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Life of Meaning

It’s Not Been Easy

August 10, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

One thing rings true in my life… it’s not always been easy.

But I am not alone, am I? In fact, philosophers and modern-day life-gurus all seem to agree that the most successful people in life have endured and overcome serious setbacks and failures.

You know it has become rather common to hear it said that “we don’t have problems, we have opportunities… for growth.” Although that may be true, it is of absolutely no meaning to someone who is experiencing some sort of ongoing trial or struggle. When you are in the middle of it, you often see no way out that is satisfactory. And yet you almost always do find a way to come out on the other side of darkness.

Suffering and the Hero’s Journey

I just listened to a podcast in which the point was made that the other side of darkness (light) requires a journey through that darkness before you can come to the light. Is this not the theme of Joseph Campbell’s study of the hero’s journey? The hero’s journey consists of a broad category of tales and lore that involves a “hero” who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory (often a self-imposed crisis), and then comes home changed or transformed.

Changed or transformed. Such is the blessing of trial and sufferings. You are better for it than you are without it.

I know it today… as I write. I am experiencing a couple of serious trials, which indeed bring about personal suffering. But as one of my trials nears closure I can already see the much needed transformation. I will be better for it.

How about you?

Suffering: The Road to Transformation

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Whatever Became of the Virtue of Kindness?

August 3, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“Nothing can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.” Leo Tolstoy

Like so many character traits that were highly valued even 50 years ago, the virtue of kindness seems to have plunged along with so many other character traits that separate humans from all other species. Traits like humility, generosity, integrity, and honesty have held the civilized world together and if they disappear where are we?
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Your Greatest Freedom: Choice

July 13, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

“The only thing they can’t take away from me is my freedom to make choices.” Elie Wiesel

Stuck! How often do you feel stuck by your situation in life? You know, the times it feels like some controlling influence may be stuffing you into a box, convinced that is where you belong, whether you approve or not. And then how often are you your own worst enemy allowing fear of change to influence your decision to stay put in an unpleasant, disrupting or even dangerous position?
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What’s the Purpose of Having a Purpose?

July 6, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation and encourages perseverance.” Gary Hamel

Oh, how much time I have consumed pondering the purpose of my life! It seems I am not the only one given the, probably, multi-thousands of books written on the subject.
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Things Aren’t the Way We Hoped They Would Be

June 15, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 3 Comments

“What the thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.” John Lennon

I just recently went to a movie titled Echo in the Canyon. It was all about the beginnings of a whole new kind of music, kind of mixture of folk music and eclectic guitar. Truly, the very, very beginnings of what we now call rock ‘n roll. Featuring music by Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and the Mamas and Papas including interviews with David Crosby, Steven Stills, Jackson Brown, and a lot with Tom Petty.
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The Dangers of Genuine Dialogue

June 8, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Satire is, by definition, offensive. It is meant to make us feel uncomfortable. It is meant to make us scratch our heads, think, do a double-take, and then think again. Maajid Nawaz

It seems to me that it really isn’t really possible to conduct genuine dialogue or discussion without being offensive. I’m not talking about being rude or obnoxious, I am simply talking about telling the truth as you see it. Because when you do, someone with the opposite opinion will most certainly take offense. The result is too often angry name-calling, a rise in ire, and even total dissociation.

Free Speech???

I guess you could classify my political leanings as center left and yet I remain appalled by the political correctness that is degrading our constitutional right to free speech. Unfortunately it seems that political correctness is rampant in many or perhaps even most college campuses where we are supposed to be teaching young people to “think” with an open mind.

In 2015 (four years ago), in an interview on ESPN Radio with Colin Cowherd, Jerry Seinfeld discussed the growing trend of comedians avoiding college campuses for fear of backlash over political correctness. Chris Rock followed with this… ““I stopped playing colleges, and the reason is because they’re way too conservative,” he added, “Not in their political views — not like they’re voting Republican — but in their social views and their unwillingness to offend anybody.”

I think of my friend Terry who is much more liberal than I am. We have political discussions frequently, vehemently disagree on many topics and yet we have found a way to do so without damaging our friendship. I just called Terry on this subject and he told me his objective in any conversation is to “learn something new.”

Learning Something New

I am currently deep in the throes of two debates in which I am trying to understand each side better—both with politically correct implications. One is a theological debate on the function of Easter and the other is attempting to try to better understand the positions of the right and the left in political debate. I YouTube both Fox News and MSNBC to try to understand each side. Unfortunately I feel I am in need of another resource because each side is so entrenched in vitriol toward the other that I cannot find what I consider truth from either one.

So what is the solution? Quit being so damned offended. Another person’s opinion should literally have no effect whatsoever on my personal ideas. In fact, if I am open, I just might learn something.

Perhaps this comes with age. At nearly 70 I know a lot fewer things “for sure” than I did when I was 35. I am open to radical ideas—as long as they pass the “well thought through test.”

And You?

How about you? Send me a comment.

Freedom of Speech

A Losing Right

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Contemplation Before Action

June 1, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.” Meister Eckhart

We live in a world that values action. Indeed some things don’t require much thought, but that is not what I am writing about. Some people are more prone to contemplate and consider the value and intent of actions than others and yet, it is essential for all of us to consider the value of our beliefs and our actions.
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Apathy: A Key Stage to Growth

May 18, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

It is often when night looks darkest… when one feels that resurrection of hope in the midst of despair and apathy. Hillary Clinton

I recently did a podcast on the tragedy of apathy both personally and politically. It seems people of all generations are losing confidence in the prosperous and meaningful future to which they have become accustomed.
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Successful or Useful?

May 4, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“… you seem to spend a lot of energy on the question of how to be successful. But that is the wrong question… The question is: how to be useful!” Peter Drucker to Jim Collins

Aristotle said it best… “A person’s purpose in life is to contribute to the value of society.” I cling to his words with tenacity because I feel they define how I can make a difference in my short stay on this planet.
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