|Have you ever noticed
When you have to decide between
Two different points of view,
Or two contrasting futures …
The best answer is almost never found
At one extreme, nor the other?
Have you ever seen leaders
Giving passionate speeches about a future
That requires short-term pain for long-term gain?
Dividing those who can stay (on uncertain terms)
Against those who will need to go to “save the ship”?
All in the name of some grand plan no one understands.
Have you ever wondered if there might be a better way?
We oft need reminding that you can’t follow fear.
Fear doesn’t know where it’s going.
It only knows where it’s not going.
Through the confusion of fear, uncertainty and doubt,
The spin-doctors weave a web of contradictory messages.
Why is thought-control through fear so common?
The “leaders” are even more fearful of losing their positions.
They oft say nothing, for fear of any negative reaction.
They become angry and throw tantrums like a 3-year old child.
They cannot see their way forwards through the confusion.
They become tired, despondent and ill.
Apparently it was Eleanor Roosevelt who once said:
“The past is history. The future is a mystery,
But today is a gift – which is why we call it ‘The Present’”
As we move into the time of the year where we think
About which gifts to exchange, have you ever thought
That giving love in the present moment is all that’s needed?
“Deal” or “No-Deal?”; “Blue or Red?”; “Haves” or “Have Nots”
Where can we find the best answers to all our struggles?
Settle into a place of stillness and quieten the mind.
Then focus on a higher purpose: centred in love, not fear;
One that both excites you and is of service to future generations.
You’ll find that the answer lies in the space between!
You know the feeling.
When you are flowing with effortless ease.
When everything is “firing on all six cylinders”
And working in harmony.
Plans and ideas move into place, with no friction
And all things work in the way they were designed to be.
Flow isn’t just a great feeling;
It’s also one of the main contributors to the success
Of any great project, team or company.
The dividends are great for those that design for flow.
They become faster, more efficient, more successful
And out-perform those around them that ignore her.
How can we work better with this mysterious thing called flow?
Flow starts to move in the channel of the listener.
She takes the easy route: the path of least resistance.
Like a stream or river heading down to the sea.
She flows around any obstacle, rock or pebble
To get down to the next pool and onwards to the sea.
Flow is fragile when she appears and is hard to retain.
She can vanish and nobody knows where she has gone.
The strange thing in a business is that no single person
Is responsible for creating or destroying her.
Nor does anyone really have the overall power or responsibility
To get her back when she is gone!
Without flow, everything slows.
Deadlines slip and budgets bloat.
People get irritable and start blaming one another.
Games are played that increase the blockages
Which makes flow vanish even faster.
She is as mysterious and transient as the Queen Bee!
Jazz players call it “being in the groove”. Each player feels the beat
Each one dancing with harmony, discord and periods of silence.
In the moment. There’s no score, just a few hidden rules to be broken.
Performing with no effort, she demands hours of practice.
Whilst listening for the beat, flow rewards those that study her.
Invisible and ephemeral, we love to play with her hidden mysteries.
Do you ever wonder at the beauty all around you?
At Nature’s creativity and her ability to have created YOU?
Or do you simply go along in your daily life
Allowing the busyness of business to dumb you down
With to-do lists, email and yet more meetings
That makes you question: “Is there anything more than this?”
How often do we call in the experts – who make things
Far too complicated and in their own interests –
Producing grand reports and missing the simplest of solutions.
The physicists say that humanity was created
On a knife-edge of interconnected events that were most unlikely.
We wouldn’t be here if this creative force had not lined them up.
So how can we harness ourselves to this natural force of creativity?
Orson Welles once said:
“Others create out of experience
But I create out of innocence”.
Zen masters encourage us to seek
New answers from a “beginner’s mind”.
By adopting a child-like inquisitiveness
To everything that is around us
Life suddenly takes on new meaning!
Seeing the world as a baby or young child
Gives us the knowledge (unlike the experts)
That we don’t have all the answers.
One of my favourite jokes is that an expert
Is the combination of an ex – or a “has been”
With a spurt – which is a “drip under pressure”!
We dress them up with titles and put letters after their name,
Praising them in cathedrals to knowledge and certainty.
Yet the more they think they know, the more we know they don’t!
Be inquisitive and ask…
Where did that come from?
And where it is going to?
Create from innocence.
Adopt the beginner’s mind
And the world will become a better place!
Stop what you are doing!
What do you hear?
Listen for those subtle noises
That are normally drowned-out
In the busyness of life.
The chatter, the clicks, the hubbub
Listen to the space between the noises
They are quieter and even more silent
Than the silence you started to listen to –
Quieter, even, than the quietest sound!
What else lies in the space between?
It is a space to meditate on
The past and the future.
It is the place of pure presence.
Absence of anything,
It holds the answer to everything!
