Posted by: Dr Churchill | May 19, 2023

Love like an Angel — Live like a Monk.

I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone, and die without anyone holding my hand and reading to me the Ancient Mariner — one of the few great poems I loved throughout all the changes of my poetic life.

Poetry has always been my standard, along with the great books that always feel like poetry to me, as if the Bhaghavad-Gita, the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Bible, the Heart Sutra, the Diamond Sutra, the Light Sutra, the Psalms, the Gospels, the Tibetan Book of the dead, and my own epic book Winston, that like Homer’s Iliad and James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, have all completed the Odyssey of my meandering, peripatetic, and philosophical passage through this God’s precious life bearing Earth and it’s bountiful beauty of being in God’s presence when you look deeply in the eyes of creation…

Yet, now that I’ve grown old — I no longer just read, but I truly “feel” Poetry as being the salve of my Soul, as opposed to reading lines of Iambic thought from long dead thinkers, feeling greatly.

And of course I write poetry, and that might be a bridge too far for some of my friends…

Poetry’s epitaph is untrue, as is it’s demise which is often reported in the news, and even though there have been many who claim to have killed Poetry — their boasts are just that, because I seem to have done the deed with my latest effort at being a poet like Sophocles, Euripides, Pindar, Virgil, Ovid, Horace, or even Lucretius & Cattulus…

According to my friend Charles who was recently coronated — it is I who killed Poetry, because he didn’t enjoy my poem written for him. Of course, I composed a poem on the occasion of his ascension to the throne of England, Scotland, Wales, the UK, and the Commonwealth, and I scraped it together during the long flight to London without using AI to compose. On second thought — I should have used AI for that particular poem, as a back up voice…

What to do; live & learn.

Yet for me — Poetry’s death is just a recurring “Petite Mort” because each & every time I write a poem, a Soul goes up to Heaven, and that is the great journey’s beginning, so dying alone is never truly the end of anything but the return home from this short journey of this lifetime on earth.

Plus, you’ve always got your flock of Angels surrounding you and lifting you up, as the symphony conductor does, no matter what.

And only upon your return home, you are finally free.

So, please don’t fret — cause I know dying alone is not so bad.

I know cause I’ve been there & done that, and have come to think that the worst thing is to not feel, is to end up surrounded by people who make you feel alone, and it is to be in the midst of a crowd that kills you, even though you are the prophet they need to heed.

Thus finding your folk, or your flock as the case might be, whether you have wings, or not, or even if you have them aplenty — is our first responsibility in order to live a decent life on the here and now.

All the rest will follow in God’s good time.

Indeed finding your people, your kin, your folk, your tribe is crucial to feel included in our Community, Country & even our Civilization. 

Mostly because all these tenuous groups provide us with a sense of purpose, belonging, protection, a reason to interact with others and even proven health and well-being merits. 

One of the most powerful human, mammalian, and indeed all species of life’s basic survival mechanisms; is to be part of a tribe, a family, a non-unitary duality, multiality, or any form of modality, that brings the gifts of Love & Happiness to our Life, and causes us to mate.

And it is not biology alone, that causes us to mate, spawn, & reproduce, but it is our own choice of schematic philosophy and determinism, that drives us to make lifelong friendships, to love & seek others to belong to, to feel family-like, to contribute our livelihood, to make the tribe grow, to receive the warm hearted benefit of living together in a longhouse with others, to learn from like-minded people, to teach the young ones, to lead and be led towards the Light, and above all else — to die amongst your own beings, honored, respected, and if lucky, be loved. 

Because it is your own tribe that builds the kind of resilience that does not depend on ride-or-die friends who have your back at all times, but rather on honorable friends who live the creed, walk the talk and ride shotgun with you. And this is the kind of resilience built from small moments of authentic connection, with a whole range of people in your life. Sometimes we need empathy, but then too much of it can lead us to wallow in self-pity, and not take steps forward. And at other times, we might need advice on a path forward, a new perspective or just the ability to laugh at the absurdity of life.

Here’s how you can find resilience in moments of stress & difficulty. You do this by reaching out to your friends, connections, and healthy relations in your life, and by making sure you have these particular types of friends in your book.

Sometimes when you’re going through challenges, you’re not necessarily interested in advice or guidance. You just want someone who will help you feel heard and validated. This kind of support also helps you keep your emotional balance and demonstrates caring.

Seek out people who have common experiences or challenges
Loved ones don’t always fully understand what you’re going through, so look for people who have walked in your shoes.

Pay it forward, talk less, and listen more. Consider something as simple as starting with “That sounds really hard” and “I can imagine how difficult this is for you,” rather than defaulting to giving advice.

Your relationships help in two ways: They give you actual models for moving forward and they can motivate you to move forward. They may also hold you accountable for actually doing something rather than just wallowing in self-pity.

