I've been very earth-bound this year. I've been growing a new wing of my consulting business, The Resilience Group, with my work partner Dr. Jane Shure, marketing leadership coaching, formulating what words of wisdom I can deliver in speaking engagements, hoping to be of practical use to my clients, building our new website and creating our new brochure -- all solid work for my professional passions and the realities of managing a business.
As the new year approaches, I ponder at what cost I have attended to this solid ground. This morning I heard John Kabat-Zinn on the radio. Kabat-Zinn is the author of Wherever You Go There You Are, a scientist and educator who initiated "mindfulness" into our culture as a nearly household word. He brought meditation into the health care world and has researched, studied and shown its benefits for medical patients in pain, and for the rest of us who live the normal and inevitable ups and downs of life. Kabat-Zinn said that we are living in stone-age bodies in a digitalized world, that our human "beingness" is out of sync with the technologies we can employ (and sometimes employ us). When he pointed out that the whole concept of a work week is outdated, I was a little thunder-stuck. Of course! Our work world moves 24-7. We are at our computers in the wee hours of the morning or putting off a walk in the park, or lunch with friends, for completing a work task all Saturday afternoon (as I did yesterday).
He also commented on how addictive and seductive our technologies are. Not a new idea, of course, as it has become a common sight to see people at dinner paying attention to their iPhones rather than to each other. The external stimulation from technology is instant and gratifying. There's not much we need to do to work at in order to be engaged. And entertained.
Listening, I found myself missing the part of me that is more contemplative, that goes at a slow enough pace to savor the sight of the moon, that ponders the multiverse, that lives more fully in my imagination. I have a friend, a psychiatrist Kr. Liz Koo, who refers to this internal part of herself as an "intronaut." I like that. I miss my intronaut self.
My father was a labor lawyer by day and a poet by night. On my bulletin board I have posted the following lines from one of his poems.
My child, mouth open,
Hears the song
in the egg of the bird.
These lines are a new year's invitation for me to reenter mystery, to reengage myself with the magic and wonder that innocence holds, to make time away from walking my daily path on solid ground, away from networking and working at developing the next thing I do.
Also on my bulletin board, not far from my father's poem, is the following quote from a letter written the by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke:
"Be patience with all that is unresolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a foreign tongue. Live the questions raw."
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