Happy Hanugiving

thankfulI had to go with Hanukah first, since it’s older.

Hanukah – the festival of lights, and yet another celebration of a miracle that didn’t wipe the Jews off the face of the planet.  Growing up, I remember marveling at the fact that just about every Jewish holiday was all like – “Yeah!  We’re not dead yet!”. I know it’s not that bad, but seemed that way to young bar mitzvah.  It’s actually about the miracle of the oil in the temple lasting the full 8 days when it should not have made it that long.

Thanksgiving – a day when our families can hopefully all get together, celebrate a common heritage, and watch football and parades.  There are some religious overtones to the holiday in it’s original form, but that is pretty much done now.

Both holidays to me are about Thankfulness – whether it be for family, harvest, good fortune, or the miracles in our lives.  And thankfulness is a key part of Emergence.  By expressing thankfulness, we take the time to notice the things in our life that we appreciate.  Noticing anything puts your attention on it, and I strongly believe that what we put our attention to grows in our life.

Why are successful people successful?  They paid attention, and continue to pay attention, to their growth and passions – making them successful.

Why are smart people smart?  Again, the find something they love and learn all they can about it – making them smart.

So, what’s the point?  The point is that when we start to be thankful, we notice things.  Noticing something gives it our attention.  We can give attention to just about anything, good or bad, but if the attention starts with thankfulness you can’t help but focus on your loves and passions.  So Thankfulness becomes a gateway to your hopes and dreams – your Emergence.

This Hanugiving, make yourself a list of the things you are thankful for.  Take the time to sit down and really do it.  Read it every day through New Years and take the time to really consider it each time.  I can’t tell you what will happen, but I’m sure it will be amazing.

For those interested, my list:

  • My family – Wife and Daughter as well as Everyone Else.  My family is my support, the group that provides me with unending love and guidance and understanding.  That’s not to say they don’t call me on things – they do, and I am thankful even for that.
  • My Church Community, our staff and volunteers, and especially my fellow Board Members.  This community has opened my eyes to the greater good that is all around me, and to the fact that we are all one.  They continue to show me this, and love and accept me when I forget it.  I am sure that without this group, I would not be on the path I am on.
  • My co-workers at Big Bank.  Each of them helps me to get better each and every day.  They support me when I need it, applaud me when I need it, and point out areas for improvement when I need it.  I have learned, and continue to learn, a tremendous amount from each one of them.
  • My friends.  You guys rock, and while I don’t see some of you as often as I would like, know that you make a tremendous difference in my life and thinking of you brings a smile to my face.
  • Music.  Music, for me, is a meditative experience.  And I can meditate to just about anything from classical, to electronic, to alternative.  Love it.
  • Opportunities to use my skills and passions.  I get to do this in many situations, and look forward to continuing to practice year.

Be thankful.  Enjoy Hanugiving!

Under the Rug?

ExplorerNow I wish that there was a simple answer to the question, “Where did I lose my Good”. But there isn’t. The correct question is “What events in my life caused me to misplace my Good”. This is the question for two reasons. First, you can’t lose your good – that means that you no longer have it. Second, it gets misplaced and forgotten about over time as a result of lots of little things.

So what events led to our misplacing our Good?  While I don’t have any scientific evidence, this is the internet and we’re all friends here so I’ll assume that my experiences are similar to yours.  This discussion will likely go for more than one post, so please share your thoughts and stay tuned. Continue reading Under the Rug?

Good Defined

One of the first things I think I need to get back in touch with and bring to the surface every single day is my sense of “Good”.  I manage to do it some days, and strive to do it all days.

Standard definitions of good are about what you would expect.  From Bing:

  1. of high quality: of a high quality or standard, either on an absolute scale or in relation to another or others
  2. suitable: having the appropriate qualities to be something or to fit a purpose
  3. skilled: possessing the necessary skill or talent to do something

That’s not quite what I want.  By “Good”, I do not mean the opposite of “Bad”.  I mean good in everything.  Understanding the wonder of all the things around me, every single day.  Looking for the things in each and every situation that are worth getting excited about.

With very few exceptions, I think most folks have been in the same boat that I sometimes sail in at one point or another.  What does that boat look like?  It’s the boat the sails stormy seas, with little visibility and even less chance for a safe landing.  From this vantage point, everything is dire – work, home, finances, relationships, future.  And so, the “Good” that I mean calms all this and puts it into perspective – it allows us to see things as they really are.  Those dire things only appear dire in the relative perspective, when surrounded by expectations and attachment.  But in the absolute – it’s Good.

