There’s no right way to do the wrong thing.
Michael has adopted this phrase as his personal philosophy. I don’t know where he heard it…he doesn’t remember either but it has been the thing to which many of our final decisions have come down to. It can be a little frustrating sometimes for me because – while I know it to be true – I am a single minded problem solver. I have always been able to justify that its ok to color outside the lines when you have a deadline to meet or a project to complete and a shortcut won’t violate the law of ethics or society. But in my heart I know that shortcuts are a setup to lose.
Many times in life, especially when the road is uphill for a while or there doesn’t seem to be any lights at the end of our tunnel, we look for the easy way out. Not because we are lazy or that we don’t want to do the work, but because we’ve been struggling for so damn long the actual desired result takes the back seat and easing the frustration becomes the primary goal.
We start to look for the path of least resistance. We start to manipulate the situation so that we are able to justify taking an easier way to get to our next level. We just want to get past this roadblock and we start to become less concerned with whatever it is that is coming up next. I do it ALL the time in my single minded focus to get something done and it is when I am ready to short cut my way to disaster that Michael will softly say – “Jesse – You can’t do the wrong thing for the right reason.” And that is all I need to hear to return to sanity and the release the power the roadblock – and all the frustration I feel about it – has over me. I wish I had his vision of the future and his ability to immediately deflect his innate desire to “slide one by” by his overwhelming understanding of the principles of doing the right thing…every time…every day.
It seems kind of silly that I am the one who teaches the class about “Living a Life You Love” when he is the one who is actually does it. He doesn’t complicate his life with curious wonderings about what makes him happy – he just does what makes him happy.
He loves golf. So he golfs two days a week. He takes lessons twice a month. These lessons give him tips and tricks to make each swing more effective thereby enabling him to enjoy playing golf more. He watches the pros on TV and analyzes their swing so that he can assess what they are trying to accomplish. He tests new equipment and decides if it will improve his game – thereby making it more fun. Making playing golf more fun makes him love playing golf more. Lets face it – there’s nothing fun about looking for a lost ball in alligator infested swamps and taking a three stroke penalty for shanking a drive deep into the woods. It just makes sense that if he loves doing something he’s going to take the necessary steps to enjoy it more.
I wish I could be as simplistic in what makes me happy doing what I love.
I love to cook, but not every day and I hate to clean up. That makes cooking not so fun. I love to machine sew but I don’t care to hand stitch therefore I am left with unfinished projects because wearing an un-hemmed skirt is just not – well – its not fun and its certainly not fashionable. I love to paint but I hate doing the trim work. One kind of goes with the other and in the end I still have to clean up and I hate that. You can always tell what color my kitchen is by the paint that is still in my hair. And I hate that too.
And I love helping women.
Most of the time, anyway. Sometimes it’s hard to know what helping women looks like. There’s a lot of grey area in helping anybody I guess. But it seems like helping women makes the grey area even hazier. Even they don’t really know what kind of help they need. They may think they need food or housing or money to pay their cell phone bill but what they really need is a J.O.B. I try to look at from their shoes. To step outside of my confidence and look through their eyes to see the same view as they do. And here is what I see.
I see women who make decisions based on the worst possible scenarios. Often times the choice is whether to eat the last slice of bread to day or wait until tomorrow because starvation is only hours away. They may decide to commit a crime because that is the “breadwinner” mentality of their circumstance. Sometimes they choose to stay in a toxic relationship because it is unthinkable that there might be something worse out there that they hadn’t thought of. And whatever it is they want no part of it! Things are as bad as they can live with and they are living with bad just fine, thank you.
I stood at a magazine stand last week – Thursday to be exact – and mindlessly flipped through a special edition of Time Magazine where it detailed the top “100 Ideas That Changed The World”. It had been a rough week for me. I had been embroiled in a spiritual battle – as well as one at home – all week – and I was desperately exhausted from alternately crying and trying not to cry. My whole world had been flipping around like a carnival ride and the cover of the magazine gave me hope that perhaps there in would lye the answer to my problem.
Number thirteen gave props to Socrates, a philosopher from a really long time ago. He never wrote a book but he was always searching for answers. He never really cared about who he was talking to or what they were talking about, he only cared that they continued to ask questions. If fact, when questioned about his constant questioning, he replied “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
My own life – unexamined – is not worth living. To walk about in a state of self-righteous indignation is only good for fooling my own self. I want to fully explore all my own decision making criteria to determine that my life is one of authenticity. I want to live in a state of peace that can only be lived when “living a life I love” is also living a life that is loved.
My husband believes that there is no right way to do a wrong thing.
And he is right.