Life of Meaning

“If Stillness is the Key, Action is the Door.”

November 20, 2021 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Most of us would be seized with fear if our bodies went numb, and would do everything possible to avoid it, yet we take no interest at all in the numbing of our souls. —EPICTETUS” ― Ryan Holiday, Stillness is the Key

Of the three books in Ryan Holiday’s trilogy of Stoic insights my favorite is the final book, Stillness is the Key. Although Ego is the Enemy and The Obstacle is the Way both offer brilliant insights, I believe the fullest life begins with intentional daily alone time, where stillness and contemplation are king.
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You are an Influence: Intentionally or Not

October 23, 2021 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

You don’t have to be a ‘person of influence’ to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.” Scott Adams

At this very moment I am attending a leadership conference with GLN (Global Leadership Network). Only a couple hours ago, the president of the organization, Tom De Vries, said that perhaps the key attribute to great leaders was found in their ability to “influence” others.
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Do Nothing… and Then Rest

October 16, 2021 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward.” Spanish Proverb

Pam and I recently returned from holiday in Spain. The proverb above is Spain, so famous for afternoon siestas. In my opinion, this practice betrays an age-old yet very sophisticated understanding of the richness of a life that is not focused on work. For many Spaniards work is something “you do,” not someone “you are.”
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Intimately Detached

September 29, 2021 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

I still feel no distress, since I am unbruised by the present and unconcerned about the future.”  Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

The more widely I read and travel internationally the more convinced I am of the “wisdom of the ages.”
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A Life Impacting Choice: Contemplate Life

September 18, 2021 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“… the meaning of life is found in every moment of living…” Viktor Frankl

For years I have written about how much I believe that “life is largely a choice.” We can’t always choose our circumstances (although often we can), but we can choose how we respond to our circumstances. Viktor Frankl wrote his most famous book on this subject, Man’s Search for Meaning, based on the lessons he learned from Nazi concentration camps during the holocaust.

Choice Considered

It is written: “Frankl concludes that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living; life never ceases to have meaning, even in suffering and death.” In my mind, to arrive at such a conclusion begins with “deep thought” and with “a mind predisposed toward goodness.” Both of which are a choice.

Who controls your mind? You or others. The default option is to allow others and our past to determine the value of life, while the progressive action is to make personal decisions to do so.

Let me discuss this a bit…

Choice Defined

Let’s get one thing clear to begin with: I fully believe that your life can be both fulfilled and immensely meaningful. If I didn’t detest the word “success” I would be tempted to say, “Yes. You can enjoy a successful life. (Only if success is defined on deeply personal convictions and by the elimination of disquieting voices—both internal and external.)

Regrettably, fulfillment, what I consider to be life’s ultimate accomplishment, comes only as the result of making a choice to unlearn the restrictive narratives we have been told most of our life, unhelpful habits which lead to distraction from essential goodness, and our seemingly insatiable need for power, prestige, and possessions.

As I have written a few times in the past, each day we are faced with two necessary opportunities and choices: (1) to live fully in the present with joy, paying attention and responding to life as it occurs, and (2) to know that whatever we do today is an adventure into Life 101: Lessons for the me (or the wine) I will become tomorrow.

Making “Choice” a Habit

Habits, disciplines, and rituals are customary with all of us, but how many of these are intentionally practiced to lead us to greater understanding of ourselves and the world we live in?

In the last couple of years especially I have come to the conclusion that I, personally, cannot reap the everyday (as well as future) value of my life without contemplation and a bit of journaling. I have learned that I must have regular times set aside for these two essential activities and rare is the day I miss them.

A Choice to Become

As I read the history of deep thinkers and people who make a difference with their lives, I find similar habits: one thing that I find extant in all these people: setting aside time to think (and usually to write—even briefly).

