I mustn’t react emotionally. I must respond thoughtfully.
I mustn’t react emotionally even when my most important relationships are reacting emotionally toward me. I will wait to speak.
I mustn’t seek to be right. It’s an act of making someone or something wrong. Not necessary or useful.
I mustn’t judge what “equal” portray. Being equal isn’t equal all the time. Don’t keep a running tally.
I am responsible for modeling and practicing what I seek to receive.
I won’t necessarily treat others how I want to be treated, but how I think they want to be treated.
When I do all of the above, I change the world. Especially the world of my children. To a limited extent, same with the mothers of my children.
With all of the above, my world grows in Love.
So much depends on a thoughtful response. Each time I react, I remember later how my ego wasn’t small, and my Love wasn’t bigger than my imagination.
Progress requires a good bit of faltering, and a lot of honesty about what I don’t know (yet). I am patient with myself.
There is no recognition, no card or gift that honors these lessons I keep learning.
Failure is an open door for me, a fresh perspective from zero, and a wonderful invitation to begin again. It doesn’t even have to hurt.
I want to be the strongest version of myself so I have a checklist every day that includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. I know that if I just mark the boxes off this checklist, I’ll be okay
Subscribe to never miss a post.
The land of misfit toys is how I refer to the greenhouse. Put simply, it’s a place where “misfits” gather and spend time – for a paycheck. You probably know that “Land of Misfit Toys” was made famous from the Christmas movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I use this phrasing as a term of endearment because only heartless societies throw away “misfit” people. At our greenhouse in particular, we help people stable their lives with a job. My job is not to grow flowers, it’s to grow these people for a season.
Yesterday, the 22 year old kid came into the greenhouse looking for work. It’s that time of the season for us. Brian is the kid’s name. He was with us last year.
He said “Eric, I won’t have school to deal with anymore. You don’t have to work around my schedule.”
I asked, ‘Why not?’
He said “I quit. I’m feeling a little lost these days.”
He looked lost. He seemed unsure of himself. His eyes were that of a deer in headlights. Yet I admired his vulnerability and honesty.
The grower was there. He was sitting in the conversation too. He’s 32, been married for a couple years, bought a house in the suburbs, and contemplates what it all means. He’s starting to contemplate and understand the universal condition we all face at one time our another, which is how to go from misery to meaning.
He looked at Brian then replied, “This is not going to be the first time you feel lost. I’m lost too.”
‘Hey fellas,’ I added. ‘I’m 40. I think I have finally found myself and it scares the shit out of me.’
Neil Young was playing Old Man on the classic rock radio station. I had tingles shiver the hair straight on my arms.
I’ve always wanted to have a t-shirt business. Now’s our chance. I’ll get us started.
Let’s use thin, organic cotton V-neck shirts. I despise logos. I never want to wear a shirt that has a Nike swoosh on it. Or Polo. None of them.
Instead of a logo, imagine a short blurb stitched across the upper left pectoral like where a pocket might be. Instead of a pocket, it’s a blurb. Let’s call the T-shirt line “One of One.” Every T-shirt will be unique. Truly one of one. We’ll just have to keep coming up with more blurbs. Maybe a social site for “Blurb Makers” to come up with blurbs or take selfies with their One of One t-shirt. Maybe an eBay-like online store for collectors of One of One to buy, sell and trade.
We could then extend the idea to the backs of jeans, the back pocket. Just a blurb. How about “Blurb on Your Ass?”
To get us started, I’ve come up with 41 blurbs. This is mental exercise. This post is more than I can handle and I’m mentally sweating and stretching. Now I’m getting mentally stronger.
Can you do the artwork? Artwork for some of these might be cool too.
These blurbs are mostly an inventory of sayings I’ve been saying to myself and friends & family all my life.
Give these a quick (fun) read and let me know which of them you like.
1. Love is the law. No limit! – This was a mantra of mine when I was full of anger and hate and I beat it with love. If I was to get a tattoo, this is what I’d have across my back.
2. You are your own rescuer – I say this to myself now. “You are the hero who helps you become found. No one else.”
3. Run the stint, make the poetry – It’s my way of saying “go the distance.” Or I say it when I’m having a night on the town.
4. I’m not afraid of being tired – I say this when I’m running the stint, making the poetry and I have an early next morning.
