing facades, and buildings and statues of the gods that outlast the centuries.

Japanese architecture, on the other hand, doesn’t try to be imposing or perfect, because it is built in the spirit of wabi-sabi.  The tradition of making structures out of wood presupposes their impermanence and the need for future generations to rebuild them.  Japanese culture accepts the fleeting nature of the human being and everything we create.

The Grand Shrine of Ise, for example, has been rebuilt every twenty years for centuries.  The most important thing is not to keep the building standing for generations, but to preserve customs and traditions–things that can withstand the passage of time better than structures made by human hands.

The key is to accept that there are certain things over which we have no control, like the passage of time and the ephemeral nature of the world around us.

Ichi-go ichi-e teaches us to focus on the present and enjoy each moment that life brings usThis is why it is so important to find and pursue our ikigai  [a meaning and purpose in life that keeps you busy or as the New York Post says, “ ikigai is the art of doing something—and doing it with supreme focus and joy”].

ikigai-

Image page 9  of Ikigai – Based on a diagram by Mark Winn

 

Wabi-sabi teaches us to appreciate the beauty of imperfection as an opportunity for growth” . . .

One step in lasting longer and being happier in your life is –

Get rid of the things that make you fragile . . .

Ask yourself: What makes me fragile?  Certain people, things, and habits generate losses for us and make us vulnerable.  Who and what are they?

When we make our New Year’s resolutions, we tend to emphasize adding new challenges to our lives.  It’s great to have this kind of objective, but setting ‘good riddance’ goals can have an even bigger impact.  For example:

  • Stop snacking between meals
  • Eat sweets only once a week
  • Gradually pay off all debt
  • Avoid spending time with toxic people
  • Avoid spending time doing things we don’t enjoy, simply because we feel obligated to do them
  • Spend no more than twenty minutes on Facebook per day.

To build resilience into our lives, we shouldn’t fear adversity, because each setback is an opportunity for growth.  If we adopt an antifragile attitude, we’ll find a way to get stronger with every blow, refining our lifestyle and staying focused on our ikigai.

Taking a hit or two can be viewed as either a misfortune or an experience that we can apply to all areas of our lives, as we continually make corrections and set new and better goals.  As Taleb writes in Antifragile, ‘We need randomness, mess, adventures, uncertainty, self-discovery, near traumatic episodes, all these things that make life worth living.’  . . .

Life is pure imperfection, as the philosophy of wabi-sabi teaches us, and the passage of time shows us that everything is fleeting, but if you have a clear sense of your ikigai, each moment will hold so many possibilities that it will seem almost like an eternity”    (p. 172-179).

No matter your age, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life is likely to give you useful ideas on how to lead a good life.

Aloha, Renée

sunflower-vase

Enjoy the imperfect. 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day: Time for Friends

“[T]he Count had opted for the life of the purposefully unrushed. Not only was he disinclined to race toward some appointed hour—disdaining even to wear a watch—he took the greatest satisfaction when assuring a friend that a worldly matter could wait in favor of a leisurely lunch or a stroll along the embankment. . . .

When all was said and done, the endeavors that most modern men saw as urgent (such as appointments with bankers and the catching of trains), probably could have waited, while those they deemed frivolous (such as cups of tea and friendly chats) had deserved their immediate attention” (391).

From: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (I recommend this well-written novel)

content

Go to: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29430012-a-gentleman-in-moscow

Take time for a friend today – and make time for a good book too.  Fulfilling these two resolutions each day will likely result in a wonderful 2018.

Happy New Year.

Aloha, Renée

Thought for the Day: Break Old Conditioning

“There are three ways,” says Deepak Chopra, “to break down old conditioning:

— reflection, contemplation, and meditation.  Their power increases in that order. . . .

red-and-orange-flowers

Reflection–taking a second look at old habits, beliefs, and assumptions.

Contemplation–focusing on a thought or image until it expands as far as it can.

Meditation–finding the level of the mind that isn’t conditioned.

From: Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, p. 59-60.

 

51KT7sdmrxL._AC_US218_

Meditating can elevate us out of old, negative patterns.

Take the time.  Do it.

