scary close

(2014) by Donald Miller – (blue like jazz.. miller extreme focus law.. et al) via sh

notes/quotes from hard copy (thanks library):

foreward by bob goff


author’s note


i shouldn’t pretend to be an expert, though, i didn’t get married until i was 42, which is how long it too me to risk being myself w another human being


1 – the distracting noises of insecurity


that’s one of the problems w the way ‘m wired.. i don’t trust people to accept who i am in process.. the same personality trait that made me a good writer also made me terrible at relationships.. you can only hide backstage for so long.. to have an intimate relationship you have to show people who you really are.. i hardly knew who i really was myself much less how to be fully known

brown belonging lawthe opposite of belonging.. is fitting in.. true belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are.. it requires you to be who you are.. and that’s vulnerable.. –Brené Brown


something i’d learned about myself in the year i spent pursuing her.. i’d learned my default mode was to perform.. even in small groups i feel like i have to be ‘on’.. but when i’m alone my energy comes back.. when i’m alone i don’t have to perform for anybody..

oikos (the economy our souls crave).. ‘i should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.’ – gaston bachelard, the poetics of space

who else do you marry but the person who pulls you off the stage

eudaimonia\tive surplus.. bachelard oikos \tive surplus..

marriage\ing ness et al.. soul mate ness et al


the stakes were high.. i was going to have to either learn to be healthy or i’d spend the rest of my life pretending.. it was either intimacy or public isolation

wilde not-us law

it’s better when you have somebody to go home to and talk about it with, somebody who is more in love with you than impressed by you


i realized i could have a happy life w/o splitting an atoms or making a splash.. it’s true our lives can pass small and unnoticed by the masses and we are no less dignified for having lived quietly..


2 – you are good at relationships

devijver assume good law et al


3 – everyone’s got a story and it’s not the one they’re telling

adichie single story law et al..

4 – why some animals make themselves look bigger than they are


i didn’t show my true self to anybody and i got terrific at not being noticed


i understood her.. i think she was doing the same thing i had done in jr high.. she was climbing inside herself and going invisible.. my invisibility act worked great for years.. but then i found something better

fix vs not hidden et al


if i was smart it meant i mattered.. so i wanted to be smart.. i had a costume and it felt great to wear it.. i could be smart

intellect ness et al

today when people ask why i became writer i try to answer honestly.. i’m a writer because at an early age i became convinced it was the one thing i could do to earn people’s respect.. it’s true in the process i learned to love words and ideas and these days i actually like to get lost in the writing process.. but the early fuel.. the early motivation was all about becoming a person worth loving..



when some animals feel threatened they make themselves appear bigger.. she said it’s true w people too.. they often make themselves appear better than they are in order to attract others and protect themselves from threats..

the hardest rule for me to keep at onsite.. was that we couldn’t tell people what we did for a living.. it’s a genius rule.. right from the start we were’t allowed to wear a costume.. my entire id.. my distorted sense of value.. came almost exclusively from the fact i wrote books.. it was torture.. i never realized how much i’d used my job as a social crutch..


deep inside i wanted so desperately to talk about what i did because i knew people would like me if they only knew.. people would think i was important.. slowly over the week.. i realized i was addicted to my outer shell.. that w/o my costume i felt vulnerable..

when people learned some people made a lot of money and others didn’t, or some were slightly famous and others weren’t.. they divided into perceived categories.. people who didn’t feel they’d accomplished much felt insecure around those who had

marsh label law et al


for once i was glad i wasn’t the guy doing the entertaining (telling jokes.. seeming like everyone liked him best).. somebody else had to go back to the green room that night and obsess over his performance.. i got to go home with the girl… i began to wonder what life would be like if i dropped the act and began to trust that being myself would be enough to get the love i needed..

enough ness and brown belonging law et al


5 – three things i learned about relationships from swimming in a pond


when there’s silence in the convo i feel like it’s my responsibility to fill it.. it’s work, you know.. i kept reminding myself the only way betsy and i would make it is if i learned to trust her w those silences.. if i learned to trust the reason she was marrying me wasn’t to be entertained but to exchange love.. that long, boring love that happens when a couple quietly eats cereal together while they read the paper..


the downside of being a writer is you get plenty of time to overthink your life.. i like what victor frankl wrote, about how we aren’t designed to spend too much time thinking about ourselves.. that we are healthier when we’re distracted by a noble cause.. the only positive distraction i had in asheville was the pond.. each day i’d go down and take aswim.. letting the water distract me from my thoughts..

