Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 10, Issue 51;   December 22, 2010: Be With the Real

Be With the Real

by

When the stream of unimportant events and concerns reaches a high enough tempo, we can become so transfixed that we lose awareness of the real and the important. Here are some suggestions for being with the Real.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christa Quam holds her puppy

In 2009, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Christa Quam holds her puppy, which was to enter the military working dog program a year later at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The dogs are trained in explosive and drug detection, deterrence, and handler protection. This image shows clearly that the dog is right here, right now, so infectiously, in fact, that Sgt. Quam is, too. If you know a dog, you've probably also noticed how fully present they are, and how rarely they fall out of that state, as long as they're awake. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force, by Senior Airman Christopher Griffin.

For many, this time of year is one when we're especially vulnerable to being caught up in the unimportant details of Life. We can become so involved with the trivial that we become unaware of the important. By "involved with the trivial," I mean, for example, fretting about not having been invited to the right parties, or being obsessed with finding the perfect decoration for your door.

In themselves, these fascinations do no real harm, but they can prevent us from appreciating what we do have — the parties we did attend, or the less-than-perfect but still beautiful door decoration we did find. Even so, involvement with the trivial can limit our ability to attend to the more important parts of Life — a perfect evening, an enjoyable time with friends or family, or even the sense of well being that comes from being healthy, from being alive, or from giving.

Here are some suggestions that can help to bring you back from involvement with the trivial, to help you be with the real.

Listen to your breathing
To be with the real, start with yourself. Our breathing is easy to notice, yet we rarely do notice it. Try controlling it. Long and slow, short and quick. Deep or shallow. Be with your breathing.
Feel your own heart
If you can find a still, quiet place, notice your heartbeat. If you press the heel of your hand up against one ear, you can feel and hear your pulse. You truly are alive.
Seek Nature's sounds
Even in a This time of year is one when
we're especially vulnerable
to being caught up
in the unimportant
city, you can hear Nature above the din. Birds are everywhere. The wind rustles leaves or whistles over bare branches. But for a stronger connection, seek a place away from human sounds. Listen to the music of life on Earth.
Sit on the ground
Sit, but not on anything made by a human. Grass or a rock or log if that's more comfortable. How does it feel to let Earth support you for a time?
Touch the sky
Well, you can't touch the sky physically, but you can notice it. Notice clouds or sun or stars or moon. Did you know the phase of the moon before you looked?
Make contact with someone
Make contact. Reach out with a smile, or a tweet, or a hello, or a witty remark. Is the effect stronger when the other person is someone you've never met? Or is it stronger when you make contact with someone close to you? Can you make contact with a group?

Most important, make contact with Now. Often we lose touch with what's happening right now because of a preoccupation with what was, what has been, or what is about to be. Make contact with Now. Know where you are. Know who you're with. Be with the Real. Go to top Top  Next issue: Business Fads and Their Value  Next Issue

Go For It: Sometimes It's Easier If You RunLove the work but not the job? Bad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? This ebook looks at what we can do to get more out of life at work. It helps you get moving again! Read Go For It! Sometimes It's Easier If You Run, filled with tips and techniques for putting zing into your work life. Order Now!

Your comments are welcome

Would you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenKggMVUqplbyFlGcCner@ChacNGIRVSiVFoNdjjpioCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.

About Point Lookout

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.

Point Lookout is a free weekly email newsletter. Browse the archive of past issues. Subscribe for free.

Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.

Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.

Related articles

More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:

PencilsVirtual Communications: I
Participating in or managing a virtual team presents special communications challenges. Here are some guidelines for communicating with members of virtual teams.
A grove of quaking aspenFinding Work in Tough Times: Infrastructure
Finding work in tough times goes a lot more easily if you have at least a minimum of equipment and space to do the job. Here are some thoughts about getting that infrastructure and managing it.
A map of the Internet ca. January 2005Intentionally Unintentional Learning
Intentional learning is learning we undertake by choice, usually with specific goals. When we're open to learning not only from those goals, but also from whatever we happen upon, what we learn can have far greater impact.
Rep. John Boehner displays the Speaker's gavelEnding Sidebars
We say that a sidebar is underway in a meeting when two or more meeting participants converse without having been recognized by the Chair. Sidebars can be helpful, but they can also be disruptive. How can we end sidebars quickly and politely?
Conferees attending the NATO Lessons Learned Conferencde 2015How to Find Lessons to Learn
When we conduct Lessons Learned sessions, how can we ensure that we find all the important lessons to be learned? Here's one method.

See also Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness and Emotions at Work for more related articles.

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

A human marionetteComing November 29: Manipulators Beware
When manipulators try to manipulate others, they're attempting to unscrupulously influence their targets to decide or act in some way the manipulators prefer. But some targets manage to outwit their manipulators. Available here and by RSS on November 29.
Desperation at workAnd on December 6: Reframing Revision Resentment: I
From time to time, we're required to revise something previously produced — some copy, remarks, an announcement, code, the Mona Lisa, whatever… When we do, some of us experience frustration, and view the assignment as an onerous chore. Here are some alternative perspectives that might ease the burden. Available here and by RSS on December 6.

Coaching services

I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenydOMxeuZHnNHYZNtner@ChacxPtapcEkHAXrauAsoCanyon.com or (617) 491-6289, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.

Get the ebook!

Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:

Reprinting this article

Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info

Public seminars

Ten Project Management Fallacies: The Power of Avoiding Hazards
Most Ten Project Management Fallaciesof what we know about managing projects is useful and effective, but some of what we know "just ain't so." Identifying the fallacies of project management reduces risk and enhances your ability to complete projects successfully. Even more important, avoiding these traps can demonstrate the value and power of the project management profession in general, and your personal capabilities in particular. In this program we describe ten of these beliefs. There are almost certainly many more, but these ten are a good start. We'll explore the situations where these fallacies are most likely to expose projects to risk, and suggest techniques for avoiding them. Read more about this program. Here's a date for this program:

The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
Many The Power Affect: How We Express Personal Powerpeople who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.

Follow Rick

Send email or subscribe to one of my newsletters Follow me at LinkedIn Follow me at Twitter, or share a tweet Follow me at Google+ or share a post Subscribe to RSS feeds Subscribe to RSS feeds
The message of Point Lookout is unique. Help get the message out. Please donate to help keep Point Lookout available for free to everyone.
21st Century Business TravelAre your business trips long chains of stressful misadventures? Have you ever wondered if there's a better way to get from here to there relaxed and refreshed? First class travel is one alternative, but you can do almost as well (without the high costs) if you know the tricks of the masters of 21st-century e-enabled business travel…
Go For It: Sometimes It's Easier If You RunBad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? Learn what we can do when we love the work but not the job.
303 Tips for Virtual and Global TeamsLearn how to make your virtual global team sing.
101 Tips for Managing ChangeAre you managing a change effort that faces rampant cynicism, passive non-cooperation, or maybe even outright revolt?
101 Tips for Effective MeetingsLearn how to make meetings more productive — and more rare.
Exchange your "personal trade secrets" — the tips, tricks and techniques that make you an ace — with other aces, anonymously. Visit the Library of Personal Trade Secrets.