I’ve been traveling, traveling, traveling for business and enjoying my time and connection with others from many other countries. I am blessed to have a job that occasionally takes me to sites around the world. This time it’s western Europe and the area of some of my ancestors. I found myself in a surreal state at times – feeling and even smelling the history and energy of the area. Sightseeing and taking in the culture on my days off. In some ways, feeling like I was returning home to a land I don’t remember, and in other ways, walking around with wide-eyed wonder at sites and scenes I’ve only read about.
I will be home soon and planning to get back into a rhythm of my writing. I hope I’ve not lost my readers in my absence.
Until then, share with me what is your favorite travel story …. and be blessed!
Have you ever noticed that the rhythm of life seems to bring highs and lows at the very same time? I have often wondered if it’s God’s way of balancing our hearts so they do not break under the pressure of sad events. It is the rainbow that is in the midst of the rain and lightening. It is hard to notice one without noticing the power of the other. And I suppose the why of it all and the timing sequence is one of those questions that will remain unanswered in this lifetime.
Right now, I feel that life is in transition in so many places. My son is marrying the love of his life in less than a month. My daughter will soon follow next year. The joy I feel for them both is still tripped up by the mourning of that time I had with them as children. Oh sure, they are still my children but soon they will be someone else’s spouse. The center of their world has already shifted but mine is lingering behind. My day to day life has changed and that is not painful. But those still quiet moments when I think of what has ended forever, my heart breaks in the memory of it all. So life at home is changing and shifting every day.
On the other end of the spectrum, while my children move into beginnings, I see endings for others I love. One of those is my Grandma. I still am blessed to have both of my grandmothers – one 94 and the other soon to be 90. The older one is recovering from 2 strokes and it seems at times that she is slowly slipping away. Her mind is still fairly good but her body is weakening. When I sit with her she sometimes is quite focused on what’s happening here and then I notice her drifting forward, looking, seeking, longing for what’s next. Even asking for it at times. I know this is the cycle of life, but the timing is right in the midst of joyful transitions. It seems that the timing is “off” – I am jumbled in the joy and the sadness.
On the career front I have been dreaming and working toward a new possibility as I see the long-term career cresting toward the final years. This is a bittersweet transition as I have great longing for both possibilities. But as one bloom on the tree of life wanes, another begins to appear. It is the balance of yin and yang. Dark and light. Morning and evening. The world seems to be spinning out of control and standing still at the same time.
Perhaps transitions is one word to explain it and dichotomies is another. It appears that life has 2 opposites existing at the same time for me. For many people this is true I imagine. And I find myself not knowing whether to celebrate or to mourn. To plan or to wrap-up. Today I stand in the middle and my mood is fickle.
What transitions and dichotomies are you grappling with? Any tips and tricks for standing in the middle?
Wow – I’ve been in training for my new role at work and have decided that I am now officially drinking from the fire hose. Wow!
I have worked for my Company since 1981 and held many roles there. This is only the 2nd time that I’m moving to a job that I have no background or knowledge in – and it’s a little scary! I wanted the change and look forward to shaking things up a bit. But, not gonna lie, I forgot what it feels like to be 100% new.
Lucky for me I have a friend who works on my new floor so I have moral support. And I have 3 employees and a boss who has worked in this area for virtually their entire career so I have technical support. Now I just need to keep putting that one foot in front of the other, or said another way, one question after the other. I think my brain is swimming right now.
Only 2 more training days – tomorrow and one day next week. After that I get to swim in the deep end. Wonder if I can get a set of water wings to keep me afloat.
What’s your best advice for an old dog trying to learn some new tricks?
Strategic Disengagement. It’s not a term you hear much and I remember the first time I did. I was working for a wonderful HR director who had at the core of her intention, the creation of a better culture in the workplace. We work hard in my company – just like people do everywhere. And one other thing we do is become too serious, sometimes too internally focused, and always intensely focused. The culture can quickly turn to too much stress. What I know about over-stressed people is that they go into survival mode, can become territorial, and collaboration can suffer.
That’s when I learned the term, strategic disengagement. It’s a simple concept really – it’s deliberate downtime even during the work day when the intention is to connect as people and not as co-workers. It’s sharing a bit of fun. It’s getting to know each other and our values, hobbies, families, and sense of humor. It’s a release valve for the pressure cooker of an overly focused workforce. It’s also a brilliant concept when trying to re-boot the culture.
The beauty of it is that it can be spontaneous or planned. Planning a work group outing or lunch to celebrate successes, acknowledge people’s accomplishments and milestones, and just have some fun is key to shifting the energy. But so is that spontaneous practice of a mid-day chat over coffee or a quick trip to the ice cream parlor or a walk around the building.
It may not seem intuitive but it is true that sometimes you have to “go slow in order to go fast”. That means, if you build in the down time in order to re-energize, you’ll come back faster. If you take the time to get to know the people as you go, you’ll have the foundation of collaboration when it’s time to solve a crisis or business challenge. I haven’t seen a team or work group yet that didn’t come back from some strategic disengagement with more energy, more focus, and a clearer vision. If it’s not part of your business practice you might consider starting small to test the waters. And this is a great time of year to test it. Laugh a little. Add a bit of holiday cheer and fun to a group meeting. Challenge each other to a “tacky holiday sweater” contest or some other little way of breaking up the monotony of the work day. Do this for you and for your organization and you will all reap the rewards.
I have a new day coming soon and I’m very excited to share it. A woman from work that I’ve known since the early days of my career contacted me recently. She said that she is always inspired by the quotes and positive comments I post on my work bulletin board each week. She’s not the first to tell me this and it’s part of what inspires me to continue my practice of spreading positive words. But this time, things are different. She talked about her work group and how they have a monthly speaker come to their meetings. For November they were seeking someone to come talk to the group about GRATITUDE. That’s fitting since November is the month of Thanksgiving Day here in the US. Then she said it – they want to spread the great benefits of an attitude of gratitude and they thought I’d be perfect for task.
I’m not shy and don’t fear public speaking. I have been a speaker for work related topics – Myers-Briggs training of course, policy and benefits deployments, and all sorts of other HR related topics. But this is different. This will be the first time that a group from my company has asked me to speak from my heart. This will indeed be an opportunity for me to bring my whole self to work in a way I’ve not done before. So, excited isn’t the right word for how I feel about this. I am honored is more in line with it. My dream is to be an inspirational speaker. And now, I have a glimpse at step one.
Of course, I immediately said yes, and in the 2nd moment felt the panic arise. What on earth will I say to a group of business folks. Yes, they are professional and that doesn’t intimidate me. But these are MY colleagues. Do I have 30 minutes of inspiration to share in that setting? It isn’t difficult to reach their minds, but I want to touch their hearts.
There’s something magical about seeing the sunshine bouncing off the crystal snow-covered world. The combination of ice and hot existing at the same time is a mesmerizing dichotomy. We’ve had such a mild winter this year with nothing but a dusting on a couple of occasions. And while enjoying spring like days is physically enjoyable, the absence of the snow has left some of us missing the ethereal beauty that happens each year when white covers the world with a sense of cleansing.
So today we don’t have a deep covering but when I look out my window and see the blanket of white that is only disturbed by a random footprint of a deer I feel a sense of relief. This is why I know I will always live in a place that experiences all four seasons. The ebb and flow of change is good for my heart and soul.
Enjoy these pictures of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter and be blessed!