Week 38: What If a Resurrected Life Isn’t as Impossible as It May Seem? [Loveable 039]

“Sometimes the simplest, most elegant, most life-changing solutions are right in front of our noses. But we can’t see them, because we are locked in to old schemas. A schema is a mental framework that helps organize and interpret information in the world around us. Schemas are essential when we need to act quickly and decisively. But schemas can also be a problem, because sometimes they’re outdated. Or worse, some of our schemas were never correct in the first place…”

In Episode 39 of The Loveable Podcast, we examine the outdated mental rules and practical hurdles that get in the way of us discovering our passions, practicing them, and cultivating a sense of purpose in our lives. By the end of this conversation, you will have greater clarity about what are the actual barriers that stand between you and your passions, and which ones are simply in your head…

loveable podcast episode 39

Here are just a few of the takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • The way to overcome impostor syndrome is not to try convincing yourself that you are not an impostor; rather, try to embrace that we are all making it up as we go.
  • Procrastination is almost never a sign of laziness; rather, it is almost always a symptom of fearfulness (in disguise).
  • We need both passion and ambition, but we also need to be sure that our ambition is subordinate to our passion.
  • Where our passion leads us is relatively inconsequential; it’s the practicing of them that matters most.
  • Practicing our passion requires embracing our worthiness even more fully, and leaning on our people even more heavily.
  • The things you are wired to do and here to do and love to are all the same thing. That is good news!
  • You can ask “What if?” with fear and shame, or with bravery and hope. The former blinds us to possibility; the latter opens our eyes to it.
  • Asking ourselves both “What if I fail?” and “What if I succeed?” can reveal limiting beliefs about success and failure that are inaccurate and preventing a resurrected life.
  • Asking “What if?” helps us to become a more objective observer of our thoughts and our inaccurate “mental rules” about life.
  • A passion is something we are so extravagantly fond of doing that we would be willing to suffer for it if necessary.

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The Question at the Heart of Every Parent-Teen Relationship

His silence is driving me crazy.

For two months, we’ve been dropping him off at the local community theater for rehearsals. He has performed in the theater before, and always the routine is the same. For months, we wonder what sort of role he is playing, and for months, he refuses to even read lines with us. He won’t reveal the show as it is being formed, because he wants us to first experience it when it is finally performed. Maybe that’s a teen thing, but probably it’s just a human thing: at some level, we all wish we could present ourselves to the world finely polished and finally finished.

Now, it’s opening night. The spotlights are on. The seats are full. His mother and I sit in the front row, looking slightly upward at the stage. The waiting, for us, is over. I will finally hear my son speak. The play begins.

For about fifteen minutes, there is no sign of him at all.

parent teen relationships

Photo Credit: peshkov (Bigstock)

Then, he enters stage left. However, immediately, his character becomes frightened by the anger onstage and he runs wildly offstage again. The crowd titters. The scene changes. We wait. The scene changes again. We wait. Finally, he enters stage left once again. But once again, he becomes frightened right away and retreats offstage. The laughter at his antics is louder this time. I don’t laugh. I’m too busy wanting to hear my son speak.

His silence is driving me crazy.

A long scene follows, with no sign of him, but we get a little more information: his character has been mute since the age of five. Might we go through this whole night without hearing him speak? Then, once again, he is on stage. And, once again, he is silent, this time smiling, and handing an apple to another character, as the spotlight fades and the first act concludes in darkness.

His silence is driving me crazy.

After a brief intermission, the lights brighten once again, and he is sitting cross-legged, at the corner of the stage. From the front row, I can almost reach out and touch him. He listens to the dialogue of the other characters. Occasionally, one character will raise their voice, and he will flinch, but this time he does not run away. He sits quietly. The scene goes on for five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. He sits, listening. Flinching.

His silence is driving me crazy.

As I sit and watch, I become aware that I have not felt this way in a while. On this night, I’m desperate to hear my son speak, but I have not desired that so much lately. He is almost fifteen years old, and these days, I am more likely to wish him silent than to wish him speak. In the last couple of years, his words have become increasingly challenging, in one way or another. Challenging because they test the peace of our home and the peace of my heart. Challenging because they test my patience and my boundaries. Challenging because they test my character and my love and my deepest convictions. In the midst of all that challenging, I’ve begun, from time to time, to wish him silent.

