Love and the Bottom Line

photo indulgy via tattooedbuddha.com

photo indulgy via tattooedbuddha.com

http://thetattooedbuddha.com/love-the-bottom-line-a-dream-about-right-livelihood/

I have a dream. And I also had a dream. About corporations and fear.  Or shall I say ultimately, about corporations and love.

I have a dream that one day it will be possible to say these two words – “corporations” and “love” – together without it sounding like an oxymoron.

I have a dream that one day executives and employees, CEOS and administrative assistants, peers and teams and managers alike will join together, say a few “kumbayas” and make love the bottom line or maybe even just one of them.

I have a dream that it will be okay to say the words  “I love you” within the confines of corporate walls, real or virtual.

Yes, I have about love in the business world.

I also had a dream. A real one.  It was about fear in the business world. It went like this:

I was drifting off to sleep, thinking about my years in corporate life and how I was afraid so much of the time.
Afraid of what I could or could not say, afraid of whether I was wearing the right thing, afraid of what people were saying about me, afraid that I wasn’t pleasing the boss, that my staff might not like and respect me, afraid of the next performance review, afraid of getting in trouble, (which I never did by the way).  Afraid. Afraid. Afraid.
The fact that I worked in Human Resources only exacerbated my already fearful state. As the organizational parent, conscience, judge and jury, my own behavior had to be beyond reproach.  It was on display and it was being watched. As if I wasn’t afraid enough just trying to navigate the corporate machine as a regular ol’ employee, being in this role ratcheted up the fear factor significantly.

A few minutes pass, my eyes gently give way and I settle into slumber. Suddenly, I’m transported to another consciousness, whisked away, like Dorothy in her tornado only instead of Oz I was headed back to the LAND of THE FORTUNE 500, a land where the road isn’t always paved with gold but the parachutes are.

I find myself sitting in my black leather executive chair, in my nicely appointed office only I’m dressed in my pajamas with no makeup and my hair askew, much like I dress for my new line of work as “self-employed.”   I’m shuffling papers as if i‘m trying to find something terribly important while mumbling the words  “Love is the bottom line,  Love is the ultimate bottom line”

My assistant comes in and asks me if I am okay and I tell her not only am I okay, I am truly blessed. I then tell her that I love her.  I go to give her a hug but I can tell by the look on her face that wouldn’t be such a good idea.

I then proceed to my morning meeting – still in pjs, no makeup, hair askew.  Needless to say I receive a number of funny looks from these folks too.  They have that same look on their face – something between horror and trying to hold back laughter – that my assistant did. They ask me for my thoughts on a solution to a very sticky problem and I respond —  Hmmm – “let me meditate on it”.

I then put my hands in prayer position and tell them all “Namaste” – “the light in me honors the light in you.”

Later that day, Human Resources shows up in my office.  Everything I have been fearing finally comes true.  I said the wrong thing.  My boss doesn’t like me and neither does the staff now.  To top it off, I’m told I’m not seen as a “business person”.  The ultimate corporate insult.

HR then politely tells me I am “not a fit” for the culture, sympathetically offers me the services of the EAP (Employee Assistance Program) to assist me with getting my head back on straight (not HR’s job), and generously provides a bunch of boxes to pack my things.

I lay my head on my desk sobbing, I mumble to myself – “Oh If only I had stuck with business language, if only I didn’t say “I love you” to those I love, if only I said we are in business just to make money, if only I had the answer on the spot to the problem, they would have let me stay here in this LAND of FORTUNE and reap the benefits.   Or at least  I could have jumped on to the golden parachute and landed with some dollars in my pocket.”

If only….

I did the only thing left to do when you have just gotten fired in your dream.

I clicked my mouse three times (right click)….

And then I was “home.”  Back in the real world, or the unreal world, however you choose to look at it.  I realized I had just woken from a nightmare and returned to a place where dreams really can come true and actually do.
Even my dream about company’s being in business not only to make money but also to make love.

Now, how’s THAT for a “bottom line?”

With Grace,  Shari

Making Friends With Myself

NOTE:  This post was also published in Some Talk of You and Me http://sometalkofyouandme.com/2015/04/24/making-friends-with-myself-shari-sachs/

I know you all have them – the Voices inside your head.

