She's done it again! Another amazing newsletter that should get you out of your seat. Read it, use it, love it.
Volume 9, No. 11 • May 8, 2007
Molly Gordon, MCC
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Tending the Seeds of Purpose
The Bedside Table: Presence, Purpose, and Awareness
Tending the the Seeds of Purpose
"[How can] a tiny seed create a huge tree? Seeds do not contain the resources needed to grow a tree. These must come from the medium or environment within which the tree grows.… In a sense, the seed is a gateway through which the future possibility of the living tree emerges."
from Presence, Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, by Peter Senge et al
"In our lives and businesses, you are both garden and gardener." Molly Gordon
I first published this article in September of 2004. I wrote in the introduction, "Every cell in my body knows that Time has quickened its march, and that if I am to be a gateway through which the future will emerge, it is time for me to wake up." It's now May, 2007, Time is marching just as briskly, and I am still waking up. Will you join me?
It's time to wake up to purpose, and I don't mean the kind of life purpose that we can wear like a top hat and cane as we soft-shoe our way to prosperity. No, I mean the kind of purpose that is emergent, mysterious, utterly our responsibility yet utterly beyond our control.
I do believe that we are each and all both garden and gardener, but I do NOT believe that we are THE garden or THE gardener. In other words, while we are each unique participants in the dance of creation, we are also inseparable from every other participant in that dance. Everything we do in the garden of our lives affects and is affected by what everyone else does and vice versa. What's more, somehow there is a collective garden and a collective gardener, though most of us are light-years away from conscious, let alone skillful, participation at that level.
If this is true, the way we conceive and conduct business is of the utmost importance for ourselves, our children, our neighborhoods, our planet. The choices we make each day will shape not only our personal legacies, but also our cultural, environmental, and political legacies. Yet too often, I fear, we draw back from this realization and all that it implies because we cannot tolerate the contrast between our responsibility (HUGE) and our control (minuscule).
Enough theorizing. How can each of us tend to the seeds of purpose within our hearts and souls and within the hearts and souls of our communities of interest?
1. Cultivate response-ability. Ask yourself: "In what ways – no matter how small – can I tend the garden that I am and to the garden that I am part of (my community, my relationships, my industry or profession)? Make a list (keep it SHORT), then do one thing every day. Here are some examples:
Tithe 10% of your income to causes that you really care about. Don't wait until you have more money, just do it.
Learn to tell the truth without brutalizing the other party. (Fred Kofman's Conscious Business audio program will teach you how to do this.
Look at your practices and habits, and ask yourself: what kind of reality am I generating by living this way? If you are living on a diet of energy bars (guilty!), perhaps taking time to make a salad or cook some veggies would put you more in touch with the earth, at a cost of 15 minutes a day.
Love and respect are not feelings; they are actions. If your relationships are under-nourished, decide now to feed them with awareness, attention, and commitment. Review your outstanding commitments (implicit and explicit). Respectfully renegotiate any that you cannot fulfill.
When doubtful, afraid, or confused, pause. Breathe. Connect to whatever it is that you hold to be of transcendent value. Then ask yourself, "If I truly believed that my action could bring more light to the world, what would I do now?" Don't be surprised if the answer is small and simple. Just do it.
2. Reject cynicism. I don't know about you, but I am tired of being jaded and ironic. It was fun back in the 70s, but it's 2007, and the world needs our loving commitment and wide-awake attention.
I'll say it again, tithe. Putting your money where your heart is makes a great antidote to cynicism and invites gratitude. Scale your giving to your resources so that both may grow.
Practice appreciating others. Marvel at the many ways we move in the world. It's amazing how intriguing folks are when you drop the notion that you should agree with them or they with you.
Laugh at yourself and others. No need to pretend we're all perfect; while that may be true in the absolute sense, in the manifest realm we're all really pretty funny. A belly laugh is an act of celebration, not cynicism.
Make a list of your chronic complaints – the beliefs you hold about why your life and work can't be different that are so ingrained you hardly even know you hold them. (Tip: ask a co-worker, spouse, or friend to clue you in.) Then look for evidence that you're mistaken.
3. Give up magical thinking. Yes, the world needs loving commitment, but we can't heal or deal effectively by romanticizing ancient wisdom, retreating to suburban Pleasantvilles, or lounging in bubble baths while we burn incense and listen to chant.
Put magic to work. Unpack the symbols and rituals that speak to you; explore the interpretations and implications of the images you find significant. Journal, dance, draw, and talk about what you discover. Then put your insights to work in the world.
