The giver and the giver

I had a friend whose mother packed her lunch every day for school when she was in first grade. It was later discovered that the child had been giving away half of her food each afternoon to another first grader whose parents couldn’t afford packed lunches.

Instead of berating the child for sharing her only sustenance, her mother began sending her to school with two lunches—one for her, and one for her classmate.

This is the essence of how reciprocity works: as the child shared what she had, she eventually received even more of it to give. In other words, reciprocity is between the giver and the giver, not the giver and the receiver.

Light

loose yourself

Loose Yourself, Hafiz

Leave the familiar for a while.

Let your senses and bodies stretch out

Like a welcomed season
Onto the meadows and shores and hills.

Open up to the Roof.
Make a new water-mark on your excitement
And love.

Like a blooming night flower,
Bestow your vital fragrance of happiness
And giving
Upon our intimate assembly.

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence
Lie beside an equator
In your heart.

Greet Yourself
In your thousand other forms
As you mount the hidden tide and travel
Back home.

All the hemispheres in heaven
Are sitting around a fire
Chatting

While stitching themselves together
Into the Great Circle inside of
You.

Hafiz

faith

Beatles: Eight Days A Week

“We had to have faith in each other.”

We grew up quickly
Shot through the air like a canon ball
Yet, beware!, they said
All canon balls fall, they warned.
I see them
Those, down there, waiting for your collapse.
“Today is the day,” they said.

How do you stay creative?
Whether it’s the world offered to you on a silver spoon
Or,
In the thick of life’s drudgery,
Where monotony and struggle are your best friends
And
Spoons are only bought from Salvation Army.
Either one —
One must decide to stay creative.
Cuz both worlds choke.

“We had to have faith in each other.”

It can be so emotional
It’s such a universal feeling.
The bigger picture of the bigger Self being revealed.
We must keep the faith.
Get back in the creative zone and do it, even if it sucks.
Why?
Cuz everyone is saying not to
And a crowd of “Who cares?” are waiting for your fire to dim out.
Cuz, they say,
“It will not happen today.”

Nope.
Not today.

internal vs external

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian, a Buddhist, or an atheist… we all have this part of us that just wants to create and express ourselves completely. What we call that part of ourselves really doesn’t matter—people get so caught up trying to name things that they completely miss the point. All that matters is that we connect to that place inside and allow ourselves to get lost in our creativity so we can bring something beautiful into the world.

The problem is, the world has taught us not to connect to that place; instead, we’re trained to connect to everything but that place. We’re supposed to connect to the television, the news, the brands and the society that has tricked us into believing that we’re not enough as we are… and so we get caught in the cycle of trying to find love outside of ourselves in the form of food, money, superficial relationships, clothes, cars, and autographed Back to the Future posters … that last one is probably more me than you, but you get the point.

When we were kids, we didn’t care about any of that crap because we lived in the knowing that “You are what you love, not what loves you.”

When we were kids we just played and did what we loved to do. We created. We danced and sang all day. We didn’t care what people thought about us or what our ex-girlfriend was doing. We were totally free and pretended that we were firemen or astronauts or veterinarians. Our imagination was limitless and our creativity is what was running us. We were living from in to out. As time went on, we learned from society to shut off the oil well of possibilities that lived inside of us and to start moving from out to in. We learned that we can’t do the things that we want to do and that it’s “not that easy.” We learned that there’s not enough to go around and that the only way to feel security in this world is to get as much as possible and hold on to it as tight as you can.

Instead of working on getting as much as we can externally, what if we were focused on growing as much as we can internally? What if we were able to go back to that child-like state where we were filled with wonder and possibility and the desire to play full-out? What if we could step out of the box the world has put us in and realize that life is just one big playground of opportunity? What if you could let go of the results and allow life to lead you into a life that’s even more amazing and fulfilling than you could have ever planned?

Well, you can. Start to enjoy the process of working on yourself. Start to find your own inner fulfillment instead of external distraction. Start acting on what is exciting to you in the moment instead of what you’re supposed to do.

You are what you love, not what loves you.

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Kyle Cease

the double life

I know about things

I am a new person, I may not be the smartest, but I know what’s right for me. I know my value.

I know the feeling of being alone
I know how it feels to have your heart broken
I know how it feels to lose a parent mentally
I know the feeling of always watching your back from every angle
I know the feeling of being handcuffed — being shoved into a cop car and being treated like a criminal
I know the feeling when you feel the rush in your fists and face but step back because you know what you are capable of doing
I know the feeling of carrying drugs in your backpack and hoping you won’t get caught
I know the feeling of having your own mother cry, and you’re the reason why
I know the feeling of punching the wall
I know the feeling of crying at night and picking yourself up the next day and pretending nothing ever happened
I know the feeling of hopping over the fence fearing either you will get your jeans caught or be chased down
I know the feeling of hitting rock bottom.
I know the feeling of living that double life.

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Excerpt: I Put My Life Together by Katherine Secaida from Before There Were Bars, POPS The Club

embrace the struggle

happy birthday george clooney

George Clooney was so broke during his struggling days as an actor that he stayed in his friend’s closet in Los Angeles.

The singer Jewel briefly lived out of her car as she played smaller gigs.

Jon Hamm, of Mad Men, once worked as a soft-core porn movie set designer.

Tina Fey worked the front desk at a suburban Chicago YMCA during the day while doing standup in small coffee shops at night.

Movie mogul Tyler Perry lived on the streets of Atlanta and was perpetually broke when writing his first plays.

The most creative people often have a backstory riddled with struggle, hardship, and uncertainty. The irony is when they finally “make it big,” that’s all anyone wants to hear about—What was it like to struggle? How did you find the courage to keep going?

I believe we’ve got struggling all wrong. Struggling doesn’t mean we’re misaligned with our passion, or that we haven’t discovered the right life hack. Rather, struggling is a legitimate part of our refining and maturation process.

We could even argue that struggling helps us evolve more than success. And that, at the very least, it can be a test to see just how badly we want what we claim is in our heart.

One day, a long time from now, the stories of your “success” are going to be sourced from whatever struggles you’re currently experiencing. You will use those stories to show how far you came. And in the process, you will help and inspire a lot of people to keep going. This is why it’s important to view your entire journey—the successes and the hardships—as perfect.

Happy birthday, George.

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Light Watkins