A merchant in Baghdad sends his servant to the marketplace for provisions. Soon afterwards, the servant comes home white and trembling and tells him that in the marketplace, he was jostled by a woman, whom he recognized as Death, who made a threatening gesture. Borrowing the merchant’s horse, he flees at great speed to Samarra, where he believes Death will not find him.
The merchant then goes to the marketplace and finds Death, and asks why she made the threatening gesture to his servant. She replies, “That was not a threatening gesture, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”
The older I get the less credit I give myself when things go right. I’m not as hard on myself when things go wrong. Good luck has played a huge role my life.
Outcomes in life are super random. The 2020 pandemic is a good reminder. In 2019 nobody saw it coming or was prepared for the global impact. In the aftermath some people have thrived and others have suffered. Excellent travel companies like AirBnb are in major pain, while video conferencing companies like Zoom are at all time highs. NOBODY SAW THIS COMING.
I’m happy to give myself credit when I’ve taken action and followed through on a decision or started something. I might not control the outcome, but at least I’m in the game and moving forward.
You gotta hang around the hoop if you want to score.
“At the moment of commitment, the entire universe conspires to assist you”
Firetrail at Midnight on Mt. Tamapais by J.L. Stanley
Certain places I visit share the same frequency and feel.
It can happen in crowded cities, deserted beaches, or somewhere in suburbia. There don’t need to be dream catchers and wind chimes tinkling in the wind for me to get a feeling that I’ve tapped into a resonance I’ve felt somewhere before.
A couple of years ago, my brother and I were walking down a wooded lane in Mill Valley, California. It was early morning, and the sun was shining through the Redwoods. The road ahead of us that was leading up to the foot of Mount Tamalpais was mottled with patches of light breaking through the leafy canopy. We stopped for a few minutes and enjoyed the silence. As we were standing in the middle of the road, my brother remarked that the feel of the place reminded him of the time he’d spent in Cornwall in South West England.
We started walking again, and the next road we saw was named Cornwall Road. Someone had come to this place before us and tuned in to the same frequency.
Next time you get that feeling that everything feels familiar, it’s worth pausing for a minute and listening. You’ll get to travel around the world without getting on a plane.
Sometimes in life, you’ve got to scratch that itch. Maybe it’s buying an old camper van you’ve always wanted. Perhaps it’s trying a new career, starting a company, living in New York City, making a road trip across the country, writing a book. Scratching that itch may lead to a significant life change, but it’s also may help you lay the ghost and satisfy you. You might love the old camper van, or you might find it’s a real schlepp to maintain, or that a flat battery on a rainy Tuesday morning really sucks. You might see that there are some really long dull spots in a cross-country trip and next time you’d be better off fliying.
Scratch the itch, it’ll satisfy you no matter what the outcome.
I don’t know if it’s a myth, or there’s truth to the evolution of the black belt…but I like the legend better. All masters begin their training with a white belt. The belt starts out white, but over time it gets dirtier, and stained with sweat and blood, and eventually it becomes stained black from years of training. In a lot of dojos, you don’t get to train until you’ve proved you are worthy of instruction. Sometimes that means volunteering in other areas and being invited to train after first demonstrating your commitment. It’s not “a pay to play” system. There’s no shortcut to mastery.
Mastering any art is the same. The answer is in the dirt. There’s no shortcut to mastery. Get in there and start practicing. Anyone can buy a black belt, but only some will earn it.
Sometimes the best way to start writing the next chapter of a book is to sit down and write. That sounds obvious, but it’s scarier to do when nothing is waiting to pour out on the page. Sitting down, creating space and time is sometimes the only activation energy required to break through the writer’s block.
It’s the same with exercise or getting some long overdue work project completed. Upfront activation energy is sometimes all you need to break through. A run around the block turns into a couple of blocks. Composing a response to one email you’ve been ignoring frees up energy for other things that need your attention.
“Life is like a long and powerful river. From time to time, there will be some rapids. All you can do is ride it out. Resist or try to get back upstream, and you might drown. Stay calm and ride the waves, and the river will carry you to a safer place.”