"There is no finish line in life" and some other expressions I'm fond of saying...
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 07:41PM
Dennis Young

1. "There is no finish line in life," meaning life is never over, life is never done. You either get the prize and keep going or correct course and keep going. Another way of thinking about it is that every ending is a beginning. Another aspect of this is the idea that enjoying the trip is every bit as important as reaching the destination.

2, "Things have no meaning, no value, no significance outside of a context," meaning, the value of anything is determined by how much you need it, and how scarce it is at the time. A breath of air is worth a great deal to you if you're drowning.
What things mean depends on the context in which the are said. Things spoken in anger are always exaggerations. Also true of things said in fear or in grief.

3. "A full belly cannot understand an empty one." A corollary of #2. That one comes from my Grandmother. Probably an italian proverb, one of the few she was able to translate. Most of them could not be properly conveyed in English for some reason -- they lost their meaning, as in "A head that doesn't talk is nothing but a coconut."

4. "Beggars can't be choosers," which conventionally means if you're a beggar, you must take what you're given. When I say it, I mean if you act like a beggar you can't be a chooser. Not acting like a beggar means taking responsibility for whatever it is you're doing and do it with grace and dignity and conviction. And if possible, with charm and style.

5. "If no one wants to spend time with you, don't complain. Ask yourself if you'd want to spend time with you, given how you're acting."

6. "The only sin is self attack." I got that one from William Blake. I believe it to be a very useful idea. It doesn't mean that there are no other destructive or harmful behaviors. There are. It means that the only thing that separates you from your better nature and makes it difficult to correct your bad habits and behaviors (which is what I think a sin really is) is self abasement, self condemnation, self attack. Self acceptance is a pre-requisite to change. We erroneously think that if we accept something, it will stay that way. Not so. Accepting something allows us to deal with things in a comprehensive meaningful way.

7. "There are three ways to be in relation to anything: 1. Putting up with things, which is a form of passive resistance. 2. Resisting things, which keeps things from evolving and changing, and 3. Accepting or welcoming things, which allows us to deal with them and move on." Another version of #6.

8. "Love never fails. It is the refusal to love that fails."

9. "Don't hurry. Don't wait." Another corollary to #6. There's too much fear in hurry, and there's too much passivity in waiting. Try being patient and looking forward to things instead.

10 "Your desires, like everything else, are given to you by Nature. Do your best to honor and support their fulfillment." Caveat: desires never feel desperate and never feel resistive. They feel good. They feel like relief.

11. "If Life has inspired something in you, it has also provided the means and the possibility of fulfilling that inspiration." Sort of like #10.

12. "Whatever it is you're upset about, it isn't happening now." That's because being upset is always a contrast between memory and desire, neither of which is happening in the present moment.

13. "Take care of today and the week (and month and year and decade) will take care of itself."

14. "Truth can't be said or put into words." Line one of the Tao te Ching. One should not confuse the menu with the meal, the toy with the box it came in, the map with the terrain.

15. "Trust your experience, not your ideas." Example: Stick your hand in a bucket of water. Do you have to think about it to know whether your hand is wet? Knowing doesn't require thought. It is not knowing that requires thought. Pondering is playing with uncertainty, with possibility. Trust your knowing -- your direct, non-verbal experience over your verbal beliefs or what someone else has told you.

16. "You're no better than anyone else. And no one is better than you." No exceptions. Ever. Trying to be the best or your best is idiotic.

17. "Don't try to be happy. Try to enjoy yourself, find ways to be satisfied."

18. "Everything is apples and oranges." Comparisons are convenient, but ultimately they break down, and then they are odious.

19. "Love is not desire. Love is not something that can come and go. If it can come and go, it isn't love."

20. "The future will not be found in the past. Nor will the future be found in the present. Don't bother looking in either place.

21. "Human beings are utterly incapable of predicting the future in any kind of consistent way." Another form of #20. Which is the reason why Foxwoods makes so much money.

22. "Nobody knows nothing." William Goldman said this about the experts in the movie business. Don't put too much stock in experts, as in doctors, lawyers, financial advisors, therapists, economists, politicians, publishers, hiring managers etc. Even the best guides get lost. Make use of guidance, but ultimately you must rust yourself.

23. "The things you focus on, for better or worse, will get bigger for you." Focus on what you have and watch it grow. Focus on what you don't have and watch it grow. Your choice.

24. "Don't criticize. Don't complain. Don't blame. Don't condemn." Ever.

25. "Get in the habit of saying, "I love the idea of (fill in the blank with whatever you want.)" And leave it at that.

26. "Don't support anything you don't want or anything that makes you unhappy." See: smoking, overeating, bitching, resisting, finding fault, etc. Another corollary: "If you don't want to eat it, don't buy it. Don't even go down that aisle in the supermarket. Make it easier on yourself to resist temptation."

27. "Focusing on what fits and what gives relief breeds peace and well-being. Focusing on what doesn't match, what doesn't fit, what adds tension, breads energy and change." Think about it.

28. "Every creature follows their own nature. What can control accomplish?" From the Bhagavad Gita. It's sort of a foundation for #29.

29. "Follow the path of least resistance." This is Nature's way: always the path of relief, tension buiding toward relief, not tension building toward more tension.

30. "Don't follow the road less traveled. Follow the road that appeals to you, the road you'd truly prefer to be on, whether it's well travelled or not."

31. "If there is a Punch and Judy show going on inside of you, try to remember that you're the puppeteer." This one is self-evident.

32. "You can't really say you've seen anything unless you've looked at it from at least three different perspectives." I learned this in drafing class.

33. "Things are never the same twice." From Heraclitus, "You can't step in the same river twice." Life is ever new, ever growing, ever improving.

33. "An all around good attitude is, 'Happy where I am and eager for more..."

There are a lot more, by the way, but it's getting to be supper time. (That wasn't one, but it might as well have been one. See #28-30, 33.)


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