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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Week 32: Becoming Students of the People We Belong To [Loveable 033]

“Relationships can grow stale and stuck. Perhaps that’s just the way life goes and the way love ages. But maybe, just maybe, we can fall into love again by learning how to pay attention again—by giving up all of our judgment and assessment and critique and meeting our people in the field of awareness, instead of upon the field of battle.”

In Episode 33 of The Loveable Podcast, we seek love again by choosing to be in school again. Let’s become students of the people we love, curious, fully attentive, ready to learn their every nuance, and cherishing who they are rather than what we would make them into…

loveable podcast episode 33

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

  • When it comes to growth and transformation, small things make the difference, and the difference is usually small. Be patient. Keep going.
  • A true affirmation of someone else can only overflow from our own sense of worthiness.
  • Every good lesson must be learned over and over (and over) again.
  • Even when we don’t feel loveable, it is important to act as if we are loveable.
  • Certainty may be the greatest barrier to curiosity.
  • We cannot force anyone to become curious about us; we can only cultivate curiosity about them, and invite them to do the same.
  • We’re wired to notice what is wrong with our people, but with careful attention and curiosity, we will become aware of what is beautiful about them, too.
  • One of the best ways to practice curiosity is to clarify the meaning of the words our people use.

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What is this lump in my throat?

A few weeks ago, a friend laid an unfinished poem called “Holding the Baby” at my feet and asked me to finish it. In the finishing of it, I rediscovered a little bit of awe and wonder about this big, sacred mystery we’re all living in. I hope what we created brings you a little awe and wonder, too. Here it is…

meaning

Photo Credit: Anneka S (Bigstock)

For weeks, our dog has pawed at the thawed out patchy yard. A mommy rabbit dug her birthing home under our fire pit. The bunnies couldn’t survive the tireless winter as it beat beyond the spring doorframe. We would bring Betsy in from the cold and make her drop one of the litter at our feet. Is it a mystery that she didn’t eat them? Is it foolish to believe that she was holding the babies as a mother of all creatures?

I hold babies too. All day long. Monday to Friday. 7:15 until the parents get off the commuter train and enter home life again. The infants speak with cries and drooling spittle. Their beginning words translate my heart into a life more understandable. They’re toothless and tongue-tied; they’re the hums and babbles of the generations going forward.

What is this lump in my throat?

Make me drop the poem at your foot.

Carry me. Listen to me.

This lump is time and cosmos.

This lump is the truth of the whole thing, gathered in my throat, leaving me speechless.

Holding the babies, they are me and I am them. My bones longer now, skin less supple, teeth come and gone and come again now yellowing, hair graying, held now in the arms of aging, still vulnerable, perhaps now more than ever.

Holding the babies, I hold myself, my once upon a time self, and my one day will be gone self. In the beginning, drooling spittle, our body so new we do not know we have lips; in the end, drooling spittle, our body so used we have lost control of our familiar lips.

Holding the babies, I hold innocence, hearts without wound. In their innocence, I recall my own innocence. I remember who I was purely, who I am vaguely, who I one day will be again hopefully. In their innocence, I bear witness to the good news, the promise of how beautiful it all really is, in the beginning, in the end.

This lump is time and cosmos.

This lump is the truth of the whole thing, gathered in my throat, leaving me speechless.

And the truth holds me gently, like a baby, dropping me eventually at the feet of Eternity, the wintertime of life giving way to the springtime of being.

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Loveable is available in paperback, digital, and audio and can be purchased wherever books are sold, so you can also purchase it at your favorite bookseller.

Week 31: Turning Pro at the Art of Loving [Loveable 032]

“You have a relationship gift. Something you are naturally good at. A way of loving that no one else can do in exactly the way you do it…You can stop being humble about it. You can stop suppressing it and burying it. You can stop being an amateur at it. Own it. Claim it. Inhabit it. You can decide right now, here, today, that you are going to become pro at that particular act of love.”

In Episode 32 of The Loveable Podcast, we uncomplicate love. For a week, put aside all the marriage blogs you’ve read, relationship books you’ve bought, love promises you’ve been made by the experts. Simplify. Focus on practicing one act of love with the people you love, and build your belonging now. 

loveable podcast episode 32

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

  • The successful negotiation of conflicting boundaries is essential for healthy belonging.
  • Growth usually follows a painful pause in your life. Be patient. Learn from the pain. Then move forward.
  • You are not here to love all people in all ways; you are here to love the people in front of you in the way that you love best.
  • There’s a difference between nurturing others and pleasing others. The former is a way of connecting, the latter a way of protecting.
  • The mutual willingness to self-examine is essential for true belonging.
  • Belonging is not an empire (vast and grand), it is a well (narrow and deep.)
  • Being loveable is not a feeling you have within you, it’s a fact that’s always true about you. When you don’t feel loveable, you remain loveable.

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