Friday, July 18, 2008


When you walk into a Waffle House restaurant there is usually s sign that says "You had a choice and you choose us". It goes on to say how much they appreciate your business. It sometimes reminds me that life is full of choices and occasionally consequences. Sometimes when I choose Waffle House I get a wonderful waffle. A few times I have chosen Waffle House and gotten runny eggs. I like my yolk to be soft but I hate it when the egg whites are runny! Let me now segue from waffles and omelets to friendship. I think a lot about friendship because I am blessed with many good friends. Certainly a big part of the reason I have chosen certain people to be my friends is because there is an obvious connection. Life just seems to send certain people into our lives with whom we feel an immediate and sometimes intimate connection. Sometimes the reason for the connection is obvious and other times there may be a bit of a mystery as to why we feel this connection. I must assume that people who choose me to be their friend feel this way about me. Beyond this inner circle of special people with whom we feel connected, there may be many more with whom we have an enjoyable comfort level. Beyond that there may be a few people with whom we simply do not click and no amount of effort will make it happen. I am glad that some people have accepted the invitation to be my friend and that they have also allowed me to be part of their life. A good friend is a gift to be treasured. People will drift in and out of your life, but if you are blessed, a few will be part of your life forever.

Speaking of friends.....

I had a voicemail yesterday from an old friend who thought of me while listening to some music that I introduced to him. It was a classic album/CD called "Ginger Baker's Air Force Live at the Royal Albert Hall". It's an awesome piece of music full of African percussion, jazzy horns, and a rock and roll beat. You can't sit still when you listen to this music. So, when I got home last night I put it on and jammed while doing the laundry. This CD is a little hard to find but I highly recommend it for those that might like rock and roll with a big band sound. This was "World Beat" music before it had a name.

Sometimes you hear people says things like, "He didn't react quick enough to the situation" or "She totally overreacted to what happened". These types of reactions come from our gut. I know because my personality type is a "gut type". Sometimes I react to situations quickly and from the gut without thinking first. It's not all bad. I can get really excited about a sunrise or a sunset and have an immediate and emotional response to the beauty. I can also quickly overreact to something that doesn't please me or I don't like. Later, after settling down a bit and processing it through my head, I can be more accepting. Like most things in life, passion has its pros and cons. What I try to do in my life is have the more Zen Buddhist approach to situations. For me this means a thoughtful and considered response rather than a reaction to events or situations. When something happens I try to breathe first and then respond. This does not come naturally to me and it is a discipline I am still trying to master. In so much of my life, whether it is my personal life or my working life, I am either responding emotionally and reactively or I am surrounded by others doing it. Often it seems we are all so upset about everything. We live in an unhealthy tension created by overly emotional reactions to life. I am not sure at what point everything in life became urgent and critical. Is it really or does it just seem that way because of the way we deal with it? What ever happened to just dealing with things instead of freaking out all the time? The stress and the tension we create for ourselves because of unhealthy ways of reacting to life saps us of the energy that could be directed towards creative solutions to life's challenges. In 57 years of living s I have experienced very little that was truly urgent or critical. Most of my life experiences that have been less than enjoyable were, at best, inconvenient or annoying. I have yet to witness the world stop spinning or the sun not rising. Life will go on at his own momentum in spite of our reactions to it. I am not in denial that sometimes life has it's critical moments that require action and immediacy. However, not every moment of every day meets this criteria. Let's all relax and strive to bring some calmness to the chaos that most of us often feel in our lives. I challenge all of us, when we are tempted to have a knee jerk response to anything, to breathe for a minute and respond in a thoughtful and considered manner. Try it. I hope it's contagious.

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