Embracing Dirty Bathwater

I wouldn’t say we grew up poor, but if you asked anyone else the answer would be different.

We didn’t have a shower.  My dad was always working extra jobs and working on the house.  We rationed soap, food, hot water, electricity.  I wore hand-me-downs from my older sister, who got them from our eldest sister, who got them from a thrift store with mom.  It was all normal in our eyes.  It didn’t hamper anything.  We were happy.

In order to save on water and electricity, we would share the bath water (I know).  It was actually a common thing to do in the old days way back: The eldest would bathe, then the second eldest, all the way down to the baby.  Hence the phrase ‘don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater’  The thinking was, bathing first in clean water was a right held by the eldest.  He earned it with the sweat and hard work of his years.  

My dad bathed last.  Every time.

I still don’t quite understand why.  We honored and respected him.  He deserved it.  

I just don’t get it.  

On Fridays, he would make me go with him to cook breakfast at our church at 4:30am for the mens breakfast.  All the other guys would waltz in at 6am promptly.  It made me so mad every time.   

Oftentimes he would go above and beyond, helping people move and then denying any payment.  He would volunteer my help, of course.  We would drive home, I quietly upset at another weekend gone. 

I asked him why he kept doing weird stuff: helping people and then not taking payment, bathing last, cooking at 4:30am on Fridays for ungrateful dudes.  His answer was short.

“Anyone can do the bare minimum.”

What a fucking powerhouse.

Life Is In Between

It’s a simple concept: the good stuff in life is in between what we think is important.  Interactions with our kids while we prep lunch, interruptions by coworkers we’ve known for years, the brief glimpse of nature on our commute to work, I could go on forever. 

  • Petting a dog.  Any dog.
  • Eye contact and a genuine smile.
  • Conversation.
  • Food.
  • Solving problems that tap into our great minds.
  • Struggle.
  • Dancing and music.
  • Creating.
  • Feeling of helping others.

Nowhere in there is our career, what kind of house we live in, our status, or power.  

Questions

Most questions are simple: why is the sky blue?  What is 389/12?  The access to information is just waiting for us in our pockets.  

Other questions are a little harder: why am I here?  Why is this person arguing for something that is obviously not true?  Why is there suffering?  How do we combat climate change?  What is ‘good’?

Questions help us see things differently.  When meeting new people at a dinner party (barf) the usual question is “What do you do?”  We know the form of the answer to that question, and how they answer it, even without knowing anything else about them.  

Instead, how about “What are you passionate about?”  

Stunned.  Wait a minute.  I’ve never been asked this before. 

Suddenly, everything gets interesting.  We cut through so much smoke with rephrasing a simple question.

Ask better questions.  

Why are you here?

PS – I’m working on some longer form posts about fitness.  Stay tuned.  

Graduating from big fish/little pond to small fish/big pond.

Being the biggest fish in a small pond is bad.  All growth stops.  There’s no growth, just ego.

It’s better to be a smaller fish in a big pond, growing.  That means learning from others who know more or differently than you.  

If you ever feel like you’re lost in the sauce, but you’re trying really hard, then don’t worry.  There’s no sauce, and you’re not lost.  You’re a small fish in a big pond.  Congratulations, you’re growing.  

If you want, check out this thread.  It threw me for a loop.  (still is)

Hi, I’m Ignorant

One thing I know for sure is that I cannot comprehend the magnitude of my ignorance.  I say this to set the record straight: everything on this website is from a man who knows a little bit about a few things who wishes to share and grow.  I am not a guru, nor will I ever pretend to be.  

I thought we should get that out there before we go any farther.

Reach

All of us used to reach out in some ways.  Most of it is when we were young.  The fear of adulthood had yet to squash our curiosity and desire to explore.  

Take a moment, a day, to re-emulate that exploratory mode.  

Reach for something.  I mean really reach.  Try to fly so high at something that there’s no way you won’t crash and burn.  You might be surprised at the final outcome.  

Humans fly even without wings.  

Commitment to Truth

There’s something that transcends us all: truth.  Yet each one of us bends the truth to fit our ego and our paradigm.  

Those that continue to grow have a few things in common.  Commitment to truth is one of them.  

If you let it, the truth will kick your ass. 

Try this: Before reading on, try introspection.  Take off your narrative glasses and take a hard look at yourself.  What do you see?  

Is your initial reaction a positive one?  Like you have a handle on things?  Or a negative one?  Like you’re a seasoned captain in a storm that’s never been survived before?  

The way you see yourself is a giveaway to how mature you are.  

Ditch the ego.  Ditch your own story you tell yourself about yourself.  Take off the glasses.