Wait For It [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

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Nothing I have to say or will ever have to say is of vital importance. Therefore, your reply, if at all necessary, need not be immediate. Unless, of course, your name is Wendy and are considering whether or not you miss my face as much as Kerri’s. I was hopping up and down waiting for THAT reply. For everyone else, take your time. Get off the road.

Look up the word ‘immediacy’ and this is what you will find: the quality of bringing one into direct and instant involvement, giving rise to a sense of urgency or excitement. As painful as this is, here’s the truth of the matter: the sense of urgency is largely manufactured. And, most likely, it is waaaaay out of proportion. It’s true, we live in the age of direct and instant involvement. A good question to ask is instant involvement in what? With ‘breaking news!’ a constant fixture in a screaming 24 hour news cycle, hyper-short attention spans leaping this way and that, ubiquitous “buy now’ buttons flashing from every direction, and the ever-present fear of missing something in a never-ending stream of…what? There’s a lot of reinforcement in the notion that our input cannot wait. It can. None of it, none of what we have to say, is really all that important. If it was, truly was THAT important, we’d pull off the road. We’d stop splitting our attention so we could focus. We would eschew immediacy and become present.

Giving your full attention is a good test of importance.

What is important: living another day. That is important. Also, having a sense of perspective about the injected sense of urgency or excitement pervasive in this, the age of immediacy. After all, immediacy and presence are not the same thing.

[although I did not intend to write a public service announcement, I did… so for more, go here to read the 25 scariest texting and driving accident statistics]

 

read Kerri’s blog post about IT CAN WAIT

 

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Listen To Your Teachers

my yoga companions

my yoga companions and a belly-belly

Tripper Dog-Dog-Dog and BabyCat (aka Slim, Sumo, Belly-with-a-Mouth) join me for my morning stretch and yoga. I need only walk to the yoga rug and my practice mates come running. I suspect they are not invested in the quieting of their minds or keeping limber. Their attendance on the rug has a simpler, more pure agenda: attention and pets.

Our preparation looks something like this: BabyCat wraps himself around my ankles and purrs. Dog-Dog jumps with enthusiasm and nearly knocks me over. With a Sumo-sized kitty warming my ankles and a circus dog leaping all around me, my gentle, quiet practice begins. As I drop forward to touch my toes, Dog-Dog rolls over for what we have lovingly dubbed a “belly-belly.” Clearly, Dog-Dog is an opportunist who sees all things as an opportunity. He is, therefore, a very happy spirit.

BabyCat is more strategic. He waits patiently until I move into a downward-dog pose so he can inhabit his favored spot and nibble my hair. It is counter-intuitive but true that BabyCat is more vocal than Tripper Dog-Dog-Dog. As a strategist, BabyCat complains a lot. He is an adherent to the philosophy of the squeaky wheel getting all the grease and BabyCat knows how to squeak the wheel. He is, therefore, as a necessary prerequisite to wheel squeaking, never satisfied.

photo-3My yoga companions have served to make me more mindful though it took me a while to recognize the teachings of my rug mates. At first I thought of them as distractions: they are very demanding of my attention. I thought they were getting in the way. I contemplated shooing them from the rug but, in truth, they made me laugh and what could be better for any healthy practice – for a healthy life – than laughter. It occurred to me that I’d rarely laughed in the many, many previous years of my practice. I was missing the essential ingredient and nearly banished it from my life-rug!

Next, I had to learn to move slower with much more intention so as not to topple or step on the squeaky wheel. I became much more present and aware of even the simplest movement. Awareness is a muscle and BabyCat is a gifted instructor of the fine art of awareness.

As an opportunist for fun, the Dog-Dog believes every pose is, in fact, a bridge to run under or an invitation to wrestle so I’ve had to learn how to root myself in every moment of my practice, particularly the in-between moments. I cannot afford to be ungrounded, even for a single moment, or the master Dog-Dog will have me sprawling on the floor. Saul-The-Tai-Chi-Master would be proud of my new capacity to remain grounded while in motion. Dog-Dog is an excellent teacher!

Perhaps their attendance on the rug with me has a more complex agenda after all: they recognized that their human needed to welcome more laughter into his too serious practice (life), he needed to find a deeper, easier grounding. And, in my predisposition the think I am higher up the chain of consciousness, I foolishly believed I was giving my love and attention to them but the opposite has been the case all along.

Make A Pie

Taking  a walk with K.Dot and Dog-Dog

Taking a walk with K.Dot and Dog-Dog

Stay with me. This post is not nearly as curmudgeonly as it might first appear.

Many years ago I was directing a play in Santa Fe. It was the week before Halloween and I went into a coffee house. I was taken aback to find the place decked out for Christmas. Since then I’ve kept a running count of the first day in the fall that I see Christmas appear in the shops. As you might have guessed, it is earlier and earlier every year. This year’s arrival date: October 3rd.

I laughed out loud this Thanksgiving season when I heard an advertiser shout that, this year, Black Friday begins on the Monday before Thanksgiving. The whole week is black! Mark my words, next year Black Friday will begin on the Friday before Black Friday. Soon, the month of November will be decked in black while also decking the halls.

As has become our national custom, the midterm elections began the day after the last Presidential campaign and the new Presidential campaign began the day after the midterms. Are we never out of an election cycle (a rhetorical question)? It is the only example I can cite in which politics is running ahead of the rest of the advertisers.

