What to Do in Times of Crisis

Sometimes the only right decision is to stop making decisions.

When we’re in a state of crisis, we often try to fix things with certainty. We want answers.

But this state of being is akin to quicksand: The harder we try to climb our way out, the lower we sink. The only way to survive is to make no sudden movements, to get comfortable with the discomfort, and to find peace without answers.

We can never glimpse the end of a path, but if we squint hard enough, we can see the next step. We squint by being still and quiet for a few minutes every day, through prayer.

We ignore the big decisions, knowing that they’ll make themselves, and we focus on the small ones. The ones right in front of us.

Crisis comes from the word meaning “to sift”. During times of crisis, if we let it all fall away, we’re left with what matters. What matters most cannot be taken away.

And maybe what we don’t know, we’re not supposed to know yet. More will be revealed. So we just do the next right thing, one thing at a time.

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Balance

“Balance is created by equal forces pressing in on an object.”

This is well known in yoga where we practice balancing our bodies.

So what can we learn from our bodies?

Often, we try to find our balance by eliminating the pressures on our life. The demands of work, friendship, and family can all feel so heavy.

But what if all this pressure isn’t what’s throwing us off, but actually what’s holding us steady?

 

I Don’t Believe in Advice

I don’t believe in advice. So when someone comes to me and says, “I need advice,” what I think they’re really saying is, “I need love.”

And offering love looks a lot like being quiet, listening, empathizing, and letting someone talk long enough until he/she discovers that they already know the answer they’re looking for.

The thing is, we each hold the answers right inside of us. Sometimes, people simply need a safe place and some time to discover what they already know. So I think offering advice is essentially just trying to hold that space and time for folks in need.

Chris Rock Brilliant Humor

Recently, I was watching Chris Rock’s new stand up show on Netflix. It was highly entertaining and I’d definitely recommend it, if you haven’t seen it yet. What makes Chris Rock so good is not necessarily his humor, but his brilliance. He has a way of making the most fascinating points all while clothing them in the name of comedy, thus reaching more people.

One thing that Chris Rock said on his new show which really stuck out to me is, “Why are we lying to our kids? We shouldn’t be telling them, “You can be anything you want to be.” That’s not true! We should tell them the truth! You can be anything you’re good at………if they’re hiring. And even then, it helps to know someone.”

A hilariously true point and definitely worth sharing.

My Top 10 Relationship Principles

I think it’s extremely important to have guiding principles in various areas of your life. Such principles keep you grounded and help you to see the bigger picture when it’s so much easier to get caught up in the small stuff. I decided to share with you my top 10 relationship principles. You can read them below. These relationship principles simply serve as grounding reference points in my day to day life. Also, one should note, they aren’t specific to romantic relationships. I try to implement these principles in all of my interactions, across a variety of relationships.

What are your relationship principles? Let me know in the comments section below!

  1. Be honest and direct in your communication. You’ll be amazed at how many problems you can avoid by being direct and honest in your communication.
  2. Show vulnerability. Don’t try to be perfect; it’s isolating.
  3. Be clear about what you need and ask for what you want. People aren’t mind readers, so don’t expect them to be.
  4. Be grateful. Appreciate how this person adds to your life. What if she/he were to disappear tomorrow?
  5. Remember that what the other person thinks, feels, and does isn’t any of your business. Your business is what you think, feel, and do as it pertains to him/her. 
  6. If there’s an elephant in the room, point it out. The sooner, the better.
  7. Keep your humor. Life’s not that serious.
  8. Listen more, talk less. Other people are our greatest teachers when we allow them to be. We weren’t given two ears and one mouth for nothing!
  9. Prioritize the relationship needs over your own. Don’t forget that there are three parties to every relationship. You, the other person, and the relationship itself!
  10. BE PRESENT! Probably the most important one of all. How can you experience the joy of true connection if your mind, body, and/or spirit is elsewhere?

How to Fail Successfully

What is the difference between failure that leads to innovation and failure that leads to… more failure?

What does it mean when people say, “That was a successful failure”?

The answer, researchers believe, lies not in the failure itself but how we recall it or, more precisely, how we store it. Successful failures are those people who remember exactly where and how they failed. This way, when they encounter the same problem again, they’re able to retrieve these “failure indices” quickly and efficiently. They don’t make the same mistake twice.

It seems that the advice we were given as children when confronted with failure, “Just forget it and move on” is wrong. “Remember it and move on” is the way to success.

The guiding principle for “successful failure” is the scientific method. Fail until something works. It’s about failing in a thoughtful and efficient manner. Failure can be a wonderful learning experience as long as it’s in the aid of some continuing process. The important thing is to fail early. Kill the ones that aren’t working right away.

fertilizer failure

Think of failure like fertilizer. It must be used by a skilled farmer, otherwise it is useless and smells bad.

