Ride the Ego Balloon

You may be amused, instructed, affirmed, chastened, enriched, or enlightened by my latest video.

The ego is a good tool if you understand its uses and limitations. The ego balloon can make you crazy, but it’s often a good crazy, a necessary madness, provided you can land the thing when it needs to come down.

Snapshots

Photo by Ryan Magsino on Unsplash

If the inside of my own head is any indication, we all carry around a few snapshots of what our childhood was like. These snapshots are extremely powerful in determining our self-image, the choices we make, and the way we feel about everything.

One snapshot of my own childhood is that of me, sitting in a school bus. Every other seat is taken, but the seat next to me is empty. Continue reading

Freedom

Photo by Ryan Magsino on Unsplash

If you have ever been to a sawmill like the one I used to run, you have seen one of the most fearsome objects you are ever likely to meet: a sawblade at least three feet in diameter with teeth as big as a tiger’s whirring loudly just a couple feet from the operator. There were no safety guards on my sawmill. I’m not sure how there could be. I frequently had to reach close to the blade to remove boards and some debris.

One day while I was working, the thought entered my brain that I could just dive onto that sawblade and have it cut me in half. This thought frightened me so much I shut everything down, went home, put the covers over my head, and talked to no one. What was going on with me? I wasn’t suicidal. Until this happened, I was happy with my life. Was I going crazy? Continue reading

Better Angels

shrinbks-links-photo1Last week, which was the second week of the government shutdown, was the week in which a large proportion of the clients I saw complained about the stress of having a government that, not only can’t get along, but does not seem to even want to get along. I didn’t bring it up; they did. These clients see me for all kinds of problems and issues; but for many, this was one of their issues last week competing or even eclipsing other concerns.

The stress might be similar to that a child might feel when his parents are fighting; when they are fighting so much that dinner never gets made, baths are never drawn, and bedtime is forgotten; except for one thing: my clients are not children and Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi are not their parents. The government is at odds because the people are at odds; at least the noisy ones. And they are at odds because they value the point they are trying to make more than they value getting along.

If you value getting along or at least having a civil dialogue and not making hostages of federal employees, then you could start yelling, too, and add to the clamor; or you could get involved with the Better Angels, a citizens’ organization uniting red and blue Americans in a working alliance to depolarize America. I’ve been involved for a couple years. Just before the holidays we tried to get a local event going, but simply lacked enough people to plan it.  I know there should be more who are willing to speak up, not to add their voices to the din, but to get everyone else to settle down.

Click here to go to the Better Angels website.

Why You Should Observe Advent Even If You Don’t Do Christmas

Old Posts

You know what Christmas looks like. Busy malls, colorful lights, the ubiquitous Santas. You know what it sounds like: jingle bells, jolly music, ho ho ho. You know what you’re supposed to do: attend parties, kiss under the mistletoe, go mad buying things no one needs. You know what it’s supposed to feel like: generosity, warm fuzziness, wonder, enchantment, and excitement. Christmas has the distinctive smell of pine needles and ham dinner. You know when it’s supposed to occur; before Halloween is definitely too soon. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you know all about Christmas. Getting what you want is like Christmas to you.

You may think you know all about Christmas, but you may not realize that you’re missing a whole ‘nother holiday between Thanksgiving and December twenty-fifth. No, I don’t mean Black Friday. You’re missing Advent.

You think you know about Advent, do you? There’re the candles and the little paper houses where you open a new door every day. You’ve been there and done that; it’s not your thing. But, I bet you never thought about the true meaning of Advent, just like the true meaning of Christmas is often hidden under mounds of discarded wrapping paper.

Advent is about waiting. Continue reading

You are Sisyphus

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You may not realize this, but you are Sisyphus.

Who’s Sisyphus? He’s an ancient Greek guy who was condemned by the gods to roll a huge rock up a mountain, only to see it repeatedly roll back down again.

How are you Sisyphus? I know you’re not an ancient Greek guy, but you’re just like him. Day in and day out you go to work, looking forward to the weekend, only to begin again on Monday. The things you build are fated to crumble into ruin; then in time, even the ruins will be gone. The people you heal will die. The ones you educate will forget everything they ever knew. Everyone you love will leave you. Despite everything you do to stay healthy, sickness will triumph. When you’re a child, you thought it would be great to drive a car. Then, when you got a car, you were miserable if you didn’t get a girlfriend. You thought you’d be happy when you finished school and started work; but no sooner did you start work than you looked forward to retirement. You want this, and you want that; but when you get any of it, you just want something else. That’s you, rolling the boulder up the mountain, only to watch it roll back down again. That’s all of us.

You’re Sisyphus when you expect things to be fair, but they’re not. When you want to be happy, but happiness eludes you. When you want truth, but truth is hard to find. When you want to matter, but the universe doesn’t give a crap.

So, what can you do about being Sisyphus? Why bother? Is there any way of making it all less futile? Continue reading