On Fear

What do you think about fear?

Fear is an emotion. Fear’s body is composed of thoughts, usually sad thoughts of horrible things that occur to the people we love or us.

Left unchecked, these details grow in specificity, often leaving us full of fear and full of anxiety.

The truth is we may be in a position where our worst fears may come true.
You may be at the hospital with a parent, sibling, or loved one, and they may be facing surgery.

The possibility is that they could live, or they could die.
Sometimes they do.
You rejoice.
Sometimes they don’t.
You are sad.

Joy doesn’t seem easy to maintain.
It comes and goes based on the moments, experiences, circumstances.
Sadness and discouragement seem easier to generate and stays longer.
I could give myself a medal for being sad, discouraged internally.
I wouldn’t. No one else would either.

For some reason, sadness, discouragement, anxiety are very easy to develop.
The world doesn’t have sad experts who will come to your home and make you sad. But, even if there were, would you hire them?

Why hire someone when you can do the work yourself.
Happiness, joy, gratitude.
There are tons of books, videos designed for us to be happy, and they are advertised that way.

Read this book, and get happy.
But why is a true-crime so popular?

Why are we drawn to experiencing the worst moments in someone’s life?
Do we watch it because we will turn out happy?
Fear is a funny thing; we expose ourselves to it.

We also dread it.
Some call it wonderful.

Some call it horrible.
Some say to dance with it.

Some say to avoid it.
How about you?

Coffee of God

Does God drink coffee? If God did drink coffee, would it be taken black or with cream and sugar?

The other day I stopped at Philz Coffee. Once inside, I ordered a coffee called Ambrosia Coffee of God.

It made me wonder for a brief second if the coffee was for God; for example, was this the regular choice for God when visiting earth.


In this case, my thinking was off. God doesn’t frequent coffee shops, or does he?
If God does come down to earth for coffee, there is Ambrosia, the Coffee of God waiting.

I don’t feel like doing it.” Is this an expression? A statement? Or a call to action? Perhaps it is a declaration. What comes next is the answer.

You can decide to not move forward, and then what? You watch TV. You sit under a tree. You read a book.

Or you pursue another task. The time is going to pass. Your decision not to do something won’t stop time from passing. Maybe you wish it did. Do you hope that by not doing something that it will go away? You could be lucky, and someone will come along and do it for you.

Finish the task, complete the job. If that is your situation, at least take the time to be thankful and say I appreciate you. If this isn’t an option, here is another choice.
You can say, but I am going to do it anyway. Then you start.

One step at a time. You feel better. Maybe you won’t. But you will have more progress than if you chose not to. Your feelings aren’t always right, and they need to be questioned from time to time. It also is ok to disagree with them.

Maybe someone didn’t want to put a blue cow outside of a restaurant. Other people did. The blue cow people got what they wanted. You can too. Just keep going.

 

What are you learning?

What are you learning? Try a different question. Instead of asking someone, “ How are you today?” or “What is going on?”
After you ask a different question, be prepared to listen.

Listen to what another person has to say. Just because. Not to give advice, your opinion, or your own story. Affirm them.

Understand them. Encourage them. If they ask for your advice or opinion, then give it.
Observe what is around you. Take in your surroundings. Take pictures of interesting things. Go to new places, meet new people.
Take time to listen. Take time to learn. If we take time to learn, we will spend less time arguing about meaningless items. Yes, there are meaningless items that people argue about.
Just scroll through your social media feed. 90% of people squabble over is insignificant.
How do I know this? It is true. Important items that change lives and move the needle aren’t done in social media posts. For example, you don’t sign mortgage papers, adoption papers, car agreements, or marriage licenses over social media, your employment letter, not in a comment feed.
If you insist on being in the feeds or the comment sections, then try to learn something new.

Back at the Library

The library is open! I love the library. Wandering the shelves, checking out books, sitting at the table, and writing in my journal.

I missed three things during the pandemic, sitting in a coffee shop, going to the movies, and the library.

A library is a place of peace and joy for me. Filled with memories. I went to the library as a child; in college, I would wander the shelves and pick random books, often they had nothing to do with the classes that I was in. I would check out more books than I could read.

As an adult, when I moved, the first thing I would get was a library card; the joy of living in Los Angeles is that there are libraries all over the place, and your card works at any of them.

At times I would be a fugitive because I kept books too long; I have paid for books that I lost but then ended up finding them later.

I missed the library while it was closed, and now I am happy that it is back open. Make sure you check out a library near you!

Today

Today is a good day. A good day for? The positive bit of this is that we have options. Choices, chances, doors that are open for us. Even doors that we may not even like. If you look hard enough, you will find them.

So what do you do today? The day could begin with a previously made plan. For example – To move some money, to pay a bill. Or it can be centered around an expectation, the hope of a new job, or a new relationship. Maybe it is a worry or a concern. The health of a family member or even your own.

