Sunday, November 26, 2017

Focus: Looking Inward, Outward, and Beyond

Being the second of six children, I learned the Gift of Focus, the ability to block out noise and distractions so I could read and study.  This gift has helped throughout my professional career as I have worked on very complex and detailed projects.

There are times in every day, though, when I become so focused on what I am doing that I do not see or hear anything else.  It is as if I am focused on a pinpoint of light at the end of a long tunnel... straining to see what is at the end of the darkness; waiting to arrive at the destination.

This is when I notice that this Gift also has a Shadow:

  • [Gift]  Focusing helps me complete the task at hand; and,
  • [Shadow]  When I become so intent on the goal, I don't pay attention to the journey. I may not listen to or hear what others are saying.  I may not observe what is happening around me.  I miss out on information and experiences that may be important to others.
Focus... Straining toward One Goal
(Fish Seller in Lisbon, Portugal)
Let's use an Open Door as an image to consider the Goal and the Journey.  There are several elements to this image:
  • Where we are (on one side of the open door).
  • The threshold (which provides a limited perspective of what can be seen beyond the open door).
  • Where we choose to go (to stay where we are or to walk through the open door). 

We see glimpses of the space beyond the open door from where we are.  With this limited view, we can anticipate and make conclusions about what we see.  But, we need to walk through the opening to see the fullness of what is beyond.

Choice and Action are important keys to an open door of journey and goal.

Focus... Opening Doors of Possibilities
(Lisbon, Portugal)
As my walking group climbed the steps through a Lisbon alleyway, I was struck by the  multiple aspects of the city view:  in the foreground - the many colors of the local neighborhood; in the background - the residences and castle on the distant hill.  With one angle or perspective, we could hold both views together.

An openness to dialogue provides us opportunities to practice seeing different views or perspectives where we can balance both journey and goal, past and present, reality and aspiration.

 Focus... Looking Outward and Beyond
(Lisbon, Portugal)

As we move through these waning weeks of 2017, let us consider the following questions in light of the Open Door image:  holding lightly the events of this past year (where we are), becoming aware of current energies and tensions (the threshold that limits our view), and looking forward to the possibilities before us (the choice and action to move beyond):
  • What memories of the past year bring:  Unhappiness, frustration, and pain?  Happiness, hope, and healing? 
  • Are there current views, meanings, and conclusions about people in your life that need to be re-examined? 
  • How might you begin a conversation with a family member or friend estranged, seeking to understand past actions, current situations, and future hopes? 

May this last month of 2017 draw you to thresholds which focus inward and outward choices, allowing you to take action to move beyond the open door!

Larry Gardepie

 Dialogue San Diego Consulting
(click on link to website)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Seeking Horizons: Searching for Balance

You may have noticed from past blogs that I love to travel!  I am renewed when I encounter new sights, sounds, peoples, cultures, histories, food...  In recent years I have had the opportunity to sail on several oceans and seas.  For me, there is something calming about the rhythm of ship life:  whether through the activities on board the vessel or the gentle rolling of the ocean waves, there exists an ebb and flow of familiar and extraordinary.  What is expected... anticipated... and revealed.

I would assume that our lives have similar rhythms of routine and unforeseen: times when our views are skewed or limited by daily occurrences and other times when we see beyond what is.  Sometimes the swaying of our lives brings clarity and direction, while other times we may seem lost or unsure.
Seeking Horizons:  Skewed or Limited Views
Looking at these two photos (above and below), would you believe that they were taken within moments of each other?  It was a matter of moving from one location to another, changing the angle of the camera, and waiting for the sun to fully reveal itself.

I wonder if our lives invite us into a similar rhythm as we encounter other people:
  • Moving from ordinary to extraordinary?
  • Changing our perspective as we listen and learn?
  • Waiting for light and understanding to expand our horizons?
Seeking Horizons: Seeing Brilliance and Silver Linings
Dialogue invites us to reconcile the differences in how we understand our lives with the diverse experiences of others.  As we practice awareness, we notice where we have been and where we are now.  And, when we stop and look at the horizon, we see unending possibilities of where we might choose to journey together.

There may be turbulence as we sway through the rough movements of today.  Our challenge is to look beyond and discover the distant shores that beckon us!

Seeking Horizons:  Balanced and Moving

Questions to consider this week:
  • What do you expect from today or this week?
  • How might you move or change in your perspective to anticipate other views?
  • What keeps you from waiting and celebrating what is revealed?

May we give thanks for the blessings of family and friends, and may we be filled with gratitude for the ebb and flow of the ordinary and extraordinary in our lives!

Larry Gardepie
Dialogue San Diego Consulting

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Passages: Moving Forward... Together

In these fractious times where controversy and dissension seem to permeate the airwaves and media sources, it sometimes is hard to determine whether society is spiraling upward or downward.  The Passage of Time provides us with milestones to mark our progress through life:  birthdays, anniversaries, births, deaths, new jobs, promotions, retirement, elections...

