I was in Santa Clara last weekend during the Pac-12 football playoffs between Oregon and Arizona. My flight from PDX to San Jose Thursday evening had so many Duck fans that we could have turned off the engines, stuck our Duck-feathered arms out the windows, and flapped. That evening at the hotel, a couple Oregon fans and a couple Arizona fans were checking in; the fans were civil to each other, exchanging pleasantries.
Saturday morning breakfast at the hotel revealed Duck fans (still wearing green and gold) and the Arizona fans (wearing their school symbol), chatting as we all got our food. No gloating, no recriminations, no hard feelings. Fans who had spent hundreds (thousands?) of dollars to see a game understood that it is just a game, and that life will go on.
The spirit of civilization trumped blind partisanship. That’s a good thing, because it is the basis on which we can move forward.
I saw the same phenomenon when we lived in Stow, Massachusetts, which was governed by Town Meeting (true democracy in action – only the Town Meeting had the authority to make important decisions, including budgets). At the close of the meetings, I watched to men who had been vociferously opposed on several issues walk out arm in arm, chuckling, and head to the nearest pub to celebrate another “fun” town meeting. All rancor had disappeared.
Where have you experienced this phenomenon? Could this be replicated at work? At home? In other organizations that you serve?
For much of my life I’ve been a hard worker, focused on being the bread winner for my family, attempting to align my skills & competencies with the role & the organization. But much of that time I was complying with the organizational needs of who I they wanted me to be…but not who “I” really wanted to be! Welcome to gerbil wheel….the corporate henchman stated. This will be your destiny until death do us part. Reluctantly, climbing onto the wheel I complied. Running, running, running. Getting tired. Sleeping & getting up to do it again & again. Earning the almighty paycheck. Consistently providing for my family. But at what cost? Almost sucking my SOUL dry. Of not honoring all my gifts & talent. But every once in a while….I got off that damn gerbil wheel…did what my heart desired!
I danced like no one was watching. I sat in drumming circles. I became a Corporate Shaman…that’s pretty woo-woo isn’t it? But who cares. I had deep spiritual dialogue with people….contemplating the meaning of life. I had to stop pleasing others and please MYSELF! I acted like a silly, uninhibited 3 year old child. I was goofy. I played. I laughed, I cried. I discovered others’ like me who were truly authentic. Who shared their true selves with me and I with them. I found that freedom simply delightful. I found myself. Ahhhhhhh…..now I can relax.
Now, that I’m of retirement age and practicing retirement, I am just beginning to embrace those child-like tendencies once again. I have climbed off of that gerbil wheel. Aligning with what gives me happiness & joy! I am getting to do more training & development which was always my passion. Facilitation. Coaching. All helping people be happier and more successful! That’s my purpose on this planet. I’m choosing the projects I now work on….with no more forced compliance….and corporate obligation. It’s my choice. I think I’ll say that again….it is MY choice! I am now aligning with my passion and competencies, my gifts and talents. I’m now in the FLOW…where I am attracting opportunities. They’re magically coming to me and I’m not desperately seeking them out. The more I do so…the more the opportunities come out of the woodwork. I’m really starting to like this new paradigm!
Dancing Like No One’s Watching,
My wife Kathy and I made the decision to down-size our home in the early summer of this year for two reasons: (1) to reduce our house payments and (2) reduce the size of our home to keep clean (current home is 3,300 sq. ft.). Both very practical reasons. We thought we could being doing repairs, updating and boxing up our stuff in June 2014 and have ready by September 15th….WRONG! I had that date set in stone and maintained it within my own head all summer.
Well, we had various family issues spring up during the summer which included one of our children had a psychotic episode which became a roller coaster for the entire family. From getting the medical help and medications stabilized to taking turns where who was going to be on duty. She’s still not out of the woods yet. Another child, adopted at birth who has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) was in jail again and he wanted some help in getting out. He expected that we’d get a high-priced lawyer that would help his case. Lastly, a week ago our small family dog, Cody a Pom-A-Pug, went into convulsions which was very upsetting. Especially having never seen a dog do this before. And off to the vet we went. Incidentally, it was a kidney infection which is known to cause convulsions when a dog is far along with illness. Well, you get the picture. It was roller-coaster summer. Now, back to the house…we were completely distracted with the family issues and did not maintain our original momentum. But I still had September 15th as the date for placing our house on the market.
What that did was to cause me to be more distressed…beating myself up for not getting all of the home repairs done in a timely fashion and being completely exhausted. So, as I talked to Kathy about the date, she stated very simply let’s move the date out….to spring time. Wow! Those words were a MAJOR relief! I relaxed. Now, why didn’t I discuss with this with her sooner? Because my earlier conditioning around making and keeping commitments kept me focused on that goal, that priority and do it at all costs…because it was cast in stone….even though that was not the healthiest choice for me. I needed to let go of that belief.
What I learned from this experience is when your circumstances change, what else in your life needs to change? Do your priorities, goals and expectations need to change? Probably. Do you need to renegotiate your priorities? So, please know that this situation goes well beyond family issues and our homes. This is called LIFE. And that changing our expectations of ourselves, and of others’ is OK. In fact, it’s NORMAL!