Thursday Thought #138: I Am Prejudiced

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I am prejudiced. I was raised to blindly trust teachers, but learned of many in later years who betrayed the trust and safety of their students. I grew up believing that people with money and white picket fences didn’t have any “real” life problems, later learning how true tragedy can strike any socioeconomic level. I long believed that having mental health issues meant flying off the handle — and that people who smiled and hugged and laughed couldn’t also experience long periods of depression or even suicidal thoughts. Until I didn’t. The meaning of prejudice is just “pre-judgment”. A pre-judgment based on social conditioning or media, or a set of firsthand experiences — regardless of the number. Or perhaps all three factors, and more. Sometimes these pre-judgments are useful. They allow us to quickly assess danger or move toward safety and community. But pre-judging can also be dangerous. It can prevent us from seeing and considering the individual person right in front us. It can fool us into thinking that our outside perception of a person or situation is reflective of the truth in the background. As often as I can, I try to replace prejudice with critical thinking. It’s very easy to fall back into heuristics, to let an automatic reaction or a pattern of behavior dictate how we treat other people or how we even engage social issues. So bringing our prejudices to the table and exposing them will allow us to connect with people more quickly, and understand where they’re coming from. But more importantly, it allows us to build solutions to complex social situations. I am prejudiced. And I always will be. But so are all of us. The question is, what will we do about that? How can we engage other without malice to bring…

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Thursday Thought #66: Our Inner Critic

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The inner critic is always there. A homunculus hanging out in the hardest to reach caverns of our mind constantly trumpeting the siren song of inadequacy. Reminding us that someone else can do it better, someone else can get there faster, someone else can be it easier. The homunculus is born from the indoctrination of the belief that the tallest blade of grass always gets cut down: that if we stand out, we risk the danger of envy or isolation. So if someone else does not cut us down, we serves the scythe ourselves. But is this true? If it is, why do we so often look longingly at the blades shining brightly in piercing sun — getting a view of the world we so desperately wish for ourselves? Why do we wish to silence the negative voice? Quieting the homunculus is not about going to battle with it. It’s about acknowledgement. It’s about a acknowledging the fact that it’s there for a reason: often doing its faithful job to protect us from pain or anguish. For it’s often not fear itself that arrests us, but rather the pain — or potential pain — of shame. Shame is the greatest saboteur of creativity. Unlike anger or sadness, it cannot be transposed. It is simply immobilizing. So overcoming shame means removing the conditions for its arrival. This requires trust. It requires a trust in ourselves in knowing that we only have to reveal as much of ourselves or our work as we are willing to. If we trust in ourselves to consciously expand that willingness incrementally — just one extra inch, or one extra micrometer — then those micro meters accumulate into miles and those miles converge into a bridge to a braver self. But this is some of the hardest,…

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On Pursuit. Control. And Surrender.

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So much of life is punctuated by the idea of pursuit: of acquiring more knowledge; accumulating more accolades; gaining a stronger grasp on this nebulous thing we call living.   No person knows why we are here, and so we greatly concern ourselves with making sense of our world. We also know that this world is a much more vast than one mind can ever understand. This is why we laud the importance of social roles. Let the scientists unearth mysteries of the physical world. Let the musicians unravel emotional experiences. Let spiritual leaders explore the realms beyond words.  This is why whenever someone makes a new discovery or achieves a new human feat, we always use the word “we.” We just discovered gravitational waves. We just unlocked a new part of the mind. We just solved a new human mystery.    This pursuit is so noble and so necessary because it helps us make sense of something that cannot be grasped. And yet, It also underscores our desire for control. If we can control our world, we don’t have to fear it. If we can control our world, nothing can sneak up on us in the dark throes of the night.   But there will always remain a part of the world that will be beyond our control and beyond our grasp. No matter how many tireless hours we spend as a collective, we will never unlock them all. And so in this way we must learn to be the opposite.   We must learn to surrender.   We don’t know why major chords make us happy and minor chords make us sad in music. We don’t know why we are arrested by the sight of a sublime sunset. We don’t know how the brain can accomplish so many complex…

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On The Impermanence of All Things

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450 million years ago, there were about 415 days in a year. 4 billion years ago, the moon was 10 times closer to the Earth than it is today, and a day was approximately 6 hours long. Scientists have observed these changes and based them upon the interaction — a celestial dance — between the Earth and the moon. (If you want to listen to the full Radiolab podcast on this topic, click here). This information is intriguing and compelling to think about just on its own. But it also leads to a more philosophical point about the nature of life itself. Nothing is Forever: Diamonds The Earth The Sun The Moon Time Life These are all things that we take for granted to one extent or another as “forever.” I’ve always found the human mind to be incredibly fascinating because so many of us live our lives with a subconscious belief that we will live forever. That is, until we are directly confronted with the reality of our own impending demise. I think that this default pattern of thinking is inherently linked to being a human being. We view death as “that thing” that happens to people we read about or hear about — and sometimes even people we know — but don’t truly believe that it will happen to us. And this is why so many people put of their dreams; this is why people don’t travel; this is why people don’t set goals; this is why people squander their most precious resource: time. We also assume that the celestial bodies on which we reside will always exist, and will always remain the same. However, even stars and planets have limited life cycles. Even if takes billions of years, stars get hotter and hotter and then eventually explode….

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Living the Inspired Life

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The transition over to Orastories is almost complete…and I want to invite everyone to read my page to the inspired life and join the movement (only if you want, of course!) We all have ideas of our dream life. No, I’m not talking about having a bunch of cars or being a celebrity. I’m talking about a life where every day we can wake up and smile because we’re surrounded by people we love and because we are pursuing our passions. But here’s the thing: we can’t all afford to buy a ticket and fly halfway across the world. Many of us aren’t able to just leave our jobs and risk the security of our precious families. Many “gurus” will tell you to stop everything you’re doing, throw caution to the wind, and pursue your new life – without thinking about your responsibilities or the inherent risk in embarking on a new path without any kind of map… read the rest here: http://orastories.com/the-inspired-life/

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