Created: Wednesday, 18 June 2014 16:55
You may have heard the tale of the three bricklayers. I have my own version. In my version, there are four bricklayers.
Four bricklayers were working side by side.
When asked, "What are you doing?" the first bricklayer replied:
"I'm laying bricks."
When asked, "What are you doing?" the second bricklayer replied:
"I'm feeding my family."
When asked, "What are you doing?" the third bricklayer replied:
"I'm building a cathedral."
What a difference the vision of outcome makes. Vision acts like a magnet, drawing us on to the next level. The laying of a brick and building of a wall are much more inspired when they are guided by the vision of the cathedral they are helping to create. Visions act like magnets.
In December of 2013, I created a magnetic vision for my life, my work and my home. I determined to make my life manageable. I committed to Space for Grace. I set out to change habits, overcome obstacles and create a life of flow.
I was the third bricklayer in the story. I had the vision of where I wanted my efforts to take me. My "cathedral" was built in the air. Now I needed to put my boots on the ground and do the hard work of building a new foundation.
For the first year, my heart and feet were aligned with my vision. When I cleaned a drawer, I was creating Space for Grace. When I arranged items based on how I use them, I was Creating Flow. The most mundane activities were sacraments toward a larger purpose.
And then, something shifted. I became the first bricklayer. The laying of a brick was reduced to the laying of a brick. Without the inspiration of the vision, the day-to-day activities became drudgery.
I didn't want to become the third bricklayer again. I didn't want an unrealistic, unlived picture of perfection. Where did that leave me? The bricklayer story was too small for who I needed to be to continue this journey and create the life of my dreams.
If your story is too small, tell a bigger one. Here is my recent addition to this traditional story that I have told hundreds of times.
The Fourth Bricklayer
When asked, "What are you doing?" the fourth bricklayer replied:
Laying bricks. It pays well, and feeds my family. These bricks are part of a wall that will be a part of an amazing cathedral that will inspire the community and foster their aspirations.
The fourth bricklayer was doing the same thing as the others, but he was awake and aware to the three levels of living.
If I had to choose between a bricklayer with skills and a bricklayer with heart and a bricklayer with vision, I'd go for the skills. But I don't have to choose, and neither do you.
We're bigger than that.
What am I doing now? I'm writing a blog post. I'm increasing my clarity and writing skills. I"m building community. I'm taking an action that will help the world tell a bigger story. I am the fourth bricklayer. I invite you to be as well.
What are you doing now?
Created: Tuesday, 17 June 2014 00:23
"Will you give me a forgiveness hug?" I asked Bob.
"What for?" he asked.
"For leaving the tea on the burner and smoking up the house."
"I'll give you a good-morning hug, but there is nothing to forgive."
Such loving words.
Forgiveness is sweet. Not taking offence in the first place is sweeter still.
The house had a bad smell today, but our good morning hug was like a fragrant perfume.
Created: Monday, 16 June 2014 00:40
He's an architect and he loves cathedrals. Can you imagine how exciting it was to be invited to submit plans and a proposal for the world's largest cathedral?
The drawings filled me with awe. Words can't describe the grandeur his plans invoked: the grandness of God and of man, the depth of skill and brilliance required to even conceive of something so massive, let alone build it. I searched for the most impressive cathedral image I could find, but the one I'm posting doesn't compare to the scale of this project.
His designs are amazing, but the way he designed it is even more amazing. He saw the cathedral in its entirety in a dream. When he woke, he transferred his dream images to paper exactly as he had experienced them.
And I think it's pretty cool that my dreams are giving me PowerPhrases!
His proposal made the short list. He almost got the job. But the project went to another firm which had more experience in this specific kind of project.
I asked him what he thought of the winning design. "It was informed," he replied.
Informed, but not inspired.
I always thought it would be a kick to be an architect and to see your designs turn into buildings. At first I was disappointed that my architect friend's proposal wasn't picked and he won't get to see his design built.
But then I remembered - he saw it completed already.
There are a lot of ways to be inspired. There also are a lot of ways to experience gratification. Right now, I'm feeling very gratified from standing so close to this man's informed and inspired dream.
"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." Thoreaux
Or not. Not every dream castle or cathedral needs to be built to have value.
And, not every dream castle or cathedral needs to be the biggest in the world.
Created: Friday, 13 June 2014 13:35
I shared my astonishment yesterday over my discovery of how much protein I was eating. My discovery thrilled me. When I shared my insight with Bob, his comment was: "Don't be so hard on yourself." Hard on myself? I'm beside myself with joy and you think I'm being hard on myself? I may have discovered a major key to help me be healthier than I've ever been, and you think I'm beating myself up? Huh?
One of my readers made a similar comment about yesterday's post. I read her words and again, thought, huh?
My perception wasn't closely aligned with reality. Acknowledging that isn't being hard on myself. My intuition serves me well in most things, and in this area, it's time to get a better sense of facts.
I bit the bullet yesterday and tracked my meals. My target for protein was 50 grams. I limited my protein consumption considerably, and still ended up at 60 grams. What would it have totaled if I had just eaten what had become a normal amount of protein for me? How much had I been eating?
I don't know, and I don't plan to eat more heavily to see. I feel much lighter today. The noble experiment continues, but early indications are that I really did find a key contributor to a challenge I've been wrestling with for years.
I'm facing facts. I don't intend to track my meals for long. I plan to track long enough to get a clear sense of what balance is for me. I plan to track long enough to establish a new habit - which I suspect will only take a few days, because what I'm learning is shifting everything.
My main style is and will remain intuitive. That trait has served me well in many ways throughout my life. So does coming down from the rafters at times, and taking a clear look at the facts/numbers/data to align my sense of things with reality.
Facing facts can be uncomfortable. Not facing facts can be much worse. I feel great today.
Where could you face facts and deal more closely with reality? Or, if your style isn't intuitive, where could a little swing from the rafters give you perspective and joy? What is balance for you?
Created: Thursday, 12 June 2014 13:41
When I told Evan, he said, "I love the way you delight in acknowledging the obvious."
When I told Angela, she laughed. It was a sweet laugh - the laugh of someone who cares and is happy when a dear friend discovers her own folly - and a key to moving forward.
What will happen when I tell you?
From one angle, a logical, linear angle, many of my recent life discoveries seem so obvious that I'm tempted to stay silent about them. I'm sure some of my readers (or former readers) have written me off as being in life-kindergarten - which is, in fact true. From another angle, these discoveries are transformational. Maybe I "should have known" this before, but I'm delighted to know it now. My inner circle buddies share my delight. Angela considers it cause for celebration. Okay, here's the story.
I had wondered from time to time if I might be overloading my system with too much protein. Just recently, I mentioned that concern to a friend. She said she thought I might be, and recommended I limit my daily intake to 50 grams.
I had never paid attention to nutritional numbers, so 50 grams meant nothing to me. After my friend and I spoke, I resolved to eat less protein, but it took a few days for me to make the effort to get a more clear sense of how much 50 grams of protein really is.
Tuesday, as I pulled out a chicken breast to cook, I checked the protein content. It said 24 grams per serving. I was stunned to think that one serving was half my daily protein recommended maximum.
Then it occurred to me to check serving size. 4 ounces. I had assumed the whole piece of chicken was a single serving. I had concluded the whole piece of chicken was 24 grams. Was I ever wrong! The chicken breast was over a pound. The chicken breast was over four servings. I had planned to eat the whole thing. That would have been more than twice my daily allotment. And it would have only been one of three meals containing protein.
There are lots of ways to respond to discoveries like this one. My response was excitement. I could have beaten myself up to think of how I have been perpetuating my digestive issues. Instead, I felt joy because I believed (and believe) I found an essential key to health. I called Angela immediately so we could talk about it while I was still flying high. She delayed her dinner a few minutes to be able to share that joy with me.
Angela knows, as do I, that this isn't just about food (although it would still be significant even if it were.) It's also about:
- a hundred ways I overload myself and am learning to moderate my choices
- being aware of what is right in front of me
- declining when Bob puts too much protein on my plate - or recommends anything that would overload me
- relating to numbers and measurements
- paying attention to intuition and to inner questions like: am I eating too much protein?
- reading my body's signals
I'm sure I'll discover many more implications from this awareness.
I had a BFO yesterday. A Blinding Flash of the Obvious. Was I being an idiot not to figure this out sooner? I'll gladly cop to that. Is this self-care kindergarten? I think so. It's also a breakthrough awareness with implications that will ripple throughout my life. It's a huge stream of learning from looking at the label on a package of chicken. That's pretty exciting, don't you think?
