Week 44: The Beauty of Becoming a Quitter [Loveable 045]

“Sometimes, life gets too cramped to move in any new direction. Sometimes, the direction we need to go is backward. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is to undo the best things we’ve done.”

In Episode 45 of The Loveable Podcast, we focus on quitting some of the things we added to our lives before we gained clarity about who we really are. In this way, becoming a quitter can actually make space for the practicing of our passions. By the end of this episode, you will begin to see more clearly a path toward practicing your passions, because you will be planning to clear that path of debris.

loveable podcast episode 45

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

  • A better definition of a meaningful life: “Any life that, on the whole, reduces the overall collective level of misery on the planet.”
  • Generally, living from our false self adds to the collective level of misery on the planet—it increases loneliness, aggression, and arrogance—whereas living from our soul decreases it, through simple acts of love and acceptance.
  • Quitting things that are not an accurate reflection of your true self is not about impulsively quitting attachments, commitments, and relationships; it is about wisely discerning how you can begin to transform your life over time, while being sensitive to some of the realities you live within.
  • You don’t become who you are; you unbecome who you are not.
  • We wear “being busy” as a status symbol, when, really, it’s probably just a sign that we are living according to a lot of other people’s agendas.
  • We don’t start quitting things because we know exactly where we are going to end up, but simply because we need to move toward being who we actually are.
  • You are never too old to start making time for the practicing of your passions.
  • Wise quitting isn’t about getting rid of stuff that is unpleasant but about eliminating stuff that is unyou.
  • Books mentioned in this week’s episode include Falling Upward by Richard Rohr, Love Does by Bob Goff, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, The Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine, and The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey.

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Week 43: Don’t Do Something More Meaningful (Do Something More You) [Loveable 044]

“If you were given permission to simply be more you, what would you do? Start speaking up? Standing up? Standing out? Walking out? Reaching out? Pouring out? Sitting in? Giving in? Giving up? Opening up? To what? Dance lessons? Photography school? Medical school? Dropping out of school? Starting a band? Starting a business? Starting a movement? Dominoes? Why wait? After all, you weren’t created to be successful. You were created to be you.”

In Episode 44 of The Loveable Podcast, we challenge the belief that what we are passionate about doing must make a difference in the world, that it must matter in some particularly measurable way. By the end of this episode, I think you will be more motivated to begin practicing your passions, not because they are one way to be meaningful, but because they are the only way to be truly you.

loveable podcast episode 44

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

  • A sense of meaning is not the reason for practicing our passions; it’s the byproduct of practicing them.
  • We don’t make a difference by trying to make a difference; we make a difference by becoming different, by becoming someone free to live out our true selves by doing the things we love to do in the world.
  • Meaning doesn’t flow from trying to be meaningful; it follows from faithfully practicing our passions and letting the meaning take care of itself.
  • The unique thing about practicing a passion is that the failures you experience while practicing it are worth it.
  • If people’s responses to our passions are a motivation for practicing them, we will almost never get started.
  • Encouragement of our passions may come from unexpected quarters; that is one way we gain increased clarity about our circles of belonging.
  • We don’t practice our passions because we think they will matter—we practice them in spite of the fact they probably won’t matter.
  • Growing up isn’t about becoming more mature; it’s about becoming more you.
  • Practice your passion not to get results, but regardless of the results.
  • Every time we practice our passion we need to ask, is my true self practicing this today, or my false self?

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This Is Why Your Definition of Success Might Be Keeping You Stuck (And Here’s a Better Definition)

success stuck

Photo Credit: soupstock (Bigstock)

One morning, I won a bunch of gold medals on my first try.

When I ride my bike, I use a social app, which tracks your route, distance, speed, and other metrics. Usually, other riders have created “segments” along your route—specific stretches of road or path in which your time is recorded and then ranked against your past rides.

On the day of the gold medals, I was bored with my typical routes, so I chose a new route with new segments, and I began. My legs felt heavier than usual, and the humid late-summer air was thick in my lungs. It was clear from the outset that this morning would be a long, slow, slog of a ride. So, when I finished the route and looked at my results I was, at first, incredulous.

Four segments. Four gold medals.

Then, as the dawn turned into day, it slowly dawned on me: it had been my first time riding this route, my first time completing these segments. So, no matter how badly I performed, it was my best performance of all time. At first, this was exceptionally unsatisfying. But then I realized why it was so unsatisfying:

My definition of success is all messed up.

My definition of success has to do with being the best, rather than being determined. My definition of success emphasizes conquests instead of courage. My definition of success focuses on the completion of projects, and it neglects the bravery required to begin them.

What if the first time we do something is always our best performance, regardless of how we perform, because getting started always requires the best kind of courage?

