Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Effort Makes a Difference

Since the last post I launched a new business. Also in that time I had a baby. I'm fortunate because I won two significant 12 month contracts; however, I used that stability to rest on my laurels. Recently I realized if I continue working 75% my company won't be around after those contracts expire. So I started working more hours and harder. Already the result has been new sales, greater joy, and increased vigor. It was actually hard to only work 75% because I felt bad about my performance, which brought down the quality of the work I was doing and the enthusiasm behind it.

They say luck (another word for blessings) is a product of preparedness and hard work. I'm a lot more blessed when I'm doing my part.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Take Responsibility Rather Than Blame

I didn't manage a business call correctly today. Sometimes I rush to speak without being sufficiently strategic. I need to be patient, pause, and take my time. There is no rush.

The result is that I've led an employee of partnering company think I'll be moving forward on a potential deal with him when I really need his company's president to be in the meeting given the level of the person we'll be dealing with.

What's interesting is that two hours ago I was angry and disappointed with my friend (the firm's president) for acting in a way that differed from a previous agreement but the fact is I pulled the employee in deeper to the deal by speaking without thinking through my words. I am responsible and once again I tried to push blame off on others. It is my responsibility to manage situations the way I want them rather than letting others do so and then being disappointed with the results.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Don't Let Negative Thoughts Find a Place to Stay

There are five weeks left until I leave my safe job to start my own business. Up until the last month or so I've been very much living in faith. Trusting that even though not everything will work out as I hope it will ultimately work out for the best. However, fear has crept in a bit more deeply and I'm finding it challenging to trust as fully that if I take a leap I will fly, not fall.

I must remember that the fears are natural, especially since I have my first child due in October. The key is that I must view the fears as passing thoughts that serve a protective function to motivate me to not take expected outcomes for granted, but the fears need not define me. I tend to believe my thoughts. I think because I'm having a thought or feeling it must be true. The fact is that thoughts and feelings only define me if I choose to let them. Today I will give more credence to the positive thoughts rather than the negative ones.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

R.A.I.N.

In meditation class last night the teacher, Tara Brach focused on an acronym that is useful, RAIN.

It is intended to be used when we're suffering.

R = Recognize
Pause and recognize that you are experiencing suffering

A = Allow
Accept and allow the suffering without judgment

I = Investigate
Ask yourself why you are experiencing the suffering. What is going on? Is the situation itself causing your suffering or is there a larger source of suffering impacting other aspects of your life? This is to be done without judgment. It is simply about what is.

N = No identity
We acknowledge that what we are experiencing is not a reflection of who we are. It does not define us. It is not our persona; it does not make up our identity.

This is useful to me because I get caught up in fears about a new business I am starting and those fears generate negative thoughts. I tend to believe those negative thoughts. RAIN gives me a framework to look at myself and my thoughts from the third person, "Look at Dave giving energy to his fears and getting stuck in negative thoughts. He does this all the time even though his experiences prove that 99.9% of the things he worries about never happen. The negative thoughts are not real and he does not need to identify with them."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Stop Being So Serious

Spirituality is about not taking myself so seriously. The more I grow spiritually, the more I see the joy and humor in many moments of life.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Where I’m at Today

When I first started the spiritual path I thought that once I reached a certain point there would be no pain. The best example of my thinking was an experience I had with a priest in a social setting. We shared a mutual friend and all went to dinner where the priest was talking about a young nephew in his charge that was making bad decisions causing the priest much sadness and pain. I was shocked that priests, people who in theory are exceptionally spiritual, still experience negative human emotions. Just goes to show how much I had to learn.

For some reason this week has been increasingly difficult for me. I’ve been having feelings about the pregnancy we lost about a month ago and two other disappointing things. The challenge seems to be that my analytic mind tells me I should be past these things, especially since I’ve had large chunks of time where I don’t think about them and feel fine. In the times I feel good I start to believe that I’m past the difficult feelings, which makes their return all the more surprising.

The answer is simple. I just need to accept the fact that I still have uncomfortable emotions around some issues and must allow myself to feel them fully. That is, I need to be fully present with the feelings. I need to stop forming opinions, or judgments, about whether or not I should still be having feelings around these matters. It is what it is and that is all. What I’ve been doing this week is adding suffering on top of pain because of my desire to think the pain shouldn’t be with me.

The progress I’ve made is that if I was feeling this way around the time I started this blog I would have wondered what I was doing wrong. My practice has taught me that no matter how far one progresses on the spiritual path the human emotions are still part of the experience and always will be. In fact, the negative emotions are where we learn our greatest lessons and discover new aspects of ourselves. That is why it is inaccurate for me to call the emotions of sadness, pain, fear, etc. negative. All emotions give us gifts and are simply part of the human journey.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Power of Pausing

When we take time to pause, particularly when someone says or writes something that bothers us, in that pause we create space for God to enter. Suddenly we shift from a place where we react to a place where we respond. The reaction is fear-based and weak. The response is spirit-filled and strong.

In that pause we may ask ourselves, “What is going on here? Why does this bother me?” These questions reveal whether we feel threatened, scared, uncomfortable, or simply misunderstood. Knowing the answer we can respond in a way that leads to a solution to the problem. If we react, the underlying problem still exists while creating a second problem because a negative reaction from one usually leads to a negative reaction from the other.

Why is the pause so powerful? In essence, it is a prayer without words.


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