Tag Archives: caring

The Pamela Positive: “UnConference Room” Your Meeting with a Peaceful Banyan Tree

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There are many images that come to mind when we think of Asia, from dragons to beautiful beaches, spanning varied cultures. One of my favorite views is that of the banyan tree, for it must be strongly grounded in the earth, which also allows its larger branches and leaves to provide overreaching shade.

It was under a banyan tree where the Buddha felt his calling to a new level of enlightenment.  Under these same trees, Gujarati businessmen hold their meetings.  It is even used as a place for political meetings: recently in Malaysia, the state assembly met underneath the welcome atmosphere of the banyan tree.  So, for much of Asia, spirituality, entrepreneurship, politics are taking place in the outdoors.

The banyan tree represents solidity, rootedness, and strength.  At the same time, it also represents comfort, shade and welcome.  It is a source of power, balanced with peace.  It represents firmness, as well as welcome.

Is America’s Banyan Tree the Conference Room?

It is interesting how in America, and in many places across the world, most of our meetings take place in walled, sterile conference rooms.  Chairs are uniformly around the table.  The walls are usually plastered with notices about the company’s achievements.  Pens and pads are available so we can write and record and get our business done. Gosh darn it, I can hear the executives say, in this room we’re going to get to the solution, get down to business and ‘make it happen.’

Yet what if we looked at doing all of our business, or even holding all of our meetings, under a banyan tree?  This return to nature might help conversations flow more easily.

Perhaps this atmosphere would allow us to be more authentic. If we are surrounded by nature’s occasional stirring winds, visionary clouds floating across the sky, and brilliant beckoning sun, would we not also settle into a more authentic course of conversation? Could it lead to more natural, comfortable (and no less impactful, but rather moreso) solutions?   Within this reframing context of nature, we can discuss our goals and hopes and plans and perhaps achieve even greater goals.

Here’s a thought… We can replace the pen, paper and busy scribbling of notes, with more eye contact.  We supplant the flurried white board scrawls with more thoughtful listening. What a profound impact this has to have on any business relationship, business decision, and especially, with any personal matter.

Until we can “Unconference Room” your meeting space, perhaps we can imagine all of our conversations thoughtfully taking place under a Banyan tree.  A place where comfort, understanding, and right relationships result under its strong, rooted and peaceful presence.

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The banyan tree originally received its name from the merchants who gathered beneath it to do business; in the Gujarati language, “banya” means “merchant/grocer.” Western visitors to India observed the merchants meeting beneath the tree, and the name evolved to refer to the tree itself.  The banyan trees are given great symbolism in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Banyan trees can grow to cover hundreds of feet, and live for over a thousand years.

The Classic Pamela Positive: Give A Gift Every Day

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I hope you enjoy a new audio version of this blog!

Give a gift every day.

Send your friend’s birthday gift early.

See a gift that would be meaningful for someone you care about, and just buy it. Give it to them now.

Take the time to cook a meal for your partner or your roommate.  Take the time to cook a meal for yourself.

Smile at a person walking down the street.

Smile at a homeless person and stop and learn their name. There is the gift of knowing someone. Of acknowledging you care.

Be kind to yourself.

Get in bed early.

Say three gratefuls before you fall asleep.

Say three gratefuls when you wake up.

Believe today is special.

Take time at lunch to be grateful for three more things.

Pay the phone bill for your roommate.

Drop off banana bread for your neighbor.

Give a lot. Expect little.

Smile at yourself in the mirror.

Work hard and attain the gift of devotion to something you believe in.

Work and leave early and give yourself a gentle night off, nurturing yourself.

Stop and look at nature. Any part of nature. The expanse of the sky; drifting clouds; a vibrant flower.

Give yourself the gift of awareness of how precious and beautiful life is every day.

The Classic Pamela Positive: “Look Deeply and Recognize the Real Enemy” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“If I can say anything to you, it is to invite you to look deeply and recognize the real enemy. The enemy is not a person. That enemy is a way of thinking that has brought a lot of suffering for everyone.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Anything negative — is not from a person.

Radical thinking?  It shouldn’t be.   If we view the enemy as simply a thought and not a person, we depersonalize it.   It’s temporary, changeable.   And we allow the person to grow beyond it, rather than be it.

We can then eliminate personal offense, and work constructively towards a solution.

Look at the Why

If something seems to be negative, we can encourage ourselves to look at “the why.” Why might someone think, or take action, in this way?   This offers us an opportunity to develop empathy. Perhaps this person—let’s call her Jeanine—came from a difficult circumstance or has been hurt.

It’s not Jeanine who is “bad,” but the experiences which occurred in her life which impacted her.  It’s those events that led to the thinking and action behind negativity.

