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Just Take a Deep Breath – Part 2

So now you may be wondering about how I went from an LTD bus to a coffee cup? Well, aside from wanting to put in a shameless plug for my favorite coffee shop (Full City, thanks Michael for a great cup of coffee), there are two things I wanted to build on from my last post. Those are Margins and Perspective.

We don’t tend to build margins into our lives. We leave ourselves no margin for getting stuck behind that slow driver, no margin for a task taking a little longer than we had planned. And in doing so, we pressurize our lives.

thesimpleHOUSE is about “living a simple, sustainable lifestyle.” Pressurizing our lives makes things more complex. We rush here and there, often running late, blood pressure rising. The American Heart Association estimates about one third of the US adult population has high blood pressure. They say the cause in 90-95% of the cases isn’t known. I would submit it might be the lack of margins in our lives.

Slow down. Give yourself a little more time. Walk, ride the bus or a bike. I’m amazed at how much calmer I am when I bike or bus to my destination. And there are fringe benefits to all this.

When I walk or bike, I get exercise, which in turn, increases my healthiness. The Mayo Clinic has tips on walking for exercise. (I’m actually a little disturbed that we need instruction in walking…). When I ride the bus, I make new friends, have the opportunity to read a book (remember books?) and save $$ on gas and maintenance on my car. ALL reduce my carbon footprint.

The coffee cup actually is an example a friend of mine, Van Clements, uses. And I have reused this example many times.

We are seeing one side of the cup in this picture. Someone on the other side of that cup will see something else. There is no logo on the other side of the cup. How do I know? They shared that observation with me; and I listened. You see, that’s where perspective comes in. We have to be willing to listen to another’s perspective and realize they’re still looking at the same cup. We’re just getting a different perspective of that cup. It’s still the same cup for both of us and neither one of our perspectives is right or wrong; just different.

Right now, in our country, we are tearing ourselves apart because we are’t willing to listen to one another’s perspective. And I mean listen. We ultimately don’t have to agree (although I believe if we listened more, we’d find out we agree on more than we disagree on), but we absolutely need to listen. For our society and our culture to survive, this is critical.

If we truly listen to each other, find our common goals and start there, we can repair our society and our culture. I would submit most all of us want clean air, clean water, good health care, and the like. And there may be very different perspectives of getting there. And you know, either or both paths might actually work.

But until we are willing to see the “other side of the cup”, we won’t get anywhere except into a life without margins, with high blood pressure, disintegrating as a culture. I don’t want that, and I don’t think any of you do, either. For a truly simple, sustainable lifestyle, lets step back, take a deep breath, commit to giving ourselves some margin and be willing to hear one another’s view of that coffee cup.

For only then will we see the entire cup.

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