Cultivate a loamy seedbed for yourself (go ahead, have a bubble bath). But if you don't get out in the sun, the rain, and the wind, you won't grow. Better to be a weed than a hot-house flower.
Act. Walk to work, even in the rain; get up 30 minutes early to pray or meditate for the well-being of the world; turn off the TV and volunteer five hours a week to the cause of your choice; practice listening thoroughly to others before speaking your point of view. The point is not to endure discomfort for discomfort's sake, but for the freedom you gain when comfort is no longer a limiting factor in how you show up or serve.
4. Tend the soil. As Peter Senge and company point out in the first quote, no matter what kind of seed is growing in you, it can't grow into a tree without nutrients.
Perhaps your inner life could do with a bit of compost. (See The Bedside Table for a powerful tool to develop the neurological components of increased awareness.)
Maybe your physiology could use a shot in the arm (aerobic exercise, anyone? Pilates?).
Or perhaps what's most wanting is connection, the exchange of attention, caring, even touch with other human beings. Join a book club. Take meals to the sick. Say hello to the checker in the supermarket.
5. Shine. In the words of Marianne Williamson, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small in the world doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
When you feel really good about yourself (and I hope that happens often), pause to savor your capacity to experience in that moment the blessings that are present in every moment.
When you feel bad about yourself, pause and wonder about the mysterious workings of the world. If somehow your suffering or discomfort or errors were the compost for all of life, could you live with that?
6. Keep it simple; don't over-simplify.
Keep it simple. Gardening, life, work – these are all vast endeavors. Yet in any given moment there is only one weed to pull, one breath to take, one email to answer.
Don't over-simplify. Anyone of my suggestions could be a perfect fit or utter hogwash depending on your circumstances and how you interpret what I have written. If you're a working mom or dad getting by on 6 hours of sleep, getting up 30 minutes early to meditate for the good of the planet is probably not the best move.
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Like this issue? Please feel free to pass it on or to reprint the article on your Web site or in your own e-zine. All I ask is that you forward the newsletter in its entirety and/or that you include the following paragraph and copyright line if you reprint the article.
This article originally appeared in the Authentic Promotion e-zine and is reprinted with permission from the author. Molly Gordon is president of Shaboom Inc., a coaching and training company that delivers hope, help, and hilarity to Accidental Entrepreneurs so that they can thrive doing work they love. For more information, visit http://www.shaboominc.com.
Copyright 2007, Shaboom Inc. All rights reserved.
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The Bedside Table: Presence, Purpose, and Awareness
Presence, Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, by Peter Senge et al
We know that our subjective experience both as individuals and in organizations has everything to do with the culture we create, the success of our products and services, with profitability and effectiveness. But we don't know much about how to deliberately tap into and work with this subjective aspect of work. Senge and his co-authors have written a moving and provocative exploration of how subjectivity relates to objective experience. Highly recommended.
I was an off-and-on meditator for decades until I suspended disbelief long enough to try Bill Harris's Holosync, a sound technology that facilitates creativity, deep rest and relaxation, and experiences of insight and connection.
Three years later, I'm a solid fan. I don't feel the program replaces meditation and prayer any more than injecting a neuro-chemical can replace having a lover. (Yeow!) At the same time, Holosync has made meditation the rule rather than the exception in my daily practice.
If you are profoundly allergic to direct marketing, be aware that Bill is a tireless marketer. If you try the first recording in the series, you can expect to receive a lot of mail, and a lot of it is actually quite informative. If you hate that kind of thing, just phone or email Bill and he will stop.
If you have specific questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conscious Business, Fred Kofman
Kofman's tapes distill some of the best theory and practice available around effective communications and performance enhancement. Discover the power of being a learner. Find out how to tell the truth without antagonizing others. Learn how to have conversations that result in commitments and follow through.
The Work of Byron Katie
The Work is a radical (and simple) process of inquiry that unravels the mares' nests of your painful thoughts to leave you free and whole. I can't think of a more direct route to living with grace, love, and power.
How does this apply to business? Have you ever had a thought about business that made you suffer? I thought so... You are going to love this work!
Publication and Reprint Info
U.S. Library of Congress ISSN: 1530-311X
Unless otherwise attributed, all material is written and edited by Molly Gordon, MCC. Copyright (c) Shaboom Inc.(r) 2007. All rights reserved. Visit our extensive archives at www.mollygordon.com .
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