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This morning while I was getting coffee at my usual coffee shop, I was having conversation with the barista about the improvement in our local weather. She made a comment which has caused me to give some thought. She said, “We never seem to notice how little things like the weather can affect us.” That is such a true statement. Her words have caused me to think about how many aspects of life go unnoticed and yet they make an impact on a person.
I have always known that cloudy weather usually brings about either a melancholy or negative attitude upon my thoughts. The reversal of that stands true, when the sun is shining I am generally more upbeat and tend to have more energy. Researchers also tell us that stress can have a profound impact on our behaviors, physical health, and mental well-being. Yet too often, stress goes unnoticed.
I wonder how many other unnoticed aspects of life have impacts that are very real. Today I am going to ponder the words of the barista some more. I am sure that I will identify other unnoticed variables which lead to shifts in how I view life. What might you place on the list? I challenge you to identify your own list today and share your list in the comment section.
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This week there was a Google doodle regarding the Loch Ness monster. You probably recall that there is a legend indicating that some sort of aquatic creature lives in a lake in Scotland. There have been claims of photographs capturing images of this creature as it surfaces. Despite years of stories and multiple attempts to locate and capture this creature, the Loch Ness monster appears to be elusive to even the greatest technologies of humanity. Yet the legend will not die.
The image of this elusive creature came into my mind this morning as I pondered some situations in a couple of the organizations in which I have involvement. Much like the Loch Ness monster, these organizations have something which seems to live just below the surface but on occasion rears its head to breach the surface. When this occurs, the seemingly tranquil waters are disturbed and there is great angst, fear, and disruption that transpires. Many want to pass all of this off as legend but it is very real (maybe the key difference with the Loch Ness monster).
The cause of this underlying creature within organizations can be varied. Some would attribute it to a need for certain individuals to acquire or maintain control and power. Some would attribute it to greed. Still others would say that what feeds the creature is a desire to shape the organization according to one’s own definitions. Whatever has led to the existence of and on-going feeding of this creature in the organization, the results are always the same…. deterioration and eventual death of the organization.
Leaders in an organization which has been infected with such a creature need to work at removing it from the organization. This can be as much of a challenge as the one presented to researchers who want to study the Loch Ness monster. Finding the source and nurturing of the creature can be elusive. Even if one is successful in capturing the creature, what to do with it is another quandary. The work can be exhausting and achievement can be difficult. Yet, it is vital that this occurs so that the inevitable death can be averted.
I know that it is not Friday but I felt that today called for a music video any way. I have had some recent conversations which has reminded me of the importance of identifying individuals in life who can be there during difficult times. There are a few people who I know are going through such times right now. So I want to remind us all that one of the greatest gifts that we can be given is to have other people in our lives to lean on.
We all need somebody to lean on!
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Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend. We had not seen each other for quite a while so he was updating me on the activities in his life. During our conversation, he asked me if I thought there ever came a time when a person needed to stop dreaming. He was not referring to what occurs while we sleep but future hopes and aspirations. I indicated that I did not think there was ever a time to quit dreaming.
Dreams are a rather complex aspect of our lives. When we take inventory of our life, we can identify dreams that we had when we were younger which never materialized. Because of the perceived times of failure, we can often adopt an attitude which states dreams are a waste of time. However, I would have to disagree with that attitude. I think that even if a dream does not materialize as we had hoped, the dream has driven us to move forward toward the fulfillment of the dream. If we had not dreamed, we may never have taken the steps which we did that allowed us to be where we are now.
Dreams are based on the belief that there is always something more for us to do in life. Dreams allow us to believe that we can continue to evolve into the person we aspire to be. Dreams motivate us to take risk and to reach higher. Without dreams, we just navigate through life going through motions but having little to no drive.
So my friend and I came to the conclusion that a person should always have a dream. What is your dream today?
With the strange weather we have experienced this week where there were thunderstorms, snow, and even tornadoes in our state, I thought this song might be a good one:
Reminder that there is always a time laid out for all things.
(Also, a nice reminder of Ecclesiastes 3)
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One of the biggest challenges that I have is taking time to sit in silence. I am a highly driven individual who always seems to have an endless to-do list. I am also somewhat extroverted so I am used to engaging people in conversation fairly frequently and easily. Sitting in silence often equates in my mind with wasting time. However, I have over the last few years been placed in situations which require me to sit in silence. Because of these experiences, I have gained an appreciation for waiting quietly. I would say that I still struggle with this approach most of the time but I am trying to discipline myself to create time and space for me to sit in silence.
What I have discovered when I allow myself to wait quietly is that benefits exist in this practice. I have found that when I place a hold on my activity, sit quietly, and let my thoughts just be open, I have been able to hear the Holy Spirit better. There have been times when in those times of silence, I have gained insight into challenges which I am currently experiencing. During a few of these times, I have sensed guidance in new directions and approaches. Still other times, I have been able to release tension and reduce my anxiety.
This has led me to deliberate commit myself to create more times of silence in my life. Recently, I put together a plan regarding four major areas of my life. One piece of that plan includes establishing more dedicated times for discernment which requires waiting quietly. I know that this will continue to be a challenge for me. My behavior patterns and perceived personality runs contrary to this new discipline. However, I believe that this will have deep and long-term impact on my life. Therefore, I will strengthen my effort to make this part of my plan a reality.
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I have some pictures hanging in my office which have been in place for over five years. Most days I barely look at them any more. However, today, I happened to take time to look at three of them pretty intently. I spent time looking over each part of the pictures. What I found truly amazing is that I discovered details in each of the paintings that I had not recalled. These details enhanced my enjoyment of the paintings.
This discovery for me this morning made me pause and consider how often I overlook details in other aspects of my day. How many times do I just glance at an item which I pass by on a daily basis? How little time do I take to really look at those items? How many times do I do this with individuals?
All these questions has prompted me to commit myself this week to noticing the details in the ordinary aspects of my life. I need to take a little extra time to engage with some of the items and some of the people that I have come to take for granted. I need to really look at the ordinary of my life so that I might come to notice details which will enhance my enjoyment.
How about you? When you look at those things which are “always there,” what do you see? Do you even notice them any more? Maybe you want to dedicate this week to looking at the ordinary in a different way. I am guessing that we all my discover hidden details which we have often overlooked.