Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rilke - I live my life in widening circles...

Joanna Macy reads her translation of Rilke's poem from the Book of Hours:

I live my life in widening circlesthat reach out across the world.I may not complete this last onebut I give myself to it.

Fierce Leadership - Susan Scott
An Excerpt:
“Congratulations. You are a leader. It’s a heavy load, but someone has to do it. The primary focus of your organization is growth. To help in this regard, it is your duty to lead change, manage, and motivate a multi-generational workforce and execute initiatives that impact the top line and bottom line simultaneously, while delivery short-term results.  You must demonstrate agility, speed, inclusiveness and risk, and mitigate the impacts of globalization, off-shoring, a recession, global warming, and the price of oil, et cetera, et cetera.
Some time ago, the beloved founders, who kept balance between order and chaos, cashed out, either by dying or by cashing in their chips.  Since then, forces of darkness have been vying for the top spot.  You are all that stands between them and the destruction of the collective organizational soul.  If you fail, darkness will cover the earth, the stock value will plummet, and chaos will reign.  Hence, a few suggestions;
1.  In order to hold off the Forces of Darkness, you will need to stay awake and locate your body parts.
2.  Names and ideas will come to you.  The ideas you should write down and act on immediately, or, if you don’t have the authority, fight for.  The names are of people you will need to make available to industry because they are sucking the joy and life out of everyone and everything they touch, or they are people you should promote and to whom you should give heaping handfuls of freedom and encouragement to break the rules.
3.  You will not single-handedly cause or prevent success.  Surround yourself with people who model accountability, ferocious integrity, personal authenticity, the capacity to connect with others at a deep level, sheer courage, and a commitment to champion the common good over narrow self-interest.
4.  Your central function is to engineer intelligent, spirited conversations that provide the basis for high levels of alignment, collaboration, and partnership at all levels throughout your organization and the healthier outcomes that go with them.
5.  People may not wish you well, so pay attention to your emotional wake. You are not invincible. Be kind. Everyone is carrying a heavy load.
6.  On the other hand, don’t suck up to anyone, ever, or you will turn into lickspittle and you soul will refuse to accompany you into the building.  Just keep describing reality from your perspective without laying blame and you’ll be fine.
7.  Don’t even consider recommending a reorganization.  Anyone who requires more than one reorganization over the life of his or her career will forfeit a year’s income (including bonuses and stock options) and possibly serve jail time.
8.  Do not, under any circumstances, tell a lie—of either commission or omission.  Do not stretch the truth, exaggerate, or make shit up to get out of trouble or make yourself look good, not only because that would be bad on many levels, but also because it will come back to bite you in the butt when you’re least expecting it, at the worst possible moment, with the biggest price tag attached, and possibly appear on YouTube.
9. Do not attempt to project different images depending on whom you’re with.  People can spot authenticity from fifty paces.  Show up as yourself consistently. Unless, of course, you are a jackass.
10. Bear in mind that while no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can.  Take it one conversation at a time.
Good luck!”

Thursday, June 05, 2014

THE SIMPLE TRUTH - Philip Levine

I bought a dollar and a half’s worth of small red potatoes,
took them home, boiled them in their jackets
and ate them for dinner with a little butter and salt.
Then I walked through the dried fields
on the edge of town. In middle June the light
hung on in the dark furrows at my feet,
and in the mountain oaks overhead the birds
were gathering for the night, the jays and mockers
squawking back and forth, the finches still darting
into the dusty light. The woman who sold me
the potatoes was from Poland; she was someone
out of my childhood in a pink spangled sweater and sunglasses
praising the perfection of all her fruits and vegetables
at the road-side stand and urging me to taste
even the pale, raw sweet corn trucked all the way,
she swore, from New Jersey. “Eat, eat,” she said,
“Even if you don’t I’ll say you did.”
Some things
you know all your life. They are so simple and true
they must be said without elegance, meter and rhyme,
they must be laid on the table beside the salt shaker,
the glass of water, the absence of light gathering
in the shadows of picture frames, they must be
naked and alone, they must stand for themselves.
My friend Henri and I arrived at this together in 1965
before I went away, before he began to kill himself,
and the two of us to betray our love. Can you taste
what I’m saying? It is onions or potatoes, a pinch
of simple salt, the wealth of melting butter, it is obvious,
it stays in the back of your throat like a truth
you never uttered because the time was always wrong,
it stays here for the rest of your life, unspoken,
made of that dirt we call earth, the metal we call salt,
in a form we have no words for, and you live on it.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Just keep being

A wise thought from my brain today, wise in the way that seemingly obtuse statements are actually pretty deep:
  • Be in the relationship you want.
Lately, I've been too scared or tired or gun shy or broken to speak my truth.

But it's just as tiring to close yourself down as it is to open up and remain open.  How others react is not my responsibility. I cannot and should not rob them of the opportunity for growth just because I don't know or trust that they can handle what I have to say.

There's a movie I love that probably five people in the world saw and remembered: The Secret Lives of Dentists.  Beautiful screenplay, devastatingly simple plot, gorgeous acting.

The Shakespearean flaw of the main character, played by Campbell Scott, is that he won't confront his wife, who he suspects is having an affair, or even let her confess to him.  He says to his imagined doppelganger, played with devilishly wry comedic effect by the incomparable Dennis Leary, "If I let her tell me... we'll have to act. The whole machinery will shift into gear."

If he can just hang on, then maybe she'll work it out on her own, and their life together can continue.

There's a flip side of this strategy to pretending nothing's wrong until it's true: let there be nothing wrong until there isn't.

What's the worst that would happen if I communicated like I want to be able to communicate after we're better at it?  The only way that goes wrong is if I place attachment or expectation on what others' capabilities will be in response.

In the workplace, a colleague reminded me that the overachievers shouldn't judge others by our own standards, since the world certainly doesn't.

And the same should be true of my relationships.  I shouldn't hold myself to going 25 miles per hour just because that's what others are capable of traveling, from an emotional capacity standpoint.

And the line from Iyanla Vanzant's "In the Meantime":  

Usually two people start out together.  One pulls ahead, the other drops to the rear.  In some cases, the one in the lead can reach back and pull the other up to speed.  In most cases, the one who reaches back gets slowed down, sometimes to a halt.  Find your center and stay grounded in it.  Know that you can still love a person who is running behind you, but if he/she starts walking, it is your responsibility to yourself to keep running.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Chaos - V.B. Price

The space-flinging, time-singing
Goddess First-Of-All,
Chaos the Free:
She casts the stars,
the comets, moons, the dust of light,
casts the flocks and flowers, any way they go.
She needs
no control.
She strolls,
cloud flowing,
at her own pace,
fearless as motion
being what happens
just as it does.
She's so unlike us
in Her essence,
so unlike us
She can stand
the freedom
of everything else,
stand it
and give it,
and praise it
as it follows itself
back to her.
That's the migration
we can't resist:
Our best is Hers
when we become
so unlike ourselves,
so free,
that we can stand
not to know
where we're going,
can stand
not to make safe
the freedom
of those we love,
always ripening in ourselves
the peace that is
where it's going.