I think we lose this perspective in many ways.  The key is to find where you lost it, start using it again, and then keep using it so it doesn’t get misplaced again.  That will be the focus of most of my upcoming posts.

Workin’ for the Weekend

Loverboy - Get Lucky
Loverboy – Get Lucky

Remember Loverboy?  Workin’ for the Weekend?  I wonder if they felt like they were working for the weekend, or if they were enjoying what they were doing – weekend, weekday, daytime, nighttime?

How many of us feel like we’re working not for now, but for some future time?  A future time that may never come.  Yes, the weekend will come – and there is a good chance that you will make it that far.  But what happens when it comes?  Is it all you wanted?  Is it what you expected?  Sometimes – but not often – usually it’s a respite from what you were doing, but it’s not really what you want.  That’s my experience, on occasion.

What stops me from workin’ for the now?  What is stopping me (or you) from doing what I want to do, the thing that I’m most passionate about, the thing that wouldn’t feel like work, right now?

Are you not doing what you are passionate about because your job doesn’t include that?  Do you feel some sense of responsibility to deliver for your company?  There is nothing wrong with that, until it gets in the way of what you want to do.  Then you have a choice – and this is the crux.  You can either quit, continue to trudge through the day and complain about it, or find something that stirs you and helps you on your path at your current job.  In my experience:

  • Quitting isn’t something most people jump to immediately.  It’s scary.  And most have responsibilities to others that require employment and money.  It has to be really bad to go there, and it takes guts.
  • Trudging and complaining is easy, and I think it’s the one most of us take.  That doesn’t help anyone – not you, not me, not the company, and not the customers.  It just makes things worse.
  • Jon Gordon, author of many bestselling books including “The Seed”, sums up the best option by suggesting that the first step to getting us to what truly makes us happy is to “plant” ourselves where we are.  He riffs on it a little bit in one of his latest blog posts.  Excellent advice.  Find the things that you’re good at, you enjoy, and are core to who you are – and then use them where you are.

I recently had an opportunity to add responsibilities to my role – I had no idea what I was really getting into.  Yet I’m more excited now than I have been in a while.  I get to do what I’m good at, fix a hairy scary problem, and have an impact.  What could be better?  Am I working for the weekend?  No.  I’m having too much fun in the now.

And the coolest part?  Once you start focusing on now, enjoying what you’re doing, and making a difference – other things start showing up in your life.  At least, they have in mine.  Totally thrilling!!!

When you commit to emergence and really want to start bringing out into the open all the good things you’ve buried, what better place to start than right where you are?  What better time to start than right now?

Forget workin’ for the weekend.  Even though it was a good song…

Emergence

I realized the importance of the term “Emergence” in October of 2012.  I was reading a book called “The Lazarus Blueprint” by Mary-Alice and Richard Jafolla.  Hidden in the Lazarus biblical story, the Jafolla’s have found:

an extraordinary blueprint for overcoming a difficult situation, and healing even a situation that may seem impossible.

The book goes on to describe six steps that readers can use to overcome an unwanted situation and redesign their own life.

In the story of Lazarus, Jesus goes to Judea at the request of both Mary and Martha.  They have asked him to come because his friend, Lazarus, is ill.  Of course by the time Jesus arrives, Lazarus has already been entombed.  He visits the tomb, has the entrance stone removed and Lazarus emerges after being called forth by Jesus.  There is more to the story of course.

The Jafolla’s equate Lazarus to reader; he represents the reader at the readers’ current place in life.  The reader has, no doubt, difficult circumstances which must be dealt with to move on with their life.

Whatever part of your life you feel is dead and needs to be brought back to life, any part of your life languishing in a “cave of darkness,” that is your Lazarus.

Lazarus is always something good, intentionally or unintentionally buried by something bad.  While my life has had it’s share of twists and turns, I’ve been blessed never to have had to deal with some of the things the Jafolla’s mention – things like addiction, abuse, and shame.  And yet I know there are good things buried.  The stone covering the tomb must be removed; the bad thing smothering the good thing must be dealt with.

My challenge with the book is the stone.  What I believe is that the thing covering the good is not always something bad.  In my case, and I suspect for others, the stone is one of forgetfulness, responsibility, time, society – “real life”.  The trick is that “real life” is what each of us make it, and so while it may be easier to hide our hopes and dreams behind that real life – it is within our control to change it.