Tag Archives: Steve Jobs

Day of Rest

In my studies of Buddhism, I am constantly reminded that everything is the path. Good, bad, and indifferent, spiritual or secular, there is an opportunity to learn, to practice. No matter what comes, no matter what is, the instruction is to open to it, surrender to the moment, connect with the reality of experience.

Of course, when things are bad, this is harder to do. When someone you love is dying, and then when they are finally gone, it’s hard to stay present, open to the pain, to face the reality that they are gone. The amazing Amy McCracken said it best, when she talked about sweet Alyssa Doane’s memorial service,

Alyssa was buried this morning.
Despite all of the pretty flowers
and hundreds of messages
of love and support and the promise
that she was no longer suffering
and already dancing in heaven,
seeing Floppy in her casket and her mom at the grave site
made me want to go home and sleep for the rest of my life.

I cry every time I read that, for Amy, for Alyssa, for Alyssa’s mom, for everyone who loved Alyssa, for me and for everyone who’s ever lost someone they love, for the fact that so many of us can read what Amy wrote and even if we don’t know her or Alyssa, we know just what that feels like.

I’ve been reading Pema Chödrön’s book Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, trying to understand how to do just that, live with uncertainty and change, with the promise of impermanence and mortality. Pema shares a quote from Steve Jobs that is helpful,

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

No reason not to keep your heart open, let it all in. We all bought tickets for a airplane ride where the guaranteed ending is not a wonderful vacation but rather a fiery crash in which we are all going to die, we are taking a ride on a boat guaranteed to sink — this is the deal. I know this intellectually, and yet my heart keeps getting broken by it, I still want to “go home and sleep for the rest of my life.” I try to be curious, open, gentle, but I fail.

Pema says,

We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen, so today I’m trying to make a little room, create some space, allow breath to be breath, love to be love, grief to be grief — allowing it all to just be.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: You can’t do everything. For starters, you have a body that has real limits, edges and absolutes, a soft animal form that needs breaks for rest, nourishment, and maintenance. Your mind cannot insist this frame, this figure, this shape do more than it can do–that only invites illness and collapse. Your mind needs breaks too, to revive it’s creative energy, to day dream and play, to get quiet and still, even though it doesn’t like to admit it. And your heart, bless your heart–it will let you break it over and over again with your bullying and demands, it will forgive you for each and every abandonment, but the unhealed grief that comes from that process will one day knock you flat.

Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. ~Steve Jobs

2. Truth: It’s okay to stop, to rest, to say no. In fact, it’s more than okay–it’s essential. The good work you imagine, the love you long to manifest, will never be fully realized unless you take care of yourself, stop smashing yourself to bits. You will shred yourself, turn to ashes if you don’t lie down and let go, calm down, slow down, surrender.

The love and good and the wild and the peace and creation that are you will reveal themselves, but it is harder when they have to catch up to you in roadrunner mode. ~Anne Lamott

3. Truth: Enough. It’s enough. There is enough. You are enough. You are doing the best you can, can’t do or be any more than that. Even if you never do another thing, it’s enough. You are already light, you are already wise and kind, you are already loved. You are. There’s no test, no goal, no should or have to, no destination other than here–there is only breath, and only this moment. You are medicine, magic, love manifested, precious and brilliant.

We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be. ~Anne Lamott

One wish: That we can all slow down, stop pushing so hard and insisting on so much, and that we, once and for all, finally know that we are enough, already and exactly as we are.

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.
~Shel Silverstein

Let go.

Dear kind and gentle reader,

I have been in a funk all day, generally fussy, frustrated and foggy. It actually started yesterday.  I was sad about Steve Jobs, but it was a tender and raw sad that made me recommit to having a life that was whole and real.  Then I remembered that Saturday, tomorrow, is my friend Kelly’s birthday.  She passed away on May 14, 2010, and I spend every day missing her, but again this is a sadness that, though deeper than the other, fuels my desire to live a better life, to not give up.

Then I got some family news that I won’t share here, but I’ll just say that we must remember that even when we can’t keep someone we love safe, when we can’t help them and they don’t seem to want or be able to help themselves, when we have trouble dealing with the worry and stress and anger, we MUST remember to take care of ourselves.

