Tag: Presence

Finding a moment of Zen

zen artwork stag deer

This picture is of “Monarch of the Glen”, by Landseer. I wondered what it is that makes a picture of a deer so powerful and famous, until, that is, I saw the picture hanging at the National Gallery of Scotland. I was transfixed, rooted to the spot.

In our busy lives, we all sometimes need to find a “moment of zen”.

So, yesterday, I had such an indelible moment, with a majestic stag, so sharing with you all today.

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Brad Pitt gives a masterclass in Being and Presence.

Brad Pitt Presence Being Leonardo DiCaprio

I recently watched Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Tarantino and agree with Tom Shone of the Sunday Times that Brad Pitt was the heart of this movie and that he did it so simply and subtly.

“Once Brad Pitt stopped “acting”, he became a great movie star…{years ago} Pitt learnt..not to act but to be… {so that, in this movie}… Pitt just lets the role, and the audience, come to him”

In an earlier post on this site: “Doing from Being“, I wrote:

What if.. we focussed on our “Being” and then choosing to “Do” what is fully aligned with who we are, so “Doing from Being”? 

In his book Walden, Henry Thoreau had many great quotes, such as: 

“All men want, not something to do with, but something to do, or rather something to be.”

Leonardo di Caprio was great (as always) in the Tarantino movie, but he was doing acting. Brad Pitt, on the other hand, was simply being an actor, so clearly allowing himself to be truly present in each moment as he did so. The results are extraordinary.

Now, if we can add presence to being in our lives, our work, our leadership, we have the opportunity to be of even greater impact for others as we focus on these anchors.

Yes, many posts on this site are about business, leadership, tools, ideas into action etc. However, I will always repeatedly come back to our self-awareness, our being, our ability to be present, as these are, as Brad Pitt has come to recognise as he matured in life and as an actor, foundational to our work, our lives, our impact.

I leave you with this, by the British philosopher Alan Watts:

“The future is a concept — it doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as tomorrow. There never will be because time is always now. That’s one of the things we discover when we stop talking to ourselves and stop thinking. We find there is only present, only an eternal now.”

Be Present and simply Be.

Have a great Monday morning and a great week!

Less is more

less is more

Today is a consciously quiet day for me, with absolutely nothing planned, a day out to rest in the middle of a busy period.

So, a reminder today that sometimes less is more.

I’ll model that by making this one of my shortest daily posts ever.

What could you do less of this Sunday morning?

The tyranny of the blank page

blank page blank screen

At well over 600 daily posts on this site since I started that discipline, most days I love to write, some days I struggle to come up with something to write.

As Neil Gaiman put it:

“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”

Today I woke up feeling like the blank screen would win.

I then realised that I’ve been on vacation for the last ten days and still wrote, that today I unexpectedly have one of my sons visiting me here in London for the first time in nearly a year.

So, sometimes it is good to recognise that life wins. To give myself permission to allow my focus to not stay on the blank page of the daily blog commitment, but instead to simply choose to share my presence wholly with him today.

I’ll see you all tomorrow.

Presence in the water

Presence in the water

Treading water in the Caribbean sea.

Nowhere to be, nothing to do.

First time I’ve done that in a long time. Realised in the moment that I wouldn’t take time to do it again for quite some time.

Chose to simply be absolutely present in that moment.

No idea how long I was out there, possibly ten minutes, maybe half an hour.

Something extraordinary about being truly present.

Now, when we are with someone else, how often are we truly present? When we can be absolutely and totally there, present to and for them, others do tend to experience that as a gift.

What an extraordinary world of speed and busy-ness we live in where the simple act of being present is so rare that we consider it a gift when someone else gives that to us.

Today is a wonderful day to do nothing

Winnie the Pooh - Favorite Day - Do Nothing

A grey and stormy day in Grenada at the most remote Caribbean hotel I’ve ever stayed at. After breakfast I remark to the owner: “this feels like a wonderful day to do nothing”.

“Isn’t every day a wonderful day to do nothing?”, he replied.

“That sounds like a ‘Winnie the Pooh’ quote“, I said.

We both laughed as I walked off down the hill to the terrace outside my room to read, to doze, and now to write this.

It may not have been a quote from Pooh bear, but it was indeed in that vein.

Also this morning, I was asked, quite philosophically: “who are you?”. After a doze, I thought to myself: “I’m a man who sometimes makes the simple too complex”.

Today is indeed a wonderful day to do nothing, to take Pooh as my role model.

Sometimes I overthink life and what it takes to be happy, fulfilled, contented.

Today. I think I will not think very much, I will simply do nothing.

53 Speed Bumps

speed bumps

It is 45km (28 miles) from the airport in Grenada to the remote and beautiful Petite Anse hotel.