I’ve not had a television for a few years so I’m a bit behind the wheels of progress. This morning, as we made pies, we turned on the Thanksgiving Day parade and I was wide-eyed with wonder that the entire affair is now a not-so-veiled advertisement for products, television shows, and musicals on Broadway. Along with each float came a cut-away commercial for the sponsoring company (I learned how to bake a lot of new desserts and was prompted more than once to rush out and get the ingredients NOW). Even the shots of Al-in-the-crowd were interviews, not with the crowd, but with celebrities; I heard when their show airs, and learned what their character might eat on this holiday and be grateful for if they were not imaginary. I was also prompted to text the network and tell them what I might be grateful for so that I might feel a sense of participation.

Take a step back. There is so much noise. There are so many competitors for our attention. I read that our attention spans are shrinking and how could they not shrink (or flee into hiding) under such an unceasing assault. Apparently with a shorter attention span it takes longer and longer to get our attention. I can’t help but think it is all stuffing and no bird.

Each year I work with people actively seeking for meaning or purpose. They tell me that something is missing in their lives. The pattern is to purchase-for-fulfillment but commerce makes for a lousy core and inevitably shows its true colors as a temporary numbing agent or distraction. And that’s the point. Seekers cease seeking when they learn where to place their attention. They step out of the noise cycle. Instead of navigating the noise they simply turn it off and take a walk or a nap. Instead of texting the network they look at their loved ones and say, “Let’s make a pie.”

title_pageGo here to buy hard copies (and Kindle) of my latest book: The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, Innovator, Seeker, Learner, Leader, Creator,…You.

Follow The Energy

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

It is a basic tenet: form follows energy. Another way of stating this basic tenet is: what you think is what you create. Thought is energy. Recently, Mark shared another way of saying the same thing: what you focus on expands. Focus placement is more powerful than you might imagine. It is a creative act. You see it because you believe it, and not the other way around.

Yesterday Vesna and I had a call. We talked about the difficulty of building a website with a clear offer when you are an artist, coach, teacher, facilitator, entrepreneur,…. What single label covers all forms of expression? How can people possible know how to hire you if you are a circus of gifts waiting to be given? Vesna told me the experience was like trying to squeeze herself into too small of a box. She doesn’t fit in any of the labels. Neither do I. So, we talked about not fitting. We talked about releasing completely the intention “to fit.” What if, rather than fitting, we came to the party as we are? The form will follow if we allow the energy to express. We talked about identifying the single, central purpose that unifies all of the forms of what we do. Here’s mine:

Sam used to call me his Virgil. In the Divine Comedy, Virgil is the Roman poet who guides Dante through hell and purgatory before passing him off the Beatrice who leads him the heaven; it is an allegory of the soul’s journey toward heaven. That makes me, in Sam’s definition, a guide for souls on their journey to heaven. Heaven is a metaphor for wholeness and that makes me a guide for souls on their journey to wholeness. That’s what I do. Guidance can take many forms and in my life, it does. My website will state in bold letters at the top: If you’re looking for Beatrice you’re in the wrong place! She’s not here but I know how to find her.

And, the secret of my trade: form follows energy. Place your focus on your innate wholeness: it will expand. Stop trying to fit in too small of a box; if you need a box make one that fits you. No one gets to Beatrice without taking the full tour: you can only know and appreciate your heaven if you know its opposite so take the full tour and stop trying to protect yourself from experience. I recognize this is not great marketing language for a website – especially in a culture dedicated to comfort – and now that I’ve told you all of my secrets and put myself out of business I probably no longer need a website! I have no business being in business anyway; I’m an artist…I mean I’m a teacher…uh, a coach. Well, what I mean to say is…I facilitate…make speeches…. Ah, hell…if you need me, you probably already know where to find me.

Step Toward The Pond

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

This is one of those days when I don’t have a thought in my head. It’s cold out and I have been writing all day. My thoughts generally float around at about 30,000 feet so to bring them down to ground level is often difficult for me. My inner archeologist complains about the altitude; he likes to brush dust off of small things and look at them with a magnifying glass. He gives me that look of disdain and I tell him I can’t help it. In truth, I would have done well in life as a hot air balloon. I could have carried Oz to far away lands and back again with no problem.

Recently in a class, after the opening meditation, one of the participants acknowledged that she’d come a long way in managing her out-of-control thinking. She said, ”I’m learning to manage my thought addiction. Sometimes I’m surprised at how quiet my mind can be.” I loved her phrase: thought addiction. I believe thought addiction is the road we take when we define our lives according to our problems. When we start to recognize the patterns of our thinking, then we can kick the habit and let go the addiction. Our personal stories reveal themselves through the patterns of our thought – not only the content of our thinking but the pace: is your thought a runaway freight train or a still pond or something in between. Most of us run between the poles of freight train and still pond; orienting according to the problems will bring on the freight train. Pay attention to the patterns and you’ll begin to move toward the pond.

I learned years ago that, as a hot air balloon, the only prayer I had for developing a still pond was to learn to ground myself. I needed a root. My route toward the still pond began when recognized I was free floating without a tether. Now that I have a good root my clue that I’ve let go of the tether is the return of the freight train. And, without fail, the train comes screaming down the rails of a problem that I think I have. Once I remember that I don’t have any problems, I have patterns, then it’s an easy reach to the root and a only a few short paces to the still pond.