What Really Matters

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What really matters is not what kind of car you drive.

Or if you choose to walk everywhere you go.

It’s not what size you are or the density of your muscle mass.

It’s not where you live.

It’s not whether you stick to your diet and exercise daily.

It’s not your corner office, your job title or how well you play office politics.

The color of your hair, the size of your bank account, the desirable location of your second home?

None of this really matters.

What does really matter, then?

How you love.

Who you love.

The times we remember our whole lives are the times we loved deeply – even if we were sleeping on the floor with our family, lit by candles because there was no money for electricity or water, and only a little bit for food.

Those lean times are the moments which bond us.

Maybe because those are the times we are especially grateful for the little things. And the big things, too.

The big things like that we loved. That we were connected. That we took care of one another. Looked out for one another.

You and I know in our hearts that this is what really matters.

And you and I know that sometimes we need to re-center in love in order to re-center in our lives.

Watch this, and see what really matters in action. Watch this, and re-center:

Enough Advice Already

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Aren’t you weary of all the people out there giving advice? I am.

Pundits proclaim that this candidate is up, or that one is. Polls are accurate, polls lie. He’s five points up, seven points up, thirteen points down; there’s a bounce, no-bounce. He should attack, he’s too nice; he makes sense, he doesn’t make sense. Vote for him, vote for her, vote against him, vote against her.

Aaaargh.

Then there’s our financial situation.

One guy says, “Pay only cash!” and another says, “Use your credit or you’ll lose it!”

One woman, the one with those oddly transfixing eyes (you know who I mean), says, “Make an extra mortgage payment to lower your principal” and the other female financial advisor says, “Don’t make that extra mortgage payment — put it in savings in case you lose your job.”

Honestly, I have advice fatigue.

So, I’m not going to give you advice on the economy or the campaign or building a business or even home decorating.

I’m going to remind you that life is short. You have been through difficulties before and you’ve done OK. Maybe even done very well. You’re resilient. We’re all resilient.

Do you know your own personal situation? If you’re in trouble, you’re going to figure out a way to deal with it. And if you need help, you’ll be able to find it.

I want to remind you that this, too, shall pass.

It always has.

So, love, live, enjoy. Gather around your friends, family and the things that make you stronger.

Because the truth — regardless of elections or recessions or rising waves of uncertainty — is this: If you’re doing the right thing, the right thing will always happen. I said “the right thing” — not the expedient thing, or the easy thing, or the most comfortable thing. You always know what the right thing is. Just keep doing it. And you’ll find that the right things will happen for you.

When Life Meets The Fairy Tale

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At this time of the year there are so many expectations. It’s as if we’ve bought into a collective fairy tale, and it goes something like this:

It’s Christmas morning. A large, happy, healthy, attractive, educated, polite, loving family gathers in tasteful bathrobes and slippers under a tastefully decorated tree in a tastefully decorated, expansive home. Beautiful little children are appropriately excited, and the well-behaved, well-groomed dog lazes nearby. A fire crackles in the hearth.

Let’s put you in the scene, now. Your handsome, loving spouse sits with you on the couch, your head on his shoulder, his arm around you. He pulls out the most beautifully wrapped box. You open it, eyes wide. It’s perfect. You kiss passionately. Your attractive and healthy parents link arms and smile in appreciation for such a wonderful son-in-law. His equally attractive and healthy parents beam smiles in their heroic son’s direction.

And everyone lives happily ever after, having had The Perfect Christmas.

Nice story, huh? But real life often fails to match up to this fairy tale, and we feel somehow cheated, disappointed, less than, or maybe even mad.

Because real life can be messy.

Maybe this is the first Christmas you’ve had to plan, organize and shop for — because your wife will be in Baghdad this year.

Maybe this year you won’t get a gift from your spouse — because his Alzheimer’s has robbed him of the ability to think of you as anything but that nice woman who visits him every day.

Maybe this year you’ll be alone on Christmas morning, because it’s your ex-spouse’s turn to have the kids.

Maybe there won’t be a perfect present under the tree because there’s not enough money for the tree, let alone gifts.

Maybe you’ll be missing your mother, who passed away in the spring. Maybe you’re, once again, the only single person in the room on Christmas morning. Maybe you’re in the middle of chemotherapy this Christmas.

There are plenty of ways your life is different from the fairy tale, huh? No wonder so many of us are snappish, moody and melancholy.

Because our lives don’t match the fairy tale.

And that, my friends, is OK.

Because if your wife is in Baghdad this Christmas, you can still give your kids the best Christmas you know how to. And your spouse with Alzheimer’s? His gentle wonder that such a nice lady is there with him is a precious gift. And when your kids spend Christmas morning with your ex-spouse, you are telling your kids that their own relationship with their dad is important — can you be more loving than that?

In all of our real lives, there are great challenges — and great gifts. When you feel angry or depressed or unhappy that your real life doesn’t measure up to the manufactured, unreal fairy tale — take heart. Just accept your own, unique life — messy, loud, fractured, silly, disorganized, untasteful. Because it’s all yours. And it’s perfect, just the way it is.

Honestly, would you have it any other way?

So, love it because it’s yours. Love it because it’s very real. Love it because love is what Christmas is all about.