Aloha, Renée

ganeshaP-

Ganesha – Balinese Hindu – remover of obstacles.

Photos in Bali by RR

War Outlawed? Is There Hope?

In this year when so much seems out of control – earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, floods, a mass shooting by a lone gunman in the U.S., ethnic massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, refugees trapped on borders, two world leaders with nuclear arms goading each other, the world seems more dangerous and full of suffering than ever before.  Is there any cause for hope?

A recent newspaper article, an article about a book, and a book provide encouraging answers.

First, a friend pointed me to “Drop Your Weapons: What happens when you outlaw war” by Louis Menard in the September 18, 2017 edition of The New Yorker, pages 61-66.

Menard’s piece gives an overview of a recent Simon & Schuster book – The Internationalists, in which Oona A Hathaway and Scott J. Shipiro, two Yale Law School professors, argue that the Kellogg-Briand Pact [the 1928 agreement that by 1934, sixty-three countries – virtually every established nation on earth at the time had signed] effectively ended the use of war as an instrument of national policy.

The book asks and answers,

“Did a largely forgotten peace pact transform the world we live in?

 

r30529web-desktop

Image from The New Yorker

 

Please read this article, which is only five – very informative pages (and if possible, the book).  Go to: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/09/18/what-happens-when-war-is-outlawed 

The second piece I’ve seen recently that offers us hope for now is a book recommended by my friend Melinda who is very familiar with  peace activities in the world.  She lived in Japan for 18 years.  While she was there, she interviewed “Hibakusha” (被爆者).  In Japanese,  it is the word for those surviving the radiation fallout of 1945 atomic bombings  of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Last month, Melinda won the 2017 Kellogg-Briand a peace prize for her writing.   She lent me When the World Outlawed War:

51UrxeYfo1L-1

In this book, David Swanson tells the history of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the law that made war illegal – and offers us ideas what can be done to promote international peace.

Today few people know of the Kellogg-Briand Pact agreement, and the energies of some of our leaders seem to inflame the possibility of war.

Swanson writes:

“The Kellogg-Briand Pact, 1928

The Kellogg-Briand Pact was an agreement to outlaw war signed on August 27, 1928. Sometimes called the Pact of Paris for the city in which it was signed, the pact was one of many international efforts to prevent another World War, but it had little effect in stopping the rising militarism of the 1930s or preventing World War II.

Photograph with representatives who signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact in the White House

U.S. Peace Advocates

In the wake of World War I, U.S. officials and private citizens made significant efforts to guarantee that the nation would not be drawn into another war. Some focused on disarmament, such as the series of naval conferences that began in Washington in 1921, and some focused on cooperation with the League of Nations and the newly formed World Court. Others initiated a movement to try to outlaw war outright. Peace advocates Nicholas Murray Butler and James T. Shotwell were part of this movement. Both men were affiliated with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an organization dedicated to promoting internationalism that was established in 1910 by leading American industrialist Andrew Carnegie.

French Involvement

With the influence and assistance of Shotwell and Butler, French Minister of Foreign Affairs Aristide Briand proposed a peace pact as a bilateral agreement between the United States and France to outlaw war between them. Particularly hard hit by World War I, France faced continuing insecurity from its German neighbor and sought alliances to shore up its defenses. Briand published an open letter in April of 1927 containing the proposal. Though the suggestion had the enthusiastic support of some members of the American peace movement, U.S. President Calvin Coolidge and Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg were less eager than Briand to enter into a bilateral arrangement. They worried that the agreement against war could be interpreted as a bilateral alliance and require the United States to intervene if France was ever threatened. To avoid this, they suggested that the two nations take the lead in inviting all nations to join them in outlawing war.

                                              Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg

The extension of the pact to include other nations was well-received internationally. After the severe losses of the First World War, the idea of declaring war to be illegal was immensely popular in international public opinion. Because the language of the pact established the important point that only wars of aggression – not military acts of self-defense – would be covered under the pact, many nations had no objections to signing it. If the pact served to limit conflicts, then everyone would benefit; if it did not, there were no legal consequences. In early 1928, negotiations over the agreement expanded to include all of the initial signatories. In the final version of the pact, they agreed upon two clauses: the first outlawed war as an instrument of national policy and the second called upon signatories to settle their disputes by peaceful means.

