Zen Teacher: “Richard from Texas”

Sticking with inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert (Monday’s post: Selfish, Selfish, Selfish!), today I’m throwing Richard from Texas into the mix.  Those who read Eat, Pray, Love immediately know the character who’s referred to as ‘Richard from Texas.‘  If you haven’t read the book, picture Total Zen Dude meets Southern Gentleman, Texan accent and everything.

Without giving anything away, I think it’s safe to say that anyone who’s heard of the book knows it’s about Gilbert’s journey to herself.  The book is broken into thirds and it’s at her second destination that she meets Richard at an ashram in India.

Classic Richard from Texas

I once heard Gilbert tell a story during an interview of how she was bearing her soul to Richard, lamenting the break-up she had had with a boyfriend.  She was saying, “Oh, I wish this, and I wish that….”  On and on.  When she was done, Richard very matter-of-factly said:

“Groceries,” (as she was affectionately called by him), “You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughta be.”

Talk about cutting to the point!  Said so cleverly and with his unique humor, and still with such directness and honesty, I can only imagine those words snapped her out of her stupor.

Richard from Texas with Groceries


I gotta tell you, as much as I scramble around day-to-day to jot down quotes that speak to me, that’s one quote I did NOT have to write down.

How often do we wear our wishbone where our backbone ought to be?  How often do we just plain wear that wishbone OUT?!!?

Well, I have what I believe is an answer to that.  I think we use our wishbone over our backbone in direct proportion to how much we Trust.  (Did you see that one coming?  Come on!  I know you did!!  This is Trust Life Today you’re reading, folks!)  :-)

Seriously now.  The more we wish, and I’m talking about the kind of wishing that has no action behind it, the kind that is just one step away from the prayer that turns into begging (you know the kind) – – the less we Trust.

Using our backbone first however, implies Trusting ourselves, a Trust that comes from within.

Using our backbone over our wishbone doesn’t mean that we always know exactly what to do, by the way.  The right course of action at that moment might be to do nothing, to wait.  It might be to ask for help.  But beginning from our backbone over our wishbone offers us a real vantage point.  We are leading from a position of strength.

And where does this strength come from?  When I say Trust comes from within, I don’t want you to hear me say it’s all Me, Me, Me.  No, no, no….  The strength to lead from our backbone comes from KNOWING YOU ARE TAKEN CARE OF.  By who, you ask?  By God, Our Creator, the Universe, whatever language sits well with you, but it’s that Force, that Greater Force Than I, that lives within me, that lives within you, which provides the strength I spoke of.  Provides Faith.  Provides Trust.

You are stronger than you know.

Put that backbone to good use.

Richard from Texas

Richard Vogt (1947 – 2010)

instant attraction

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