I saw Top Gun this week. It’s so weird to see the actors of my youth get older. Like so many of us, it took me back to 1986, getting dropped off at the movie theater at least 3 different times to see it. Although I loved the story and cinematography, what struck me most was what a foreign storyline this movie was for my kids generation. I couldn’t remember the last time I had been in a movie theatre and had the feeling of American pride that I grew up feeling everyday. And although the movies we watch on the big screen are usually fictional stories like Top Gun was, they communicate a message about who we are as a culture and what we are made of that allows us to rise from the ashes of our darkest places. What we hear in so many places in America these days are about our faults, our division and the place of lack that will never allows us to connect to our greatness and create anything good. I shudder to think that my kids have heard that message for so long, they don’t believe in the America I do. They live in a world of more content and less connection. Short form messages that when tied together create a mentality of victimhood that creates wounds not warriors. And again I started to think about how we as an American society can inspire each other to BE BETTER.
- Listen & Care - Everywhere I go, I am curious about someone’s story. From the Uber driver, to the barista, to the guest on my podcast. They all matter. When you slow down enough to connect, it opens a portal to real life, not the one on the news, or the one you see when you scroll. People feel lighter, stronger and more capable with a solid connection where they can share what has happened in their life. When a story is met with understanding, we create more authentic connection in the world, and exchange energy that makes the world better.
- Breathe. It’s so easy to let the possibilities and ‘what if’s’ of the future or regrets from the past take over our minds. This is where fear, anxiety and depression live and there is so much of it in the world today. When we learn to connect with our breath, we connect to ourselves on a cellular level that brings us back to the present moment. This is the only place anything can be done. When we learn to breathe we find and are able to do the next right thing, the journey of life comes into focus, and everything becomes possible. The only way to find flow in our lives is to stay present. And better is found in these moments of flow that we are capable of stringing together for real improvement.
- Be the Hero in our own story, not someone else’s. I learned something deeper about me in my work with Emily Hightower of Shift Adapt this week. Unwinding an attachment to defining my own self worth by saving others is deeply ingrained in my epigenetic code. As I continue to learn to help others by being the strongest version of myself, I use that strength to execute on my vision instead of trying to save someone else, it creates a shift for me. Our greatest sense of worthiness comes from knowing ourselves on the deepest level, then we can connect with others in a spirit of strength instead of woundedness.
- Believe in greatness. It’s easy to get stuck in the narrative of the current day. It makes me sad and even scares me that America isn’t where it should be right now. We can BE BETTER, it doesn’t have to be this way. But it is going to take all of us, the regular people out here living, to connect and believe in something greater than ourselves. Turn off the TV and question the narrative. The beauty of our strength and the way through is found in the murky, muddy middle. Have the courage to feel it, but don’t get stuck there. My new friend Keeley reminded me of this this week. Her book of poetry will remind you too, and her new book Lotus in Bloom is coming soon. You won’t want to miss it.
- Train your optimist's lens. Sometimes it feels like American life is one giant marketing campaign. Virtue signals and sound bites are everywhere. But do we really walk the walk? Nothing will change unless we are both compassionate and resilient. Ask why things are the way they are, but don’t get lost in the storyline that keeps you down. Choose your words and actions with care and reach for a hand if you need it. Have the presence to realize that truth and perspective are two sides of the same coin and that optimism is the energy that moves things forward. It’s the only choice for sustainable change.
- Choose the stories you tell with care. Every life has one, and there are so many good ones. I see them every week and they break the mold of what is told in the news. Did you know that a true lover of the earth, kundalini yoga teacher and a chemist at Chevron exists in one human. She’s one of my favorite people. Or how about a mixed martial artist and professional musician who teaches college kids not only the art of music production, but how to show up for themselves everyday, lives in Northern Alabama and is playing at a Juneteeth festival on Sunday. These are the stories of America that make things better. Look for them, celebrate them, be one of them.
One of my kids said to me this week:
“Most kids aren’t nice because they haven’t learned to care, not because they are choosing to be mean.”
Her words struck me hard and made me sad. We have to choose and inspire care in this world. When we stop trying to figure out where we fit in, we learn how we fit together. Enough with the labels and separation, kindness is inclusive, so let’s embody it and see where it gets us. Greatness comes through our own healing, it takes courage to do it and it is the only way to BE BETTER with each passing day.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there making a difference for the next generation. I was blessed to have a good one that inspired my optimist’s lens.
With love & optimism,
Exposure to new music bringing inspiration this week, check it out!