A cacophony of Voices, that tell you, you can’t, you’re no good, who would want you anyway, you’re too fat/thin/ugly/stupid. Etc., etc., etc.

 Voices that beat you up for something you ostensibly did bad, wrong or so they say. Voices that tell you to worry, to be wary, be afraid. BE CAREFUL.

Then there is the Voice named GUILT, the one named SHAME, the one named SELF-LOATHING.

Need I go on?

Sometimes, however, there is one Voice that stands out amongst the rest refusing to relent, holding you hostage to it’s incessant chant, drowning out the others.

I have been wrestling with this Voice of mine for a very long time now, but especially so in the last years. I’m pretty sure that voice is echoing my ego, that part of me that might die if it didn’t have physical form and the limitations that come with it to attach to.

Egos, you see, are not the bedfellows of Spirit. They do not naturally “peacefully co-exist.”   Egos battle Spirit in a frenzied, “by any means necessary” way to stay alive. Even if it means killing you.

The battle between my ego and spirit culminated a few years back when life as I knew it began to systematically dismantle before my very eyes forcing me to “dis-identify” with more and more of the roles, expectations and material things that had defined me for the better part of a fifty something plus lifetime.

As I encountered this erosion of my ego the Voice simultaneously got louder and louder – and louder.

It no longer stopped after slinging just one or two negative digs my way; instead it assembled an ensemble of searing insults, put downs and self loathing commentary as an assault against my higher self that was desperately trying to edge it out.

Sometimes it got so loud that I couldn’t hear anything else. Sometimes it drowned everything else out to the point where I actually believed what it is saying. That was the point when I either would make stupid decisions, sabotage myself or keep myself small and from my own power.

Which of course, is just what “the Voice” wanted. And I really couldn’t blame it. After all, it was fighting for its survival.

But on a recent morning it was different. I think she – the Voice personified — must have been having a weak moment because she was not on her usual full frontal attack.   Instead she quietly introduced herself to me like someone who really wanted to know me and wasn’t sure I felt the same.

To my surprise, she was not practicing the usual guerrilla warfare I had come to expect. In fact, she was actually quite endearing.

“I’m Esmeralda” she whispered in my ear, gently announcing herself.

That’s right. Esmeralda.

After some minutes of chatting, I realized all she really wanted was love and a little bit of attention, maybe some validation. Yes, she acted like a brat to get it, but only because she knew no other way.

I realized that beneath the bravado and the bullying, all she really wanted was a hug.

So I hugged her. And when I did, it dawned on me that the more we try to extinguish something the harder it fights to stay alive.

I wondered, could it be that sometimes in our quest to get to know our higher selves we forget that we still need our egos? Or they still need us. Or both.

After all, the ego is the “instrument” which enables us to do the things we came to do in this Earthly world. There may come a time when we may not need them anymore but so long as we are in physical form they are with us for the ride.

They, and the bodies that go with it, are what allows us to see and hear and feel and sense beauty and grandeur and even the drama and pain that is all part of being alive in this physical world.

So why not befriend and embrace it? Just recognize it plays a supporting role instead of a leading one? Humor it when it tries to tell you what you can’t do and what you are not. Know that it’s just being silly and fighting to stay alive.

And so that’s what I did. I made her my friend. Esmerelda and I are now buds, bedfellows.  She still likes to act up from time to time and pretend she’s in control.   And sometimes I bite. But not for long. And when I come to my senses, I just stop and give her a hug, and tell her I love her. It’s as easy as that!

Why Being Alone on Christmas was the Best Present I Ever Had

It’s Christmas Day. And I am spending it alone.  I mean all alone.  Well –  alone without another human around that is.  I do have the company of  “Si” however, my “granddog” that I am dogsitting this week.  i_survived_being_home_alone_ornament-r59c201dd311b42dd897b86ed3e08a261_x7s2y_8byvr_324

When I told most people that I would be without any human companionship on Christmas day,  many of them gasped with a combination of something between pity and shock or just a sincere concern for me for having to spend Christmas all by my lonesome.

I wasn’t really sure myself how I felt about it.  A part of me thought that I should be upset that I was going to be all alone on what is such a traditional celebratory day usually spent in sharing the holiday cheer with family and friends.  But I think the expectation of how one should  be spending this day was creating more angst than how I really felt about it.  It was like I felt like I should be feeling more sad about it than I really was.

