Sunday, December 31, 2017

Moving from Old to New: What Will You Bring?

Old Year 2017.  New Year 2018.  According to the calendar, we are moving not only from one day to the next, but it is a transition from one year to another.  An end and a beginning.  A movement that inspires parties, services, reflections, hopes, predictions... and uncertainty.  The long sequence of holidays that began with Halloween and ends with New Year's (or the Feast of the Three Kings) drew us from one season to the next, Fall to Winter.  A movement of time.  A continuation of Life's Journey.

For me, a number of questions emerge at this time of year:
  • What am I carrying from one year and into the next?
  • Do I have a choice to leave some memories and stories in the past?
  • Am I willing to lay down burdens that weigh on me?

From Old to New:
Are there immovable barriers in your path?
(Click link for:  Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England)

Having visited the Neolithic structure of Stonehenge several times over the past 30 years, I remain awed by its size, purpose, and the foresight of its creators.  Circling the stone pillars this past September, I wondered about the beliefs and structures in my life that have grown over time.
  • Do I revisit these structures?
  • Do I question their continued purpose or impact on my life?
  • Have they become a mystery... that I protect and no longer understand?
From Old to New:
Are you locked into something you love?
(Click link for: Elevador de Santa Justa, Lisbon, Portugal)
My September trip eventually brought me to Lisbon, Portugal... a new discovery, a city I had never visited.  As I wandered around the touristy 'hot spots,' I came across a fence located above the skyline.  Initially, I focused on the beautiful view of old Lisbon.  But, as I drew closer to the fence and refocused, I noticed a number of locks placed in various locations.  Different shapes and sizes.  People's names, dates, and symbols etched or painted on the locks.  Public reminders of lovers and friends memorializing their relationships by locking one moment of their Life's Story

  • When do I lock memories into my worldview?
  • Who do I memorialize and with what symbol?
  • Where do I place these locked memories... and the keys to unlock and remember?

From Old to New
Are you ready to invite others into your world?

As I move from Old to New - one day to the next day, one year forward - I realize anew how important it is to share my thoughts, inspirations, hopes, and fears with others.  The ability to sit and share - open up, unlock views, ask questions, and listen - is so necessary in our burdened and locked world.

Old Structures may need to be re-explored.  The moments memorialized or locked in time may need to be re-visited and re-moved.  Places and forms of dialogue may need to be newly-created, welcoming others into a safe environment to be open to and embrace what is both common and different.
  • Am I willing to move from old to new?
  • Can I lay down last year's burdens, worries, and fears?
  • How might I become open to this year's uncertainty?

May we learn to let go of the unfinishedness of 2017, and move minute by minute into the hope that 2018 offers!  May we seek...

Peace.  Paz.  Pace.  Paix.   Friede.  Síocháin.  Shalom (שלום).  Barış.  Salām (سلام).  Solh (صلح).  Sānti (शांति).  Santipap (สันติภาพ).  Iríni  (Ειρήνη).   Lapè.  Zhi-bde (ཞི་བདེ).  Dohiyi (ᏙᎯᏱ).  Pokój.  Barış.  Minaggen.  Heiwa (平和 ).  Heddwch.  Kapayapaan.  Pokój.  Mir (Мир)...   
Peace to All on this beautiful Earth! 

Larry Gardepie

Dialogue San Diego Consulting
(click on link to website) 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Traditions and Memories

Traditions... customs... cultures... memories...  Have you ever spent time searching for the Perfect Gift for someone you love or prepare the most sumptuous meal for guests invited to your home?  Have you tried to replicate Christmases Past into the Present, hoping to recapture the Spirit you remember?

This season inspires us to explore ways to celebrate who we are.  We carry many thoughts and emotions into this season... joy-filled, sorrowful, contented, anxious, happy, child-like...   human experiences of remembrance.

By the time you read this post, though, it may be time to slow down... and relax!  A work colleague used to say, "You've done good!"  Look back now, and say:  I did the best I could!  It is time to celebrate the perfect gift, Who-You-Are-Becoming!

Traditions: Shared at Home
As you replay the past weeks of preparation, what are you carrying into this week:
  • All that was expected?
  • All that couldn't be finished?
  • All that you accomplished? 

