If we’re fortunate, we find the time and awareness to look around and realize that life holds good things in store for us. There’s wealth – of one kind or another, beauty, hope, adventure and other precious gems. But of course, our day to day routines and the constant consumerist messaging of “more, more, more,” can also leave us making comparisons to others, feeling “less than,” and wanting, well… more!
Much of what leads to deeper happiness these days requires a degree of change. Often times, we even know what we want – though we may wonder if we’ll ever get there. Some people take the requisite action and others just think about it, making empty promises to themselves about a future that always appears to remain at arm’s length. Wherever you are on this road to Self-Optimization is fine, you are perfect however you are. But should you desire to progress, there is a way to do so.
“The most dangerous lies are the ones we tell ourselves.”
Friction is a part of life. Sometimes it surfaces in our relationships – with our family, our friends, coworkers and even with those in the restaurants and behind the counters of the establishments we frequent. There are gaps between what we want and what we get, or what others expect or need from us and what they get. And though potentially difficult, friction is also a necessity. It is an agent for change.
When a car moves down the street, and something gets in the way or the directions call for a left or right, the driver turns the wheel and it is the friction between the rubber tires and the road which take the vehicle on it’s new intended course. But anyone who has driven on ice knows what happens when a slick, lubricated surface undermines that friction. You keep sliding in the same direction despite a desperate need for change. It can be very scary.
“The man on top of the mountain did not fall there.”
So here we are, just TWO WEEKS til 2014. And if you feel the way I do you’re wondering where the year went. Time is certainly moving, and it just keeps accelerating. Despite the temporary perspective that the new year is entirely in front of us, we’re going to blink and 2014 will be in the history books as well.
That’s why NOW is the time to take action – whatever it may be.
Friday, October 4th, 2013 began like most of my days do – getting up and ready, handling the morning’s tasks, being a Dad, a husband, a citizen, a person.
Around noon there was a shift in my schedule and quick math revealed enough time to go sit in Union Square with my Ankerline table. I really enjoy connecting with people and it’s important to me to be of service and give back. The conversations can be difficult but also wonderful and organic. One on one often turns into a group dynamic, then back to one on one and eventually just me again before the next person sits down. The chemistry between the calming, natural park and the urban energy make it an excellent place to think and talk.
Between the weather and a busy schedule, I hadn’t been able to get out there for a couple of months and I was looking forward to it. But I couldn’t possibly have known what was to come just a few short hours later.
The weather was pleasant that Friday and my friend Chris stopped by to bring me an iced coffee and some conversation. While Chris was there, T, a girl in her early 20’s sat down and began sharing. She used to be homeless but fortunately had overcome those circumstances. It was her love life for which she sought input. We talked for about fifteen minutes. I asked her if anything I said resonated. She smiled a beautiful smile. “Everything.” She went on her way and I was feeling good – for T and for me.
Less than five minutes passed. Then RJ sat down.
Normally, I put in conscious effort to remain as open as possible when first being introduced to someone. No matter how they are dressed, physically or emotionally, I like to build an impression over time – not just guess. Given what follows, it’s interesting that with RJ it didn’t require much. He appeared to be in a rather decent mood.
But less than two minutes into meeting me, RJ pointed toward the main entrance to the Union Square subway station and shared his intentions to end his life. “I’ve got it all figured out. I’m going to throw myself onto the third rail. That should make headlines.”
A young lady was at the front of the room, giving a talk on stress management. She confidently held up a glass of water. “Let me ask you something,” she began. The audience was sure they knew what came next – clearly the questions would be, “Half empty? Or half full?”
Surprisingly, it was neither. She continued with a smile, “How heavy is this glass of water?”