Culture

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Normally, we do not so much look at things as overlook them.”

Alan Watts

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help.”

Teich Naht Hanh

“No two leaves are alike, and yet there is no antagonism between them or between the branches on which they grow.”

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”

James A. Baldwin

“The lowest levels of consciousness are security and status.”

Richard Rohr

“There are two ways to be rich in this world – you can have a lot of money or you can have a lot of friends. But you can’t have both.”

Freddy Heineken

It’s ok to feel disappointed… even if it’s uncomfortable.

Of course we believe that’s true for big things; we give ourselves permission to feel disappointed for losing our job, being involved in a car accident, or finding out someone close to us has cancer. We wouldn’t purposely deny the heartache of those. But what about the small things? They may seem petty in comparison, like when we finally get to our morning coffee and it’s cold, or rip a hole in a favorite pair of pants, or a loved one subtly rolls their eyes when you try to connect with them. So we tuck them away, to unsuspectingly carry them with us all day long where they blanket us with a vague sense of gloom or evolve into an angry outburst over something insignificant.

When I get down, it’s good to remember the weight of depression can often be traced back to a series of small unacknowledged disappointments. They, like you and I, just need to be seen. If that simple request is honored, we can move on without skipping a beat. The wisdom in the old cliché “there’s no use in crying over spilt milk” is only gleaned after we can admit to ourselves the tears behind it all are very real. It’s only after we give ourselves permission to feel disappointed, that we can clearly see a bigger truth. Spills can be cleaned up.

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I spent 10 years as a wedding photographer, and it allowed me to see the joys of young love over and over again. I’m so thankful for that time because love is one of the most beautiful things in the world. As we all know, however, not everything that blooms matures into a deeply rooted relationship that goes the distance. Sadly, I’ve seen a few weddings I’ve photographed end in divorce already. Statistically speaking, it’ll happen to half of us — it’s a frightening thought!

So if you’re a bride or groom to be, how do you know if your marriage will have what it takes? How do you build it to last? I believe everyone has the potential; here’s my advice how to get there.

Take some time to thoroughly examine the following. Be sure both of you know how to 1). communicate your feelings, 2). fight fair, and 3). and are capable of following through with commitment. If you have these three relational ingredients, I believe you have everything you’ll need for a beautiful marriage — you’ll have a lifetime of discovering treasures together.

1. COMMUNICATE

your feelings with vulnerability

Do you know yourself well enough to have a good handle on your feelings in most circumstances? Can you easily share how you really feel with your fiancee? If so, great! If not, why? If there’s anything you’re afraid of, that’s a red flag. Honestly look at what is holding you back and ask yourself if you want to bring that into your marriage with you? Sharing your feelings and giving names to the experiences you share together is what intimacy is all about. The fruit of which is a deep internal rest in knowing you are seen, accepted, and cherished just as you are.

2. FIGHT FAIR

without blame or attacking words

All relationships have inherit conflict. Avoiding it isn’t what makes a good healthy connection — it’s the dealing with it honestly with no attacking or blaming statements. What throws most of us off track is the heat of the moment. When we have strong emotions, we often stop communicating what we feel and jump right into reacting to what we’re feeling. Feelings are vulnerable center; not the defensive retaliation to protect them. For example, if someone starts pushing our buttons, we might say, “Cut it out. Stop irritating me!” We might even attach a feeling word disclaimer and say, “Stop it, I feel like you’re being rude and insensitive.”  Although all of these statements may be laced with feeling words, it’s far from being honest with how we actually feel or does it give access to the other person to see us clearly. Digging deeper, expressing how we feel might look more like this, “I’m feeling hurt and annoyed; I need some space for a little bit.” Practice this now, for it sets the path you’ll find yourself years later.