On August 27, 1928, fifteen nations signed the pact at Paris. Signatories included France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Belgium, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Italy and Japan. Later, . . . the pact was eventually signed by most of the established nations in the world. The U.S. Senate ratified the agreement by a vote of 85–1, though it did so only after making reservations to note that U.S. participation did not limit its right to self-defense or require it to act against signatories breaking the agreement.”

From: https://history.state.gov/milestones/1921-1936/kellogg

 

Besides giving the history of the Pact, Swanson suggests, “We should learn to support multiple strategies (Outlawry, referendum power, disarmament, etc.) without framing each as the rival or enemy of the others.  Here are some [aimed mainly at the U.S. but many could apply to other countries too]:

  • Cut a half a trillion dollars out of the $1.2 trillion national security budget, putting half of it into tax cuts for non-billionaires, and half of it into useful spending on green energy, education, retraining for displaced military=industrial workers, etc.
  • Bring the National Guard home and de-federalize it.
  • Ban the redeployment of personnel currently suffering PTSD.
  • Ban no-bid uncompeted military contracts.
  • Restore constitutional war powers to the Congress.
  • Create a requirement for a public referendum prior to launching any war.
  • Close the foreign bases.
  • Ban weapons from space.
  • Ban extra-legal prisons.
  • Ban kangaroo military courts outside our ordinary court system.
  • Restore habeas corpus.
  • Ban the use of mercenaries.
  • Limit military spending to no more than twice that of the next highest spending nation on earth.
  • Ban secret budgets, secret agencies, and secret operations.
  • Ban the launching of drone strikes into foreign nations.
  • Forbid the transfer of students’ information to military recruiters without their permission.
  • Comply with the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
  • Reform or replace the United Nations.
  • Join the International Criminal Court and make it independent of the United Nations.
  • Disarm.

We should stop appealing purely to people’s selfishness with arguments about financial costs or U.S. casualties and appeal also to their goodness and decency. . . .”(166-167).

“One of General Douglas MacArthur’s last speeches . . . is still worth reading:

‘The great question is: Can global war now be outlawed from the world?  If so, it would mark the greatest advance in civilization since the Sermon on the Mount. It would lift at one stroke the darkest shadow which has engulfed mankind from the beginning.  It would not only remove fear and bring security — it would not only create new moral and spiritual values —

it would produce an economic wave of prosperity that would raise the world’s standard of living beyond anything ever dreamed of by man.  The hundreds of billions of dollars now spent in mutual preparedness [for war] could conceivably abolish poverty from the face of the earth.  It would accomplish even more than this; it would at one stroke reduce the international tensions that seem to be insurmountable now, to matters of more probable solution. . . . Many will tell you with mockery and ridicule that the abolition of war can be only a dream — that it is but the vague imagining of a visionary.  But we must go on or we will go under.[My emphasis].  And the great criticism that can be made is that the world lacks a plan that will enable us to go on.  We have suffered the blood and the sweat and the tears.  Now we seek the way and the truth and the light.  We are in a new era. The old methods and solutions for this vital problem no longer suffice.  We must have new thoughts, new ideas, new concepts . . . We must have sufficient imagination and courage to translate this universal wish for peace — which is rapidly becoming a universal necessity — into actuality'” [My emphasis](168-169).

From When the World Outlawed War by David Swanson.  www.barnesandnoble.com/p/when-the-world-outlawed-war-david-swanson/1106980382/2673297777290?st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Marketplace+Shopping+greatbookprices_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP24104

The third piece I’ve seen recently is from the October 7, 2017 Honolulu Star-Advertiser,  “Nobel Peace Prize: Anti-Nuclear advocates earn honor,” by Rick Gladstone.

“In a year when the threat of nuclear warfare seemed to draw closer, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to a advocacy group behind the first treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.

The group, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons [ican], a Geneva-based coalition of disarmament activists, was honored for its efforts to advance the negotiations that led to the treaty, which was reached in July at the United Nations.

