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preframing the new year…

December 31, 2009

As it often happens a number of events come together to prompt me to share my thoughts. This time it was a group of questions which started forming earlier in the week when I was fortunate to share a meal with a colleague during which we reflected on the past year and pondered the coming one. She found the courage to share with me her vision for her life – and it is one that when it comes to pass will make a difference in many more lives than the ones she has touched to date. The way forward seemed unclear and she then ran two questions into each other: “I mean, how do I make it pay the bills? How do I make it my life?

I have just returned from a couple of days on the coast staying with my parents. They are at that stage when they are trying to answer the question “When do I retire?” which is closely followed by “What will I do after I retire?

Being New Years Eve we let the girls stay up later than usual and we introduced them to the theatre that is Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. The third last line in the movie comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and while it is not strictly a question it makes it into the group: “How much of human life is lost in waiting!”

Being New Years Eve 2010 it is also a full moon here and as I put the girls to bed they pointed through the gap in the curtains and called me to come and look at the biggest full moon they claim to have ever seen.

Which I did.

And I am glad that I did because as I watched, the last full moon of 2009 was slowly covered by cloud. Had I stopped to tidy up some of the toys left over from today’s play, or fussed (as I usually do) over the wet towel on the floor that will not be any good tomorrow unless it is hung up to dry, I would have missed being in that moment with my girls and the moon…

My take on  the questions that have been posed to me over this last week is that how to make it pay and when do I retire are the questions you ask if you are in a waiting place where lives are lost. Forget about making it pay – just make it your life. Never retire from your life – so you don’t have to worry about what you will do after that day.

Emerson was right to lament how much of human life is lost in waiting. Be here now!  Emerson continues with some good advice “Let him not make his fellow creatures wait“. Be open to the beauty of the full moon in the present moment because if you wait, or you make others wait, the richness of the life you (and they) have to offer will be lost. Those who have played the Game with me before will know it as Ichi-go Ichi-e: One meeting, one chance.

And that is what I offer you for the coming year. A wish that whatever your vision is, that you will make it your life. That you will never feel the need to retire because of the beauty you continue to experience in every moment. And that you take advantage of every meeting – because one of the things I learned in 2009 is that if you can be in the present with another human life wonderful things will follow. For that I am grateful, and in 2010 I trust that you will be too.

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