Friday, June 28, 2013

Raise Your Standard

"Most people don't know there are angels whose only job is to make sure you don't get too comfortable and fall asleep and miss your life."  - Brian Andreas

One of those angels for me was a professor I had in college, who used to tell us, shout at us  all the time, "Pay attention!!!" Thank you Christa Allan for reminding me in your excellent Carpe Annum interview on Monday.

This professor is the reason why watching The Dead Poets Society always feels a little bit like going home. He was my Mr. Keating, and while he never, as I recall, whispered "carpe diem" to us, that was the message.

2013 is our "Carpe Annum," our time to take hold of our lives and our careers -  and I hope it's yours too.

But please remember to also seize the day, to grasp it long enough to catch the color, feel the texture. Please, especially watch the people.  Go to the grocery store and stare at the people in line long enough to learn their secrets. (Stealthily, averting your eyes just long enough to not get caught.)

I recently read a book that has me looking at every person I meet with X-ray glasses, and it has revolutionized the way I see other people.  The ways we get it wrong when we judge each other. The ways we buy into the image reflected back to us and misjudge ourselves.

The book is The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog, by Bruce Perry. I dare you to read it.

Paying attention is a way of planting a flag in the soil of each day, and declaring: "This is my life, all of it, and it all matters, the shiny bits and the grass stains."

Today I hope you raise your standard high

5 comments:

wanderer said...

You have inspired me.

Paying attention is a way of planting a flag in the soil of each day, and declaring: "This is my life, all of it, and it all matters, the shiny bits and the grass stains.

The above is going to be scrawled in some prominent place in my house today. Beautiful...

Megan Sayer said...

Katy I like your dare :)

Cherry Odelberg said...

Thank you. Nice quotables (or tweetables if I was all a twitter) here.

Kathleen Popa said...

Cherry and Wanderer - Quotable? Me? Thank you.

Megan, tell them. The book is scary-good. Scary and good.

Henrietta Frankensee said...

I have just read a whole week's worth of Novelmatters straight through without a pause. Wow! Great wisdom, great grace, great fun. Profound humanity and loving, yearning, reaching, pulling, exhorting...
Things that particularly resonated with me:
From Christa: "I need to know where the lines are so at least I'm aware that I'm overstepping them"
"Writing isn't powerful because it obeys rules. It's powerful because it uses whatever is necessary to break through the human heart and spirit."
From Debbie: "When you offer truce to your opponent (the blank page) you are open to what may come and you disarm your inner critic." (When I am attentive to the Spirit there is an easy flow to the words. They do not come out perfect because the vessel is stretched (wracked) between eternities. But the Spirit is encouraging and passionately, humbly authoritative. Like Jesus said to John the reluctant baptiser, "Permit it.")
From Kathleen: "But please remember to also seize the day, to grasp it long enough to catch the color, feel the texture."
(One cannot seize a whole without seizing the little parts one by one as they come. Year, month, day, hour, minute, second, nanosecond. Intentional devotion to Kronos with a constant lookout and thirst for Kairos.)
Thank you, Novelmatters! You are a blessing to me.