Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What GOOD will it do?

I've been thinking about all the actions we take and the talking we do that really doesn't lead us in any kind of productive direction. Shaking a fist (or a certain finger) at a driver in a parallel lane on the highway or sharing a less-than-positive comment about a friend, relative, or even a grumpy server at a restaurant just seems a little pointless to me.

The question that keeps occurring to me as I decide what actions to take throughout my daily life is "What good will it do?"

When I hear that question in my head, it really doesn't have a defeatist attitude, as it could, depending upon the intention and inflection. It's really a very objective question: "What good will this action (or thought or word) do in the world?"

I participated in an activity at a retreat a while back in which the facilitator handed out mini Hershey candy bars and instructed us to take whichever kind we liked. There was actually one person who immediately popped it into her mouth and started chomping, which is what many of us probably would do without thinking. (She had to get another candy bar to participate in the activity.)

The instructions were to take this mini candy bar and to take the next 5 minutes - in silence - to eat it. We were to have at least some part of the candy left when the time was up.

Wow. That was a great eye-opener for me. I noticed things about that candy that I had never noticed before because I'm always so busy wolfing down three or four of them in that 5-minute timespan.

The purpose for this activity was to help us practice mindfulness - awareness - thinking - and to really feel what it was like to slow down and be present.

The movie "The Peaceful Warrior" has a great message about being mindful. In fact, at one point the main character, Dan, tells his mentor, Socrates, that he's out of his mind. And Socrates lets Dan know that that's the point. When we can be in the moment, we get out of our minds ... our "monkey minds" which are always chattering and reacting.

Just stop at some point today and think about exactly what you're thinking and what you're doing. Ask yourself, before you react, "what GOOD will it do?" and then make your choice.

I'm confident you'll see things you never knew you never knew.


At 1:21 PM, Blogger whatswithinu said...

Awesome post, my friend. There is something to be said for awareness and mindfulness, that is for certain. I love the "what good will it do?" filter you are using to create awareness for yourself. Thanks for sharing, Jodee.

I think when are more aware, rather than going through life on autopilot, amazing potentials, awesome actions and fantastic learning are ours for the taking.

At 6:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jodee, what I also liked about this post was the reminder to stop participating in discussions that speak with negativity about someone. That also requires awareness and consciousness, instead of mindless habit that I can get into. Great post!

At 7:34 AM, Blogger Jodee Bock said...

Pam & Deb:

You know I write these things because I find the lessons for myself in my own experience! The huge benefit I have in the work I do is that I get to share my learning nearly every day with clients who are eager to learn. What better teacher can I have - for me and for my clients/audiences than my own experience?

I'm grateful for readers (and friends) like you who allow me to share my learning and reinforce my observations with your comments. You truly light up my life! (Maybe that will be the next post ....).

In gratitude, Jodee

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the example there of a candy bar, it's very true that you often don't notice the taste of food so well because you eat it fast. (:


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