Last year I attended a silent meditation retreat and the theme was waking up in every moment. The idea is that in every moment, through meeting the happiness, the sadness, the joy and the pain that arises in our own bodies, minds and hearts with compassionate awareness, we strengthen our ability to harness our personal poise, presence and power in moments of need. This is a theme that has been marinating in me every since. There are so many ways that waking up to the present moment shows up in our lives. As we begin 2019, in the midst of making resolutions, creating compelling visions and dreaming lofty dreams, I’d like to invite each of us to indulge in waking up to patience and allowing things to unfold.
Active engagement is required.
Being mindful or allowing isn’t code word for not planning, being passive or forgetting our ambitions. This is an invitation to align with our hopes and dreams and then be awake to each moment, so we can see the opportunities, seize the serendipity, and profit from the good old fashion good luck the crosses our paths on a regular basis. This is an invitation to be present here and now, so we can realize our dreams, which requires active attention to our lives, but in a relaxed way.
As we tune into our present moment experience, we tune into our own knowing and ourselves. We are really smart, capable human beings. But as ”Mary Pierce said, “Sometimes things aren’t clear right away. That’s where you need to be patient and persevere and see where things lead.”
I’ve noticed this in seemingly ordinary events. Every now and again, I’ll have a conversation in which I’ll sense that all that needs to be said has not been said. In these moments words rise up and remained suspected in my memory, unconnected to anything, only signaling that there is something to be learned here. And a gentle quiet voice inside of me says, “Listen carefully. This is important.” Sometimes she adds, “Don’t worry. You don’t understand right now, live on and you will.”
We each have a quiet voice that resides in us. This is the knowing that we can tap into, become attuned to and to get reacquainted with. Over the years I’ve learned to listen and wait attentively for the answers to arrive. And they always eventually do. Patience is a practice, not a virtue. It’s a practice to be attentive to life as it happens.
Clues often arrive in ordinary moments.
For example, during a marketing course for coaches, the instructor, Carolin Soldo said that as a coach the challenges we’ve overcome position us to help others in similar situations. Nothing mind-blowing here. Yet while simple and seemingly straightforward, that voice rose up. So I made a note to myself and remembered what she said.
Sometime later I heard Mike Dooley quote Michael Bach, saying, “We teach best what we most need to learn.” Hum, interesting. Still those words rose suspected in time and space. Again, I made a mental note.
Then earlier this year I was getting ready to attend Tony Robbins’s Unleash the Power Within. In my enthusiasm I told someone about my upcoming trip. She was not impressed. Not only was she not impressed she was shocked that I would go to “that kind” of event. She went on to lecture how wounded Robbins is and why she is qualified to recognize it.
I was as surprised by the intensity of her response as she was surprised by the fact that was going to see a person like Tony Robbins. Even while she spoke I knew there was more too what she was saying, so I listen attentively, hoping to understand, but I didn’t. Still I remembered that conversation. So I sat with her words and sat and sat and sat because clues arrive in ordinary moments.
Understanding is nurtured and ingrained
in quiet moments.
Out of the blue, with no clear trigger, today it all came together in my head in an articulatable way. The woman who criticized Tony Robbins may have been right. Perhaps he does work from a place of wounding. And Richard Bach is right too; we do teach what we had to learn. They, Caroline Soldo and Mike Dooley were all saying the same thing. We teach best what we’ve learned and overcome. We know from our own experience what is true and what is possible.
If you’re going to work with someone, don’t you want to work with someone who has successfully overcome the thing that you are struggling with? Tony Robbins felt helpless and disempowered as a child, now he empowers other through his life’s lessons. Richard Bach writes about successes that stems from events from his own life. Mike Dooley and Carolin Soldo’s success are a direct result of they personal struggles. Wounds can be incredibly empowering.
While we may arrive at peak states during moments of intense emotion, understanding is nurtured and ingrained in quiet moments.
Learning is an on going process.
Working with people just like you and me, I am often reminded and humbled by our courage and grit and hardheaded refusal to give up. As Erin Gruwell wrote in Teach with Your Heart: Lessons I Learned from the Freedom Writers, “I have learned that, although I am a good teacher, I am a much better student, and I [am] blessed to learn [in]valuable lessons from my students on a daily basis.” I continue to coach because of you.
I also teach because I know we aren’t broken. There’s nothing wrong with us. You are not the only one who feels frustration despite being blessed. You are not crazy or spoiled. And there is no end game to be lost or won. So the rat race isn’t our problem. Our response to the rat race is the problem. That’s were we need to work. Fortunately, learning is an on going process.
Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.
There is a way to feel at ease despite what’s going on around us. Over the years, I have and continue to share my toolkit for creating a life that easeful, peaceful and free. May we continue to look at what living easeful, peaceful and free really looks like in simple and everyday moments. Here’s to waking up to every moment of our lives.