And yet, tonight, his silence is driving me crazy.

Tonight, I remember a night when my almost fifteen-year-old was almost fifteen seconds old. Then, too, his silence drove me crazy. I held my breath, waiting for his first screams, his first howls, announcing that his lungs worked. Announcing his life was intact. Announcing my life was no longer intact; announcing that everything I had worked so hard to become was now subordinate to something he had just made me: a father.

There was a time when I longed to hear his voice.

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Week 37: When You Think You Don’t Know How to Live [Loveable 038]

“Sometimes, joy is simply undone things finally lived. We need to keep the door of our hearts open, so we can listen to our urges and our wants. Many of them are trying to lead us into joy. Yet, when we’ve been shutting the door on them for so long, it can be hard to break the habit and keep it ajar.”

We all want to find our passion and discover our purpose, yet many of us have difficulty doing so, and so we think our passions are hide to find. They’re not. They are usually right in front of us, but we simply fail to see them. In Episode 38 of The Loveable Podcast, we will move you one step closer to seeing them, with five familiar questions…

loveable podcast episode 38

Here are just a few of the takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • Pursuing your passion may not involve a huge overhaul of your life; it may just require a few tiny tweaks. The magnitude of change is probably correlated with the magnitude of the false self you have been living from.
  • The false self robs us of our passions by infusing them with too much ambition.
  • Discovering our passions is not about arriving at clarity, but gradually increasing our clarity.
  • The ultimate barrier to pursuing your passion is inside of you. It is called Resistance. It also goes by another name: Shame.
  • Our passions don’t need to be great; they just need to be lived.
  • The right action will occur to the relaxed mind.
  • When it comes to pursuing our passion, the only way to fail is to not get started at all.
  • Our passions wait on us; it is never too late to discover them.
  • Maybe our grade school teachers were on to something when they taught us the “Five Ws” of information gathering: who, what, where, when, and why. Who do you want to reach out to? What do you want to do with your life? Where do you want to go? When will you let yourself listen? Why not now?

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Week 36: Why Wanting Is the Way to Truly Living [Loveable 037]

“You have things you’ve always wanted to do with your life. Ways you’ve wanted to spend your days. Passions you’ve wanted to practice. Hobbies you’ve wanted to make a habit of. Love you’ve wanted to spread in the form of a vocation. Care you’ve wanted to give in the form of a calling. The things we want most are not, ultimately, material things, but purposeful things—patterns of living that feel meaningful. They are the deepest wishes of your truest self.”

In Episode 37 of The Loveable Podcast, we focus on a question that can begin to clarify for you what your passion is and in what direction your purpose may lie. That question is, “What do you want to do?” We are going to let that question lead us in the direction we are here to go…

loveable podcast episode 37

Here are just a few of the takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • When our people interrupt what we are doing, they aren’t interfering with our passions; they are protecting us from unbridled ambition.
  • You’ll have plenty of time to save the world when your kids are grown and gone, and if you don’t, you probably have bigger problems than saving the world.
  • Our people clarify, converse about, and encourage the practicing of our passions.
  • The good news is this good: the things we are here to do are also the things we are wired to enjoy.
  • When we worry almost exclusively what we should do, or are supposed to do, shame is probably directing our lives.
  • A parent’s main task is to raise independent adults, so when a kid’s passion seems difficult to monetize, parents will intentionally and/or unintentionally discourage it.
  • Our passions cannot be discovered in a week; it takes a lifetime.
  • Sometimes, passion is not an activity but a way of engaging in all activities.
  • An impulse practiced repeatedly becomes a habit at best and an addiction at worst; a passion practiced repeatedly becomes a sense of purpose.

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The Ordinary Webs We Weave

It’s an early summer night and we’re doing early summer sorts of things, like boating and tubing on a river winding its way toward the Mississippi.

Then, as the sun dips low and the light gets long, we set our course for one of our favorite dinner spots. We prepare to feast. However, we are not the only ones feasting. A billion bugs just hatched. Suddenly, the air is thick with them, they are everywhere, plastered on the windshield of the boat, stuck on our sunglasses, caught in our hair and in our clothes.

As we disembark we notice, at the end of the dock, a spiderweb. It is coated in this harvest of insects. Heavy with them. Sagging under the weight of them. Quinn, who is ten, takes a look at it, and speaks truth: “Well, that spider had a good day.” I’m left digesting his words long after I’m done digesting the food.

