Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Making and maintaining connections

Today was a fruitful day. It was made up of a healthy balance between work-related progress and personal benefit. I experienced a connection that was rather unexpected. As is my routine, I set out this morning on my walk. I trundled to my favourite coffee shop which is roughly a 1-mile jont from the house. I filled up my mug and proceeded back toward home. About a block from the coffee shop I saw a familiar truck - and face. The face was that of my friend Norm. For those of you who may not know, Norm is my longest-standing friend. My friend Mike - who now resides in Ajax, Ontario - is second in line if only by weeks. Norm I met when I was 10. 25 years is a fairly healthy length of time to have known someone, I would say. Norm's been extremely busy in and out of town on work-related excursions. With the overnight snowfall, the traffic was significantly backed up to the point where Norm made the decision to sit at the coffee shop for an hour instead of sitting in traffic for what would be roughly the same duration.

So, I greeted my friend, turned around and headed back to the coffee shop. We sat and caught up. I've admired Norm's dedication to his work and his head for business for years. I think I was meant to have this visit if only to get myself juiced about what's going on in my business world. I came away with literally, a lightness in my steps that I can't put accurately into words.

My lunch meeting went similarly very well when I met with Mark, the Anglican priest at St. Andrew's. I met with him to discuss, oddly enough, spirituality. You see, I've discovered that there are all these components that make up our lives. Including, but certainly not limited to: making a living, managing our resources, time with people we know, time for ourselves and of course our spirituality.

It seems to me that all these things that make up our lives tend to get compartmentalized. We have our little box we call "work", we have our little box we call "play", "people", "home life", and for some of us, "spirituality".

I grew up in an environment where spirituality basically meant "go to church". Only when I started thinking for myself in my pre-teen and teen years did I start discovering that spirituality is a whole other thing.

I approached Mark with the notion that perhaps my life's balance might be easier to achieve if I were to get rid of the idea of compartmentalizing everything and start thinking in terms of the "big picture".

I thought I might try placing my spirituality at the centre and see if all the other stuff would naturally fall into a balanced position. That isn't to say "hand it all over to the Creator and then do nothing". That's foolish.

I related to Mark an experience I had back in late October, early November, when I was having some money issues and in particular with one company. The company had told me they would be suspending service unless I paid their bill in its entirety. I was unable to do that, and subsequently panicked. After taking a deep breath, I decided to go for a walk and put the problem out to the Universe for some guidance. I went to a park and meditated on the matter - asking for help to create a solution. I came up with a solution, which for the interim was acceptable to the company. This made me feel really good. It also taught me something.

Success is a communal effort. It took me - willing to not only share the problem, but take on a portion of the responsibility of action toward its solution -. the Universe for guidance, and the other party in that they had to allow some flexibility to accommodate my willingness, but not immediate ability, to solve the problem.

Mark talked about the Native culture's "circular" approach to living in contrast to a linear approach which is often our Western culture's default position.

In a linear approach you tend to see every aspect of your life laid out in a compartmentalized fashion, much like I had described. Each entity is almost separate from the other.

In a circular approach, SOMETHING - be it spirituality, work, finance, family or just about anything else you feel is your "centre" is the base from where you operate. As it is circular, everything ELSE grows out from that centre and is of that centre.

So with this theory in mind, if I place my spirituality at the centre, my finances, work life, social life and everything else will grow from that centre and will be fed by it, and everything will be connected, not compartmentalized and separate.

To this, Mark added that if we make "being" our centre, the things we "do" will be out of our "being" and thus we will achieve a personal balance rather than a completed "to do" list. (forgive me, I am paraphrasing... he has offered me a book that talks about this in much more detail, so I'll keep you posted on what I learn)

So, with my new approach in mind, and being realistic in the fact that it's all a process, I'm looking forward to some wonderful experiences along this road of spiritual growth and personal balance.

Warmest wishes and lots of love!



ipodmomma said...

very very nice.... this is how I try to sort out my day...

Spirituality doesn't have to be connected to church... what it does have to be is something you share with God on a basis that brings you and He to the place where there is a great peace...

looking forward to hearing how this goes along... our path in life takes many a twist and turn, but when we walk with someone, we are always surrounded by Love, and then no matter what comes, we have a great friend close by...

that's my 2 cents! :)))

Sarah Elaine said...

A few years back, I made a decision to live according to my values (which include spirituality, but not necessarily going to church.) Living a values-based life is a hard road, but once taken, I think one rarely turns back.

Two books to add to your list:

Your money or your life - Talks about aligning your money with your values.

My experiments with truth - Ghandi's autobiography. Now if that doesn't get you thinking about how to put spirituality and values at the centre of your life, nothing will. It's an inspiring read.

ipodmomma said...

totally recommend Ghandi's autobiography as well... very good!

Andrea said...

I realize i kind of went through what you are going through a few years ago, just didnt have words for it. In a sence I sort of agree and kind of sort of work my life along those lines. My so called spirituality is not really my center, i dont think. I think my center is me and my beleif that I am an all power controling bitch and this is where my life starts; control over me. I have the power to do what I want, i have the power to change me and only me can do that. other people control their peice of the world and I control mine and together we must learn to work

ok ramblings of uncoherant ummms i have no idea if any of this makes any sence.

Chrystal said...

I came to the conclusion years and years ago to have my spirituality be the centre where everything emminates from. Mr. Yertle is discovering what I think we all realize sooner then later. We are all more then the flesh and blood body that we reside in. To deny/ ignore our spiritual side is to live a much emptier and unfocused life. To realize that we are not on our own and that God is someone we can have a real relationship with makes a human beings life full and brings hope. Focusing on our spiritual self helps us to grow and mature in so many ways. Although going to Church does not make a person spiritual, a great deal can be learnt about spirituality in church. I go regularily and find it very informative and rewarding. I attend a church that doesn't put me to sleep and that definately helps. Where does one learn about spirituality without going to houses of worship? We seek out teachers in Colleges and Universities to further our education...why are people so hesitant to go to church to learn about spirituality? There are wise leaders out there that can impart great wisdom and insight. We need to take advantage of the free education that is out there!

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.