cold (naked) swim.. water .. mermaid swim law.. et al


i thought also about how content and comfortable i was being single.. how much control i had in my life, how i could go out and get applause anytime i wanted and then retreat to the green room of my life, eating oreos and waiting for my next performance..


the reason i don’t like exercise is because somewhere in the deep recesses of my brian i’ve become convinced no amount of work is enough.. i never leave a workout satisfied or proud of myself.. (heading: swimming a little is swimming enough)


the problem is this: those of us who are never satisfied w our accomplishments secretly believe nobody will love us unless we’re perfect..

it’s all connected w the belief human love is conditional.. but human love isn’t’ conditional.. no love is conditional.. if love is conditional, it’s just some sort of manipulation masquerading as love

yeah that.. huge huge huge

pearson unconditional law.. unconditional ness et al


i wondered if betsy wouldn’t be more happy married to a man who was relaxed than a man constantly feeling like he wasn’t working hard enough


(quote from john cotton richmond.. human trafficking and civil rights prosecutor at the us dept of justice.. leading guy in country taking down bad guys): ‘it’s a tough question you know.. the heart of man.. i’ve prosecuted some evil people.. rapists, .. leaders of child sex trafficking rings.. the works.. and you want to know what they all have in common?.. they all think people are out to get them.. it’s causing me to wonder if distrust doesn’t bring out the worse in us.. nearly everybody i put in prison has been tragically abused and so it’s natural they don’t trust others and they see life as a kill or be killed drama.. but it makes me wonder about those of us who deal w same issue in lesser percentages.. i wonder about my own heart’..

khan filling the gaps law.. missing pieces et al


the harshest people i’ve met over the years have had two things in common: they don’t fully trust anybody and they view relationships as a means to an end


6 – performance anxiety in real life


having integrity is about being the same person on the inside that we are on the outside, and if we don’t have integrity, life becomes exhausting

eu\daimon\ia ness.. the energy we need

imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..

what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people

it’s true that people are attracted to intelligence and strength and even money, but attraction isn’t intimacy.. what attracts us doesn’t always connect us..


7 – the people we choose to love


another thing that’s strange.. after distancing myself from my friend i loved him more, not less.. i protected myself for sure, but my anger went away.. once he wasn’t hurting me anymore, i could finally have compassion and grace

love at a distance ness


it’s true the manipulator is the loneliest person in the world.. and the second loneliest is the person being manipulated.. unless we’re honest w each other, we can’t connect.. we can’t be intimate..


john cotton richmond once said to me that 90% of people’s problems could be prevented if they’d choose healthier people to give their hearts to.. ralph look at me curious.. ‘whats a healthy person’ he asked.. i told him i was still figuring that out myself.. but i’d not met a lot of healthy people who were dramatic..

oi.. none of us are healthy.. that’s the problem


8 – control freak


he gives them (crying pooping children) to us for the same reason he confused language at the tower of babel, to create chaos and deter us from investing too much energy in the gluttonous idols of self absorption

carhart-harris entropy law.. tower of babel et al

i had to face the reality i would never be the director of my own distorted love story.. i had to realize betsy would never be an actress reading form a script i’d written.. she was herself w her own desires and wants and passions and there was nothing i could do to control her

i have a pastor friend who says the root of sin is the desire for control.. and i’d add root of control is fear.. the reason i had such a rich fantasy life was partially because it gave me a sense of control.. there was no risk in my fantasy life.. and risk is what i feared the most.. after all.. to love somebody is to give them the power to hurt you and nobody can hurt you if you’re the only one writing the script.. but it doesn’t work.. controlling people are the loneliest people in the world.. the same tendency drove my fantasy life: the desire to be the writer of somebody else’s script and control all aspects of the story.. it’s sad.. not even god controls people’s stories and he’s the only one who actually can


you can’t control somebody and have intimacy w them at the same time.. they may stay because they fear you, but true love casts out fear..

no fear


henry cloud told me.. that when two people are entirely and completely separate they are finally compatible to be one.. nobody’s self worth lives inside of another person.. intimacy means we are independently together

brown belonging law et al

love doesn’t control and i suppose that’s why it’s the ultimate risk.. in the end we have to hope the person we’re giving our heart to won’t break it and be willing to forgive them when they do..


perhaps that’s another reason true intimacy is so frightening.. it’s the one thing we all want, and must give up control to get


9 – five kinds of manipulators


reading cloud and townsend along w harriet braiker.. let me know what the dominant enemy of any relationship is.. it’s dishonesty, and specifically the dishonesty involved in being a manipulative person..