How long would you figure it would take to drive there on the main road around the Caribbean side of this island of 100,000 people?

Perhaps you’d figure there is a highway, so it might take about 45 minutes, as it would do for a similar distance from the airport to the Reef Resort at the far tip of a similarly sized island, Grand Cayman.

No, in Grenada it takes about one and a half hours.

They even have speed bumps on the main road.

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Take a walk

Thames View Take a walk

Last week I wrote a post called “It is solved by walking“, itself linking to an earlier and more detailed post about the power of shifting context by walking.

I love to walk, it is so beneficial to the body and the mind. I also love to have coaching and other meetings while walking, with the London climate typically being excellent for that most of the year.

Yesterday I had one of my adult sons in town and we found ourselves walking, then walking some more, then walking some more. All in all, we walked over 20.5km (nearly 13 miles), spread over 11 hours out and about on a mile 18c day in London.

I don’t get to spend that much time with this son, so it was quite wonderful to simply share the experience of walking around so much of central London.

If you’d like to meet up with me anytime in London to have a chat, I’d love it. Offer to meet while we take a walk and I’ll be doubly keen!

Travel and Shifting Context

A one hour flight, thirty-five minutes drive, a converted shipping container on a farm overlooking a view for miles and miles of peace and tranquillity.

I live in the centre of London, an amazing bustling world city of something like 10 million people. Often it seems like most of them hustle through my local railway station, one of the busiest in Europe.

So, last weekend felt really different, spending two nights in this exquisite “tiny house”.

It got me thinking about the power of travel to shift our context, as well as the power of shifting context, of looking at things in different ways. (more…)

Taking time to recharge

Swans

Swans and cygnets in a London park this weekend

The last two weeks have been pretty intense for me, both with lots of work and also with the death of someone close then their funeral.

I thought this weekend I’d balance it between doing a little work and a little relaxation each day. However, yesterday (Saturday) morning, decided instead to take 24 hours completely away from the norm. No work, no regular routine. Instead to be outdoors and in nature as much as possible.

So, central to this was to go for a walk. Quite a long walk with a companion across commons and parks in London. Nearly 15 miles in the end, with a few stops, taking much of the day.

I then followed this up this morning with a strong ride with my usual riding buddy, so now I sit here, a little late for posting my daily musing, yet all the more refreshed for it.

So, sometimes we can recharge in a few minutes or hours, sometimes we need weeks or even months. Sometimes a day in nature is what it takes.

I guess what I did yesterday was tune in to myself and listen to what I needed. A long walk in nature was just the ticket.

Life is about the people you meet

Life and the People You Meet

A personal blog today and also one where I wish to share from what I took from a day of shock news.

I write this shortly after receiving the unexpected news that someone very close to me had passed away.

I got the news at 9am as I was about to start a day of five meetings in person and on video around the world.

I was initially frozen and in shock. I then burst into tears as I stepped onto a commuter train. A moment later I remembered a lyric from a song that goes: “life carries on in the people you meet” and I decided to carry on with my day. The dear person who had just died was all about living life in each moment, so to honour them I chose to do the same. (more…)

When a blacklist is, unfortunately, just that

Screenshot 2019-04-02 at 11.53.11

In a post last year: “Diversity of Thought – how much is too much?” I remarked upon a panellist at an event choosing to be present, to listen, then to respond calmly. Within that post I wrote:

“..brings to mind to me a quote from 1770 from the Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke:

“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

A powerful phrase that has been adjusted and repeated for many years as :

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

So, today I share with you a recent article from a dear friend of mine, the brilliant, passionate and purpose-driven economist, Marla Dukaharan.

In this, Marla calmly and clearly calls out empirically obvious racist and white supremacist actions against offshore (defining that as “not large countries” though the majority are islands distant to the major economic powers) jurisdictions. For this, I applaud her for taking a stand, for saying something. (more…)

It’s not what you look at that matters

what do you see first

What do you see first in the picture above?

In looking at it, did you notice yourself slowing down and focussing closely on the image?

In my most recent three daily posts, I have focussed on a theme of reducing and simplifying.

When we do this, we are able to bring more focus to what we are observing, the person we are listening to.

When we give ourselves space to do that, as one of my favourite philosophers said:

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

~ Henry David Thoreau

 

Give no advice

marcus-tullius-cicero-quote-no-one-can-give-you-better

Yesterday’s post was called “Give less advice“. My friend Bruce Peters read it, then emailed me:

“Have you considered “no advice” Or advice is prohibited approach?
Wisdom Circles in the Quaker tradition set an example, perhaps?”

Sage man, that Bruce.

If, as I often say, “less is more”, then let us consider the next step to “give less advice”. being the power of “give no advice”. (more…)

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