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Who’s Pulling Our Strings? July 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, People, Spirit & Ego.

2014-05-05 11-54-38_0042

What’s behind the urgent urgings?

* Hurry up.  You’ll be old, fat, and out of touch soon.

* Do now.  Do Do Do.

* Step outside your comfort zone.

* You’re expanding or contracting.

* Don’t die with your music still inside you.

Why not?

If Mozart had never been, would the world collapse in on itself?

What does it tell us about ourselves if we clothe the naked Emperor in our musings?

If I don’t share my words with the world, will they die un-uttered?

Or will the Universe find some other puppet to speak them out?

Aah . . . that’s better!

We are encouraged to believe we are, each of us, unique.  One-of-a-kind.  To what end?  To contribute to the greater good of all?

Or, perhaps, to feed our Egos.  To feel important.  To believe that we all have a grand purpose.

But do we?




1. katecrimmins - July 24, 2014

We do have a contribution to make although it may not save the world. Sometimes it’s just a good deed for someone. I like to keep expanding or I get bored.

nrhatch - July 24, 2014

I agree. When we stop the “busy-bee mentality,” we have time to just be ~> To smile. To lend a hand. To perform a random act of kindness.

I am all for expansion IF trying something new adds to the enjoyment of our journey (rather than just adding a notch on Ego’s Belt).

katecrimmins - July 24, 2014

I’m pretty sure I retired my ego when I retired from the business world. Doesn’t seem as important anymore.

nrhatch - July 24, 2014

Same here, Kate.

I stopped practicing law because I no longer enjoyed practicing law. LOTS of people second-guessed my decision because I was good at it, made a lot of money, had trained for it, etc.

To me, the best measure of success is happiness. When we enjoy the journey, we WIN. No matter what happens, we win.

2. Silver in the Barn - July 24, 2014

If you’re only motivated to make a contribution to feed your ego or to feel important, as you suggest, then it’s a hollow thing. But if your contributions serve others in some way, then they really can make a difference, albeit small. I’m a firm believer in small unsung acts making huge differences in lives.

nrhatch - July 24, 2014

I agree. Most people who want to see their name on a bridge, a concert hall, or the cover of the book are doing it to quell the Ego’s desire for recognition, applause, and acclaim. They believe that “making a name” for themselves will make them happy. In most cases, they have to keep striving for the next thing and the next and the next ~ because Ego is never satisfied.

In contrast, those who build bridges to CONNECT with others, enjoy the journey . . . every step of the way.

3. In the Stillness of Willow Hill - July 24, 2014

Brilliance happens…..but is this creativity a necessity? Probably not. It’s just our humanness working it’s way through our collective lives. It’s how we process the human form we’ve been given.

nrhatch - July 24, 2014

Yes! There are two things we NEED to do ~ arrive and depart. How we choose to fill the time and space between those two mandates is up to us.

We can do it to GIVE or to RECEIVE. Overall, I expect the GIVERS are far happier . . . even if they don’t have their name on the side of a building or the cover of a book. 😎

4. Val Boyko - July 24, 2014

Love the nitty grittiness of this post Nancy.
The world we live in is ALL about egos – judging, controlling, competing, marketing, consuming …
Our egos also feel so much better when we think we are doing good in the world. We feed our egos and become super egos and heroes who care.
But the thing is, when we do good in the world, it also increases inner being and Presence too.
When we connect to our spirit and soul we expand beyond ego and embrace humanity and the whole.
Accepting that the answer is beyond the capacity of our thinking mind is a big part of it for me.
Val x

nrhatch - July 24, 2014

I saw a commercial last night for Ross. Two college co-eds shopping for their dorm room. After “saving lots of $’s” (by spending money), the tag-line was . . .


Not ~ buy this STUFF to be comfy.
Not ~ buy this STUFF because it will come in handy.
Not ~ buy this STUFF because it will help you study.

Just . . . BUY THIS so OTHER PEOPLE will think better of you.

That’s the Ego message we get for cars, vacations, clothes, handbags, shoes, kitchens, bathrooms, boats, etc.


