Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Flying is not just for the birds

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult. Seneca .
I love my job. Doesn't mean everything is perfect in it. In fact, there are some things that are decidedly 'unperfect'. But, I love what I do. Love the feeling of accomplishment, of making a difference, of contributing something meaningful to our society

And then I have days like yesterday. Days where time is of a premium. Where time at my desk is minimal. Where the pile of 'things to do' grows larger as the "Done" never changes.

Actually, it wasn't that yesterday was such a bad day. In fact, it wasn't. But the tiredeness from the human interaction side was draining. Give me time at my computer, a blank screen, a fresh idea and I'm happy! The value in yesterday however, was in the lessons learned in relationship to other people. The lessons are profound.

I am reminded everyday that 'we are all human'. That we have strengths and weakensses, triumphs and trials, dreams and fears, truths and untruths, beliefs and myths, willingness and fears. That we carry masks and stories. Habits that strengthen us. Habits that pull us down. That we will step out and take a risk. Pull back and run away.

And everyday, I am reminded that in our human condition, we want to believe we are doing our best. Sometimes, our best may not meet someone else's standards. And sometimes, our best is not what someone else wants. But we want to believe it is our best. How else can we explain where we're at if where we're at is not where we want to be? We are doing our best, to change, to move, to get along. We are doing our best, we tell ourselves, it's the world lining up against us, holding us back, keeping us down, pushing us under. That's the problem. Not us creating the problems in our lives.

In a building with hundreds of people struggling to find the best in themselves, and believing they're doing they're best at finding, doing or being it, I am sometimes challenged to accept that as their truth. I want better for them.

Better is a relative term. Just because I 'see' someone as stuck in self-pity, doesn't mean my truth is a truth they want to see, or can see, or need to see. Doesn't mean it's the best for them to tell them what I see that they don't see. Sometimes, the best is to let them be where they're at without trying to move them along, change their state or shake them up. Sometimes, if their truth is they're pulling the ground out from underneath themselves, my best is to give them the opportunity to 'hit rock bottom' without cushioning their fall.

And that can be tough. Because in the process of letting go, I have to let go of my ego's need to be right, be important, be somebody with the answers.

I don't have anyone else's answers.

I only have my own.

And so, I come full circle back to 'my best is good enough'.

In meeting with three clients last night to discuss a project they're involved in that is not going very well at the moment, my best was to 'lose it'. To get emotional and 'talk straight'.

After being accused of not 'standing by them', I shook my head and said, in my ever so eloquent way, "Bulls..t. Perhaps it's time to go look in a mirror and see who's not standing by whom. Are you turning up for yourselves? Are you staying true to your course? Living up to what you believe in? Or are you blaming me and everyone else for what's happened in your lives? My goal here is to turn up and give my 100%. I can't make you do it. I can't make you turn up. If you choose not to, that is your choice. My life doesn't change. I love my life. Turning up here can change your life. It's up to you."

And then... before I started to cry full force, I said. "I have given you forty-five minutes to talk about what you want and all we've talked about is what went wrong. I don't have more time for this conversation. I have another meeting at 7 and I need to get myself centered." And I walked out, my mind chattering. "That was a mistake. What did you lose it for?"


Getting emotional in a conversation and crying is not something I like to do -- it puts we way outside my comfort zone of controlling my emotions. Reality is, it was the best I had to give in that moment. I was feeling frustrated, disappointed, angry and upset. My best was limited by my attachment to my emotions and to the outcome of that meeting.

Whenever I'm attached to the outcome, I am making it personal. In my attachment, I am at risk of being swayed by my emotions making more of the situation by bringing it full circle back to my desire to direct the outcome.

Ah, the tangled webs we weave.

I don't know the outcome of that meeting. I said my piece, in all its awkward, disjointed and emotional state. It's my choice to let it go, or not.

I choose to Breathe. Open up to expansion. Soften my heart and centre my being in love. As my heart softens, I feel love flow.

And I smile.

I learned a lot last night. Learned that people really do try their best -- it is my expectation of what is their best that undermines my ability to accept it for what it's worth.

We get what we tolerate.

In my emotional state, I opened myself up to my own truth and came front and center with my lack of tolerance for other people's human condition.

I wanted to change their state, alter their condition.

Can't do it. Not that powerful.

All I can do is be my authentic self. And for me, that means being aligned with my values, holding true to my belief in the magnificence of the human spirit, and setting myself free from expectation that the world will unfold according to Louise.

The world is constantly unfolding. It's not my 'job' to set it straight. Life is full of curves. All I can do is unfold my wings, spread them wide and fly -- even when I'm having trouble getting off the ground. In my struggle to get air, to be free, to fly high, I share my courage and strength. I share the best of me. And that's when I have the greatest impact.

The question is: Are you learning from your mistakes or letting them ground you in the belief, flying is for the birds?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I re-published you piece from yesterday as the DAILY FEATURE on 360boom e-zine's - "I AM ENOUGH” by Louise Gallagher is posted @