Truly Powerful People (332)

Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Bob is on my mind today so I found this in the archives. It’s a snippet from a longer piece and I delight in sharing Bob with you:

Before his life as a gardener Bob was a movie executive. He was Icarus and flew too close to the sun. He lived a fast paced life and was enamored with the bright lights and the prestige of his position. He told me that his relationships were superficial and based on usury and status. He lived in that cocktail culture (you know the one) in which you smile and look over the shoulder of the person with whom you are talking to see if there is someone else more important at the party. The higher he flew the emptier his life became. One day while previewing a film in his private viewing studio he stood up, not knowing why, he fled his office, got in his flashy fast car and drove east until the car ran out of gas. He abandoned it on the side of the road and kept walking. He has no memory of how he got to Santa Fe or how he got to the nunnery. He remembers the sisters teaching him to prune and to weed the plants. They taught him to care for the garden and helped him process his grief and eventually reclaim his sanity. It was a long fall and a slow slog out of a muddy depression.

Having lived a life of wealth without meaning, consumption without substance – and having died to it – Bob had eyes uncluttered by the debris of excess that obscures most of our lives. He released his American-style attachment to lack and ceased trying to fill the gap with stuff and status. He stepped into the gap. He was powerful. Most people feared him so they wrote him off; “he was a loser,” he was “just a gardener.”

Recently one of the participants in a tele-coaching class asked, “Why don’t we do what we want to do? Why don’t we do what we know is good for us, when we know it is good for us?” In other words, why do we desire to be a writer but refuse to make time in our lives to write; why do we continue smoking even when we know it will kill us; why do we yearn for something more and turn on the television to blot out the yearning?

To do those things you have to let go of other things, you have to lean into something bigger.

I’ve come to believe that asking the question, “why?” often doesn’t matter. There is an action and there is the story you wrap around that action. In fact, asking “why” can be a dodge, a defense against making the change you want to make. It is to believe that if you can rationalize your behavior, if you can possibly understand what you do, you will change it. Despite what we want to think, there is no sense to be made of yearning, there is no rational explanation for passion; those impulses swim in pools deeper than the intellect can reach.

Bob asked himself the question “why” for years: “why do I feel so empty?” He had to fall to the earth before he stopped asking “why?” He was in love with the idea of success and traded away the essential for the superficial. He was crushed by his own social expectations. After Bob re-emerged he no longer concerned himself with questions of worth or the angst of wondering “why.” He made different choices.

Now, Bob leans into something bigger.

One Response

  1. Well said, David! “Asking why” as a dodge truly resonates with me.

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