Created: Wednesday, 11 June 2014 16:50
Yesterday was a noble experiment in food portions that led to a Blinding Flash of the Obvious. I am tempted to post about it now, but I'll let it percolate a bit more before I do that. The realization is so obvious that many of you will think (or know) that I can be clueless sometimes. I'll take a "fertile pause" before I disclose.
Fertile pauses are useful in the middle of conversations as well as in blog postings. The simple words:
...reset a conversation. Try it today. When you're tempted to be forthcoming, but suspect it might be better to wait or alter the conversational trajectory a bit, try that phrase. My fertile pause will be a day or more, but the phrase works well mid-conversation as well.
Created: Tuesday, 10 June 2014 12:36
I posted yesterday about how I ate more fat and protein than my system could handle, and I wanted to get at the root of why. I mentioned that cheap and easy answers won't change anything.
Of course, it's important to be fair to myself about the circumstance. The same meal that sits well with me one day might not sit well at all on another. Hindsight is 20-20, and there can be plenty of days where I eat the same way with impunity. It won't occur to me that I had the same warning voice that day as I did the day I paid a price for my meal.
I want to be fair, but my goal isn't to let myself off the hook - nor is it to chastise myself unfairly. My goal is to figure out why I overload my system so I can remove the obstacles that prevent me from eating in ways that promote health and healing. That requires me to understand what happens and what I want to have happen. It requires that I help myself stay completely conscious at the decision points of eating.
This principle applies to any way we overload our systems and for any decision that is less than optimal.
Angela made an important point. She says she'll make a less nurturing choice when her "yes" isn't big enough. To make it easier to make the most optimal choice, she cultivates a bigger "YES."
Yesterday, when I tasted my lunch, I noticed it tasted like it had more fat than usual. I had the thought that I should probably just eat half of what was on my plate. That would have been a good time to put half in the fridge.
Instead, I ate it all.
What did I trade off for the pleasure of eating the whole thing? I traded a Sunday of enjoyment for a Sunday of discomfort. Sounds like a devil's bargain to me.
Seems obvious to me now. Why didn't it seem obvious at the choice point? How can I make it more obvious next time? How can I make my YES to eating without overloading my system big enough that it will be bigger than my desire to keep eating?
I'm still working with that one. I mentioned yesterday, cheap and easy answers won't change life-long patterns. I'm aiming at root cause here.
I invite you to work one of your own challenges through in a similar way. Bob and I just now explored his overloading his day yesterday, leading to restless sleep. Oh, and the extra handful of sunflower seeds didn't help. He has made remarkable strides thanks to his big YES to creating Space for Grace. He is one step closer to creating that reality.
When will we ever learn? Now. It's just that it's a process to go deep into the root cause.
Created: Wednesday, 04 June 2014 15:06
"Why are your dreams so clear, but you are so fuzzy to talk with?"
I had an immediate and clear answer to that question, which was posed to me by a therapist thirty years ago. But I was fuzzy to talk to, so of course, I gave a fuzzy answer.
My quick answer was: dreams are unconscious. There's no need to justify my dreams. I just report them as experienced. Conversations are different. I need to jump through hoops to say the right thing.
I have other insights to that question now. Dreams speak a symbolic language. Back then, I didn't speak that language. My dreams were clear to a therapist who worked with imagery and symbols - but not to me.
The other insight is that my inner world and outer world were so many miles apart. In my experience, one only spoke of the externals. These days, when someone asks me what I'm up to, I'm likely to share insights, dreams and inner experiences. Those days, in conversations, only the externals mattered. It was as if the internals didn't exist.
I have residuals from those days. Recently, ladies in a new group asked me to tell them about myself. I spoke of my career. The fact is, for this group, the internals are much more relevant. How do I think, feel, and operate? What matters to me? Where is my heart?
It is becoming much easier to talk about the internals. It's also exciting to experience the connections and the sharing that the "inside story" inspires. Last night, a longtime family friend dropped by. I asked him questions about his life that got him sharing about his vision, his values and his interests. We discovered all kinds of things he had not shared before. Much of the detail was over our heads, but it didn't matter. We didn't need to understand the particulars to get a sense of the depth of his life quest. We learned a lot about how this dear friend thinks, feels and operates, what matters to him and where his heart is.
I love exchanging true inside stories.