Finding Purpose and Direction Through Compassion

Every once in a while, I get really, really, really caught up in my goals. Sometimes it’s because I am so very excited about them, I’m on the edge of my seat — like I’m watching a basketball game or exciting movie — I just can’t wait to see whether my goal will be met, and how.

ire4Sometimes, though, it’s just the opposite. I don’t know what my goals should be; and it feels like no matter how hard I strain my intuition, my logic, or my emotion, I just can’t figure out what I ought to be doing with my time. My old goals that fired me up a month ago seem lifeless or petty; and all the new ones I come up with seem boring, or too ambitious, or out of character for me, or inappropriate somehow.

When I’m in this state, it’s like I’m deaf or blind. I’m so wrapped up in my worry, I can’t really hear music, or see the colors in the sky or the trees. I can see them — but I don’t. It’s like I’ve forgotten how.

Either way, I end up thrashing around rudderless and graceless until I catch myself up short. “Whoa, Nelly!” I say to myself. “Slow down before you hurt somebody.”

Your Ego is Screaming

I’ve let my ego take over. It’s talking so loudly, I can’t hear anything else. Either it’s totally self-absorbed in chasing its little goals, or it’s afraid of picking the wrong goals, and its fear is making it deaf.

And in both situations, the solution is the same: put the ego to sleep for a while.

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Where Do Ideas Come From?

Have you ever wondered whether someone has been stealing your ideas? Maybe you’ve come up with a brand-new way of doing something, a new way of approaching a problem, an idea for an article or resolving some issue at work, or a personal gift you can give someone — and before you get a chance to put your plan into action, you find in someone else has already done it. What gives?! A week ago, a month ago, this idea was your own special unique treasure, and before you know it, everybody seems to be doing it.

abyssThis happened to me three times in just the past week. It’s not something that happens often to me, actually, because I’m not a very, um, normal person, and I usually don’t have any trouble thinking outside the box. Quite the opposite, in fact — frequently I don’t realize the box is there, and I end up tripping over it in my enthusiasm… Continue reading “Where Do Ideas Come From?”

Hearing the Song of the World

A couple of days ago I read one of those books that reaches deep into your heart and wrenches you. I was in my daughter’s brand-new first grade classroom, and the first big meeting between the class parents and the teacher was over, and people were milling around and talking and getting to know each other. In Waldorf education, a single teacher stays with a class without interruption from the first grade through the eighth grade, so at this meeting everyone knew that they were laying the groundwork for relationships that had to stand the test of time. Of course, many of us parents knew each other already from last year’s Kindergarten, and most of us knew our class teacher from earlier work she’d done with the school, and the informal parties and gatherings we’d had over the summer — but still…

ire54bI found myself over by the bookshelf. I wondered what books my daughter’s teacher had picked out to get started with — no doubt books with beautiful pictures and simple words for early readers… Here was a magnificent ancient edition of the Billy Goats Gruff, with a neat pop-up mechanism that allowed the reader to see the troll encountering each of the goats one at a time. The biggest billy goat Gruff looked so terrifying that I felt absolutely sorry for the troll.

My eye was drawn to a small paper book called Komo the Shepherd Boy, by Martha Hackman (Green Tiger Press, 1982). The illustrations were stunning — bright watercolors in a sort of “Yellow Submarine” late-60’s style, by Aura Cesari. I thumbed through the pages, and saw that there was quite a bit of text. Obviously, our teacher intended this to be a book that she would read aloud to the class. I was surprised, because in our experience Waldorf teachers tell stories completely from memory, for a number of reasons — perhaps most importantly to allow the children to form their own pictures in their heads, uninfluenced by pictures in a book, and to allow themselves to fully engage the children as they’re speaking…

My eye was caught by a few key phrases. I immediately read the whole thing in two minutes.

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