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Monday, November 28, 2016

Theodore Roethke — Being, not doing

I must confess that being is very difficult for me. For years I have been caught up in the culture of doing — setting goals and working to achieve those goals. I find it very difficult to sit and just be. I must at the very least doodle. If I go on vacation, it often takes me a week to relax and forget my day job. But I still feel I must be doing something. Write. Draw. Read. Produce something of value. Rarely can I just be.  I simply cannot sit and doing nothing.  My thoughts continue to flow.

How about you? Are you caught up in the culture of doing or have you learned like Roethke to enjoy just being?

Here is my favorite Theodore Roethke poem. I love the first three lines. This is a poem to be read out loud. Listen to the interaction of sounds.

The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

I learn by going where I have to go.

Monday, November 14, 2016

William Thackeray — Reflection

This is a very profound statement by the English novelist, William Thackeray. The world that we see is a reflection of ourselves. 

I tell a story in my seminars about a little girl who lives in the mountains with her parents. One day the little girl has a fight with her mother and she runs out of the house. When she reaches the edge of the cliff, she stops and yells at the top of her voice: "I hate you. I hate you." 

To the girl's surprise she hears a voice shouting back at her: "I hate you. I hate you." This frightens the little girl and she runs back into the house and tells her mother that someone out there hates her. 

Her mother realizing what happened tells her young daughter to go back outside and shout, "I love you." The little girl tiptoes back outside and nervously tiptoes to the edge of the cliff. She calls out: "I love you. I love you." Echoing back out of the valley, she hears the words, "I love you. I love you." 

 The message is quite clear: what we send out is what we get back.  What we expect to find in the world is what we find. If we think the world is a negative, hostile place where our enemies are seeking to destroy us, we will find examples to prove our world view.

If we think the world is helpful and supportive, we will find examples to prove our vision of the world. The world we see is a reflection of the person we are. Have you looked in the mirror lately? What kind of person do you see?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Linus Pauling — Curiosity

Are you curious about the world around you? Are you searching for new information and ideas? Are you asking questions and looking for answers? Are you challenging the status quo? Do you doubt what people accept at truth? 

Do you question the world around you? Do you ask: why? how? when? where? Do you challenge the assumptions of others? Do you challenge your own assumptions? Do you challenge your beliefs? Do you question your habits? Or do you simply accept what was taught you? 

Do you accept without question the statements of experts? Do you question what you read in the newspaper or hear on television? Are you willing to think differently than those around you? Do you hang out with people who think like you do? Or do you surround yourself with people who think differently than you?

Creative leaders seek out new ideas and new ways of seeing the world. We need and want answers to our questions. Part of our thrill in life is learning something new — figuring out something we didn't know.

Creative leaders need a strong sense of curiosity about the world they inhabit. They should not satisfied with the pat answers of the past. The challenge is in finding new answers to some of the age old questions.