Tag Archives: animal

Day 435: What is Real Value?

What is of real value in this life?

That is an important question to answer. And I find that most people tend to look at their own pleasure centers when they consider it. They look at what makes them feel good and answer according to that. And I would have done the same a couple of years ago. It is so easy to fall into the cult of consumerism, happiness, and chasing all of the eternal desires that are never fulfilled. However, all of that will subside, and all of that will end when you die. And the question, what is really of value in this life, will remain unanswered.

What I have found to be of real value is the actions of support that I give to myself to grow and expand as a person and to others – it is the moments of living/expression shared with the life around me – where I take part and express myself in a context with other people/nature/animals. It is communicating and sharing myself deeply with another and learning things about myself that is going to have a positive impact, not only in my life, but in the life of many others. Such actions/moments/expressions, that is of real value. And that cannot be bought or replaced with consumerism. It has to be lived for real – and that usually takes courage/patience/hard work.

Real value implies a meaning that goes beyond this one moment – it implies something more – an action/way of living that creates benefit that stretches out into time and affects reality in a substantial way. For example, taking care of an animal, that is a moment of value. It creates a bond/relationship that goes beyond this moment and it fosters responsibility and care. There are many ways to contribute value in our lives and the opportunities will be there when we open our eyes. It is about looking beyond our own lives and out into the world to see where and how we can contribute with our particular set of skills to make a difference. I read about one person in India that planted a tree every day – and after a while – he had planted an entire forest. That was what he could do to create value. Though it is important to remember that it does not have to be a lot and it does not have to be noticed. What is important is our doing – our expression – and our starting point – our understanding as to why we are doing something – and then if its recognized or not – that is not the point.

I learnt a lot about practical value creation from a man called Bernard (you can read his blog here http://creationsjourneytolife.blogspot.com/). He was very good at seeing and creating value in every day activities. Small things were important – like – what kind of food the dogs got or how you cook food or clean the house. Are you present and actively engaging in what you do or are you only moving as a robot to get through the day? Are you actively caring about and creating value in your reality or are you only riding along? For Bernard, everything mattered, and everything had an impact, a consequence. It was a refreshing perspective. Because until that point society had taught me that it is okay to just ride along, as long as you survive, you do not have worry. And society also taught me that no matter what I do, it does not matter, I am replaceable and someone else can do it just fine. However that is not the truth – we are all unique individuals that put our own special fragrance unto everything we touch and participate in – and that is why it is important to be fully here – our expression is needed and gives/creates value.

Instead of using our creative powers to manifest value, we have become subdued into a system of consumerism – and through buying things – we are for a short time able to emulate a feeling of being fulfilled, content and happy. Though what are trying to replace with our consumerism? It is that sense of value that we have lost. We understand that we have become but a part of the machinery with no unique creative drive – and we see that we have suppressed and hidden our expression – and the only way to fill that hole is by buying things. And it is simply not a supportive way to go about life. Children and animals are great examples of what is possible when we access our creative juices. They express themselves with such intensity, passion and depth – and every moment is real to them. It is not merely another moment to get through – it is it. And that is the mental approach we need to have to start taking hold of the opportunities that present themselves to us every day to bring through value into our life and the life’s of others.

Day 411: Connection and Leadership

Today I decided to apply the words ‘interaction’ and ‘connection’ – and these are words that I am not naturally inclined to live. What comes easy to me are words like structure, discipline and focus – words that I have mostly applied in work settings – and they are pretty far away from the soft expressions of interaction and connection – even though structure, discipline and focus can also enhance and deepen interaction and connection.

When I experimented with the word connection – I could see that it is an active movement within me to decide to relate and engage with whatever is here in my reality. Thus – it is not necessarily about connecting with human beings even though that is definitely one of the more challenging aspects of living connection. No – connection is more of a spiritual stance – a way of being. Let me give an example.

I was out in the greenhouse replanting my tomato plants. They outgrew their seedling pots and needed bigger containers to allow their roots to spread. I brought up the word ‘connection’ within me and looked at how I could apply it. And then I saw that I could engage with the tomatoes – feel them – sense them – and nourish them with the gentleness of my touch as I slowly removed the old pot and inserted the plants into their new home. And even though I was doing the same thing – replanting the tomatoes – I experienced it completely different – and remaining in that ‘connection’ also required an effort. It had to push myself to be aware, to stay connected, present, close to the plants – and unless I pushed myself – it was easy for me to lose my touch and become led astray inside my mind – by placing attention on meaningless thoughts – preoccupation to not remain centered here.

Since I started experimenting with living this word I have noticed within me a greater urge to share myself with others – it is as if I am opening up within me this relationship of giving and receiving that exists everywhere. I have realized that we all have something to give – we all have a point where we are meant to stand and share ourselves. And it is not a static point – it is a flexible and ongoing movement that depends on our context and on everyone else. When we are strong in a part of our lives – then it is our point to step in as leaders and share our insights and solutions and help finding and creating the way forward. We all have that drive make the entire group functional – to enhance the weakest among us to equalize – and to create a solid, equally empowered group, that can take on the challenges far more effectively than a single person.

This reminds me of documentary I recently saw about a horse whisperer. She explained that she had once asked a horse who was the leader in its pack. And for those that are not familiar with horses – among horse owners it is common knowledge that each pack has a hierarchy. However, the horse whisperer did not get the answer she suspected. The horse explained that the pack has no leader. Each pack member is part of a dynamic and flexible system where each member of the pack is assigned leader depending on the type of challenge that the pack is faced with. For example – the pack will have one individual that steps in when the pack is threatened by predators, perhaps, because that particular horse is the fastest, and strongest. And it will have one horse that steps in when the pack needs to find pasture, perhaps because that horse has the best sense of smell. And the competition between the horses that can be seen are only to establish which horse is suited for what positions in the pack.

And I found this perspective extremely interesting – a dynamic and flexible system of leadership – where basically – each situation is handled by the perfect leader. And it makes so much sense – why do we humans believe that is possible for one human to be a leader in every field? For example a president? He or she can hardly master each of the many, many fields and subjects that a modern society comprises. And still – that is how we do it. Another problematic aspect when it comes to humans and leadership is that we put a value on leadership – and think that the leader is more than his pack – a special individual. While in-fact – the leader is very much a product and a part of the pack – and indeed completely helpless without it. Thus – the leader serves the pack equally as the pack serves the leader. The problem with us humans is that we become addicted to the sense of power that being a leader gives us – and we miss the very point as to what it means to be a leader – namely – to share our strengths with the group and the empower the weakest to stand equal with the rest.

Staying connected to and in tune with others, and to the world, have opened up this point within me of understanding purpose, position and placement in the world more clearly – and what it means to give and receive – and what parts of myself that it is important that I share with the world. For example – with my tomato plants – I must stand as the custodian and caretaker – because they cannot do that for themselves – they are dependent upon me. And similar with the animals I have in my life – I have to be their support when it comes to food and housing. And then in my line of work – where I stand as the person that gives advice to people in pressured and difficult situations – I must be the clarity, the support, the stability and direction that these people for a moment need someone to take on. Thus – my position is a leader – my responsibility to give and to share shifts, changes, and alters depending on my environment – depending on what I and others are going through – it is not something static that can be forever locked in its current position – connection is fresh goods – it cannot become a memory because then it is not real.

I will continue exploring these words and see where they take me.