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“Wanna fly, you got to give up the sh*t that weighs you down” – Toni Morrison

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We can wake up in the morning feeling invincible and like nothing will diminish our optimism. The true test of that feeling is interacting with people throughout the day, for instance when we drive and have people honking at us and making obnoxious bewildered hand gestures because we are not running traffic lights about to turn red or are not exceeding the speed limit.

I already have the answers — and have blogged many times about them — for not getting distracted, upset nor diminished on our path to success and victory, but the answers often are easier than putting them into practice, and sometimes I need to use those answers in working with my clients for them not to get bent out of shape through feeling demoralized about their case, and when opposing witnesses lie or are reckless with the truth, when prosecutors do not play fair, or when a judge does not belong on the bench in the first place or mistakenly thinks s/he is omniscient when listening to me and my witnesses — instead of cutting us off — might sway the judge my way.

Here are my main answers to dealing with the world’s shit: Practicing non-duality means never letting outside factors influence my feelings of well being and strength. Practicing Self Identity Through Ho’oponopono means working on myself — including clearing out my internal gunk — rather than focusing on how to make others better when they trespass or seem to trespass. Remaining above the line means never lashing out, and always being open, curious and committed to learning, rather than below the line through being closed, defensive, and committed to being right. Applying taijiquan principles to battle means focusing on harmonizing and reversing adverse situations while never stiffening up nor getting angry. Being empathetic and compassionate means being consistent in having empathy and compassion for ourselves and others, and remembering that seeming trespassers are dealing with their own shit while preventing them from spreading their shit to us. Treating the battlefield as my playground and remembering that my opponents once wore diapers keeps me battle ready at all times, always ready for the trial rollercoaster ride, and always welcoming going to battle and having a powerfully good time preparing for and executing the battle.

It is easier not to get bent out of shape by others’ trespasses when we know we never will see the other person again and that their mis-deeds will not harm our reputations. That is why we can have a great time on vacation in a faraway place, in that we know that we are unlikely ever again to see the people we encounter there. When not on vacation, sometimes our seeming trespassers are lawyers we constantly deal with, co-workers and neighbors. When we transition from feeling territorial over our reputations, personal relationships, employment situations, and financial assets, our wings remain unburdened and always ready to fly and soar. In that regard, how wonderful that a Facebook friend recently posted Toni Morrison‘s truism: “Wanna fly, you got to give up the sh*t that weighs you down.” Song of Solomon, Part I, Ch. 8.

Whether by divine or pure coincidence, the very next day my son and I happened upon a curiously-named restaurant called Mulebone when walking in the District of Columbia’s Shaw neighborhood. I stuck my head in there to see if mules were on the menu (not at the time) and instead was greeted with a wall painting with this great quote from Zora Neale Hurston: “Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.” In other words, other people’s self-created shit is their own shit, and we should not let it become our own shit.

And there is a lot of shit out there. One approach my father took to all the dogshit he encountered when running long distance was to ask the running shoe saleperson to point him to the shoes that don’t pick up dogshit, which seemed to be everywhere in Fairfield, Connecticut. Of course, we have the option instead to watch out for the shit in the first place, to vibrate highly when the shit gets on us, to clean it off, and to move on.

Now I loop back to transcending others’ shit through current and upcoming epiphanies. The name of that Mulebone restaurant’s clearly comes from the Mule Bone  play that was the source of the termination of Zora Neale Hurston’s friendship with Langston Hughes, who has a street section in his name only one block from the restaurant, whose owner advocated the street naming.

Getting bogged down prevents us from the epiphanies in life, including my own wonderful unfolding twenty-four hours of being delivered the above Toni Morrison quote followed by learning about Zora Neale Hurston, her connection with Langston Hughes, and the street named after him but one block from the Mulebone restaurant. Maintaining a wonder about life and the knowledge that the next epiphany is only around the corner also makes us more enchantedly stronger, always ready for any battlefield, wherever it may be.