the past can only be remembered now

Reflecting on your day, hundreds, or thousands, of things happen. In fact each day of your life this is so. This moment, Now, is therefore only one of many, many moments.

Yet this moment, Now, is as it is. Indeed, it cannot be otherwise.

Moments of the past are merely as we recall them. Moments of the future are dreams, creations of thought. The division of moments, the division of our lives, into past, present and future is mind-made and ultimately illusory. The past can only be remembered, now. The future only imagined, now. So in essence all there is that is real, is Now.

When your attention moves into the Now, there is space, clarity, simplicity, peace. There is also an alertness.
Many people confuse Now, with what happens in the Now. But the Now is deeper than what happens in it. It is the very space in which it happens.

This moment, Now, is the one constant truth. No matter what happens, no matter what changes, one thing is certain … it is always Now.

Makes you wonder why we dwell on the past and worry for the future, doesn’t it? Wasting Now.

Don’t waste it, embrace it. Now.

Advertisements

a different perspective

image

If you don’t like something, change it.
If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.

Mary Engelbreit

Life sometimes throws up simple things which frustrate us, or annoy us, or frighten us.

Like having to wait in a queue when we want to get somewhere, or getting caught in the rain without a coat or umbrella.

We can allow these things to grasp us, to own us if you will. The displeasure, discomfort or disquiet with the situation becomes more than it warrants. Whereas we have choice. We could see that rain shower as a wonderful chance to connect with nature, that queue as a chance to be with our own thoughts or to meet someone new.

Changing the way we think about it, changes how we feel. Thoughts lead to feelings.

So think differently. Feel differently.

‘don’t walk’ growing pains

image

We’re all standing, looking at the red hand. There are no cars. The road is just two lanes. Yet we stand and wait. Waiting for the ‘walk’ sign. To be told it is safe to cross.

We think that we’re grown up just because we’ve hit adulthood, have flown the nest, or because we’ve taken on a position of leadership in our organisation.

But so many of us are still looking for parents who can save us from life’s difficulty, confirm the right course of action, or who can tell us we’re doing ok.

As long as we’re looking for parents, we expect the leaders of our organisations, or others in society to know what to do, to know all the answers, to tell us what’s needed, and to rescue us. We hold back from speaking truth or acting confidently because we’re scared they’ll judge us or reject us. Meanwhile, they’re scared they will get found out; found wanting. So they are happy to parent us. To be seen as wise and all knowing.

And in this parental game, we blame them for sticking to their rigid parental ways. And, when things don’t turn out the way we want them, we blame them for failing us, instead of stepping up and taking action and responsibility ourselves. We give up our capacity for independent thought so we can keep ourselves in a dependent, child-like role.

And they, for their part, give up truly leading. Instead they parent, patronise and push change, to show they know best.

All of this is happening even at the most senior levels of multi-national organisations, because – it turns out – being senior, and being grown up, are not the same thing.

It explains much about why change can be so difficult in organisations. Why we fail to own our own change and why we have created an industry called ‘change management’ – like all that’s needed are more parents.

All of this makes the ongoing task of adult development so critical for each of us and for our organisations. Truly growing into ourselves, being ourselves and growing up is challenging work. But it means we can become self confident and genuinely be adults in the world – without relying on a saviour.

And once we can act like responsible grown ups, that allows us to take collective responsibility first for our institutions, and then for our society as a whole.

Then we can walk.

moving to a new age

image

The world is changing.

We hear that a lot lately. Technology, society, East catching West, globalisation, consumerism, social media, virtual reality, robotics etc. Much is indeed changing.

But are we changing with it, or are we trapped, caught in our own story?  A story spun by the very creators and enablers of the change. Much of what we refer to as change is simply the inevitable out turn of the industrialisation age. These early industrialists promised us: work hard, fit into the schemes of work we define, do what’s asked and you will be looked after, you will get what you want. Factories, mass production, even the idea of management, all born at this time.

Now, we’re caught, in this late-capitalist phase of our society. Our narratives about work remain oriented to this thinking. Work days and weekends. Home and the workplace. Career. Professions. Trades. Status. Money. Recognition. Security. Control. Management. Competition.

We learn, more or less successfully, how to mould ourselves to the categories already on offer in the world – factory worker, administrator, school teacher, manager, accountant, doctor…

For the most part we cope. Some thrive. Many however become disenchanted. Disenfranchised. The system isn’t working for them. The rewards may come, but they’re not enough, or they don’t bring happiness. The ‘have nots’ judge the ‘haves’ – the rewards aren’t fair, equal. Our hearts and souls are stunted by the repeated self-abandonment that fitting in can require of us. Square pegs, round holes. Freedom lost to a defined, managed, measured way to do, to be.

And now, a looming challenge is that many of those roles themselves have gone, are going, or will go in the next twenty years. Falling victim to the very possibilities the Industrial Age and its offspring the Technological Age, have created.

Time for a new way of thinking? A new paradigm?

One with enhanced caring and social responsibility perhaps? One that champions a calling maybe? One that redefines contribution and reward? One that places humanity ahead of hierarchy? Who knows? One thing seems clear though, we need to start to define and move to a new age.

 

short human platforms

image

A number of station platforms on my journey are too short for the train.

Each evening the train manager announces which carriages will fit. Passengers in carriages unable to alight are advised to make their way through to an alternative carriage.

The infrastructure is no longer fit for purpose. Stations and platforms built many years ago, now insufficient for the train lengths demanded by busy commuters. Worse, I suspect the train operators might like to add more carriages, as traffic grows and so infrastructure becomes increasingly inadequate.

Having infrastructure unable to cope with growing needs is a problem elsewhere. You only have to own a phone to know that. Or drive around the M25.

Our world is changing fast. The military use a phrase, now prevalent in business and leadership. VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. It describes the rapidly changing, unpredictable, uncertain world we live in. The inexorable expansion of stimulus, the pace of change, the ‘always on’ information flow, the societal pressures to perform, to excel, to achieve, to compete. All add to the stresses on our own human infrastructure. Sometimes it too comes up short. Unable to accommodate the sheer volume and inordinate complexity of the experiences we have, travelling on our own train of modern life.

Anxiety and mental illness is on the increase. Reported happiness increasing in some quarters but decreasing in others. Loneliness in the young growing. Society across the globe increasingly fractious, disruptive, searching for something absent.

Maybe our human infrastructure is struggling too with the modern demands of our busy world? Maybe our platforms are too short, our carriageways not wide enough, our bandwidth clogged?

Time perhaps to invest in self?

cheers to small steps

image

I’m off to a celebration. Drinks.

Drinks to celebrate leaving – a friend has been made redundant and is leaving his job role shortly.

We do that don’t we? Celebrate leaving. Celebrate endings. Sometimes just before the ending, sometimes just after. Like a wake.

I have never been invited to a celebration to mark someone starting. You know, a week into their new role, let’s organise drinks to celebrate. Maybe I just don’t get invited to those?

But, perhaps more of note, we don’t celebrate the awareness, the personal learning and growth along life’s journey.

We don’t go out to celebrate discovering our purpose or that we’ve finally pinned down a core value that has driven our decision making and sense of fulfilment for years. We don’t high five people in the street because we realise structure and control are important to us.

Sure, endings mark new beginnings. But the point of transition itself seems to be our focus for note worthiness, for recognition, for celebration.

The steps, the learning, the awareness… all seem important steps to movement, to change, to choice, to growth. Yet we focus on endings and ignore the enabling awareness and learning.

Maybe we should raise a glass to steps? Small steps which can amount to something bigger?

I became aware of this today.

Cheers everyone.