Today is February 25 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you leave, change, or accept a life situation?” To consider today’s question this post involves two quotes for consideration. The first quote stems from Canadian author Margaret Atwood who wrote in The Penelopiad “Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall; it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” The second quote stems from Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung who observed “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”
As you decide how to leverage your mind, body, and spirit today to navigate the chaos, consider asking yourself if you are going to be water and (leave or change) a situation or will you be patient and (accept) your current life situation. Knowing when to leave, change, or accept a life situation is one of the critical issues to address as you put in the daily grind of translating one dream after another into reality.
Do yourself a service, however, and remember that you can, at any time, choose one over the other two as you are not a tree and can leave or change when you feel it is necessary to do so. For those who navigate the chaos and leverage their mind, body, and spirit they understand the fluidity of life and the potentialities before them.
There is an oft used axion “when in doubt choose change” that supports today’s reflection. Whatever choice you make, try to make it with as clear, balanced, and calm mind as possible. Doing so will allow you to see a way forward and allow you to translate one dream after another into reality. One such person who choose to change the life situation before him was Bill Nunn.
Nunn, sports editor at The Pittsburgh Courier, an African American newspaper that covered sports at black colleges decided to do something. Beginning in 1950, the paper named a black college all-American football team. By the late 1960s, Nunn was frustrated that National Football League teams had not drafted more of the players his paper honored. When he shared his feelings with Dan Rooney, the son of the Steelers’ owner, Art Rooney, he did not get an argument — the Steelers hired him.
Nunn began working for the team part time in 1967 and became full time in 1969, the year Chuck Noll became the coach. Over the next decade, Nunn helped steer the team toward many players who went on to star for the Steelers teams that won four Super Bowls from 1975 to 1980. Among them were John Stallworth (Alabama A&M), L. C. Greenwood (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Mel Blount (Southern), Dwight White (East Texas State), Donnie Shell (South Carolina State) and Ernie Holmes (Texas Southern). Mel Blount said, “When you look at the Steelers of the 1970s, none of that would have happened without Bill Nunn.”
In a December 2016, 60 Minutes interview, Denzel Washington was asked “what would you say to the people who are looking at the (lack of African-American winners at the Oscars) process and saying it’s unfair.” Washington responded “Yeah, and so what? You gonna give up? If you’re lookin’ for an excuse, you’ll find one…You can find it wherever you like. Can’t live like that. Just do the best you can do.” Bill Nunn did not use an excuse and instead, found a way to change the way the NFL recruited African American players.
In his best-selling book The Power of Now, Eckert Tolle made the following observation about leaving, changing, or accepting one’s life situation when he wrote: “See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So, change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”
How often in a day do you catch yourself complaining aloud?
How often in a day do you catch yourself complaining in thought?
How often do you find yourself in a state of non-acceptance?
What have you done lately to change or leave your state of non-acceptance?
Do you maintain the self-awareness required to understand if you carry, in Tolle’s words, ‘an unconscious negative charge?’
How often do you make yourself the victim?
Have you forgotten your ability to leave or change a situation?
Are you making excuses as to why you are unable to leave or change a situation?
Do you just complain and never make any effort to leave or change your life situation? In other words, just how mad are you?