The Business of Being

Before the 1,000-year flood hit Boulder County, before the early months of a challenging pregnancy stopped me in my tracks—I was in a big hurry.

Where was I headed? Truthfully, I had no idea. But I know now that the events of the past few months were unwelcome and made me feel miserable, even hopeless at times.  It is easy to tic off the things about the flood that stirred these feelings: Lives, livelihoods, and homes were lost; my comfortable sense of control, evaporated.  Don’t even get me started on my pregnancy symptoms (24-7 nausea, wretched vomiting), like I said—miserable, hopeless. Yet somewhere inside that murk I managed to conjure a tiny voice that whispered, “ There’s a gift here. “ And finally, a visit with a dear friend who was also reeling from the flood provided me with a key to realizing that gift.

“When I can’t get myself out of bed in the morning,” she confided in me, “ I think about the things I am grateful for…” Over the next few weeks, out of a sheer will to survive (the nausea/vomiting was relentless—and were amplified by the stress of the flood) I made a feeble practice out of noting the things I am grateful for: My wacky family; incredible friends; a resilient community; cool, sunshine-y days. Each day, it became easier and easier to tic off my list of gratitude. As I painstakingly developed my practice the gift was revealed. “Before” I was moving at break-neck speed. Pursuing intangible wants. Now, due to the alarming flood and the disarming effect of my pregnancy, my only choice is to stop and to be. And—finally—to experience the contentedness that comes with gratitude.

During my first few weeks back to work (after a 3 month hiatus) at The Cultivation Center, I find a lot to be grateful for: For one thing, a job. Not only that, a job that I enjoy while working with people who inspire me.  But my return to work also comes with a challenge. How do I, a recently reformed chronic “do-er”, integrate my new capability to just “be” into this business? Can I just “be” and still be effective? With this in mind I (embarrassingly) Twitter searched “gratitude”. I’m glad l did it because in that act I discovered David Steindl-Rast and his concluding talk on gratefulness at TEDGlobal 2013.

This summary of Steinl-Rast’s talk is brimming with quotes that feel true.  Among them my take away of the moment is: “The grateful act out of a sense of enough, not scarcity, so they are willing to share.” For me, bringing “being” to my work is correlative with having a “sense of enough”.  What a gift—one I hope to share with Cultivation Center clients as they uncover the trove of resources available to them within their team and from community partners and peers. We live and work in a place that is humming with meaningful connections waiting to be made. Our biggest job is to simply stop and notice what those around us have to offer to us and what we have to offer to them.  I am thrilled to be a connector inside of this vibrant network.

What newly developed business connection or relationship are you grateful for? How has it impacted you?