As we reflect on these milestones, we might assign values or project meaning onto people and events:  good or bad; positive or negative; helpful or hurtful; happy or sad...  These milestones help us test and balance our perceptions.

Passages...  Spiraling Up and Down
 (Santa Justa Lift, Lisbon, Portugal)
Some passages provide structure and strength, allowing us to travel safely through moments of uncertainty.  Religion, faith and spirituality may provide solace.  Meditation, yoga, and exercise may produce peace and strength.  Education and continued learning may enlighten wisdom and understanding.  Life partners, families, and work colleagues may inspire healthy relationships which support life and creativity.

Passages... Needing Strong Support
(Commissioner's House, West End, Bermuda)
By reflecting on our milestones and moving through these passages, we are called to look beyond the dark moments and the meanings or values we have attached.  We are invited to dialogue within the structures we have selected to seek shared truth and understanding.  We move from darkness and doubt through Passages of Understanding, moving outward and beyond the current moment.

Dialogue is similar to the childhood game of "Dots and Boxes" where each player connects a dot with a line, attempting to form a box.  Where the game is different from real life, though, is that dialogue invites us to remove the competition to claim more "boxes" than our opponent.  With dialogue, we want everyone to succeed!

Passages... Moving Forward
(Spanish Colonnade, Balboa Park, San Diego)
Through dialogue, we attempt to:
  • Remove barriers. 
  • Encourage healthy relationships which value each person. 
  • Freely provide information which removes boxes that limit and create containers of shared understanding.
As we move through the passages of time, we are called to move forward... together... rather than alone.

Questions for this week:

  • What milestones in your life are:  Hope-filled and life giving? Feared and avoided? 
  • What structures support you and provide passage forward? 
  • What information is important to share with loved ones, friends, and colleagues?

May dark passages be short as you search for pathways beyond the current moment!

Larry Gardepie
Dialogue San Diego Consulting

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Seeking... to Be Refreshed and Renewed

On a recent trip to Lisbon, Portugal, I noticed that I was enjoying the sites, sounds, tastes, and smells of this city.  It was my first visit, so everything was new and undiscovered.  As I looked up and around, I was aware of similarities to places I have visited, but there was a freshness to these new experiences.

I wondered:

  • Why is it easy for us to overlook the familiar or Ordinary Moments in our lives? 
  • Do our minds become dull and our eyes closed to the Every Day? 
  • Is it possible to see the Wonderful around us when life has become known and routine?
Seeking... Above the Ordinary
(Santa Justa Lift, Lisbon, Portugal)
It may not be practical for us to travel or seek out new places or experiences every week or immerse ourselves in different cultures on a regular basis.  If this assumption is true, maybe it is time for us to consider how to awaken a sense of Curiosity and Wonder about the people and situations we encounter every day.  Maybe it is time to look beyond… to broaden our horizons of what we see.  Maybe it is time to release the ordinariness that limits us and to seek What Will Happen.  In this month of Thanksgiving, is it time to allow gratitude to open us to Life Anew?

Seeking... New Horizons
(Commissioner's House, West End, Bermuda)
On this trip to Lisbon, we came across a broad plaza with several fountains.  Many people were enjoying the beautiful sunny day.  Tourists were gathered on one side of the fountains taking photos, the sun at their back.  (This reminded me: never take a picture into the sun!)

As I walked around the fountain, I noticed the sun playing off the water splashing down from the upper levels.  The water shimmered and sparkled as it sprayed and splashed.  I was mesmerized by the magical radiance of how the water and light played one with the other.

Moving away from the group, exploring new perspectives, allowed me to experience the fountain anew.  As I positioned my camera to capture this magical moment, the ‘Don’t Shoot into the Sun’ admonition played in my mind.  I moved to a position where the sun was hidden behind the fountain… and I was now free to take the photo!

Sometimes, to move out of the ordinary and routine, it may require that we mentally step away from accepted lessons.  To seek a new perspective, we must Desire to See Anew.

Seeking,,, To be Refreshed
(Rossio Square, Lisbon, Portugal)
What happened next?  Tourists taking the traditional or more accepted photo on the one side of the fountain saw what I was doing and came over to check out this new angle!

In the world of dialogue, we talk about becoming vulnerable:  asking for help; letting people know we might not understand; explaining what we are thinking or feeling.  To move from ordinary and to seek a renewed perspective requires Courage to be Vulnerable.

Once we open ourselves to other possibilities, we encounter extraordinary people and are surprised by the goodness in our world.  And just think, moving out and away creates opportunities for others to follow or engage with you differently!

Questions to consider:

  • How would you describe the ordinary events and routines of your life? 
  • What happens when you encounter the unexpected? 
  • In what ways can you renew the ordinary, seek the unexpected, and invite curiosity and surprise into your life?

May this week provide moments where you can step away from the Ordinary and seek to be refreshed by the Shimmer and Sparkle of Life.

Special Note:

This posting marks the beginning of the third year of this Dialogue San Diego blog.  Happy anniversary!

Larry Gardepie
Dialogue San Diego Consulting