Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Thoughts Become Things - Think the Good Ones! (R)

I can't believe I've forgotten to tell you about the coolest e-mail I subscribe to. It's called Tut's Adventurer's Club. Here's some information from their website:

T.U.T. = Totally Unique Thoughts

We are a FREE affiliation of like minded "Thinkers" from around the world who believe that living in the jungles of time and space, as a Creation amongst our Creations, is the ultimate Adventure... because "thoughts become things," dreams do come true, and all things remain forever possible!

Membership consists of over 40,000 BEINGS OF LIGHT in 140 countries. The Club’s mission is to help remind one and all of the abundance, joy and love that are our birthrights.

You're going to want to subscribe to this e-mail and get your own personalized message each day, reminding you about the power you have to create the life you love!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Inspiration Comes In All Kinds of Packages

I just had dinner with a friend and the dialogue we created was an example of true synergy - more than either of us could have put together on our own. It was enlivening and engaging and fun and the time just flew. Her comment on the way out was "I was so tired when we first got here, but I'm totally energized now. I get that from being with you."

There was a time in my life when I might not have been able to accept that compliment. Why are we so hesitant to hear acknowledgement of who we are being in the universe?

Lately I've seen many examples of how the Universe is conspiring to make things happen in my life. I'm listening to Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" right now on my brand new iRiver MP3 player. Talk about inspiration! Not only do the words of the song lift me to a new place, but Josh's presence is amazing. The passion in his voice is so powerful. What if he had said, "Who, me? Be an amazing singer?" Where would the world be without the Josh Grobans or the Michaelangelos or the daVincis or Beethovens or the Stephen Hawkings? What if they had fought against their own gifts and destinies?

I'm starting to understand that for myself. I have definite gifts and talents and it's really not up to me to determine how I should shine in the world. The Marianne Williamson quote keeps popping up for me these days - and so many more aspects of it seem to come to relevance depending upon the day or situation. Here's the quote:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. - Marianne Williamson

I'm beginning to understand more and more that as I get out of my own way, my presence automatically liberates others to be who they are meant to be - even if it means I'm supposed to say hi to someone I might not have said hi to before, which, as happened in the hallway at my office today, opens up a really meaningful conversation about the war in Iraq - a topic I've avoided having a conversation about because I don't think I know much about it. If I'm truly listening, it doesn't really matter what I think or what I say about it. If I'm listening to someone - really listening - it allows that person to become powerful about his or her opinions and try them out on a neutral - and supportive - audience.

If I can allow myself to be who I am supposed to be - warts and all - and practice being an objective observer and suspend judgment every day, it allows all kinds of power to be generated and stepped into.

It's making a difference in my business relationships as well as my personal ones. Inspiration - being in spirit - really does allow me to remember things I do know, but just forgot.

Watch for ways you can make a difference in your own life by just getting out of the way. Let your own light shine and watch the light spread around you. It's truly a sight to behold!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Stopped at a Red Light (Again)

I was stopped at a red light on my way to a meeting this morning. The little white signal light on top of the traffic signal was flashing, indicating that a train was coming (we have lots of trains running through downtown Fargo). Apparently when that white signal light flashes, all the traffic lights turn red, because the train blocks an intersection just north of the one where I was stopped.

I was going east on Main Avenue (the majority of the traffic goes east and west on Main Avenue) and was stopped in the left lane, second in line behind a white car. I could sense that cars from all four directions were beginning to be uncomfortable with the traffic being stopped for so long (it was probably two minutes at the most). I sensed us all wondering "what are we supposed to do in this situation - should I stay? Should I go?"

The white car ahead of me started inching forward, and the car next to him in the right lane followed suit. The light continued to stay red, so finally the white car went through the light and on down the street. The car next to him did the same thing. Now I’m the first one in the line. Other cars start to venture out – in the right and left turn lanes. It starts to look a little chaotic, as first one inches out and then the other. Soon the flashing light stops, which signals that the train isn’t coming. I know that also means that the traffic signals will be reinstated. I notice that a car in the right side intersection is now barreling through the intersection, which means, to me, that his light must be green. I then know that mine soon will turn green, so I wait.

In the split second I decided to wait, I started thinking about the guy in the white car in front of me who decided to go through the red light. My first thought was that he must really have someplace to go in a hurry. I immediately formed a story in my head about how important he must be (or must think he is) to go through a light that eventually would change. Just then the light turned green and I went through the intersection on to my meeting. At the next stop light I ended up right behind the same white car that I was behind at the previous red light. And my first thought was “see, you didn’t have to rush – I’m caught up to you already. It really didn’t matter that you had to wait at the last light – we’re in the same place again.” I think I had a bit of ego in that thought. Then that light turned green, and the white car slowly pulled ahead. It didn’t take me long to realize that the white car didn’t have anyplace to get to very quickly because he wasn't even going the speed limit.

As I pulled out to pass him, on my way to my very important meeting, it hit me: was he really that important that he had to run the red light, or was he feeling pressure from me (the car behind him) to go through that red light? Was I unconsciously sending him the message that this red light is holding me back? Was he really in a hurry, or was it me who was in a hurry, sending that message to him without saying a word (or using my horn)?

