About the zoo

Some animals can live a luxurious life in their cage.

They can eat well. They can sleep in safety.

And it only costs them their freedom.

They're happier there, though. Because their alternative looks less promising. Or more uncertain? I forgot the difference.

I suppose it makes sense for some animals to stay there. If by choice. But maybe it's not for you.

The thing is, you see, we are what we repeatedly do. Until you decide you're not created to...

Question: How can you chase your dreams when you're trapped inside the zoo?

About the deep blue sea

I want to be known.

You want to be known.

But you stay isolated. Even when you're around other people.

Do they know who you are?

Would they care to know who you are?

The only way to have a friend is to be one.

But you're too busy. You don't hav--- no, make time.

Productivity and efficiency kill intimacy.

Create space and time to be intimate.

Intimacy is the only way deeper.

But you don't want to go deeper. It's too dark.

Like the bottom of the ocean, it's often uncharted waters.

Good thing you carry a light. Good thing you are a light.

Do you remember how to use it? To be it?

Smile. Say hello. How are you?

Not "How are you." But "How are you?"

Go deeper. Turn on the light. Take a look around. You might find the treasure you've been looking for. 

Hint: It's right in front of you. On the ocean floor.

About the dreams you can pursue

Sometimes, someone else has said it best. Here.

"Struggle and criticism are prerequisites for greatness."

"Sometimes you gotta leap, and grow your wings on the way down."

"...if you don't use your gift, then you sell not only yourself, but the whole world, short."

"On the ground the plane starts to rust, malfunction and wear much faster than it ever would if it was in the air."

"You cannot go back and make a brand new beginning. But you can start right now, and make a brand new ending."

About your purpose

My vision seems to get worse each year. 

Literally. And figuratively.

I became short-sighted at some point. But I didn't acknowledge it. Someone else had to point it out.

Thank goodness. I couldn't see the board in class. I couldn't see the puck at practice. But I had convinced myself otherwise. I had adapted to blurred vision.

I was 13 years-old when I finally got contacts. They're useful. But I still have trouble seeing.

We have prescriptions. But we need perspective.

Eye appointments are now a part of my annual routine. 

But who prescribes contacts for the eyes of my heart?

Apparently everyone. Everyone with an opinion.

Family, friends, colleagues, mentors, etc. 

Some are good counsel, but are they the right counsel?

Do you go see an optometrist for your sore throat?

We offer advice from the context of our own experiences. And limitations.

I love you. But your experiences will always be different than mine. So now I'm limited. Or just confused.

I'm still short-sighted. Sometimes. Aren't you?

You have a need for affirmation. To know you're making the right choices. Because wrong choices could steal your happiness.

Happiness. That's all you've wanted anyway. That's what this whole thing is about. Yes?

No, I'd say. More. You want purpose. That's what gives you happin--- no, joy.

When you know why you're here, something inside you will come alive.

When you know why you're here, what you do will naturally pour out.

Do you want to live life more purposefully?

The best advice is often a question.

What makes you come alive?

Let's talk about it.

“Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” - Howard Thurman

About heartache

The doctor says, "You have cancer."

She says, "I can't be with you."

But what say you?

You don't have a say.

Not in some matters of your life.

Though you did your best.

You once had control.

Until you didn't.

Sometimes we find ourselves in the pain of heartache. The kind we didn't ask for.

Like a gift, it's just handed to us.

And like some gifts, we just want to send it back with the receipt.

But don't let the wrapping fool you. It's just warped by the brokenness of the world.

Have faith. Have hope for things yet to come. Like a new gift. One that's restored.

Resilience. You can find the good to persevere through the bad.

Because you know bad things are just good things gone bad.

C.S. Lewis said good things in excess, or pursued in the wrong way, will quickly turn bad.

Cancer is only possible because you have trillions of cells which give you the gift of life in the first place. But those good cells divided, in excess, to form a disease.

A broken heart is only possible because you have a heart which gives you the ability to love in the first place. But you pursued her heart in the wrong way. Or maybe you didn’t. Maybe that was someone else.

So what say you next time you're handed heartache? The kind beyond your control.

You'll still have no say. But you can always pray. Ask earnestly. What, not why.

The world is broken but not hopeless.

Not if you believe in the good. God.

About healing

Do you remember the last time you accidentally cut yourself?

It happened so quick. And effortlessly.

First you saw it, then you felt it.

The next day you really felt it.

And it left a mark. A scar.

It's surprising we don't have more scars.

Or, do we?

There are many sharp edges in the routine of your daily life. You can't touch them. Or see them. But you can feel them.

We live and die by our tongues.

Our words, like knives, can cut deep.

But our words, unlike knives, can also heal.

We speak, on average, forty pages worth of words each day. That means an average 30 year old might have written a 438,000 page book.

How would your book read?

If you saw your friend's wounded hand, you'd take measures to make sure it can properly heal.

If you saw your friend's wounded heart, you'd wonder how it got that way in the first place. That is, if you saw your friend's heart had a wound in the first place.

