Tag Archives: Values

The Pamela Positive: Undertake Something So Great You Cannot Accomplish It Unaided

Phillips Brooks, an educator and spiritual leader, advised us to push ourselves into the unknown for a special reason: To become spiritual.

Well, you might ask, “Why is being spiritual so important? I simply want to create a great company, write a book, or scale Mount Kilimanjaro.”

The qualities it takes to do any of the above, and anything miraculous, cannot be seen. They are:

Perseverance: Don’t ever think of giving up…
Thoughtfulness: Care in building a team…
Inspirational: Being able to paint your vision in a way that excites others and compels them to take action…

You must have these qualities to build successful relationships and enduring companies.  Yet all of these are qualities which are not required in school, home or job.  And yet they are the invisible glue which will allow you “…to undertake something so great you cannot accomplish it unaided.”
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They are not material or physical. They are spiritual.

“We never become truly spiritual by sitting and wishing to become so. You must undertake something so great that you cannot accomplish it unaided.”  – Phillips Brooks

Phillips Brooks was an American clergyman in the Episcopal church during the 19th century.  He published several books of lectures and sermons, as well as authoring the popular Christmas carol, “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”  He was highly regarded as a preacher and a patriot.

Love for the Team

 

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Yesterday, I brought in Chinese food for the UniversalGiving team. It was so nice to have the team together and to bond over good food and good conversation. I’m so grateful for all of the work that each and every team member does to contribute to our mission, our values, and our community.

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.

“Look Deeply and Recognize the Real Enemy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

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“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?

Every day we can begin again. We can embrace a new experience, a fresh purity, allowing us and others to live to our fullest.

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 Classic Pamela Positive: Sticking with the Beauty of Loving Yourself and Others

In this article by fellow Fast Company blogger, Alicia Morga, advised: “Adopt the Cindy Crawford motto: no flaws…stick with the beauty of loving yourself and others.”

As Cindy Crawford says, “Never point out your flaws but do admit to your mistakes.”

What a powerful distinction.  Cindy is an accomplished wife, mother, businesswoman, spokesperson and model.  She’s demonstrated beauty in so many ways, specifically through her acumen, well-spoken manner, desire to make a beautiful life and home accessible to everyone, and most importantly, knowing that true, lasting beauty starts and comes from within.

Beauty is about trusting yourself, appreciating your unique qualities, just as we should for other people. It’s one of our greatest age old wisdoms, to love your neighbor as yourself.  And to love our neighbor as ourselves, we have to start with, yes, you and me.

So, as Cindy advises, don’t point out areas of yourself that are weak. You might be working on those, and we all have areas of improvement. Do demonstrate your positive qualities of intellect, kindness, graciousness, honesty, selflessness. We recognize and celebrate these abundantly.

There will be a time, many times, when we all need to own up to mistakes or ways we can be better. Then we, with rapid fire, should admit our mistakes and, where necessary, apologize. Part of our beauty is cultivating caring, honest, open relationships where we admit where we could have been better. With this admittance comes strength and a more beautifully enduring relationship with others – and ourselves.

Truth is beauty. We start with the Truth of what is good about us and others. We stay with that until we find a time where we need to admit where we fell down. And we avoid simply putting others, or ourselves, down at all.

Stick with the Beauty of loving yourself and others.

Cindy Crawford was a popular supermodel of the ’80s and ’90s.  She has also been involved in fitness campaigns, and appeared in TV and movies.  Since retiring from modeling in 2000, she has been working in beauty products and a home furnishings line.  Her younger brother, Jeff, died of leukemia when Cindy was ten, and childhood leukemia has been a major focus of her charity work. 

The Classic Pamela Positive: Happiness: “Spending Time with People You Love and Who Love You”

“It is only a slight exaggeration to say that happiness is the experience of spending time with people you love and who love you.” –Daniel Kahneman, nobel laureate

Gifts and giving.  We associate so much of that with happiness.  Yet our one true Happiness is Loving Others. Oh, that sweet presence to just be around those we cherish and feel at home with!

Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli-American psychologist and Nobel laureate.  He is known for his work in the psychology of decision-making.  He was born in Tel Aviv, spent his childhood in France, and moved to Israel in the late 1940s.  He studied psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and began his career as a lecturer there.  Kahneman has published extensively in psychology, and received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2002 for his work on prospect theory.  He is currently on the faculty at Princeton.