Tag Archives: priorities

you are what you read.

I’ve been reading some James Altucher lately.

Good writers all have a distinct style. You knew that. I find myself turned on by the direct style a lot of male writers have, like Altucher, or Austin Kleon, or Seth Godin. Go read some of his stuff if you’re one of the three people in the world who hasn’t read Seth Godin.

As you read this, you can probably tell that Altucher is influencing my writing style.

Input, output. What goes in is what comes out.

In our media-saturated world, we need to be aware of this quirk of human psychology. Our little filter bubbles skew our perception, making us see more of the people like us and less of the people who aren’t like us.

LifeIsAnOrangeDOTcom-skewed-perceptions

Being increasingly disconnected from one another is a weird side effect of an increasingly connected world.

It means that it really, really matters how the media portrays different groups. Because if we see more people not like us on TV, we are more empathetic to them. And if we read headlines that scream of the dangers of terrorism, we’re more inclined to think it’s a bigger problem than it is.

What goes in is what comes out. Input, output.

Of course terrorism is a problem. Climate change is too, but it gets less sexy headlines. And climate change is like the White Walker Zombies in Game of Thrones: they’re going to wipe out everyone, but no one wants believe they exist, so they’re not prepared.

 

a good decision.

Don't try to make the one right decision, try to make a good one.

Don’t try to make the one right decision, try to make a good one. There are many ways to make a good decision.

Years ago, I made a tough decision. I think about it often: it’s had a continuing impact on me and on those I love.

I always felt it was the right decision. Hard, disappointing, full of promise and loss, and right.

Yesterday, as I pondered it again, I called it a good decision instead of the right one, and the implication of that wording struck me.

If I call it a “right” decision, then any other path would necessarily have been “wrong.” I don’t think it’s that black and white, though.

It’s fascinating how the choices we make play out. Sometimes, I envy those who chose differently when faced with a similar situation. If I had gone in another direction, things probably would have turned out fine…just differently. Or maybe in that alternate universe I would have regretted my choice, then again, maybe I would never have thought about it again. Who knows?

At the time, I didn’t feel like I had a choice. But, truly, we always have options, even if they’re limited, even if the only option is in your attitude toward something out of your control.

Is one decision right or wrong? Since we can’t peer into the alternate universe where we went the other way, we simply can’t say. “Right” and “wrong” aren’t helpful. Thinking of our lives that way puts too much stress and pressure on a moment in which we can see, feel, and know only incompletely.  We are freer to give ourselves and others some grace if “a” good choice implies that there are many good choices; there is not “the” only right one in a circumstance.  Allowing for that makes us less judgmental toward others who choose differently than we would.

So, my decision was a good one. It was made in love. The consequences have been tough at times, but acting out of love will always be a good thing.

 

making a manifesto

In the 1999 movie The Matrix, the Oracle gives Neo critical advice:  Know Thyself. It’s a scene I come back to over and over to ponder how important it is to dig into ourselves, to comprehend what motivates us at our core, to reflect on whether our lives are aligned with what matters most. Through knowing what he is willing to fight and die for and believing that he is an agent of change, Neo eventually causes a major ruckus that alters the balance of power.
Sure, that’s a bit dramatic, but we can gain focus when we spend time  examining our values.  One way to start is to make a simple “I believe” list (you can find a few other ideas on Alexandra Franzen’s site.)  Here’s my rough-draft list, in case you want to get to know me better.

I believe:

That creativity is the ultimate assertion of existence. It’s how we learn, impact, and grow.

That individually and collectively, our relationship with our food matters: it impacts our health, environment, culture, and economy on both large and local scales.

That handmade is love made. When we take the time and expend the effort to make instead of consume, we shower love on everyone we share with (including ourselves!)

That Nature already has things worked out for us and it’s usually better to work with her system than impose an artificial one we don’t fully understand.

That there is deep power in knowing ourselves. Living in high fidelity with our truth makes us more powerful agents of good in the world.

There is magic and meaning to be found in the everyday.

That a full and healthy life is a holistic endeavor.

That we are part of this world and the world is part of us. We need to preserve the natural spaces we still can.

That when we nourish our health & spirit with grace, we can fully honor our gifts & dreams.

That we’re all trying our best, but that we get distracted. None of us has it figured out, and when we honestly share our stories, we realize we’re all in this together.