Life of Meaning

On Being Right… Modestly

February 5, 2023 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Be right enough to believe, but never so right you can’t be wrong.”

I once had an exchange with an Episcopalian bishop who told me that although the Scriptures may be right, we as humans are often not so right. I will never forget his comment: “We must hold closely to our beliefs, but with modesty and humility, knowing that we—as humans—could be wrong!”
[Read more…]

The Surprising Value of Self-Centeredness

January 28, 2023 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Our mission is to be the resource that helps achieve the mission. However, if we make ourselves the mission, we will be neither mission nor resource.” Craig D. Lounsbrough 

I was thinking this morning: What if self-centeredness is actually vital for the development of a healthy and completed self? What if we are built (or “hard-wired”) to be self-centered? Finally, what if self-centeredness is the bedrock for other-centeredness?

Hmm, says I.
[Read more…]

Upside-Down Thinking

January 22, 2023 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Abandon knowledge… abandon righteousness… discard profit. These three things are superficial and insufficient. Thus, this teaching has its place: Show plainness, hold simplicity, reduce selfishness, decrease desires.” The Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu

Abandon knowledge and righteousness and then discard profit? Huh? With just six words the 5th century (BC) Chinese sage, Lao Tzu, seems to suggest that I discard three of my most dear values: knowledge, righteousness, and financial profit.

Yet there is more to it, isn’t there?
[Read more…]

Holding the Tension of Opposite Views

January 15, 2023 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

To create peace in our lives—and in our world—we need to be able to sit with frustration and hold the tension of opposite views.” Parker Palmer

Good or bad? Right or wrong?

Dualistic Thinking

Such dualistic decisions are rarely so cut and dried. The most important decisions in life seldom boil down to one of two options. It’s just not that simple, is it? In fact, I am fond of jokingly saying, “Never believe what I say today because, with more information, I might change my mind tomorrow.” Haha. But it’s true!
[Read more…]

The World According to You

December 31, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.” Talmudic Tractate

It may sound egocentric, but it is nevertheless wholly true: You are the center of Your World—not of THE world, but of YOUR world. All that you deeply believe, promote, and even defend finds it origins in your history of experience, your culture, and your personal “make-up.”

I believe it is essential that you give yourself permission to admit that you indeed have governing (and limiting) biases and prejudices that influence your beliefs and actions.
[Read more…]

The High Value of Low Self-Esteem

December 17, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

Self-esteem has two essential and interrelated components: self-competence and self-worth.” Quora

It was in the 1990’s that I first met renowned executive coaching and training expert, Vance Caesar. Vance is a man of insight, intelligence, and a hugely deep heart for the people he serves.

Meetings with a Business Guru

It was during these early encounters that Vance first told me words that have stuck with me for more than 30 years. He stated that we, as coaches, need to always remember “The High Value of Low Self-Esteem.”
[Read more…]

Walking Each Other Home—Ram Dass

December 10, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

The moment we cease to hold each other… the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.” James Baldwin

In the 1980’s I read a book with a striking title, We Really Do Need Each Other. I quite regularly return to the truths implied in that book with the simple title.

We were not created to be alone. We live with an inexhaustible reliance on the love and relational affirmation of others. Even those of us that call ourselves introverted or quasi-isolationists require attentive and committed relationships.

Even the Acquisition of “Stuff” is a Relational Need

When I consider my deepest of needs, I inevitably go to the kinds of needs that cannot be filled by “things” or “more stuff.” But… as I was journaling this morning my mind went to subject of new clothes. I admit: I am a “recovering” clothes addict. Whenever I visit my “go-to” men’s boutique I am literally haunted by the desire to buy at least something—anything—just to walk out feeling good about myself.

And that is what the whole thing is all about, isn’t it? When I purchase classy men’s wear, I feel good about myself because I live in the illusion that others may like me more because I think I look good. (Reading what I just wrote is embarrassing… but true.)

My point in all this, however, is not about new clothes. It’s about lasting and meaningful relationships. Clothes be damned. People are what count.