Hands can heal. But so can words.

So while writing your book today, how will you speak healing words?

About boundaries

I mean fences, not walls.

They still protect you.

Do you have any?

Do you have indecision? You get anxiety after making a choices.

Do you have shame? Some decisions leave you out of sync with your true self.

Hit pause and revisit your core values. Then prioritize them.

Position yourself to be ready for responsibility.

Position yourself to be ready for decision.

What are your top 4 core values? List them.

When your boss e-mails you to ask for work at 12AM...

When someone outside your inner circles wants more of your time...

...do you have to submit? What kind of message do you want to send?

It's not "reliable", or "generous". It's people pleasing. And disrespectful. To yourself.

So while you shouldn't dismiss your responsibility, you should set limits on others' inability.

You'll teach people how to treat you.

Boundaries. They set you free.

About hiding

Sometimes you just want to go away for a while. You want someone to tell you what to do.

You don't know what you're meant to do. So you go back to your old ways.

Some call it relapse. Some call it business school.

Worry. It entered your life and now it has control.

Have you ever had an addiction? A dependency?

That is, you can't remember life without it.

So you don't do anything about it.

Now you're stuck. Or so you think.

You still want to know what keeps you coming back.

But you still need to know why you were there in the first place.

About ice cream

And toppings.

A scoop of chocolate, or pistachio?

A dash of sprinkles, or sour cherries?

Some things in life are meant to be foundational. While others are meant to add excitement.

But we need to be weary when we start to replace our foundation with our excitement.

Have you ever quickly fallen in love? Only to quickly realize you weren't in love at all?

Whether it's chocolate or vanilla, just keep it simple. Let toppings do their work.

You know what I mean. Toppings are supposed to add extra. Not replace core.

It's the same with your emotions. They're additional. Not core.

When your emotion becomes core, you become unsteady.

When your mind becomes core, you become unwavering.

Your mind leads your heart.

So don't follow your heart.

Follow your faith.

Follow what you know to be true.

Because your heart can be deceitful.

About brevity

Nobody expects tonight to be their last.

But some live that way.

They live in a constant state of intimacy.

Synonyms for intimacy are: Closeness. Affection. Warmth. Confidence.

They live in a constant state of confidence.

Not false confidence.

So what are they truly confident about?

Hint: They've surrendered.

But don't we all surrender?

Surely, to something. Money, sex, prestige, power, status. God.

So what will you surrender to tonight? If it be your last.

About your lack of faith

By now, you should know. It's not you. It's me.

Or is it just me?

We all lack faith. Good faith. That is, trust.

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)

Ah. So good, right?

Truth, right?

And you thought it was just me who had the answers.

No, you thought it was just you who had the answers.

But you're still looking inward, not upward.

Question: How can you have hope for things you already have?

About interior design

Everyone wants an interior designer.

When was the last time you had to buy furniture for your home?

Did you know the couch you wanted? Or did you just show up at the store to see what they had?

In either case, you needed affirmation that you were making the right choice.

Maybe you didn't need it. But you wanted it.

"Yes, that's the couch for YOU."

But we get into muddy waters when we let the salesman be our interior designer.

The salesman wants your money. The interior designer wants your satisfaction.

One is motivated to close the deal. The other is motivated to open your mind.

Can't relate?

I get it.

We don't buy couches that often.

But we do make decisions. And we do seek affirmation when making big decisions. Especially when making bold decisions. The kind that may be different than those we've made in the past.

It's at these turning points that the right counsel, not just good counsel, is so important.

So who's your interior designer? And who's your salesman?

About a word

Several words.

Maybe there's one for you.

Maybe there's one for you to know.

Maybe there's one for you to know and share with someone else.

Maybe not. Maybe the soft stuff just isn't for you. Or maybe you just need someone to tell you it's okay if it is.

It's okay if it is.

I pray...

...for healing. Renewal. Wisdom. Belief. Peace. Mercy. Strength. Humility. Justice. Forgiveness. Hope. Kindness. Trust. Honesty. Respect. Love. Community. Grace. Direction. Conviction. Rest. Motivation. Inspiration. Discipline. Compassion. Acceptance. Honor. Faith. Courage. Emotion. Expression. Integrity. Loyalty. Possibility. Revival.

About why you don't care

Well, maybe you do. Some parts of your life are smothered in love. But we all neglect something, right? Tell me I'm not the only one.

Maybe you're apathetic towards your job. Maybe it's your physical health. Or your significant other.

In one or many ways, we all feel trapped.

James Altucher might tell you to, "Choose yourself." I say, "Choose someone else."

It's freeing to think of yourself less. Not to say you think less of yourself.

So, start something. For someone else.

Do it to add value in their life. Who knows. It might just add value in your own.

Tim Keller would call this the freedom of self-forgetfulness.

Compelling. Isn't it.

Welcome to my headspace. It might make you vulnerable. But the door's always open. That's the power of free will.

Stay or leave. Just know the choice, in life, will always be yours.