1\ scorekeeper: in true intimate relationships, people don’t keep score

sans any form of m\a\p

2\ judge: when a judge personality is religious.. they’ll use the bible to gain control of others.. the bible becomes a book of rules they use to prove they are right .. those who manipulate by playing the role of judge have a problem explaining any kind of specific wrong they’ve ever committed.. the truth is, they don’t believe they are wrong at all.. to be wrong is to give up control, and manipulators don’t give up control.. control is about fear.. intimacy is about risk

judge\ment ness et al

3\ false hero: the dark side to the visionary personality is they can lead people to believe they have a future when it might not be possible or realistic to actualize that vision.. seems too good to be true..


4\ fearmonger: perhaps the most deadly and dangerous of manipulators.. fearmongers rule by making people suffer the consequences of insubordination.. ‘if you don’t submit to me i’ll make your life a living hell’


fearmongers are completely incapable of vulnerability and as such incapable of intimacy.. you know you’re with a fearmonger when they overemphasize the concept of loyalty.. what a fearmonger calls loyalty could better be described as complete and total submission.. fearmongers surround themselves only w people who will submit.. ‘never question or challenge my authority’


when you are afraid to disagree w somebody or challenge their authority you are likely in the presence of a fearmonger


5\ flopper: somebody who overdramatized their victimhood in order to gain sympathy and attention.. floppers assume the role of victim whenever they can .. in order to be a victim, a person needs an oppressor.. if you enter into a relationship w a flopper, sooner or later that oppressor will be you


a safe person.. somebody who speaks the truth in grace


10 – lucy in the kitchen


i think a lot of the shame based religious and political methodology has more to do w keeping people contained than with setting them free.. and i’m no fan of it


one of the reasons betsy is good at relationships for the most part she truly believes she’s good for people.. not arrogance.. nobody who know betsy would think of her as prideful.. yet she knows that when she gets close to somebody she will likely make their life better.. she doesn’t try to change people.. she just knows when people spend enough time together.. they become like each other..


i realized that that one of the reasons i’d been so isolated was because i’d subconsciously believe i wasn’t all that good for people.. if our id gets broken.. it affects our ability to connect.. i wonder how many people are withholding the love they could provide because they secretly believe they have fatal flaws..

all of us


11 – the risk of being careful


bronnie ware’s insight. most common regret of dying: wish they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life others expected of them

regrets.. socrates supposed to law et al

i’m willing to take the occasional blow to find people i connect with.. as long as you’re willing to turn the other cheek w the mean ones.. vulnerability can get you a wealth of friends..

can you imagine coming to the end of your life being surrounded by people who loved you only to realize they never fully knew you.. .. or having poems you never shared or injustices you said nothing about.. can you imagine realizing then .. it was too late? how can we be loved if we are always in hiding?

fix vs not hidden et al.. anonymous ones heavy law et al.. paul know\love law et al


is there anything more toxic than the fear of being judged.. judgement shuts us down and makes us hide.. it keeps us from being ourselves, which keeps us from connecting w other people

judge\ment ness.. needing tech w/o judgment for detox.. and brown belonging law et al

batra hide in public law et al


it made me wonder if the months i’d spend alone in a cabin, writing, were so peace filled because at least for a month i’d escaped the constant stress of worrying about what other people thought of me


made me wonder if the time we spend trying to become somebody people will love isn’t wasted because the most powerful most attractive person we can be is who we already are.. an ever changing being that is becoming and will never arrive

the it is me ness


william blake said about jesus that he was ‘all virtue and acted from impulse, not from rules‘.. what if part of god’s message to the world was you.. the true and real you?

eudaimonia\tive surplus ness et al.. ssocrates supposed to law et al


(jamie – runs nonprofit called write love on her arms): we need each other.. there’s no reason to judge.. people are more fragile than you could possibly imagine..

thurman interconnectedness law et al


12 – great parents do this well


i’m noticing a common characteristic of healthy families: kids w parents who are honest about their shortcomings seem to do better in life.. parents who aren’t trying to be perfect or pretend they’re perfect have kids who trust and respect them more.. it’s as though vulnerability and openness act as the soil that fosters security.. and i’d say that’s the quality i most often sense in the children of honest open parents.. i sense security..

i’ve noticed the opposite is true too.. parents who don’t admit their faults have children who are troubled and emotionally restless as though they secretly want to be free from their families so they can be themselves..


