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Tiny Bubbles…

rl_website_somethingreal03I’ve been thinking about bubbles lately. Sometimes I can be a bit of a bubble brain but this is different, I hope. Over the last few days I’ve reflected on the realities we all exist inside of, the world we live in and mistake for how things are, everywhere.

This world’s a bubble.” Augustine of Hippo

I once worked with someone who claimed “to be able to see the whole board.” He was convinced he could envision the whole of the place we worked, everyone’s responsibilities, different departments, personalities and everything that encompassed what we did, how we did it and why. Like a Grand-Master of chess he could see all the pieces and how they fit together. There was no doubt in his mind. The problem was many of those who worked with him didn’t see it that way and could produce plenteous evidence to the contrary.

It’s not uncommon to know someone who lives in a bubble, convinced the way they see the world is the way it is or at least, should be. It is uncommon to find someone who accepts we all live in a bubble, none are exempt, and endeavours to stretch the boundaries of their world, increase their bubble’s size.

We are, every one of us, conditioned with cultural and familial paradigms, raised certain ways, with particular values. As long as we’re not challenged to examine our views, hold them up to the light, see if they can withstand scrutiny, life as we know it, our bubble, stays small.

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However, when someone tests the elasticity of our bubble things get more complicated. Often I, and other employees, would “poke” the bubble of the above mentioned staff member.  It never went well. As I wrote about in “POP Goes the Ego“, most times it wasn’t worth the splatter.

Sports Night is an underrated show and one of my favorites. The quote from Isaac Jaffe, Robert Guillaume, is a pearl of wisdom.

“It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. If you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.”

This runs counter to our society of yelling at and bullying others until they embrace our worldview or surrender to the refusal to allow for different viewpoints. People are labeled idiots, non believers, evil, if they fail whichever litmus test is deemed most important.

The size of our bubble is directly related to the amount of people we have in our lives who disagree with us, don’t see reality the way we do. Folks who will challenge long-held beliefs, assumptions and judgements.

To have our bubble stretched is frightening for most. Some worry it will pop with nothing to frame their existence. But those who dare to take the risk discover that many of the beliefs they hold dear are strengthened while the superfluous dogma gets discarded. If the beliefs and values we embrace are true they can withstand examination and we come out better for it on the other side.

Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day like a football, and it will be round and full at evening.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Sadly, however, most assume they don’t live in a bubble. Life is the way they see it and if everyone would acquiesce the world would be righted.

To have the courage to allow others into our lives who think and live differently than us allows us to grow in wisdom and love.

Be careful what you hate it might be someone you love.”

blessings,

bdl

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POP! Goes the Ego

RULE OF LIFE: Getting your bubble popped is never as much fun as popping someone else’s.

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Over at Neatorama there is a great video on making and popping giant bubbles.

A long, long time ago in a neighborhood far, far away blowing bubbles was the perfect way to pass an afternoon. A small plastic container with magic liquid and a wand with a circle on the end allowed you to make bubbles appear with a mere puff of air. A quick learner could make double, triple, large, small and multiple bubbles with ease. However, no matter how intricate and complex, the person who blew the biggest bubble was the best.

Egos are like bubble contests, some are impressive, others are complex, but the biggest always lay claim to being the best. We all know people in our lives with massive hubris. They never miss a chance to let you know their accomplishments, they’re in charge, they’re in this to win. In subtle and not so subtle ways everyone around them know they don’t measure up. Whether we live, work, are friends with or related to folks with overstuffed opinions of themselves we must be careful not to get sucked into their ego bubble.

One of our first responses is to POP these people. Not physically, though tempting, but through our own subtle and not so subtle ways of chipping away at their oversized confidence and bravado.  It is slippery knowing when, where, how and if to attempt to pop a swollen personality. Wisdom and life teach us most of the time it’s not worth the splatter.

When we look at our motives for wanting to let the air out of a gas-bag we often discover it’s more about our own ego than theirs. Our feelings have been hurt, we’re underappreciated, our ideas and opinions are not heard, or our egotistical counterpart just gets on our every nerve! Even as adults we want to win the contest.

Being mindful and expanding our egos don’t go together. Letting go of feelings of being bullied, embarrassed, ignored and disregarded isn’t easy. Coming to grips with our own swollen selves can be humbling.

Life isn’t about competing with one another. It’s not having what another possesses. It’s learning who you are and knowing that is enough.

“He who is not content with what he has, will not be content with what he wants.” –Socrates

blessings and burstings,

bdl

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