Friday, February 19, 2010

It's Lent

So FRIDAY'S POST has gone unplugged now from the social media worldwide TV cable talk-radio newspaper interweb. Time to break from the grid.

See you again April 9.

Meantime, a few words from our favorite mystic, Thomas Merton, on this business of unplugging in Lent, written on the eve of Ash Wednesday in 1964,

I am glutted with books and a million trifles besides -- articles on this and that...Does one have to read all this? Enough! Thank God tomorrow is Lent. I am glutted...May Lent be blessed with emptiness and peace and faith.

Word, Merton. Word.


Friday, February 12, 2010

My Favorite Monks

Thomas Merton and Seth Godin. A mystic and a messenger. Both insightful, gifted in their words that nurture hearts and souls.

I love many lines from Godin's new book, LINCHPIN:

What they should teach in school? Only two things: 1) Solve interesting problems; 2) Lead.

Where do you put the fear?...The linchpin feels the fear, acknowledges it, then proceeds.

An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity and boldness to challenge the status quo.

The job is what you do when you are told what to do...Your art is what you do when no one can tell you exactly how to do it. Your art is the act of taking personal responsibility, challenging the status quo, and changing people.

Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient...Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in have a gift to give, something you can do to change the world (or your part of it) for the better.


My favorite line of all from Godin gets to the paradox of linchpin-ism, which is like the paradox of the mystic: If you think you're one, or call yourself one, you're not.

Says Godin, "You can't go from being a junior account exec to flying the company's biggest client to Cannes in a private jet and expensing it a month later. You don't start with the confidence of the company; you earn it."

Lordy help us if everyone reading this latest bestseller runs around, without undertaking difficult personal, honest reflection, thinking and claiming they're a linchpin. If this happens, all society ends up like, what, Congress?


Stories of my favorite real-life linchpins are Bob the Leader, Pete the CMO and Fred the Math Teacher.

All are leaders. Doing what they do best. And seem to be full of energy and artistry doing what they were put on this planet to do. In other words, they're on-purpose people. Oh yeah, they're fearless too.

Being like them is hard work. Most of us never figure out our purpose. And therefore never earn our stripes as linchpins.

Usually, it's because, as Bob the Leader says, the destructive ego gets in the way. And we waste a lifetime trying to be something we're not. Or afraid of being who we really are.

Here's a thought. Read LINCHPIN. It's a good book. Godin's artistry inspires us to stretch beyond our fears, to make art of our work, to be who we are.

And as you read LINCHPIN, complement it with A YEAR WITH THOMAS MERTON, where you'll also find great insights like this,

Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself -- and, if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will have surpassed myself. For it is the unaccepted self that stands in my way -- and will continue to do so as long as it is not accepted. When it has been accepted, it is my own stepping-stone to what is above me...We must become like ourselves, and stop living "beside ourselves."

Or Ekhart Tolle's A NEW EARTH that holds thoughtfulness like this,

Your life has an inner purpose and an outer purpose. Inner purpose concerns being and is primary. Outer purpose concerns doing and is secondary. Fulfilling your primary purpose lays the foundation for a new reality, a new earth. Once that foundation is there, your external purpose becomes charged with spiritual power...and...will be one with the evolutionary impulse of the universe.

This bookstack on the nightstand will provide wisdom beyond words.

Imagine how great it would've been to see two monks like Merton and Godin visiting at the same table, swapping insights for the heart and soul.

Of course, that wasn't meant to be.

But how about someday, maybe, Tolle and Godin? How great would it be for modern hearts and souls to listen to them visit about art, creativity, courage, gift at the same table?

Anyone know Charlie Rose?


Friday, February 5, 2010

Healing As a Together Thing

I googled grief the other night.

A blog post by Dr. Edward Creagan of Mayo Clinic after his mother died said, "We grieve alone but we heal in community."

Healing, as a Together Thing. Often heard in the expression of simple, poignent words from people all around you.

Many you know. Some, like Dr. Creagan, you don't. Words, messages, touches of healing, of togetherness, of life.

Words like these from friends and soulmates have been so comforting, so healing these last days:

"...grief is the price we pay for love..."

"...if there is anything I have learned from both of my parents now gone, is that they are really not gone. They live through their children on a daily basis and as important through their grandchildren. We all have many attributes from our parents both genetically and especially emotionally. That torch gets passed down..."

"...My Mom's been gone for six years. I still miss her, but it doesn't hurt so much...thoughts of her comfort and nurture my everyday..."

"...Meanwhile, a day at a time, it will get easier; you have and will learn from this, and she's not gone in many mysterious and wonderful ways..."

And then this, an email from Dad to us, his kids, a few days after we lost Mom, "The only way we get around it is we have to go through it."

Words of Life, of Healing, as a Together Thing.