Was there something terribly wrong with me for not feeling more sadness or self-pity?  Was I some kind of a sociopath for not cringing at the notion of a quiet Christmas, just me and the dog?  Honestly this was much more the source of any consternation I’ve had this season than merely being alone itself.

So here it is – Christmas Day,  I’m  far from “home”- wherever that is these days (another story for another day).  I’m alone.  I don’t have one single present to unwrap.  No Christmas dinner except the rotisserie chicken I picked up last night and my favorite  chocolate Almond Dream ice cream(yum).  No one to eat with or drink with or toast with.  Nowhere  – and I mean – nowhere to go .  I can’t even put gas in my car today.

And it’s the best Christmas day ever.

Why?  Because in the space of solitude and free from the busyness and distractions of all the things we usually expect to be doing this time of year, something so much more valuable than any gift-wrapped present showed up.

In fact, this year I got the best gifts I have ever received. And I would like to share them with you:

Gift #1 – Experiencing the Love of a Dog

Si

Si

One of the biggest gifts I received this year was the gift – and I do mean gift – of spending time with a dog – just me and him –  who is fully in the present moment.  He knows nothing about the fact that this is a holiday but still spends every waking moment in a place of love, affection and acceptance and a bountiful zest for life that is consistent with the Christmas spirit .  Only he does this everyday and every moment of his life.  On this Christmas I got to experience love, affection and companionship from him that is the best example of unconditional love I could ever wish for.   It pours forth from him effortlessly and without judgment.  Plus he’s so darn CUTE.

His outpouring of love also brings forth love from me.  It encourages me to reciprocate not only to him but to everyone.  It helps me to feel and express the love that is inside of me.

 Gift #2 – Giving Beyond Presents

 On previous Christmas days and the weeks leading up to it, I was usually too busy to give of myself to anyone else.  Yes, I gave gifts to my family and friends of course, and sometimes I gave money to organizations and people in need. I gave what I thought I had to give which amounted mostly to material things.

During the season itself,  I was busy trying to do what I thought I “should’ – give and receive gifts, give and go to parties, spread joy and cheer.  These are all good things.  But I told myself the story this was all I had to give.  I had children and a job and not much time for volunteering or being a vessel to spread love to others in need.

This year, I went to a church service with my daughter who is deeply involved and committed to her church and their mission.   I went even though I consider myself “Jewish by birth” and heritage, and “spiritual but not religious”  in my beliefs.  I can tell you – from my novice standpoint  -church ain’t what it used to be.  The pastor is young and hip, there are no religious symbols, there’s rock music, most people wear jeans.  Its not even in a church!

The pastor’s words spoke to me and I believe much of what he preaches can reach many people regardless of their religious beliefs because he speaks to us as human beings and of the struggles we all face.

Part of the mission of this church is to give ridiculous amounts of time, labor, love and also money to others.  The next day they were going to give away huge Christmas dinners to 80 families in a low-income housing neighborhood.

I was going to be here in this strange town all alone.  Just me and Si.  I didn’t have any of the usual excuses of running around or preparing for parties so what reason could I possibly have for not going? So I went. By myself but completely in community.

There were lots of other people helping too.  It wasn’t a huge thing or a difficult thing to do.  But in doing it I got to see the joy that can be created by giving to those in need.  More importantly I got to interact with those in need and in doing so experience our shared humanity.  It’s a lot different than sending in a check or making a donation.  I’m not saying those things are bad or not desperately needed  What I am saying is that for me,  maybe for the first time in my life,  I understand there is nothing as powerful as touching another human being with your presence and your love.

Gift #3 – Discovering Gratitude for Real

It is amazing what spending time with one’s self and just being with one’s Self can enable us to discover.  This year I discovered gratitude.  I know that in spiritual circles this word has become seemingly overused, maybe a little trite.  I’ve read about it, talked about it, been preached to about it before.  But the truth is I spend a lot of time focused on what’s wrong instead of what’s right.  I feel grateful but often in a conditional way.

