74 – March 15
“It will never rain roses. When we want to have more roses, we must plant more trees.”—George Eliot
When I speak of sharks, dolphins, and tuna, I want to stress that I am not advocating segregation of fish, or saying that some fish are bad fish. We are all in the ocean together, and mutually interdependent. I just want you to be as high up on the food chain as possible.
If you’re swimming around with a lot of sharks, trying to transform them into dolphins, you are probably a tuna. Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to change yourself, even when you really want to change? It is a million times more difficult to try and change someone else. As a matter of fact, I would like to go on record as saying it is impossible to change someone else. Tuna will only be hurt if you suggest that their problems are their own fault, and no self-respecting shark is going to respond to your advice to lose the teeth and change the music. All you can do is model behavior, and if the fish swimming in your vicinity see how happy you are—so much so that they want to be like you—then they have a chance to change themselves. But you don’t do it. They do it. And they have to want it bad.
If you find yourself in the water with sharks, put your shark fin on as camouflage and swim to the nearest exit. You can try and adopt some protective shark behavior, but you will never be as good a shark as a real shark—you don’t have the teeth for it. If you find yourself with tuna, model dolphin behavior for them, but don’t get trapped into commiserating “ain’t-it-awful” behavior. Love them—but don’t do business with them, or you may find that sign “Sorry, Charlie” hanging in front of you.
We strive to become Dolphin—smart, joyful, intelligent comrades, warding off sharks and saving tuna. This is our world view.
When you are ready, there is a greater vision: We are Ocean.
“I float blissfully in the ocean of life, giving gifts to all its creatures.”
One Saturday afternoon, I was playing poker in a friendly game at the Bicycle Casino. Most of the players were regulars and we knew each other, having played the same game often over the past few years.
Linda, the tall blond across from me, was a lovely person – away from the tables, or if she was winning. But when she was losing, watch out! Her anger would start to seethe, she’d fling her cards at the dealer, and curse angrily. It was a bit uncomfortable.
She was winning for awhile and perfectly pleasant, and then her luck changed and she got a couple of “bad beats”. She snapped at the dealer and threw her cards on the table and glared at me.
“Oh, now Linda,” I said as soothingly as I could, “It’s just one hand. You’ll have another hand in two minutes and it will get better.”
She stopped and stared at me for a moment. Then she said seriously, without a hint of sarcasm, “You must have been loved as a child.”
“Why, yes,” I said cheerfully. “I was definitely lucky there!”
Several men at the table smiled, and one said to me, “Are you one of those people who thinks the glass is always half full?”
“Oh, I’m just happy if I have a glass!” I exclaimed, to laughter all around.
Months later, I saw the guy who had been sitting on my left that day, and he smiled and said he never forgot that I said was happy if I had a glass. I said, “Sure, because that just means there’s lots of opportunity to find something to put in the glass.”
“What if you didn’t have a glass?” he asked.
“Well, then I’d be looking around at the opportunities for getting a glass!”
Just living my truth, no matter what fish are in the sea.