Tuesday, October 25, 2005

By Accident? Or On Purpose?

It really must be true that the older you get the faster the time goes. I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I’ve written here. On the one hand that’s a very good thing because it means business has been good – I’ve been creating new programs and designing facilitations for new clients, which has taken up most of my waking hours recently.

But on the other hand, I also understand better how you can turn around one day and years have passed, measured most amazingly by how much the kids in your life have grown, or how the wrinkles have magically appeared around your eyes overnight.

Being mindful becomes so much more important to me when I notice the time in that way.

I was working with one of my new clients Sunday night. We’re working on teambuilding and communication among the team members and we had a really great time. The level of energy in the room was almost physically tangible by the end of our conversation last night. It was a great example of the effects of being mindful about first our thoughts and then our actions.

We talked about the distinction between doing things by accident, or letting things happen in our lives - and doing things on purpose, or being mindful of the cause of things that happen in our lives. As we talked more about being "on purpose," it was almost like a lightbulb went on in the room. It becomes really difficult to be in a state of blame when you realize that by doing things on purpose, you really are part of the cause of the effects you get in your life.

It's difficult to recreate the feeling here, as we also talked about 55% of the total communication being the visual or what you see; 38% being the vocal or what you hear, leaving just 7% for the verbal or the actual words. Since I've only got the 7% here, you'll have to trust me when I say that the energy was made up of the visual as well as visceral, which I think should be part of that equation as well.

The older I get, the wiser I get, and that wisdom for me includes intuition or my inner knowing. As I learn to trust that intuition more and more, I realize that when I'm connected with the capital-C Cause of things that happen in my life, I'm more likely to get a capital-E Effect. For me the capital-C Cause comes from God - the Universe - the Source - whatever you choose to call it. As I'm connected with that Cause, it's much easier for me to do things on purpose - with purpose - and the Effects are astounding.

By letting things happen by accident, I connect those effects with small-c cause, which is not connected to a higher purpose.

As I've been telling my clients lately, as we are mindful of the pebbles we're dropping in the pond of our lives, we might never see all the ripples we create, but that doesn't mean we should be any less mindful when we drop the pebbles. Trust that the ripples we create when we're mindful have a bigger Effect when they're connected to a bigger Cause.

I watched - and felt - that happen in the room on Sunday night, and the really cool thing was that they felt it, too. We all witnessed the Effects of being On Purpose and we made a pact to start dropping mindful pebbles.

What are we waiting for? Let's make some waves!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Time Out!

If you've ever played or watched any kind of sport, you know about time outs. In watching the Packers this past weekend on TV I remember at one point the coach was frantically trying to call a time out right before the quarter ended (the game was NOT in jeopardy as they were winning big). But you know that frenzied attempt to get the ref to notice you when you want a time out? You hurry to get the time stopped. Seems kind of ironic to me.

How's that working in our lives? Are we desperately searching for a time out? Or do we even realize that a time out would help our frenzy?

OK, I admit it - I'm not the best meditator in the world. In fact, I'm really bad at it, at least that's what I tell myself when I don't even take the time to try.

I attended a spiritual retreat a couple of weeks ago where I found out that I'm really not bad at it - because there was a good chunk of the day set aside for meditation - it was built in to the agenda. And when I was there to participate in that part of the workshop, I found that I really can do it.

Maybe I've been hung up on the word "meditation." It seems like such a formal thing to do. You need to sit a certain way, chant a certain sound, be superhuman in your discipline. But I realized at this retreat that whatever it means to me is what it is. Whether it's 5 minutes or 30 minutes or 60 minutes or whatever, it's making the time to be silent and to reconnect with a Higher Power.

I realized, too, that music is a huge part of my connection with my Higher Self - God - Universe - whatever you want to call it. I experienced firsthand the power of sound and it was amazing.

Do you take time in your day to connect with your Higher Self? It doesn't have to be a huge production if you're not ready to do that. But the clarity and peace I've been able to recognize is available for me in the rest of my day by just being quiet for a few minutes in the morning is amazing.

Just take a second to notice how things are going for you right now, today. Are you feeling frantic and frenzied and stressed? What choice could you make right now to alter that path? Are you feeling happy and peaceful? What choice could you make right now to be grateful for that feeling? Whatever state you're in right now, take a moment to see how you got here. Shift your perspective if you want to, or be grateful if you want to. It's totally up to you.

No matter what you tell yourself, there's always a chance for a Time Out.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Big Downshift

I took a couple of days about a month ago to explore western North Dakota with my best friend. We were a couple of Thelma and Louise adventurers who set out on the drive across the state to go back in time to visit Medora, the former home of Roughrider and president Theodore Roosevelt and current home of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Here's your North Dakota history lesson: Medora was founded in April of 1883 by a 24-year old French nobleman, the Marquis De Mores, who named the town after his wife Medora, daughter of a wealthy New York City banker. With financial backing from his father-in-law, he founded the town of Medora east of the river, building a meat packing plant, a brick plant, a hotel, stores, and a large home (Chateau de Mores) overlooking his new town.

It was a fun trip, and, although I've lived in North Dakota all my life, I've only been to Medora maybe twice that I can remember. It's easy to forget about the beauty and diversity we have right in our own backyard.

Since eastern North Dakota, where I live, is relatively flat (OK, REALLY flat), I don't have much experience driving my five-speed CRV in hilly terrain. While driving through Theodore Roosevelt National Park and observing bison up close and personal, I found myself cruising along in fifth gear, only to find myself struggling to make it up the hills of the park. The harder I tried to get up the hills in fifth, the more my little car complained and strained. I forgot that the only way to climb the hills effectively is to shift down to fourth and even third gear to pick up speed and traction in the hills.

What a great metaphor for our lives. Only when we take time to shift into a lower gear can we get the traction we need to make it up the hills. It took a trip out west to remind me yet again to slow down and enjoy the view - both the new view in unfamiliar territory - but also the view I look at every day when I cruise through my life in fifth gear. Now each time I shift down - including last weekend when I found myself in standstill traffic during rush hour trying to get out of Minneapolis - I think about the hills of western North Dakota, and the message I got from the hills and the bison. Before my shift (pun intended), that traffic might have really gotten me upset. It's taken just that subtle shift to get a whole new perspective.

Shift into third and notice what you don't notice in fifth.