Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. ~ Robert Frost
Every now and then, someone writes a book, prophesies a future, or reveals a truth of nature with startling insight and pristine clarity – books such as “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the prophets Moses or Edgar Casey, the revelations of atomic theory, forgiveness, relativity, or the unity of life and the universe. In a rush to maintain our notion of reality, we frequently vilify the messenger; later, people see the truth of the message and … the world changes.
The point isn’t about changing the world; it’s about changing ourselves. In “Selections from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna,” author Andrew Harvey says, “We are all heading into a whirlwind of catastrophe, war, heartbreak on the one hand, and, on the other, of unprecedented opportunities for real transformation, on a massive, world-altering scale.” Isn’t that what humanity has been experiencing for millions of years? We will continually face war, pestilence, and destruction on the one hand, and, on the other, the possibility of peace and transformation. That’s not news; it’s reality; and it’s not going to stop happening – ever! It’s change and evolution. We make a mess of life and then make it worse, or we learn and then make it better. Life happens and we screw up, or not; and then it happens again; each time we’re on the threshold of heroism, villainy, or cowardice. We have choices to make.
The point isn’t what happens on the world stage; the point is, “what are you, personally, doing with your life?” The real message of the great men and women of history is not so much what they discovered, but the lives they led that opened their hearts and minds to those secrets. We each have within us that same spark of eternal wisdom patiently waiting to be ignited. Yes, life can be cruel and merciless; but it is also nurturing, benign, and lavish. In “War of Art,” Steven Pressfield presents us with “a rogue’s gallery of” evils lurking within each of our minds to sabotage our every attempt to take life by storm the moment we take a single step in that direction. His word for these evils is “resistance.” The endless list includes resistance of addiction, procrastination, drama, and self-doubt. The truth is you can overcome them; but to do so you must be the warrior – vigilant, diligent, and bold. Then, and only then, do you taste the sweet nectar of the life of the hero. You will make dozens of choices today. Each one will serve either your passion, the life you were meant to live, or fear.
What are your dreams? Are you living them? Do you want to be the singer in the band, run a marathon, own a bed and breakfast, take a year-long trip around the world, have six-pack abs, or be an interior designer? It doesn’t have to be an opus to change the world, but it has to be your opus. You have to work hard at it, that’s what it means to be the warrior. Are you telling yourself a story right now about how this is a nice idea, very poetic, but not reality? That’s Resistance! Fight it! That’s what the lives of Christ, the Buddha, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Aristotle were about. Daily, they fought the evil in their minds and, more importantly, they defeated it. They were authentic, they were true to themselves, and they were warriors. Take the road less traveled, live your opus, be the warrior.
Life Coach Austin, Texas
Change the World – Change Yourself & Live Your Dreams – Article © 2009
Bhagavad-Gita (from chapter 2)
Hell has three doors: lust, rage, and greed. These lead to man’s ruin. Therefore he must avoid them all. He who passes by these three dark doors has achieved his own salvation. He will reach the highest goal at last.
Archives for June 2009
For when you come to think of it, the only way to love a person is not … to coddle them and bring them soup when they’re sick, but by listening to them and seeing and believing in the god, in the poet in them. ~ Brenda Ueland
The first element of communication, speaking, is impossible without the second, listening; to be a good speaker you must be a good listener. We all want to speak; and even more, we want to be heard. When we become good listeners we create the possibility of a captive audience – people who want to hear what we have to say. In his essay, “The Statesman,” playwright Henry Taylor poetically expresses this idea: “No siren did ever so charm the ear of the listener as the listening ear has charmed the soul of the siren.”
Listening, however, is a big challenge; even when we try hard our unconscious mind still thinks, “Soon it will be my turn.” We swim in an emotional hotbed of thought and experience, and it’s difficult to quiet its demands long enough to hear and understand what someone really means. Add to that the fact that the other person may not be clear about his own message!
