December 21, 2015

Beautiful Lemon

This is the inside of my integrated lemon.

2016: The Year of Integrating Parts

As a strategic planner I believe in a certain amount of intuition to set direction. Each November I begin a personal practice of reflection with the intention of pursuing mindful development for the coming year. I frame this as GOST: Goal, Objective, Strategy and Tactic. Since 2009 this been my motivational process. It takes six to eight weeks for a goal to formulate into an evolutionary exploration that manifests intention into action.

2015 was framed as The Year of Creative Expression. When I first set this goal I did not have objectives strategies or tactics fully formulated. Instead, I imagined what "success" would be a year out if I truly did allow myself to savor creativity. Upon reflection, the objective was to reconcile the seeming disparity of being both a business teacher and a yoga instructor. Strategically, I looked for opportunities to lead a creative practice of bringing yoga Asanas into the business school classroom.

In the final quarter of 2015 I took the tactical leap and began each Monday morning Leadership and Organizational Behavior class with yoga, breathing and mediation. My confident and creative voice guided the college students in what became their favorite part of the day. With their continued trust I wondered where I could take this creative expression in 2016. This was clearly a step on the pathway to reaching fuller potential as a teacher.

This morning there was a sign that clarified my goal for 2016. Walking to a client meeting in San Francisco's Mission District I had a lot on my mind about controlling change in myself and others. The sunlight unexpectedly caught my eye as a fallen object glistened bright yellow with morning dew. I reached down to pickup an oddly-shaped fruit and looked up to see a lemon tree that must have grown overnight. The fruit was waiting to be discovered by someone on this busy street. How could no one else have noticed?

I have it in my hands now and the the fruit smells tart and feels ripe. But what is most amazing is that nature created this unusual and expressive growth. It speaks to me as a sign saying "uniqueness is beautiful and does not fit into a standard template." The one-of-a-kind lemon has a little curly green tail where it was starting to grow a new segment before launching itself from the tree. This is the tail of possibilities.

The remarkable lemon is my inspiration for 2016: The Year of Integrating Parts. It reminds me that I do not have to strive for the perfect answer that everyone might expect. Instead, my objective is to be present to celebrate the various interests and curiosities within me and my students. Strategically, I will explore all of these parts with the wonder of how to tactically integrate them into a Tale of Possibilities.

December 7, 2015

Cracked iPhone Screen as a Touchstone to Being Present

Yesterday I dropped my phone and the screen cracked. I tried to not be devastated but all I could think was that I needed a new phone. A broken screen to me is a sign of being irresponsible and careless. Certainly the crack was a sign that I needed an upgrade.

But as I let the crack settle into my life I realized how overly attached I am to this powerful device. It keeps me connected to people and information as well as distracted when I feel the slightest bit bored. You know, those in between moments when you could be noticing things around you or even meditating but instead you turn to the phone.

Well, this crack breaks the hallowed surface of this doorway into other places. It is now, a reminder that facing the screen is not like being present, but rather being somewhere, anywhere, everywhere else.

Ironically, today I am asking my students to create a touchstone reminder of the motivational Emotional Intelligence goal they set 10 weeks ago at the start of the quarter. Brian and I were chatting about if we each had a touchstone and I recognized that there are many pieces of jewelry I wear on a regular basis and each has special meaning but I have nothing that I wear or bring with me consistently. Except maybe this phone which I have recently been forgetting at home.

So, this phone has been my shiny distracting object. Now, with its cracked face I can see that the looking glass is not flawless and I can turn away and look around me, a prompt to be mindful of the present.