Letting it Be

Early in my “first-life” career, I remember an employee telling of being taught by a priest at Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown Ohio to take a time out and just “Be”.  The conversation edged on mockery and, as I was at that time parent to a teenager, the idea of any high school kid grasping the concept of  “Being” was difficult to wrap my head around. In hindsight, I myself as a “seasoned” adult was similarly unable to scratch that most elusive of surfaces.

This past weekend was spent at a seminar in Newark NJ – in a hotel that reminded me of many hotels at airports that I had given presentations at in the past. Because of the “baggage” from my previous life, I was determined to maintain constant awareness of how I was “showing-up” over the weekend – to be in the moment as much as possible – and not live in the past. I have noticed that self-observation is something of a light bulb. Once you flip the switch, the room is illuminated and you begin to see that which was always there, just waiting for you to pay attention.

Somehow, unbeknownst to me, the subtle adjustment to “Being” enabled a significant shift in my ability to manifest. Perhaps living in the moment, without expectation but with intent is the key. Consider the Law of Attraction which states that an intention, once set, forms the outcome.  Davidji of the Chopra center teaches us to ask the questions – live the answers. Similarly, setting the intention allows the universe to deliver the desired results. My intention for the weekend was to grow – and grow I did. As is often the case, the result was not what I expected or “wanted” but more a divine interpretation of what I actually “needed.”

In my previous life, I flew over one million hectic, rushed, miserable miles; so the plan this time around was to simply enjoy the experience. This weekend, I flew out and back from Pittsburgh to Newark in what is best described as a crop duster, skillfully handled by Snoopy, my dog faced pilot complete with scarf, no doubt looking for the red baron. Needless to say, the experience was very interesting and extremely noisy.  The last time I flew into Newark was on a 747 from Japan in First class. This trip was the polar opposite.  And yet, the difference did not disturb me, in fact it was entertaining. Occurrences that might once have been negative and frustrating simply no longer mattered.

I have found that I am now comfortable with myself. I expect my needs to be met and therefore they are.  No, the seats did not increase in size, nor did everything go perfectly. However,  I found a parking space close to the airport, the flight was on time, I got up to Newark easily, and as I walked out to the shuttle to go to the hotel, it stopped and waited for me. Anyone who has traveled to Newark should know that this, in and of itself, was a small miracle. As if once was not enough, when I was leaving on Monday, the shuttle which had just left, again stopped and waited for me to board.

Inevitably, the flight was delayed but as I sat in the terminal watching busy travelers, like ghosts of Geiger’s past, pace back and forth, I relaxed and enjoyed the time with myself.  I was the last one on the plane – in the old days, I had to get in first in case something went wrong.  I sat next to a man at least 50 pounds over weight and rather than feeling aggravation, I simply wished him well and harbored no resentment toward him – and somehow he seemed to shrink.  Going through security, I had the pleasure of a quick x-ray, an experience which in the past would have sent me plummeting down the path of fear and uncertainty.

All the while I watched myself having these experiences, not looking to next week or dwelling on the past but spending each moment truly “in the moment.” The few times I was triggered to past experiences, I was able to see immediately the effect on my attitude, able to witness how awful I felt, not retreat to the past, but accept it, and continue on.  Even when that awful feeling resurfaced, I did not resist.  I chose to accept that something was causing me to feel this way, until I understood enough to release it.

So – you may be asking – what exactly is my point? My point is this – If I can spend five days flying in a crop duster, sleeping in a hotel that bothered my back, and siting all day in chairs that made my whole body ache while remaining consciously in the moment, observing myself living and “being” – and incidentally becoming utterly enchanted by it – well then anyone can. If, of course, they decide with intent and purpose to do so.  The highs and lows were neither high nor low, they were simply different experiences that I was able to enjoy and then carry on.

