Monthly Archives: June 2015
On Father’s Day, I never feel I can say enough, or give enough, to my dad. First, like many fathers he needs, nor wants, anything. If you give him chocolate, he’ll eat too much, as we all do, and it will give him a round of pain in his foot. If you give him a book, he’ll tell you he could have borrowed it from the library. A restaurant gift card? He’ll happily tuck it in his wallet and then spend it on you the next time you’re having dinner together. So, like other years, my gift to my father are words.
My father has presented me with something of a dilemma. You know we choose our partner in life based on the traits of our parents. He has given me a near impossible ideal to look for in a partner.
For example, my father enjoys conversation. I have found most men endure it. They tolerate it. My dad and I can talk for 2 hours and only stop because we recognize it has become excessive. Because my dad bonds with people by talking with them, I thought men did this. They don’t. At least not the men I’ve met so far.
Another is my father is never mean. Not even when he’s really pissed. And I have seen him really pissed. (It’s usually something I’ve said…) I’ve learned and tried to follow his method of anger management because, disagreements turn out better, far better, with his method. I have not met a man who isn’t mean when he’s feeling threatened in some way.
How about this one? His sense of fairness. He can discern what is fair and from that analysis, implement that assessment unwaveringly.
And this? Intelligence. He is always learning. He’ll hear about a thing and it will pique his curiosity. When I was a kid, he’d get the encyclopedia. Now, it’s the internet. He questions everything fed to him. This is an important thing to teach children.
Patient. He is very patient. I’ve tested him thoroughly regarding this. 😊
He is loving. I wish I had a count on how many, “I love yous” have been exchanged between us over the years.
Kind. My father is a kind man. A gentle giant. Maybe it was that he was his full height of 6’2″ by the time he was thirteen that helped with this. All of my friends were intimidated by him because of his height, but liked him after a few conversations.
It just recently occurred to me he set up an impossible ideal. When people ask me why I’m so particular, this is why.
To my amazing father, let’s add another to the count.
I love you.
I’m thinking about the accumulative effect tonight.
Here’s the thing: the thing is uncomfortable. Like a pebble in your shoe. By you know, it’s just a pebble.
No big whup.
Maybe the thing is like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Maybe the thing is like the butterfly effect. Ripple effect. The domino effect.
After a day with that pebble in your shoe, your foot is going to suffer some damage. If you’re lucky, you’ll yell an explitive, stop, kick off your shoe, and pick it up and pour that pebble out of it, before, say, your foot has an infected festering wound.
The accumulative effect is that idea that things build. They can be either positive or negative. In either, the next builds upon the former. Individually, the thing means little. But together, it’s bigger than the sum of its parts. Think body heat.
This can be applied positively or negatively. If the thing is a pebble in your shoe, stop and get that thing the hell out of there.
If it’s one step in a thousand, keep going.
Namaste, my friends.
P.S. I forgot the snow ball effect.
Daily, I see “don’t give up!” Of course, this is good cheerleading. I recently watched Shia LaBeouf in the scariest (and funniest) motivational speech ever made, numerous times. I think he used every motivational cliche ever spoken. It’s good to laugh at ourselves a bit. The last thing he says is, “If you’re tired of starting over, don’t give up.”
He’s right, of course.
But here’s something I don’t hear much about: that space between working like a fiend and just prior to the acknowledged moment of defeat. That space.
In the book, Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, they talk about the “U”. When we have a goal we naively think, I am here. I am going to go there. And that the line between these two are straight. Linear. Nope. According to Chip and Dan success is shaped like a U. When I first read this, I was so happy for the clarification. When I’m in the middle of a painting there is a point with which, I want to take the painting and hurl it like a Frisbee across the room. I hate it, I hate me, I hate the world, I suck, I’m worthless as an artist. I’m at the bottom of the “U”. Shia would tell me not to give up. But sometimes the best thing you can do it step away for a time. Mostly I plow through, but there are times, especially with portraits, where I have to step away. It’s been true for most of my really large projects, too. It’s safe to say, when I do, it’s easy to lose momentum.
So, what about those times when you find that you’ve set the project down with every intention of picking it back up, but life gets in the way? You don’t know why but you’re not doing the work. When asked, you say, “Oh, I’m getting back to it soon,” but it just doesn’t happen.
This space is far more dangerous than the words, “I give up.” This space has a way of growing. The bigger it grows, the harder it is to get momentum back.
This is important: this space has a meaning.
It’s important you address it. Is it fear? A lack of resources? Is it a lack of support? Is it a lack of direction? Exhaustion? Because by not addressing the space in between, you may lead yourself right up to the, “I give up.”
If you can identify the reason for the space, you can better make a game plan for it as an obstacle.
The space can be an obstacle.
Namaste, my friends.
Here’s Shia’s video: Shia’s inspiration
I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last couple of years.
I’ve learned I have a well spring of patience that I didn’t know I had. I am a very loyal person. I’m devoted.
I’ve learned I can love people at a distance. That my love is infinite and can be, and is, projected any where in the world, at anytime.
I’ve learned the more love I dispense, the more love I have. I can dispense love to everyone I meet. I don’t have to judge whether they are worthy of it. In fact, by suspending judgment, I liberate myself: of deliberation, of guessing, of theorizing, of surmising. All that analysis, is not energy well spent. It is an effort at control, but it’s also an excuse. An excuse to not proceed. To stop moving forward. To avoid love.
Namaste, my friends.