I’d also been crawling around in a lot of darkness lately, the light obscured  by lots of loss and confusion. But my experience of the last few days – spending quality time with both my daughters, loving and being loved by my granddog, spending time with people in need, and having ample time to meditate, pray, and dig deep even in unfamiliar circles has shown me all I have to be grateful for in a different, glowing light.

I’m grateful for heat and being warm on this cold day.  I’m grateful to have food.  I’m grateful to have amazing children and parents still alive and healthy.  I’m grateful for my husband being in my life.  I’m grateful that when my daughter got sick the other day she got better.  I could go on and on – and on.   And I plan to.  Maybe the word is overused for a reason.  Because gratitude is the switch that turns the light on and therefore, it can never really be used too much.

I’m grateful for this time alone for teaching me about gratitude.

Feeling Good

Gift #4 – Coming Closer to God

 This is by far the most important gift because it is the gift that makes all the other gifts possible.  I’m a spiritual seeker by nature.  Perhaps I always will be.  Over the years, I have followed many of the so called “new age” spiritual leaders  – Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra.  I do yoga and try to study the philosophy that accompanies the practice of physical poses.  I’m drawn toward Eastern spiritual philosophy. But, in the last few weeks I’ve been led both back to my Jewish roots and a pull toward Judasim, but also paradoxically toward the tenets of what I like to call “Christ consciousness” as well.

I’ve determined as many others have(and many others will also dispute) that all legitimate spiritual leaders – from Ghandi to King to Buddha to Mandela to Jesus himself promulgate essentially the same principles of compassion, non-judgment, service all grounded in God’s love plus the premise that we’ve been separated from our true selves and souls, and that there are many paths to God but they all lead to the same place.  They lead us to our own divinity, to knowing God better, to eventually making better, more conscious choices for our life because of knowing God and having greater purpose.

I’ve believed this intellectually. I believe it fervently.  But feeling it and finding it inside of myself, and especially practicing it consistently has been such a struggle.  Despite all my seeking, transformation has somehow eluded me. Sometimes  the extent of the struggle has tested my faith.  But this season, thanks to all these other gifts and the alone time I had to go inside,  I’m thinking that maybe, just maybe, I’ve actually touched God inside of me and that me and Him or Her or the Higher Power that it is can start to have a relationship.  And that feels good and right and gives me hope.

So it is in that vain I say Merry Christmas today and really everyday.  I hope that all of your days are as full of love and serenity that mine has been.  And that you get the best present you ever had too!

A New Kind of News for a New Kind of Earth?

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall – think of it, always.                                                 Ghandi

I spent most of today watching the events in Boston as they unfolded on tv.  As I watched, I had many, meandering thoughts as I’m sure many of you did and do. My thoughts tend to go in many different and somewhat wild directions however as I tend to now view these events as to how they relate to the evolution and hopefully the potential ascension of our species.

I am one of those people who could be considered an “empath.”  I absorb other people’s and my own energy – often to my detriment.  I absorb it all and all the way around. In addition to weeping and grieving for victims of tragedy I also find myself wondering  about the pain of the person who everyone wants to hate. I wonder how the same God that creates our light can also create such darkness in our own kind.  I think about what it must be like to be that person who is borne with that ugliness inside of them – what that must feel like to be hated or to hate or to be the one to have THAT be your purpose and your legacy in life.  Why. When. How.  It cant feel very good to feel that way inside. Nor can it feel good to those who bore them or raised them.

Because of this I also have trouble watching the news, especially as it is often portrayed.  Too much incomprehension or sadness or fear outweighing the hopeful or funny or cheerful.   I absorb sad, bad, inhumane etc  and it affects me.  Its hard for me to sit with it or to understand it even though I know its part of the human condition.  I know I’m naïve but I have trouble with labels like “evil” because I fundamentally believe that everything derives from the same divinity. I think such labels scare us and separate us; they simplify things and keep us from asking some questions that might need to be asked to truly understand the necessity of souls such as these to be present on this planet.  I wonder what it is about this being human thing that we even need it anymore.  And why we are so transfixed by it.  Me too.

I tried really hard not to watch the Boston coverage on the first day because of this but like all of us was invariably and inexorably drawn in, especially today.

