“I Coulda Been a Contender”

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Daydreaming_Gentleman.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Daydreaming_Gentleman.jpg

 

You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it. ~Terry, played by Marlon Brando, in On the Waterfront

I met a friend of mine in the library the other day and we chatted for a moment. She’s older than I am and mentioned that many of her friends have been retired for several years but she’s had to keep working. She joked, “I think there was some mistake. I think I was meant to be rich!” We shared a chuckle.

But then later on when I got home, I started thinking…. It reminded me of Marlon Brando’s character’s quote in On the Waterfront: “I coulda been a contender.”

This movie quote has been famous for the past 62 years (and will probably continue to be famous for some time to come) because it resonates so profoundly with each one of us. It’s the very unusual person who has not, at some moment in their life, wondered what their life would have been like “if only…”, leaving them with a nagging feeling that their life might be “less than” in some way.

When you think through this thought you’ll see how it makes no sense.

This quote assumes that everything in our life following that “if only…” moment would have stayed exactly the same as we remember it, only now we’d have a leg up because we would have made a different choice in that moment.

But this is not necessarily true.

Our different choice would have opened the door (or close it) for different events to happen (or not happen). We have no way of knowing what those events that did or did not happen would have been! They could have had an even more devastating effect than what we actually experienced. And they could have been damaging not only for us, but for others who weren’t harmed with our original choice.

https://pixabay.com/en/boy-jeans-shirts-moon-balloon-1262989/
https://pixabay.com/en/boy-jeans-shirts-moon-balloon-1262989/

You may argue that the flip side could also be true: it could have turned out better–for us and for others–just as we imagine in our perfectly constructed “if only…” scenario.

But then, there’s the law of unintended consequences….

By living your actual life, you don’t know how many people may be better off because you’ve lived (think of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life). Perhaps, the full benefit of your life may not be fully realized for several generations (think of all the artists who were ridiculed during their lives yet now, posthumously, are celebrated as geniuses).

We can go on and on with “our lives could have been better, but then they could have been worse”, which is precisely the point that makes all this supposing ridiculous. We’ll never know for sure if the choice we didn’t make–the road we didn’t travel, as Robert Frost muses about in his poem of the same name–if it really would have been the better choice.

All we can do is live this life right now in this moment, making the best choices that we can and leave all the supposings and if onlys to the gods to sort out!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

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Stillness and Silence: An Update

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http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=78459&picture=balancing-stones

 

It’s been a month since I started my practice of stillness and silence first thing in the morning and I thought you’d like an update.

As I told you when I first mentioned my new practice, the only thing I do when I first wake is use the restroom and then I sit comfortably (sometimes I’m slightly reclined), and I listen. Although I may hear the pleasant sounds of the morning–birds chirping, a dog barking, music on a neighbor’s radio–I quickly tune them out. I’m interesting in listening to the world within rather than the world outside.

My mind still tries to take over with worries and cares and reciting that day’s To Do list, but I notice that it isn’t quite as insistent or seductive as it used to be.

I’ve also noticed some serendipity in my life. For instance, a check I was waiting for shows up in the mail earlier than I had expected, thus allowing me to pay a bill on time; I meet with a friend and, while we’re catching up with each other’s lives, she says something that sparks an idea in my mind that then allows me to inch closer to my dreams.

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http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=9663&picture=laughing-buddha

Also, I’ve realized that I’m not as keyed up so I’m becoming more aware of the simple beauty around me. I’ve also noticed that having a more relaxed mindset doesn’t make me late for work or tardy for meetings. Instead, I arrive in a buoyant frame of mind, which is much more conducive to gracefully handling the stressors that pop up throughout the day.

While there haven’t been big changes in my life–no winning numbers to the lottery jackpot!–there is progress. Yay for progress!

Have you tried sitting in stillness and silence? What have your experiences been? Let me know in the comments section below.

Please pass this along to a friend. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Recharge and Refresh

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https://pixabay.com/en/battery-energy-green-technology-1162477/

 

 

How do will you recharge and refresh yourself today?

This is what I’m going to do:  Today we have a pretty blue sky and interesting clouds–a mix of fluffy white ones and those streaky ones.  I’ll lie on my back and watch the clouds and let my mind go free among them.  I’m sure a lot of daydreaming will be involved!  Afterward, I’ll have a picnic dinner.

https://pixabay.com/en/rest-relax-concerns-cozy-sleep-52495/
https://pixabay.com/en/rest-relax-concerns-cozy-sleep-52495/

What will you do today that’ll set you up for a fantastic week? Let me know in the comments below!

Please forward this post to your friends. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Summer Reading

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https://pixabay.com/en/person-human-child-girl-hat-987557/

 

 

Have you read any good books this summer?

Here are a few that I’ve enjoyed:

~Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed

Although this is a quick read, her reflections and insights will make you stop and think.

