On this day, many are excited about their new lives and prospects, while others are disappointed that their lives have not yet become what they envisioned.
Sometimes, the disappointment is only about timing. Wait for it.
At other times, it is about nourishing our own growth.
Nothing flowers without nourishment, yet we often prevent our own flowering by…
- refusing to sit in the light (to feed our spirit)
- moving so fast through the motions of living (that our roots can’t go deep into the rich soil of our gifts and calling)
- running from, and complaining about, the rain (refusing, instead of seeking, discipline, insight, and instruction)
- blaming others for our bad luck (instead of owning the roots of our problems)
Today, I will patiently tend my own mysterious growth.
What shape waits in the seed of you to grow and spread its branches against a future sky?
– David Whyte
We will never know until we are willing to:
- Sit quietly with gratitude for this moment
- Heed voices of wisdom from outside and from within
- Acknowledge the marvel of being alive, right now
- Quit trying to do what only the Universe can do
- Reach out for courage from those who have gone before, persevered, and triumphed over “insurmountable” obstacles
This isn’t positive thinking voodoo.
It’s called maturity.
(original post March 2014)
Feeling the Monday morning pressure? It’s no coincidence that in some countries, more heart attacks happen at 9 AM on Monday morning than any other time of the week. Many of us start dreading Monday as soon as we wake up on Sunday.
An easy way to open this pressure valve is to find your pressure-to-pleasure question. The following have worked well for me:
- How can I have fun while I work?
- How can I make this task a challenge to myself?
- How can I utilize my gifts more fully as I work?
- How can I bring my entire, unique self to this task?
- How can I appreciate the difference I am making today?
Patrick Lencioni, in the book Three Signs of a Miserable Job, attests that these are the signs:
- Performance is unnoticed
- Performance is unrewarded
- Performance is irrelevant
If we must stay on a job where we feel unnoticed, unrewarded, or irrelevant, we will have to find a way to do those things for ourselves.
This week a client told me that one of her associates was not going to make it because he was just checking the boxes. She said, “He does the work enough to get by, but we expect more than that.”
The missing ingredient?
Passion is always a missing ingredient when we are…
And contrary to popular opinion, it usually isn’t rest or sleep that will fix us.
When we take an inventory around our lives
And find those places that provoke a sigh
Quick to repair the gaping holes
We must, with passion and intensity, go.
The antidote to exhaustion isn’t rest. It is wholeheartedness. – David Whyte
I’ve noticed that when we do not derive pleasure from social interactions it is usually because:
- We are so focused on ourselves that we cannot really see anyone else
- We talk about ourselves too much or make everything about us
- We are preoccupied with “getting to the next thing”
- We believe that other people are inferior to us in some way
The times when life has been the richest for me are the times when I have abandoned myself to the moment and to the full appreciation of the life of another (without judgment).
“The antidote for exhaustion is whole-heartedness.” – David Whyte
David Whyte’s point is to listen to, and care for, our souls in the decisions we make about our lives. He is not saying to be flippant, impatient, arrogant, or self-centered in our decisions.
Unproductive (and unreasonable) reasons to stay in a place that is not fulfilling:
- Because it is expected of me
- Because I am afraid of change
- Because people will talk
- Because I think I don’t deserve better
- Because of a belief system
Productive (and reasonable) reasons:
- It is a necessary stepping stone on my path
- I am learning character and strength for change down the road
- I can minimize others’ pain by staying until the time is right
Staying in darkness for the wrong reason doesn’t benefit anyone.
I want that kind of money in my wallet
From a job like that
Not as important as
How I got it
I want the kind of job that reminds me of the things that matter
That makes me feel large and not small or
Like I had to sell my soul to get it all or
Put my intelligence to sleep or
Check my personality and talent at the door
If I can bring my soul to work
I’ll like that work (whatever it is) and
Is the only kind of money
That is the right kind of money
And the only kind of money
That will ever
A woman was telling me about all the people who have hurt her and destroyed her chances for happiness. When I asked her if she thought other people have had someone in their lives who have hurt them too, she said, “No.”
I was dumbfounded.
She continued, “No, not like people have hurt me.”
Her response made me wonder about the times I have failed to seek out and listen to role-models who have suffered greatly yet taken a higher road and overcome the obstacles that had stopped me.
How many times have I excused myself by focusing on my circumstances and others’ mistakes, when I am so much more than that?
It seems easier to remember this advice when we are doing the work we love, but when we are working a job out of necessity, it still applies.
I had a shortage of the character needed for this attitude for many years, and instead became a disgruntled “b word” at work. I criticized, complained, and rolled my eyes at corporate: completely ignoring the reality and importance of what I was becoming in the process.
All work and service can serve us if we see it as a pilgrimage of love and identity.
Here’s to a great day doing whatever it is we have to do…even (and especially) today, for it is the only day that we have.
Not sayin’ that a lack of discipline is in order. Only that each of us must find that world where we can live with all of our heart fully engaged.
The truest, most elaborate and satisfying freedom is the one where we are using our gifts for the good of the world.
If we are not yet free it is not because our circumstances are holding us, rather, it is because we have:
- constructed a cage out of our circumstances and told ourselves it is the world, (see Helen Keller) or
- used the days in the cage for mourning rather than for preparation (see Nelson Mandela)