The key to living Life 3.0 is awareness and being. To achieve the vision of my Core Purpose in life, I needed to be able to live in the moment and just be.  Perhaps this is the same lesson the old priest had already learned and was trying to impart to the wayward teenagers in his charge. Hopefully someday, we can evolve to a mindset where youth can grasp this subtle art. Until then, I hope the priest – and others – keep trying. I know I will. The next time you feel out of control because things did not go your way – take a few minutes to just settle down and observe – first others and then yourself.  Enjoy the experience – it is the only one available to you at any given time.

The Shift

Yes it is 2012, but we are not talking about December of 2012 and the shift of the planet.  The shift is what Dr. Wayne Dwyer calls the moment when we realize that something inside of us has changed and we can never again approach life in the same way.

For me, the shift occurred in 2006 in Death Valley, California.  I had spent the month of December 2005 on airplanes – flying twice from New Jersey to Chicago, squeezing a trip from New Jersey to Singapore to Manila to Singapore to Malaysia, back to Singapore and then home to New Jersey in between.

When Christmas came – we did not even bother to decorate our home – a tradition that in the past had always been very important to me.  Instead, we decided to fly to Las Vegas for New Year’s, enjoying a few days in the sunshine of Death Valley before kicking off 2006.

While in Death Valley,  a production problem occurred in what I used to think of as the “real world” – my professional responsibility.  At the time, over 150 people reported to me in seven offices across the US and Asia.  A US Marine term about a cluster comes to mind thinking back to this setup. However,  prior to this trip I thought this “real world” was where I belonged.

When I found out about the issue at work – which incidentally should just have been backed out by my staff, effectively eliminating any negative repercussions – I realized that it was like manna from heaven for me. I simply did not care to be living in this “real world” any longer.  The power was an allusion, the respect rendered artificial and capricious. The money was a bubble about to burst – in short – my life was no longer any fun. That hectic, power driven environment simply no longer served me.

Thomas Merton, the American Monk once said that all too often when you climb the ladder of success you find it is leaning against the wrong wall.  I realized this as it was happening and that it was time to move on, shortly there after – I did.

When I related my story to my son a few years later, he asked if I ever enjoyed the life I used to live. To which, I had to admit that for a long time, yes – I did.  The travel, the money, the respect, and the power all mattered greatly.  But to my fifty-six year old human frame in 2006 – it no longer fit.  Why?

I had shifted. I cared about my family and wanted to feel my spiritual self whole and at peace.  I wanted to be authentic, saying what I wanted – not what my boss needed to hear. I wished to no longer be bound by what customers  – all Global 500 corporations – demanded – but what I wanted. I was no longer willing to play the game.  The catch was at that time, I had no idea that all of this turmoil was because I could no longer be the person I had become. It took four years of introspection, isolation and self doubt to arrive at that understanding.

Watching Wayne Dwyer’s movie “The Shift” in 2010 – changed everything.  I realized that Spirituality, Family and Authenticity were my drivers; and that I had only to live according to new rules.

Studying Deepak Chopra’s interpretations of ancient Auyvedic knowledge, I realized that it was completely natural for people like me, in the afternoon of life, what the Hindi’s referred to as the elder phase of life, to want to show up differently. It was now important to me to give to others some of the enormous knowledge and treasure I had been gifted with in my life.

Through all of this, the most profound teaching in my journey has come from Eckhart Tolle – who taught to let go of my sad story and all the pain and suffering that I was holding on to that I believed made me so special. I realized that we all have stories, but we are not our story. Life after the shift is life without that sad story controlling our lives. It is a life that can be joy filled and on purpose if we allow it to be.

When we do this, when we let go, we can look forward to the afternoon and evening of life in the same way that I do when I am at Big Sur, watching the sun get low in the sky. Just knowing the feeling of bliss of the sun sneaking down over the horizon and being replaced by millions of stars in the night sky. This is not a time to retreat and retire but a time to live life fully and with purpose.

Namaste.