~Grit by Angela Duckworth

Very hopeful book because grit is a learned behavior, not something that you must be born with.  And, we can all strengthen our grit!

~Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza

Stunning research on just how plastic and powerful our minds are–and how to shape one’s mind and harness its power.

~Icebox Cakes:  Recipes for the Coolest Cakes in Town by Jean Sagendorph and Jessie Sheehan

YUM!  ‘Nuff said!! J

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=25734&picture=child-and-books
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=25734&picture=child-and-books

What books did you read this summer?  Feel free to share your favorite ones in the comments below!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Wisdom from the Farm’s Green Beans: Helping Others

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https://pixabay.com/en/hand-help-1331323/

 

In yesterday’s post we talked about the metaphor of green beans being muddied by rainstorms and how that applies in our lives.

It also applies to the other people we come across in our lives. They can be family members, friends, or people who come into our lives for only a short while.

Sometimes, these people hit a rough patch. Like the green beans, they may be muddy and dirty. But that doesn’t mean it’s all over for them and they should give up.

No. Not at all.

With a helping hand from us, they can brush off and get back on their feet. We can encourage them to take the next step and cheer them on as they do so.

Oftentimes, this is all people need to get back on track and be on their way again.

https://pixabay.com/en/holding-embrace-attending-nurture-1176548/
https://pixabay.com/en/holding-embrace-attending-nurture-1176548/

Is there someone in your life to whom you can reach out a helping hand? Maybe all that’s needed is a kind and encouraging word or pointing them in the right direction.

Even a little bit of help from you can turn the tide for someone and change his or her life.

Give it a try!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Wisdom from the Farm: Green Beans

Copyright 2016 Artisans Workshop Designs
Copyright 2016 Artisans Workshop Designs

 

I’m a member of a CSA Farm and each week I stop by to pick up my share of that week’s harvest. The harvest also includes a pick-your-own portion and this week’s was beans: our choice of green beans, Roma, waxed, or Haricot Verts.

Overnight, we’d gotten a rainstorm and the bean patch showed the effects of the rain. Some of the bushes had been pushed down and the beans, although still on the bushes, were lying on the ground.

At first, I thought there would be “slim pickin’s” because I assumed that the beans would have been either “beaten up” by the rain or, since they were on the ground, have been nibbled by insects and critters. When I lifted the bushes and looked closer at the beans, I was surprised to see that they were just fine. Of course they were muddy, but that could easily be washed off and all the vitamins and other nutrients in the beans would still be fully available.

This got me to thinking….

The same is true for us when the rainstorms show up in our lives. We may be pushed down and we may get muddy and dirty, but overall we’re still fine.

Copyright 2015 Artisans Workshop Designs
Copyright 2015 Artisans Workshop Designs

And, instead of hanging onto the dirt and mud from the rainstorm (instead of clinging to the disappointments and frustrations), we can wash ourselves off (we can let it go and turn our backs on it) and we can take advantage of the gifts that there waiting for us (the vitamins and other nutrients).

How cool is that?!

I hope this insight helps you as it’s helped me. Let me know!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Do You Know…?

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sentinel_Dome_Hiker.JPG

 

You don’t have to know every step on the path.

Do you know that right here and right now you have what you need to take the next step–or bit of a step?

You don’t have to know every step on the path!

When I’m driving to an unfamiliar destination, the night before I’ll GoogleMaps it so that I’ll know the roads I need to take. I’ll look closely at the places where I have to get off one road and onto another and I’ll try to find all the tricky intersections or parts of the route that look like they might be a little confusing.

I don’t get too obsessed over the parts that might be tough because I know that once I get close to those roads I need to switch over to or as I approach the tricky intersections, resources to help me navigate them will be revealed. I can’t see them on the GoogleMap but I know when I’m actually traveling on the road, those resources will be there.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hiker_in_the_top_of_mountain.JPG
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hiker_in_the_top_of_mountain.JPG

The resources will be road signs that tell me my road is coming up, other signs to let me know how close to the switch over I am, and more signs to let me know which lane to get into. There will be lights that will tell me when to go and when to stop and other ones that will help me safely turn across traffic.

Also, there will be signs for rest stops, gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and the like. There will even be signs for state police posts and hospitals.  Everything I need to travel safely and comfortably–everything needed for an enjoyable trip!

It’s the same with our journey to our dreams. We think through the path we’ll take, noting areas that might be a little tricky, but then we need to take action.

Just like when we’re driving and we see road signs to help us get where we want to go in a safe manner, there will be “road signs” that we can’t see at the beginning of our journey that will be revealed as we travel along the path.

Everything we need for a good journey is there; it’s already part of the journey. All we need to do is take action:  take the next babystep and the one after that and trust that the information and other resources you need will be revealed as you need them.

Take action! You can do it!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren