“Jane and I have always professed different philosophies about language: she will use meditation while I use prayer for the same set of words.”
-Mark Belletini in the Forward to Jane Ranney Rzepka’s FROM ZIP LINES TO HOSAPHONES
As soon as my Macbook comes alive every morning and I sign into my Gmail, I read three daily posts.
Most of the time, the first one is Today’s Gift, a subscription from Hazelden, the famous treatment center based in Center City, Minnesota but now with locations around the country. These are excerpts from a variety of 12 Step daily meditation books.
Then I usually go to the Stillspeaking Daily Devotional, meditations written by a very down-to-earth and wise group of United Church of Christ ministers.
Finally (I should say “for now”) I open up the Daily Compass, readings submitted by Quest for Meaning, the Church of the Larger Fellowship, Unitarian Universalist Association.
Sounds like a major task, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t. I would guess that even with pauses to think about what I just read, it may use up 10 minutes of what time I would probably just waste playing Bubble Witch Saga on Facebook anyhow. That little bit of time could be compared with brushing my teeth or showering, things I need to do to maintain my body. These emails are in fact things I need to do to maintain my soul.
This is not all that meritorious. I am not in the least trying act holier than thou. What I am saying should be pretty obvious: there are certain exercises that I must do or things deteriorate. I hope this mental or spiritual activity each day helps keep me emotionally balanced, maybe even make a little progress.
What are these readings anyhow? Are they religious, maybe propaganda or just more of the flood of Internet postings? Are they meditations, words of guidance, centering readings or….? They help me so what difference does it make? I don’t care what they are called if I find the needed nourishment.
In the last couple of weeks I have received some communications that I reacted to with more anger than I remember having in a long time. This is not good, being mad feels terrible.
It is also dangerous to the soul. Thus, the motto found on some church basement walls: “HALT: Never get too hungry, too angry, too lonely or too tired”, which cautions I often ignore. The hungry part is there because who can eat while storming around screaming and threatening whoever I think caused it. Then, that kind of behavior is definitely anti-social and lonely. Finally, tiring, leaving me ragged and dragging. Sorta makes the case for putting up the poster in a prominent place for meeting goers to see.
Words of advice in these situation is often “Count to 10.” However, if you want that to work remember to go very slowly or maybe better, “shampoo, rinse and repeat” ’cause the first time through probably won’t do the trick. It doesn’t for me anyhow.
When I finally get there I remember a couple of important things: 1) Inconsiderate people do mean and hateful things to others on a regular basis and 2) I don’t have to sacrifice that much emotional energy raging against their idiocy.
Oh yeah, I should mention, from their perspective they think they are justified. So doing battle with them is even more foolish.
While driving around in my Senior Advocate duties for my congregation, I heard a couple of radio comedians talking about “not having a boss” and what that meant for a creative person. Then they talked about program directors always second guessing the on air personality. Most of us however, can’t really get away with not having a boss but wouldn’t we all be more creative were the so-called bosses more human?
Writing for Inc.com, Geoffrey James recently discussed this very thing. In this article, 8 Signs of an Extraordinary Boss, James makes simple but essential points about managing others. For example, these five were personally closest to home:
- A company is a community, not a machine.
- Management is service, not control.
- My employees are my peers, not my children.
- Motivation comes from vision, not from fear
- Work should be fun, not mere toil
Now if you are a boss or if you are wondering why the misery of working for one, you will want to read the article. He is getting at something that would make a huge difference for companies. Simply put, it sounds just like the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As the paragraphs above hint, you can’t be the traditional task master and expect for things to work most efficiently.
When I begin writing these posts a couple of years ago, I had quite a bit of this information handy on this topic but about 99% was from the downside. I am sad to say that over the last year I have collected more negative anecdotes than a good month of Dilbert cartoons.
What if each supervisor or manager decided, starting this coming Monday, to simply treat each person with whom they come in contact like a valuable, competent, colleague instead of an underling? I wager that it would take very few days of the work week to change the whole aggravating culture that is so common in the workplace.
James contrasts what he calls the “average boss” vs the “extraordinary boss” Where do you appear in that scenario?
Oh yeah, and isn’t really time to banish the word “boss”? That would be start.
Kindle can be inspiring especially for those of us carrying around our devices. It hadn’t been my recent searching on Amazon I might not be rereading Kurt Vonnegut
Kindle can be inspiring, as the ad says, especially for those of us who always have our devices near by.