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Week 42: Don’t Try to Be More Extraordinary (Try to Be More Human) [Loveable 043]

“Yes, the extraordinary is a gift some of us receive at rare, fleeting moments. But our humanity is the ordinary gift we are, all of us, always receiving all the time.”

In Episode 43 of The Loveable Podcast, we are once again tackling the voice of shame, which undermines the practicing of our passions by convincing us that those passions must feel extraordinary, look extraordinary, and produce extraordinary results. By the end of this episode, you are going to be closer to discerning a path forward for yourself that looks ordinary and beautiful.

loveable podcast episode 43

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

  • Awareness of our passions doesn’t happen in a moment of epiphany; it dawns slowly, like a sunrise.
  • We don’t build resilience, self-esteem, and identity through uninterrupted success, but through failures that we learn how to survive.
  • Quit chasing an extraordinary life; embrace your ordinary one, and discover a better kind of extraordinary.
  • When we embrace our worthiness, our shame doesn’t die; it goes into hibernation until we begin embracing our passions, then it wakes up and tells us our passions must be extraordinary to be pursued.
  • There is a simple joy in practicing our passions, not necessarily an extraordinary accomplishment.
  • Embracing the ordinariness of life might not mean you will do something different with your life, but it will mean that you do it differently.
  • When someone tries to shame your passion, responding with compassion for the shame out of which their condemnation arises can disrupt the cycle of aggression.
  • Even when you’re hiding your passion from the public eye, the voice of shame within you is watching and ready to discourage you with a reminder of how extraordinary you “should” be.
  • Real success is not excitement about what you’ve done but contentment about who you are.

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Week 41: How Five Senseless Days Could Make Sense of the Rest of Your Days [Loveable042]

In the words of Frederick Buechner, “Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”

In Episode 42 of The Loveable Podcast, we are focused on cultivating a healthy sense of urgency, not by becoming more aware of what we aren’t living, but by becoming increasingly aware of what we are already living, and how precious this one chance life really is…

loveable podcast episode 42

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

  • Each time you journey through the three acts of your story—worthiness, belonging, and purpose—what you discover about each of them will be different, more challenging, and more rewarding.
  • A passion may look like it changes over time because we are in different stages of life that produce different insights about it, but really, as we grow, we just discover new angles on it, and a more complete vision of it.
  • Our thoughts usually revolve around a sense of scarcity; our senses usually reconnect us to a sense of abundance.
  • Most of us have multiple passions, and at times, they may feel incompatible with each other. That’s okay. Learning how they can co-exist is part of the journey.
  • Accomplishment is often incompatible with presence; attention to doing is often incompatible with attention to being.
  • Paraphrase of a great quote: “We cannot be grateful for all things; but we can be grateful in all moments.”
  • Mindfulness requires patience with oneself; while you learn mindfulness, you also learn patience.
  • Oftentimes, “success” is a painkiller in disguise.  True success is being connected with one’s true self and living in alignment with it.

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School Is Back in but It Was Never Really Out (and This Is Why That Matters)

back to school parenting

Photo Credit: yarruta (Bigstock)

It’s nearing the end of summer vacation, and I’m out of ideas.

For my kids, ages eight and ten and fourteen, the early thrills of summertime have lost most of their thrill. Riding fast on a bike has turned into riding sweaty on a bike. Free time to read what they want has turned into free time to read Big Nate for the hundredth time. Sleeping in has turned into, well, sleeping in and then waking up to nag your siblings.

It’s all wearing a little thin for everyone.

So, on a Friday afternoon, I tell them we’re going to do an experiment, and if they choose to participate, there is ice cream in their near future. I tell them each to grab a piece of paper and a pencil. I grab a book, and out the door we go.

We drive to a local park, which sprawls out along a river floating by at the same languid pace that everything else seems to be moving during these dog days of summer. We choose our places on a bench, in the grass, and on a tree stump. The kids are itching with curiosity about what we are here to do.

When I tell them, they stop acting curious and start acting furious.

We are going to do a ten-minute breathing meditation, I am going to do a poetry reading, and then we are each going to write our own poem. Surprisingly, my oldest and youngest surrender quickly. The middle child resists but then gives in, angling more for ice cream than for peace. But, whatever. I’ll take it.

After ten minutes, I read the poem. It is from Mary Oliver’s Red Bird, and it is entitled, “Mornings at Blackwater.”

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Week 40: How Hopelessness Can Become Our Best Hope [Loveable041]

“Hope can be a beautiful thing, because it gives us direction and imbues our lives with a sense of purpose and meaning. But hope can also be the worst of things, because sometimes we settle for having a direction, rather than walking in that direction. Sometimes, our numbered days are spent hoping and waiting, instead of acting and living.”

