Life is miraculous

July 24th, 2014

photo 5

Two of the many wonderful things photographing dawn has taught me is to be prepared for the moment. And that often the best shot is before the sun rise…when the colours reflect off the clouds.

Life is miraculous. It is a miracle we do not dissolve like a lump of sugar when we take a bath. Each day I wake…I am already living a miracle.

Each day is filled with millions of precious moments…or simple moments that just through attention  may become precious.

To pay attention to the miraculous way my body knows how to digest food, move my big toe, write this article…this quality of attention and remembering can never be overstated.

Many extraordinarily successful people will talk about the journey to the goal…it was this that mattered most…it wasn’t reaching the destination, getting the medal, summiting the peak..it was the path to that moment. It was all the hard work, dedication, endurance…it was being present in the moment to the changing colours reflected by the clouds before the crescendo of the sun rise.

These moments shape us. They inhabit our cells, our soul.

All of these photographs have been taken along the same stretch of beach…yet how different each one is…

Life is miraculous…

I invite comments here.



Beautiful Blue

July 23rd, 2014

Beautiful Blue

Blue…a colour…or a feeling.

Today, both. Amazing that I can see the beauty of this scene and also feel blue. Yet in truth if I really look at this…really melt into the presence of the beauty of this scene, all that is left is love…beauty…more love…

The feelings of blue are there still when I step out of the beauty. The pull of worries of life. Of survival. Of questions of endurance. Of staying the path…or not.

But in the act of opening my heart to receive the beauty of this sunrise everything else disappears.

Beauty sustains. Beauty restores. Beautiful blue.

I invite comments here.



A mechanistic or connected Universe?

July 22nd, 2014

photo

Two seagulls and a lone runner frame this beautiful sunrise.

I have felt as if everything I have been working on has been stuck for about 6 weeks. Interestingly, in my inner work around the project that consumes most of my days, I hold the image of two birds…white doves…or perhaps seagulls.. as a symbol of my project.

When I stopped my run to take this shot there were birds. They allowed me to include them. And then they flew away.

We can live in a mechanistic Universe where the ocean, birds, air, sun…all of nature…are less than sacred and separate from us….something outside of us…and in so doing these beautiful elements of nature become objects of utility, open to exploitation.

Or we can live in a Universe where everything is connected…where there is no separation. I am the birds, the sky, the ocean…and they are me.

We can hold this connected stance as mythic, or scientific…science has shown that every atom in my body has been in the body of all other humans through time, and probably all other living things…

With this dawn comes flow…flight…unfolding…nature has its own gestation rate….perfect in its timing..it is only me..the human who thinks I have control over all…who seeks to push before the right timing…

I invite comments here.



Embrace the mystery

July 21st, 2014

Photo 2

A wonderful teacher advised me…embrace the mystery.

This life of ours is a mystery. We try to order it…to have it be shaped in our image. Wisdom teaches us that this is a fools errand.

It was never ours to shape. Rather the path is one of aligning…deep atunement to the essential who of us…the threads of our life…and what is wanting to emerge from our deepest desires.

This is not easy…we have arrived at now entangled in the mythologies of what is and isn’t possible or real, most of which we simply do not see…and so the path includes releasing…diving deeper…clarifying…red pen editing…the integrity of what is wanting to emerge cannot without release…and profound letting go…

The essential YES that is emerging is a pulse without argument. It requires vigilant and loved attention for any diffraction or distraction.

Let the clarity of the sun be our guide. Once again…there..

 



MH17, Gaza, Microsoft…its 2.23am and its time to change

July 18th, 2014

MH17, Gaza, Microsoft...its 2.23am and its time to change

MH17, Gaza, Microsoft…its 2.23am and its time to change

I am at the end of a seven stage series on how to deal with loss of a business. For today July 18th 2014 (Australian time), this last piece will have to wait.

I started the 2.23am project because I believe beyond question that beneath the glossy glamour of success, status, companies as empires, busy-ness, consumerism, not-enoughness….is a human heart who longs for something deeper. I believe that the majority of our leaders of business and industry are seeking ways to express their own work and the work of their business in ways that honour humanity and the world.

This morning when I woke I learned of the tragedy of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. As I write, 27 of those passengers where Australian’s. The flight was actually headed to Perth Australia. 154 or so of those passengers were Dutch.

Australia and the Netherlands are small countries. These number are huge losses for us.

My heart is broken for the families and friends……all over the world. For every single person on that flight. For Malaysia. For the pain of any human who feels that violence is the only way.

As this incident unfolds, I pray for wise leadership. This was a deliberate act, even if the people who shot down the plane did not know it was civilian. They were aiming to shoot down a plane. They succeeded.

What creates the conditions for people to do this…to deliberately shoot down a plane?