Transitions

Life is a series of transitions or transformations. In fact, one of my favorite authors, Inna Segal asserts in her book – “The Secret Language of Your Body” – that we cannot heal ourselves of any illness without making a transformation in ourselves.

Transitions can be both “good” and “bad” in the minds of our western culture. But on an individual level they “just are” – they are part of our life. We are always in transition. Sometimes these transitions are major, and sometimes we have to consciously control them in order to get what we really, really want.

LIfe 3.0 is a transition time for people.  It is the result of a shift that takes us from the householder phase of life – focus on doing, to the elder – or forest dweller phase of life – being.

In his book “Transitions“, written in the seventies, William Bridges talks about the three stages of transitions – and ending phase, a neutral zone and a new beginning.  The ending phase is something that is often not understood.

When I retired from my Life 2.0 career stream, I spend years tailing about being a former senior executive.  I did not want to let go of that “agency peer” of being the guy in charge. It was only when I was able to let it go, and be okay with letting it go that I was able to think clearly about what I wanted to do.

This time spent in the neutral zone for me took five years.  I spent this time for the most part in the forest of my tree enshrouded world and in the practice of photography in nature. It was also a time for me to reclaim the sublimated caregiving side of my persona focusing on being the primary caregiver in my primary relationship with my spouse as she restarted her career. The dual pursuit of my own artistic identity and the reclamation of my suppressed caring side led me to the balance that I needed to have internally to make a new beginning.

That new beginning came to me front others in the form of people at a seminar that I attend in January of last year who asked me “Are you a coach?”.  If I had not processed the five years of time in the quiet of the neutral zone – I would have asked them if they were crazy.  Instead be the end of that seminar, I knew in my being that I was meant to be a professional coach and I enrolled in a coaching training program so I could define my new beginning.

Most people, unlike me, do not have five years to do this on their own.  In order to do the work while they are still living in the Life 2.0 world that they created, they need to find the things that they need to let go of. Even in my quest I did this ultimately through my daily meditation practice which stared with “Who am I?”  Then, by asking “What do I really, really want?” – I began to get a sense for what I did not want – the clutter in my life that was stopping me from moving forward. Finally as the clutter was removed, and I decided what I wanted, my third question – “what is my purpose?” was answered and I could determine that my new beginning is.

Transitions

Life 3.0 is our definition for the third phase of life.  According to a book that I am reading on Transitions – called  “Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes” by William Bridges – in the Hindi tradition there were four phases of life.  These phases were referred to by many names, but they consist of :

  • The Student – that period of time from 12 to 24 focused on learning and discovering our role in society – it was a period of probation or training and included an apprenticeship
  • The Householder – the period of time from 24 to 48 – a time of self sacrifice for others in society – a time for raising children
  • The Elder Advisor – also know as Forest Dweller – the period of time from 48 to 72 – a time for reflection and to discover who am I
  • Sannyasin – beyond 72 and is a period of time when one emerges from the forest understanding who I am – a time of wisdom and a time for reflection and preparation for the end of life

Today, we are living longer, and the ages have been pushed back for many of us, but we still yearn for that Forest Dwelling phase of life.  It is curious – in his book, Bridges glosses over this phase and sees it as an extension of the householder phase.  Others, including teachers like Dr. Wayne Dwyer believe differently.  They believe that “A Shift” occurs at some point in the life of an adult and all of a sudden life can not be lived as it was.

Carl Jung, the famous psychologist wrote – ”One can not live in the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning; for what was great in importance in the morning will be of little importance in the evening and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie”

Unfortunately, for many of us in America, we feel stuck in our careers – even though they no longer fit our needs.  Inside of us a fire burns and calls us into the forest.  OnCore Ventures’ Life and Career Review Programs helps individuals, couples and groups to discover life’s purpose and find a way to contribute to society in this very valuable phase of life, that we believe lasts from about 55 to 85.

A Life or Career Review will help who determine if you have shifted and introduce you to the process of Discovery.