Hobbies without expectation

It’s okay to love a hobby the same way you’d love a pet; for its ability to enrich your life without any expectation that it will help you pay the rent. What if we allowed ourselves to devote our time and attention to something just because it makes us happy? Or, better yet, because it enables us to truly recharge instead of carving our time into smaller and smaller pieces for someone else’s benefit?

Mollie Conway

Trying vs. winning

From the box of unanswered (unanswerable?) questions:

Is it enough to try?

I’ve been taught that yes, yes, absolutely YES it is enough to try. Failing is fine. Just do your best, that’s all anyone can ask of you. I’ve heard this philosophy, I’ve preached this philosophy, I’ve lived it. As a parent, it is baked into my core. As a people manager, it is indispensable to motivating my team. We can control our effort, we can’t control results. All you need to do is try. Trying is enough.

I am Team Try through-and-through.

But lately, I’ve been tempted by Team Win.

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On Managing One’s Feelings, by Dallas Willard

Interestingly, “growing up” is largely a matter of learning to hide our spirit behind our face, eyes, and language so that we can evade and manage others to achieve what we want and avoid what we fear.

The child’s face is a constant epiphany because it doesn’t yet know how to do this. It cannot manage its face. This is also true of adults in moments of great feeling—which is one reason why feeling is both greatly treasured and greatly feared.

– Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy

Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters

by Portia Nelson

I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.

Famous

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

—Naomi Shihab Nye

Read more: “Famous” from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems

Thanks to Anne Lamott for turning me onto this beautiful poem!

Great quotes from other folks about living well

“See the man at midnight [described in Luke 11:5-8]. Imitate that man. Act it all alone at midnight. Hear his loud cry, and cry it after him. He needed three loaves. What is your need? Name it. Name it out loud. Let your own ears hear it. . . . The shameful things you have to ask for. The disgraceful, the incredible things you have to admit and confess. The life you have lived. The way you have spent your days and nights. And what all that has brought you to. It kills you to have to say such things even with your door shut. Yes, but better say all these things in closets than have them all proclaimed from the housetops of the day of judgment. Knock, man! Knock for the love of God! Knock as they knock to get into heaven after the door is shut! Knock, as they knock to get out of hell!

Alexander Whyte, “The Man Who Knocked At Midnight,” in Lord, Teach Us To Pray (New York, n.d.), pages 174-176.

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What do you have going for you when everything is against you? What will not fail you when what you thought was true and solid and real collapses beneath you? Who will stand by you when friends forsake you and enemies see their opportunity? What works when everything is on the line but nothing else is working?

This experience is inevitable. We don’t have to go looking for it. It will come find us. God himself wrote it into our scripts. But when this happens, we are forced to ask the basic question: What can I count on when I can’t count on anything else?

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