Maybe it's time to set aside what happened or did not happen, talk to a friend or loved one, and share the aspirations and accomplishments... with the intention of letting go.  Maybe it is time to Hold Lightly the stress or tensions that were felt inwardly... or may have erupted outwardly.

Memories:  Shared Outward
(Union Square, San Francisco)
And, maybe the perfect gift right now is to slow down and offer a new perspective for the approaching New Year:  You are Good!  Those around you are Good.  We are doing the best we can.  We are human.

For me, these holidays are holy days: a mixture of childhood memories, mixed with adult experiences of joy beginning and life ending.  My parents made Christmas special for us six children:  the magic; the family traditions; the gifts; the way we felt loved.  A season of childhood memories: family, warmth, and belonging.

A New Year:  Ready to Emerge
(The Glass Factory, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)
But, this season can be one of emergencies, hospital visits, and being family in unexpected ways.  Both of my parents died in December (December 8; December 24), so the childhood memories are infused with adult decisions of carrying, letting go, and mourning.

You or others you know may be experiencing moments that may seem unseasonal or unusual.  As I attempt to listen to and understand others, I am learning that all of these situations and memories can be gifts to be unwrapped and treasured.

Unless we slow down and notice what is emerging in us... listening to what others are sharing about their seasonal memories, we may miss the challenges that are being experienced inwardly and outwardly.

What questions are emerging in you this week as you slow down... relax... and notice?

May this week remind you that "You are good!" and "You've done good!"

Larry Gardepie

Dialogue San Diego Consulting 
(click on link to website) 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Who Am I? Who Are We?

Walking around Windsor and Eaton, England, we came across a bevy or herd of swans.  Several people with bread and crackers were shore side.  The swans were very attentive!  Grouped together, facing one direction, they made their intentions known!

I watched the beauty and strength of these creatures as they vied for food, each bird pushing forward, focusing on its individual needs.

As I watched this spectacle of coordinated chaos, I wondered:
  • How often do I focus solely on my individual needs?
  • When do I participate in a single-focused Groupthink or Herd Mentality?
  • Who am I when surrounded by others:  am I defined as an Individual or in terms of The Group?  Am I independent or controlled; alone or in-relation?

Reflecting:  Who am I... among so many?

A few days later I was on a tour of Claude Monet's home in Giverny, France.  The gardens were the site of many of his water lily paintings so I was interested in seeing what inspired him.  It happened that the gardens were overflowing with Locals who availed themselves of this last beautifully sunny and warm Fall day.  An anticipated individual reflective moment had suddenly been transformed by hordes of people vying for "The Best" Selfie and Group photo:  click click... then rushing to the next section of the gardens.

I was overwhelmed by the jostling crowds!  But, eventually, when I slowed down and focused on how the gardeners were keeping Monet's vision alive, I noticed a flickering of tranquility from within.

It is possible to be present, to focus on the task at hand (e.g., taking a photo), and still be aware of something greater:  I can experience both Individual and Other!

Reflecting: Where are you in my life - close or at a distance?
(For more info: click on: Claude Monet, Gardens, Giverny, France)
As I continued to wander slowly along the garden paths, the frenzied horde of tourists moved ahead and beyond where I was.  I no longer needed to Keep Up, Be First, or Have the Same Photo as the others.  I was free and able to soak in Moments of Beauty and Inspiration.

There is a time and a place where we can walk together, share the experience, and still move apart.  There can be a balance of Community and Self.

Reflecting:  Who am I in... in relation to the world?
(Claude Monet, Gardens, Giverny, France

How do these experiences fit in with dialogue?  Consider the following questions:
  • When do I expect others to see, hear, and do things my way?
  • How might I become more curious -- and inquire -- about what inspires others?
  • Am I willing to let others know when I need to be around them... or when I need time alone?

As we move further into this holiday season, may the ebb and flow of group activities provide moments where you can be reflective and inspire your Individuality!

Larry Gardepie

Dialogue San Diego Consulting 
(click on link to website) 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Looking Beyond Limitations: Living Life Aware!

