In the mid 1980’s I managed a catering – wholesale foods operation which gave me the opportunity to reinvent everything. I researched the competition from the Canadian border to NYC looking for trends and new thinking, I spent time wondering, pondering and brainstorming with abandon. Some of my mad stirring of the pot paid off, and some deepened the dent in my forehead from repeatedly connecting with the desk. And no it doesn’t feel good when you stop.
Early on I found motion in a moment. Within each moment opportunity exists, opportunity that is always in motion. Each moment is in dynamic motion spinning and churning without ceasing. What’s this have to do with running a busy catering operation, you may be asking right about now? I’ll tell you.
During the 80’s business coaching and personal development schemes where taking off, you couldn’t turn around without being offered an opportunity to take your business or even your life to a higher level. If you couldn’t make it to a live seminar there were VHS, Audio Tapes + CD’s available for home study. Remember this was not only before the internet it was also the same time compact discs had just come on the scene, and people could for the first time rent movies for home viewing. The information revolution was rolling through towns and cities with gusto.
Excitement about the possibilities to create something new was everywhere, you could feel the motion within each moment revealing itself. I happily allowed myself to be talked into taking a 12 week Robert Fritz course 0n expanding creativity and vision. So for 12 weeks it was me and the teacher spending 3 plus hours teaching me to crack open my creative side while embracing the vision. Wow, how could this not be worth all that cash I paid. I was learning to tap into the moment and find my higher self and learning how to attach vision to motion, though I didn’t know that at the time.
“Don’t be so loyal to your mind; the mind is not loyal to You.”
― Bert McCoy
A couple of months after completing the course I got all my employees together in a local deli for a creative jam. I asked everyone to think about where they thought the business could grow and how we would go about implementing those ideas. Of course the joke was on me because I never bothered to ask if they even had ideas or cared one way or the other. I had the vision thing and I was going to make sure everyone else joined me.
Six of us sat in the local deli and discussed their roles in the business with a few ideas peppered in between. The big ideas soon came from an outsider I’d invited to sit in with us for her business experience along with her wildly fertile imagination. I was counting on her input to help move the group forward. I was right about P. having a fertile imagination and before long the group had enthusiastically got on board with her ideas for serving our market.
Before I knew it I was free falling without a net, I had yet to share my vision and I was bereft of ideas to insert my beautiful technicolor vision within a group that was congratulating P. for her wonderfully stark, simple and easily understandable B+W plan.
Technicolor Technicolor (remember Technicolor?) I cried inside my mind as I gently shook while clinging to resistance from a place of fear. My vision was stalled and my grasp of the motion in a moment vision derailed. P. knew the space I was in and touching my arm she smiled with compassion telling me we could always do Technicolor next.
Motion In A Moment Unfolds
I didn’t then know about mindfulness, noticing assumptions, reserving judgement, active listening and it would be quite a while before the power of Generative Dialogue would cross the threshold of my consciousness.
Motion is what’s happening right now, right here. There is no past to retreat to, no future to rush toward. What we have is one moment unfolding smoothly into the next. Each moment presents motion, it’s a bit like a flower blooming right before our eyes. It’s only when we are distracted that we miss connecting with the motion embedded within each moment, always unfolding and always arising. The motion in a moment presents itself to us as a infinite opportunity.
Within each unfolding moment is an opportunity to pivot out of the deep chasm of ego we often find ourselves in. It was not knowing about using mindfulness to pivot that tied me in knots and doomed my vision. I clung to my vision ignoring the group as they moved forward. I was left in a heap along the side of the road not knowing how to listen or dwell in the motion in that moment and my employees moved on without me.
Part of being human is to attach to our memories, our brain runs more efficiently when it can repeat the same actions over and over, ignoring current reality in favor of efficiency. What’s happening in the here and now becomes stalled, and we kill motion. Our mind feeds us prerecorded perceptions of what we’ll see as we round life’s corners. As we climb the mountains and descend into the valleys of the familiar we believe we know what we’ll encounter before we get there. How is that possible, how can we know?
“It’s only when you’re forbidden to talk about the future that you suddenly realize how much the future normally occupies the present, how much of daily life is usually spent making plans and attempting to control the future. Never mind that you have no control over it. The idea of the future is our greatest entertainment, amusement, and time-killer.”
― Erica Jong,
Below is a mindmap I created with a moment at its center. The map shows how the past and future are but memories and hopes we’ve created in our minds. Using mindfulness with this knowledge can aid us in living and functioning in each unfolding moment giving us access to new levels of creative collaboration and dynamic innovation.
Don’t get me wrong, memories are wonderful and help us to navigate and live a much richer daily life but they become distractions when we live our lives through our memories. Mindfulness can be like a new set of windshield wipers making your vision clearer and richer.
There is a warning sign along this road that’s labeled Shinny Objects, these are the distractions we all are exposed to 24/7. Unplug when you can and don’t forget to turn off those bleeping notifications living on your connected devices.
Mindfulness practice can be much more than sitting crossed legged on a cushion. Check out Bicycling Into Mindfulness for an alternative view of practice.