Steve Jobs Stanford commencement address

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

— Steve Jobs, Stanford University commencement address, June 2005.

A lesson in compassion from a one-legged pigeon

On my last trip to Los Angeles, I visited the Santa Monica Pier.

At the end of the pier there are two large sets of steps where people can sit and watch people, the sunset or whatever. I sat down with my cup of coffee to enjoy the view.

On the step, at my feet stood a fat pigeon. A normal-sized pigeon flew to it, and stuck it’s beak in the fat one’s beak, shaking it’s head up and down. It looked like a feeding ritual, although the one being fed was obviously not a baby.

After a few minutes of this, someone ran up the steps and both pigeons flew off. As they took off right in front of me, I saw the fat one only had one leg.

That blew me away!

In the animal kingdom, a healthy pigeon will take care of a handicapped pigeon. I’d never heard of anything like that and probably wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it.

I was lost in thought wondering about why can’t people do the same, just extend a kindness to another person.

Not five minutes later a homeless man with a limp came to the trash container at the foot of the steps where I was sitting. I watched him dig around in the trash and pull out a cigarette butt. He picked at it, cleaning it off. Then he reached in again and pulled out a plastic bag with something in it resembling a remnant of a sandwich.

While I watched him, trying not to be too obvious about it, and also thinking about what I had just seen with the two pigeons, he took the sandwich, picked at it and took a bite. He chewed it a bit, took another bite, spit some out, until he salvaged what he felt he could eat safely. He discarded the bag in the trashcan.

I was STUNNED!

I’d never seen anything like that in person, real-time. In one of the richest communities in the country, someone was eating out of a trashcan. He started to walk away. Still in shock, thinking about him and the pigeons, I watched him go around the corner of the building before it occurred to me to do something. But it was too late.

Five minutes later when I’d recovered my senses, I decided to walk around the corner and if he were still there I thought it would be a sign I should buy him some food. I walked over and saw him leaning on the railing picking at his new-found cigarette butt.

I came up to him and said “Hi.” He said “hi” to me. I asked him if it would be okay if I bought him a meal. He looked at me with surprise and a smile, probably not sure if he heard me correctly. I repeated, “You know, can I buy you some food?”

He smiled and said yes. He wanted a hot dog. We started walking to the hot dog stand. I asked him his name and where he was from. He asked me the same. I asked if he wanted a drink with the food. He said no, then taking a big risk, he asked if he could have two hot dogs. I said yes.

He was from China and he told me his name. He came to the U.S. seven years before with his family. He spoke English pretty well and said he hadn’t been able to find work here.

We got to the hot dog stand and I asked if he wanted fries. He said yes. I got food for both of us and we sat and talked as we ate. It turned out he had studied English in school before his family had even come here.

We didn’t talk a lot. I was just trying to be present to another human being. I noticed I felt really conscious of NOT trying to lecture him on how to fix his situation. I didn’t ask if he was trying to find work. I didn’t ask him if he slept on the street or in a shelter. It really was irrelevant. We were just sharing a meal.

After we were done eating, I wished him luck. He thanked me and walked away.

Down the pier, he turned left and I asked the Angels to send him a blessing, keep him safe and let him know that he is loved and supported.

I followed at a distance. When I got to the point where he turned left I saw him leaning against the railing trying to light that cigarette butt, cupping it against the wind.

I continued to the end of the pier, and up the steps again to ponder the synchronicities and lessons that had just unfolded.

When you’re stuck in a victim mindset

When  you feel life’s got you down and you’re stuck in the victim mindset you might try watching this video to  get a nudge out of it.

Everybody is here in this life for a reason. Have faith that you’ll find that spark in you that you’re here to share with others.

I love this song. It’s so uplifting!

Feel free to leave a comment below.

Firework – Katy Perry  –  lyrics

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting through the wind wanting to start again
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards, one blow from caving in

Do you ever feel already buried deep
Six feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there’s still a chance for you
‘Cause there’s a spark in you

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the 4th of July

Baby you’re a firework
Come on show ‘em what you’re worth
Make ‘em go Ah! Ah! Ah!
As you shoot across the sky

Baby you’re a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make ‘em go Ah! Ah! Ah!
You’re gonna leave ‘em all in awe, awe, awe

You don’t have to feel like a wasted space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe a reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt your heart will glow
And when it’s time you’ll know

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the 4th of July

‘Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on show ‘em what you’re worth
Make ‘em go Ah! Ah! Ah!
As you shoot across the sky

Baby you’re a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make ‘em go Ah! Ah! Ah!
You’re gonna leave ‘em all in awe, awe, awe

Boom Boom Boom
Even brighter than the moon moon moon
It’s always been inside of You You You
And now it’s time to let it through

‘Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on show ‘em what you’re worth
Make ‘em go Ah! Ah! Ah!
As you shoot across the sky

Baby you’re a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make ‘em go Ah! Ah! Ah!
You’re gonna leave ‘em all in awe, awe, awe

Boom Boom Boom
Even brighter than the moon moon moon
Boom Boom Boom
Even brighter than the moon moon moon

Martyr syndrome and subconscious programming

Gandhi once said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in agreement.”

When you are living in the martyr syndrome or in victim behavior, what you are thinking, saying, or doing are not in agreement.

In relationships for example, your spouse or partner makes yet another request (or demand) for you to do something or go somewhere with them. You don’t want to do it, you resent doing it, you complain to other people (but never your spouse or partner) that you don’t want to do it and then… YOU DO IT ANYWAY.

What you think, say and do are OUT of agreement.

Now you’re possibly saying to yourself, yeah, that’s exactly what I do, I want to stop it, how do I stop it?

Henny Youngman, the late, stand up comedian known for his one-liners, used to tell a joke:
A man goes to see his doctor. He tells the doctor, “Doc, it hurts when I do this.” The doctor says, “Don’t do that.”

Simple advice but why is it SO, SO, SO hard to do? Drumroll, please…

Your subconscious mind is running your behavior.

Is your subconscious mind some sick, twisted beast determined to sabotage you?

No, your subconscious is there to help you and does a lot of marvelous things to keep you alive and functioning. It controls your breathing, digestion, heart and blood flow, and many other things so you don’t have to consciously think about them.

And it also dictates a lot of your behavior.

The subconscious mind is kind of like software that has acquired and accumulated your ‘programming’ over your lifetime, a majority of which was acquired in childhood. It tries to help you by protecting you, and it does so by running the ‘programs’ or response behaviors you’ve adopted to deal with a variety of situations.

The situations are usually ones that cause some type of fear response and the subconscious protects you against the fear. In the above example, if you’re afraid to say NO to your spouse or partner, it protects you by running the behavior program where you do what was asked even though you don’t want to and resent doing so.

Instead of saying NO and risking disapproval, or an argument, when you stood up for yourself, you avoid the fear of that course of action and settle for one that avoids confrontation and makes you resent the other person AND yourself for not standing up for what you really wanted.