What is your response when asked if the cup is half full or half empty?  How do you encounter limitations of time or money or energy?  Do you see differences in the lifestyles of the "Have's" and "Have Not's"?

Our physical world offers many conditions that suggest boundaries, borders, divisions, obstructions, and walls:  ways to experience restrictions and reservations.

I wonder:
  • Is there a way for us to see beyond these blocked views?
  • Can we expect, anticipate, and hope for the Beauty Hidden:  the ability to see the cup... without qualification; to appreciate the gift of time, money, and energy... without limits?
Beauty Hidden
(Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, England)
In my travels, studies, and daily encounters, I experience moments when I feel trapped by the constraints of this physical world.  But, I also stumble upon the beauty that others have shared with us through thought, word and action... in lofty ideas, enduring literature, intricate designs, and time-tested beliefs.

When I open my mind's eye, I can see that I have a choice to move beyond any self-learned restriction:
  • Will I see the cup as half [full / empty] -- or -- will I be grateful for the cup that has clean water for me to drink?
  • Will I find fault in the person who misunderstands me -- or -- will I see the hidden beauty in that person who is struggling to understand me?
  • Will I accept what is happening around me -- and -- will I become the change needed to improve and protect the lofty ambitions before us?
Intricate Designs
(Rossio Railway Station, Lisbon, Portugal)
The choices we make can have a lasting effect... on how we see and experience the world; on the impact we have on others; on the enduring legacy remaining once we move on.

Centuries of Meaning
(Rouen Cathedral, Rouen, France)
Moving from a physical world of boundaries, limitations, and walls requires that we live a Life Aware: 
  • Noticing the current situation and the direction that life may be taking.
  • Being open to past and present understandings and misunderstandings.
  • Exploring divergent aspirations and possibilities.
  • Choosing to support Self and Others.

Questions to consider:
  • How do you see the cup [Life]?
  • How might you redefine Time, Money, and Energy [Tools]?
  • What Beauty Hidden surprised you today [Choice to See]?

May we choose to take action this week... to listen... to seek... to encounter the Hidden Beauty around us!

Larry Gardepie

Dialogue San Diego Consulting
(click on link to website)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Cloudy Meditations: Shades of Beauty and Brilliance

I love being on the ocean because of the beauty of the ever-changing skies: the moments of sunrise and sunset; the play of the light on the drifting clouds; the moods of the waterscape as the sun and sky play with the water's coloration.

For me, it serves as a reminder of the movements throughout my day: the moods ever-changing... as my inner thoughts drift outwards... as I encounter different people and take on tints of their emotions and attitudes... as I waft* between the various roles in my life.

Cloudy Meditations:  Tinted Images
There are times, though, when I am deeply aware that rays of understanding are beginning to break through my cloudy moods, exposing a renewed view of my Lifescape.  In these moments, I realize that I desire clarity where: 
  • A deadlock of misunderstanding with a loved one or friend can be overcome.
  • Warm rays of hope and healing may touch us and move us closer. 

These hope-filled rays and moments of clarity create a union of Awe and Inspiration!  I suddenly notice that I am in the presence of Someone-Beyond-Me.  You!  A Gifted Soul also searching for clarity and understanding!  How might I become inspired by your Life's Lessons? 

Cloudy Meditations:  Rays of Light and Hope
In these moments of awareness we are able to engage in a more open dialogue with those in our lives.  We become curious.  We seek to understand.  We desire to see the gift of that will be revealed.

Like waking up and experiencing a vibrant sunrise or waiting patiently at the end of a day for the setting sun, we anticipate the beauty.  We desire to be blessed with Brilliance.  We seek moments of peace and well-being.

Cloudy Perspectives:  Brilliance!
I wonder:
  • What would it be like to always notice my tinted moods throughout the day? 
  • How might I live differently if I understood what triggers my moods to darken?  Or brighten? 
  • Could I live in anticipation of wafting* moments of understanding that brilliantly shine throughout my life's journey?
  • Can I see you as you are, a beautiful and brilliant person?

Blessings to you this week as as you waft* between shades of Beauty and Brilliance!

* Definition:  Waft - to carry lightly and smoothly; to send or convey lightly.

Larry Gardepie

Dialogue San Diego Consulting
(click on link to website)