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Archive for June, 2008

My girlfriend moved to Florida yesterday (I live in Pennsylvania). I was feeling a little sad and some friends invited me over last night.

As I was driving there I noticed how amazing the sky looked, full of clouds, some beautiful, some violent and dark, some welcoming, some threatening.

And I had…an experience. I’ve tried to put words to it and I’ve gotten close, but you’ll either read them and get it or you won’t:

Because there is nothing, I have everything.

Like I said, it’s close but not exactly it. It wasn’t a happy experience and it wasn’t a sad experience. It was more like a deep understanding of the essence of life.

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Today is my friend Scott‘s birthday. I called his cell phone on a whim to see what would happen. I received an automated message:

“The Verizon customer you are trying to reach is unavailable. Please try again later.”

Context is a funny thing.

I was hoping the number had been reassigned and that I’d connect to some stranger. I thought of a voicemail Scott once left for me about how he’d been trying to call his friend Justin, and he dialed one number wrong. Scott was so excited because he connected with “a chick named Wendy” and had a great conversation with her. Scott’s epiphany was that we are all just one number away from connecting to people outside our circle. Pretty cool.

I’ll try again next year.

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I had no idea when I began these 100 Days of Peace in Uncertainty where I would find myself on Day 100. And I haven’t yet reviewed my early posts, but my sense is that my relationship to uncertainty is unrecognizable from what it was 3+ months ago. It feels so good.

This whole exploration of my relationship to uncertainty was really about my relationship to fear. I see that clearly. I may have understood that conceptually — “of course uncertainty is about fear” — but I get it on a deep experiential level now.

What it feels like is this: I’d been walking through mud before, slowed down by this mucky muck of fear and uncertainty. Now I walk freely — or if not freely then freer. I don’t mind so much that I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. It is enough to be here today. I still enjoy imagining grand tomorrows, but I don’t so much worry about what if tomorrow is not so grand.

Today is a heaven if I choose it to be. And more and more I am aware of my power to choose.

I intend to begin my next 100 Days of Peace very soon. In the meantime, I may add to this post as I reflect more on these past 100 Days.

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I’ve been watching my two nieces 4 days a week for the past few weeks. Today my 5-year-old niece asked me, “Uncle Curtis, you know what your problem is?”

I love how direct and unfiltered children can be. And I value their perspective tremendously, especially this niece. So I gave her my attention. “Please tell me.”

“You take us to too many places. As soon as we’re having fun we have to leave to go somewhere else.”

Boy, did she hit the nail on the head. I’ve recognized this tendency to try to cram way too much into my life. And I’ve experienced the value of slowing down, something I’ve written about in this blog.

And to have it mirrored back to me by a child was humbling and powerful.

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Today I found myself waiting again in a situation that could have been miserable had I adopted a different perspective. My girlfriend’s car wouldn’t start (the key wouldn’t turn in the ignition). The car was outside a Bed, Bath & Beyond where we’d been shopping. It was a humid 90+ degree day, we were busy, and this was the last thing we needed.

We’d planned on getting some dinner soon anyway, so we decided to eat at the restaurant next door and try the key again when we were finished. Dinner was delicious and we had a blast. And when we tried the key again, it still wouldn’t turn. So we called a locksmith, and we went to Barnes & Noble to wait for him to arrive.

I’ve already written about my new perspective on waiting, so it’s probably no surprise that I enjoyed the freedom and peace. The bonus for me this time was to watch it in another person. My girlfriend got to read magazines (something she loves to do) guilt-free. My guess is that given all of the things she wanted to get done today, it would have been difficult for her to justify taking time to read a magazine if she wasn’t “forced” to by the circumstance of being stranded.

It took about three hours before we were on the road again and headed home. There was enough discomfort in that period of waiting to have made it a hell if we’d wanted to. Instead, we had a delicious dinner, some quiet chill time in the bookstore, and lots of laughs.

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Tonight I attended a teleclass on “What’s Most Important to You?” and in one of the exercises I was rating how important various needs/values are to me. One of them was Certainty.

And I realized that Certainty does NOT feel that important to me anymore.

It was interesting to come at this 100 Days of Peace in Uncertainty from the other side. It further validates the sense I have that there’s been a shift in my relationship to uncertainty.

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Last week I learned that a situation I am enjoying will end in a few weeks.

I realized today that I’m not that worried about it. This lack of worry surprised me because this situation is something I care deeply about, so why wouldn’t I be worried about it ending? It’s like I’m headed for a cliff and I’m okay with it.

A friend suggested that this is because I’ve experienced enough change to know that all will be good and I will be okay. I think she is right. To be more specific, I think there are a couple of parts:

  1. I am not afraid of feeling the pain that will come when this situation ends. I’ve felt pain like this before, and I know I can handle it. I’ll deal with going over the cliff when I actually go over it.
  2. What I am experiencing now is worth far more to me than sparing myself some pain later on. Fun trumps all.
  3. I trust the universe.

That third one is something that I didn’t expect. And I think it’s a direct result of these 100 Days of Peace in Uncertainty. When I began them, uncertainty was this scary monster under the bed. And like the child who grows up, I’ve learned that there are no monsters under the bed, only in my mind.

Every day in this wonderful situation (that I’m being so vague about), my feelings grow stronger and I care more deeply about it. It might seem masochistic to continue to go deeper knowing that the end is so near. Sometimes I even ask myself, “What am I doing?”

And the answer is obvious:

Being present.

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