Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Easy Way Out

                                                                                                                     By Cheryl Oreglia 

Taking the easy way out always fails in the long run. It doesn't matter if you're raising a family, developing your mind, nurturing a relationship, writing a blog, or cooking a meal. The end product reflects your effort. Skimping on your potential, your legacy, your future is foolish. Like most things, I had to learn this the hard way. It might be less complicated to avoid the hard conversations, the complex issues, the difficult relationships, the person in need, but the truth is I'm only short changing myself. Most successful long-term relationships are the result of hard work and personal integrity. This includes the relationship we have with our readers. I've come to believe it's all about relationship, life is prolific, and good fruit is the result of a tenderly nurtured field and a dash of good humor.

I think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, "Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear what you are saying." Ain't that the truth. When I find myself entangled in a toxic relationship, I usually trust my instincts, which scream at an impressive volume, "Run like you're being stalked by Annie Wilkes." I've always labeled (I know this is not PC) toxic people as infectious, deranged, self-righteous creeps bent on destroying my carefully cultured crop, but maybe my conclusions are rash?

Anil Dash gently reminds me, "Almost all of the time, people are awesome when you give them the chance to be their best selves. But it can be hard to remember that."[especially when I binge on sensationalism] In today's polarized political climate genuine, humane, and empathetic conversations are desperately needed. Being open to someone else's point of view, especially one you adamantly oppose, takes enormous personal probity. I know when I make a conscious effort to listen, consider, and comprehend the intentions of the human being standing beside me, it's cathartic for both parties (clearly applicable to marriage). Moving through the awkwardness and resistance until you come "out beyond ideas of wrong doing and rightdoing," to a place where our souls are able to rest in the company of each other.
Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about
. Rumi
Speaking of being too full, I've come to believe, cooking a meal is an act of love. Yes, I totally jumped topic, stay with me, I'll eventually bring it around. Cooking takes effort, creativity, and due diligence. There's the menu to come up with, the food shopping to manage, preparations to be made, setting an attractive table (subjective), serving, communing, and the dreaded clean-up. Not to mention the issue of finding a night that fits into everyone's schedule. It does not happen on it's own. It is an intentional choice to nurture family relationships. In the long run you'll have children who know each other, depend on each other, and trust each other (applies to friendships as well). Close families don't just happen, they are modeled by dedicated parents, who have the foresight to prioritize people over things. Kids left eating alone in bedrooms or in front of the television never experience table communion, which makes it difficult to understand spiritual communion, and maybe even the concept of agape, meaningful love. It starts at the family table and the long term benefits are unimaginable. Consider the appeal of Blue Bloods staring Tom Select which depicts a family dinner on every show. 

In addition to family, I believe friends have the weighty responsibility of courting the best in each other. I've written a lot about friendship. [Behold, I call you friend] It is one of the most important components to a fulfilling life. They say a contributing factor to depression is loneliness, isolation, feeling unanchored in a sea of humanity. Friendship is an act of hope in a culture of immediacy, because time is the ultimate currency, and friendships take time. Believe it or not, there are people who love me in spite of myself, they are rare as hen's teeth, but worth the hunt. The ultimate dividend is having someone who will pull my head out of the sand when I get buried in the rubble of life. Trust me, shit happens, find someone who is strong. 

I believe writing requires the same integrity and effort as relationships because we are courting our readers. Before I write, I turn to a secret list I've created on twitter, called "inspire me." [clever, I know] I've linked people like Krista Tippett, Seth Godin, Maria Popova, Courtney Martin, Parker Palmer, the Pope, Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Anne Lamott, Cheryl Strayed, and many more (if you want access send me a PM) This stream of inspiration is fragrant, like coffee, which drags me by my nose to the kitchen each morning. When I open the computer to start a new blog it is usually after I've listened, read, or watched something inspirational (on occasion it is simply a cold shower). Maria Popova says, "We are a collage of our interests, our influences, our inspirations, all the fragmentary impressions we've collected by being alive, and awake to the world. Who we are is simply a finely curated catalog of those." If we curate our lives by the things that grab our attention, be selective, take the long way home, or deal with the Misery. (Get it?)

I don't know if we ever fully realize how we save each other with simple acts of kindness, offers of support, and timely encouragement. But we do and I believe this is simply the nature of us, made in the image of God, designed for good.

More and less by Seth Godin

More creating

Less consuming

More leading

Less following

More contributing

Less taking

More patience

Less intolerance

More connecting

Less isolating

More writing

Less watching 

More optimism 
Less false realism

Check out these inspirational thinkers:

Krista Tippett from On Being

Maria Popova from Brain Pickings

Seth Godin of Typepad

I'm Living in the Gap, drop by anytime.


Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

This was a lovely blog post -- I needed the inspiration especially with tomorrow looming.

Brenda St John Brown said...

Love these words. And Seth Godin's could be a manifesto.

Cheryl Oreglia said...

Thank you Kimberly, I appreciate your kind words. I process most of my worries by writing, gives me a sense of hope, and peace in spite of a chaotic world.

Cheryl Oreglia said...

So happy to find another Seth Godin fan! He always manages to leave me feeling inspired and hopeful. Thank you for reading Brenda.

Carrie Beckort said...

Great post, Cheryl. I agree that we could certainly all do with a bit more of lifting each other up.

Cheryl Oreglia said...

If we collectively offered each other encouragement, praise, and support on a daily basis "what a world it would be!" Thanks for reading.

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