One day a traveler came to the banks of a wide and deep river. There was no way to cross and he walked along the edge of the water for miles, feeling hopeless.
Just as he was about to give up and go back the way he had come, he saw a wise Zen Master on the opposite bank of the river. The traveler called to the Master, “Oh great teacher, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river?”
The Zen Master stood for a moment, silently watching the rushing stream and then yelled to the traveler: “My friend – you are on the other side!”
When I was a boy, my Momma would send me down to the corner store with $1 and I’d come back with 5 bags of potatoes, 2 loaves of bread, 3 bottles of milk, a hunk of cheese, a box of tea, and 6 eggs.
You can’t do that now.
Too many fucking security cameras.
There is a revolution afoot.
The foot soldiers of this revolution are the people who want more than getting a job, working 9-5 shuffling papers and deleting emails, and then coming home, having a beer, watching TV, nagging the kids to do their homework, then going to bed, and starting over, doing it all the same the next day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year, repeat until dead.
Not that these people don’t need reassurance, predictability, and security. They do. They just don’t use them as an excuse for not living. Because they want more than just being comfortable and safe.
These people know that life begins at the end of their comfort zone. They embrace creativity; spontaneity; bravery; impulse; instinct; passion; madness. Some climb mountains. Others talk to strangers in lifts. They all want to be part of something bigger, something greater, something that makes the world a better place.
There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen on the inside first, and it’s starting to happen.
For a long time it seemed to me that my life was about to begin.
But there was always something that needed to happen first, before it could begin. Something that needed to be finished. Something that needed to be done. Something that needed to happen. THEN, my life would begin.
Eventually it dawned on me that these ‘somethings’ were my life. That I had been living my whole frickin life in the waiting room … just waiting:
… for an email to come
… for the pain to go
… for an increase in pay
… for a shorter work day
… for Friday night
… for the time to be right
… for holidays
… for better days.
“NO, that’s not for me!” I shouted as I burst out of the waiting room and exploded into action.
Inspired by Dr Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go
When I was 11 our whole class year sat a General Knowledge test. They asked us the usual questions about people, politics, news, sport, and current affairs. It was the last question that took us all by surprise: “What is the name of the lady who cleans the school?”
I think we all thought it was a bit of a joke question. We all knew the cleaning lady — we saw her every day. She was short, wore a head scarf and was in her 30s. But none of us actually knew her name. And so I handed in my test leaving the last question blank. As we walked out of the classroom one of my friends asked our teacher if the last question would count toward our mark.
“Absolutely,” said our teacher. “You will meet many people in your life. All are equally significant. Every one of them deserves your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘hello’.”
I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I learned her name was Dorothy. And it’s shaped the way I relate to everyone ever since.
Yesterday afternoon, as I was taking a walk down Crown Street in Surry Hills, I noticed an old man with a white beard and wearing a taqiyah cap being harassed by a couple of teenage kids for being ‘a bloody terrorist’ [amongst other things]. As I and a few other people stopped and turned, the kids made a bolt.
I sat down on a nearby ledge and watched the old man. To my astonishment he actually began crying. He then slowly made his way to a bench next to the library building, and before he sat down he took off his jacket. His T-shirt underneath read, “Proud to be Australian”.
RUOK? Day is today.
Started by Gavin Larkin, RUOK? Day is a reminder to all of us to ask someone we know who might be struggling with life, if they are OK?
While RUOK? Day is a once a year event, asking someone if they are OK is not — it’s something we can and should do every day.
To me RUOK? speaks to the power in each of us. When you understand that what most people really, really want is simply to feel good about themselves, and when you realize that with just a few well-chosen words [e.g. RUOK?] you can help virtually anyone on the planet instantly achieve this, you begin to realize just how simple life is, and how powerful you are.
Thanks Gavin, and thanks to all of you who show your care by asking the question ‘RUOK?’
A baby in the womb has no idea
its Mother loves cool September breezes
floating through the twilight window
with cricket dreamtime energy.
….and human society and history and
geography, geology, astronomy,
zoology, botany, ecology
or an affectionate puppy
that sleeps next to the Mother.
What about us?
What’s outside us we don’t know about?
Excerpt from All a Baby Knows by Antler
I think we lie to ourselves to keep our soul from having an adventure.
The voice in our head says “It’s not safe to stick my neck out; to speak before thinking; to take that chance; to take the road less travelled by; to back my self; to believe in my self. I can’t do that. That’s too big an adventure for someone like me. That’s too big a risk for a person like me to take. What if I’m wrong and it doesn’t work out?”
This is the voice of fear, passivity, and self doubt, and it plays over and over in our heads like radio station: I SUCK 99.6 AM.
I call it soul surrender. It’s the opposite of soul purpose. It’s like trying to get an overly active child to go to sleep. Lying to your soul is like saying to the child, “You are too tiny to know any better or make a difference. Sleep now.”
Methinks it’s time to wake up da fucking tiger!
Every day you are confronted by people who are trying to define you, label you, and put you in this or that box or category. They may even explicitly lay some kind of judgment on you, telling you that you are this or that.
At home, it might be your father, mother, husband, wife, son or daughter. At work, it might be your co-worker, client or boss. At school it might be your teacher, a friend, or a group of other kids.
What can you do about it?
Well, you can either agree with them, and come to believe that what others tell you about yourself is the truth.
Or you can reject these descriptions, labels, or definitions by just doing what you do, by just being who you are, and by telling them to all get fucked [in the nicest possible way, of course].