For example, if it hadn’t been for a recent Amazon Store search, I might not be rereading Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five and would not remember too much about Billy Pilgrim and Tralfamadore.
So what, one might ask? After conceding that Vonnegut was one of greatest writers of all time, the answer is that I tend to forget that war has been glorified ad infinitum. This novel portrays, how ever obliquely, the cruel firebombing of Dresden at the end of World War Two and each time I pick it up, Vonnegut startles me with a moving existentialism. The absurdity of war could not be clearer.
However, to this very day, the government of the United States, in spite all wisdom to the contrary, perpetuates the malignant theory that war has any other actual purpose than the slaughter of human beings.
Thus, I recommend Vonnegut’s haunting little phrase when a death or deaths happen, “So it goes”, be written on our hearts. Maybe that way we would not forget that, even if none of us escape it, our government should not be the perpetrator of death.
War, huh, yeah. What is it good for. Absolutely nothing
My new friend Alexandra Jump has a cousin named, you guessed it, Alexandra Jump. Plus they both live in Vermont. She told me how to figure out the online difference but I was still a little confused until I saw her new blue car. I am just waiting now for her to get her initial plates to make it even easier to spot her.
My email and user name in several places is GWTNHVT which, obviously I hope, refers to GWT on the border with NH and VT. However, my driver’s license and passport both read WARREN BAILEY-TURNER. So the earthshaking question of the day is where does the “G” come in?
My father’s name was George Warren Turner and when I was born my parents made me a junior. Since they called him George, they designated me Warren. So all was good with G. WARREN TURNER until, in 1979, I engaged in a two hour sensitivity session with my strong spouse-to-be at which point I committed to a hyphenated name. Still, all was still good until the first zillion times customer service people addressed Carla Bailey-Turner as MRS. TURNER. I guess we were a little too feminist for our time (or we just ran into a plethora of ignorance.) Now we are WARREN TURNER and CARLA BAILEY. Only a few times, and too few to care, have we run into that 1970’s mental density and been asked “Are you married?”
So why the “G”? I don’t know. Maybe because it is too complicated to change everywhere online but probably the best reason is to memorialize my Dad who died way to young to appreciate me, my incredible wife and our kids.Besides all that, if it wasn’t for that George and the times we worked together, this Warren would know nothing at all about hot dog sales.
In many of my previous posts you will find meanderings about job search and the meaning (to me at least) of being employed. However, they are old thoughts which would beg the question “Is there anything new in that area?”
There is. I quit what could most likely be my last possible “real” full-time job ever and I feel very free and positive.That is something to write about. Plus I have more actually self determined time to do it.
A more immediate motivation however came from A Jump as her license plate might read. She inspired me to write something even it is lame. So, I plan to tell you about our attending MLB Spring Training games, write a little about being a free lance “officiant” for weddings, funerals and other life ceremonies, and even give you a few spiritual-type mediations.
Hope it helps in the search.
My daughter and I watched Oliver Stone’s Wall Street:Money Never Sleeps on pay-per-view last night and maybe the best moment in this story of Gordon Geko’s return came in the very first scene. As he is released from 8 years in prison for illegal financial dealings, his personal belongings are returned to him. The clerk reads off each item, key ring, gold money clip (empty), watch, mobile phone(!) and the camera pans to a huge device only one step newer than the original bag phone. It is not a spoiler to tell you that he catches up to the times quickly after he is out.
There is however to ponder, while we trudge through the predictable stuff, the simple theme of a daughter who hates her father. She blames for him for the dissolution of their family and especially for the death of her addicted brother while Gekko was in prison. In one scene he tells her of all the things he tried to help his son, which she didn’t know of course, but she still believes that if he had been there it would have been different.
Children will identify with her and parents will, sadly but clearly, side with Gekko for it is the universal dichotomy. The perspective of youth versus age, of the future alongside the past or simply who has time to think about what. Apropos of this standoff, Ustinov is quoted “Parents are the bones on which children sharpen their teeth.” I guess the screenwriter thought it too trite to use the Bette Davis line: “If you have never been hated by your child, you have never been a parent” but you get the point.
It is really not complicated and Gekko says this pretty clearly when he talks about “we are all human” and thus there is no simple explanation for our personalities or our behavior. Maybe the only possible direction is forward toward forgiveness and love.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010) – IMDb.