To Be Human is to Be in Need of Other People

I just finished a book, Nothing Personal, written in 1962 by author, philosopher, and political activist James Baldwin. In the opening quote to this blog, I am drawn to the words of Baldwin whose focus was on what it means to be human in a broken and racist world. Instead of the vitriol like we hear today, he lands on relationships and writes, “The moment we cease to hold each other… the light goes out.

It always seems to come down to this: People in your life really matter. We really do need each other!

Finding Fellow Sojourners

Yes. Ram Dass was right on target. Aren’t we all on a journey of simply “walking each other home?” We are in dire need fellow sojourners in the journey of life. Others that “get us” and accept us anyway.

Just thinking…

We Really Do Need Someone

To Walk Us Home

Photo courtesy of Gujiang xie at istockphoto

Windows to Your Soul

December 3, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

By trying to handle all suffering through willpower, denial, medication, or even therapy, we have forgotten something that should be so obvious: We do not handle suffering: suffering handles us.Richard Rohr

The deepest and most impactful learnings in life come neither from books nor gurus.

I have discovered that, every now and then, I sense very clear view of my most hidden, secret, sometimes painful, and sometimes embarrassing self. I call these times Windows to the Soul.
[Read more…]

3 Simple Questions for a Good Life

November 27, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

At the end of our life we all ask, “Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?Brendon Burchard

Do you find the plethora of “life’s axioms” or suggestions for “living a life that matters” becoming just a bit tiring? For me, there comes a point where the last thing I want is advice.

Executive Coach or Partner in Thought

For the last a couple decades I have found my coaching process has become more one of making suggestions for consideration, than a litany of advice regarding next steps. I guess that is one reason I changed my title from Executive Coach to Partner in Thought.

Perhaps that is also why I am so fond of Brendon Burchard’s three questions: Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter? His questions are so simple yet so powerful they really don’t require a lot of writing. But they do demand consideration.
[Read more…]

The Spirituality of Letting Go

November 19, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 4 Comments

Spirituality is always about letting go.” Richard Rohr

As I have written several times in the past few years, my personal spirituality is now based on lessons I have learned from the mystics like Teresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich, and John of the Cross. And very prominently by contemporary teacher, Richard Rohr.

First Things

It is from these teachers I have discovered that deep spirituality begins with me and my willingness to explore my own predilections, biases, and beliefs. In doing so, I inevitably encounter my own idols—things I choose to hold on to very dearly.

Idolatry, it seems to me, is the primary issue of concern in the Old Testament. God’s people look to a myriad of “things” to worship instead of God—the worship of false idols is of special interest in the mind of God. But what exactly are false idols? Especially, what are the false idols today? And even more important, what are My idols?

False Idols

In the OT false idols were actual idols representing other gods. For us, however, “other gods” are most often the things we have come to adore and follow. In my mind, human nature is built to worship. For that reason, idolatry runs its wicked course through all we do and love in life—sports teams, musicians, political leaders, “successful” people… the list is never-ending and is most certainly particular to each individual.

With that in mind, Richard Rohr prompts us to “let go.” “Spirituality is always about letting go.” That is, letting go of the ties that bind us. And those “ties” are usually the idols we have come to worship.

The Idol of Me

It is at this point the message of the mystics always leads to personal reflection and the uncomfortable realization that the idol I must eventually wrestle with is the “Idol of Me.” This tedious obsession with myself can easily be recognized by my overpowering hunger for power, prestige, and possessions.

And so Richard, with the influence of the community of mystics, guides us to turn to our own individualized idol of the “self.” The Letting Go begins with letting go of our own egoic needs for attention and acquisitions. These egoic needs are always the first and primary roadblock to spirituality.

When Letting Go Becomes Personal

I think it is at this point that the mystics go “from preaching to meddling.” It is at this point the message becomes far too personal. In a world that preaches the problem is typically found “out there” somewhere, the likes of Richard Rohr stir our hearts to look deeply into our own core of needs and beliefs.

My true spirituality can only rise after I come to the place where I can begin to let go… of Me.

Letting Go

Begins with Letting Go of Me

Photo courtesy of SunnyVMD at istockphoto

The Next Chapter Podcast
Living a life of meaning Living a life with adventure Living a life with awe