Letting Go

The young boy, my guess is 3 or 4 years of age, was having the time of his life!  The object of his attention was a toy car, but on this day, it could have been anything.  The weather was perfect, parents and friends were in fun spirits, and then there was his imagination!  He was in a world of his own imagination and he welcome anyone and everyone who wanted to join him.

In his joy, he did not know that the parents in the group had chosen to give everyone a treat with the ice cream man.  The moms had decided that wet tissues and clean hands was going to be a required step before anyone could get into the queue, dads included.  The dads were the first to get the clean treatment.  With a bit of joking that they were old enough to decide (the winner in every case was a woman), the kids were next.  For the young boy with the car, it was impossible for him to see beyond the reality that he needed to let go of the car! read more

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As I think of the battles I have found over the years, an ally I always wanted on my side was Justice.  Friends of justice included Truth, Honor, Righteousness, Fairness, and Accountability.  I believed that if I brought this six-pack with Justice at the point, anything I was trying to do under this banner would work!

When I reflect with the benefit of time, I wonder.  What made me so sure that I knew what was right?  Did I look for a consensus?  If so, was I listening to the answers?  It is hard to find any memories supporting a “yes” answer. read more

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My mother had a recurring comment when I was doing things, especially during my university days, that were beyond her comfort limit; “If you choose to play around mud puddles at some point you are going to get mud on you.”

I recently realized that I have watched good friends indulging in life beyond my comfort zone.  As much as I respect each as an adult, I do worry.  I believe in the cliché; friends do not let friends do certain things.  In the recent cases, there were no cars, or dangerous equipment involved, so the challenge did not immediate involve the health and safety of others.  The question that remains is how to remind others as well as myself of the mud puddles in our lives. read more

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There is a wonderful irony that comes with age.  It is one where I love, demand, and relish while also hating and wishing it was not completely true.  With age comes an ability to make decisions with more and more freedom.  Initially our freedom is realized in our self-awareness that we are adults.  It grows as we embrace the reality that we are our own primary point of accountability.  It grows even further when we let go of the need for the approval and affirmation of others.

The irony is that the freedom was realizes with age has always been here.  From our first self-awareness of being an independent being, we have had the freedom and ability to choose our future.  The difference between those early days and now, at least for me, is that there is no-one to protect me from myself. read more

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Equations Plus

In my younger days, I was known for looking at life through a lens of formulas, equations, and analytics.  Every experience and event in life could be distilled, analyzed, and categorized.  With the data points, one could and should calculate the alternatives, rank and risk rate, and then choose.  Any deviation was an expression of failure, at least mental if not moral.

I may have been smart, but I was dumb.  If I had to pick one word to sum up my perspective I choose “idiot”.  Life is so much more than data points, big or small, formulas, and logical outcomes.  The missing elements in my perspective included the mysterious and unquantifiable stuff of life that I look for.  They include beauty, compassion, community, wonder, and love. read more

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I am not a big fan of returning gifts.  Even as I think it is fine for others, I take a different path for myself when it comes I receive.  To be clear, there are gifts that come my way that are nothing like I expect or would normally consider.  The nuance is in what I do when I receive the unexpected.

My goal, triggered by a reaction that I wish I could undo, is to accept with a smile and commitment to enjoy the gift as best as I can.  Over a decade ago, I received a gift from someone who cared.  The gift had, from the giver’s perspective, my name written all over!  Hand crafted, wood based, and environmental friendly – it was a wonderful and unique combination. read more

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The son’s picture is so much like his father.  It is more than the shape of his head and physical features.  It is the look in the eyes and the playful way of engaging with life that has moved seamlessly from one generation to the next.  It is a great reminder that children are one of the memorial left to future generations, hopefully of the best from both sides.

I know it does not always turn out like we planned.  Relationships frazzle, twisted thinking, and pain haunt everyone’s life at one time or another.  In our reactions to the good and the bad, beautiful and inspirational along with the destructive and the painful, we make good choices as well as ones less so.  As a child and then young adult, I always reacted in frustration when my mother reminded me that what I did spoke of her as well as my father.  I disagreed then, much less so now. read more

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As we collectively take time to remember, often with a sense of nostalgia, it is interesting to note that is not in my images, memories, and emotions.  The biggest blank space is reserved for those that acted with malice and intent of hurting me, especially professionally!  Almost as if it was a blessing, I dimly see a face or two, sense their presence, but in the main there is nothing.  I cannot remember the normal details such as their title, the possible reasons for their ugly behavior, or anything about their backgrounds.  It is as if they are an example of the old curse; “Chop down his family tree so that nobody even remembers his name.” (Psalm 109.13) read more

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There are many reasons for one to give up one’s role.  As I watched two tissue sellers work the hawker crown, trying to make a little money, I wondered if I had joined the ranks of those abdicating their responsibilities to their brothers and sisters.

A bit of background.  An unusual cultural nuance, at least to western practices, is the fact that Singapore hawker venues to not include paper napkins or tissue with a meal.  It is not a norm.  Additionally, nobody expects it.  One consequence is that most people carry a packet of tissue with them.  In addition to functioning as paper napkins, they can be used for table cleaning and when placed on a table, a token to reserve one’s seat.  While willingly shared, tissue packets are respected and honored as something you are responsible for. read more

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Watching interactions between competitive individuals, children and adults, is always fun.  Two recent scenes that played out reminded me of the pointlessness of retribution.  The visible motivation is negative – let one side inflict the greatest hurt on the other.  In the absence of anything positive, the motivating factor is an event from the past.

In child terms, it is almost always personal – my hand or an instrument of my hand is going to cause you pain.  One do not need words.  It is simple, direct, and often totally transparent. read more

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