It causes people to embrace the notion that we are here to get applause from others . . . to make a name for ourselves by doing something that THEY value. And if we don’t receive accolades and acknowledgement (or a trophy just for showing up), we feel empty.

In contrast, Kindness is its own reward ~ being KIND makes us happy. Even if no one notices.

5. NancyTex - July 24, 2014

I’ve been pondering a similar question since reading a post over on Andra’s blog last week. I’m still uncertain of my feelings on the matter. I like to think I do what I do because it feels right and real and challenging for me, not because I want to be remembered for it. Do I have an ego? You betcha! And I know my ego affects many of my decisions. I’m just not sure that the end goal of being remembered after I am long gone is my chief motivator. I think not though.

nrhatch - July 24, 2014

If we are enjoying the JOURNEY, we win ~> no matter what happens, we win. Because our HAPPINESS is no longer dependent on reaching a certain level of FAME or ACCLAIM.

In contrast, when we are using an external reference point (“what THEY think of us”), we are subject to the slings and arrows of changing tastes ~ it is no longer enough to WRITE the book, we must SELL, SELL, SELL. And then it’s not enough to SELL, we must get GREAT REVIEWS. And then GREAT REVIEWS are not enough, we must be selected for Oprah’s Book Club.

And when that’s not enough, we must write another book. And another book. And another book. And . . . it is NEVER enough. Because Ego is NEVER satisfied. Ego always wants MORE.

Sometimes our motivations are hidden. Do we want to write a book (or blog post) about what we’ve learned to HELP them? Or to ENTERTAIN them? Or do we want to do it because we are hoping they’ll bow down to our brilliance?

Look deep. The answers lie within.

6. Grannymar - July 24, 2014

I like to share from my experiences, after all there are no pockets in shrouds to take them with me.

nrhatch - July 24, 2014

I like to “go with the flow” these days ~ to coast at the coast. I don’t feel the need to do MORE b/c of the urgent urgings to claim fame, acclaim, and a name for myself.

If I’m enjoying myself here, now (where the dance of life takes place), what do I care if they remember me when I’m gone?

Grannymar - July 25, 2014

Nancy, I always say: Three weeks and I will be forgotten, life moves fast these days.

nrhatch - July 25, 2014

If we’ve lived well, the “trees” around us will note our absence, even if the forest as a whole doesn’t realize we’re gone.

That’s cool with me.

7. Don - July 24, 2014

More to do with feeding our egos Nancy. Such a refreshing post. 🙂

nrhatch - July 24, 2014

And it’s not just OUR egos that we need to watch out for . . . it’s the ego-orientation of others.

Example: Someone wrote an entertaining short story and published it on his blog. People who enjoyed reading his story suggested (a) turning it into a novel, (b) submitting it to a magazine, (c) publishing it as an e-book, (d) etc.

What’s wrong with just sharing it on his blog? Why do people always push us to do MORE? 😎

My thought: Do LESS, Be MORE.

Don - July 24, 2014

So true, Nancy. I don’t know if you noticed a particular comment on my blog about my present picture, and my response to it. Precisely what you describe. 🙂

nrhatch - July 24, 2014

Yes! I had NOT seen that comment until just now . . . but had no problem finding it.

I LOVE your response. Just PERFECT!

8. colonialist - July 24, 2014

I don’t think there is much to be said for the dedicated oxygen-and-ration thieves.

nrhatch - July 24, 2014

So . . . who decides when to pull the plug on folks living life in a constant coma of couch potato-ness?

colonialist - July 24, 2014

There should be a natural law ..

nrhatch - July 24, 2014

I don’t know. I think they serve a useful purpose ~> they give the more Ego-Minded folks among us a frame of reference for comparison that always offers up a favorable reflection. 😎

9. ericjbaker - July 24, 2014

I frequently think of what ifs like that. What if so-and-so never made the contribution he or she made. Or, conversely, what forgotten person could have been a brilliant songwriter or legendary artist if only she picked up a guitar or a paint brush? Not that I’m any of those things, but I only ended up playing drums because of a sequence of factors: My mom’s friend gave us a beat up old drum in case we wanted to bang around. I heard a song on the radio that made me think, ‘Hey, it might be fun to be on stage and play music,” and I had two friends at school who wanted to start a band and asked me to join, even though I had all of three hours experience banging around on that drum. All those events took place within a month of each other. Changed my life.

nrhatch - July 24, 2014

Doing things for the Fun Factor makes infinite sense to me, whether it’s banging on a drum or whipping out the paints. In contrast, doing things we don’t enjoy solely for external accolades and applause seems like a big fat waste of time.