It doesn’t take very long for the list to begin to get big. What do you do when the list is large?

 

Is the excitement still present, or did it fade away? Do you begin to move toward what you wish to achieve, or do you go back to bed or into your thoughts?

You have to step out of your thoughts and into action. Action is what you need to do. Movement. In the world. Outside of your head.

The outcome you desire. It may happen, or it may not. If it does take time to celebrate. You may be discouraged that it didn’t happen. That is ok.
Tell yourself that you did it.

So what are you going to do today?

Wonderful

Wonderful. The day was wonderful. A nice way to describe enjoyment and discovery. Each day that we are alive is an opportunity to reset and rediscover.

It may be hard for you, or it may not be in the circumstance you are in and in the days you have. Take time to discover what is wonderful. It is out there. Right outside your door, right next to you, and inside of you. For example, this morning, I sat outside and stared at a jacaranda tree.

It has purple leaves, and it blooms in the springtime where I live in Los Angeles. These trees are exquisite. When you look at one, your cares and worries depart for a brief moment, and you can reset, focus, and prepare to face whatever is in your way. Find beauty. Look for it, search for it, and smile when you find it.

Day of Dad.

Today is Father’s Day, and it is also posted 194 of 2021. By now, my Father passed away when I was 17, and I have been a Father for 12 years.

It feels odd. I am thankful to celebrate a day, and my wife and son, make it special for me. I am thankful and have been blessed to have wonderful people in my life. My wife, my son, and a community of fellow Fathers.

I also know that today is challenging for some. People who have lost their Father this year, people who have difficult relationships with a Father.

When one group is celebrating, another is mourning. That is the way it goes.
I have memories of my dad and the present moment with my son. I wish I had more time with my own dad; even though I don’t, I still carry the lessons he taught me. This I am thankful for.

Iced Coffee and Gentrification

There used to be a coffee shop that I enjoyed on the street in Los Angeles. It had a funky vibe to it. It was older, the coffee was inexpensive, the food was decent and mismatched furniture. At times the unhoused would mill about. The place also had a lot of artists hanging about and flyers on the bulletin board.

A few years ago, the place closed. Today for the first time in a year, I walked down the street and saw a new coffee place had taken up residence. The interior was pink, the drinks were all eight dollars, the unhoused wasn’t around, and everything matched.
I couldn’t do it. I walked right past it. If I went in and purchased coffee from this new place, it would be s betrayal of the old place that used to be there.

I am a bit odd like that. I ended up going down and paying 5.00 for an iced coffee at an upscale coffee place. The difference in my mind is that the high-end place I am now was in existence when the old funky shop was open, I enjoy going to coffee shops, and there are several on this street.

What was said is that before I went to the coffee shop, I decided to go to a green tea place that has a nice backyard patio with a fountain; when I arrived, I was greeted with a closed shop. The green tea establishment was a casualty of the pandemic.

So here I am drinking a very good iced coffee in a high-end coffee place. At the same time missing the old funky place and am upset at the high-end place that replaced the neat funky place.

Aren’t we all contradictions and hypocrites at some level?
We strive for consistency and fall short of it just as consistently.

This is what makes us human and gives us the capacity to live out our days, making room to enjoy them, and at the same time, leaving room open to serve.
Also, this is some really good Iced Coffee.

Normally Iced Coffee is too strong and too bitter, or on the flip side, too sweet. This is just right. Not too strong and not too bitter.

Point of View

What is a point of view? Is it the way you think about a particular topic? Do you express your point of view to others? Do you keep your point of view to yourself?
Is it valuable to have a point of view?

Think about it for a second. If you are in a room full of strangers who aren’t saying a word, someone expressing their perspective can make it easier for other people to express their point of view.

That is the way that conversations begin, and perhaps even progress towards a common goal occurs.

Or the flip side, you can have someone introduce a point of view that is polarizing. Once it is said, the room is split up and divided.

Now we have come to a fork in the road. The point of view that is a divider splits people into teams, and people stay on them long after the meeting is over.
What is a point of view was more like an elementary school gym class game?

Even that statement may be triggering for those of you who hated elementary school gym class games. If elementary school gym class was hard for you, I am sorry. I hated climbing the rope. I could never climb the rope. In fact, as an educational leader, schools don’t have rope climbing anymore.

So I get it. I hated climbing the rope because I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t make it to the top. I had a friend who made it to the top, and then he would hang from the rafters, then go back to the rope.

I was not too fond of it because I couldn’t do it. I loved kickball. Kickball, to me, was fun.

So rope climbing, kickball. Things we enjoy, things we hate.

When gym class was over, I left and went back to class, back to reading, writing, and socializing. The rope and kickball games were left in the gym.

Perhaps with polarizing points of view, we can attempt to leave them where they belong out of our heads and out of our daily experiences.

Consider your point of view. Express it. Listen to the point of view of others. Work towards a common goal.