Now is the time for deeply considered heart felt politics between all the conflicting parties…Russia, Ukraine, USA, The Netherlands, the EU…let us not increase the death toll.

And if our elected leaders start making foolish decisions, let us not forget that we can collectively say no. The power has always rested with the people…we usually forget this.

Into this brew of global events add the escalating situation in Gaza.

And the axing of 18,000 jobs at Microsoft.

Are these horrible events related at all?

At 2.23am we would say yes. A world where the money and power is concentrated into small places while the remainder of the world struggles to dignify human existence and work… is a broken world. A world where people are elected to leadership to further the coffers of the company/shareholders (which may well include you and I as pension fund holders) at the cost of everything else… is a broken world. A world where chosen corporate leaders are too busy protecting their own position to see what is in plain sight… is a broken world. (Stephen Elop, Nokia/Microsoft for example). A world where we have placed the accumulation of money as the ultimate value to aspire to…is a broken world.

There are people in Gaza, Israel, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Netherlands, the Ukraine…indeed all over the world…who would trade any amount of money…everything they have…for the safe return of their loved ones…

Much of the world is broken. We know this. It wakes many of us at 2.23am.

We can change this. We can change it through how we do business. How we treat people. (Not some heartless email to let 18,000 employees know they are losing their job.)

Frankly we have to change it.

2.23am is committed to that…one step…never too small…at a time.

We invite you to join us.

I invite comments here.

Photo credit: NASA

 



What to do when your business crashes and you lose it all. Stage 6 (of 7) Emergence

July 17th, 2014

What to do when your business crashes and you lose it all. Stage 6 (of 7) Emergence

What to do when your business crashes and you lose it all. Stage 6 (of 7) Emergence

Anything worth doing well goes through a period of deep consideration. To grow a beautiful garden prepare the soil well. To create a remarkable space for an event cover off every little tiny detail. To build a new home, plan all the aspects, spaces, traffic flows…to build a new business take the time to be ever so clear on the why, the what and the how.

You will find yourself waking at 2.23am…not in fear…but with the delicious sense of something exciting wanting to emerge.

To grow a new life after loss, take the time to nurture your own process. The process may be counter-intuitive. If prior to your crash you were a ‘go hard’ person, take your time. If you took your time, move with more haste.

Often what is emerging may not even look like it holds any possibility for a future. It may be some small impulse…to connect with someone you have not spoken to in an age…or to take a class, do something creative, read a certain book.

The spaciousness that has been created for you allows long forgotten aspects of self to emerge. Let them emerge.

The pathways will lead you to a more authentic expression of your whole life…if you let them.

How many times do we get to start with a clean canvas, with nothing to lose, because it has already been lost? These precious times only occur a few times in a lifetime. Don’t rush it…and certainly do not default back to behaviour and habits that took you on the path to the crash in the first place.

The world is full of people so trapped in the life they have  created that the risk of losing it all prevents them from moving towards what they most want? The horrible catch 22.

Now is your time to create what you most want. The path to here has been too long and cost too much. Don’t squander it.

I invite comments here.

 

 

 

 

 

 



What to do when your business crashes and you lose it all. Stage 5 (of 7) Silence

July 16th, 2014

What to do when your business crashes and you lose it all. Stage 5 (of 7) Silence

What to do when your business crashes and you lose it all. Stage 5 (of 7) Silence

You have reached rock bottom. You are able to speak about your crash/loss without shame and guilt, bringing humility and compassion to the story.

Now you enter a stage of silence. All the noise, panic, haste, fear, confusion, upset, anger, shame, paralysis…goes away.

There is just silence and spaciousness. It feels peaceful. The world looks different, because it is different. You are different.

Things you thought exceedingly important are no longer important. Busy-ness seems so unnecessary. You wonder at all the people rushing too and thro’ caught in some state of their own panic.

You have a taste for the simple. You may go through a period of throwing all the excess away. The whole process has removed everything but the most significant from your life. You find the joy in that.

You now treasure the little things. The touch of the sun, the sound of the birds, the smell of cut grass, the hug of a child. The ability to place two feet on the floor each day when you wake.

Through all of this something truthful is wanting to emerge. Something more real than ever before. You can sense it, but it hasn’t fully revealed itself to you.

This is a time to celebrate the quiet. To breath in the stillness. To be present to the beauty of life unfolding around you.

It is not a time for haste, for reckless decisions. It is a time to be open to the depths of your soul…the aspects of self that lie below the surface. Parts of you long denied, wanting to be heard.

Pay attention. Everything is speaking to you…As David Whyte says so well in his beautiful poem, Everything is Waiting for You,

You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.

You have come too far and at such great cost. To squander this time which may contain the seeds of something that will make everything…everything…worth it…is to squander a gift beyond price.

I invite comments here.