But why is it?  Why are we so drawn in?  There is always the compelling stories of community and love and our being the best that we can be that come alongside the examples of the worst that we can be as human beings. We need this and each other and that sense of community amongst such horror.   But my question is this,  at this point in our species evolution, and after proving it time and time again, through tragic event after tragic event through tragic event, do we really still need such tragedy and terror to bring forth the inherent goodness and courageousness of people?  Do we really need bad things to happen to take stock, realize, appreciate and even celebrate?  Isnt there a way we can have all this goodness emerge – and more importantly report on goodness  -without the terror or the lost lives or the lost limbs to precede it.

I had this strong sense that came over me this morning that as a country and as a planet, maybe we are coming close to the time when we actually don’t need it anymore.  That we might actually be ready to ascend to a level where love can prevail purely on its own accord.

Or maybe I’m just an idealist.  Maybe I listen to too many John Lennon songs.  And read too many spiritual books.  Call me crazy.

Yes, I had this sense – or maybe it was just a mere wish – a yearning, even a pleading to the powers that orchestrate the gyrations of this planet that we are perhaps – please God –close to an end of the era where we need anymore examples of how well we respond to hate and fear to show us how well love.  We do it well. We know we do it well.  We don’t need the tests anymore.

It made me think of Ghandi’s quote above.  I wondered could we becoming close to a time where the tyrants and murderers fall for good?  A true “New Earth”.

I know we know how to love.  And how to love well.  I read and hear stories about it all the time. Stories about entrepeneurs creating businesses,  people volunteering,  non-profits being established, about writers, inventors, artists, innovators, donors doing good, and of ordinary people sacrificing their own lives to help one another.  So why aren’t we promoting these stories on the evening news with the same fervor and intensity as we do every major tragedy?

I’m no different than anyone else.  I find myself glued to the tv and the story as it unfolds live before my eyes.  Even though I cant stand the chaos that created it.  I cry at the heartbreak of every loss of life, I feel the shock of those who were there, and I marvel at  the beauty of people coming together in common purpose for a time and how love always triumphs.   I feel every part of the human story and connectedness to it all. And that’s why I watch, why we all watch I suppose

Still I’m troubled.  I think if we create an intention to sell more good news then perhaps we can create more good news. I’d kind of like to see us showcase more of how the light of humanity glows naturally even in the absence of horror to provoke it, especially in its absence.  I even think there is a lot more of this good stuff going on minute to minute, day to day than the other.  Maybe we can figure out a way for the word “good” to have the same visceral charge that the word “evil” does.

If I were Queen for a day I would love to issue a challenge for the news media and for all of us spectators.  How about for the next day or two all  “breaking news” be about some extraordinary uplifting event that is covered with the same ubiquity as when terror strikes one of our towns.  Special reports and 24/7 coverage on every major channel.  Maybe some VIPS, politicians or even the President himself could fly to the scene of goodness and have his speech broadcast on every news station. We could hear about how people are acting courageously and generously without also having to list the names of victims and speak of the sorrow that accompanies the glory.

In fact I’d love to see a whole news channel dedicated to the good that is going on in the world.  That doesn’t mean some bad stuff might still happen or need to be reported on but just that maybe on balance we are tuned in to something that paints a different overarching picture overall.

So  I thought I should do some research to see in fact how much uplifting,  inspiring good news stories I could identify.  And I was so glad I did.  Because I found lots of sites already dedicated to the reporting of good news.  I felt like my “challenge” was already being responded to – if not yet quite on network news then at least on the internet.

I was pleased to discover a host of “good news” websites – I list some of them here…  dailygood.org; amazingnews.org; sunnyskyz.org; goodnewsnetwork.org to name a few. I urge you to check them out.  Support my Queen for a Day challenge and see if we can share and support the telling of all the good news that happens in this world every moment of every day.

And if there is anyone out there in a position to start a network or perhaps just  a “reality” tv show I challenge you too!  A New Kind of News for a New Kind of Earth…

Maybe we can even call it  — “Graceful Under Fire”…. (copyright – all rights reserved 🙂

Love Among the Ruckus – Jewish Mother style

mzl.ngtptsrk.320x480-75I recently visited my parents in Boynton Beach Florida.  One of the reasons I was excited to go there is I knew without a doubt it would give me some good material for this blog.  For those of you with New York Jewish parents -or any East Coast Jewish parents – living in Florida, you know what I mean.

