I have a friend named Paul who has set up his automated email signature to read “No Drama.” At first, I thought it was an odd thing to add to every email you send out, but then I realized how much drama we unnecessarily create in life. And it doesn’t serve us, our work or our lives.
Life has just not been going my way lately. I’ve been sitting here for thirty minutes trying to think of a better way to say it than that—a way that sounds a little more mature and a little less entitled, but no matter how I boil it down, it really comes back to that. Things have not been going my way and I’ve been feeling frustrated and depressed and sad about it.
She came up to me while I was in line at the bakery. I hadn’t seen her for years. “Hi Al!” she said. “Is life treating you great?” The way she asked it, there was only one acceptable answer. I wish you could have seen the contortions my mind was going through in the several seconds between her question and my answer. I knew there were a couple of options for my response.
I recently had a conversation with somebody in which I doubted what they were saying was true. I hate those conversations, but years ago I promised myself that if the person was a friend, or somebody I worked with, I wouldn’t just walk away. Instead, I decided to say something. I kept it light, but I said enough that I wouldn’t go to bed that night without some clarity. The response I received was a long, passionate monologue about how the person had never told a lie in their life. This person kept using the word integrity.
Being sick hasn’t taught me anything, honestly. It hasn’t taught me anything other than I don’t like being sick. But I did learn something in the hospital. It all happened that Sunday, when our normal clinic was closed. We had to go to the ER at another place in Portland. Sunday is their busy day, so we were sitting in the lobby with a bunch of other pet owners and sick pets. It was all the basic stuff, itchy skin or throwing up. Nothing to worry about. I was feeling awful so I jumped up on the bench and laid all over Don’s lap.
When I was living in Portland, I decided to go through training to climb Mt. Hood. On one particular day, I was fifty or so flights of stairs into my workout. With only eight weeks of training left, I was having my doubts. I’d not lost the weight I thought I’d lose, to be honest. That happened when I trained to ride my bike across the country, too, and everything turned out fine. And yet I worried.
Last week, two white flags mysteriously appeared on the Brooklyn Bridge. NYC police and counter-terrorism units were disturbed by the “breach of security.” While this is true from their perspective, I like to think something more beautiful happened. I think whoever put up those white flags had a brilliant idea: Create a clear vision of peace.
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