What To Do When Everything’s Screwed Up

The other day someone told me that we like treating each other like shit. We like fighting. We like arguments.

But I don’t think anyone is enjoying this. As a matter of fact, I know no one is enjoying this. I don’t care what anyone says.

Yes, everything is screwed up. But have you noticed that the fighting isn’t fixing anything and the more we try to “fix”, the more screwed up things seem to get?

How about we just stop trying to fix everything. Logically it sounds crazy, but logic left the building back in 2006 when Twitter was invented.

We need to try something that’s unconventional. We need to try something that involves a little less trying, oddly enough.

I used to think I was pretty screwed up. Hell, I still do. But you know what, it’s not that big of a deal anymore.

You know why? Because I cut back on trying to constantly fix myself. I just started sitting quietly on this little round cushion twice a day and something interesting started to happen.

I learned how to shut up.

I learned that some things just aren’t going to be fixed. At least not the way I think they should be.

My life has gotten an eency, weency, tiny, tiny, bit easier. And remember, little things make a big difference. 

Even the crappy parts don’t seem that bad. But remember, this is only when I shut up! As soon as that old broken record of a mind starts back spinning and I buy into it, the music stops sounding sweet.

Doing nothing actually brings about better results than doing something. Then after I’ve done nothing for a while, I can finally do something worth while.

Confusing right? Yea, life’s like that. We’re only human and let’s be honest, we have no idea what we’re doing. If you think you know, you should probably see a doctor or sell your secrets online.

But I won’t be buying.

I think it’s time we take a break. I think it’s time we start doing less. The way we think things should be doesn’t exist, it’s fantasy.

I promise that if you learn how to sit down and shut up, the way you view your life will change. If you learn how to sit down and shut up, things will start to make more sense, even when they don’t make any sense at all.

A peaceful universe is made up of a bunch of peaceful people. That doesn’t mean we walk around like a bunch of hippies, it’s 2016 for God’s sake! It means that we find peace with ourselves so that no matter what is happening in our lives or in the world, we’re able to approach it with love.

Because when we suffer, what we need most is love. And love is shy, it only shows up in silence.

That’s why we’ve got to shut up, starting now.

How Hard Work Once Saved The World

It was the summer of 1858 in London.

The stench of human waste filled the humid air and outbreaks of contagious disease ran rampant.

People feared the effect of not only the smell, but the possibility that the sheer filth that floated in the Thames River might contaminate their drinking water.

Local press coined the event as “The Great Stink”.

Something had to be done and Sir Joseph William Bazalgette had an idea. He thought up a sewer system that could carry and dump waste beyond the outskirts of the city’s population.

Okay maybe he didn’t save the world, but he sure as hell saved a lot of lives in London. And these types of advancements were happening around the globe.

I doubt many of us would be here if civilizations continued to drink turd martinis and industrial waste cocktails.

The hard work of the people that bring ideas like the one Joseph Bazalgette had, to life, are the reason we keep on living.

I thought about hard work a lot this past weekend as I laid on the cold unforgiving concrete under my 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

A cold Saturday spent rolling in rust and grease.

Dirty work gets a bad name. Far worse than it deserves.

I remember my high school auto teacher saying, “You don’t want to be a mechanic all of your life”. He was wrong.

I do want to be a mechanic all my life. Because hard work is undervalued.

When my tanks on E after a long day, I have no energy left for incessant thinking. The kind of thinking that drains my spirit. It feels good, in a weird way.

I finish work with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Not the pat yourself on the back type of accomplishment.

The type of accomplishment that’s humbling. The accomplishment that comes with a side of cuts, bumps, and bruises that each remind us that we’re human.

We want everything to be easy. We think we shouldn’t have problems. We wish hard work didn’t exist.

It’s not our fault though. We can probably blame it on the industrial revolution.

The hard stuff is exactly what gives us life. Our challenges and struggles are what we’re made of.

It’s a pain in the ass to push through the soil, but it’s the only way to bloom.

When we’re too comfortable we fall asleep on life. Then by the time we wake up, the movies over.

Hard work saves the world. It saves us.

This is your chance to be a superhero. Someone’s gotta do it.

Forget About All of Your Expectations

I have two dogs, Thor and Dez.

Before they sleep, they like to dig in their blankets and make beds.

Thor has it down pat. Dez on the other hand, can’t seem to get it right. He’ll work at it for a few minutes, stop, then decide to lay elsewhere.

He’s a bed maker in training.

It’s funny because when he gives up and finds a new spot, he’s careless.