The Jewish mother/grandmother archetype, is becoming more and more of a rarity and in danger of extinction I think. There are those of us in mine and succeeding generations that are Jewish by birth (and may even practice – I don’t) –and who are also mothers as well.  But I’m not so sure those two words – “Jewish” and “mother” go together nowadays ” in the same way they have in the past to create what many know to be, and what countless movies and tv shows and comedians depict as the stereotypical protoype of the  classic  “Jewish mother – or that they ever could.  Different times create different archetypes, I think.  My grandmother and great aunts were classic, living in tenements in New York and hanging out windows to watch over their collective brood, ministering to their husbands, clear in their roles as cook and caretaker and worriers and hand wringers extraordinaire. Worry was considered holy in our family and something to be taught and learn.  It was/is a sign of love.  And no one could do it better than my grandmother could.

Family get-togethers were a loud and running commentary on politics, other people, other people’s kids,  food and mostly what was wrong with all of them. The word should could not be overused.    In fact it seemed it was our birthright to determine what was right for everyone else and what they should do, how they should act and more so what they shouldn’t be doing and how we knew better and never would do the thing that we determined they shouldn’t be.   We were not taught that interrupting was rude.  In fact not much was considered  “rude” – except when other people did it of course.  Talking over one another was the norm, almost somewhat expected.  Like a sign of affection and comfort that we didn’t need to put on airs. Loudness was necessary and did not seem to bother anyone. Except me sometimes and my brother maybe.   I was an extremely shy kid and me and my brother were often the only children, so we generally said nothing. There wasn’t’ much opening anyway for someone smaller and with a softer voice who hadn’t acquired such opinions or the ability to speak them louder than people much bigger and louder than they were.

Beyond the “kvetching”,  I did learn a lot however about other things –most notably about politics – it being a prominent topic of discussion. Even when I thought I wasn’t really listening or fully able to comprehend,  somehow, beliefs about concepts of social and governmental responsibility and lingering New Deal ideals about the role of government in caring for the old and the infirmed and the otherwise disadvantaged were getting programmed in. Please understand, no one was wanting any free rides or to rely on anyone else.   These were hard working, extremely proud working class people taking responsibility for themselves and their families.  Some had really struggled through the Depression and survived.  But their strident sense of personal responsibility was balanced with a recognition that we were all part of a larger community and it seems to me now  -if my adult recognition of childhood interpretations serve me correctly — that there was a fervent, unquestionable belief that it really was part of government ‘s job to help people – that they were almost like a partner, a part of our larger family, our ultimate patriarch and caretaker.

But here’s the bottom line. In those rooms, in those apartments, in those tenement buildings where we gathered to “kvetch” and share and talk politics and gossip and where the smells of homemade soup and brisket (overdone) and chocolate cake and mothballs and that distinct grandma’s apartment smell enveloped us in our gathering,  there was love amongst the ruckus. In fact the ruckus was love. There was lots of it.  The Jewish version.  And the Jewish mothers were the guardians of it all, the non-designated stewards shepherding their Jewish mother version of love.   The only way they knew how, having been taught by their own mothers and grandmothers who came over on crowded boats for promises of a better and freer life.   I was the youngest of the three generations deep of women in those tiny kitchens where we pretended to  wash and dry dishes but really were passing stories and love through the generations.

My  own Jewish mother and her counterparts were evolved from the steroetype of my grandma’s generation.  They were  marginally influenced by the emerging women’s movement.  Some of them did work mostly as secretaries (as my mother did in a junior high) or in part-time jobs.  They learned to drive.  A few of them even got divorced. They went to “beauty parlors” on Saturday and many expressed their personality and sophistication through their fashion sense.  But, to me at least they still had that distinctly Jewish mother stamp.  Jewish women are not wimps by any mean. They have no problem telling you what they think or feel.  No repressed feelings here.  Inability to express ourselves is not our issue even if its done in that less than overt – shall I say – um- even passive aggressive way that lets one know how we feel by somehow making it their fault! I think thats what they call “guilt”?   How do Jewish mothers do that???  I recently saw a Piers Morgan interview with Barbara Streisand about her recent movie “Guilt Trip”.  He remarks to Ms. Streisand about her role as Jewish mother to a grown son and comments on a scene where she is asking him a bunch of questions.  Piers Morgan notes how she asks questions that are not really questions to her son but rather fairly biting comments that never require or get an answer from her son.  “How do you do that?”  he says to her somewhat puzzled and confounded –  “And by the time you are done he is obliterated!”   They both laugh.  I laughed too knowing exactly what he meant and what she was doing.  “I don’t know” replies Ms. Streisand.  “It’s just in my DNA”.