When Contemplation

Becomes Essential for Life

Photo courtesy of fizkes at istockphoto

Love is in the Details

September 4, 2021 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Life is in the details. If you generalize, it doesn’t resonate.” Jacqueline Woodson

I went to a funeral. After a small handful of inspirational speakers presented, a younger man made his way to the front and spoke words from the heart of wisdom. In a very comfortable everyday manner of speech, he prompted us all, several times, not to neglect the “details” of love.

Love is a Verb

As I stood there contemplating his potent words I was reminded of the oft-used phrase, “love is a verb.” Love is an action word, not a concept nor a theology.

And since it is a verb, it is best defined by the adverbs, nouns, or pronouns that follow. Love is best described by the actions it takes and the responses these actions generate. Too often these actions of love go unrecognized if we are not careful to pay attention with the right kinds of eyes and ears.

Unrecognized “Details”

My current coach sends me a book a couple times each month. Unfortunately, too frequently I fail to see the love that she sends with each gift. A friend called yesterday to ask about the source of a quote I used on a blog. When I told him it was unattributed because I was the writer of the quote, he was shocked. “You wrote that??!!” “Haha,” I chanted, “tis true.” What a gift of love.

“Details” That Last

Almost twenty years ago, I was coaching a 12-year-old baseball team at a “Father’s Day” baseball tournament in our area. I jokingly asked the boys, “So… what did you guys get me for Father’s Day (all the while knowing full well they brought nothing).” That was when 12-year-old Joe Musgrove (now a pitcher for the San Diego Padres) piped up, “We’re gonna win you a championship, Coach!” And they did. What a very huge gift of love. Winning only added to the joy of the young Joe Musgrove’s words of love to a coach.

Tis a day I shall take with me to the “Pearly Gates.”

Love is Not

A Nice Theory

Photo courtesy of yacobchuk at istockphoto

 

 

A Weaver and A Thief: On the Craft of Creativity

August 29, 2021 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

I am a Weaver and a Thief. I steal threads from others and weave them into a tapestry of my own.”

Creative ideas are rarely original. More often, creative ideas evolve from the influence others.

This is How You Lose the Time War

On a recommendation from Tim Ferriss for the novella This is How You Lose the Time War, I picked a copy and, as advertised, I couldn’t set it down. Exquisitely as charming as it was insightful, the book instilled a host of new ideas of time and love and even the deep nature of God.
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Unplugging: A Most Neglected Discipline

August 21, 2021 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Things work better when they are unplugged and plugged back in again.” Attributed to Anne LaMott

How many times have the words of Anne LaMott proven to be true for “fixing” problems with your computer, phone, tablet, or TV? We all know that anything electronic frequently only needs a “restart” or “turn off and back on again” as the means to repair troublesome issues.
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Morning Musings

August 19, 2021 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Hey all.

As many of you know, I journal every morning. Nothing in this piece is typical “blog” material. Just thoughts from my heart that I thought I would share.

Charlie

August 11, 2021

Authentic spirituality confidently assumes that God is up to something good, going ahead of us, calling us, embracing us…” Donald McCullough

I am reminded once again the value of patience and the slow work of God. Tertullian calls impatience the “original sin.” I get it. For I find myself always desiring some kind of immediate benefit from my activities. I want what I want and I want it now. I fail to realize that I am already getting precisely what I need… right now. But is it rarely precisely what I want. Sometimes it is precisely what I don’t want, but even then, “God is up to something good…”, it’s just that I am not in a state of mind to see it.

I find this common in prayer, when God fails to “show up” and I feel dry with inclinations that I am wasting my time. But then who is this about? I am making it all about me and not about the Holy One. And that is my preferred state, is it not? To be more concerned about me than the slow, but essential, work of God. It is in these times that God may be doing his most powerful work in my life. It’s just that I need to take a step back… and wait, trusting on his ultimate goodness and wisdom.

 

Seeing Things Real

August 14, 2021 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.” Anaïs Nin

Terry Hershey, in his post Sabbath Moment, writes frequently about a personal (and perhaps societal) malady called scotoma which means, in essence, “selective blindness.” His point is that we all seem to have a dose of this selective blindness.
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