I'm sure today's ruling by The Supreme Court, that it is unconstitutional to ban gay marriage, is alarming to some.  After all, what will become of this country or this world if our governments stop meddling in our personal affairs?  What will become of our children if we don't shame them from a very young age for being "different"?  It sends shivers up and down my spine to think that someone with beliefs other than my own will be treated fairly under the law.

It's not a question of whether you agree with gay marriage.  It's a question of whether you believe in a person's right to be themselves and pursue a life of their own choosing, without shame

Zen Presence

Your Intention?

"You are a selfish asshole and I hate you!"


"That was rude and really hurt my feelings.  I'm very hurt right now so please leave me alone."

Stop, breathe, and separate yourself from your emotions before responding.  What is your intention?

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

Contribution and Seth Godin's Blog

Someone very close to me asked me yesterday, "What can we do to contribute, to make a difference?"  I rambled off a few things but didn't really give a clear answer.  I wasn't sure how to put my answer in words but here goes. 

Perhaps the most important contributions we can make are not the big things, but the way we live our lives everyday and how we treat others.  We don't have to be on the evening news to contribute.  The examples we set, the way we treat those around us, the encouragement we offer, the smiles we give - these are the ways we contribute. 

I recall a fifth-grade teacher telling me that I was smart and good at math.... and so I was.   When I was young a neighbor, Donny Rainey, spent a majority of his free time working with young men through the youth football league and the Boy Scouts of America.   He believed that we were worthy of  his time and attention and so we were. 

We don't have to live by other's expectations, but often we will. What possibilities and expectations do you communicate to the people around you?

Seth Godin hits the mark more precisely below:

There are limits all around us, stereotypes, unlevel playing fields, systemic challenges where there should be support instead. A quiet but intensely corrosive impact these injustices create is in the minds of the disenfranchised, in their perception of what is possible.
The mirror we hold up to the person next to us is one of the most important pictures she will ever see.
If we can help just one person refuse to accept false limits, we've made a contribution. If we can give people the education, the tools and the access they need to reach their goals, we've made a difference. And if we can help erase the systemic stories, traditions and policies that push entire groups of people to insist on less, we've changed the world. 

Please read Seth's entire post here.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

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Playing it Safe

If you are participating in a marathon it might be a good idea to hold back a little in the beginning.  Few can run full-out for 26 miles.  There are times when it is best to be safe and keep a little in reserve.

If you are out to win a sprint or are out to set a record in the high vault  then a different strategy may be in order. It would make little sense to hold back when jumping a deep ravine or running for your life.

The same is true in our personal and business lives.  I think most people's default strategy is to hold back and play it safe.  Be sure which type of strategy will bring about the results you desire.  Sure, you don't want to burn out 5 miles into a long race, but you damn sure don't want to hold back a little and be six inches short of making the jump across a ravine.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

When it counts

I try to be kind and I'm a pretty nice guy most of the time. 

If things are going well, I'd say I'm a pretty nice guy.  I love making people smile and when they smile, I smile.  If we agree on something I light up and get excited.  When my job is going well, when the bills are all paid, and things are generally good - then I'm a pretty nice guy. 

I'm a pretty nice guy except when it counts.  When the chips are down, if someone is mean or upset with me then I get scared and I'm an ASS.  If you lash out at me, chances are I'm going to lash back. 

It's easy to be nice sometimes.  I want to be kind ALWAYS.  May we all learn to be kind and understanding with one another - when it counts.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

Selfish Acts of Generosity

My wife paid about 30 percent above the "Walmart" price for a bike light yesterday.  My first gut reaction was "NO, we could get that cheaper at....", but I like having a bike shop in town.  Walmart may have cheaper bicycle parts but they won't tell us where the best trails are, give us free advice on maintaining our bikes, and besides the people at Over the Edge are just plain friendly.

Buying organic and (preferably) locally grown produce can be more expensive than factory farmed produce from the big supermarkets but I like to encourage sustainable practices.  I also prefer to know where and how my food was grown.  I'm not so sure someone 5,000 miles away really cares about my health and well being.

Even in years of extreme financial scarcity I donate to charities that I believe in.  I want to live in a caring world.

When I'm tired and feel spent, I still spend time with my granddaughter.  I want her to grow up strong, happy, and to feel loved. 

Thank you Ann for the reminder.  Domino's may be cheaper than The Hot Tomato, but Domino's doesn't sponsor live music or socially active poets along with their pies.  I guess - I hope - you get what you support.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living


Happiness.  We all seek it.  We call it many things: money, security, family, achievement... but it is happiness we want in the end.

We require money to live in this world and it can be very useful for achieving worthwhile goals.  Men like Richard Branson, Ted Turner, Warren Buffet and many others are using their money to better the world.

Security is nice.  It pulls us out of survival mode and allows us to perform art and meaningful things with our time. 

Family can give us a sense of well being and bring meaning to our lives. 

Achievement can measure our effectiveness in this world but is not foolproof.  We have to be careful about the metrics we are using to measure our achievement and be sure they have any bearings on our end goals.

All of these things are nice and are a part of life.  They are tools to be used to achieve our goals and can lead to happiness, but let us not confuse them with the goal.  It's easy to get lost.  They say the road to hell was paved with good intentions. 

Identify your core values.  Look deeply.  Are you on track?


Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living