It matters, and it doesn't
Truths shared by my neighbor, my dad, Elizabeth, Steven and Matthew McConaughey
Today’s intention is:
To listen. Listen to your peers, your elders, your heroes and your heart. The world wants to share with you.
This post is the fourth in a series of five. For the series, I highlight each of The 5 Buckets recognizing the upcoming release of my book by the same name.
The Learning Bucket
Tracy and I hang up a FaceTime call with some friends. It’s just after 8 PM on Easter Sunday and our next-door neighbors are hosting a dinner party. We joined for a brief time earlier, then left to take the call and walk our dog, Bernie.
“It’s late, but I think we should stop back over and say goodbye.” Tracy suggests.
I agree, grab a sweater and we walk out our patio door.
We approach a festive scene featuring a handful of friends from the neighborhood. Chatter about kids, restaurants, golf, business and vaccines fills the air.
Greg, the host, moved into the house a few months ago, but we haven’t seen each other much. He welcomes Tracy and I, then we get to chatting.
Greg mentions he’s worked in the medical industry for twenty years. Over the last few, his focus has shifted to empowering the consumer. His company specializes in science-based health treatments geared toward improving human performance (think stem cell therapy, DNA analysis, and customized diet and exercise plans). He believes in providing people many treatment options for their health.
Then I share a bit about The 5 Buckets, this newsletter and the Student of Intention community.
The exchange sparks a dynamic and fascinating discussion. Greg shares his perspective on the Socratic method of teaching. I had never heard of it and his use of it in business management proves interesting.
Next, he invites me to his office where he hands me six books that I “absolutely must read”. He suggests I read each one all the way through, then a second time taking notes.
I agree to read the books and do my best to take notes.
The conversation sticks with me for the next hour. I’m amazed such a thoughtful, passionate and learned human lives less than ten feet away and we hadn’t yet connected.
Brushing my teeth before bed, I stare into the bathroom mirror and think,
Truths are all around me.
Just a day prior, I went for an afternoon run to Balboa Pier. Instead of streaming music through my AirPods, I listen to Matthew McConaughey’s new book, Greenlights.
Halfway through the run, Matthew drops some gold:
How do we know when we cross a truth or a truth crosses us? I believe the truth is all around us all the time. The anonymous angels… the butterflies… the answers are always right there but we don’t always identify, grasp, hear, see or access them. Because we are not in the right place to.
He then recites the following prayer:
God, when I cross the truth, give me:
The awareness to receive it
The conciousness to recognize it
The presence to personalize it
The patience to preserve it
And the courage to live it
As I run north on Newport Boulevard, I reflect on how I position myself to receive truths… the answers and the butterflies.
When I return to my house and take out my phone, I notice a text from my dad.
It shows the following picture along with the message, “Just sharing as it comes on my radar”:
Truths can show up next door, on my phone or amongst the words of a romantic comedy actor.
Truths are all around you too.
Are you aware enough to receive them?
Present enough to make them your own?
Courageous enough to live them?
Don’t worry. All that will come.
All you really need to do?
The world wants to share with you.
It matters, and it doesn’t
I’m not sure how fast I can get through Greg’s six books. I’m already knee deep in several. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert has been particularly helpful. It gives me a little creative juice each time I read it. She has a way of writing exactly what I’m feeling as I write The 5 Buckets and this newsletter.
At the end of the Permission section, she describes a paradox we face when living a creative life:
The paradox that you need to comfortably inhabit, if you wish to live a contented creative life, goes something like this:
My creative expression must be the most important thing in the world to me (if I am to live artistically), and it also must not matter at all (if I am to live sanely).
Sometimes you will need to leap from one end of this paradoxical spectrum to the other in a matter of minutes, and then back again. As I write this book, for instance, I approach each sentence as if the future of humanity depends upon my getting that sentence just right. I care, because I want it to be lovely. Therefore, anything less than a full commitment to that sentence is lazy and dishonorable. But as I edit my sentence - sometimes immediately after writing it - I have to be willing to throw it to the dogs and never look back. (Unless of course, I decide that I need that sentence again after all, in which case I must dig up its bones, bring it back to life, and once again regard it as sacred.)
It matters./ It doesn't matter.
Build space in your head for this paradox. Build as much space for it as you can.
Isn’t that a truth.
And I think her paradox does not apply solely to contented creative living. It applies to just plain old living.
Life matters, and it doesn’t.
Life is action
I’m considering writing a fiction novel. It takes place in the future and involves a couple people teaming up to save the world. Only problem? I never read fiction. And what do I know about the future? Plus, it just seems like an impossible undertaking.
But it’s an idea swirling around my brain I can’t shake and I want to explore it a bit.
As a little research experiment, I am reading Steven Pressfield’s, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Like Greg suggested for his books, I’m reading it all the way through then taking notes during a second read.
In chapter 13, Junah’s mystical caddie, Bagger Vance, shares a truth as Junah considers withdrawing from a golf tournament:
Your heart is kind, Junah, You have seen the agony of war and you wish never again to harm anything or anyone. So you choose not to act. As if by that choice, you will cause no harm.
This intention is admirable as far as it goes, but it fails to apprehend the deeper imperative of life. Life is action, Junah. Even choosing not to act, we act. We cannot do otherwise. Therefore act with vigor!
Thank you for listening to Steven, Bagger and me.
I hope you receive a few more truths today.
Until next time,
Don’t wait. Start small. Learn as you go.