Full Circle POV

Nurturing a holistic, integral point of view for greater leader and team effectiveness and member well-being.

Archive for the category “Personal Development”

An I Ching Reading to Live By

Heng/Endurance, Hexagram 32 of the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes, offered up sage advice when I threw the coins with no particular question in mind. As always, I take heed.

Enduring. Success. No blame.
It is beneficial to persevere.
It is beneficial to have somewhere to go.

To endure means to keep going despite obstacles. Endurance is neither stagnation nor a state of rest. It progresses forward, unlike stagnation, and it keeps moving and growing, unlike rest. What endures renews itself and its effects through continuous activity. What endures does so through change, not in spite of change. Its effects are understood against the experience of change. We see this in the cycle of the seasons that continually renew themselves as the earth moves around the sun. The cycle of the seasons repeats perpetually because its underlying causes continue. Plants and animals grow and change as they endure over time. When they cease to grow, they die, and then they cease to endure.

So it is in life. All life is change. But in order to make change intelligible, there must be things that persist, against which change can be understood. To give your life meeting, you must have something that endures: your identity, your relationships with others, and your principles. If you surrender what is enduring within you, then you surrender to the flux of events and become indistinguishable from them. Then there is nothing left of you.

The lesson of Heng is that you must learn to be consistent and persevere in the face of a changing world. Circumstances around you are changing, but you must maintain your integrity. Be consistent. Do not allow yourself to be blown about by a momentary alteration in fortunes. Do not let concerns about what others might think or how well others are doing by comparison lead you to take drastic or reckless action. Instead, focus on what is and should be enduring in your life: your relationships, your character, and your principles.

The situation that you face now requires you to persevere even though you face adversity and obstacles. Choose a path and stick to it. Keep your long-term goals firmly in mind and progress slowly but surely toward them. Employ routines, practices, and cycles of activity that you can engage in over the long haul that will bring you closer and closer to your goal. Be content to make progress step by step through time-tested methods. Attend to the little things. If you neglect them, they will cause problems in the long run. But if you take care of every day tasks, you’ll head off a lot of problems before they can become large.

The secret to endurance is character. Stick to your principles. Maintain your vision. This will see you through difficult times. You will inevitably have to adjust to your strategy as times change, but do not give up its essential features. Don’t be tempted to make radical alterations out of fear or anxiety. Slow and steady will win this particular race. When things go well, keep going and do not become lazy. When things go badly, keep going and do not become disheartened or afraid. But whether things go well or badly, you must keep going. Never give up. Through endurance and continuous practice, advantages will slowly but surely accumulate, and the situation will eventually move toward your desired goal.

Balkin, J. (2002), p. 352. (See Bookshelf for full citation).

zen-stepsZen Steps




“To Thine Own Self Be True” is No Easy Feat

Emerson captures where I think each person’s center of gravity should lie:

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people may think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. (“Self-Reliance,” p. 33 – for full citation go to Bookshelf)

Out Standing in It's Field
Out Standing in One’s Field

As I’ve written before, our Persona is the necessary adaptation we make to the external environment that is a  compromise between our internal selves and outer circumstances. We can’t disregard the world around us, but how easy it is to let those external circumstances habitually dictate our realities. For me, Soul is our lived experience, our unique inner self, that gift that is ours alone. What does it profit a person to gain the world and lose one’s soul? The center of gravity resides best within our own truths, with a respectful nod to the realities of the world. Center of gravity means the primary, not exclusive, focal point.

The Art of Making a Living

So much rides on our ability to create and maintain our personal and professional Persona. To swim with the big fish, in whatever pond we’re in, we have to jump in and start swimming, like the others, like right now. Unfortunately, that focus on swimming can become the end in itself; we can’t stop swimming, too much to lose. Polarities are manifested, sides are picked.

In the process, we lose track of the gold we let fall into the shadows, that we can reclaim, rather than defend against. There are life-enriching, life-expanding potentials, in our individual and organizational Shadows, that become adversarial because of inattention, neglect or abuse. They turn on us. The things that go bump in the night, and day, that, actually, can be helpful. And, are meant to be helpful.

I like the way Laurence G. Boldt, in Zen and the Art of Making a Living, captures how parts of us, sometimes the best of our potentials, become split off and lost, and are seen as contrary  or other as we shape and maintain our individual and collective Personas. [My interjections in red].

It’s time to get a job. Time to forget all that stuff about choices. Don’t think about visions or values. Don’t concern yourself with whys. Just be responsible [sic] and concentrate on how you can get the “best” job. Suppress your awareness of yourself as an observer and creator of social reality and plunge into playing the game as it is already defined, with your eyes closed. We have seen other ways. We are aware of choice, and yet if we are to be “responsible” citizens, we must try to forget. Be a good kid, now, and get yourself heavily involved in the game of winning social approval [power, network, income, job]–anything else and you risk ostracism [loss of same]. That’s enough to keep most of us in line for a long time. We still think about these things–now and then. We may talk about it some weekend, late at night, over a few beers or glasses of wine. As we grow older, we may bore our children with repeated tellings of stories about the good old days of our freedom (of choice). What was questing, searching, evaluating now gets stuffed, shelved, and compartmentalized. But make no mistake; it is not dead. It is only sleeping. (2009, p. 87)

[For full citation go to Bookshelf]

Into the Woods

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