People who are more resilient take advantage of others’ ideas to envision alternative routes forward. And by doing this rapidly in small moments, you keep microstresses from magnifying.
This role is more than just being a sounding board; these are people you count on to help you make the right call. Note which people in your network are good at helping you cut to the chase to make decisions — people who say things like “Don’t waste your time on that” or “If I were you, I’d just go in and ask for the promotion” — and lean on them for that purpose.

Find your truth-tellers
A truth-teller is someone you trust to be straight with you — and someone you won’t dismiss when they say things that are hard for you to hear. They are vital for resetting your perspective and getting you to see the bigger picture when it’s hard to.

It can be easy to spiral into a panic when you’re faced with obstacles, but seeing events in a broader perspective can put them in a different, more positive light. This widening is sometimes referred to as de-catastrophizing. But it can require heavy cognitive lifting to do on our own. We tend to fare much better when we have others to help us step back, reframe and see our problems in a broader context.

See the world through new lenses
Try leaning on a friend with little to no connection to your work. One particularly effective form of perspective we get from others is the “knock it off!” variety — someone’s blunt advice when you’re caught in a rut of overthinking, stressing or being self-critical.

Reinforce your core values
When microstresses are battering you, build ties with people who help you remember your values. This person could be a friend who is unimpressed with your professional credentials but who cares about you as a person.

Think back to a time when you experienced a sudden surge at work — a late-breaking request from a key client, a difficult period because your team was short-staffed, a high-pressure presentation. How did you get through that rough patch?

If you’re like many people, you probably resorted to heroic measures to get it done. But working harder to survive surges at work or at home can throw everything off balance, undermining your sense of control over your life. A more resilient approach is to ask for help.

Don’t wait for a crisis to ask people for help or to step in to help others, either. The support you offer can be as simple as making a point to talk up other people and giving credit where credit is due in public settings.
Make an effort to build relationships with people who will be eager to help you because their goals and interests intersect with yours. Look for shared goals with people that might not even be part of work. You might coordinate carpooling for your kids, for example.

Laughter activates neural pathways of positive emotions, ups serotonin levels and limits stress hormones like cortisol. This translates directly into how you can protect yourself against the sting of microstresses. Laughter can help you relax and reset to where you can think better, be more creative and just feel human.
Small moments matter when it comes to laughter. The ability to maintain virtual ties with friends who share your sense of humor and who can lighten your mood throughout the day or week is a genuine benefit to the always-on culture.
Self-deprecation lets people see your authentic, vulnerable self and can create bonding among team members. One leader described the friction she had with a colleague in another unit. In heated moments, her colleague often had a masterful ability to disarm people by saying something like, “Well, I explained that well!” And they both would laugh.

Micro-stresses can be created by our natural desire to be liked, because that will lead to suffering, failure, agonizing pain, indecision anguish, grief and inflection about ourselves. This is a debilitating habit, because when we agonize over a relationship, over a passing comment, over the persons gaslighting us, over worrying that we thought, did, said, the wrong thing, to the wrong person, at the wrong time. Or worrying over our emails, texts, voce messages, only to make sure we didn’t unintentionally offend someone. My simple advice is leave the FUDs behind. Fears, Uncertainties, and Doubts, will actually kill you. Kill you slowly, but surely. But first these FUDs will kill all of your dreams, all of your human achievements, and also your ultimate potential.

So, don’t WORRY.

Fvck the FUDs.

Forget your reputation, your credit score or your social capital.

Screw your social media accounts by sharing the brutal truth everyday and get left with only the true friends you deserve.

Be Cool with your past, with your present, with your failures, with your every single blemish, and inadequacy, but you shall be thinking of defeating everything that keeps you from Victory, and then you shall find that you will find the trusted allies who seek to slay Dragons with you. You just have to master the reading of the patterns and the understanding of the political landscape better than anyone else does, because then we’re better able to position ourselves for achieving our own goals, making our work brilliant, and our efforts fruitful with confidence. This the outcome of a Complex winning brain — rather than a “fight or flight” baby enslaved to your fears, and worrying unceasingly & unnecessarily about people, situations, things and relationships that don’t matter.

In every organization, there are natural connectors who seem to know people in other offices and departments and who may even be well connected to alumni. They are a great support for making sense out of politics.

These don’t have to be your closest allies, just people who will share their experience and perspective. One rising star in a publishing company said she regularly turned to a colleague with two decades there and who was close to retirement. “She and I weren’t particularly close, but she was above the political fray. She had amazing instincts and experience, and she was generous in sharing her thoughts on how to handle deadlines and how certain people reacted to being kept out of the loop and so forth.”

Breaks are essential to our best work. Research finds that when we come back from a break, our sense of well-being has improved because the break lowered our stress, decreased our emotional exhaustion and improved our energy levels. Most ten percenters say that the breaks they and others take together provided stronger benefits. If we’re engaged with other people, it’s easier to stop ruminating on personal or professional micro-stresses.

