Heart of a Leader

Leadership Matters

Did you ever wonder?

DId you ever wonder, when you woke early one morning where the time had gone?

Did you ever wonder, when you woke early one morning why the dreams you dreamed had evaporated?

Did you ever wonder, when you woke early one morning why you still had the empty feeling after doing so much?

Maybe today was the day when doing fell aside and you let go of the dreams and simply enjoyed the sunrise.


dreamstimeweb_542095 4The words above stir in me the question of why is it after so many years of checking off the to dos on my list I feel that they will never end. I wonder what is really important and why I can’t seem to find the meaning in the next meeting that I am planning to attend.

The constant doing without meaning is a source of many of the challenges I face. For instance, how many times have I worried, “will I have enough”. Enough money. Enough intelligence. Enough good luck. Enough things. Enough love. Whatever the worry, at the center of it is the same feeling, “I need more or I will feel a sense of failure” This drive to do to acquire, to run ahead, is prevalent in everything that I can see.

200Px-The LoraxOne of my 2 and 1/2 year olds favorite stories is “The Lorax” (Dr. Seuss, Theodor Seuss Geisel). In this story, there is a character named the Once-ler, who finds discovers in his traveling around a place that is a paradise. Now rather than enjoying the beauty of this paradise, what he sees in it is a place to create wealth for himself and his family.

Another prominent character in this book is of course the Lorax. The Lorax is a guardian for the trees that are a central part of this paradise. Their tufts are softer than silk and are the object of the Once-ler’s desire. For he and his family are turning them into an almost magical fabric that everyone wants.

The Lorax challenges the Once-ler on several occasions to consider the consequence of his consumption of these trees. The Once-ler is annoyed and at one point lets the Lorax know that his focus is being bigger and bigger and bigger. The inevitable end of this unchecked consumption is the demise of paradise. The animals all move away and the trees are all harvested and the Once-ler is left alone to consider what he has wrought.

So I wonder if the drive that I feel to do and do and do is much like the Once-ler. It is without awareness of the cost to myself of this constant toiling without making sure there is meaning in every step.

I wonder…..

Thomas

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3 thoughts on “Did you ever wonder?

  1. Thomas,
    Your reflection is inspiring for its honesty and insight.

    I was brought up in a “middle class” family that sacrificed so that I could have MORE than they did. I have worked all my life to do the same for my own children. Now, I stand back and look at the industrialized, commercialized world that they live in….I see the environmental, health, and political challenges I have left them; and like the Once-ler, wonder is MORE the answer.

    I know the answer to that question, I think I have always known the answer;…

    As William Blake said so simply,

    “To see a world in a grain of sand,
    And heaven in a wild flower;
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
    And eternity in an hour.”

    pete

  2. Thomas,
    I agree with Pete – your openness and honesty in sharing your thoughts is inspiring!

    I’ve been thinking about this “more more more” culture we live in.

    For me, there have been two issues that have contributed to this feeling:
    1) a “scarcity” mindset – the base belief that there’s not enough in this world to go around. So, we each try to hold on tight to what we have, try to get more before it’s all gone or before someone else gets it.
    2) an emptiness inside my own heart – a fear that I’m not good enough, that I’ll never be good enough. So this quest for more “stuff” comes from years of trying to fill that hole with something from the outside. Maybe the diamond earrings will prove to people that I’m really good enough. Maybe another pair of shoes or an expensive purse will help me feel more worthy.

    Of course, nothing external could ever fill that hole, so the quest just gets bigger and bigger. When a pair of shoes doesn’t do it anymore, it becomes a car, or a bigger house, a better vacation, etc…

    And the irony of the “scarcity” mindset is similar – the more we think that there’s not enough, the more that we really believe that it’s true and the harder we work to get “more”. And it just grows and grows – and there truly never is enough…

    This unending quest is changing for me now – I want less when I look inside and recognize that I have all I’ve ever really needed right there in my heart! When I connect to the spirit in myself and see how it connects me to everything else and to something bigger than me – then I see that the hole in my heart is no longer there.

    And when I stop to question this belief that there is never enough and learn instead to trust that the universe will provide what I need – then suddenly I see how giving without fear yields more than I could ever imagine! I don’t have to worry about not having enough anymore. Thinking that there isn’t enough to go around just isn’t true for me anymore – I’ve seen the abundance that comes when I have faith!

    Now I think about how to instill this faith in my children – how to love them unconditionally, speak to them with respect, teach them healthy boundaries without squashing their spirit. And from there, how to honour their own and others’ spirits, so that they can see the same goodness and abundance that I see – and not worry so much about who has more Webkinz!!

    Right now I’m reading Alfie Kohn’s book “Unconditional Parenting”. I highly recommend it – he’s an amazing thinker and educator!! It’s helping me think about my parenting in a new way – and doing less short term “management” of stress, more long term perspective and consciousness about what the big picture is.

    Take care,
    Heidi

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