So the original intention for this blog was going to be a story from my trip to Florida about my parent’s broken printer and the uncanny way it came to be fixed and what I learned.  I knew I would have “stories” from my Florida visit with parents for this blog. It was a foregone conclusion.  I was looking for something funny with a lesson of course.  But instead a bigger “story” came out.  The one about my culture, the one I grew up with, the one I knew – and I guess – a little bit about my own “DNA”.  Who knew??  Even though I’m not quite the same as my grandmother, or my mother and have the imprint of a different generation. Even though I am not hanging out windows to check up on my children, I check on them and  “follow” them  by “friending” them and “texting” them – my windows to their world. And even though my children are only partly Jewish (by birth, not religion)  and I don’t practice Judasim as a religion or spiritual practice– I  guess I am after all still a “Jewish mother” and I suppose then that maybe they still do exist to some extent.  I care, I worry, I “kvetch”, I love sometimes with some overprotection, and okay- sometime I produce a small amount of guilt, but just a small amount….  And I say “Oy” a lot.  It expresses what no other word can for so many situations.  I’m a Jewish mother, always will be.  From a long line of them before me.  Its just in my DNA.

Loving “Being” Love

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 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not       have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”          

                                                           Corinthians 

I have heard more than one person say lately that it’s  the “who” that you are “being” , not the “what” that you are “doing” that creates the results you get. This is true whether its at work, in life or  -I think – mostly in love.

In the world of HR and OD that I have been in and still frequent, I often hear references to the distinctions between “being” versus “doing” and how they relate to the difference in the kinds of results each produces or the kinds of results that are produced  one without the other.  The teachers and believers of authentic leadership development – of which I am one- understand that who we are being is what we ultimately create. It stands to reason then, that the higher level of consciousness we choose to operate from, then the higher level of outcome we create.

Yet, this seemingly basic understanding still eludes so many of us.  We so easily slip into using anger, or fear, or controlling, or competitiveness or whatever the corporate or social culture has programmed us to use to get what we seek.  And then we wonder why at this level of “being” we wind up creating more of the same.  Not getting what we say we want. Or not as powerful as it could have been. Sometimes, maybe it looks like we did, but upon closer inspection there is usually a cost.  And not a pretty one.  Bruised egos. Burn out. Lack of purpose. Hurt feelings. Drudgery.  Betrayal. Ethical transgressions.  Or, if not now, somewhere down the road the price gets paid.  Numbers and bottom lines, and material manifestations are not the only indicators of our success nor the most important ones.  Sometimes they even mask a deeper truth. Or cause us to be misguided in the quest to achieve them.

I started to think about this concept and how it related to my own life apart from work.  In February, I made a choice to marry a man that lives 3000 miles away.  For a number of reasons neither of us were able to move across the country at this time in our life.  But we made the decision to marry anyway.  Many people have asked me why we would do that?  I don’t know that I have always had a good answer.  But the true answer is we got married for love.  And we put our faith in the knowing that our love would show us the way. Plain and simple.

Soon after we married, we decided as man and wife we “should” “figure out” how to live together and that it needed to happen soon.  Mostly me since I was the one telling myself that I HAD to make decisions about employment and mortgage expenses and health challenges and HAD to have a PLAN lest my life crumble before my eyes.  He was already retired and still had children living at home so there was less for him to “settle”.  Or so I told myself perhaps not wanting to admit to some neuroses and need to control on my part.  (Who me?)

In the ensuing months we struggled, fought, withdrew, pursued, pushed, blamed and created a tsunami strength’s level of frustration over trying to “figure out” how to be together.  At least I did. Suddenly we looked up and we saw that tsunami’s commanding wave of energy heading right our way determined to decimate the energy of love and faith that had brought us together. However, the build up of this energy, bent on destroying us and destroying Love itself, was not created by some supernatural force of an earthquake out at sea, but by one we ourselves created in our own backyard.

