In times of difficulty sometimes things take on new meaning. In my Spiritual Practices class I was struck by a new understanding of hospitality. When things get difficult and scary, when things don’t seem to be going my way the need for hospitality just increases. In times of strife hospitality can be expressed by giving people, (the ‘other’ side), the benefit of the doubt.
Nothing can be harder when I cannot imagine how ‘they’ can think that. Nothing can be harder when I know ‘they’ have got it all wrong. Nothing can be harder when I have to wonder ‘how dare they.’ But I’m sure that if I bring curiosity into the situation and wonder, instead of declaring, then perhaps I can be more hospitable to those who seem to think differently.
We are all such unique individuals. The process of individuation by which we learn and understand what makes us not only special but valuable to others can get lost in the individualism that sees ‘me’ as the only important being. In truth, the interconnectedness that this time has made so clear, offers up the importance of the uniqueness of each of us that is manifested in the interdependence that makes our lives.
Sometimes that very interdependence, that being needed, can be felt as restrictive, because interconnection requires small ‘sacrifices’ of self in order to work together. When that feeling of being restricted prompts people to distance themselves from others instead of reaching out in curiosity, then the circle of interdependence gets broken.
Now is the time for me to practice genuine hospitality, to give others the benefit of the doubt. I need to trust they have the same goals even if they approach the situation differently. I need to appreciate being needed and not run from the demands that makes on me. I need to make strengthening that interconnectedness my service. I need to open myself and extend that hospitality to others.
Everything in the universe is different. Think about that, everything in the universe is different. We talk about snowflakes, but it’s even true about identical twins. The differences maybe subtle, but they are there and they are important. The truth is that what we offer to the world is our difference – not our sameness. That is just hysterical! We spend our whole life – at GREAT cost trying to be the same and our real value is our difference!
Watching segment number seven of the Radical Remissions series of folks (me included) who have been victorious over breast cancer, ALS, MS ovarian cancer, liver cancer etc. has been most inspirational! It has pushed me to better understand that I too have a voice, one I need to share. Duh…
Every person in that series has a most interesting and profound journey. Many that make mine look almost tame. What is true is that each of them only achieved victory when they took their life in their own hands and decided to LIVE it! What a simple, amazing, courageous thing to do! That’s what it means to be awake, to be enlightened, to be holy. It’s not rocket science, and it’s right in front of us, but we are SO blind to it.
Your voice – this is where we come to you – your voice. Grab hold of your life, stop living it for: your parents, your kinds, your spouse, your status, your neighbors’, your friends, live it for YOU. Ah, I can hear you saying, “but I don’t know how.” “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.” That’s all true. What you learn from dealing with a crisis is that you never know what you need to do. The next step is never clear and what’s more no thinking will help. It’s simply doing – what seems like the next best thing, with out thinking too much about it, but taking the next action that occurs to you. How do you think Spirit connects? Letters? Ha!
We talk about empowerment, but what we really need is confidence in saying what we really believe in a way that gets heard. This is a learned skill! It takes courage, yes, but it also takes practice. Please join me in the group: Thinking About LIFE on my Facebook page; http://Facebook.com/KathrynLive.
I’ve been feeling a bit stretched lately, running from one meeting to another. Perhaps you can relate? Now, there’s…time, real time, nothing to do, a requirement, in fact, to do nothing. I’ve been taking a breather finishing projects I’ve put off, including house cleaning, and enjoying the refreshing pace of life. It’s not the life I’ve made, but the life I need to live to be comfortable, healthy, engaged. It’s been a time of life, not for money, but for…life.
I’ve been in a transition, a rather fuzzy transition. Now it’s gotten fuzzier, but more interesting. It’s very clear how far from living versus being driven I’d gotten myself. Now I’m reconnecting with old passions and interests and seeing a possible new connection and interdependence of my various parts that I’m going to take the time to explore.
We’ve come such a long way from being in harmony with nature – if we were ever in harmony with nature. Maybe now that the fear of survival from starvation is diminished and the fear of sickness and possible death is striding around nature, with it’s creativity, fertility, and beauty is calling out to be recognized.
I’m a cancer victor and I’m watching a series of reflections by 19 other folks who have chosen to deal with cancer in their own way, as I did, and I’m struck by the love of life they each express. Living is not about existence it is about the love, the joy of LIFE! That’s what it’s all about. Somewhere I seem to have lost some of that. I’ve always done only what I enjoyed doing, but lately I’ve become overwhelmed, burdened by loved projects, but burdened never the less.
For the next four weeks I’m going to explore the values that Nature lives by and how I intend to bring them into robust actuality in my own life.
Working with a coach in these kinds of times can be helpful!
Stress is a factor in daily life. The doctors will tell you it is a ‘fight or flight’ response and it is not harmful unless it is a constant state – our bodies are not geared for constant stress. In modern life stress is our response to our life. OUR response to our life.
We resist what is happening or what we have to do. Why? Resistance is futile said the Borg and that’s the truth. We resist by making things wrong, bad, or difficult. In the end we have to do them any way, so just get on with it. Housework? Learn to love it! It does SO much for your attitude and energy when your surroundings are ordered and shining – present with you. Cleaning is actually a way of worshiping as you deeply appreciate the wonderful things you have surrounded yourself with.
