The Importance of Doing Nothing

19 05 2013

I’ve been told that I do nothing better than anyone else. I usually have a very full schedule. My lunches and evenings are filled with need-to-do-this or need-to-meet-them. I’ve lots of interests outside of my day job and I’m admittedly, very social. I never turn down a meal or a glass of wine with friends. My brain is always whirling and my sweetie has come to dread the phrase…”I’ve been thinking” because it usually involves some task for him.

doing nothing

But I also know that I need quiet time to counter that. The quiet meditative time, when I still the monkey mind chatter. I also know that my sweetie and I need quiet time together. As a couple, we need time to just be.

I’ve written about my friend’s camp before.  That special Zen oasis she calls the Flying Alligator, less than an hour from my home.  It’s perched on a quiet bluff overlooking a mighty river. The Atchafalaya River is one of the deepest rivers in the world and from her pier; I can sit and watch it’s fast moving current flow by for hours. It’s too fast for waterskiers or even fishermen, so only occasionally does a boat go by. You don’t see other homes or people from that pier. You can only see the mighty ancient trees that line it’s banks. It’s a real connection to the past as we quietly sit and listen to the sounds of nature surrounding us.

This is how this spot has looked for eons. We watch the eagles and the hawks and the rosy-headed spoonbills soaring high in the sky, as well as the tiny chickadee hopping on the branch that shades the pier. We’re in the middle of the Atchafalaya Basin  which is the largest swamp in the country and it still feels primal. I’ve seen migratory geese flying over so high in the sky they looked like hundreds of shimmering ribbons that undulated with wind currents; those ribbons appearing and disappearing depending on the wings catching the glow of the sun on their journey.

We watch the frogs and the lizards and the snakes and see the occasional fish jump out of the river.  We see a bird dive into the water to catch its dinner. I feel connected to the world as I watch how nature has been since the beginning of time.

I’m still connected to technology and it feels appropriate that I see the words of the Dalia Lama being posted by friends.  He’s only a short ways away—as the bird flies—in New Orleans, his first visit to my favorite city. (I hope he eats well while he’s there). I read Tamyra Bourgeois post about his Holiness, “the recipe for happiness is pretty simple, sleep well, eat well, meditate and connect with people who value your opinion.”

I know I’m where I’m meant to be in this moment of time. Feeling connected to the larger world. Sitting in happy silence with my love, occasionally touching hands and yes, a glass of wine in the other hand.

Part of my doing nothing is reading the book “My Stroke of Insight” from a powerful TED talk. This neuroscientist talks of recovering from a stroke and how important sleep and quiet and the kindness of others were to her healing and recovery. Her words and the Dalai Lama’s, being content and happy in the presence of love and being connected to nature, have all resonated with me this weekend.

I’ve come to believe that I’m meant to help people connect to their creativity. I’m still working on exactly how to get that message out. But maybe it’s by showing someone how to do nothing—something I’m very good at. It sure has connected me to the glorious, creative world today.

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Being Colorful

16 05 2013

I’ve recently made my sweetie join the business-networking group, BNI  for our brand new business, Greenview Designs.  I have a day job and he’s semi-retired and this group has mandatory weekly meetings, so I don’t have the flexibility that he has. It is, however, against his nature. I’m the social one; the love-to-talk-to-everyone person and Steve is …well…not. He’s the doer. Need a bookcase, he’ll build it, need a video, he’ll film it. Who does my daughter call when she discovers her car is flooded? You guessed it, and he shows up and fixes it.

handshake

He’s at the networking social getting to know the group and I join him after work. He doesn’t even have his business cards with him, so I’m handing out mine. He’s way more interested in the game that’s on in the bar while I’m happily doing the meet and greet and enjoying the conversations I’m having with everyone.

When we get home that evening, I immediately email a few people in relation to the conversations I just had. (This has more to do with the fact that I won’t remember the conversations if I don’t respond immediately, than me being that on top of it.)

It is as soon as I send the last email that I think about how diverse these conversations were. I laugh at myself thinking I was probably the only one at that meet and greet that could have had these separate conversations in one evening.

1. There was the techie guy with his web business. He was full of the latest lingo and anachronisms. I’m a marketer so I at least know what SEO and ROI means. We talk for a long time about business. I talk about the book “Tribal Leadership” how this book impacted me as a leader. I send him the TED talk link  and the free download and I just blogged about it, so I sent him that link too. 

2. The next was a friend who I enjoyed catching up with, our kids even went to Bonnaroo together. She has a side business teaching what I call gentle yoga. It’s for people who have some type of physical issue like MS (multiple sclerosis). I immediately thought of a blogger friend who I know from my Generation Fabulous blogging group, I know she’s a health advocate for MS as well as a woman who is living with it. I think that these two great women should at least know each other and may be able to share resources even though they live at different ends of the country. So I send them an email introduction to each other.

3. I even got into a conversation about auras. I realize that this is not normal business conversation, but this is really the types of conversations I get into all the time. I’m open to many possibilities. I’ve never seen an aura, but I have people near and dear to me who have. So I believe the validity of this energy that we all have. I also know for many this is a little “WOO WOO” out there. I discover my new BFF reads auras. Just days before I had a conversation with a woman who wanted her aura read while she meditated. So naturally I introduced them via email.

We are a sum of our life’s experiences. I can go from tribes to Bonnaroo to auras without skipping a beat. This is what networking means to me, simply sharing my life experiences and trying to connect people who should know each other. The term networking seems so formal and not me, I like to think of myself as connector of colorful friends.

 I wonder what color my aura is right now.

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Tribes

21 04 2013

“By understanding our shared tribal tendencies, we can help lead each other to become better individuals,” explains Dave Logan in a powerful TED talk.

Logan’s book Tribal Leadership (click here for a free audiobook) is a tool that transcends being just a book about business. It is a book that helps to understand the world and the tribal cultures that inhabit it.  He and his team have come up with five different tribes that each have their own world view.

5. Life is great
4. We’re great
3. I’m great
2. My life sucks
1. Life sucks

A tribe is made up of 20 to 150 people. Your tribe is who fills your phone contacts, your texts, your emails; it’s whom you spend your time with. I have several tribes in my life; my work tribe, my advertising tribe, my church tribe and my blogging tribe. While my different tribes are unique, they are all similar in that they all want to make the world a better place, which according to Tribal Leadership is a sign of a well functioning tribe. Being a member of these tribes makes me feel connected to my community and to the world. It makes me feel connected to something larger than myself.  While these tribes are filled with unique and diverse voices, we are all striving toward a common good.

Gangs and terrorist cells inhabit the tribes that believe “life sucks”.

All of this makes me wonder about those two young brothers in Boston who apparently murdered innocent people and maimed many others. I wonder if they were part of a tribe that didn’t see the world as a beautiful, diverse place filled with people striving to make it better. Or were they alone with no tribe to council them. Or were they sucked into thinking hate-filled strangers hiding in the dark crannies of the Internet were their tribe. If one believes “life sucks”, then does one believe life has little value and therefore makes it easy to take someone else’s life?

No one knows why these brothers terrorized a city that from all accounts had embraced them. I hope for justice, but not vengeance. I pray for compassion and wisdom for all involved. I hope their act doesn’t fuel the fear of others into thinking that all Muslims or immigrants are all part of terrorist tribes.

I pray that someday we will all see the interconnectivity of all our tribes. As Spring wraps its warmth and beauty around the world; as runners jog down our streets; as parents push their babies in strollers in flower-filled neighborhoods; I hope that we all see Spring as a time to heal and as a time of new beginnings. A time for all tribes to see we all need to strive to make the world a better place. May we all believe “life is great.”