10 days till I'm on that plane.
A little bit like a roll of toilet paper, things are accelerating disproportionately as I get closer to the end of this chapter. My to-do list is not shrinking nearly as much as I'd like, and I am working hard at keeping my mind peaceful. Thank goodness I am a great sleeper.
Yesterday, as I was packing my things into boxes to be put away for 6 months, I had a brief glimpse of me doing the same thing in reverse, some time in early spring. I would open a box, pick up a photo frame to hang it on the wall, and one gesture at a time, I would put my home together once again.
I could see it, as in a movie: the same movements backwards. What I couldn't see, or really even feel was... me. The me of 6 months from now. The me of having lived this coming chapter, with all its "I Don't Knows."
Surely I would look pretty much the same on the outside. But what about on the inside? What will these months of "I Don't Know" have done to my inner terrain?
Will I be at peace? Will I be on fire? Will I be confused?
Will I be happy with whatever contribution I will have made, while I was gone?
I don't know.
And just as I am working with great focus at making sure that I don't fill these precious blank days with plans, I open up to this unknown, upcoming version of me. And then I put another photo frame in a box, gently, lovingly - with tenderness for this future me who will open it again.
I Don't Know. It's a mighty sweet space, if we can accept it.
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As my youngest son was getting ready to leave a place where he had been living for a year, I shared with him what sounded like a kooky piece of advice.
I said: right before you walk out, make sure to shine the kitchen faucet until it gleams.
I then went on to explain my theory that in order to convey an Essence, details are often our best friends. In this case, he wanted to get his deposit back by conveying the Essences of Cleanliness and Nurturing of the place. The easy detail solution: shine the faucet.
When I lead Retreats, I am big on the Essences of Nurturing, Peace and Beauty. For that reason, I sometimes find myself sounding a bit like a nag. I insist on freshly baked pastries in the mornings, on the food being presented in a beautiful way, and on towels being folded with their rounded edge out ... that sort of thing.
Do people come to my Retreats to see well folded towels? Or course not. Can they subconsciously feel the Ease and Luxury that come from their eyes resting on them? I believe, I really believe that they do. And I also believe that feeling these Essences allows them to be more able to receive my course, and what I have to share with them.
I am pretty certain that when I had my bakery, having the mini Tartes aux Pommes lined up all beautifully made my customers want to take them home. That Nina Simone singing in the background helped them feel the sensuality of the place - and their own. When we decided to vent the ovens out and into the streets, our sales increased overnight. And just as importantly, I believe that the people who only passed by were fed by the scent of warm bread baking - and that it made their hearts sweeter.
All these things are simple. And easy. And quick.
Really, they all follow the Pareto Principle which states that 80% of our results are often achieved with only 20% of our efforts (thank you Tim Ferris)
So today, I invite you to think about what Essence you are wanting to convey in your home, work, relationship, or even clothing. And then, to find the simple, easy and quick details that will give you 80% results for 20% efforts.
I would love to know what you come up with.
My youngest son is in China. He has been there for two days now, and will be for almost three more weeks. Why? Because he wanted to.
He worked his butt off the last couple of weeks, to make this happen. Not just making the money part work, but also meeting the airline's super tight requirements, making his way back and forth to the consulate for his visa... that kind of stuff.
Finally, he was on the plane and now, well ... he's there.
Me, I never thought much about going to China, and the photo he sent me really made me realize how far he is, and how very foreign (to me) his new environment.
It feels a bit like he's on the moon.
This morning, via Skype messaging, I ask him what he feels is the main flavor of Bejing. His answer comes quickly: family-like.
Wow. There pops a bubble of preconceived notion. Family-like! I ask him to tell me a little more and he says: it feels like a Sunday picnic with the kids.
Double wow. Double bubble pop.
I know so little about the country and yet I apparently had decided that I knew enough to be deeply surprised by his depiction.
I love this. I love having my preconceived notions pop. I love being shown that I am wrong about my assumptions. I love being surprised.
A Sunday picnic with the kids.
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