NEXT010 Stepping Out of Systems and Paradigms and Into Your Life

Posted on : 25-04-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Creativity, Leadership

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You may be thinking, “first of all Lynn, what the heck do you mean by “systems” much less paradigms”?  Good question!  In this blog, I am using the word system to refer to large institutions, businesses and/or entities who have been using a well worn pattern of offering services or creating products.  I’ve always been a kind of renegade when it comes to bucking various systems; however, in many instances I was my own worst enemy because I allowed my personal unmet needs and wants to get in the way of why a particular system or paradigm was not working for me.   People tend to not listen or adhere to what someone is saying about an outdated/outmoded system when they keep confusing what they haven’t taken care of within with what is not working outside of themselves.

The good thing about getting older is that hopefully you’ve had a chance to work out some of your issues and questions about yourself and the world around you which you can then use to help support your point of view rather than detract from it.  Another thing is time becomes very relevant, even though it has always been true that you only really have the very moment in front of you that you can count, it becomes easier to distinguish where you want to direct your passions and spend your time (the grains of sand seem to be moving faster!)

In a conversation with a good friend who is mentoring/coaching me right now, we were talking about various systems and how they are changing and/or need to change.  In the past five years we have seen many systems seemingly go away and new ones replace them over night (such as the impact of book stores, newspapers and magazines by electronic media).  We also talked about academia.  For the past three years, I’ve been faithfully driving 70 miles twice a week to a college campus to finish up a degree.  I’ve always been a lover of learning and, for the most part, have enjoyed the classes.  Now that I am about 13 classes away from graduating, I’ve become somewhat disillusioned because of the “system” that says even if your someone my age “you have to take two physical education classes” (I run about 27 miles a week)  or you’re put into a large class such as Biology with 150 other students with one teacher and no TAs which then forces the teacher to give multiple choice tests instead of tests that give you the opportunity to show what you’ve learned and not what you crammed to memorize. It’s all about memorization.  My friend and I agreed that large universities like the one I’m going to are about ten years behind what is going on socially.  Surely the reason for memorization (and not comprehension) is outmoded by the sheer aspect that we can look up pretty much any piece of information we need on our PC’s let alone most phones at anytime we wish.

Last semester I had a fantastic professor who has a Ph.D. in Social Work.  She saw my aptitude and leanings and encouraged me to explore changing my major to social work which I seriously considered.  But upon further exploration, I discovered that our school only offered two areas of study and internship under the umbrella of social work which were Child Protective Services (don’t even get me started on the dysfunctionality of that system) and Geriatrics (so nursing homes and assisted living centers).  Both areas were well established systems with entrenched paradigms.  From my experience with both systems as passionate and well intentioned as I may be, if I went into either system over time I would be absorbed like a tar baby into the sludge of yesterday.  Change won’t happen within it will happen by stepping out and creating a whole new way of doing things.  For example, I am hopeful that there is quite a bit more movement to creating intergenerational villages and moving away from traditional nursing homes and assisted living.

I am also hopeful that as more and more of us step out of systems and paradigms all kinds of new and good changes will be created. When you take into consideration the impact of global population growth and how all of us could be living on this here Earth a few years down the road, it becomes apparent that some systems will have to go away and new systems created to take their place in various economies, in ways of doing business and in how we think about ourselves and interact with our world.

It’s either that or annihilation and I’d much rather put my intentions towards creating better ways of living wouldn’t you?

NEXT009 When the Roles Are Flipped

Posted on : 23-04-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Leadership

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The Roles I’m referring to as in mentor/mentoree/disciple/student or father/mother/child and not those yeasty floury things that you use to mop up sauces!  I believe that the Divine Guidance in my life has a great sense of humor and that many times I just don’t “get” the joke until I’m way inside of what is happening (p.s. I don’t think this is what is meant by an “inside joke”). Perhaps the mysterious has its own form of humor that roams around the bounds of what is understood. In fact, I can almost guarantee it.

For instance, take the case of me because I’ve always been someone who has sought out the mentor/teacher who I could follow and learn from. In my early quest days I would always look for the string in the perspective mentor/teacher’s make-up that I could pull to unravel the truth of the human behind the facade.  You could say that trust was a huge issue with me. In spite of myself, I stumbled upon some really helpful and good mentors and teachers in my life.  Two of them made a huge impact in the direction that my life was headed in my mid-to-late twenties.  One was a long-time therapist who was not only wise and loving but had a great sense of humor. It was this person who started the healing process of my shattered self-esteem.  A few years after my therapist, I met my dear friend who walked me through the ins and outs of co-dependency and its recovery program. That is the friend I’ve blogged about who is under hospice care now. So here are two people who have been very important to me as mentors and guides through life who are now both incapacitated.  I learned earlier this year that my therapist has Alzheimer’s.  This person who had been such a help to me, who held all my stories now has a disease that disables her capacity for remembering (among other things). And then, of course, there is my friend in hsopice.

I realized this afternoon when my hospice friend called me to help “talk her down” from a family drama that she knew she could blow way out of proportion, that our roles had flipped  long before her illness cemented the path she is on now.  Somewhere along the way I had grown up enough that I am able to stand on my own two feet and feel confident about the choices that I have made and continue to make as well as being able to re-gift the experience, strength and hope that has been given to me so generously.   Ultimately, I believe this capacity to learn, heal and give back is what we are all searching for when we look up to someone else.  A healthy mentor/teacher relationship is one that allows for the capacity of growth and expansion and challenges us to step into well-made shoes of experience, understanding and wisdom for our life’s journey.

Listen well to the yearning in your heart, for the keys to the kingdom are locked inside.

Stepping up to the plate

Posted on : 07-06-2006 | By : Lynn | In : Leadership, Uncategorized

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When I think of the term, “stepping up to the plate”, I think of a baseball player stepping up the home plate facing the pitcher with his/her bat upon their shoulder ready to hit the very fast and pitifully small ball heading toward their face.  If you guessed that I am scared of small hard objects heading towards my face while simultaneously not having the confidence in the coordination needed from my brain, eyes, hands, arms, body and legs…you would be right!

Do Something That Takes You Out of Your Comfort Zone

Posted on : 25-05-2006 | By : Lynn | In : Leadership, Uncategorized

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I admit it. I am a huge hedonist who would much rather have the benefits of hard work, without the hard work, the toned body, without the toning and the developed mind and spirit, without the concentration and focus. I’ve learned to clear out all the people, places, things, and activities that have dragged me down in one way or another and have replaced them with people who energize me, places and things I enjoy and activities that motivate me into action such as yoga class (because I feel so good afterwards) and scuba diving (because of the sites I see and because it is fun).  However, lately, I’ve noticed that I am sliding on a daily exercise program and so I want to nip that in the bud.

Calling All Leaders

Posted on : 10-05-2006 | By : Lynn | In : Leadership

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So, I’m curious. What descriptors do you use to describe a leader? And also, what personality traits do you feel are important for a leader to have? And while we’re at it, who in your own world (work, home, play) do you consider a “leader” and why? How are they a leader? Why do you follow their lead? Are you a leader as well? If so, what are your leader-qualities?