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? rbrenzeTjKbjTVXJdloVLner@ChacmkygRgwVSbbLLYcfoCanyon.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:

A rock climber in Joshua Tree National Park, United StatesLet Me Finish, Please
We use meetings to exchange information and to explore complex issues. In open discussion, we tend to interrupt each other. Interruptions can be disruptive, distracting, funny, essential, and frustratingly common. What can we do to limit interruptions without depriving ourselves of their benefits?
Secretary Tom Ridge, President George W. Bush, and Administrator Michael BrownWhen Stress Strikes
Most of what we know about person-to-person communication applies when levels of stress are low. But when stress is high, as it is in emergencies, we're more likely to make mistakes. Knowing those mistakes in advance can be helpful in avoiding them.
The Messerschmitt Me 262, which was the first jet fighter to fly in combatHow to Foresee the Foreseeable: Preferences
When people collaborate on complex projects, the most desirable work tends to go to those with highest status. When people work alone, they tend to spend more time on the parts of the effort they enjoy. In both cases, preferences rule. Preferences can lead us astray.
A clockThe Artful Shirker
Most people who shirk work are fairly obvious about it, but some are so artful that the people around them don't realize what's happening. Here are a few of the more sophisticated shirking techniques.
Selling an ideaRisk Creep: II
When risk events occur, and they're of a kind we never considered before, it's possible that we've somehow invited those risks without realizing we have. This is one way for risk to creep into our efforts. Here's Part II of an exploration of risk creep.

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

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

Children playing a computer gameComing July 18: High Falutin' Goofy Talk: III
Workplace speech and writing sometimes strays into the land of pretentious but overused business phrases, which I like to call high falutin' goofy talk. We use these phrases with perhaps less thought than they deserve, because they can be trite or can evoke indecorous images. Here's Part III of a collection of phrases and images to avoid. Available here and by RSS on July 18.
Office equipment — or is it office toys?And on July 25: Exploiting Functional Fixedness: II
A cognitive bias called functional fixedness causes difficulty in recognizing new uses for familiar things. It also makes for difficulty in recognizing devious uses of everyday behaviors. Here's Part II of a catalog of deviousness based on functional fixedness. Available here and by RSS on July 25.

Coaching services

I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrencudJVIpeGgXviVhIner@ChacdYYOcEPKmqbAncrtoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, 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

The Race to the South Pole: The Power of Agile Development
On 14The Race to the Pole: An Application of Agile Development December 1911, four men led by Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, Robert F. Scott and four others followed. Amundsen had won the race to the pole. Amundsen's party returned to base on 26 January 1912. Scott's party perished. As historical drama, why this happened is interesting enough. Lessons abound. Among the more important lessons are those that demonstrate the power of the agile approach to project management and product development. 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.
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.