My friend Naz told me that every new year, she makes a list of all the books she planned to read. But she seldom made a dent until, at her workplace, she joined a book group that met over lunch once a month. Not only was she motivated to keep up, but she also began to connect with people in other parts of her organization — people she otherwise wouldn’t have met.

“Ten Percenters” place a premium on staying connected to social networks that involve people who aren’t integral to their professional or personal lives. Carol joined a local outdoor coffee group that was formed in her town during the pandemic. A media executive joined a local singing group in which she knew nobody, but she loved showing up and becoming part of a community she hadn’t know existed. Even though she was an introvert, it was easy to chat and laugh between songs.

So if you want to be remembered past your sojourn on this Earth in the meat-sack you call a body — please learn to “Love All – Join All — Play with All” regardless of your emotions, feelings, and FUDs, because I can assure you that maybe some folks, few, very few; might find some love in their heart for you too.

Now, both you and I fully know – this is not easy, and we all die trying…

And of course, that is easy to say, but difficult to do.

And if you have to take the difficult decisions — please remember that like Ulysses — live as a Good leader, and please for God’s sake don’t just sit there forming strategies, taking decisions, making sure they are executed faithfully, and culling the herd…

No my friend, that’s not the Game of Life.

No, not at all.

Because in my long life, there is one thing that I learned from far too many years of Leadership Saving the World from Itself — all great people, leaders, and servants, just follow their heart’s destiny, by causing others to find, understand and follow their own magical purpose, that gives meaning to their lives and leads them to their own DESTINY.

That is the message, writ large in the sky for all to see…

There still is some work to do.

Follow the sun and look up, because…

You’ve got to lift your eyes to the heavens up above, and pray sorrowfully, while working stoutly, before the patterns of your life become visible amongst the threads of these wispy clouds we call home.

Our earthly relationships are like the tides.

They come and they go, leaving behind a taste of infatuation, lust, circumstance, love, friendship, escape, betrayal, loss, and only a few traces of memories and deep engraved lessons.

And because in our fast-paced world, where connections can be made and lost with a single click — it’s crucial to recognize and appreciate the IMPERMANENCE of relationships. 

Yet, since some relationships endure the test of time — these connections are like long books, that are treasured and nurtured, long after they have been read, and are always giving us strength by reinforcing the bonds of trust, love, mutual understanding, growth and finality.

It is these relationships which remind us, that amidst the transience, there are enduring threads that weave the fabric of our existence.

Equally, not all relationships are meant to last forever.

People enter our lives for various reasons, often for a specific season or purpose. They may bring joy, inspiration, or even challenges for us to grow upon, but their presence may also be rather transient. 

So let us treasure the relationships we have just as much as the human interactions we share, and the brief connections we forge. 

Because, each relationship, no matter how brief, has the potential to shape us into the individuals we are meant to birth, to be, to become…

And it is always the old friends who can truly transform us through the touch of their Soul to ours.

Drop by drop, the bittersweet tears of our heart, shed for old and trusted friends, lovers, intimates – truly transform us.

RFK once referenced some words that had helped him pull himself through, during the really tough times.

Indeed one time in Indianapolis, the night that Martin Luther King had been killed — Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy simply spoke to the restive people and said these words: “Drop by drop … ”

On the night Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, Robert F. Kennedy had to give a speech. In a world before blogs, Kennedy was in the awkward, yet history-making position of having to break news to his audience; this was the first the Indiana crowd had heard of King’s death. The speech is exceptional, even when considered within the canon of Kennedy’s often classic, and often literary, brilliance, as you can see from the video here.

What was extraordinary was how frankly, and calmly, Kennedy addressed the anger and hate that underlies irrational acts. He told what had happened, and he went right into calm. He was not angry, or even emotional. The audience followed this lead. RFK was in a position to empathize. In one of the most memorable moments in the speech, he connects to his audience by reminding them that his brother was also killed—“by a white man.” Implicit in this is another irrationality—the irrationality of generalizations, whether about race, or religion, or any other pat demographic stat. He urged understanding.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote this poem:

“And even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, until in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

Robert Kennedy went on to say that “What we need in the United States is not division. what we need in the United States is not hatred. What we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but love and wisdom and compassion toward one another, a feeling of justice to those who still suffer in our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

RFK, knew tragedy. “Wisdom through the awful grace of God” is an amazing line from ancient poet to modern orator, and it is one that not only subverts an idea, but also an emotion. Robert Kennedy only spoke briefly, but by the end of his talk the crowd was cheering.

Indianapolis was peaceful that night – while all around the country there were riots, killings, and fires on the streets of all American large cities…

Kennedy pointed out that moments like these, are times for us to look inward and ask “what kind of nation we are.”

This is one of those moments.

We will watch how many in positions of power and visibility adopt a position of calm, peace, and resolute courage.


Dr Churchill


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