Monthly Archives: December 2009

Completion

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um-020111-emailOK, I might as well get to this. I’ve been putting it off for three days now. And it wasn’t until this morning’s yoga session that I narrowed the search for what to talk about this week. I have a feeling this one’s for me, since I doubt that too many will read it on New Year’s Day. So, here goes.

This week’s inquiry is Completion. I know, it’s obvious to think about it at the end of the year, before the clock ticks to 12:01 a.m., January 1st. It’s natural to look around my office and see the stacks of paper with no destination, and around the house and see those areas that need some love, and dusting.

It’s also natural to look further out to see how many of the projects I started this year (or last) came to completion. I have to admit that there are some important ones that are hanging in limbo; not quite out of sight and mind, but also not on the field of action either.

PRACTICING ACCEPTANCE

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um-1228-emailAs we approach the end of 2009, I thought about what it would take to include all of it, both the good and the bad, and the practice of acceptance came to mind.

I think acceptance is one of those greatly misunderstood words. In many people’s ears, it sounds like a passive way of being, and is often mistaken for resignation or submission. It is neither. Resignation is a state of giving up. Submission is a state of yielding to an authority or giving in to a group’s way of thinking.

Acceptance is the action of being with what is happening or with what has occurred. It’s the action of being with people and points of view. Listening is a form of acceptance. You can accept what someone is saying without agreeing to it.

Acceptance brings with it awareness and is a very powerful practice.

THE WAY TO PRACTICAL SPIRITUALITY

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um-1222-emailI recently attended a meditation with a group of people at Spirit Rock. It was an enchanting evening to sit with others, and hold a vision of peace and tranquility for all. At one point the facilitator made a statement that awakened in me, a quiet inner awareness. It connected two ideas when combined, produced a profound and accessible spiritual practice. This experience left me with a powerful question.

Could we combine human creativity with human goodness?

I’ve been giving thought to that question ever since. My immediate answer was yes … of course. I believe that we are both creative and good. Then I considered how we would integrate that way of being into our lives. And I had to look deeper into what creativity and goodness mean.

FRIENDSHIP

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inq-12.18.09-blogWhen I ask myself the question, “What matters most?” and think about what has stood the test of time, I always come back to one sure thing — friends. It seems natural to cultivate good, long lasting friendships.

As an entry point for inquiry, it may also be a way to connect the dots between what you value in others and what you value in yourself. This is important to understanding why you do what you do, and what you want to do with the rest of your life.

One way to approach this inquiry is to look for connecting points. Connections are evident when and where your values match those of your friends. The more places you intersect, the more likely your friendships will last over time.

ACT ON YOUR FLASH OF INSPIRATION

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um-1214-emailThose of you who follow my uplifting moments, know that I’m a fan of the just do it philosophy. It inspires me to get up for the game of life day after day, and play fully, whether it’s in the arena of work, love, cooking, business, or kindness.

Thomas Edison said it best; genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. We tend to understand this idea when the gain is something tangible, and we remember that we need to be hard working and industrious to bring a creative spark into the world as a new business, movement, or breakthrough in science. You only have to think of Apple, An Inconvenient Truth, and … the light bulb, to know the validity of Edison’s statement!

But I think it’s also important to remember, when the gain is intangible.

Love, kindness, and peace of mind often come in bursts of inspiration, but the practice requires steady and persevering energy.

QUALITY AND QUANTITY

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inq-121109-blogThe more I try my hand at writing, the more intrigued I get with words. I look up the meaning of words a lot more now, and I’m often surprised by the shades and nuances I find there. This week I’ve been entranced by two words: quality and quantity.

They came into view when I began to look at what matters most as an evolutionary impulsion. I don’t believe we make major changes in the direction of our life because of random selection. We make life-changing decisions because, somewhere in us, we know that doing so will evolve us. If this were not the case, our children would be just like us.

This is where quality and quantity come into play.

DON’T LET “NOT NOW” BECOME “NEVER”

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um-1207-email“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

“Past and future are in the mind only—I am now.” Deepak Copra

I love these quotes because they remind me that being effective relies on not putting off until tomorrow what you can do today.

Here’s a personal effectiveness tip you can use everyday during this holiday season. If you catch yourself saying, I’ll do that in 2010, stop and ask yourself why you’re not starting now.

Here are a few of the reasons for waiting I’ve heard in just the last two weeks:

  • It’s too stressful right now; I can’t possibly relax.
  • I’m too busy; I can’t possibly exercise.
  • I have so many parties; I can’t possibly eat healthy.
  • I have to travel, so I can’t possibly (all of the above).

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS

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inq-120409-blogThe other day, while driving around town, I pulled up to some train tracks at the same time as a school bus, which stopped before it crossed the tracks. I vaguely remembered the law about not passing a stopped bus, and I made a quick decision, and stopped too. Then I heard a horn behind me, and looked back to see the face of an irate driver in a truck, just a few feet from my bumper. I was startled out of my early morning trance, glancing back often to make sure he didn’t slam into the back of my car. When we pulled up next to each other at the red light, he glared and mouthed insults, and I gave him a hand signal to let him know what I thought of him.

I don’t lose my temper like that much anymore, and when I do I can feel an adrenaline rush that sometimes lasts for hours, a fight or flight reflex that I’m sure has been encoded in my DNA over millions of years of evolution. However much I would like to lash out in those moments at someone else, I have a secondary response, which is to rise above the momentary lapses of reason. I call this new evolutionary impulse Paulette. Fortunately, she happened to be in the car with me that day.

THINK, ACT, BE – PRACTICES TO BALANCE YOUR LIFE

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um-1201-emailWhen looking to bring more balance into your life, you must first understand what balance means to you. Balance is not static. It’s a dynamic focus. It’s where the different parts of your life are in appropriate proportion and harmony. Balance is not something to be achieved and then forgotten. It changes with the different stages and events of your life.

There are many challenges to living a balanced life. For some it’s working too much, accumulating beyond what you’ll use, not exercising enough, unhealthy eating, not spending enough time with those people who are important to you, and the list goes on and on.

You may say you want more balance, but are you willing to make the changes that are necessary? This question will cause you to think about the balance between what you want in the moment of desire, and what you want in the long term. It will cause you to question what you want, why you want it, and if you need it.