Silver Bullets

When are we going to realize that silver bullets just don’t exist?

A day or so ago I was swapping notes with a friend. She recently read a book that seemed to answer most of her biggest questions about life.

What pushes us to think that one book, one incident, one accident, one job, one thing, one person… is the thing that makes and/or breaks us?

Or that will get us over the hump, put us on the road to things getting better, solidify our relationship, etc.?

What is a life lived based on exceptions?

As long as X doesn’t happen, Y isn’t around, or Z isn’t involved, everything will be just fine.

But did we forget that everything is a process? That life is a journey? That it doesn’t get better – or worse – in an instant? Or because of one thing or another?

Sure, there are exceptions. Traumatic and excruciatingly challenging exceptions and that’s not what we’re talking about right now because those aren’t the general rule.

I come back to this book and these answers.

It’s great that the book has seemingly answered all of my friend’s most important questions.

But, from what it sounded like to me, she was looking for very specific answers to questions that this author just happened to articulate in a particular profound way or at a particularly profound time.

My question to her – had she “found the answer(s)” to life’s biggest questions or had she just confirmed the answers she was looking for to these complex questions, now nicely articulated back to her by someone else?

Am I being judgmental in not the most useful of ways?

Maybe we all are subconsciously are searching for someone to tell us answers to our biggest quandaries?

Or perhaps my current thinking suggests I’m no longer as interested in waiting for the message or looking for confirmation / validation in the exceptional external sources… as I am in writing my own script?

You Are Welcome Here

During a recent talk I heard someone say:

“No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”

Simple. Warm. Inviting. Inclusive. Open-minded. Accepting.

Sounds like the way I wish others could always treat me.

Sounds like the way I wish I could always treat others.

How would our lives change if we accepted this and made an effort to welcome all those we meet with the same warmth in our time with them – be it a split second, a lifetime, or some amount of time in between?

Recommitting to Why I’m Here

Finding My Voice Here started when I chose love over location. After nine years of China – living among hutongs and highrises in Beijing and a countryside community in rural Yunnan – I’m currently spending a bulk of my time in the US and I’ve challenged myself to publish a post a day from now until the end of 2014.

While I’ve stumbled a few times since the first now, I’m lucky that “now” has a flexible definition based on the day you read this. I’m happy to announce that the new now begins today (March 6th). I’m curious where this much concentrated writing might take me. And I hope you’ll join me in the journey.

Before we both go, I wonder what question you might offer today – be it to me or to another – to move a discussion forward on this blog or elsewhere?

Moments

collect-moments-not-things

We’ve returned to a familiar juncture. It’s almost as if we’ve circled the block, or taken a joy ride around the city, only to come back to something we know so well. I needed to get back into the public arena and face this problem of perfectionism.

I find myself circling back to the question, what would it be like if I really dedicated myself to daily writing? Whether it manifests itself in blog form or not, what is holding me back from this particular habit of reflection? The easy excuse is that the days are long and my energy is limited, and we have covered quite a bit of content in the past couple weeks since my last post.

But the real reason is something closer to that I am bounded by the need to write brilliance. For what I write to make sense. To connect it to some greater idea, lesson, or takeaway.

Is this getting boring? Maybe.

Am I writing about this idea a bit too much? Maybe.

Have I moved on? Not yet.

For the last two days I have written with ferocity. Much of it has been on paper, rather than electronic. One thing I have yet to share is that I participated in a writing workshop yesterday. It was fascinating. Short five minute spurts of writing intermixed with sharing among a group of 20. Profound. Powerful. Emotional. Interesting. An incredible session that invited sides of each of us to join the discussion that had not been present during the last seven weeks of getting to know each other through daily sharing and reflection. There were moments of great laughter and others where tears burned my eyelids. What the medium of writing can do as a form of reflection and expression is a powerful thing. Funny that we often deny ourselves the opportunity to think differently by speaking to paper.

But we don’t need to. Life is made up of moments. They can’t make sense at every stop along the way. But they do make up the journey and will lead somewhere. And it’s okay to wait for whatever is meant to be. Wouldn’t you agree?

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Note: I’m back-dating this post to October 4th when I originally wrote it. Now more than three weeks later and after I already wrote a post earlier this evening, I’m wondering what the blog will start to look like if I back-date the posts I wrote while on the road in China.

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One of the most fruitful Google image searches in quite a while, “Moments” brought out so many interesting images to choose from. I decided on the one above, which I had found through a blog post entitled, “Taking a Trip, but Enjoying the Journey,” by Tobi Fairley, an interior designer from Arkansas, with Oprah-to-be aspirations. This connected back to her resolution for the year, “Collect Moments, Not Things.”