Because in that spider I see much of humanity, including myself.

life purpose

Photo Credit: alpinetrail (Bigstock)

What I mean is, most of us have come to believe that the task of being alive is building just the right web in just the right spot at just the right time, and that bounty and abundance is the validation of the choices we’ve made. Our webs are our relationships and our accomplishments, our families and our kids and our jobs and our careers. We think we are here to build extraordinary webs out of our people and our purpose. And we believe if we do so, our webs should be laden with love, heavy with cash, sagging with satisfaction.

Here’s the thing, though, about that heavy web at the end of that buggy dock on that particular summer evening: it was just dumb luck.

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Week 35: The Kindness Challenge [Loveable 036]

“Let’s admit it: we’re obsessed with winning. Just look around. Everything has become a competition. Our will-to-win is everywhere, and it’s not going anywhere. But what if we gave it something better to do? What if we all decided to compete at a game called kindness?”

In Episode 36 of The Loveable Podcast, we talk about how to take our instinct for competition, which is usually divisive, and turn it on its head so it connects us in increasingly powerful and life-changing ways. This week’s episode is a dare, a dare to do away with all the conflicting and confusing goals you have in your relationships and to replace them all with one goal, one dare, one challenge that can simplify and beautify every relationship you have…

loveable podcast episode 36

Here are just a few of the takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • We can see and hear our lost loved ones on video, but we cannot touch them. Let’s hold them now, while we can.
  • Grieving in advance diminishes our regret in hindsight.
  • Grief is more often a cycle than a straight line. It returns. That’s normal. No need to resist it.
  • Contemplating our mortality doesn’t end with fear of losing this life; it ends with fear of missing it.
  • As you practice kindness, you become whole, and you become love.
  • Kindness toward others begins with practicing kindness toward oneself.
  • Kindness doesn’t mean having no boundaries; it means setting those boundaries with tenderness toward self and others.
  • Kindness is the basic instinct of your true self.

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Week 34: Let’s Hold Each Other Like We’re Dying [Loveable 035]

“Sometimes, we fight so we don’t have to feel. Sometimes, we trade jeers so we don’t have to trade tears…and that’s a problem. Because the solutions to our most pressing concerns don’t lie within the heated exchange of our ideas; they lie at the bottom of our grief. If we don’t get better at grieving, we can’t get better at loving and living.”

In Episode 35 of The Loveable Podcast, we talk about how attention to our mortality can radically reshape our reality, making us less reactive and more tender, bringing us peace, and expanding our sense of belonging to include all people…

loveable podcast episode 35

Here are just a few of the takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • Before we share our secrets with trusted others, we must first admit them to ourselves.
  • In places of true belonging, our people can help us to see the secrets we’ve been keeping, even from ourselves. If we let them.
  • Grieving our losses ahead of time gives us a chance to redeem them in advance by living a more intentional and loving life.
  • One natural result of contemplating our mortality is compassion.
  • Only by going through sorrow about our mortality do we exit our denial, anger, and fear and enter into peace. Sorrow is the doorway.
  • When we surrender to grief it becomes peace; when we resist it, it becomes depression.
  • The surest way to develop confidence in your courage is to grieve.
  • Our mortality is our most fundamental common ground, and awareness of it straightens out our priorities and expands our sense of belonging.

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Can You See Yourself in All of Them?

She stands there, small as any eight year-old, hidden in the towering aisles of the toy store. She picks up the Magic 8 Ball and shakes it. It comes up Yes. She sighs with relief. The question asked by this little girl of this little toy? “Will I ever fit in this world?”

In her, I see me.

compassion

Photo Credit: Taospy (Bigstock)

He hobbles forward, looking bewildered, a ten-year-old searching the crowd for help. He falls into the crushed rock and shattered shells battered by time into sand. The tender underside of his foot sliced from fore to aft. Skin parted. Blood flowing. He grits his teeth and calls it the Red Sea. He’s a little wounded and a little brave.

In him, I see me.

The teenager wakes early, before the sun, before his parents. Pours a bowl of cereal for himself. He gathers his Thermos full of ice and water, his sandwich full of turkey and cheese, and his heart full of questions and peace. He heads into the fields, into the eventually burning sun. He gives his day to the earth.

