Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Who Are Your Flowers? Who Are Your Weeds?

In life, as in gardening, we need to tend to the things we want to grow and weed out what is growing where it doesn't belong. Dandelions: weed or flower? For now, let's call them a symbol of the choices we make in life and who we surround ourselves with. We choose the weeds from the flowers of friendship. Ask yourself: who are your flowers... who are your weeds?

When people are ready to work on their lives one of the most powerful places to start is to weed out the toxic and negative people. It's not always fun, but boy is it freeing!

In last month's workshop someone asked what to do with people we can't weed out of our lives? First, one of the things we need to own as adults is most people in our lives are there because we invite them in. Bosses, family, friends are in our lives because we haven't: quit, walked away from, or unfriended. This is actually great news, it means we have the power to be more discerning in our choices of the relationships we cultivate.

When people are confronted with the idea they can rid themselves of the majority of their toxic influences at will they get defensive. They strain coming to grips with thought that they could have dissociated with these folks a long time ago and they've wasted so much time and energy.

Granted sometimes there are toxic people we can't or choose not to get rid of-- so what to do with them? If they're not a weed you can pluck, or a bud you want to tend to... then consider them a rock to mow around. We don't water rocks or worry about how they are being fertilized or cared for we let them just be.

In the lawn of life, rocks are just there. If someone is a boulder we can't extricate from our life then let's just let it be. Walk around it, pay no attention. Don't let it rock our world that it's there-- we have more important things to attend to.

There is no better time then today to weed out what we can, let boulders be, and cherish what's in bloom and beautiful in our life.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Get Off The Road To Abilene!

Road to Abilene; photo by Matthew High
The Road to Abilene is a business parable addressing the dangers of groupthink. It goes something like this:
There is a group of folks sitting around a porch on a very hot summer's day and one fella says to the group: hey, we could always take a ride to Abilene and grab dinner. The woman to his left says: yes, that's a fine idea. And they all decide to get in the car and drive to Abilene. It's a miserable trip. No airconditioning, the food was bad, they're all crabby. On the way home someone finally acknowledges what a lousy trip it was: why did we even go when we could have just enjoyed a day sitting around sipping iced-tea and playing dominoes? After a round-robin of blame-placing they come to the original guy who suggested it and decide to blame him. Embarrassed he says: I thought you were all bored so I just threw the idea out there... you were the ones who decided to come along for the ride
When a friend recently shared this story it occurred to me this is more then just a business analogy, it's the way many of us live our lives. How many times have we ended up at a job, romantically involved, or in some way living out a situation we not only didn't want but can't exactly remember how we got there?

It's sad but true that I have more than a handful of acquaintances who've told me they knew the day of their wedding they didn't really want to get married but did it anyway. Why? Because they had already started down that path. Many have ended up with a house, at a job, in a town, with more kids then they wanted just because it was the next thing to do.

When was the last time we asked ourselves if we are on the road we want to be on? In the company of the people we really want to be traveling our lives with? 

Now is the time to stop and get our bearings back and make sure even if we're merely inching along that we are at least on the path we truly want to venture down. If not, let's turn it around, take a different road, switch vehicles or passengers, or something. We are the drivers of our lives... for gosh sakes let's get the hell off the road to Abilene!