Archives for the month of: June, 2012

So, how many dimensions are there to your perspective?  My guess if you have been a regular patron of any Starbuck’s on the planet you have come to learn of their unique brand concept known as, “The Third Place.”  Essentially, the thought behind this is that they want to ensure that you equate the Starbuck’s experience synonymously with that of your home or your office.  In other words, enjoying a comforting cup of coffee at Starbuck’s is seen and felt as a seamless experience such that it becomes your “third place.”  In your mind’s eye they become one in the same.  The power of a brand!  Well, I’d like for us to consider for a moment something I believe that is even more powerful. Instead of thinking about the “Third Place,” I’d like for us to take a look at something I’m calling “The 3rd Way.”  This speaks to the power of perspective. 

Let’s take the way in which you think about life.  First, there is always what we deem to be the obvious.  For many of us this is the end of the line with our thinking and the thought train stops at this station.  Others might take their thinking one step further and arrive at the alternative thought.  Well, I’d like to suggest that there is a “3rd Way” as you consider honing the various dimensions of your perspective on life.  That is to consider the counterintuitive. Though the obvious can often times be the quickest route it can keep us at the surface and lacking a fully-orbed perspective on just about anything.  The alternative however can give us a glimpse into what might lie just beneath the surface enabling us to discover new territories in our thinking. But when we begin to gain perspective through the lens of the counterintuitive we begin to move beyond our head and towards our heart.  Just think about this.  What if we could get out of our head and begin to move seamlessly to our heart in all matters of life?  In fact, how might our perspective on life look different if we were to see life through the lens of our heart?  Might we be tempted to “lead with love?” It seems seeing life through the counterintuitive is the only way one could arrive at the understanding that to lose is to gain, or to give is better than to get, or to be first is to be last.  I would contend that to get to the wellspring of our heart we have to begin to think in the “3rd Way,” the counterintuitive.  Think of it this way, common sense resides in our head while the motive to let’s say, find strength in weakness can only come from our heart.  Doesn’t it seem unnatural that we would get stronger as we tell others about our struggles?  We do though.  There is indeed strength in transparency.  For many of us the intentional pursuit of the “3rd Way” will definitely take us to new depths of understanding and perspective on how to navigate this thing we call, life.  Give it a try and see what you find. You might just discover that beyond the “3rd Way” is the “Only Way.” Peace.  

So, why is it no one dances until somebody dances?  Just curious…has this question ever crossed your mind?  Well, over the last month I’ve had the opportunity to attend several weddings where the adult children of some long-standing friends have left behind “singleness” and entered into the ranks of the “newly married.”  At each event, the beauty of the bride and the readiness of the groom to lead this new union heralded a job well done by the parents.  A much anticipated part of the festivities was the traditional “first dance” which was followed closely by the “father/daughter dance.”  And shortly thereafter comes the clarion call for all to join in and “hit the dance floor.”  It at this very point that I’m once again confronted with this curious question, “Why is it no one dances until somebody dances?”  I’m sure you’ve witnessed this before.  Perhaps you’ve been one of those, like me, that even when the dance floor does begin to fill you find yourself still glued to your seat.  Well, this oft repeated observation has me wondering if there are some life applications to be gleaned from this phenomenon of the human condition.   

So, here are some questions that come to mind as I mull this over in search of the answer.  Let’s start with this one.  Wherein lies the hesitation to plant the flag of leadership?  Not to draw attention to oneself but to set the pace for those who might be unwilling or unable to muster up the courage to join in the dance of living life as it is intended to be lived.  Could it be that as courage begets courage, dancing will in turn beget dancing?  Or wherein lies the resistance to be less concerned about what others might think of the way you dance life’s dance?  After all, this seems to amount to what I like to call “face dancing.”  Why not exchange this resistance for the joy of letting go of these self-imposed constraints in such as way that we can then simply enjoy dancing to the music life has to offer us.  Why the hesitation to just be yourself and let other’s deal with the dancer you are?  Well, much like in the case of the new bride we too exhibit immense beauty to the “Groom of the wedding feast” when we let go.  This seems particularly true when we let go of the lies that bind us up and hinder our ability to dance in the freedom that is ours.  This dance, the “freedom dance” will no doubt be an expression of the best present we could long for; the loving hand of grace given to us by the ultimate Father.  Though there may be the same hesitation for many to get on the dance floor of life and dance this dance, we can be assured that others will want to join in.  Perhaps our role here is to be the ones beckoning the clarion call to the dance floor by inviting others in to our dance story.  By the way, this Father desires to lead in this dance as well.  You just need to follow His lead. Peace.

So, who is your Vegas?  If you’ve been paying attention to the ads on TV recently you’ve no doubt seen the commercials touting this slogan, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”  The inference embedded in this marketing catchphrase is that you can come to “Sin City” and no one will know what you did while you were there.  And if they were to know, they certainly wouldn’t tell anyone.  Curiously, the allure of what amounts to a “primal attraction” suggested by this notion of getting away with something plays right into one of man’s greatest fears…the fear of being found out?  The constant companion of this fear for so many is at the root, I believe, for why so many live such exhausting lives.  Just consider for a moment the unrelenting drain of energy that occurs just to keep up with what amounts to a lie with no finish line.  Ironically, freedom can only occur when we are “found out.”

So, the question is, “Who is your Vegas?”  Not to whom do you go to be unknown but to whom do you go to become fully known?  Not to hide from where you’ve been or what you’ve done but to have someone in your life that knows you in such an intimate way that you are now able to “become.”  To become the man or woman you were meant to be…free!  Do you have such a friend?  Cultivating such a confidant in your life might just give you what the words suggests, confidence.  The confidence to come out from behind the curtain and begin to experience life no longer a slave to being found out but now to able live as a captive who has been set free.  Perhaps our finding such a friend will come as we seek to be such a friend to others.

I have no doubt that within the circles we do life in there are many who are tired of running the race that has them on a relentless run to keep one step ahead of the truth.  Many of these are simply longing for someone to help them remove their mask of bondage.  Rather than “go to Vegas” to hide perhaps we need to focus our energy on “being Vegas” to our friends.  It might just be that in doing so we will be the ones to be set free.  Peace.  

So, what do you do for a living?  Picture yourself on a night out.  You’re at a party amongst some good friends.  Perhaps there are many there as well that you don’t know.  Now take a minute and consider how many times you’ve been asked (or have asked others) this question as a way to “break the ice” of conversation with another person.  “So, what do you do for a living?” Maybe for you this is one of the default “curiosity” questions in your repertoire that you routinely use to simply learn more about another person.  Let’s think on this some more.

Though I think many of us are keenly interested in what others do for a living it seems that we would be well served to invoke a commonly used strategy of legal redirection and call into question the question.  Consider with me for a moment the potential game-changing implications of removing just one word from the question, the word “a.”  Now let’s restate the question.  “So, what do you do for living?”  Can you just imagine how the thread of conversation might change if we were to share with each other what brings us life rather than just simply perpetuating our “identity crisis” as we lead with a narrative of how we make money?  Wouldn’t a resulting benefit be that we would begin to share more of “who” we are with each other which might in turn serve to stimulate greater degrees of authentic conversation?  Might a simple restatement of the question point us more towards our “being” rather than our “doing?” Or could this be one of the ways that we can move from being so task-oriented to becoming more others-oriented?  Perhaps the question would help us become “known well” by others so that we can more quickly arrive at the place where we are simply free to be ourselves.  In the end, it just seems living life holds so much more potential reward than just making a living.  Peace.    

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