content='index,follow' name='robots'/> Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom: July 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Defining Words

I just read an interesting post from Patricia Singleton at Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker in which she talks about a theory of words by Giulio, an Italian friend of author Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote, Eat, Pray, Love, One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. His theory is that there is one word that defines each city and describes the thoughts of most of the people that live there. According to Giulio, examples would be: Los Angeles – SUCCEED; New York – ACHIEVE; Rome – SEX; Vatican – POWER.

In this theory it also appears that everyone has a personal word that defines them. It changes throughout our lives as we evolve and I can see how my personal words have changed.

When I read this post, I thought about it and in my youth my personal word would have been SURVIVAL thrown in with the word OBSERVATION. Half a lifetime later, it has changed to CONTENTMENT still accompanied with OBSERVATION.

It’s interesting to me to think how one word can describe a point and time and measure the energy of a city and even a person’s life. Is this true? Yes, I think there’s some truth and validity to this theory but I also think there is so much more to each one of us than what can be described in words no less than a single word.

Considering our lives right now, what is that one word that describes most of what you respond to on a given day or what your thoughts are composed of? How has that one descriptive word changed for you over the years? I’d love to hear your response.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

In Between Worlds

(Photos by Microsoft Clipart) ~~ Having worked in the corporate world most of my life in one way or another it comes at no surprise in my new job to once again be in the multi-tasking and cubicle mode. Only this time it’s a little different.

Having just spent 6 years in a different fashion working for myself pursuing a dream and having become accustomed to reflection time I’ve noticed the pace has picked up considerably. I haven’t given up on my dream of sharing and listening to people’s stories, it just looks different. Instead of facilitating group discussions, I’m learning where connection fits in other places.

You may ask, “Why go back?” Well, bills need to be paid and answers to prayers come in different forms. Going back to working for someone else, I find it interesting, though, that not only has the pace picked up but the expectations are higher, not that I don’t have a high work ethic and high expectations for myself already.

You’re now supposed to almost perform as computers do with top-notch speed along with pinpoint accuracy and efficiency. I even find in the work place that the conversation is different - phrases are short and to the point, the talk is fast and attention is short.

People are not only multi-tasking on the job but the fast past carries through into their personal lives as well and that appears to be the norm. It’s like a whirlwind. You hardly find anyone nowadays only doing one thing at a time. It’s either talking on the phone, text messaging, answering e-mails while driving and carrying on a conversation with a friend all at the same time.

On my way to lunch yesterday, I talked to one of my bosses having noticed he was eating at his desk. I said, “Oh, you’re having a working lunch today?” He said he finds he’s able to get much more work done this way. I asked him, “What about your peace of mind?” in which he said he had given that up a long time ago.

I can function and adapt with this new fast pace and have learned to integrate my quiet and reflective times during the day. In fact, I actually like my job but it’s such a contrast. I find myself in between two worlds. Yet, that is the way it appears our culture is today; although, I don’t think you have to give up one - peace of mind - for the other - fast pace, high productivity.

We can bring the best into both worlds and blend them together. Technology is important in how we function today and learning to use it makes our work easier and faster in addition to sharpening your mind and creativity. It can be fun too. We now can pull up videos, music, photographs and connect to people all over the world.

However, reflection and solitude are essential in balancing our lives. In fact, it’s crucial. If we don’t take time to be quiet and listen to the world breathing around us, functioning in the to-do world won’t flow. You’ll find yourself traveling along and suddenly losing the automatic power steering and brakes. You feel like you have to steer and brake in that world alone on your own strength.

Some of the things I’ve been doing to balance both is:

1. Meditate or have some quiet time in the morning before leaving for work.

2. Occasionally, leave the radio off if driving to work and consciously take in what I see. The mornings are beautiful the way the sun rises and casts its first light on the hills, trees, buildings, roads. Appreciate what I see.

3. When I get to work and boot up my station I mentally set some goals for the day.

4. Going through my work through the morning, I take time to reflect on my breathing at different intervals. It helps to remind me of what’s important and who I am.

5. At lunch, I get away from the office and walk to the park and sit on the ground under the trees to eat and maybe read a little. This way I can ground myself.

6. Go back to work and finish my day thinking of ways on how I can work smarter and faster.

7. End my day, meet my carpool and leave the work behind for the next day. The time now is for going home and for family. It’s my time to share and reflect on the day and consider what I’ve learned.

At the end of the day, life goes on in all its glory in many forms and I believe we’re all exactly where we should be. It’s up to us to participate or sit out. There’s a time for each.

In either case, we can choose to learn and be open to the possibilities and contribute our share for the good of all. That’s what I’m doing. What about you? How are you juggling the contrasting worlds you find yourself in? Are you able to have peace of mind and be true to who you are while doing the work you’re called to do? I’d like to hear how you do it.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

4th of July – A Country Celebrates It’s Birth

Fourth of July is fast approaching where we celebrate the birth of our United States. We have picnics, gather with family and friends and watch fireworks boom and sizzle.

I shared with the Assisted Living residents last Sunday evening a couple of stories about our Forefathers Wayne Dyer told in one of his lectures. Please allow me to paraphrase and share these stories with you:

It was the year 1826 and Thomas Jefferson lay on his bed at Monticello near death. His aid comes in and asks him, “How are you?”

Jefferson asks, “What day is it?” The aid said, “It’s the 4th of July, Mr. President, exactly 50 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.” With that, Jefferson said, “Adams lives” and closed his eyes and died.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, Adams also lay ill and asks his aid, “What day is it?” He is told it is July 4th exactly 50 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Like Jefferson, he said, “Jefferson lives” and closed his eyes and passed away.

When have you ever heard of two U.S. Presidents dying in the same year let alone in the same day within hours of each other? Here are two Presidents who played such an important role in the conception and creation of one of the most sacred and honored documents declaring freedom for its people.

It wasn’t a popular thing to be doing at the time…challenging the most powerful country in the world, Great Britain. If the Revolutionary War had turned out differently our Forefathers would have most likely been executed as traitors. In signing that document it could have very well meant death.

Fast forward four score and seven years to 1865 and we find our nation engaged in a terrible Civil War. There is a prominent and popular Shakespearean actor in Washington, D.C., world renown, who has just heard the devastating news that President Lincoln had been assassinated at Ford Theatre at the hand of his brother, Thomas Wilkes Booth.

Edwin Booth goes into deep despair and depression. He doesn’t want to talk to anyone and is living, but just barely, with very little interest in acting anymore.

Years later, he finds himself in Philadelphia on the platform awaiting a train. Just as the train approaches someone pushes a young lad off into the oncoming train. He jumps down and hurls the boy out of the way of the train just in time saving the boy’s life. A few days later, he gets a letter from Mary Lincoln thanking him for saving the President’s son. Edwin Booth resumes his career.

This country and many countries have been blessed with people who’ve had visions and a love for freedom and one another. There are Forces that have kept this country strong and sure and it feels good to remember those who have gone before and paved the way for the beautiful gift of freedom.

I hope you enjoy your 4th this year. In the midst of the BBQ’s and fireworks, please take a moment and remember the many things we enjoy giving thanks to those who have served and are continuing to serve this country and countries all over the world to keep us safe and free.

Happy Birthday United States of America!

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