He doesn’t see it as a waste of time. He’s just doing what dogs do.

Sometimes we spend a lot of time doing things only to end up dissatisfied with the results.

Then we feel like we’ve wasted time. We regret it, feel guilty and get down on ourselves.

I spent a few hours trying to figure out what my blog is about. Why do I write? What’s the purpose of all this typing?

And at the end of the night, I didn’t feel like I was any further along than I was when I started.

What is this imaginary standard that we hold ourselves to? Clearly, I was doing something. I brainstormed, I came up with ideas, I was trying.

Maybe that’s all we need. Could genuine effort be enough?

I never meet my own expectations, so I’m tossing them out the window. I’ll pick them up again once I learn how to use them rather than get lost in them.

I’m just going to keep working at it. I’ll never quit. I’ll never take no as an ending. I think you should do the same.

We may never understand ourselves or our lives because the answers to life’s greatest questions are beyond any “why”.

Understanding comes through living the question rather than searching for the answer.

No moment is wasted when we’re paying attention.

Even if you don’t like the bed you’ve made, I hope you fall asleep smiling because in the morning you’ll get a chance to do it all over again.

How perfect.

Donald Trump and The Placebo Effect

I had a dream on Wednesday morning.

I could have sworn it was real. I wish it was.

Everything was blue in color. I checked my phone and the New York Times had announced that Hillary Clinton won the election.

I wasn’t enthused, but I was relieved.

Then I woke up. Nothing was blue. It was pitch black.

Usually, when the dogs hear me get up, they cry to go outside.

They didn’t cry on Wednesday. Everything was silent. I knew what had happened.

Donald Trump is like a sugar pill. It seems and feels like something’s happening, but really there’s nothing there. It’s a sham.

Except a lot of us aren’t aware of it. It somehow feels like a cure.

But it won’t last. And the people who really need the help are the ones that are going to suffer the most.

It’s a shame because no one really deserves to suffer. Navigating life is hard enough.

But what can we do? That’s the question we must ask ourselves for the next 4 years. What can we do?

By we, I mean you and me and everyone. Rather than depend on some establishment to fix our lives, what can we do to begin to repair ourselves and each other?

Trump isn’t going to do it. Hillary wouldn’t have been able to do it either.

Good presidents put band-aids on bullet holes. Bad presidents pick at scabs before the skin gets a chance to heal.

It’s a lose-lose situation when we look for something outside of ourselves to heal our pain.

We’re all walking around with broken hearts. Our cars are nice, our homes are beautiful, but our hearts are shattered.

We’re angry and sad and everyone else is the problem. The “others” are the issue.

But I’m not so sure that that’s true. Yes, Trump is bound to screw some things up and ignorantly inspire more ignorance, but we don’t have to succumb to it.

He’s a disconnected old fart, we shouldn’t expect much. This is more disappointing than surprising.

So can we use this as an opportunity to face reality head on, rather than run, hide, complain and ignore?

Can we use this as inspiration to stand strong and stand together with open minds and loving wisdom?

It’s okay to be pissed off or upset for a while, the world is a little jacked up right now. But it’s not a bad place. Don’t let this dissuade you from being you.

Once the sugar high wears off, we can’t just go back to our regularly scheduled program.

We have to continue to smile at our neighbors. We have to continue to comfort our friends. We have to continue to act with kind intentions.

Because I’d really love to see the love grow.

The sun always shines again. No cloud lasts forever.

Be sweet and pass it on. Maybe then we’ll bridge the gap and realize that nothing was between us in the first place.

It was all an illusion.

Lessons on 4 Legs

I found this picture of my grandparent’s dog, the late great Jazzy.

A stubborn Dachshund who’s grazing greater pastures in the sky.

I decided to convert the picture to black and white. It seemed to be a good fit.

Then as I looked closer, I noticed myself in the picture.

I saw my reflection in her eyes. It looks like I’m standing in the clouds.

She was just a little thing and I stood there, towering over her.

How could animals love us? We take their pictures, tease them, dress them up and put them on display.

And they always come back for more.

They’re professional forgivers.

I guess the torment doesn’t phase them.

Attention, love and affection is all they want.

Or maybe they’re hoping for a treat? I’m not sure.

It just seems to me that our pets have more love in their hearts for us, than we have for ourselves.

We’re constantly focusing on our faults and imperfections. We rarely treat ourselves with the kindness we deserve.

Our 4 legged friends teach us how to love and let go. They want us to give ourselves a treat.

How thoughtful.

Next time you’re feeling low, remember you’re as wonderful as the clouds.

My dog said so.