A tinny voice over the PA system invited everyone in the office to assemble over at so-and-so’s desk to celebrate her birthday.
Have you been to an office birthday party? Papers pushed aside at the end of a credenza to make room for the cake; a pile of plastic forks, paper plates and some scraggly napkins. Somebody remembers candles and the rare smoker finds his/her lighter to make it a real birthday cake. People make their way at varying speeds, some still talking on wireless headsets; some with pen and papers in hand doing double duty as they come for cake and a visit to operations with problems or paperwork to submit.
That afternoon people stood around, as usual, looking at each other until someone took the lead and started singing “Happy Birthday to you …” Again, you know how that goes. A few reedy, quiet voices, a few lip syncs, a few moderate singing voices. They usually struggle through to the end.
But this time was a little different. Paulette was a trainer visiting the office for a few weeks to help with the recent merger. She joined the little crowd assembled to sing. And sing she did! A voice that soared up to the acoustic ceiling tiles, wrapped around surprised faces and made the earnest singers go dim. Everyone was amazed.
As we walked away with our little plates I commented on her singing and asked if she sang professionally. Did she sing at church? Moonlight in a band? Take or give lessons?
“No, no, no.” She laughed. (Even her laugh was big and melodic.) “That’s for when I retire.”
If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting the rest of our lives. - Lemony Snicket
Consider the opportunities missed. No, not the big break. Rather, that moment in which a voice is deeply heard; that place where a voice inspires; that time when a voice shows the way and finds the way. All the little mile markers where the course of a journey may have shifted. Not big shifts; just small pebbles rippling out to places never considered.
The time is always right to move toward a dream with a small question and a small step. It’s always the best time for just a toe into the water of possibilities. Because when you start, things begin to happen. As Newton expounds in his Law of Motion: “A body in motion stays in motion”.
Deferred dreams are a slow death. Let’s live. Even if – especially if – it’s in small steps
Contact me or schedule a free 45 minute discovery call and we’ll begin to make possibilities and dreams real. We’ll do it in small, easy steps with small, percolating questions. Time will fly anyway. Let’s get started now!
In a recent blog post I wrote about the #creativeplayzone. This is the space between where you are and the vast horizon where the BIG goal resides. The BIG dream. The next BIG thing. Here’s a little more about exploring this gap and determining if it’s really as big as it feels.
A gap, by its very nature, is a void. It’s a place of seemingly nothing. Think about what might happen if you just kept going and never looked right in front of you? You could lose yourself in the gap and land on your butt. Did your mother not tell you to watch where you’re going?
What if, instead of looking blindly beyond the gap, you took a good look at where you are? Awareness. It’s always the place to start. What if you could pull a cloak of awareness around you right now? Let it be a cloak of shimmering colors that catches the light and reflects all things amazing. Go ahead. Try it on. It’s a perfect fit for you. Do you have a mirror handy? How smashing you look!
Now, take a magical trip to the other side of the gap and let the swirling, sparkling cloak settle around you. What are you feeling in the place of the BIG goal? The BIG dream? The next BIG thing? What are you seeing? Sensing? Take it in. Let it settle into the folds of the magic wrap.
When you’re ready return to the here and now.
Take some of the sensations and views and feelings out of your cloak and look at them from the perspective of today. Where are some of those things already happening? What in the present puts you into that state of mind?
Did the gap just get smaller; the horizon closer?
In Kaizen-Muse™ Creativity Coaching we call this essences. It’s the intangible payoff of what you want to experience. Discovering essences of your dream in the here and now energizes you, shows you where you’re getting it right. Finding those gems in the present doesn’t mean you need to stop. Rather, it gives you the incentive to keep going and evokes feelings of gratitude.
Conversely, you may be on the far side of the gap, looking back. That exact goal wasn’t achieved but, oh, look at what you’ve done instead. In her book, Write it Down, Make it Happen, author Henriette Anne Klauser talks about the outcome of the outcome, the benefit of the benefit. She asks if it’s possible you’ve already achieved the goal (or the essence of it) but not in the exact way you expected. Sometimes you are so set in that distant goal or dream that you can’t see that you’re closer than you think or, in some cases, already there. You know, that forest for the trees thing. Pulling that cloak of awareness out of your virtual closet can be extremely illuminating.
“What is it you want from a job?” I recently asked a coaching client. She had told me she was going to get a no-brainer job. Just putting one thing on top of another. No pressure, no thinking.
I laughed because I have often said I could just go stack tomatoes at the supermarket. Why? Well, I love the produce section with all their colors and textures and wholeness. And I love to make order out of chaos. Maybe that’s the essence of why I write. To bring color and imagery to the page; to put emotion and movement into words; to gather random and muddled thoughts and set them neatly onto the page.
But, back to my client. When I asked her what she wanted to experience in that no-brainer job – or in any job – the essence she was seeking was to feel connection, to be helping people, talking to clients, having room to think and breathe, being respected for her knowledge. For her the creative play zone becomes a place to explore ways, places, careers or businesses in which she can use her knowledge, life experience and work skills to experience those essences. And, working with me, she gets to do it in a way that is fun and easy, thoughtful and low pressure.
By the way, in addition to narrowing the gap, your cloak of awareness may also shift your direction. That’s okay. Remember, it’s often the emotional payoff you’re wishing for as much as, or maybe even instead of, the hard and fast goal you had set.
What we ache for comes from a deep place. It’s beyond the thing, or the job, or the place or the mate. It’s attached to the essential you. So often it feels far away.
The other side of the gap can also be a tantalizing place. So much of what you think you want is there. It gives you something dream about or look forward to. Sometimes the wishing feels better than the getting. That way there are no disappointments. The big IT can always be just the way you like it.
There’s no end to the horizon and there’s no end to the next thing, big or small. And that’s good. If we weren’t dreaming and wishing and striving, well, what’s a life for? But don’t forget to don your wonderful cloak of awareness and enjoy your creative play zone where the gap is smaller and a lot is already happening.
Kathy Kane blogs about the creative process in the everyday, in writing and in the magical transition to the second half of life.
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