Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Don't Mistake Contentment For Complacency.

Don't mistake contentment for complacency.  

Many of us do make this association. If you do, you will deny yourself the  experience of contentment out of fear of becoming complacent.  

Definition of complacency:  'a feeling of security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.' 

That is not contentment! 

I often hear people say that they don't want to become content because they will  lose any ambition to improve their circumstances. That's an example of not  understanding the difference between these two states of being.  

Being complacent is more synonymous with a comfort zone. Like sitting in an old  raggedy chair can be familiar and comfortable. But, it is likely not an  authentic representation of all you have learned, achieved, and deserve. That  might well be something more like a beautiful red velvet chaise lounge.  

Definition of contentment: a state of happiness and genuine satisfaction. 

I don't consider contentment as synonymous with a comfort zone. I have  experienced, and witnessed others experience, contentment as a starting place. A  place in which to grow from. Rather than a place to get to. A place from which you can ask yourself "what do I want?" as opposed to "what do I need?" 

Avoiding the experience of Contentment for fear of becoming complacent will  perpetuate your thinking that contentment is something to find outside yourself and, therefore, never quite within reach.

Being content within and with yourself is, in my thinking, an experience associated with self esteem. And, as such, a solid platform from which to leap forward. Identifying where you're at in relationship to where you want to be is an essential prerequisite to finding this quality within yourself. The "where" in this case being as much an internal experience as an exterior set of circumstances.

Looking to find contentment within yourself rather than concerning yourself with the circumstances you believe to be the cause of it's lacking will often bring up fear. But, fear is an unavoidable experience of stepping outside your comfort zone....moving toward something unfamiliar yet desired.

Certainly it's possible to get stuck in fear. But, that usually is a result of  wresting to get rid of in the saying; what you resist, persists. 

Complacency is alluring. Especially when we are confronted by fear. But, once we develop the understanding to see and experience fear as an indication of forward movement, we will stop wrestling with it and embrace it as sign of getting to where we want to be. And that could be content.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Where and When Will We Discover What Enough Is?

Too much of this. Too little of that. Wouldn't you like to know when enough is enough? 

If so, look inward. 

There's very little satisfaction associated with having too much or too little 
of something, taking on too much or too little responsibility, or considering 
ourselves as doing too much or too little. This bouncing back and forth between 
these two considerations, never quite identifying when we are or have done 
enough, perpetuates a limiting self concept.... Thinking of ourselves as not 

When will we find enough to be doing exactly what we are doing, exactly the way 
we're doing it, and with whom we are doing it? 

Sometimes we extend ourselves in ways that go beyond what would be true and 

We may find ourselves continuing to participate in a conversation that we have 
lost interest in. Or, we take on a greater degree of responsibility for something that, 
had we taken a bit more time to consider, isn't in keeping with our values 
or other time commitments. 

In other circumstances, we may think that we've neglected to take on the proper 
amount of responsibility in a matter. Or, we will turn down an opportunity that, 
had we considered more thoughtfully, we would have preferred to take advantage 

In many instances we all find ourselves having this debate in our heads 
questioning what 'enough' is. 

The dictionary defines 'enough' as: "adequate for the want or need; sufficient 
for the purpose or to satisfy desire"

I define 'enough' as being wholly acceptable exactly as it is. 

It's not uncommon to consider, in whatever we may be doing, what others may think 
of as 'enough'. But, if we keep using what we believe others would think, we'll 
never find this quality within ourselves.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Living With Depression.

I don't know what to say that hasn't already been said; about suicide, the 
prevention of suicide, or the loss that everyone suffers as a result of the 
suicide. Especially when we lose someone as special a person and performer as 
Robin Williams. 
I was still a teenager when I first stumbled upon Mork, the tv alien who was 
played by Robin Williams with an over-the-top comedic outrageousness. I didn't 
watch a lot of tv back then. But, 'Mork and Mindy' was exceptional. And, Robin's 
unique talent made it so. I can only imagine the out takes were just as 
hilarious. And, his stand up routines were captivating. It seemed as though he 
really was an alien comic who could exude such spontaneity and wit I'd never 
seen before on earth. A huge loss for for so many that found his genius to be as 
unique as it was human. 
I agree with those inside and outside of the medical profession. Depression is 
and should be considered a disease. No more or less so than cancer or any other 
medical disorder. 
I just read how suicide trumps many other causes of death. Including car 
accidents which have been addressed with seat belts and a growing assortment of 
technological advances in automobile safety. The stigma depression still 
carries, I believe, is a significant hurdle to overcome. As with so many 
emotions, we've been indoctrinated to believe that there are good ones and bad 
ones. And the bad ones we not only hide from others, we deny to ourselves. And, 
so we do not acknowledge, let alone share, these experiences which could 
otherwise provide us with the perspective and permission to be healthfully 
Education is key. We've got to learn to treat people with diseases such as 
alcoholism and depression with respect for what they're going through. Rather 
than asking what's wrong when someone expresses their inner most struggles we 
must learn to ask "how can I help?"  Empathy, rather than apathy, is a quality 
we are born with. It should be reinforced in our educational system. As we learn 
to see empathy and understanding as qualities to be proud of we will grow, 
personally as well as a society that deals increasingly effective at intervening 
and interrupting the most tragic outcome of such insurmountable pain.  