I didn’t really feel outwardly irritated by the situation – it was more of an observation in my own mind, which had absolutely nothing to do with the white car (or the person in the white car). How often have I felt pressured to do something because someone else would do it that way? Or because I thought that’s what the other person would want? And am I sending those vibes to people without even knowing it?

How often do we give up our own power – our own Knowing – because it doesn’t jive with someone else’s way of doing things? Or do we even take the time to stop and think about what we are doing? Is it the machinery running us – the momentum, the “way we’ve always done it” – that keeps us on the treadmill?

So I want to thank the guy in the white car today for being a great mirror for me. I'll never look at red lights the same way again.

Friday, September 09, 2005

My Thoughts Exactly

Like many others, I've been struggling with knowing how to handle posts on my blog in the two weeks since Katrina hit the U.S. with all its implications. Do I just continue to write about all the stuff I've been writing about? Do I write at all?

Carol Ross solved my dilemma for me in her eloquent post on her own blog Ordinary Life, Extraordinary Living. It's the post titled "What I'm Noticing." Please take a look. It's quite lengthy as is the comment from Maria, but so worth it.

Grab a cup of Joe, sit back and get a fresh perspective about all the catastrophic (and the heartwarming) news we've been hearing lately.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

It's (All) About Time!

When you really think about it, we've really got nothing but time in our lives. Oh, sure, we've got lots of reasons to tell us that we don't - "Time flies," we tell ourselves. Yeah, but the good news is that we're the pilot!

One of the challenges we have with the concept of time, especially when it comes to our creativity (the ability to create something from nothing), is allowing ourselves enough of it.

In my work with SolutionPeople, I've learned about the m-curve, which measures creative value over time. When we go through any kind of creative process like brainstorming, we usually don't allow ourselves enough time. We go through the motions, bringing in our old ideas, and then get bored when we've had a chance to dump those ideas we came in with. We want to prove what we already know. On the graph you'll see that represented as the first hump on the m. The value of the creative process gets to a peak and then it starts to come down and we think we're done.

But the real value - and often the breakthrough ideas - come when we allow the process to work its way through that first downward trend and come back up even higher on the value scale than on the first hump of the m. Of course, there is a danger in letting the process go on too long where the value wanes over time.

But if we can allow ourselves enough time in the creative process, whatever that process is: that's where the real value comes into play.

Try it sometime. Allow yourself more time than you think you have to come up with a brand new idea. Get those old ideas out of your head to make way for the new ones to come in. Try a new brainstorming technique. Get ideas from others. If you need some ideas for creative brainstorming, drop me a line. I've got lots of 'em.

It's about TIME you did!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Meet YOU - 20 years from now

Have you ever imagined yourself 20 years from now? Where will you be? What will you be doing? What will you look like? Who will you be with?

If you consider what you know about yourself today, you can pretty much predict what your life will be like. One question I always like to ask myself in moments of contemplation is "How's that working for me?" That question becomes especially helpful when I'm faced with those persistent complaints - you know, those little irritations that never seem to go away.

I've begun to see even more clearly that things that bug or frustrate me - especially those persistent ones - will never just "go away" until I see that there's a lesson for me in them, and that I have an opportunity to look at them in a completely new way.

Although I admit I'm a lifelong learner, and tend to gravitate toward ideas and conversations that will give me more insight about new ideas, I must also admit that I'd love to get to a point where I can kind of coast and enjoy. If we're honest, don't we all want to get to that point? Our lives shouldn't be about that "constant state of fix," but more about FLOW.

Here's an example of what FLOW might mean, according to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

In this diagram A1 represents that place where your skills are equal to your challenges. Consider downhill skiing as an example. If you've never done it before and you're just learning to stand up on your skis, you're in FLOW because your skills are equal to your challenges (rather low on each scale). So if you master the bunny hill by adding challenges and perfecting your skills, you can move up the flow channel. But if you stay on the bunny hill when you've actually perfected your skills beyond those challenges, you might be at A2, which puts you into boredom - your skills are beyond your challenges. So maybe in that bored state, you determine that it's time to take on the black diamond. In that case you might find yourself at A3, where your challenges are beyond your skills, and you end up in anxiety. If you're like me, your goal on the ski slopes would be to find that place where your skills are equal to your challenges, and you can move up the flow channel to A4 where you can enjoy the FLOW.

Take a look at where you are today. Are you in FLOW? Can you identify where you might be if it's not in FLOW? If you're right where you want to be in your life, why change? If it's working, ride the wave. But if you can see opportunities to move into the channel from where you are, venture out. Otherwise you may wake up 5, 10, 20 years from now and wonder why things are still as they were when you were questioning.

"A year from now you may wish you had started today."

A year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years from now you will be older - the time will pass regardless of what you choose to do today. But given the option to create your life as you want it to be, what might you do today? Visit yourself 20 years in the future. Ask yourself how you got there. What was the best lesson Future You learned to get from where you are to where you will be? What was the most memorable experience your Future Self had? What advice would Future You give Present You?

We want to be able to BE in our lives for as long as we can enjoy our station in life. Eventually we will inevitably become bored with our position (according to the flow graph) so there will always be new goals to achieve. The beautiful thing is that the process is the same regardless of the challenges and opportunities. Once we understand that WE are who we've been waiting for and start to see that the only way we're going to be able to change the world is to transform ourselves, we'll start getting more and more traction and the results will be even more rewarding.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." -Ghandi

There's no time like the present!