And then, this morning, an email from Brave Girls Club. It was all about letting go, “Your heart and your gut know exactly what you need to let go of, even if your brain is giving you all sorts of reasons to clamp your fingers around it.”  Last week’s theme in my Mondo Beyondo class was about creating a clearing, “a gap, a wide open empty space for your dreams to find their way in,” “a wide open empty space in your life that is ready for something new or amazing to emerge.” I started thinking about all the things I’ve been forced to let go, needed to let go, let go because there was no other option, and all of the things I probably should let go of, still need to clear out. *sigh*

Then I saw an article in the local paper about one of my yoga buddies.  We’ve been practicing together for over four years, and I knew she’d had breast cancer, was still dealing with cancer related issues, but I had no idea how bad her cancer really is: “Now, it’s in my bones. It’s in all the lobes of my lungs. It’s in my lymph nodes.”  I am still in shock.  We practiced together this morning and stayed and talked for a bit after, about the article, about her cancer, about her life.  She kicks my butt every yoga class, does things I can’t, and always makes me laugh.  That voice inside my head, the one that started when Obi was diagnosed, then Kelly, and then when Obi died, followed by Kelly, starts to sob again “but it’s not fair!”

I am humbled, confused, sad, angry, broken, messy, and so tired.  I am not giving up, and I still am so in love with all of it, but…sometimes it’s just so hard.  Do you know what I mean?

This video is one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Rosie Thomas: “Kite Song.” I dedicate it to all of us who are trying so hard to hold on, so hard to let go. I wish all of us some peace.

Oh, tie me to the end of a kite
So I can go on, I can go on with my life
Every marigold I pass below will be my guiding light
I just want to go away from here

Oh, tie me to the end of a kite
So I can go on, I can go on with my life
Every time the wind blows stronger,
I will feel my spirit rise
I just want to go away from here

Oh, tie me up tightly by your side
So I may go with you where ever you reside
And anytime the road looks dimmer
I will be your guiding light
I just want to go away with you

  • It will be hard, but it will also be okay.  Take a deep breath and let it out, let it go.

“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

I am not an iPerson.  I appreciate the technology, am jealous of all the fun people with Apple products can have (for example: Instagram), I just don’t own any of it. When it came time for me to buy an mp3 player, I chose a Creative Zen instead of an iPod.  Instead of an iPhone, I have a Virgin Mobile pay as you go flip phone that can’t even take pictures.  And for my laptop, no iPad for me, but rather a ASUS Eee Netbook.

Part of it is that I’m cheap, and a pleasure delayer, and I try very hard to live a simple life with as little attachment to stuff as possible.  My husband and I have a long standing habit of discussing a new purchase (couch, TV, dishwasher) for at least five years before actually going through with it.  Early on it was because we didn’t have any money, later it was because we’d made a few purchases that we’d then regretted (a $500 Palm Pilot that Eric hardly used, and a 1977 Nissan 260Z that we nicknamed “the money pit”).  Then it was just that we realized if we put off a purchase, we’d have more time to consider why we wanted the thing, to think about if it were really what we wanted or if there were actually some other need we were attempting to fill that could be taken care of some other way.

So, the fact that Steve Jobs was the Apple guy isn’t why I’m sad today. I’m sad because another bright light, someone who cared about doing great work, who was creative and inspiring, was taken by cancer.

This morning, I re-watched his 2005 graduation speech at Stanford University. There are so many bright and shiny moments of truth here.

For example, “And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.”  This is such a good reminder, that we should be following these things.  It encourages me to keep going, to stay on the path.  And I love that he says these priceless things were “stumbled into”–no graceful, choreographed moments, no plan, but rather it was messy and accidental, and there most likely was the risk of injury.

Then, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” You can’t know where any of this will lead, you can’t wait until you have a really great idea before you start.  You have to trust in what you are doing, in what is leading you.  And be prepared, because “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith, ” because that’s okay too, part of the process. If you get knocked down, get back up again. Get moving, and keep moving, and trust that it is all going to make sense in the end.

And for me, who is struggling to align my purpose, my passion with what I am doing with my life, this: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”  This, particularly, causes the butterflies in my stomach to flutter, but that’s okay, because “You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

And finally, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Thank you, Steve Jobs. Thank you for reminding me to trust myself, my heart, my curiosity and my intuition.  Thank you for reminding me that I don’t have any more time to waste, that death is right there, every day.  Thank you for reminding me about the great work and trusting in the path because there is love there, and that it will manifest into something I can’t imagine for myself now, but to have faith.  Thank you for reminding me not to settle.

And to you Cancer, I don’t need to say it again, you already know how I feel about you.

  • “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”  How can you honor these words and yourself today?