5. One of one – Some folks say, “He is an OG (original gangster). I say, ‘That dude is one of one.’
6. Embrace the mess, but keep the dishes clean – I say this because life can get messed up. Situations and scenarios can fall off the rails, but there’s still the daily upkeep. You can follow up “Embrace the mess” with just about anything… Embrace the mess, but “mow the lawn” …”tuck the kids into bed” … “wash your armpits.”
7. Oh well, oh well, 3 coins in the fountain – This is what I say when I throw my hands up in the air, exasperated and defeated. It means “I quit” for today. Tomorrow I will wake ready.
8. The first step is a commitment. All the way is a promise – This is my mantra for parenting.
9. Fuck the world. Grow a flower – I say this now to our grower at the greenhouse. He’s depressed, dislikes his job, dislikes his wife, feels trapped and stuck. It’s kinda like, ‘Look on the bright side, bro – you’re growing flowers.’
10. Better men have done worse things – My friend Dave said this to me after I confessed how bad I screwed up my marriage and my relationship with my newborn son. Between a sip of bourbon and a drag on an American Spirit black, he said, “Better men have done worse things.”
11. Physically Relentless – This used to be my mantra toward fitness.
12. Brevity – Keep things short.
13. I love you. More than yesterday, less than tomorrow – I say this to the one’s I love.
14. I love myself – Because your life depends on it.
15. Never let go of the thread – Whatever it is, don’t let it go. It’s why you’re in the world.
16. Escape Velocity – i.e. Getting out of the rat race nine to five daily grind BS.
17. Everyone needs a story to reign in the facts – What’s your story? I just agree with this statement.
18. Are you selling shit? Or do you give a shit? – This is my definition of giving value.
19. What I do is what I seek – Kind of like “fake it until you make it.” Right now, I’m single again after two years. I have to love myself. Be in relationship with myself. I’m going through the motions.
20. I’m happy just smoking a doob – Don’t get hooked on smoking marijuana. I more so mean that if you need to lower your expectations to find simplicity, do it.
21. The second day is the hardest – Because it is. Sure, you can show up on day one, but to come back on day two?!
22. Do it before you have to – Especially true of health, fitness, nutrition, taxes or getting any type of important affairs in order.
23. Life happens to the ready – I say it to myself when I’m up at midnight doing something I don’t necessarily want to do, but know that I have to in order to get something desirable in return.
24. Compatible geography – This is when you have a job that isn’t bound by location and you travel around to work.
25. Seek wise people – Every day I seek out mentors: people who have great experience to help me, particularly in areas I am new to, excited about, and know nothing about.
26. No one asked Hemingway what kind of pencils he used – The tools don’t matter, it’s the content that matters.
27. Nurture the sweet spot – Build on strengths not weaknesses.
29. Character within range – Sometimes my romantic partner would look at me and question whether it be in awe, love, disgust, anger, etc, “Who are you?” I’d reply, ‘A character within range.’
30. People like me and you… – We share similar values.
31. The struggle is worth the effort – Always! Even if you fail, you learn.
32. Burn black holes in dark memories – Make amends with your past.
33. I believe in you – I do.
34. Passion is clean, our reason. Instinct is drive, will be messy – I don’t know… This was my excuse for leaving my marriage.
35. Do over – If I have a bad day, I say, ‘I quit.’ Then when I wake the next morning I call a “Do over.” We all need ’em.
36. Let your freak flag fly – Fitting in will only slow you down.
37. Sink sandwich for sale – I make sandwiches so big and so yum and so juicy that you have to eat them over a sink.
38. NO! – I started saying “No” to people who weren’t right for me. I started saying “No” to everything I didn’t want to do. My ex-girlfriend said “No” to me every time I wanted to talk to her after we broke up. Her “no” to me was a “yes” to my life.
39. Gonna to look you right in the face – Whatever it is, look it right in the face. Hold your power.
40. Understandings not answers – I used to exclaim to my 5th grade students when they did math, or explained the plot of a book. There are no answers, there are only understandings. That’s life.
41. “Boy you’re going to carry that weight. A long time” – It’s from a Beatles song. I say it to my fellow younger men peers who are experiencing something I know (from experience) will impact them for a long time. Forever.
42. Put your ass where your heart is – Nike has “just do it.” I have Put your ass where your heart is.