Your Life is Unfinished

Life is only incomplete and unfinished business. Your life is unfinished. My life is unfinished. Everyone’s life is incomplete. I was thinking this because I was mentally checking my list of things I wanted to do. But it will never be finished. I can take this as frustrating or I can think of it as liberating.

Every day we’re assaulted with facts, pseudofacts, news feeds and jibber-jabber, coming from all directions. According to a 2011 study, on a typical day, we take in the equivalent of about 174 newspapers’ worth of information, five times as much as we did in 1986. As the world’s 21,274 television stations produce some 85,000 hours of original programming every day (by 2003 figures), we watch an average of five hours of television per day. For every hour of YouTube video you watch, there are 5,999 hours of new video just posted! – Hit the Reset Button in Your Life

To keep myself from panic, I made a list of things I wanted to keep or add to my life and things I wanted to remove or keep away from my life. After reviewing this list I realized the keepers were already there. I have family, job, love, health, books, and all the other goodies that I’d listed. So for now, this minute, my life is good. But the next time I feel anxiety over my unfinished stuff, I want to remember that all of our lives are under construction. That’s the nature of the game of life. It’s messy and incomplete.

…no answer is a complete or final one. And I think that there’s so many times when we thought we understood something and then we realized we were totally wrong. I think that it’s chutzpah to think that we know all the answers or that we’ve understood something perfectly. – Adele Diamond

 

We live the life of an unfinished novel, still waiting to be written. Depending on how we live, the longer the chapters. Depending on how interesting we are, the more we appeal to others. We’re often judged by our covers. Sometimes, some people decide to just quit reading us. We’re just forgotten until someone finds us. Our characters can develop throughout the novel, but our chapters can never be edited.
– Unknown

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Power Up!

Life is a lot like rock climbing or cliff hanging. You know where you want to go but the most immediate need is the next foothold. The next hand grip. You are in the moment of living. Not dying. Hopefully you’ve prepared for this. Even down to the tiniest details, since it’s usually the details that get us. Your clothes, your gear, your metabolism. This is not the time to have a wardrobe malfunction.

It’s true we seek comfort in gurus, psychics and charismatic leaders, but mostly we want someone who can show us the way we should live. Someone who has climbed before us. But like the person who has a terminal illness, no one experience is like another. If you knew you were dying, you might find great joy in meeting one last time with family and friends. Those long talks near the end may strengthen your friendships and make life full of color that you never knew existed. Exquisite love and sunshine. There are others though that won’t go down peacefully. Verbal assaults fly from them as they angrily accuse others of not caring or understanding. Sobs filled with anger and resentment pushes those around them far away. Or at least to the next room only to peek in occasionally. I’ve known both. I’ve also known those young people that never experienced their first kiss. It leaves you wondering about your own life and how short it all seems.

I watched a Ted Talk recently, which I’ll post below. Jane McGonigal talks about her concussion and how she was required to stay in bed for three months. With depression overwhelming her, she had to remind herself how to live. So she made it into a game. She learned to defeat suicidal thoughts and hopelessness. She found allies from friends and family and created power ups with positive thoughts and things that made her smile. She suggests 4 quests that make us resilient. So let’s use her techniques to get ready for our life. You know that difficult days will happen. It’s life. What else is there to expect?

There are four strengths you need to work on. She gives us four quests.

Quest 1. “Stand up and take three steps, or make your hands into fists and raise them over your head for 5 seconds. Worth +1 physical resilience. It turns out the best thing you can do for physical health is not sit still. (The whole audience raises their arms, and she notes some who did both: “Overachievers, I like that.”)

Quest 2. “Snap your fingers 50 times, or count backward from 100 by sevens.” That’s worth +1 mental resilience, which gives more focus and willpower. The research shows that those are both like muscles, and get better the more they’re exercised.

Quest 3. “If you’re inside, find a window and look out of it, or if you’re outside, find a window and look in. Or think of a baby [your favorite animal] and do a Google or YouTube search for it.” This gives +1 emotional resilience. She suggests you try to experience three positive emotions for every one negative — that improves your ability to respond to any challenge.

Quest 4. “Shake someone’s hand for 6 seconds or send someone a quick text, e-mail, thanking them.” That gives +1 social resilience. A great way to increase social resilience is gratitude. (By this point, the audience is incredibly loose and happy. It seems to be working.)

McGonigal has one last bit of science. “People who regularly boost all four kinds of resilience live 10 years longer than everyone else.” That’s where she gets the seven minutes she’s just granted us.

I took the above excerpt from TED Blog and you can read the entire thing if you are interested or just watch the video.

You’re Not Listening

Angry Talk (Comic Style)

I AM NOT YELLING!! I’M TRYING TO MAKE MY POINT. DO YOU HEAR ME?

What happens when we yell? What happens when we get yelled at? I cower, run for cover, or if backed in my corner, I get defensive.

Why do we yell?

We want to make a point. We have an issue or a gripe and we want you the listener to hear us. If we yell, then you know without a doubt we mean it. Right? Stomps foot! Or do we turn off? Walk away? Put up our hand? Some might start crying. Some might yell back. But NO ONE listens. We can’t. It goes against every little fiber of our being to listen. Yelling hits us at our nerve core and radiates up our spinal cord until-ding, ding, ding-you ring our fight or flight bell. Every time. 

So why do we do it? We are scared. We are afraid of you, the one we are yelling at. You may have hurt us or you remind us of someone who hurt us in the past. We have to square off first. Like the bird ruffling up his feathers or the cat with all hairs on end. I’m bigger than you. Bigger, badder, meaner. Don’t mess with me. But I thought I was scared? I am. I’m hiding my fear underneath these scary, ugly, loud snarls.

yelling.
yelling. (Photo credit: J-Urban-Hippie)

So what happens when we yell? We turn off what we want to turn on. We push what we really want to pull. We scare those for whom we care. Mostly we make ourselves tired and weak, because we’ve wasted a lot of energy.

Electricity is a wonderful thing. It’s power is amazing. We, mankind, have harnessed it. I love my computer. And my washer and dryer. Electricity helps me be comfortable and entertained on Sunday afternoons watching Netflix. Or listening to Vevo. Watching silly videos on YouTube. But electricity without being channeled through the right wires, circuitry, and breakers would kill me. Zap! Ka-bing!

Fire is the same way. Wintry evenings by the fireplace and a warm blanket, mmmm. That’s a great place. But fire raging across the plains of Texas or the mountains of Colorado or coming towards my house, makes me want to run. To cower. Or to fight back.

You know where I’m going with this. Me yelling at you, has the same response as the fire coming towards you. Or a lightening bolt. Run for cover or run for your life. There must be a better way. I have to tame my fire. Harness my anger. Yelling uncontrollably feels right. I’ve vented.

I am big.

I am bad.

And I am one tough cookie. Don’t mess with me. But who got burned in the end? Even if they deserved it, razing the enemy doesn’t heal my pain.

We need an expression that works. Stop before we yell. What is the point I want to make with the person in front of me? Can it wait? Maybe this moment isn’t the best moment to make it. With some, those you’ve told a thousand times, the point may never reach them. Those you walk away from and let them be. Others may need something beyond words. Remember tough love?

Yelling makes us feel like we’ve accomplished a task. We made our point. We vented our anger. Open your eyes. No one’s listening.

The Rescues-You’re Not Listening (Live at the Troubadour)