Friday Feels: Watching my Thoughts

This quote is often attributed to Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher from the 6th century B.C. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week.

I’ve probably averaged about 3 hours of sleep each night this week, and while that may be good practice for fatherhood, the reason hasn’t been because of a cute baby. It’s been because my mind is racing with thoughts of the people I love.

I replay the scenes and interactions of the day. I question if I could have done or said more. I obsess and analyze the details and sometimes cringe at the mountain of additional things I could or should have done better. When people around me are hurting I tend to internalize it and want to “fix” it — a constant theme in my life.

But thoughts for others are curious things. If you believe Lao Tzu then from those thoughts come the seeds of destiny.

Thoughts of concern, while keeping me up restless at 2am, can shape my words the following day…and before I know it those thoughts can change the man that I will be.

Thoughts are powerful things, indeed.

When I was a little boy my parents often told me to “” and there was a similar admonition in those three words. The focus is on what you let into the precious space of your mind because so much flows from there.

What happened in Atlanta was terrorism and hate. Death was the outcome that likely germinated from horrendous and heinous thoughts.

And 8 families are having the absolute worst week of their lives.

As a result of those racist and xenophobic thoughts and actions, so many of the Asian and Pacific Islander people in my life are hurting this week. Confronting the bitter reality of (yet again) fearing for their safety in the “.”

I’m embarrassed and ashamed of what we’ve become and know so much of it starts from our thoughts.

I am so fortunate and incredibly blessed to have members of the API community in my immediate circle. I cannot wait for my kid to get to know these beautiful people and be shaped by their experience.

I want you to know you have been in my thoughts all week long.

My mind races to seeing your faces and wondering if you’re feeling safe.

My mind pictures you and your parents having very difficult conversations about how to be vigilant in a country that benefits from your contributions, but carries a stain on it’s history of systemic racism that has been allowed to be buried in thoughts for far too long.

Then last night I saw it as my restless thoughts wouldn’t let me sleep — a simple black and white quote from Steven Yuen on a dear friend’s FB page:

My heart broke to read this. And I thought about the Lao Tzu quote and the intersection of these two ways of considering our thoughts.

I want my thoughts for those I love to not merely stay there…they have to take root and grow. They have to transform into words, actions, habits, character, and ultimately shape my destiny.

So now, I’m starting by saying some words. And I’m searching for actions I can take. Last summer I marched with my Black friends and I’m scanning for how I can be active in my advocacy for my API friends.

And I hope you hold me accountable for the habits I develop, because I know those habits will form my character and ultimately our collective destiny.

But it starts with thoughts.

I want you to know how my thoughts are with you, mi gente, and now it’s time those thoughts transform into words and action.

Take care of each other,

JM

#fridayfeels

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