Absolutely horrific events occurring in the world. Crises of all kinds here in the United States and everywhere else. What can we do about all the destructiveness and violence and folly we see around us? Not too much, probably, in any direct sense. But there's one thing we can do. We can keep on giving our best, whether we're a Boomer, a really old guy like me, or whatever our age.
The lesson my Uncle Leslie taught me
When I was a young fellow, maybe 12, I decided to make a model sail boat. It was quite small. I made a start fashioning the hull and decided to ask an uncle who was a special friend to help on my project. Uncle Leslie looked at my little wooden boat, ran his finger over it, and said thoughtfully, "You need to get it smoother. It needs some more sandpapering."
I ran a piece of sandpaper over the hull quickly a few times and came back to my uncle. He felt it with his fingers again. “Needs some more sandpapering," he said. I felt a prickle of impatience but I took the little boat away and did some more work on it.
Back I go to my uncle. Now we can really get moving I was thinking happily. “Coming along, but it needs a little more work yet," he said. I was seething with impatience by now, but tried hard not to show it. Heck, it's just a little sailboat, I was thinking. Why is he making so much fuss?
But many years later, I'm very thankful for the lesson my uncle taught me -- or tried to teach me -- about being patient, and taking care. About giving my best.
What happens when we give our best?
What happens when we give our best, and keep on giving our best? Here are some ideas from my own experience.
We may resemble the tortoise at times. But simply keeping on giving our best in a calm, patient way to the best of our ability, no matter what is going on, is the most effective way to meet the challenges of life I have ever encountered.
We align ourselves with the principles of Nature. We spiral through the challenge the way a tree spirals through the earth’s crust out of the ground. And with the help of synchronicity -- the birthright of every one of us -- emerge somewhere along the way strengthened, actually, by whatever it was that life threw our way.
When I do my best, and keep doing my best, even though I may feel impatient at times, an important part of who I am is content. I feel buoyant and fulfilled, and I believe that when we are fulfilled, we are of most value to this world and ourselves.
Friends appear in my life who are really terrific people, and they appear at just the right time. My relationship with my wife prospers. My relationships with other people prosper.
Some of my dreams or aspirations have come true – some are still gestating. But I believe the lesson I learned from my uncle Leslie applies to this area too. We can’t just rely on providence or the law of attraction. There’s a good chance we need to do a bit more changing – a bit more “sanding” – before our dream comes true.
Perhaps this is what integrity really is?
Perhaps this is what integrity is? Giving our best. Being genuine and true to ourselves. Being patient when a voice in our head says it’s time to quit.
What comes through us on this basis may not always be perfect the first time around. A little bit of impatience may get in there. A little bit of prejudice or stubbornness or plain old stupidity may creep into the mix. But that's okay. That simply gives us the chance to acknowledge that we missed the mark in some way -- and change.
As long as we stay true to our integrity, we can’t fail, it seems to me. And humanity itself, at the end of the day, won’t fail either.
I’m with you in your journey
I hope this won’t sound presumptuous. But whatever issues or challenges lie before you in these days, I want you to know that there is someone here who cares.
We are all linked in this world. I am with you in your journey even if we never make contact in any way. Of course, having said that, I chuckle. Because if you're being kind enough and gracious enough to read my blog, we've already made a connection in a way haven't we?
We are all in this together, and my guess is that before we’re done there will be a tremendous ongoing need for persistence and patience and care -- giving our best no matter what.
Please write if you have any thoughts on the above. How are you doing, anyway? I had a great walk early this morning before it got hot. Got my dog fix with a sweet little mutt, quite an old dog, who made a special trip up the path to get to me and be petted. One of life’s magical little moments.
PS Any thoughts on my latest tagline? “Helping Boomers and beyond create a fulfilling life.” Please share.
Picture by oldsailro, a collector of vintage wooden pond yachts