Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Fresh Perspective

I was in Chicago recently, visiting friends and meeting new contacts. I took the train from the city about an hour north to a suburb where I met with two pastors at a church to talk about their leadership team. While I was on the train, I took a seat where no one was sitting beside me. I kind of arranged my bag and my book and my MP3 player so it would be difficult for anyone to sit in the seat beside me. After a couple of minutes, I glanced over at the 2 seats I was taking up and decided that wasn’t the best idea since I was pretty sure there would be more people getting on the train over the next hour, so I packed up and opened up the seat next to me.

Wouldn’t you know it, just as I did that, a scruffy old guy walked down the aisle and looked right at that open seat. I was thinking in my head “don’t sit here, don’t sit here,” but of course he did. He wasn’t exactly clean-looking and I noticed that he was mumbling to himself, and of course I drew some conclusions and judgments in my own mind about him.

I started wondering how long I was going to be sitting next to this guy, but I didn’t have a train schedule, so when the ticket guy walked by, I asked him if he had a schedule and he said he didn’t, so I let it go.

I noticed the guy next to me was mumbling even louder, so I turned closer to the window to avoid him. It became evident to me, however, that his mumbling was directed at me, and when I turned to see what he wanted, he was offering his train schedule to me. Wow. Gave me a whole new perspective on how I was treating this guy and he was just trying to help me.

I took his schedule and thanked him. Just then the ticket guy came up and gave me a schedule, too. I looked at the guy next to me and smiled and gave him back his schedule. He smiled at me and then got up and walked to the next car.

Coincidence? Maybe. A lesson for me? Definitely.

So you never know where the lessons will come – or where the validation for who you are will come. Just keep your eyes and ears open and you’ll begin to know what you’re supposed to do with what you notice.

As I become more awake to the signs around me, I notice that they come to me more and more all the time. And, fortunately for me, I get the hit of recognition more quickly all the time.

Like my trip on the train, this new awareness is quite a ride!

What are you noticing around you? I'd love to hear about your insights!!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Finding Time - Making Time

I am once again amazed at how much time has passed since I've last written here. It's not that there haven't been events and thoughts to write about - it's just that I can't believe how quickly time passes when I allow myself to be swept away in the busyness of life.

It reminds me of something David Whyte wrote in his wonderful book The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America. See if you can relate to this:

Ten years ago . . .
I turned my face for a moment

and it became my life.

I've let way too much time go by without doing the things I really want to do and saying the things I really want to say. Here it's been 3 weeks ... but how many other things in my life have I let slip by? How many thank you cards have I not written? How many friends have I fallen out of touch with? How many good intentions do I have but don't act on?

There is a huge distinction between intending to do something and doing something with intention.

I've heard it said that you will never find time for anything. If you want time, you have to make it. How true.

What have you not done in your life because you just don't have the time? If not now, when?

So many of us believe - really believe - that we will become the person we know we are deep inside when 1) we meet the right person, 2) we make a million dollars, 3) the kids are in (insert one - grade school, junior high, high school, college), 4) we retire, etc., etc.

We wait to become what we really ARE until. We believe that if we HAVE a certain something, we will then be able to DO what we really want to do and only then will be BE happy.

What if we've got it all backwards? What if we act as if we already ARE happy? That will cause us to DO what we really want to do and we will realize that we really do HAVE everything we want and need? Sound too easy? Yeah, it probably is. We've spent our entire lives making everything very difficult. We've gotten in the way of our own lives.

I went to a class a few weeks ago where the teacher was saying that we really can create our reality just by the way we see the world. She said that we would probably think that was too easy. So she said to go ahead and prove her wrong. After all, that's what we've been doing our whole lives - searching for ways we can prove that what we've been doing is the "right" way. And we're sick, and unhappy in our jobs, and unhappy with our families, and bored, and cynical and resigned. She asked how that was working. What if she is right? What if we really can change our reality by the way we look at things? We're so bent on being RIGHT that we give up being HAPPY.

What if she's right? What do we have to lose by MAKING time for our friends, families, art, music, beauty, things we love in our lives? Might we really be able to get off the treadmill that just seems to keep speeding up? It might mean we have to shift our perspective a little bit - it might mean we have to give up being right about not having enough time ... about working with jerks ... about having crabby servers every time we go to a restaurant ... about always feeling sick and tired - and being sick and tired of it. We've created that reality - and we get what we're looking for.

What if it's true? What do we have to lose?

Let's not kill any more time or waste it or lose it. Let's try creating our reality by the way we cherish and celebrate and live the time we have. It's not enough merely to survive this lifetime ... let's THRIVE!