‘The organization is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons,’ the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement” (A3).

Despite all the news with cause for alarm, in some ways, some very important ways, the world is heading toward peace.

Let’s all be the change we hope to see:  support peace and sustainability for all.  In peace and light,

 

 

r30529web-desktop

Image from The New Yorker

Ideas do matter – and, of course, our actions.  Aloha, Renée

 

 

Book: “The Four Agreements”

Recently at a Friends’ meeting, Kate and Marv reminded me of  The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  Published in 1997, the book is a personal growth classic.  Amazon says,  The Four Agreements “reveal the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.”

don-miguel-ruiz-four-agreements-1

Image from: https://archonmatrix.com/the-four-agreements-a-practical-guide-to-personal-freedom-pdf/

10982781_10153091340437771_8442633757816943307_n

Don Miguel Ruiz

Image from: https://www.facebook.com/donMiguelRuiz/

The Four Agreements offer good guidelines for our lives.

Aloha, Renée

 

Thought for the Day: Suffer – it could be good for you!

In Alain De Botton’s The Consolations of Philosophy comes a quotation from Friedrich Nietzsche supporting the idea that difficulties of every sort are to be welcomed by those seeking fulfillment.

So sure was he of the benefits that could result from suffering, Nietzche wrote:

“To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities – I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished” (206).

Nietzsche noted, “If only we were fruitful fields, we would at bottom let nothing perish unused and see in every event, thing and man welcome manure” (224).

“Fulfillment is reached by responding wisely to difficulties that could tear one apart.  Nietzsche urged us to endure” (230).   And – never drink.

“Why? Because Raphael had not drunk to escape his envy in Urbino in 1504, he had gone to Florence and learned how to be a great painter.  Because Stendhal had not drunk in 1805 to escape his despair . . ., he had gardened the pain for seventeen years and published De l’amour in 1822.

‘If you refuse to let your own suffering lie upon you even for an hour and if you constantly try to prevent and forestall all possible distress way ahead of time; if you experience suffering and displeasure as evil, hateful, worthy of annihilation, and as a defect of existence, then it is clear that [you harbour in your heart] . . . the religion of comfortableness.  How little you know of human happiness, you comfortable . . . people,  for happiness and unhappiness are sisters and even twins that either grow up together or, as in your case, remain small together'” (233).

Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche – German philosopher, cultural critic, poet, philologist, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual… wikipedia.org
B: 1844, d.1900

Image from: https://readtiger.com/wkp/en/Friedrich_Nietzsche

Nietzsche himself had a hard life.  He was plagued with health problems.  He advocated a life among friends, but was profoundly lonely, extremely poor, obscure during his lifetime, and unlucky in love.    Wikipedia notes that “In 1889, at age 44, he suffered a collapse and a complete loss of his mental faculties.[11]  He died in 1900 from late-stage paralytic syphilis.

May the suffering in your life help you grow in numerous ways.

 

Aloha, Renée

Thought for the Day: “Dr p the Ball”

If you are a woman – especially a “successful” woman – you likely expect yourself to do it all – at home and at work, and to do it with a smile and homemade cupcakes to send to your child’s class.  These expectations lead to 60-70 + hour work weeks, kids who are on their own much of the time – or glued to electronics, and a husband you barely see.

“Those of us committed to our careers and our families, who are unable or don’t want to pause or slow down our career pursuits, end up more exhausted, stressed out, depleted, and sick than any previous generation of women,” says Tiffany Dufu in her book, dr p the ball: achieving more by doing less.  

8041950-creative-water-symbol-on-the-blue-background

Gloria Steinem notes, “Drop the Ball is more than a personal memoir; it’s also a manifesto.  I want women to know that their individual problem is a collective one, too.  The research is unequivocal: the most complex problems are best solved by a diverse group of people.  Yet the highest levels of leadership are glutted with the same type: male, white, straight, able-bodied, and wealthy. This has been true since the dawn of our country two and a half centuries ago.  Don’t get me wrong.  Like many of our founding fathers, today’s corporate decision makers are accomplished, smart, and well meaning.  It’s just that now that it’s the twenty-first century, their lens is too narrow to address gigantic problems like economic inequality, climate change, terrorism, or the decline of America’s educational system.  If we care about these problems, we have to care about the women whose help we need to solve them.  . . . We need a Drop the Ball movement–not just to prevent working mothers from crashing but to fast-forward history” (9).

