Today we discuss the beautiful tragedy of life itself, a miracle so incomprehensibly, unfathomably overwhelming that it must, ironically, be ignored to be appreciated.

It begins, then ends. Some stuff happens in between, and we call that “life”.

We enter and leave, in most cases, quite helpless. The similarities between beginning and end of life are oft-mocked but quite accurate.

We need help. If capable and motivated, we help ourselves. I’ll move to strike “capable” even, as it seems we lack really any understanding of human capability. The limits are continuously pushed, higher and higher. Obstacles overcome seem greater and greater.

For me, nothing demonstrates human capability to overcome and thrive in unexpected ways greater that an arm-less dude playing guitar with his feet.

I’ve only seen that video once in my life, and only for a few seconds. Only re-watched maybe five seconds of it even now, just to confirm it was the correct link.

I saw it and immediately realized my own shortcomings in terms of playing guitar were all self-limiting in nature. I wasn’t ashamed or discouraged to see a man shred with his lil piggies. I didn’t say “oh, well he saved all that money on gloves and sleeves, must be nice.”

I Just remember watching for a few seconds and thinking “oh…so that’s what happens when you really try.” It wasn’t motivating in any sense other than to encourage me to think about what I was really willing to do to become better.

It’s not sacrifice if you love what you’re doing. It’s just what you do. Listen to a great athlete speak about the hours in the gym, the programmer who spent months perfecting code, the trainer whose patient diligence with an animal elicited performance miles beyond what we think is possible. The parent who changes the course of their life to dutifully tend to a disabled child.

It’s just what you do.

Life, as we know it, is a miraculous tragedy. Many lean more toward the “tragedy” descriptor, given that the part it refers to – the end – comes last. We have a tendency to think the thing that comes last should define the whole, but there are a number of reasons why one should think otherwise.

We could go into metaphysics and discuss the nature of time itself, how it seems to have a relationship with gravity that breaks the brain to consider.

Time truly is a construct. There really is no past and no future, only this moment. The past is a different moment, as is the future.

Just moments, and what we do in those moments is life. Near as I can figure, our presence in the moment is that which amplifies our existence into something appropriating “living”.

How well can you put aside the attentional spotlight we place upon the moment, our ability to focus on what we are doing and ignore the nattering nabobs of negativity, distractions, flashing lights and shiny objects?

Well, it turns out it’s easier to not give our attention to something if it isn’t there, so way we can increase our capacity to focus and give attention to the present moment is to remove those nattering nabobs, deal with the distractions, unscrew the bulbs on those flashy lights, and place the shiny objects in the dark until we need them.

Does this seem elemental? Are you quite unimpressed? Is the advice here to simply worry less by having less stuff to worry about?


Start with a few aphorisms – these short, pithy, suspiciously non-incendiary sayings of timeless wisdom.

Nothing is permanent.

Everyone in your life will fail you. This may seem harsh, but what it means is this: your expectations are too high and specific for others to live up to them. Unreachable expectations are expected from people who have no clue what is expected of them.

When you really put a shoulder into your brain on this thought, it makes some sense, right? You’re quarterbacking every play no-huddle and not calling a play at the line. Nobody knows the scheme, routes, assignments…nobody even knows when the damn ball is supposed to snapped, least of all the center.

It’s not just people though – look around at the institution we place faith and belief in. The institutions we give power to by saying “well, you’re in charge, so you must know what you’re doing”.

How many of you have worked with someone in charge who had now clue what they were doing?

I not only have, I am that guy. I’ve been in charge of quite a bit of stuff and had no clue what I was doing. I was just making it up as I went, and folks thought I did an alright job.

That’s when I figured out nobody has any clue what they are doing, they’re just making it up. Bowling alley managers, mayors, presidents, generals…everybody is just doing the best (hopefully) they have with what they’ve got.

And if they really are doing they best, they’re always trying to get more. More whatever. Smiles, goats, dollars, cars, sandwiches…whatever the incentive is. Financial…non-financial. A virtue to wave, a shame to hide. Everybody’s a little addicted to something. Praise, television, opiates, grandchildren, touching children, following the Bellamy Brothers on tour or hitting every Cracker Barrel in the states.

It’s whatever thing you choose to let be your thrill. And everyone has a choice, and the choices require varying amounts of effort – less physical than mental. Living thirty pounds overweight is a lot more physically demanding than cleaning up sleep, diet, and enjoying a stroll at sunset.

It’s no joke – the mental aspect. Everything to keep you from thinking about it is so easily accessible. Politics become guilty pleasure entertainment, making the Kardashians and Duck Dynasty look sane by comparison.

It’s a thing, for some reason, to read less as we get older…then you often see people later in life who pick it back up and become rapt readers.

You see people making a lot of decisions later in life that seem to make sense…drinking and smoking less or not at all, starting to exercise, going places…

There’s a trend to simplicity.

I have to believe that decision-making is an interactive process – that our quality of decisions improves with time once confronted with the consequences.

If so, it would stand that people make wiser decisions as they age.

I’m tryin to cheat by reading ahead.

Enjoy a book and some quiet time.

Whatever you’ve got on your plate will be there once you’ve cleared your mind.


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