Lessons from the Edge:
I had the good fortune to produce a meeting where the great Tony Schwartz spoke. LINK
He reminded us that people are not computers and that in order for us to function at our optimal potential we need to – ready for it … REST. The essential message was that if we all treated ourselves more like professional athletes, balancing stress – rest, focusing on a healthier diet and sleep for 7-8 hours a night not only would we be more effective and productive, but happier too.
None of this is new information. It has all been said many, many times. The attack on our attention from email, conference calls and a constant pressure to work more hours is actually reducing our productivity and is making us very unhappy.
So, my holiday message to you is this, take advantage of a world that has slowed just a hint and put down your smart phones for 72 hours. Enjoy your families and get some very well deserved rest.
Lessons from the Edge:
We have mice. They live behind/in our stove. Seems like it would be a nice place to live; warm, lots of insulation and easy access to a steady supply of food. I catch and release them.. and so far this year I have caught about 6 of the little cuties. My husband reminds me often that, “No, we cannot just build a habitat and keep them.” In my fantasy I put together a maze habitat with a tube with a one w
ay door from the stove through a box like space with stuffing and food and then more tubes leading around the kitchen. My inclination is to just embrace the presents of our mice and keep it managed in a way that makes us both happy. They get to keep living in a safe warm place, and I get to keep them off my counter tops and out of my cereal… seems like a win, win to me. However, I know that they carry insects, diseases etc.. and that it is not ok for us to share a kitchen.. so I catch and release.
As I was walking today to the park with our dog to release yet another little Stuart I thought about this as a parable. It occurred to me, that in general, there are always multiple outcomes for every opportunity. Finding the right solution, not only can look very different from what you initially imagined, the solution for today may not be the solution for a week/month/year from now. Also, hitting on the right resolution for today requires consideration of all parties and compassion for all the positions, it’s only then that every interested party carries similar responsibility and reward. In the case of my mouse: I have to catch and then walk them to the park, the mouse is taken to a foreign, cold place, my husband has to hear about yet another catch. In the end we all get something we want too; my counters stay clean, the mouse lives and my husband does not have to live with a colony of mice. Longterm this is a better, healthier solution than my imagined elaborate maze. Eventually, we may need to borrow the neighbors cat…
Oops .. just caught another one..
Bottom Line: The best solutions are ones that include consideration of all the invested participants.
I know that this can be a difficult time for people. Family histories are hard, feeling alone and end of the year stuff brings judgements and other negative feelings. I get my dose around New Year’s after all the fun of Christmas dies down and I am left with my thoughts, doubts and self flagellation.
Here are some things that may seem corny but help:
- Be Present. Leave the phone in the kitchen drawer and take a break from the Jones’s
- Wrap your loved ones in hugs
- Send peace in the form of cards and notes to everyone you know
- Donate food, clothes and anything you can afford, including time, to those who’s holiday might be in jeopardy or thin
- Make sharing your love the priority not your disagreements
- Be your own light in every room
When the gloom sets in, recognize it for what it is and say hello for me. Know it will pass. Make yourself make a coffee date with a close friend (I’m free) and get out in the fresh air. I have been known to throw a party as a F’you to the gloom.. works sometimes. Try it.
Happy Arba’een and Mawlid an-Nabī
St. Stephan’s Day … etc & etc.
Sending you and yours love and light for the holidays and the New Year!
PS: I always say Happy Holidays because I am not so arrogant as to believe everyone else celebrates Quantum theory like I do 😉