I’m stealing from a monk.
I read this New Yorker profile on Ittetsu Nemoto, a Zen Buddhist monk who works with suicidal people in Japan. He is a life coach, in the ultimate and literal sense. His workshops are near-life experiences for those who want to die.
I read the article twice, second time underlining segments that really moved and resonated with me. I underlined and circled this:
Nemoto believes in confronting death; he believes in cultivating a concentrated awareness of the functioning and fragility of the body; and he believes in suffering, because it shows you who you really are.
He believes that suffering produces insight.
He also believes that helping people should be like eating, something you just do every day: routine, essential, and beneficial.
He helps people confront the fear of living.
Fear is a great motivator. When we’re afraid of losing something, we work hard to keep it. A job, a relationship, an apartment, a precious stone. Sometimes fear motivates us to act.
But sometimes fear holds us back. It keeps us from speaking up, being bold, going for the things we want. This is the fear I want to see people overcome.
The message is simple. Don’t be afraid.
Sometimes the fear in our heads is an echo of an irrelevant past. I want to help people focus, get past the fear, and act for the present and beyond.
I’m learning more and more that it’s not about money. Yes, I’m talking about negotiation. It’s about value. If you are good at what you do, the tremendous value you bring to the table will speak for itself.
I live in an expensive city with chaotic streets full of busy people. When you live here, it’s easy to confuse money with value and success.
I believe you have to dig deeper to understand each person’s success. Just as everyone has their own journeys and frustrations, they have their unique definitions of success.
The freedom I relish is extremely valuable to me. It affords me the opportunity to be a student again and to aspire for a different kind of success.
And today I am blessed by the abundance of ideas, of words, and of confessions.
I was wrong.
I thought this stump of a formerly thriving money tree was dead. Last winter, it had grown too big for our bedroom, so C chopped it down to its trunks.
Two weeks ago, I noticed it was sprouting green leaves.
To be honest, seeing this kinda spooked me. It’s like the living dead, a zombie. Blind to its shortcomings, unstoppable in its quest for water and light.
But I had to respect its incredible will to live. So we started watering it again.
Flourishing and thriving, on its path back to gloriously beautiful.