The Livingness Center, LLC

As of July 2015 this site is no longer active.

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Partnership in every encounter, Process in every transaction

A few weeks ago I had one of those slo-mo a-ha moments that has since shifted my day-to-day interactions with the world.  This shift is based on the belief that there are no accidents; no wasted moments; and, no events that can be judged as either good/bad or important/insignificant.

When I can see each encounter with a person as a partnership, regardless of how brief or extended the exchange, then we’re connected by a common humanity that strips away any judgments.  No matter one’s job (e.g, cashier, roofer, company CEO) or one’s status (e.g., unemployed, low-income, wealthy) these encounters are all the same.  These are full-on-moments where I see and attend fully; where I take responsibility that my actions may help the other person (or myself!) feel less invisible.

When I enter into a transaction with another person or organization it’s about process.  Over time we will reach a point of “all is well” – this allows for missteps and corrections (theirs and mine) along the way.  I don’t expect perfection from them (or they from me); we both hold high expectations yet allow space and time to get to that “good enough” place.

These two practice have allowed me to be fully present and to be fully human; and, to extend this same gift to others.

From Robert, a Walmart cashier, I learned about why he twists the shopping bag handles – to make it easier for shoppers to pickup and to help keep items in the bags on the car trip home; from my roofer I learned that uncovering house/roof quirks is merely a part of the (expected) process; and with my gutter people they learned that poor communication (written, oral) within their organization led to (unexpected) do-overs that cost them time and money.

DIM labyrinth-3

Paying-It-Forward in the McD Drive Through

Something so simple, something so profound … that slaps us in the face with interconnectivity to others (strangers!) and mindfulness to the moment (that starts out oh-so-ordinary, then quickly shifts to whoa-what-just-happened).

During this year, I have been at three different McDonalds (obviously at three different times and in three different lines) and have found myself the beneficiary of pay-it-forward … where the car in front of me chose to pay for my takeout order.  I can assure you that this is a small awe in my world – where I’m at the first window to pay and my mouth is hanging open in wonderment as the cashier tells me that my order has already been paid for.  And I ask myself:

  • Why would a perfect stranger choose to pay for my meal?
  • While I’m in the midst of my OMG awe moment, is the payer in the  midst of a OMG grace and gratitude moment?  How cool to choose to up the positive energy for oneself and another person (what I call a “two-fer”).
  • And, for one of those times, we had a pay-it-forward chain going where the first-window cashier asked if I wanted to “keep the chain going.”  I chose to pay for the car behind me to put another link in the chain (I just wish that I knew how many links we had before it ended; and, what caused it to end).

What a difference this small act of kindness had on my day – the rest of the day held up the positive energy of that moment.  And, I’ve also had the McD lines where I was cut off in the dual drive through lane, charged the wrong amount, and given the wrong order – and, the rest of the day held up the negative energy of that moment.  Who knew how much power a simple act can have in the life of another person!

111412 white rock pileup

“Tree coup” meditation walks in nature

When meditation walking in nature, the more interactive we are with our environs (i.e, voice/breath, motion/touch), the more symbiotic (and powerful) the human-nature connection is.  Some days I think this is because we need to overcome the effort it takes to launch anything from the realm of ideas into the physical world; and, on other days I think it’s needed to counter-balance the negative energy that exists in the world.

Recently I headed out with a group of fellow silent meditation walkers (yes, we come together to walk in silence as human-nature; and, we connect human-human in conversations before and after the walks) and we used the trail-marked trees to focus on a quality that we wanted to increase-in/bring-into our lives (e.g., peace, patience, compassion) – each time we came to a marked tree, we brought ourselves back into that place-time moment and a chosen value.

So here’s the “energy grid” for the tree coup practice – from least energy to most energy:

  • Think of the quality/value that you want –> Whisperbreath aloud the quality/value that you want –> Say aloud the quality/value that you want
  • Look at the trail-marked tree to connect with the here-now moment –> Move your arm/hand in the direction of the trail-marked tree to connect with the here-now moment –> Actually touch the bark of the trail marked tree with your bare hand

So there we were, a community of like-minded spiritual beings connecting deeply with nature, connecting deeply with ourselves.  And all around us was a kaleidoscope of autumn leaves – those that crunched underfoot; those that  swirled-and-twirled through the air; and those that held precariously to the branches until it was their time to play a different role in the circle of life.

Blue Jay Point - yellow trail, smiley face