Life of Meaning

Consider It Done… For Now

February 20, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

To rest is to prepare to give the best of ourselves.” David Whyte

During a recent 20-hour flight, I listened to an insightful book by computer science guru Cal Newport, titled Deep Work. His theory is that in our distracted, busy, and demanding lives we most often fail to delegate sufficient time to thinking deeply. But more on that another time.
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Broken for “Good”

February 12, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Just as bread needs to be broken in order to be given, so, too, do our lives.” Henri Nouwen from Bill Britton

I would call Henri Nouwen both prophet and pastor. Although he died in 1996, having written more than 40 books, he leaves behind a legacy of wisdom. Nouwen spoke truth, the kind of truth that no one wants to hear, but he was graced to speak that truth with deep love and honesty and to do so without any judgment.
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You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have

February 5, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“Receiving is harder than giving, son. But gifts are made to be accepted.” Dani HarperStorm Warned

In January 2020 I attended a mostly silent 10-day retreat in Hawaii where we were encouraged to bring with us our “intention” for the retreat. The question asked of us was, “What do you to hope to learn and receive in our time together?

Learn to Receive Love

In 2020, my intention for our time together was to learn to “receive love.” I felt that while I was pretty good at giving love, I often deflected love (and compliments) offered by other people because down deep I was convinced that I didn’t deserve it. “If you only knew the real me there is no way you could love me,” was my recurring objection.

In the 2 years after that 10-day session and tons of work in prayer and contemplation I have come to conclusion that I am indeed worthy of love… as are we all. And yet so many of us don’t believe it. I think we can be harder on ourselves than others are.

I continue thinking on “The Connectivity Quotient” and why it continues to be so vital in the endless stream of human needs. You see, I believe we are created as relational beings and therefore we find connectivity both tantalizing and daunting. Within each of us lies a fundamental driving desire to be deeply known and to be deeply loved for it. Yet, also dwelling within can be found an almost paralyzing fear of both.

When we view ourselves as unlovable, we become fearful of letting another person into our vulnerable selves. So, we put on our mask or as Susan Howatch calls it, our Glittering Images. And we end up relationally alone. Such a terribly lonely place. This results in an inability to genuinely connect with another because we have nothing to give. Our cup of love is broken and leaking.

It Takes Self-Love to Seek Other-Love

However, with just a tiny bit of self-love and a desire to seek love from another, we can more easily actively embrace a desire to connect meaningfully with select others. Such connections truly make life worth living. Relational connection, just like electricity, is a conduit for the transference of energy. It’s when your energy and mine connect and the two of us discover a flash of recognition: we are on the same energetic wavelength.

I can think of few joys greater than soulful and energetic connection with another.

It’s about a hunger to share our most intimate selves, discover a correlation that supports both our unique and distinct ideas and feeling. For just a moment I am at one with another human being.

When Connection is Divine 

And for just a moment I am more at one with myself than ever before.

Every mystical teaching is based on this one desire: Connection/Intimacy with the Divine. And connectivity with another person is merely a reflection of that divine need.

Meaningful Connection

Begins with Receiving, Then Giving Love

Photo courtesy of fizkes at istockphoto

3 Essential Needs of the Soul

January 15, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

The human soul… simply wants to be witnessed — to be seen, heard, and companioned exactly as it is.” Parker Palmer

It was more than two decades ago that a therapist explained to me about what he understood as 3 fundamental human needs: to be heard, to be cared for, and to be accepted (by someone or some thing significant).
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Resolutions Worth Pondering

January 3, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

“… if Montaigne was right — he was — that philosophy is the art of learning to die, then living wisely is the art of learning how you will wish to have lived. A kind of resolution in reverse.” Maria Popova

I am a huge fan of the writings and wisdom of Maria Popova in her brilliant book reviews and commentaries found in Brainpickings, (renamed the Marginalian upon its 15th birthday in 2021).

Maria began her post in 2006 by writing weekly book reviews and commentaries for seven friends. The audience has since expanded to 1.2 million reader per month. Yikes!

Yesterday I received the New Year’s edition of her weekly post only to discover 10 wise suggestions to consider for engaging in a year of depth and wonder. I found her ideas so remarkable that I wish to share them with you.

I hope this may incent you to check Maria’s writings at The Marginalian.

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  1. HANNAH ARENDT: Love Without Fear of Loss
  2. TONI MORRISON: Cherish Your Body
  3. VIKTOR FRANKL: Have More Music and Nature in Your Life
  4. LEO TOLSTOY: Choose Kindness
  5. JAMES BALDWIN: Have Tenderness for How Hard It Is to be Human
  6. RACHEL CARSON: Embrace the Loneliness of Creative Work
  7. URSULA K. LE GUIN: Converse If You Care
  8. SENECA: Vanquish Your Anxiety
  9. BERTRAND RUSSELL: Broaden Your Life as It Grows Shorter
  10. WALT WHITMAN: Live with Absolute Aliveness

If I were forced to narrow my list to only three, I would choose Hannah Arendt, Leo Tolstoy, and Seneca.

Perhaps you might want to ponder these suggestions briefly and then… Tell me, which three strike you the most. I’d love to hear.

Photo courtesy of nortonrsx at istockphoto

 

Patience: Shiny Objects and Shiny Thoughts

December 26, 2021 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

A person who is a master of patience is master of everything else.” George Savile

You can become anything you want to be.” Or, “You deserve it.” These two phrases are common in American culture. They reflect our overhyped need for “new and improved.” The result: Shiny New Objects—a never-ending pursuit of something new to own or even something new to think.
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Wellbeing, Kindness, and Love

December 18, 2021 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“Human beings want much more in life than not to be miserable. They want wellbeing.” Dr Martin Seligman

For the first time in nearly five years of blogging, I have failed to send a blog post for two consecutive weeks (except for a time or two when I was out of the country). It’s not that I haven’t attempted to write. It’s because my mind feels overwhelmed by so many sources of unwanted stimuli like Covid and masks and communal/personal safety and a myriad of other stuff.
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“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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