Now and throughout the year, as you consider the impact you are having and want to have in the world, consider not just the apparent importance of your role (the size of your game) but look also at the quality of your yes. We can never know when the most important conversation in the world is taking place!
The end of one year and beginning of another is often a time of reflection and goal setting. We look back at the year and assess ourselves and our accomplishments, and we look ahead and consider what we want to create or achieve. We may consider what qualities we want to cultivate, what values we want to express, and what we would like to have to show at the end of the year for our efforts.
This reflection and intention setting can be immensely valuable, yet it can also be a trap. We can fall under the spell of self-importance.
This spell may cast a shadow, and in that shadow it will seem that you are not now and never will be enough.
Or it may create a glow so bright that you are impelled to dream up ever bigger, brighter goals without noticing that you are losing touch with your heart.
Whether the spell tricks you into playing small or playing huge, it distracts you from an inner spark, which wants only one thing: that you say yes to life.
Saying yes will sometimes lead to small things and sometimes to large. Wherever it leads, the value of what you are up to in the year ahead will not be determined by the size or scope or apparent importance of your activities. It will be determined by the quality of your YES.
In the weeks and months ahead, I wish you time and space to discover and nurture that spark. To experiment with saying YES in matters large and small.
Because your YES matters, and you are the only one who can utter it.
Is your work is calling…
…but somehow the call isn’t turning into action?
Sometimes you feel the call to show up for your work or business this year, but you aren’t quite sure how to do it. Whether it’s not being clear about what to do or not quite having the confidence to put your choices into action, you need a little help.
The Come Alive and Do the Thing! Mastermind group is designed to help you pick up the phone already.
It’s about answering the call in big and little ways, day in and day out.
It’s about finding your way–the way that really works for who you are and how you want to be–without hype, adrenaline, or pressure.
Come Alive & Do the Thing! will help you tap into your own wisdom and common sense to do what needs to be done. It’s about saying YES to your life and work.
We start January 18. Won’t you join us? Click here to learn more about Come Alive & Do the Thing!
I’m hearing from so many people these days that they are fed up and frustrated. Whether it’s the state of the world, the state of their work, the state of their dining room tables, or their very souls, they long to make a change but seem not to know where or how to start.
And you know what? I can help with that.
Next week you’ll find details of three new small group programs in your inbox.
- The Art of Living for Everyday Activists: Accessing resilience, inspiration, and stamina to do great work one step and one day at a time.
- Revisioning Recovery: Uncovering the inner path to freedom from addiction, compulsion, and tiresome bad habits. Think a mash-up of group coaching and book club.
- Come Alive & Do the Thing! A mastermind for solopreneurs who waffle when they’d rather rock.
If you oscillate from inspiration to overwhelm, from indignation to resignation, and back again…
If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired of a tiresome habit or compulsion but unwilling to buy into a story of lifelong disability and impairment…
If you have been poised on the verge of action (or on the verge of the verge) and wondering how the heck to get off the fence and into action…
Then one of these groups may be for you. Watch for details next week, and if this speaks to you, please don’t dilly dally. These groups will be limited to 6-8 persons each.
When we try to impose high-mindedness on our decisions, we may inadvertently find ourselves invested in being right and in getting “good” results. When we make decisions instead from a quiet place, we tend to be less invested in being right. We decide with humility and with open minds and hearts, which leaves us free to learn and evolve as the consequences of our decisions play out.
A declaration of interdependence
Last month, around the time I was wrestling with what to write here, 49 people were killed and many more were injured in an Orlando nightclub. My heart broke, and I went into something of a tailspin. For a few days I simply had nothing to say.
Actually, it’s not so much that I had nothing to say as that words seemed inadequate for all that needed and needs to be said. All that needed and needs to be said about learning to care for one another and for this miraculous planet we inhabit.
Earlier this week there was a bombing in Istanbul. This morning I see there was a bombing in Baghdad. And how many acts of violence, singular and collective, are occurring in this moment?
My heart goes out to all the peoples of the world. Dear Baghdad. Dear Istanbul. Dear Orlando. Dear Paris.
May we wake up and realize that we are all one.
Damage begets damage
A few weeks ago I spent seven days at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. It was stunning. I have never encountered people who were so committed to advocacy yet so gracious in sharing their message. Too often I know that I myself have become brittle, judgmental, and self-righteous in my own efforts to do good. Somehow it seemed that the folks at Best Friends have learned to identify with the goodness they are serving rather than with an image of themselves as crusaders against evil.
The folks at Best Friends have seen something, too, about animals, that I hope we will all someday see about each other: creatures are not born to be violent. Those to whom great damage is done tend to do damage in return. We must work to prevent and reverse the damage while loving the damaged being. In the words of poet W.H. Auden, “Those to whom evil is done do evil in return.”
A declaration of interdependence
I write this on the Fourth of July in the USA, a day marking the Declaration of Independence. As I listened to that document being read on NPR this morning, it struck me that the same words might well be addressed to the USA by various peoples around the world, including many within our borders. It can be tempting to shut out the uncomfortable truth that much of the prosperity and comfort I enjoy has come at someone else’s expense. It can also be tempting to reject the ways in which the human project has been advanced.
May we not settle for self-righteousness and self-satisfaction nor for cynicism and despair. Let’s keep waking up, keep reaching out, keep freeing ourselves and each other.
We have so much to celebrate and to be grateful for. We have so much more to do.
Don’t fall for the cynical lie that you have to choose between celebration and activism, between gratitude and fierce commitment to change.
You are human. You are vast. You can choose “all of the above.”
May all beings everywhere be happy and free
I’ve come to cherish this mantra, which I learned in yoga: “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.”
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
Or in the words of the prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace!
That where there is hatred, I may bring love.
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness.
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony.
That where there is error, I may bring truth.
That where there is doubt, I may bring faith.
That where there is despair, I may bring hope.
That where there are shadows, I may bring light.
That where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort,than to be comforted.For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.
A few weeks ago I was overwhelmed by heartbreak over the state of the world. Even so, I see everywhere reason to hope. I see it in the eyes of children. I see it in the good work at Best Friends. I see it in our sometimes clumsy and ineffectual attempts to love each other and heal our individual and collective ills.
The capacity to hope is reason enough to hope. You have that capacity, and it matters that you know it and use it as best you can when you can–and that you forgive yourself when you falter.
Have a wonderful, wonder-filled week, and please let me know what’s in your heart by sharing it in the comments.
It is easy to become discouraged, frustrated, even resentful and angry when we face world problems as individuals fighting against an external ill. How can we hope to overcome such things as systemic racism, economic injustice, or the simple venality of human beings caught up in defensive and frightened thinking?
But if we shift our perspective from fighting an external foe to being part of an unfolding process of awakening, our experience can soften. We may still feel deep grief, but we will also experience deep hope. It makes a difference when we see ourselves as part of an unfolding miracle.