Even if you now do not have young children and are  in the middle of your career, Dufu provides useful models and ideas for everyone stressed out by all we feel we must do.

Her definition of “Drop the Ball” is – “to release unrealistic expectations of doing it all and engage others to achieve what matters most to us, deepening our relationships and enriching our lives” (xv).

Dufu learned “the importance of focusing attention on the areas where we bring the most value . . . instead of on the areas where we might be better than others because of experience alone. . . . What you do is less important than the difference you make.  I could spend my entire life checking off items on my to-do list, and in the end, it would make very little difference.  I didn’t want my epitaph to read, ‘She got a lot of stuff done.’  Instead, I had to figure out how I, and I alone, could make a difference–and this was as true for my homelife as it was for my professional one.  Where could I be most useful in order to achieve the things that mattered most?  . . .

This is the Law of Comparative Advantage: “just because you’re better at doing something doesn’t mean you doing it is the most productive use of your time” (94). . . .

“Prior to my comparative advantage realization, my to-do list looked like this: grocery run, schedule preschool tours, pickup dry cleaning, call Uncle Kenny re: surgery, order Lisa’s shower gift, marinate chicken, review Seattle flooring estimate, get Kofi [her son] umbrella stroller.  All these tasks had to be fit into my day, on top of then hours at the office and whatever was on my professional to-do list.

Here’s what happened to my list when I put each item to the comparative advantage test, asking myself if I was working toward my highest and best use by doing the task in question:

Grocery run: No.  I could love Kojo [her husband], raise conscious global citizens [her children], and advance women and girls [her job] without going grocery shopping.

Schedule preschool tours:  No.  The environment where Kofi will spend nearly nine hours a day, five days a week will definitely shape him.  To raise a conscious global citizen, I definitely need to attend the tours, but I guess someone else could schedule them.

Pick up dry cleaning: No.

Call Uncle Kenny re: surgery:  Yes, I need to do this one.  It’s meaningful for my uncle to hear his niece’s voice checking in on him.  I want Kofi to know how important family is.  Maintaining this relationship is critical.  Plus, delegating this task to someone else would be callous.” . . .

Out of the eight items on my original to-do list, only one of them was critical for me to complete myself in order to accomplish what mattered most to me.  Only one represented my highest and best use.  To be clear, the other tasks on the to-do list still needed to be attended to, and I wasn’t sure how they would all get done.  What was different was my perspective: now I was certain I would not be the one to do them all.  Instead of eight things I absolutely had to accomplish to be a good worker, wife, and mom, there was now only one task for me to accomplish and seven that someone else could do.  For the queen of domesticity with a bad case of HCD [Home Control Disease], this change in thinking was revolutionary! “((95-96).

3559547-juggling-balls

Drop some to those balls you are always trying to juggle.  Are they all really important for what you personally are trying to accomplish in your life?

Also Dufu uses her own experience to model how to “Delegate with Joy” – to speak not just to the ears but to the heart – and more.

Especially for those of you exhausted from all you are expected to do, please look at your to-do lists with new eyes.  Are the things you have on that list for tomorrow, for example, really critical in accomplishing what matters most to you?  Drop those extra balls!

13556820-ping-pong-game-white-balls-over-candie-striped-red-background

Images of balls from – https://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/drop_the_ball.html

The book: https://www.amazon.com/Drop-Ball-Achieving-More-Doing/dp/1250071739/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

P.S. Dr p the Ball is listed in the Business Insider article “Eight Books to Read Before You Get Married”  http://www.businessinsider.com/books-to-read-before-marriage-2017-4/#happier-at-home-by-gretchen-rubin-1  Check out the other recommendations too.

And I would add to that list The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate – by Gary Chapman.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/567795.The_Five_Love_Languages

Even if you are married, it’s not too late to learn good strategies for living and loving. Good luck.

Aloha, Renée

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: