Tag Archives: taking time

The Pamela Positive: What We Can Learn from the Gentle, Observant Jain Religion

Jainism is a group that believes we should leave barely a footprint on this earth.  They believe in gentility, kindness, and care for every living creature.  It’s even to the extent of not eating root vegetables, because pulling up the roots makes the plant die.  Jains honor every living thing.

Founded in a similar time frame as Buddhism, Jainism primarily existed in Hindu parts of India.  In the present day it is a small but powerful minority among the world’s religions, with some 4 million followers in India and growing communities elsewhere in the world.  A few core beliefs of Jainism include that every living being has a soul; non-violence is the path to right thinking; attachment to possessions should be limited, and one’s life should be lived to be useful to others.

May we be gentle, respectful and observant of the preciousness of life in all its form.

The Pamela Positive: Why Do We Live Apart from the Family We Love?

What We Can Learn from Asia

I am one of those fortunate people who did not need to board a flight this past holiday. My family is local: My parents live 45 minutes away on the Peninsula, and my sister, brother-in-law and three nephews and niece live about 1 mile from my parents.

That’s truly been a joy for me, the simple presence of family.   Being able to babysit last minute; experiencing the chaos of taking care of kids during ‘meltdown time’ at 5 pm with a 6, 4 and 1 year old when they were growing up ; celebrating their progress on their soccer field; scootering with them to ice cream on a warm summer night, after dinner.

Why do we allow ourselves to live apart? Why is it so accepted?

I know I am fortunate.  Sometimes people have to move because of marriage. A new job. Taking care of an elderly parent.  All very legitimate reasons which contribute to family, and yet, also separate…

In a recent Gallup Poll, 16% of the world said they would like to move to another country.  This comes from both dire situations (such as Somalia) to the desire for luxury or adventure.  But in one region the rates are lower than Europe and America: Asia.  Due to progress in political freedoms and enhanced economic opportunities, many Asians are staying put: Only 10% desire to move. But there’s another factor as well: Close family ties, and a cultural commitment to taking care of family, keeps the desire to move low.

Let’s learn, if we are so fortunate, from this cultural and familial commitment to keep family close…

I Envision a World Without Salt Packets

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There are so many things that are packaged within paper, and the waste can be enormous.  I think about the time, manufacturing costs, the transport, and the packaging when I look at individual salt packets.  My guess is, forty granules of salt are contained within a tiny salt packet.  And we’ve got to enclose it with paper, and then put it in another big package to transport it.  There are so many ways that we use paper that are not allowing us to be effective stewards of our environment.

There was an interesting write-up of editorial letters in the Chronicle the other day.  In it, one might think people were against plastic bags, and they were.  But they were also against paper bags.  All of the letters pointed towards using canvas.  And many of them even stated we should feel guilty for using trees to transport our lunches, groceries, or other sundries.  We’re facing quite a revolution here in being thoughtful about how and when we use our natural resources.

We can live consciously and thoughtfully about how we use paper.  When you write a note, could you also reuse it again, and use the other side?  When you receive a card, is there a portion of it that’s not written on, that could be used for a casual note to a roommate, spouse or friend?  Or perhaps you could even use it for a to-do list.  When you receive a box containing a recent book or item of clothing, you can save it for holiday gifts.  Let’s think creatively about our trees.

I remember my very astute four year old niece, when I took her to the restroom, after we had gotten brunch.  With two young nephews waiting in the restaurant, age 8 and 10, and as the sole aunt caretaker, I hurriedly pulled out two paper towels and dried my hands.  “Shame on you, Aunt Pamela.  They teach us in school that that’s a tree.  You’re not supposed to do that.”  Lindsey was absolutely right.

What if every time you picked up, or used a piece of paper, you envisioned a beautiful evergreen, redwood, or eucalyptus tree?  Would we then be so quick to crumple it up?  Would you crumple up a cherry blossom tree?

The Pamela Positive: “Sail Away from the Safe Harbor” – Mark Twain

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

It’s okay to feel safe. In some ways, we need to feel safe as a launching pad, knowing that someone believes in us.  And from that harbor, we can and should launch into spectacular venues where we push ourselves out of our comfort zone. You will grow and be inspired in ways you could never imagine.  You inspire.

For those of you who dream and discover starting from shaky ground, you have a courage that will carry you through to new heights and insights.  You inspire!

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, in Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835.  In his writing, he presented an honest, yet satirical portrayal of antebellum south.  His criticisms of the south, such as in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, cried out against racist attitudes.  He led an exciting life as a ferry boat driver and a prospector during the Gold Rush; his experiences enhanced his understanding of the American culture which he wrote about.

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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 Pamela Positive: “Be Clear About What Is Truly Essential”

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Marine corps officer Robert J. Wicks shares with us some important lessons on life and nature.

Rather than read, he encourages us to reflect.  If we face a challenge, we can act not from anger but from joy and grounded peace.

From his book, Streams of Contentment, here are three tips on living a natural, and successful life.

* Be clear about what is truly essential.

* Appreciate everything and everyone in your life right now.

* Recognize that a little silence and solitude is no small thing.

– Robert J. Wicks

When we appreciate what is important, right now, we honor life and everyone around us.

Robert J. Wicks was a Marine corps officer in Vietnam.  He is the author of more than 40 books, urging an appreciation of nature, inspired by his family’s 78 acres of forests and open fields.

The Classic Pamela Positive: To Have a Positive Mindset, Build Your Mind as You Would Your Dream Home

When you build a home, you have to have a vision. A vision of what you would like to create.  If you have a negative vision of your home then it certainly is not going to become a beautiful home! So we need to maintain that vision, even when the going gets rough. Even if you run out of brick. Even if the paint color didn’t match the way you wanted it to. Even if you have to fumigate!  Hold the vision, and keep striving for it.

So what has helped me during tough times is not just to focus on the positive, but on gratitude. Even in tough times there is something to be grateful for.  If you are having a hard time in sales and partnerships, perhaps you can be grateful you uplifted that potential client’s day with a positive smile or sincere compliment…

On an entirely different level…if a natural disaster has occurred, you can still be grateful that the sun came out, as, in many countries pollution, blocks the sun. That a friend is near. That people are caring and helping. Even in a crisis, and often especially in a crisis, the greatest goodness of people comes out.  We can find the good even when we don’t seem ‘to have or own much.’    True wealth comes from qualities of being loving, kind, sincere, genuine, giving. And how wonderful — that that wealth is available to each one of us, every moment.