 

 



What to do when your business crashes and you lose it all. Part 4 (of 7) Rock bottom

July 15th, 2014

 

What to do when your business crashes and you lose it all. Part 4 (of 7) Rock bottom

What to do when your business crashes and you lose it all. Part 4 (of 7) Rock bottom

It may feel like you have hit rock bottom from Day 1 when you first lose your business. Rarely is this the case. What you are experiencing at that time is simply the first stage loss.

Rock bottom is literally the furthest down you can go. There is no more down. Bottomed out.

If you are like most humans you may think you have arrived at this place multiple times before you actually arrive at this place.

Yep…this decent is a painful process.

There will be many times that you will beseech the heavens as to why? Why me? When is enough enough? Will this ever stop?

There will be foot stamping and tantrum throwing. There will be more paralysis. Foot stamping and tantrum throwing might happen immediately before and after paralysis, all in the course of 20 minutes, repeated one hundred times.

After each layer is shed there will be a place that you might say…surely this is it? This is the bottom? And then there is more….

‘How much more? I don’t think I can take any more.’

As sages have said through time immemorial, the only way out is through. The practice now becomes a continued process of letting go.

Holding tightly will only create more pain.

Loss is always counter intuitive. Let go…let go…let go…breath…let go some more.

Here are the signs of reaching rock bottom.

There will be an enormous sense of silence. Quiet. Stillness. There will be no more fight. No more hanging on. At the same time, there will be a sense of lightness, even if small. Simplicity will feel beautiful. The paradox of ease will be present, even though your external life might be a mess.

You will feel spaciousness for the first time in a very long time. And humility and compassion will be present. Compassion for self, and compassion for others.

Shame and guilt are evidence of the continued decent. They need to be shed on the downward journey. Any residue of them usually means you have not fully arrived at rock bottom. (Sorry to break that bad news)

At rock bottom shame and guilt have gone. It is as it is. This is what has happened. I am what I am. I am the decisions I have made that got me to this place. I accept that in all its scary glory. I can live with this.

For the first time you will be able to speak to others without any shame or guilt. No longer will there be the need to hide.

You may find healthy sleep returns for the first time in an age.

Most of the fear will be gone, and if it returns it will only be a whisper of its former loud self.

This stage is one of being present. Of resting and nourishing. It generally doesn’t last long as it opens the space for something new.

At this stage really nurture yourself. Sleep, eat healthy food, rest, be in nature, journal, contemplate, breath. Find your power place…the place you feel most at peace, and spend as much time there as you are able.

My power place is by the ocean. It is always the place I go to sink down into the intuitive knowing, to connect to what matters most. I try to spend time by the ocean at least 4 or 5 times a week. It is where my most creative thinking comes.

Rock bottom is also the stage to begin to acknowledge how far you have come. Many people in truth do not get to rock bottom. They spend their lives skating from paralysis to panic to shedding….recycling….always hiding their shame and guilt…the story they have of themselves that needs someone else’s approval….they live in loveless marriages and soulless careers….lurching from one disaster avoidance strategy to another. But the true rock bottom, the truthful letting go…this…this is too hard…so they live the half life of in between. For me this is the greatest human tragedy.

I invite comments here.

 



What to do when your business crashes and you lose it all. Part 3 (of 7) Shedding

July 14th, 2014

hamburger_hst_big.thumbnail

What to do when your business crashes and you lose it all. Part 3 (of 7) Shedding

If you fill a container with too much gas at some point the container will explore. Simple physics.

Our lives are filled to the brim. Social media, TV, family, sports commitments with kids, work, commutes, handling all of your stuff, buying more stuff, balancing the budget (or not), climbing the ladder of life….it goes on and on.  Our internal energy systems are expanded to such an extent that at some point they simply must explode. Explosion can look like illness, chronic fatigue, depression, break down, divorce and losing our business.

In the wonderful myth of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna and her descent into the underworld, she had to go through 7 gates. At each gate she was required to lose items of her Queenery. Her jewellery, her silks..right down to her nakedness. She had to enter the darkness of the underworld having let go of everything that she held as valuable in the external world.

Mythology is so powerful because it speaks in metaphor what we experience in life. Loss it about letting go.

In losing our business, and perhaps our livelihood, our years of investment and savings, we have to let go of things we have held so tightly.

This includes the things that register our status in life. Our home, our car, our possessions. It may include our relationships. There is a shedding that takes place.

And at the core of this shedding is our identity, built over decades. For many this is the highest cost.

We are forced to examine who we really are in the world. Are we our status? Are we our house and car and flying at the pointy end of the plane? Are we our business, our job title? Are we the successful parent who provides wonderful things for children who have become indulged? Or the amazing spouse who has furnished the family with fabulous holidays?

In the descent everything we hold precious and dear that is transient will be lost to us. This is hard.  Really Hard.