In Episode 41 of The Loveable Podcast, we talk about how the thing that is supposed to sustain us, actually detains us. We talk about how the thing that is supposed to inspire us, actually conspires against us. That thing is called hope. By the end of this conversation, you’ll be done with dreaming about what you love to do, and you’ll be more interested in pursuing what you love to do.

loveable podcast episode 41

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

  • Fear of success can create as much resistance to practicing our passions as does fear of failure.
  • Don’t wait for authority to ordain the practicing of your passions. Practice, and maybe someday you’ll earn your ordination.
  • Don’t just do what you’re good at, do what you love to do, and you’ll get better at it.
  • Don’t just ask what you want to practice; ask yourself why you are practicing it. Practice it for joy, not gain.
  • Practicing a passion can be pleasurable; practicing it with the intention of redeeming something in the world becomes purposeful.
  • There is an important difference between having a direction, and walking in that direction.
  • Conditions will never feel right to practice your passion, because resistance will always be present. All we can do is get walking anyway, with resistance coming along for the stroll.
  • When you start practicing your passion, your resistance won’t go away. At first, it will increase. Oftentimes, in the form of shame and self-doubt.
  • Suffering isn’t necessarily a sign that you’re walking the wrong path; usually it’s simply a sign that you’re walking.

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How to Stop Chasing What Won’t Make Us Happy

He’s growling and twitching and aging way too quickly.

I’m sitting in my reading chair, trying to enjoy On the Road by Jack Kerouac. (For some reason, I’m convinced the title of my next book will be found within it.) But I can’t concentrate, because our dog Cole—a miniature schnoodle who is all shnauzer—is standing on red alert at the window and salivating at every creature of the land and air that passes by.

Mostly birds. An occasional squirrel.

loveable study experience

Photo Credit: Yastremska (Bigstock)

A yellow finch lands in the fountain outside the window. Now Cole is silently apoplectic. Shivering and shuddering with desire and frustration. I watch him and I laugh to myself, thinking how silly he is, how silly dogs are. He’s made this bird the center of his universe. At this moment, he believes catching it is the only thing that really matters. His instinct tells him it will satisfy him. Will it? Probably, for a minute or two. Then there will be another bird to bark at, another squirrel to chase up a tree. I think again about how silly it all is, and I return my attention to the book. But my eyes won’t focus because my stomach has just sunk.

My whole life I’ve created birds to chase.

For a while—a long while—my birds were grades. Also, I chased friends. And girls. My birds were gadgets to save for and restaurants I couldn’t afford. I chased attention. Approval. Love. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. I look around, and I see bird chasing happening everywhere. We chase youth and immortality. We chase image and Instagram. We chase righteousness and victory.

I sit there and watch Cole shake as he watches the finch splash, and I know that I’ve chased a lot of birds in my life, but the yellow finch in my life has always been success. I’ve twitched and trembled and shuddered and salivated at the window of my life, growling at success out there just beyond my reach, splashing around in the fountains of the world. Once I catch my yellow finch, I tell myself, I’ll be able to finally relax, settle in, enjoy this ordinary life. It’s silly, of course. The way to live the simple bliss of an ordinary life is not to chase an extraordinary one; it’s to quit chasing an extraordinary one.

Because in order to truly enjoy what you have, you have to release what you don’t.

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Week 39: The Blessing of Being Unfinished [Loveable 040]

“We have a list of things we think must be accomplished inside of us before we can start taking risks outside of us. We think, Once I’m more confident, I’ll start dating. Once I’m more patient, I’ll have children. Once I’m wise enough, I’ll start a blog. Once my insides look as orderly as everyone else looks on the outside, I’ll follow my heart and my passion and start doing the things I want to do in the world. To live the things we love, we have to live them with our hearts feeling a little unfinished.”

In Episode 40 of The Loveable Podcast, we tackle one of the most common kinds of internal resistance to practicing our passions: the feeling that we are not ready yet, that we have to somehow grow more, be more transformed, feel more like we’ve arrived. By the end of this conversation, you’ll be wanting to get started sooner rather than later on the living of your passions…

loveable podcast episode 40

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

  • Passion must always be balanced by a paycheck, but too often it gets eclipsed by our pursuit of a paycheck.
  • Shame operates on the assumption of scarcity; grace operates on the assumption of abundance. Which partner will you choose to dance with?
  • As our clarity about our passions increases, so will our internal resistance to them.
  • Clarity about our passions often comes in a quiet moment of surprise.
  • The secret to practicing your passions is the same as the secret to improv comedy: in the words of Stephen Colbert, you have to learn to love the bomb.
  • You’ll never be “finished” enough to practice your passions without bombing at least a little, so you may as well start now.
  • Happiness comes from success; resilience (and thus joy) comes from failing, and then continuing.
  • Most of us have more than one true passion.
  • Creativity that is perfect doesn’t exist; creativity that is shared is called art.

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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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