Claude Debussy once said,
“Music is the space between the notes.”
The notes might dance harmoniously,
But the rests dance closer to the truth.
A hidden message that you can only hear
If you listen to for the silence.
In conversation, there are those that compete
To drown-out the silence. They do not listen
They are on “permanent send”,
Not yet charmed by (nor knowing of) the fact
That they were given two ears and one mouth
For a reason: to listen twice as hard!
Try it for a minute, then an hour, then even a day.
Muted by the desire to listen more.
Not just to the noise, but more importantly,
To the space between the notes
That play to the timeless music of glorious silence.
The answer lies in the space between.
© Lorne Mitchell 2019
Picture from iStockPhoto 178359962
There is a tension between
Willing something to happen
And going with the flow.
Will tries to control the situation.
As Flo becomes less attached,
Will becomes more so!
Flo has a wisdom about her
Acting with Grace and effortless ease
Such that magic often happens.
Will can’t understand how she does it
So he tries even harder
To control the situation.
So who wins? Will or Flo?
Flo and Will are not natural partners:
They are like Fire and Water.
Too much heat and Flo evaporates
In a puff of steam: she’s gone!
Off to find consolation in condensation.
Too many of Flo’s watery ideas
Extinguish Will’s fiery inspirations
Which dance from one flame to the next.
They are no match for the bucket
Of intangible wishy-washy water that Flo
Throws on Will’s energetic flickers of intent.
So is there any resolution? Indeed!
Erf can help by grounding the situation.
He provides a hearth and channel
So Will and Flo can co-exist in separation.
Ayr can also help Will to focus his fiery resolutions
As well as Flo, crystallising her thoughts with a chilling wind.
In any polarising situation, two forces
Will flow better when a third comes into play.
Dilemmas are broken with new vibrations
Played out with the different elements,
Each one needing some of the other to find
The sweet spot of our creative genius.
(To my friend Bee, who reminded me all that
I have forgotten about the magic of the Four Elements!)
Autumn leaves start to turn
And she blows her chilling wind.
The rain now feels colder and wetter
Than the September kind,
Flooding the parched earth
And bringing a new spring.
It’s time for a clear-up
(Or is it clear-out?)
Out or up, no matter, stuff has to go…
To make space for new things to come.
A sort of Spring clean in Fall
(There are no words for it… yet)
The strange thing about this time of year
Is that releasing those things that you no longer use
Can be seen as leaves falling from a tree
They may still be of value to others:
One man’s waste is another man’s water
It’s the want not, waste knot!
Do we REALLY need it?
Do we have a PLACE for it?
Will we really USE it enough to own it?
Do we LOVE it any more?
When was the LAST TIME we used it?
Won’t we bee better off if we RELEASE it?
Where there is tension, let it resolve.
Where there are liabilities, let them be settled.
Where there are past traumas, let them rewind.
Where there is resistance, go with the flow.
Where there is anger, let you have peace.
Where there is darkness, let it be light!
Want not, for there is an abundance for all.
Horde not, for others may have more need.
Release yourself from things that no longer bring you joy.
(For me it’s unread books and unplayed musical instruments)
Untie the want knot and release yourself from stress.
Come, join the revolution!
At the end of every quarter, I move into the centre of the circle.
The centre is constantly shifting and changing.
Sometimes it can feel a bit stuck in place or time.
Othertimes, it has everything spinning around at 100 miles an hour.
But there is always a still centre to be found somewhere in there.
Calmness in the eye of the storm.
It is that centre that I seek out every three months.
To give me space.
To take stock.
To look backwards and forwards at the same time.
To celebrate what has been done.
And to meditate on where we might go in the future.
This week is a particularly special time of the year.
The hard work of opening-up the combs and extracting the honey is over.
We have an angel called Heather who helps us with that part.
It is now time to bottle the sweet amber nectar.
Some say it’s been a bad season for others.
But we have been fortunate this year. It’s looking like a good ‘un!
The honey itself pours into the jars in a vortex of swirls
Sometimes left-handed, other times right. Never straight-down like water.
As each jar fills, the trick is not to stop the flow too early,
Nor too late before the honey overflows onto the floor and makes a mess.
There is a rhythm to it which becomes quite meditative.
Like all skills, it is a combination of practice, timing and feedback.
You are never quite sure how many jars you will fill.
Nor how many total pounds of honey you will jar.
The mystery of not knowing whether this will be a record season.
But it really doesn’t matter. It is what it is.
I don’t worry too much about which particular flowers they have come from.
They make their own unique, delicious blend.
Harvest time is such a natural time of the year to close circles.
The celebration of the friendships made
And a time to reflect on those who have passed.
Now to get ready for winter. It’s going to be a cold ‘un, they say.
Time put the winter quilts into the tops of the hives.
The circle is closed.