What Lies Behind Us - Ralph Waldo Emerson
What sets humankind apart from any other species is the ability to pass on knowledge and to work together to reach a solution. Some call it community spirit, others a feeling of belonging. Whether I acknowledge it or not, we are connected, visibly or invisibly. There are spectacular examples of humankind working together in particular in this century during the second world war and more recently when natural disasters strike like the tsunami, flooding in the UK and the New Orleans hurricane Katrina. What happens at that moment, is that we connect and align with the other human’s experience and very little that seems important to us, seems important at that moment, while we pause in the connection, the space between. Some people will galvanise that impulse into action, others will digg in their purses to give help and others again will feel a sense of helplessness faced with the enormity of the situation. Then the connection has gone in a flash.
All these responses combined however create a network of support : those who dig in their pockets respond to a call for resources, physical resources to which some respond; and those who feel helpless do provide a supportive connection in different ways. Some will compare this to the power of prayer or intention.
Recently my children argued around the table as to who was the best ( since they are boys that is a natural response to fight for a place in the pecking order), and I asked them what they felt they were good at and what they were not so good and how they would decide who was the best. When they discovered that the areas one excelled at another was not so good at, and that what he was good at, they were not so proficient in they looked blank. We work best as a team in our family, that is the basis of our approach; but when we want to all be at the top, we can feel driven and alone, tired out to a point where our strength diminishes and our weaknesses take over. What usually follows is appalling behaviour and a lack of tolerance. What stunned them was the possibility that they could combine their talents and efforts and together achieve something beyond their wildest dreams. That together they could work out and connect to get an idea to take shape and have the ability to carry the idea through to completion. Individually they would have struggled. It would take them a period of listening, silence, reflection and connection. Then something interesting happens : one speaks, the other takes it from there and they end up with a completely novel way of tackling the challenge. Social media give us that opportunity today.
The point about downshifting for me is not only that I have all I need, but that it allows someone else in the world to up shift, to have an opportunity to improve their standard of living and create a balance. When I work at creating that balance from my side, I feel the connection and joy that someone else is moving in a different direction.
What lies behind me is a drive to have plenty, to have the best house, the perfect marriage, lovely children, a brilliant career, etc etc
Now, my priorities are more aligned with my values and beliefs and they will be different for everyone. The energy when you truly align with your authentic self, is that it creates a connection to the vast potential within you, where solutions happen to arrive, with no effort at all. Where there is struggle, there is a point to ponder.
My house sale and purchase are not going smoothly and I have to be patient...I have difficulty with that, to stay in the moment and trust that when the time is right, everything will align and effortlessly carry us to the next moment. I am not perfect by any means, very fallible in fact.
What lies behind us matters little now
What lies in front of us...matters little unless we go forward
What matters is now, this moment.
What I am missing here is taking the time to connect with the vast potential within me.......and listen to the potential of others.
Mother Teresa was asked what she did when she prayed. Her answer was that she listened. ( This stunned me as usually any prayers that I have heard or have uttered have been generated by a desire to speak and be heard)
When asked what Mother Teresa thought God was doing when she was praying she answered....he listens too. We both listen to what lies in between.
How does this relate to my attitude to business?
Usually profit comes first, and we plan how we can achieve the highest profit; this often dismisses the impacts on people, the environment and the big picture. Is it really about competing with the best product, at the best price, in the quickest time regardless?
When we put our health first, people first, listen to the potential they have within them and align that to our values and beliefs and theirs then we have the ability to listen to what other people are reaching out for and together we can work out how we can make something out of that. No preconceived ideas, just listening and effortlessly connecting. And although profit figures in that, it can be complemented by a whole host of other things. It brings me back to that connection we glimpse when we connect in a negative situation; how would it feel to connect and build on that in a positive way?
Lets see how that works out in practice for us in the future.