My religious home, Kashmir Shavism taught me that everything is perfect. EVERYTHING is the natural progression of what went before. Everything is good – the universe is beneficent. Hard things are lessons about: needed skills, misunderstandings, accepting the consequences of our own actions. My cancer, the death of my son have all been gifts, it just takes a while to unwrap the package.
We believe we are responsible – for everything. We are ‘in control’ so WE are the only one that can make a difference. Accept that the world will work itself out. We can help by doing our own role, and the only role we can actually fulfill well are our own. Enjoy the show. By learning to watch the show I have learned to appreciate the skill others bring to their lives as they deal with the situations they are presented with. I am saddened by the pain I see people inflicting upon themselves through resistance, misunderstanding, or denial of responsibility, but watching as they learn the lesson can be very gratifying. We are ‘responsible’ but not attached to the results – that allows me to do with out doing.
Meditation can help release the attachment that causes the stress. Knowing that the universe really does care – it is up to us to discover how – frees us from having to carry the weight of anything except our own small part. Caring does not have to be painful, stressful, or a burden. Caring is recognizing the love that infuses everything.
While not everyone’s idealistic, most people just want to get ahead and feel good about themselves in doing so. Problems arise when: people are measured on the work other people do, and when people are rewarded for goals that distort the system.
The first issue affects ALL managers and some leaders. If you organization holds you ‘accountable’ for the results that your team achieves, that is often a setup for blame. No one can actually make anyone do anything and that’s where leadership style enters the picture. If a manager or leader believes that their value is based on the results of others that is inherently a powerless feeling. What do you do? Do you harass, cajole, bribe, yell, shout or punish others into submission? Is micro management the answer?
The second issue comes when results are measured either by amount or by revenue. Both of those measure encourage people to game the system since the ‘how’ is not measured or even discussed only the amount is deemed important. In these situations the ‘leadership’ style is often rationalized by the results it achieves. If the goals are met and the rewards acquired, then all is good.
Trust is a funny thing, we often put our ‘trust’ into something or into a person and then we never reflect to see if that ‘trust’ is actually vindicated. Trust is often confounded with loyalty and that can make us blind to the facts and prevent us from seeing what’s happening, on the ground.
I’ll be doing a webinar soon on trust and leadership. If this is of interest, please click this link and tell me what questions you’d like explored or what areas would be most valuable to you to be addressed.
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Some animals have cells that are not programmed to age, therefore they can live until they are killed or eaten by someone or something else. Both the Hydra and the Turritopsis dohrnii Jelly Fish do not die unless they are eaten or become diseased. Many other animals can live hundreds of years, the Bowhead Whale, the Red Sea Urchin, and the Aldabra Giant Tortoise to name a few. Trees are known to live thousands of years. We live an average of 79 years and the longest lived human lived 122 years. This is an improvement over our 47-year average life span in 1900.
What if we could repair our DNA and keep our cells from aging so that we could live 6500 years. Would YOU want to live 6500 years? How about 200 years? Why or why not? Turtles and trees just live. I have to believe that they get joy from just being alive. They ‘neither toil nor do they spin’ yet they find life worthwhile, enough to keep doing it long after we throw in the towel. How would your life change if you knew you would be around 2-300 years or 6500 years even?
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I was ruminating on why we form relationships – specifically why do we marry? When we are young children are a biological push and to a certain extent property and status are social pushes. So I put these aside and thought about those folks whose relationship really seems to work. What I’ve noticed is that there is an appreciation of each other that appears to give each of them a freedom to be themselves. Their very differences are what make the relationship strong. They have learned to see the value in the others difference and they even come to depend upon that difference at times.
What would happen if we saw 'marriage' as more of a partnership? What would happen if we saw our other relationships as more like a 'marriage?' Maybe the key is looking at building a long-term asset/value. Not all relationships have to be a 10 to be perfect as they are, but the commitment to maintain over the long-term needs to be shared.
Relationships are curious things. We come to them with so many preconceived notions, expectations and desires. What would happen if we became curious about our partner? Curious about who they are and why they do what they do, willing to explore in order to understand and then be willing to express delight in the unique person they are?
This led me to think about how inherent in their appreciation was a deep respect. I believe it is possible to respect someone and not appreciate them, but I don’t think you can appreciate someone and NOT respect them. What do you think?
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Habits, we all have habits. Habits are, ideally, shortcuts to behavior we find useful. Once we make something a habit we can do it without thinking, we put it on automatic pilot. The problem, of course is that some habits are not our friends and we find ourselves doing things we’d rather not do, or that have bad or inconvenient consequences for us. Habits can hijack our best-intended behavior.
Our brain is a willing partner in helping us form habits. The neurons in our brain have dendrites at the end. Information jumps from the dendrites of one neuron to the dendrites of another. If we do something over and over we collect a lot of neurons that are engaged in making that activity happen. If we do it really, really often then the brain figures that this is important and to make it happen even easier it covers these neurons with white stuff called myelin. It’s a bit like paving a highway versus a muddy road, same path, but you can go faster.
Get angry a lot? What about those ‘hot buttons?’ See a spider and scream? Each of these denotes a myelin-paved path that the brain has made very easy for that information to go down. These experiences are sometimes called an amygdala hijack. They happen fast and make us feel like we are out of control.
Being ‘out of control’ is sort’a true, but the good news is that you can get that control back. Neuroplasticity – the ability of your brain to change, is something that you can actually stimulate. In doing so you actually change the structure of your brain. This is what happens when you consciously decide to ‘break’ a habit.
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