We're each a miracle in a galaxy of miracles. We are each no more or less a 
miracle than every other person on this planet. And, as such, each one of us 
deserves the love and respect we all treasure. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Greatest Obstacle to Learning Is..........

The Greatest Obstacle to Learning Is..........
I once heard it said that the greatest obstacle to learning is knowing.

Years ago, when I heard this for the first time, it was a revelation. "You can't learn what you already know". Hmmm. How profound, I thought. And, apropos.  

My relationship with certain family members and my experience at work were things I wanted to feel differently about. And, had been for some time. 

I wanted my relationship with certain family members to feel more satisfying. And, I wanted to feel more fulfilled with work. But, I didn't think I had anything to learn in order to improve either of these circumstances. I had concluded they were the way they were. And, that they would stay that way. I believed these circumstances and I were just stuck with each other. 

To feel more satisfaction at work I believed that the people I worked with, and the people I worked for, had to change. The people I worked with needed to interact with me and each other differently. They needed to be more focused and responsible. And, show more integrity. And, I needed the owners to show more respect for and receptivity to the employees and their issues. But, I believed it was a lost cause. After all, in spite of my efforts, nothing changed. 

And, with those family members, to feel the kind of satisfaction I was looking for they needed to change as well. But, here, too, I had come to the conclusion that they were not going to act or communicate any differently. I had already made every effort possible. And, I couldn't make them.


I 'knew' what needed to change IN MY LIFE. What I didn't know was THAT it was me. What I didn't know was that as long as I 'knew' what needed to change, there WOULD BE nothing I could learn to make MY CIRCUMSTANCES better. 

What I 'KNEW' needed to change for me to experience more of what I wanted was the PEOPLE and CIRCUMSTANCES of my life.

So, I recognized I WOULD HAVE TO LEARN what I didn't know.

I needed to see how I assessed AND INVESTED IN POSITIONS. And, how invested I was in being right.

And, I was very invested in being right!


THE POSSIBILITY that I was somehow PERPETUATING MY circumstances became a real consideration. AND THAT, MAYBE, MY INVESTMENT IN being right WAS KEEPING ME stuck with what I believed I had. Blindness OF my own involvement.

I SAW, TOO, I WOULD NOT ONLY NEED TO BRING MORE CONSCIOUSNESS TO my circumstances. I also needed to acknowledge my EXPERIENCE of BEING IN THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES. MY FEELINGS AND THOUGHTS. I had to bring MUCH more clarity and specificity to my predicament. 


For instance, I knew I wanted my brother to respond differently to me. But, WHAT SPECIFICALLY WOULD THAT LOOK LIKE? To be less judgmental and more supportive. TO SEE HIM express interest in and receptivity to my opinions and feelings. AND WHAT WOULD THAT FEEL LIKE? I would feel LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE. 


I realized that my path required as precise a starting point as a destination. And, the more SPECIFIC I COULD BE WITH BOTH the more success was possible.

Me 'KNOWING' THE WAY THINGS ARE AND spouting off reasons WHY is something I'VE grown accustomed to.

The effort I made, AND CONTINUE TO MAKE, to bring more detail TO MY CIRCUMSTANCES AND FEELINGS ABOUT THEM IS difficult. ESPECIALLY Getting in touch with THE dissatisfaction, hurt, disappointment. That IS not easy. But, then again, how can ANY OF US get WHAT we want without knowing EXACTLY WHAT WE'VE GOT.

What circumstances have you BEEN PUTTING UP WITH OR TRYING TO CHANGE? WHAT CONCLUSIONS OR DECISIONS HAVE YOU MADE ABOUT THEM? How would you like them to be different? How invested are you in being right?

I USED TO KNOW I had my shit together. Then I realized that was all I had together.