In him, I see me.

The old man moves slowly, carefully. He looks at the ground as he walks, scanning the terrain for danger. He picks his way around a rock, big as a boulder to an ant, big as a boulder to a man approaching his second century. One slip and he’s bedridden for a month, for a year. For the rest of his life? Fragile, and he knows it.

In him, I see me.

The father of two is covered in wood shavings and sweat. He’s got ten minutes to finish felling the tree. Then, he must go. To take his boy to basketball camp. To make sure his daughter isn’t staring into a screen all day. To try to keep it all together. To rest his weary bones.

In him, I see me.

The woman stands on the corner, her mouth slouched to one side, her eyes too far apart, her bra straps showing, shouting at the traffic passing by, for no apparent reason. Her words are slouched like her mouth. Something is off here, perhaps a chromosome. Her hands rest on a stroller in front of her. The baby in it hollers like her mother. A different kind of sadness.

In both of them, I see me.

The disheveled man lays on the curb, on his right side, his right arm stretched out as a pillow for his head. His resting place a street corner. His home the streets. His eyes are open but not open. Looking at him, a little boy’s heart breaks. The boy looks downward at his treasured left over food, turns around, crouches down, gives away his bounty, and enters into the gift of downward mobility.

In both of them, I see me.

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Week 33: The Healing Is in the Emptying [Loveable 034]

“True intimacy is not the absence of privacy or the absence of boundaries or the absence of a separate self—in fact, we need to have our own spaces and limits and identity. True intimacy is the absence of secrets.”

The quality of your belonging will be inversely correlated with the size of your secrets. The more secrets you harbor about who you are, what you’ve done, why you’ve done it, how you’re wounded, and so on, the more difficult it will be to cultivate authentic connection and love. So, the challenge in Episode 34 of The Loveable Podcast is this: begin the emptying…

loveable podcast episode 34

Here are just a few of the takeaways from this week’s episode:

  • A useful acronym: W.A.I.T. Why am I talking? Or, where am I speaking from, my true self or my false self? Does this facilitate connection with them (true self), or protection of me (false self)?
  • Prejudice diminishes as we live less and less from our false self, but it is never eliminated completely, because our true self never completely goes away.
  • Kids need parents with conflicting strengths. When those strengths cause actual conflict, it is simply complementarity without grace.
  • To confess secrets is to feel good, healthy, unburdened. Perhaps not immediately, but eventually.
  • The part of us that most commonly keeps secrets is the little one in us who is trying to stay out of trouble.
  • When you go to therapy, reveal your secrets, and realize you are still worthy of belonging, it gives you the courage to do this outside of therapy, as well.
  • Telling secrets may continue to refine our circles of belonging. This is hard. And essential.
  • There is no detour around risk and vulnerability if you want to arrive at belonging.

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Why We Need to Wobble

I was accidentally sabotaging my daughter’s dream.

For two summers, Caitlin began the season dreaming of riding a bike. And for two summers, by the time the bees were on the buds and the cottonwood was on the air, that dream had been stashed away, along with her bike, in the back of the garage. I couldn’t figure it out. Caitlin is brave, but our practice sessions would always end in her fear and my frustration.

It turns out, I wasn’t giving her what she needed.

facing your fears

Photo Credit: Kobyacov (Bigstock)

A few weeks ago, signs of summer returned to our part of the world—grass got green and buzzing bees could be heard on the warming breeze—so Caitlin and I rolled her bike out of the garage, hoping for third times and charms. But, once again, the fear and frustration quickly set in. I began to wonder if a bike-riding gene had been deleted from her DNA. Then, the truth hit me. There was something missing, but it wasn’t a gene.

I wasn’t letting her wobble.

I was holding the back of her seat for stability, but I was holding on too tight. I was eliminating any sense of imbalance from her ride, so she would feel safe, so she could learn while unafraid. But, ironically, this had magnified her fear. Now, she wasn’t just afraid of falling; she was also afraid of the sensation of wobbling.

And wobbling is how you learn to ride.

Wobbling on a bike is the only way to learn balance. When you wobble one way, you lean your body in the other. When you overcorrect, you learn to recorrect. Eventually, you learn the skill of making countless minute adjustments to keep yourself upright and moving forward. Wobbling is how you learn to ride.

Wobbling is also how you learn to live.

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