Having been reminded about the notion that who we are “being” is what creates the results of our life, I started to look at who I was “being” in my relationship with this man that I love to create the very opposite of what I set out to.  I realized I had been so attached to  “outcomes” and controlling them through any means possible, that I forgot about how to “be”.  Be what?  Why, be “Love” of course.  Maybe I just never learned how.  I started to feel myself shift in the understanding that detaching from the “outcome” is really the only way to any outcome, if there ever really are any “outcomes” at all since I’m beginning to think more and more that all there is, is constant evolution.

In the wake and retreat of the tsunami a new reality appeared.  I don’t have to have all the answers or maybe any answers at all. ( I don’t? ) And it doesn’t have to “look” a certain way one way or the other. ( It doesn’t? .)   Nothing has to be “figured out”.  There are no “shoulds”.  The only template I need to follow is what my heart, my soul, my intuition and the Universe tells me.  It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.  No one. After receiving their guidance is the best time to then use this beautiful machine that is my mind to carry out their wishes. In so doing, I use it instead of it using me.

And if in this process I choose to “be” Love instead of anger, fear,  jealousy and blame then guess what –  that is exactly what I can expect to create!

It really is THAT simple.

For a long time I think I measured how much love there was in my life by how much of it I was getting. And often in my quest to “get it”, sometimes somewhat desperately, my way of “being” has been arguably not so pleasant to others and/or self-deprecating to myself.  I’m seeing more and more that love is not about what we “get” – at all.  It is only about what we give and how we give of ourselves.  And, in doing so, I’m pretty sure that we can’t help but receive Love too.  Its impossible not to.

I don’t know why it takes 54 years to learn this.  It’s a truth that we are born knowing then unlearn somehow.  But, I think I AM learning.  Learning how to “be”.  Mostly, learning how to “be” when loving another human being, especially one that is a partner in life and love, but also with my children, my parents, my friends, the check out person at the grocery store.  And yes, even at work. Maybe mostly at work.  Coming from LOVE does not undermine the bottom line.  It enhances it.

I’m not perfect at this “being love” thing yet by any means – I’m sure my husband, children, friend and  parents would vouch for that.  But I am awake.  And learning about  and loving  “Being Love”

Graceful Under Fire

candlelightI named this blog “Graceful Under Fire” about two weeks ago.  Little did I know that if ever there were a time to be that it would be now.

I’ll make this one short.  And serious. Here’s what I think at 3:37 a.m the night after our children were massacred.  The night after this happened something like 15 times this year.  The night after “its one too many” (please God), and  the night after this time it really, really is  “WAY too young and innocent”, too much for us to bear anymore.

I think we need to be careful.  We need to be outraged. But we need to be careful.  We can and should feel anger but we need to be careful.  We need to be shocked and also to grieve.  We definitely should be disgusted and sad.  What do we do with all this anger?  Punch a pillow, shake your fist at the sky, at God, or whatever.  Its important to allow our feelings first.  Then allow it to be transmuted to love.  And do I dare say, even for the guy who shot them.  Because if he had felt any kind of love or connection, there is absolutely no way in the world that he could have done what he did.  Love is the antedote and the cure.  Love is the way out of hopelessness and despair.  I listened as newspeople labeled him a “monster” and a “madman” and it made me wonder how many times he might have been called one or felt like one in his life, until he just reflected back what he felt inside.

It’s incomprehensible to us that one of our own species can do the unimaginable because as humans we know we never, ever could.  And so we can only make sense of it by calling him names that dehumanize him.  It just doesn’t seem like humans should have the capacity to do this.  Because we are human and that is not like us.   Yet we know we do.  History shows us this. The current times shows us this.  Then again, perhaps he was just plain “sick” or maybe even evil.

And so, in either case or whatever the case –  beyond turning our rage into love – for God’s sake,  let’s do something in this country about the guns and the mentality that goes with it.  So when there are people who have lost their way in this way they cant get their hands on one.  So our culture stops viewing violence as an ok way to solve problems,  So we can stop feeling like we have to be so defended all the time.   So we don’t lose one more child to the actions of a child already lost.  And so maybe, just maybe, we can actually keep a child from becoming lost.