3. COMMIT YOURSELF

to a lifetime of integrity building

Before you say “I do,” ask yourself the really hard questions. Are you capable of following through with your commitments? Ask the same of your partner. Is integrity carved deep into his or her character? Does he or she have a tendency to back out of things when they get too hard? If you know how to commit to one another, you’ll develop the foundation for your love to grow and you’ll be able to endure anything life throws at you. I’ll have no doubt that you’ll be one of the successful ones. Your wedding day will just a drop of goodness compared to the oceans of joy you’ll share as you grow old together. May you have 50 or more increasingly beautiful years!

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Below is an except from an old Conan O’Brien interview of Louis C.K. which turned out to be one of the best commentaries on the 21st century and a humorous reminder the secret to happiness is gratitude. Enjoy.

Louis CK: Those were simpler times I think. I just feel like, we may be going back to that by the way, but ah, in a way good because when I read things like the foundations of capitalism are shattering I’m like maybe we need that. Maybe we need some time where we’re walking around with a donkey with pots clanking on the sides, ya know.

Conan O’Brien: You think that that would just bring us back to reality.

Louis: Yeah, because everything is amazing right now and nobody’s happy. Like in my lifetime the changes in the world have been incredible. When I was a kid we had a rotary phone. We had a phone you had to stand next to and you had to dial it, (yes) you know. You know, you ever realize how primitive, you’re making sparks in a phone and you actually would hate people with zeros in their numbers ’cause it was more (right) oh, this guy’s got two zeros, screw that guy, why do I wanna, ugh… and then if, if they called and you weren’t home the phone would just ring lonely by itself. And then when, if you wanted money you had to go in the bank for (yes) when it was open for like three hours. You had to stand in line, write yourself a check like an idiot, and then when you ran outta money you just go, well I can’t do any more things now (yeah, right) I can’t do any more things (that’s it, yeah) that was it. And, and, and even if you had a credit card they, the guy’d go ugh and he’d bring out this whole shunk, shunk and he’d write and he’d have to call the president to see if you had any money…..

Conan: It’s all true kids. You had to call the president, yeah. It was rediculous. (yes) Do you feel that we now, in the 21st century, we take technology for granted?

Louis: Well, yeah, ’cause now we live in, in an amazing, amazing world and it’s wasted on the, on the crappiest generation of just spoiled idiots that don’t care because, this is what people are like now. They got their phone and they’re like eeaagh, it won’t… give it a second! Give it, it’s going to space, would ya give it a second to get back from space, it’s the speed of light, it’s true, it’s true. (yeah) I was on a, I was on an airplane and there was internet, high speed internet on the airplane (yes) that’s the newest thing that I know exists. And I’m sitting on the plane and they go open up your laptop and you can go on the internet and it’s fast and I’m watching YouTube clips it’s amazing. I’m in an airplane and then it breaks down and they apologize the internet is not working and the guy next to me goes psssh this is bull____. Like how quickly the world owes him something (yes) he knew existed only 10 seconds ago (right, right) and on planes….

secret-to-happiness

Flying is the worst one because people come back from flights and they tell you their story and it’s like a horror story. It’s, they act like their flight was like a cattle car in the 40’s in Germany. (yeah) That’s how bad they make it sound (right). They’re like it was the worst day of my life. First of all we didn’t board for 20 minutes (right) and then we get on the plane and they made us sit there on the runway for 40 minutes. We had to sit there. Oh really, what happened next? Did you fly through the air incredibly like a bird? Did you partake in the miracle of human flight, you non-contributing zero? Wow, you’re flying! It’s amazing! Everybody on every plane should just constantly be going, oh my God, wow! (yes) you’re flying! You’re, you’re sitting in a chair in the sky (yes, yeah, yeah). But it doesn’t go back a lot. And it smells really. You know, here’s the thing. People like they say there’s delays on flights (yeah) delays really New York to California in 5 hours. That used to take 30 years to do that and a bunch of you would die on the way there and have a baby. You’d be with a whole different group of people by the time you got there. Now you watch a movie you and you take a dump and you’re home.

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