Monday, December 28, 2009

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.

We've heard over and over again that we can change our lives by changing the way we think about our lives. That probably sounds too easy. So go ahead and prove that 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. How is that working for us? 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 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!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It Takes Courage

As I was re-reading some of my posts from the nearly 7 years this blog has been in existence, I realized there are some ideas I've written about in the past but am just now really living into. So for the last few days of 2009, I'm going to do my part to reduce, reuse and recycle! This one first ran in November of 2007.

I had the honor of attending a learning circle with a group of really cool people a couple of weeks ago and one of the topics of conversation was courage. I learned a lot that night, but one of the biggest takeaways for me was the etymology of the word "courage."

You may already know this, and I should have if I would have just thought of it, but the word "courage" comes from the root "cour" which means heart. So when you have courage, you are willing to follow your heart.

It's kind of a combination of the lion and the tin man from Wizard of Oz, isn't it? In fact, that whole Wizard of Oz story is actually pretty metaphysical, when you really think about it. There really is no place like home - we've had all the things we really want all the time.

At that same learning circle I heard two more things that really blew me away. One was the root of the word "human." We tell ourselves we are only human, kind of as an excuse to let ourselves off the hook for finding ourselves in the space of our present results. But the word "human" actually contains the prefix "hu-" which, at least in ancient Sufi, is a word for God. So being human is the marriage of God and man. Wow.

There was one young man - he was 14 - at the circle who shared something he had been noticing. He said that this teacher had told him at one point that if he didn't have something, he really didn't need it. He had been thinking about that as it relates to his father, who is not present in his life. He said if his father had been present in his life, he wouldn't have the relationship he has with his mother, and he wouldn't have learned the things he's learning from this teacher and probably wouldn't have the awareness he has. Another wow.

Along with these lessons, I've been on a reading kick recently, which might give some explanation for my absence from blogging. Among the books I've read, re-read, or am currently reading are The Answer to How is Yes by Peter Block, Working With the Law by Raymond Holliwell, The Future of Management by Gary Hamel, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life by Wayne Dyer, The Goal by Eli Goldratt, and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma. Each of those books has given me added insight for my work, but Sharma's fable about fulfilling your dreams and reaching your destiny (according to the subtitle) was especially interesting given that I do a lot of work with manufacturing organizations.

One thing this book brought up was the connection between Japanese thinking and external results. Among the terms the book referred to was Satori - instant awakening - which is a Japanese term, and kaizen - which is continuous improvement. In my work with manufacturers who are studying the Toyota Production System and lean manufacturing, kaizen is a familiar term. But the term originated from the Japanese as it relates to self-mastery.

According to Sharma in this book, there are ten rituals of self-mastery that will lead to amazing results in 30 days. I won't reveal the 10 here - get the book and read them for yourself. But what could be accomplished in each of our lives if we had the courage to look inside ourselves and give ourselves 30 days to correct our current course?

Let's create - and allow - much bigger outcomes in our lives - TOGETHER!