I have the pleasure of meeting a lot of different people in my every day. I work with a lot of different people from different organizations. I socialize as often as I can, and that leads to new connections. No matter how many people I meet, there are always those who stand out as “kindred spirits”.
These are people who come into your life, sometimes at random, othertimes not so much, whom you have an almost instant connection with. You are comfortable around them, you enjoy talking to them, you’re genuinely curious what they have to say (and they, you), and there is just a general sense of friendship even before those ties have truly been forged through the experience of time. You may see these people here or there, but each interaction is truly a delight and leaves you energized, happy, and perhaps a part of something greater than yourself.
These kindred spirits are rare. They come and go, but when they do, I’ve noticed how radiantly they stand out. There’s just a naturalnesss that comes with the interaction with them as you share stories, experiences, hopes and dreams. Its like we are all little puzzle pieces, and a kindred spirit is a person who fits next to us in the grand puzzle board of life.
When you find a kindred spirit, you’ll know. And it is important to pause, appreciate that natural connection, and help it flourish when you can.
Our lives are busy and we come across many hundreds of people in our day to day. But every once in a while, a kindred spirit comes along and stands out in your life, even if only for a small fraction of time. Cherish those times, cherish these people. They’re rare, and they make life absolutely delightful.
Just yesterday I had received a nasty email from a lawyer. As I read through it, I could feel my blood boiling. I wanted to hit “REPLY” and give them a piece of my mind. But since I started writing again, whenever I find myself getting emotionally reactive, I am curious to find out “WHY?”. It has served me well so far.
Why ask “WHY?”? There are a few benefits I can think of:
It immediately places a bit of distance between you and reacting. The process of thinking about this could very well give you enough time to cool down a bit.
Emotions are natural. Anger, frustration, hurt, these are all normal. Trying to understand them can help us uncover the reasons why we do things, which can help us react better in the future.
Looking for the reasons why we do things triggers our pre-frontal cortex. Rather than looking at things as simply ‘just the way they are’, we treat it like a problem that should be solved. It’s a puzzle, and there’s a bigger picture that needs uncovering. This too could give the necessary space from the problem and the emotion allowing us to deal with it with grace.
By shining the spotlight on yourself, instead of the subject of your anger, you give yourself the chance to grow and to improve. There is no limit to how much we can improve, and the only person we need to best is the person we were yesterday.
So the next time you feel yourself growing angry, or frustrated, and want to lash out, pause and ask “WHY?” to try to uncover the reason why something triggered that reaction within you. Responding to these situations with calm, grace, self-awareness, and self-love/care not only makes the situation better, but it makes us better humans overall.
With the hurricane happening in Texas, I’ve turned my attention to the people down south who are suffering. Up here where I am, everything is dry, cool, crisp. When I put myself in the shoes of the people currently in the hurricane, it makes me realize a fundamental truth: life can change in an instant.
Maybe it’s a hurricane. Maybe your house gets robbed. Maybe a loved one dies. Maybe you are diagnosed with cancer. The point is that in an instant, EVERYTHING can change. What creature comforts you once had may suddenly become unhelpful. Things you enjoyed, may no longer be accessible. People you love, may no longer be around.
Writing this, it can be difficult not to feel depressed with the fragility of life. The fact that things can change so quickly to something so much worse could feed the pessimism in the optimism of most people.
But what if you looked at it another way…What if you looked at it as a way to value everything and everyone you have in the here and now? What if you paused, right now, looked around you at the people in your life and the things you have, and simply realized how fortunate you are to have those things.
What if rather than pessimism, you were filled with gratefulness? I think that’s the more important lesson here, to be grateful for the things we do have, and to really appreciate them.
Take time to slow down when you eat food.
Listen and love the people who matter in your life.
Marvel at every day objects.
Appreciate every moment and the things/people in that moment. Because in another moment, all of that could change.
You know those moments? Those brief, fleeting moments that shine through the grey of everyday life like motes of glitter caught in a sunbeam. The moments when you suddenly feel a connection to the world around you, when the quotidian alienation of modern life falls away and color pulses back in.
Walking through the torpor of another generic day, the background static of depression distorting the colors of the world, I often don’t realize I’m on a downward spiral until I look up and realize the sun seems a long, long way away.
The spiral staircase in my mind has steps that aren’t just worn smooth from use, but more often than not seem to be lubricated, too. At the bottom, the door marked “suicide” is always standing there, waiting… and how much easier it would be to push it open and walk through, rather than trying to climb back up those endless, slippery steps.
And then, out of nowhere, I lock eyes with another person and, unplanned and unplannable, we see each other.
One of the wisest men on the planet shares his 40 greatest insights.
Many of you reading this will know and love Dr. Jordan B Peterson.
For those who don’t, I’m going to show you why you should.
Jordan Peterson is an award-winning lecturer at the University of Toronto, a practicing clinical psychologist, and the author of the revolutionary book on the psychology of religion Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief.
He is most famous, however, for his YouTube channel, which has 270,000+ subscribers. An insane amount considering most of his videos are over an hour long and cover very deep topics such as philosophy, mythology, psychology, and religion.
He is a man worth paying attention too.
On Quora, Jordan Peterson was asked this question:
“What are the most valuable things everyone should know?”
Instead of answering in a long essay, he wrote 40 maxims that I’ve presented below.
Before you read, keep in mind that these maxims are not your ordinary list of self-help tips.
They are simple. They are short. But they contain within each of them decades of study and thought.
How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?
Somewhere we read, “The unexamined life is not worth living… for a human.” How are we supposed to live, to examine, to be, to become, to be fully human when we are so busy?
This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.
Our overscheduled lives leave little time for contemplation and reflection. How do we enable each other to pause and reflect together and ask how our hearts are doing? Check out the article below!
“The deeper your present moment peace gets, the easier it’ll be to react non- passionately when confronted with hostility. As this gets better, you can begin to realize more deeply just how much someone has to be suffering internally in order to have such harsh reactions. With enough insight, you can develop your empathy and compassion based off this knowledge and these also help you remain even more peaceful in the present moment.
Eventually, with enough compassion and insight on your side, you can begin to extinguish the fires of hostility by extinguishing anger with patience and understanding… It’s hard to continue treating someone harshly when they continue treating you well. In helping them relieve these feelings, you not only help them but you also help yourself, since you no longer have to deal with them as they were.”