How Do You See The World?
I hope that the dog days of August are treating you kindly.
Dana and I just returned from the Pachamama Alliance trip to Ecuador, and I’m still deep in contemplation with all the experiences we had including the discoveries I made about myself and different ways of looking at the world.
Here are the ones that have captured my attention the most so far:
Our connection to the earth. In my observation, I was made very aware that the indigenous cultures are so deeply connected to the seasons, to the rising and the setting of the sun and to the source of their food. They dance with nature’s ebb and flow in life. In our “civilized” societies, we’ve made every attempt to control nature, from regulating the temperature with air conditioning and heat, to eating foods that are out of season or might not even be available in our areas, to drinking water that is shipped halfway around the world for our consumption. That disconnect removes us from the consequences of our actions that are out of tune with nature and negatively affect our planet.
It also keeps us from being flexible when nature disrupts our plans. Recently, one of my team members was unable to complete a task when a heavy storm warning was issued for her area. She had to reschedule a meeting and spent much of an afternoon in her service cellar riding out a tornado warning. She rolled with it. Other clients in her circle of influence did not. They bristled at her inability to meet a deadline.
Sometimes we get so set in our ways and in our expectations that we lose the pliability to be open to other opportunities––to be of service, to be someone’s hero, or maybe just to stop and allow the disruption to open a new way of looking at a relationship, a project, or a troubling situation.
While it’s important to honor our commitments, we must admit that there are times when circumstances lie outside of our control.
Our relationship to time. In the jungles of Ecuador, time was really all about sunrise, sunset, time to eat, time to go out for a hike, or time to canoe. It wasn’t scheduled according to the time on a clock. It was sensed. And what I noticed most was that when an activity occurred, there was a “presence” that exuded from the native peoples. They weren’t worrying about the serving of the next meal or the time to do some other activity. They were very much into whatever they were involved in at the time they were doing it. They were joyful and playful. Time itself was immaterial, inconsequential. They were present to the moment at hand. I witnessed the same sense of presence and playfulness with the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh.
This raised more questions than answers for me: How can we be present and not slaves to time and recognize that we live in a world that runs by time? How do we do this in a meaningful way? How do we meet for thirty minutes and be in relationship with one another, tend to the task at hand, and not be worried about what’s next on our calendar? We use a practice called “clearing” at the beginning of a meeting – to say what is on our mind, so we can deliberately set it aside to be present for the meeting at hand. This takes practice and a constant circling back to being comfortable with who we are at our core, to being self-accepting, and staying present with who we are with.
And that led me to honoring our own medicine. Our gifts and talents are the medicine that we bring to this world. This is what the world needs from us. All too frequently, we drift to being kind and accepting and do what other people think we ought to be doing with our lives. This reaffirmed for me that it is so important to know who we are and what juices us. The reason it juices us is that it is our gift to the world. It is our medicine. I so enjoy teaching Passion and Purpose workshops for this very reason. It allows participants to create a statement that says who they really are; their north star that can be used to make decisions as they arise. It provides the opportunity to live consciously and intentionally.
So, I leave you with these ideas to ponder. I’d love to know your reaction and thoughts. Let me know what you discover.
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about Pachamama Alliance and 5 reasons to be optimistic in this ever-changing world, click this link: http://bit.ly/pachamama5reasons
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