Three Thoughts for Thursday
Persistence and Presence
Does anyone else feel like they are on a rollercoaster? An unending rollercoaster? Is anyone feeling a little queasy? The moment I think things are calming down, we’re getting a grip on COVID, I’m getting a handle on parenting, work, school, life, BAM! There’s a new challenge, new complication, a downward fall, and another hill to climb, sometimes leaving me feeling a bit ill.
I’m learning to quell my expectations, and my expectations for January were low. I wasn’t expecting some miraculous, magical shift or turning point this year. And yet, I’ve felt my footing slip a few times already this month anyway. The loss of a dear family friend whom my husband called Aunt, the passing of my paternal grandmother, the move from in-person funerals to Zoom mourning, more complications with school and daycare, and all before the 10th of January.
As January marches on, I am working to rebalance and steady my footing, or perhaps I am just getting comfortable in the uncertainty of hanging by a thread. I am working to quiet my mind, and still my swaying, or embrace the swaying and maintain a visual focus to avoid motion sickness. I am working to remind myself to slow down, stay present, not get ahead of myself or caught up in the constant rocking, but rather to remain focused on one, unmoving spot, as I’ve been advised to do when trying to hold a yoga pose; this unmoving spot on which I focus is THIS moment in time.
I dedicate this Three Thoughts for Thursday to my late grandmother, Gwen Elaine Giebelhaus Jones who passed away January 6, 2022, just 6 weeks and 6 days shy of her 91st birthday. She had a good, long, and respectable run. I am grateful I had the chance to speak to her and wish her farewell before she parted ways with this world. I am grateful I was able to be with, hug and reminisce with my dad, brother and aunts in the wake of her passing. She was a lover or horses and flying, and both rode horses and learned to fly an airplane in her 50s, regularly taking her Cessna up into the sky. A word that came up several times in her memory was persistence. She was persistent! I am grateful for her and this reminder, especially in light of continuing circumstances, of the need for persistence.
This January, how are you feeling? What helps you continue to persist in times of struggle? What allows you to embrace the struggle? How do you shift your perspective and story in order to continue the journey? How do you stay present even with discomfort? What helps you quell the queasy feeling of the ups and downs in life? How is your perspective shifting? What allows you to maintain your focus?
Quote I’m pondering and sitting with:
“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”
~ Margaret Young ~
Book I’m Listening to:
Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan
Early Google engineer and personal-growth pioneer Chade-Meng Tan first designed Search Inside Yourself as a popular course at Google, intended to transform the work and lives of the best and brightest behind one of the most innovative, successful, and profitable businesses in the world… and now it can do the same for you. Meng has distilled emotional intelligence into a set of practical and proven tools and skills that anyone can learn and develop.
Created in collaboration with a Zen master, a CEO, a Stanford University scientist, and Daniel Goleman (the guy who literally wrote the book on emotional intelligence), this program is grounded in science and expressed in a way that even a skeptical, compulsively pragmatic, engineering-oriented brain like Meng’s can process. Whether your intention is to reduce stress and increase well-being, heighten focus and creativity, become more optimistic and resilient, build fulfilling relationships, or just be successful, the skills provided by Search Inside Yourself will prove invaluable for you. This is your guide to enhancing productivity and creativity, finding meaning and fulfillment in your work and life, and experiencing profound peace, compassion, and happiness while doing so.
Search Inside Yourself reveals how to calm your mind on demand and return it to a natural state of happiness; deepen self-awareness in a way that fosters self-confidence; harness empathy and compassion into outstanding leadership; and build highly productive collaborations based on trust and transparent communication.
In other words, Search Inside Yourself shows you how to grow inner joy while succeeding at your work. Meng writes: “Some people buy books that teach them to be liked; others buy books that teach them to be successful. This book teaches you both. You are so lucky.”
Passage from a book I’m reading:
Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday (p. 28)
“This moment we are experiencing right now is a gift (that’s why we call it the present). Even if it is a stressful, trying experience – it could be our last. So let’s develop the ability to be in it, to put everything we have into appreciating the plentitude of the now.
Don’t reject a difficult or boring moment because it is not exactly what you want. Don’t waste a beautiful moment because you are insecure or shy. Make what you can of what you have been given. Live what can be lived. That’s what excellence is. That’s what presence makes possible.
In meditation, teachers instruct students to focus on their breath. In and out. In and out. In sports, coaches speak about “the process” – this play, this drill, this rep. Not just because this moment is special, but because you can’t do your best if your mind is elsewhere.
We would all do well to follow this in our own lives. Jesus told his disciples not to worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will take care of itself. Another way of saying that is: You have plenty on your plate right now. Focus on that, no matter how small or insignificant it is. Do the very best you can right now. Don’t think about what detractors may say. Don’t dwell or needlessly complicate. Be here. Be all of you.
And if you’ve had trouble with this in the past? That’s okay.
That’s the nice thing about the present. It keeps showing up to give you a second chance.”
Please check out my latest blog posts, The Problem of Intentions, and Be Careful, Recipes and Inspiration Yield Different Results! You can find related posts using these links, Losing Sight, Lessons of the Run – Grit, The Climb and The Top . To locate my December edition of Three Thoughts for Thursday click here, Beginning in 2021, I have had the privilege of Co-Hosting with Kathy Hadizadeh, the Emotional Intelligence Special Interest Group for ICFLA. Please join us for our first session of 2022 in February. We will be hosting Alison Whitmire, President of Learning in Action, to discuss The Impact of our Blindspots on our Coaching. You can learn more and register here!
I’m always looking for new inspiration, new books to read, new podcasts to listen to, so please send your suggestions my way or comment on this post to offer some new recommendations!
I am grateful for your continued support and readership! Stay strong, stay brave, stay true to you!