So Jeanine’s identity is not “Prejudice”, “Anger” or “Hurt”:

It’s instead:

The most beautiful thing about this is the following.

She can change.

Allow her to do so.  Wouldn’t we all wish to be forgiven for a past action?

Happy PeopleEvery day we can begin again.   We can embrace a fresh purity for each person in our lives, allowing us and others to lives to our fullest – with Love.

                                                                             —✶—

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk and Zen master.  He is a well-known poet, writer and peace activist.  A native of Vietnam, during the Vietnam War he helped found the “engaged Buddhism” movement, combining the contemplative practice of the monastery with active ministry to victims of the conflict.  He founded the School of Youth Social Service, a Buddhist University, a publishing house, and a Vietnamese peace activist magazine.

During a trip to the United States, Thich Nhat Hanh persuaded Martin Luther King, Jr. to publicly oppose the Vietnam War; King subsequently nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize.  Thich Nhat Hanh led the Buddhist delegation to the Paris Peace Talks.

Thich Nhat Hanh is the author of more than 85 books on mindfulness and peace.  He founded the Plum Village community in France, a Buddhist community in exile.   He continues to live and work at the Plum Village, and leads retreats worldwide on “the art of mindful living.”

The Pamela Positive: “To Be an Altruist, You Must First Be an Egoist.”

“To be an altruist, you must first be an egoist.” – George Gurdjieff

In 1919 Armenian George Gurdjieff founded the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man in Tbilisi, Georgia, in order to serve men in peace. Yet Mr. Gurdjieff’s commitment to helping others began with himself. It was about complete self-awareness; absorption in meditation; and pushing oneself to a higher attunement to the Spirit.  In so doing, we are then able to be conscious of our own spirituality as foremost in thought.

From that standpoint, we can then go on to help others.  We see everyone connected in spirit.  We wish the best for others as we strive for peace and perfect alignment for spirit for ourselves.  So we focus first on our own spiritual commitment, before we focus on helping other’s spirit, in this wonderful journey of life.

George Gurdjieff was an Armenian mystic and philosopher. He traveled in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia as a young man. He taught in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and in 1919 he founded the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at Tiflis (now Tbilisi), Georgia. In 1922 he reestablished the institute at Fontainebleau, France, gathering a group of followers who lived communally, engaging in philosophical dialogue, ritual exercises, and dance. His basic assertion was that ordinary living was akin to sleep and that through spiritual discipline it was possible to achieve heightened levels of vitality and awareness. The Fontainebleau centre closed in 1933, but Gurdjieff continued to teach in Paris until his death.

Philanthropy – Start Loving Others Now

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While it is commonly accepted, I’m not sure I agree that philanthropy means giving away ‘money.’

Instead, philanthropy is the love of humanity, of people.

And what I cherish about this definition is that it is accessible to anyone, at any time.

We can all be philanthropists.

Whether you are getting the drycleaning, having a conversation with your boss or coworker, or saying a kind hello to a homeless person, you are a philanthropist.

Philanthropy should be, and is, accessible to all.

I love that we can start loving others now!


*The Definition of Philanthropy, in Merriam-Webster: 1: goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially : active effort to promote human welfare 2: an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes

The Pamela Positive: Juliana Margulies – Smile at A Stranger, and The Important Reason Why

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“Walk down the street and smile at a stranger. He’ll smile at the next stranger passing by, and then the whole street is smiling. And no one knows why.”  -Juliana Margulies

I love this quote. The only why we need to smile…is simply to give joy.  Give joy to ourselves and to others…it’s one of our main reasons for being.  And while people may not know why you are smiling, they’ll soon find out:  It makes the world go around with peacefulness, graciousness and kindness.  That’s reason enough. 🙂

Juliana Margulies is an American actress who achieved success as a regular character on ER, for which she received an Emmy.  More recently, she took the lead role in The Good Wife, and has received a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild awards.

The Classic Pamela Positive: Leaders to Inspire Us: Frances Hesselbein

As a woman social entrepreneur myself, I find it exciting to see the strong women working in the nonprofit sector. There are so many inspiring stories. One of my favorites is Frances Hesselbein.

 

She was a mentee of Peter Drucker. This 90-something year old leader is still going strong, speaking internationally, and helping women leaders and entrepreneurs all over the world.

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She has written two very insightful books geared towards both non-profit/for-profit leaders: The Leader of the Future and On Mission and Leadership: A Leader to Leader Guide.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Miss Hesselbein in New York; she has already had a profound influence on me and my desire to become a leader. With leaders like Frances to inspire us, it’s exciting to think what can be accomplished in the future.