At the same time it is purifying. Ask anyone who has been through it and come out the other side.

Things get real. Life gets simple. We remember once again, if we are smart, what really matters. We become grateful for the little things. The touch of the sun on our cheek. The hug of a loved one. A warm bed in any house. That we live in a country that is not in the grip of war or terror. That we wake each day and draw breath.

Minimalism and simplicity become celebrated. I remember sitting in my home after my divorce when my daughter was two, with only a childs table and chairs as furniture…and I felt so light and free…all my stuff was gone…cleaning was a breeze…a whole place/space in my mind was released.

If you are in this stage of letting go, shedding…then you need to continue the practices that we have so far established in stage 1 and 2. Keep your exercise routine. Take good care of your diet and get plenty of sleep… work with your mentor. Take time to be in silence each day, to come back to present time.

As the elements that have made up your life to this point are being lost to you, the practice now includes valuing the real.  Your relationships with friends and loved ones. Nature. Beauty. Your health. That you can move, walk, write, speak.

The practice become Gratitude. It is of course paradoxical to the experience you are having which is loss. The steeper the loss…loss of a child..partner…the harder it is to navigate to Gratitude. But navigate you must.

Find gratitude in the permanence. The sun rise, the moon set. The change of seasons. The tree growing in your front yard. Your breath.

Build Gratitude into your day as its own permanence. As a forever part of your ‘who’. It will become a part of your life that will sustain and enrich you as no other external element ever will.

I invite comments here.

Photo credit: NASA

 



What to do when your business crashes and you lose it all. Stage 2 (of 7) Panic

July 11th, 2014

What to do when your business crashes and you lose it all. Stage 2 (of 7) Panic

What to do when your business crashes and you lose it all. Stage 2 (of 7) Panic

In stage two panic becomes normal operations. Your heart rate goes wild, you produce way to much cortisol. It feels like you have an animal living inside you that is constantly on the move, pacing, pacing, pacing.

Your mind races from point to point, idea to idea, never being able to land in one spot and be still. Your thoughts are skating across the surface of thin ice. There is no traction, no depth, no substance to them. It feels like any step you take will have you plunge through the ice into the cold dark depths of no return.

Because of the high burn of cortisol and adrenalin you may reach to food and alcohol to find some quiet. Or, you may forget to eat. You may go hard hard hard at exercise because you are likely to go hard at everything.

For weeks at a time sleep may seem unnecessary. I recall going through this stage and averaging only a few hours of sleep a night and feeling just fine…mostly because of the high concentration of stress chemicals in my blood. Many people actually become addicted to this stage, as the rush of chemicals brings a level of enjoyment. Senses are on high alert, it feels like you have an extreme ability to focus, that you are bullet proof. And for short periods you may be.

But this state is highly unsustainable. You will crash and burn. And it will be a bad crash the longer you stay in the panic stage.

It is often common to cycle between stage 1 and 2, back and forth, back and forth. Paralysis, panic, paralysis, panic. This may go on for years.

To move through this stage you need to create stillness. You do need to STOP. This of course may appear to be the opposite of what we discussed in stage 1, which was to move.

It is important that you stay moving, and you also need to commit to times of staying still. If your moving/exercise is filled with panic, then switch to an exercise that allows movement and stillness, like yoga, tai chi, swimming or a walk in nature. For me, as a long term runner, I slowed my pace and went running in nature whenever possible, taking in the beauty around me as I ran. Running became a moving meditation versus a high burn panic filled run.

Create at least 20 minutes in your day to be still and to sit. No exceptions. Learn to meditate. Or listen to a piece of beautiful music. Go to a place that is filled with natural beauty and sit.

The panic is almost completely unproductive. It is the hamster spinning on the wheel. At most 20% of your activity will be of any value, the rest is simply panic building on panic.

Find that quiet still place inside , the eye of the hurricane..the all knowing, all wise, ever present aspect of self. This part of you is able to be still while the storm rages. Access this. And once there, ask yourself this question…

If I trusted myself now, what would I do?

If the answer is coming from the panic place, it is the wrong answer. If the answer comes from the quiet still place it is far more likely to be the right answer.

You only need the very next step. Not the second step, or the 20th step. Just the very next step. The step to take now.

Do that…take that step, the step that arises from the quiet still eye of the hurricane.

Then go back to the quiet still place and ask for the next step. Repeat. One step at a time. You do not need the big plan, the whole strategy. You just, for now, need the next step. And then the next.

If possible eat good food, get as much rest as you are able. Continue to get support from your mentor, someone who has been through this process. Do not be deluded to think you can get through this on your own. You may be able to, but it is the fools way….the slow way….

Many people have experienced this before. Far more than you realise. They will be able to guide you. Seek it.

Panic is your inner team of horses galloping away….you need to take back the reins.

I invite comments here.

Photo credit: NASA