Friday, June 12, 2009

Doing vs Being

Inquire… and suddenly you are getting ALL the facets!

We live in a culture that tends to place a heavy emphasis on our career life. This is obvious to me in a when we consider what seems to be the canned icebreaker during introductory conversations: “…and, what do you do?” I’ve grappled with this question many times over the years – only, of course, after coming to the realization that I am not “what I do”. For a while, I even sort of found the words insulting and yet I cannot blame the asking party who stands blindly before me, cocktail in hand, waiting to hear my job title so they can size me up and put me in their own little proverbial box. After all, if they know “what I do” then it provides them with fodder to avoid that uncomfortable silence between two strangers. It’s not their fault, its how we’ve all been raised. But, as we come together as strangers, looking for ways to connect with one another, aren’t we shorting ourselves by pointing our way towards such a limited question? Surely, this could lead the conversation into some very stimulating material and even help to form a bond, but what about all the other interesting things in a person’s life; their passions, their hopes and dreams and desires; their ability to create, explore; their teachings and learnings? I always try to remember to come back to the fact that we are “human beings” not just “human doings” and “doing” is just a part of our “being”. So when we ask, “what do you do?” we may be only getting part of the bigger picture. Today, when people ask me what I do, I am tempted to say “I do a LOT!... I do meditation and art, I do cooking and exploring. I’m really good at loving, and work daily with forgiveness and acceptance.” But, alas, for the sake of sounding glib, I give them the reply that I know will help make them feel safe and comfortable – something they can work with and expand on from there. But, I’m also working on my own language for when it’s my time to swoop in with the $64,000 question. I’m thinking more along the lines of “so, how do you spend your time?” or “So, tell me about YOU.” It’s not that I don’t want to know what people do for a living, of course that can be a very a interesting and important part of someone’s life, and for the real lucky ones, it just may encompass their deams and passions. On the other hand, some people HATE their jobs and would rather talk about anything BUT – either way, I’ve learned that, there is SO much more to a person than just their job. We are multi-faceted beings and like gemstones, shine in so many areas of life. Next time, try going beyond the surface and allow someone to shine like the prism they are.

Sat Nam!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Transformation 101

Fire it up… and suddenly you are melting it down!

Whether it’s turning water into wine, lead into gold… or swamp water into pool water, it’s all about the alchemical process.

It appears, due to the nature of things at hand; world economy, world ecology, and the seemingly infinite cosmology, most of us are coming to a place these days that is compelling us to redefine our ways of being. The stock market, the real estate market, the job market, the global market… are bringing us to our knees in a way that we’ve never felt before. Forests are burning, tsunamis are raging, wild life is dying off, epidemics are rampant, Mother Earth is literally cracking under the pressure of the ages and with all we have contributed. In each and every one of our individual worlds, we are all affected and have all contributed in some way, however small – by default, simply by being here. I’m not trying to sound bleak, here, but follow it down through the ages and it’s historically obvious we’ve had our collective cross to bear. But, do we have to succumb to this scarlet letter? And, if not, where do we begin the transformation? CAN we be the change we want to see in the world, as Gandi suggests? Well, quite honestly, I don’t think we have a choice.

Fifteen years ago, when my mother died, I knew nothing would ever be the same and so I set my intention to allow for a “new normal” to settle in, a phrase I thought I’d made up! Now, I’m seeing and hearing it everywhere. In essence, things are changing and they will never be the same again (and that's actually a GOOD thing), and so WE, every single one of us, are called in some way, to transform. The opportunity comes with the loss of every job, every dollar in the market, every foreclosed home, every loved one lost in needless war. This is the most difficult task, as humans, we are called to undertake – to turn our lead into gold – our pain into growth and learning and service to others who are suffering… we all have this capacity within and now more than ever we need each other to sustain the future of our world. Discover the alchemist in you. Stoke the fire, burn off the dross and expose the golden spirit of wisdom, truth and knowledge we all possess. We CAN be the change we wish to see… just open your eyes and look inside.