Become a listening artist. The art of communication is about creating and strengthening relationships. An adept listener strives first to understand others and second to create a feeling within others of being understood. Your best goal is not to find a solution to whatever problem you may have with someone; the ideal goal is the tapestry of connection which is a result of putting aside for a moment your own frame of reference. A solution is much easier to find once you’re on the same page. To become competent at listening, learn to remain in the listener role until you have a “meeting of minds.” Respond and speak, but remain in the listener role. This means you don’t get to express your point of view! What you have to say may be important, but don’t do it until you’ve created a bond, a sense of oneness.
We sometimes struggle acknowledging someone’s point of view out of fear of losing our identity or fear that we may somehow become compromised. Recognition of someone’s ideas doesn’t require agreement; its intention is a dance of understanding. Acknowledging someone with sincerity puts him at ease, helps him feel less vulnerable, more open. We often become defensive, feeling that someone is attacking us. Approach communication with the notion that another’s beliefs are merely that; they are her personal ideas, and as such don’t have anything to do with you or anyone else. In “The Four Agreements,” author Don Miguel Ruiz says, “Others are going to have their own opinion according to their belief system, so nothing they think about me is really about me, but it is about them.” His “Second Agreement” is concise and powerful, “Don’t take it personally.”
Create listening music. Be curious; ask questions to better grasp the other person’s meaning. Don’t defend, justify, or criticize. Do not explain how your perspective is correct or why your actions were valid. Do not ask questions meant to invalidate another’s thinking or to validate your own ideas. Be authentic, not “sweet.” True listening is not a passive enterprise but an active extension of yourself into the heart of another, which in turn invites and draws him out into a song of rapport.
Listen; you would be wise!
Life Coach Austin, Texas
Effective Communication & Listening – How to Listen Actively (article) © 2009
17”For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.
18Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”
… striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man. ~ Victor Frankl
We all constantly deal with an abundance of information, both external and internal. We hear and feel the voices of purpose, anger, sorrow, motivation, greed, joy, fear, hunger, illness, health, intuition, sex – and these are intermingled with a second cacophony of friends’ suggestions, the force and taste of nature, the requests of loved ones, the demands of work, the internet, the pressures of society, an endless profusion of influences clamoring for our attention.
Each voice wants to be heard and acted upon, and it is most important that you find a means to effectively distill and wisely select those that are most helpful and in alignment with your spirit. To do this requires one fundamental decision: to identify and name that which you choose to live by. This may be a single word or a mantra. It may be love, joy, I am a child of God, I am true to myself, I am peacefulness, or I live in harmony with life.
Our minds are often an incessant stream of useless clutter that feeds on itself and creates even more clutter. I call it clutter because the “thinking” we do doesn’t serve any meaningful purpose; it doesn’t help us, but in fact sets us back. We think about things that once happened and over which we have no control. We also daydream about a life that has no basis in reality. I’m not suggesting that dealing with the past or setting goals is useless, I’m referring to the uselessness of going over things in our minds with no true goal. Stop doing this by learning to be present.
Learn to focus on the reality of the present moment:
- Focus your attention on your breath. A problem with many of the things we “see,” is that we have preconceived ideas of them. Breathing is something we’re likely to be neutral about.
- Hear the actual words that are being spoken. We generally interpret what others say because of expectations and their emotions. We can however learn to focus only on their words.
- Respond to events with peacefulness. Even though you may feel a certain way about events, you can learn not to respond emotionally but with curiosity. Curiosity can help you see things as they really are.
Practicing these simple ideas will help quiet your mind. As you do so you will find yourself increasingly in harmony with people and experiences. This in turn brings you in alignment with your spirit and your true destiny.
Today, right now, seek and name your destiny. Use this simple and powerful action to serve as a guide to inform all your choices. It doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes; it isn’t a panacea but a beginning in taking charge of and finding meaning in your life. It is a clear identification of who you aim to be.
Life Coach Austin Texas
Seek the Truth: Aim for Destiny © 2009
Seek and you will find…