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Work/Life and Responsive Proactivity

Monday, October 14, 2019


Ohhhhhh, I am so glad that (at the suggestion of a Sparkie friend) I subscribed to Michael Neill's Monday Caffeine for the Soul emails. He offers so much -- a blog, a video, a podcast. And this week his theme is "work/life balance" , very timely for me.

Yes, this is my long Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. And yes, most of Saturday I was (in my head AND literally, physically) back at the office dealing with a couple fretful problems.

Yesterday (Sunday) was better. But, an email came in late day and . . . .

This morning I woke up already "back at the office" thinking about what I will need to do Tuesday.

Not present in the moment. Not at all. Work/life balance all outta whack.

Although candidly I believe there is no such thing as work/life balance. Just trying to be present in the work or present in the life as needed.

What the Michael Neill video is all about this week . . Riffing on an old Zen koan, he reminds us that before enlightenment, we chop wood and draw water. Often resentfully. Somebody else should be chopping the wood and drawing the water, why does it have to be me???? And looking forward to the moment when we can stop working and start living and NOT chopping wood or drawing water.

But what do we do after enlightenment? (As if enlightenment ever occurs, once and for all!!) .Yup. Chop wood and draw water!!

Even more useful to me is his podcast in which he introduces the concept of responsive proactivity.

Somebody asked me recently . . . are you really "disciplined" about intuitive eating? And I said no: I've had enough of discipline, enough of calorie counting both in and out, enough of yanking my leash, enough of efforting.

But if I ask myself about my innate tendency towards one or other end of the spectrum . . . proactivity, taking charge, getting 'er done versus responsive going with the flow, immersing myself in life and letting it live me: for sure I know where I've typically been positioned!!

However, says Michael Neill today: that's a false dichotomy. Excessive proactivity can be excessively controlling, fearful, feeling my thinking in the past or in the future. At the other extreme, simply "going with the flow", passively immersing ourselves in life can feel like drifting, stagnation, stuckness.

We can do both. We can go with the flow AND anticipate, proactively: grabbing new ideas as they come to us and getting ready in the moment . . . that integration perhaps the very best experience of creative flow that can come to us. Engendering that calm confidence in the present that no matter what comes we can cope, we can manage, we can even playfully explore it and enjoy it . . . .

Great stuff. And for today . . . . that's the place I want and I intend to be.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • _CYNDY55_
    233 days ago
  • NANCY-
    Love how you get me to think. That is why I may be a bit late to the party on commenting. It is because your blogs deserve an atmosphere of attentiveness. Love ONEKIDSMOM's comment about the kayak. Yes, go with the flow, but be responsive, create opportunity. Integration does work well for me as evidenced in my last day trip. We had a plan, but stuff happened that required action. Balance is key.
    234 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/15/2019 9:28:36 AM
    Proactively happy then - Hope you feel balanced today
    234 days ago
    234 days ago
    Good stuff indeed :)
    234 days ago
    Earlier today I was thinking about this very thing. And, because of my religious upbringing this synthesis of doing both has a trinitarian ring, the synthesis of yin/yang or the middle way of the Buddhists.
    234 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/14/2019 9:25:33 PM
    I hope you were able to complete what was needed so you could go home and enjoy your Thanksgiving!

    In Bloom's taxonomy of education, we learn in different ways, changing as our brains grow and develop. We start by learning facts, developing knowledge. We move on to comprehension, to understanding that knowledge. Then on to application, applying what we have learned to various situation. On to analysis, where we analyze and question and experiment to test this knowledge and understanding. Level five is synthesis, where we internalize and integrate our knowledge into our selves, our thinking. And the sixth and final level is evaluation - is this working for us? Does this work for everyone? Does this even work forever, or do we need to change our thinking or knowing in some way?

    So yeah, we all take it different theories, different information. Sometimes it makes sense and we make this knowledge our own. Sometimes it doesn't fit and we reject it.

    And probably most of the time, we take bits and pieces of what DOES work for us, and integrate that into our way of thinking and being. So that we develop a composite of all those various theories, all that information and data, and make it our own composite theory.

    There are rarely hard and fast rules, and nothing is really one size fits all. We all develop what works for US by synthesizing and evaluation all those bits and pieces, constantly.

    234 days ago
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    234 days ago
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    234 days ago
    Very well said emoticon emoticon
    234 days ago
    Wishing you relief at work. You deserve family time, and being present at family time. I have no doubt you are present at work. I've been retired quite a few years now and don't regret retiring early.
    234 days ago
    I want to be free … to live my carefree life.
    234 days ago
    Reminds me a lot of Jack Canfield and his Chicken Soup for the Soul. Lots of thought leaders out there with good ideas. Another balancing act to be sure. Liked PENOWOK's realization that it is a lot like child care. I lean to being a more passive type, going with the flow. Less stressful that way, but leads to procrastination and not getting things done.
    I read with interest other titles in that podcast list. Might be doing a little listening.

    234 days ago
  • GABY1948
    Oh, how I can relate to you! I am so like you in this....not your profession but for sure, once there is a problem or something going on, I absolutely cannot get it out of there until I have figured it out! I know you will do it and do it well as you always do!

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    234 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    235 days ago
    We can do both. We can go with the flow AND anticipate, proactively: grabbing new ideas as they come to us and getting ready in the moment . . . that integration perhaps the very best experience of creative flow that can come to us.

    I think that's pretty much how I roll!

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    235 days ago
    What an interesting blog, thank you.
    235 days ago
    Because of you telling us about him, I signed up for his emails. Do enjoy his thoughts emoticon
    235 days ago
    It is a balancing act to be in the middle of the spectrum and not at either extreme.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Enjoy the moment.

    235 days ago
    emoticon May your bounty be grand...in the present.
    235 days ago
    Being open to the flow, to steer the kayak, maybe? Thanks for today's thoughts... got me spinning up, here! emoticon emoticon emoticon And happy Thanksgiving!
    235 days ago
    Have a wonderful holiday.
    235 days ago
    235 days ago
    235 days ago
    I spend my days with a 2 year old and almost 6 (when he gets home from half-day kindergarten. I have to go with the flow and maintain a level of structure at the same time. Hadn't thought before about what a dichotomy that is!
    235 days ago
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