Living In The Now

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If I could share 500 words to inspire, this is the important wisdom I'd want to pass along to others...

  • I’ve been called the “Woman of Independent Means.” Funny, but it seems to capture all the vigor and verve of self-sufficiency, achievement and hard core measurable goals which marked my passage and intentions upon entering the decade of the 90s. I determined to change the world, to make quantum leaps in financial gain, to publish and to produce. After all, 40 was upon me and time a’fleeting.

    Now, closer to 60 than to 40, I realize that the better triumphs have not come from reaching these goals but in the shadows and nuances of missing them. When things have not gone as planned and I am forced to stop in pain and confusion, I learn and grow more. And I discover how very dependent we are upon an external world to help us see meaning and discover the deeper purpose behind the seemingly meaningless. It is impossible to truly be a “woman or man of independent means.”

    I have discovered that for every beast in the wilderness, there are angels in attendance. Just at that point when I am whipping myself for failures, someone comes along to remind me of some difference I never knew I made. I was looking to “win them all”. The far greater impact came from “winning one”. When I’m feeling most unlovable, some angel appears to whisper in my ear. Yes, I am dependent upon my angels.

    I have discovered that unspeakable moments of beauty abound when least expected. In a juvenile “shelter” for girls from the ages of 12-17, where street-smarts and supposed hard hearts conspire to create a short lifespan of crime, I found honesty, fear and a deep desire to be loved and to love. In the bewildered, child-like brain of a failing grandfather, I found humor and humanity. And in the frightening onslaught of a lightening and hail storm atop a 12,000-foot peak, I found a sliver moon behind the clouds. I am dependent upon the experience.

    I have discovered that the road away from self-absorption is other-absorption. When I am throwing a pity party, the quickest cure is to help someone else. It can be as simple as telling the store clerk that she has beautiful eyes. It can be as time-consuming as sitting with a lonely widow and letting her recall stories of her past.. Truth be told, often I’d rather whine and complain. I am dependent upon the needs of others to move me out of myself.

    I have also discovered that I like myself better as a human being rather than a human doing. Talking to roses can sometimes be better than speaking to thousands. Giving myself permission to “be” rather than “do” remains a daily struggle. I am dependent upon the tug of time.

    And lastly, dear reader, I do not wish to go quietly into the next decade. I’ll admit to needing bifocals and estrogen but I have no intention of aging. I’ll trade exercise for cheesecake and Chardonnay. I’ll forgo naps for too-late parties and choose time with my sweet spouse over a bursting bank account. I’ll arrange to throw my old self away, to molt the dry skin of complacency so I can discover what is new to be learned and experienced.

    These are intentions, not goals. Some days I live intentionally– other days, unintentionally. We’ve all been in that knee-jerk, where-did-the day go mode. I need daily reminders to pay attention to what I intend to create: a life by design and not default. By realizing my dependency on life as my teacher, my greatest wisdom comes from just plain showing up today and living NOW. From NOW comes a day that is WON.

    Eileen McDargh-Elvins

    Eileen McDargh

    Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development. She authored Work for a Living & Still Be Free to Live, the first book on work/life balance—a topic that placed her as a futurist in this issue and continues to be published in revised editions. Her second book, The Resilient Spirit, is found from South Africa to California. Her  book, Gifts from the Mountain: Simple Truths for Life's Complexities,  earned the Ben Franklin Gold Award and is a featured title with award-winning publisher, Berrett Koehler.  Her latest book, Your Resiliency GPS has just been released to growing acclaim. She's been a guest on CNN as well as other television and radio programs and has created an exciting Chicago-based radio commentary, Celebrating the Human Spirit. She is a featured author in A Women's Way to Incredible Success: Real Life Lessons from 20 Prominent Business Women and a contributing author in Meditations for the Road Warrior. Clients have ranged from American Airlines to Xerox, from 3M to IBM, from drill foremen in the Arctic to juvenile offenders in prison. She served as one of ten faculty members in a business television series, Reclaiming Business Excellence and has headlined with speakers like NBA Coach Pat Riley, Notre Dame's former coach Lou Holtz, Dr. Ken Blanchard, executive strategist Marshall Goldsmith, William Bridges, and boardroom poet, David Whyte. Eileen is a certified speaking professional (CSP) and her election into the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame places her among the top 3% of the 4000-member National Speakers Association. She's served two three-year terms on the Board of Directors of NSA . In 2014, she was selected to join The League of Extraordinary Thinkers.

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    1. jackmac02467
      jackmac02467 says:

      Beautifully written and thoughtful meditaions … Your point, that the idea of being a person of “independent means” is a fiction – we only become our truest, best and most authentic selves in our inter-relationship and mutual dependence on others… your pithy aphorisms , like the lojong sayings in Tibetan Buddhism. are profound points for contemplation.. I particularly appreciated the one about the antidote to ‘self absorption” is “other absorption”. Thank you for sharing


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