Dream Big

“Dream big. Hold the dream high enough, consistently enough, and the dream must manifest into form, by law. By universal law, it cannot fail to do so. Do not worry about how. It is all taken care of for you as long as you do your part of thinking, acting, speaking, and being in accordance with that dream. Just dream, visualize, and then start doing something. Do the next thing that you feel you should do in accordance to that dream, and keep on moving. The little that you do triggers something else that you had not foreseen and on and on this goes until it completes.” –I am Wealth, I am Abundance, I am Joy

Always Do Your Best

It’s a guiding life principle with which we’re all familiar: Always do your best.

Of course, your best is a fluid concept. It will be different, for example, after a sleepless night than when you wake up refreshed and energized. The idea is to do your best every day, no matter the quality of it.

But this seems a somewhat daunting task, doesn’t it? I mean, to always do your best feels like an awful lot of pressure.

What if we starting looking at our life through the lens of moments, rather than days?

In this case, we need only do our best in this very moment. Now that doesn’t seem too hard, does it?

If we can commit to doing our best in this moment, that act alone will inherently put us in the best place for the next moment. And on it goes…

Four Agreements to Make With Yourself Today That Will Instantly Change Your Life

four agreementsDo you consider yourself to be open-minded? Are you willing to shatter personal illusions in pursuit of personal freedom? If you haven’t had a chance to read Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements, I highly recommend it. It’s a quick read but packs a powerful punch. In fact, I read the whole thing while sitting at an AutoZone one day waiting for my tire to be fixed.

Don Miguel Ruiz is a shaman of the Toltec tradition. More a way of life than a religion, Toltec wisdom embraces the spirit and arises from the same essential unity of Truth as other sacred traditions. The simple yet profound agreements about which Ruiz writes are summarized below.

If you can take five minutes out of your day to read through these points, you’ll quickly be on your way to experiencing personal freedom like never before. Write them down, share them with friends, or put them on your refrigerator. Do whatever you can to embrace and live by these four agreements and I can assure you that your life will be infinitely better for it.

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word. As human beings, the word is the most powerful tool that we have, and the tongue our most powerful weapon. Words are things. They get on your walls, your upholstery, your clothes, and finally into you. Our word contains all of our creative power. Through our word, we think, express, communicate, and ultimately act, thereby creating the events of our lives. With such power at our disposal, we really ought to be more intentional with our word (even impeccable, as Ruiz suggests). What does it mean to be impeccable with your word? Speak with integrity and say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or others. Instead, direct the power of your word towards Truth and love. Truth is the most important part of being impeccable with your word. And impeccability of the word is the starting point on the pathway to personal freedom.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally. Your point of view is personal to you. It’s your version of the truth. In the same vain, what others say and do is a projection of their own reality. In other words, nothing other people say or do is because of you. If you can internalize this idea, you will become immune to the opinions and actions of others. When we begin to really see other people as they are, without taking it personally, we protect ourselves from needless suffering. We’re no longer hurt by what they say or do because we know it’s in no way related to us. Remember, we’re not responsible for other people’s decisions. We’re only responsible for our own. When we truly grasp this, it’s like a weight has been lifted and in its place is a deep, profound sense of inner peace.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions. Ask. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life. All too often we make assumptions by our own accord and wrongfully believe them to be true. When the truth finally comes out, we realize that it was not at all what we thought. Find the courage to ask questions. Perhaps you need to gather more facts about a particular situation. Real love is accepting other people the way they are without trying to change them. If you don’t understand, ask for an explanation. How much sadness and drama could be avoided if we simply practiced communicating with others as clearly as possible without making assumptions?

4. Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment. It will be different when you’re healthy as opposed to sick. When you wake up refreshed and energized in the morning, your best will be better than when you are tired after a sleepless night. Under any circumstance and regardless of the quality, simply keep doing your best. By committing to this, you avoid the self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret that come from doing anything less.

Interpersonal Issues

relationship issues
It’s easy when we’re having interpersonal problems (and how often are our problems not interpersonal?!) to look for someone to blame.

Sometimes we blame ourselves and nearly drown in guilt that may or may not be warranted. Sometimes we blame the other person, searching for flaws, being quick to point out what we find, and often creating an even bigger issue than the original one.

But what if we took a new approach to our many interpersonal issues? What if we stopped brooding over them and instead began to praise God for them?

Interpersonal issues reveal our weak spots, as well as our strengths. They present an opportunity to pause in awe of the delicate patterns which God has woven into our very existence. They ask us to look with wonder at the detail with which each person is carefully crafted; differences, imperfections, all of it.

Rather than trying to “fix” each other, we can instead marvel at just how complicated a species we are, and praise God because He is good and gives us grace.