parents who are open/honest w kids create an environment in which children are allowed to be human.. sadly.. parents who hide their flaws unknowingly create an environment where kids feel the need to hide.. and feeling the need to hide our true selves form the world is rarely healthy


some of the most troubled people i knew were raised in fundamentalist environments w parents who felt the need to act more righteous than they were.. environments in which we are encourage to hide our faults are toxic

anonymous ones heavy law

fix vs not hidden


when i’ve had dinner w them (paul young author of the shack) i was surprised at how freely and openly they talked thru whatever problem they were dealing with.. it’s as though their family (of 8) was a refuge.. a place where everybody could be themselves w no fear of being judged

bachelard oikos law et al


paul: ‘there are no shadows in our family.. we don’t hide anything.. but that’s a tough place to get to.. it takes work and it’s painful’

takes a lot of work ness and fix vs not hidden ness

the affair was a grueling season for his family yet it brought something into their lives they’d desperately needed.. the truth.. to survive people were going to have to start being painfully honest


‘imagine finding out your father had cheated on your mom and the whole time you never knew about it you’d feel like you’d been living inside a lie.. it was shattering’ – paul


the conversation was really about freedom, about being free to be human and honest and true, no matter how dark the truth is..

health only happens when we’re able to be known.. people others felt safe around so they could be known too..


mark: we tell each other anything.. wasn’t easy.. i decided i wouldn’t judge my kids.. no matter what they told me.. i wouldn’t make them feel like lesser people for their mistakes.. because of that they learned to trust me w their deepest thoughts’


if honesty is the key to intimacy.. it means we don’t have to be perfect and moreover we don’t have to pretend to be perfect


what paul did for his kids.. he stepped out form behind the curtain and gave his kids his heart, broken as it was.. and so they connected and the family began to heal

i’ve got a little hope brewing now.. i’m hoping my kids will grow up being less impressed w me but more connected to me.. maybe children just need somebody to show them it’s ok to be human


13 – the stuff of a meaningful life


i’d go off to cabins on remote islands in the winter and isolate to write a book.. in other words.. to et people to love me i’d walk away form people altogether.. i was living an absurdly unhealthy paradox.. and while it was getting me famous.. it wasn’t creating a meaningful life


frankl went on to say it wan’t pleasure mankind was looking for.. that men only sought pleasure when they couldn’t find meaning.. if a mean has no sense of meaning, frankl argued, he will numb himself w pleasure

cope\ing ness et al.. hari present in society law et al


frankly had three recommendations (to experience deep; sense of meaning): 1\ have *a project to work on.. some reason to get out of bed in the morning and **preferably something that serves other people

*imagine if we ness

**no.. not that.. if we legit do first part.. we will serve (ie: undisturbed ecosystem ness).. but if we try to serve.. we’ll be back in sea world

2\ have a redemptive perspective on life’s challenges.. recognize the ways that difficulty also serves you.. 3\ *share your life w a person or people who love you unconditionally

*2 conversations ness as infra


when frankly came aboard (mental health division of the viennese hospital system) he had more than 30 000 suicidal patients under his care .. he taught counselors to id projects the patients could contribute to.. that would give them a reason to get out of bed.. not one patient committed suicide on frankl’s watch

super.. but today we can do better.. ie: imagine if we ness


14 – do men do intimacy differently?


15 – you will not complete me


‘why do you spend so much time thinking about what others think.. that’s going to drive you crazy.. just ask yourself if you’re happy and what you want in a relationship and that’s it.. what’s goin on in other people’s minds is none of your business’ – therapist

if she (betsy) wants to leave she can go.. a person’s love for you can’t grow unless you hold that person losely


i didn’t love these girls so much as i wanted to use them to fix something broken inside of me.. and because of that incredible need.. i’d step all over their pillows for fear of losing them

oddly hendrix argues.. the more a partner exhibits the negative characteristics of our primary caretakers the more passion we will experience in the relationships.. i started to see the deception inherent in the primal emotion we often mistake for love..


that’s why i think it took betsy and me a little longer to fall in love.. she simply didn’t have any of the negative characteristics i had once been subconsciously attracted to


i’m convinced every person has a longing that will never be fulfilled and it’s our job to let it live and breathe and suffer w/in it as a way of developing our character.. jesus never offers that completion here on earth..


the fact we couldn’t be tricked into resenting each other or not healing each other’s deepest wounds might be the diff between our relationship and the many that have crashed and burned


if betsy and i didn’t think we could fulfill each other.. why we’d get married in the first place.. but for me, the answer is simple: we both get somebody to share the longing with

i don’t know if there’s a healthier way for two people to stay in love than to stop using each other to resolve their unfulfilled longing and, instead, start holding each other closely as they experience them..

i don’t mind the longing.. the longing is beautiful.. i just don’t want to feel it alone anymore.. i want to share it w betsy


16 – the place we left our ghosts