I talked to a man this weekend that I’d never met before. He seemed of similar age to me. A bit grayed. A bit squinted in his eyes. A bit of similar hair loss pattern. We were to have about 30 minutes together.

In what could have been very superficial talk — the weather, very surface layers about family, trite affirmations — to my delight, we went much deeper than that. Something in me felt determined to not be in the superficial. I suppose something in him also.

It was disclosure that broke through the barrier. This man, a stranger, shared as context for his life his divorce. He didn’t leak his story out. Though there be wound there, he did not speak it with festering nor vitriol. He was just sharing a truth.

I listened to this man speak, who was becoming less of a stranger. I didn’t jump in to fix. Nor to simplify. Rather, I responded with appreciation for his willingness to share. And I named it — “There are parts of your story that I relate to. Different circumstances, but I have some of that story in me too. But what I most appreciate is your disclosure. Without bravado. Just an honest sharing of something not fully resolved.”

I proceeded then to share some of my story. Not all of it. Just some, responding to his getting below the surface. Oh, so much more fulfilling to get to this layer. With a stranger. In the space of thirty minutes. That grants us a bit more permission to show up together.

I believe that so many of us are seeking what is below the surface. We don’t always know this — in our jobs, our communities, our organizations, and in our families. We aren’t always rewarded for this — in fact, the standard for compartmentalized lives discourages this kind of vulnerability and disclosure.

Yet, oh, how the human hungers for even the most minimal moment of real. I’m glad for this. On the weekend. With a stranger. That, left us both less stranger, and less feeling strange.


Freed From the Need to Chase


This red rose above is blooming from the bush I planted to honor my Grandmother, Granny Gould, when she died three years ago. Each year since, as early as mid May, red roses like this greet me as I walk up the sidewalk from my carpark to my front door. Their greeting continues through to late September or October where I live. Granny was 95 when she died. She loved roses. Granny was firm, loving, kind, and beautiful. Like this rose. She stood where she was. She did what she could from where she stood. Like this rose.

This morning, I’m thinking about where I stand. I notice in me the way that I often have the feeling of chasing or of needing to chase. Perhaps chasing something outside of myself. Perhaps not trusting that what is within myself is ample and enough. I’m grateful for the conversation I had yesterday with friend, Chris Smyth, in which we wondered together about how this chasing, this do more / be more, has particular intensity in the psychology of men. Both for good and for not so good.

From all of that comes these words this morning.

Freed From The Need To Chase

What if
we were to free ourselves
from the need to chase?

Chasing success.
Chasing protection from failure.
Chasing some other person’s dreams.
Chasing some other version of our selves.
Chasing an unreachable comfort.
Chasing an illusionary security.

What if
this very moment
were completely full
and enough
just as it is?

What if
we were to just settle
into this moment,
this now,
this place that drops
the incessant need for more.

What if
we were completely enough,
just as we are,
in this ever dynamic
of life?