If someone spends decades building a magnificent cathedral because NOTHING makes her happier than building things . . . AWESOME!

If someone does it because she want to be remembered after she’s dead and, in the process, doesn’t enjoy her time here, I question her sanity.

ericjbaker - July 24, 2014

Good point. Van Gogh is a great example (not really, he was insane anyway)… No one cared at the time, but look at him now. The other type of person… the one who simply wants to be important… I think we call them “politicians.”

nrhatch - July 24, 2014

Yes! Politicians get things named after them and they almost never have to do the “heavy lifting.” 😎

10. Jill Weatherholt - July 24, 2014

I guess I’ve never felt as though I had a grand purpose in life or questioned what my purpose is. Perhaps I’m naïve, but I just try to be kind to others and live my life as though someone is always watching.

nrhatch - July 24, 2014

I spent time wondering about “my purpose” and finally concluded that we are here to be happy and to make others happy.

Everything else (especially external yardsticks of success) is irrelevant.

11. Behind the Story - July 25, 2014

A favorite saint for many Catholics is St. Therese of Lisieux. She’s famous for her simplicity and the littleness of her life. I think she’s popular with people because her life proves that living a simple, good life is enough. We don’t need to fulfill some “grand purpose.”

I like your example of the ad from Ross. We’re bombarded with messages trying to “pull our strings.”

nrhatch - July 25, 2014

Great example, Nicki. As we untangle ourselves from the Ego’s orientation, the more freedom we have to live a simple, good life.

12. jannatwrites - July 25, 2014

I don’t think sharing our creativity is a must. It would be pretty egotistical to think the world would collapse if it didn’t know our greatness 🙂

nrhatch - July 25, 2014

For me, it comes down to motivation. If we are happy expressing our creativity . . . we should “let it out.”

But if we are expressing creativity at the expense of our happiness, we should stop and consider whether the trade off is worth the price we’re paying.

13. livelytwist - July 25, 2014

Food for thought Nancy. I believe we all have a grand purpose, although we need to define ‘grand’ But we can’t ‘hurry’ some things. And patience is still a virtue in my book.

If you don’t express your uniqueness, the world won’t stop. But what a pity that you didn’t do what you’re made to do, at least that’s the way I see it.

nrhatch - July 25, 2014

I think we are made for a single purpose ~> to be happy and make others happy. If we use happiness (rather than external accolades and awards) as our barometer . . . we win. No matter what happens.

I just see too many “creatives” who are torturing themselves trying to reach some elusive destination of pre-defined success rather than enjoying the journey of sharing themselves with the world.

14. Three Well Beings - July 28, 2014

Hmmm. I may need to think about this for a while. I know that I don’t have the drive that propels me towards any area of recognition, but I somehow still have plenty of ego that needs quelling. 🙂 I have most often assumed that those who do desire the attention have a creative need that is only fulfilled when there is recognition of what they’ve shared. This would be good question for table talk with some of my friends. 🙂

nrhatch - July 28, 2014

Many of us have an innate desire to create. Just look at young children happily coloring “outside the lines.”

The joyful journey of creation is transformed into an Ego Trip when the creator’s goal in creating lies not in the act of creating but in getting a “cookie” for reaching the “finish line.” Especially when the “finish line” involves getting MORE (stats, applause, reviews, readers, $’s, recognition, fame, acclaim).

If you have friends that engage in these types of discussion during Table Talk Time . . . hang on to them! I think the main reason I enjoy blogging is that cyber chatter isn’t always superficial natter about the weather.

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