“[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)
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.
“Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved!
That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly.
It is the one thing we are interested in here.”
From War and Peace
Enjoy your day wherever you are. Aloha, Renée
“If we kept in mind that we will soon inevitably die, our lives would be completely different.
If a person knows that he will die in a half hour, he certainly will not bother doing trivial, stupid, or, especially, bad things during this half hour.
Perhaps you have half a century before you die—what makes this any different from a half hour?”
– quotation from Leo Tolstoy
“To judge individuals before understanding them is a form of human rejection and feeds upon itself.”
From The Bali Advertiser, Nov. 2017, p. 29.
Although it’s much easier to see the light within some people than in others, let’s look for it within every person.
“There are three ways,” says Deepak Chopra, “to break down old conditioning:
— reflection, contemplation, and meditation. Their power increases in that order. . . .
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.
Meditating can elevate us out of old, negative patterns.
Take the time. Do it.
Photos in Bali by RR
“You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails.”
From: The Bali Advertiser, October 2017, p. 26.
Photo: Lilikoi/passion fruit flowers in Bali – by RR
“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.”
From: The Bali Advertiser, October 2017, p. 24.
On the steps to Penestanan, Bali (at step 50 of 95 or 106 depending on where you are going) – photo by RR
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).
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. He died in 1900 from late-stage paralytic syphilis.
May the suffering in your life help you grow in numerous ways.
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.
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).
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!
Images of balls from – https://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/drop_the_ball.html
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.
Even if you are married, it’s not too late to learn good strategies for living and loving. Good luck.