Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Years Resolution Countdown - Part Three

I must confess that I'm not a monk. Not a Zen Monk, nor a Buddhist Monk. I suppose that I'll never be a monk, nor will I ever be with a monk. But there is something compelling about how they live their lives. How they devote their lives to being present in everything they do, to being dedicated and to serving others.

I think one of the good things about the economic recession is that it forces us to pause and think about what we really need in our consumption driven society. To take inventory of what we have, what we really need, and how we can live more simply. I find this especially true with my children. They are masters at collecting stuff. And they are blessed with an abundance of stuff. And with the influx of new Christmas presents, it was time to take inventory. It was time to think differently about our stuff.

So, we got a couple of boxes and each of my children had to fill it with some of their stuff to give away to charity. It was very painful process, and it took some time to complete it. Hopefully the process was not lost on their young minds, even if it didn’t feel good for them.

There is just so much in our lives that isn’t necessary. And it’s not just our physical stuff. It’s also the stuff of our thoughts. I spend a lot time inside my head in what I like to call it the introverts trap. Thinking. Sensing. Judging. I get lost in my thoughts. Thoughts of the past and thoughts of the future. I fondly remember the time my wife and I were having an important discussion. She was talking. I was thinking. And then she said to me in an urgent tone, “you’re not hearing what I’m saying!” I paused for a moment and then dead panned, “that’s because I’m not listening to you.” Start PSA - saying you're not listening to your spouse is closely related to saying whatever to your spouse and is not recommended - End PSA.

I wasn’t present. And when you’re not present, you’re not there. Not there for your friends, your kids, your spouse.

New Years Resolution #3 - Be "Present"

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