Sunday Newsletter: What Now?

I have entire days (weeks even) without experiencing the discomfort of emotional pain or anxiety or regret. Everything feels so real. It’s as if I can touch the texture, shape and temperature of my emotions, and of life in general. Nothing is tainted with worries.

My ex girlfriend was at church a couple Sundays ago holding hands with another man. There was no finger on that trigger. I saw my ex for who we all are… people just trying to fit the puzzle pieces together. I wanted to wish her good luck.

I’m currently celibate, not dating. There are some Friday nights I stay home. I no longer worry that I’ll be alone. My own company has never been better.

Money is tight. I crunch the numbers to make sure the budget works but I don’t stress about it anymore. I have enough. I am making my life happen.

I cry nearly every day. There always seems to be something that moves me. Such as movies, something my children say, a story that a friend shares with me, the ways of the world. These tears feel natural so I let them flow unchecked.

I laugh much more too. I laugh with my children. I have discovered greater depths of joy. I am feeling genuine gratitude for what seems like the first time in my life.

When I meet someone, I stop and listen like I know them. I am making friends and acquaintances with people I wouldn’t normally think to do so with. My prejudices are slowly fading.

If I do notice that I am feeling regret about the past or anxious about the future, I have this healthy habit of stepping aside. I hear myself saying, “I notice that I am…”

This immediately puts distance between me and my thoughts. Then I invite whatever derivative of fear that I’m feeling to sit down. It sits at the dining room table of my mind, and I never offer it any service. After awhile, that feeling stands up and walks out. Good riddance.

Or if it doesn’t leave, I recognize that this is a perfect opportunity to follow my own advice (following your own advice, btw, is wisdom), which is to replace the bad thoughts or the fear with gratitude, or 10 ideas, or 50 push ups… anything to break the pattern.

I think I’ve cured myself of having the disease to be “right” about things too. Here’s what I think now when I have a disagreement or a strong opinion. I don’t actually have a lot of disagreements or as many opinions, but here’s what I do when it happens.

I think:

A. I might be wrong. I’ve been wrong so many times. I might be wrong now too.
B. It’s not black or white. There’s a middle ground here. There’s a third option. Hmmm.
C. How much does it really matter? Like, if I were to die tomorrow, would it matter to my life and loved ones?
D. How much of what I’m talking about do I really know anything about? (usually not enough)
E. Will I actually change their opinion? (NEVER!)
F. Don’t push

I don’t have to be right. I just have to be kind. Because we either learn our lessons now or we learn them later. Or we pass them on. My mom always has called me a late bloomer, but as a man and a parent, the buck stops with me. I’m doing my best to not pass on bad things to my kids.

The thing that I’m working on right now is feeling okay with everything being okay.

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

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