Tuesday, July 03, 2012

A Little Bit Of Everything

Here’s a lesson on mindfulness from Winnie the Pooh. Winnie is taking a walk with his friend, Piglet.

“What day is it”? asked Pooh.
“It’s today”, squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day”! said Pooh.

I have a young friend in my office who everyone jokes is my lost love child. He is so much like me that sometimes I wonder if it’s true. He certainly seems more like me than my two real sons. He recently asked me what kind of music I was going to listen to on the 4th of July. I shared a memory that is seared into my brain. On the 4th of July, 1970, along with 400,000 other hippies, I saw Jimi Hendrix at an event called “The Atlanta Pop Festival”. It was my Woodstock. What made the day memorable was that Jimi Hendrix played late at night and one of the songs he performed was his legendary version of “The Star Spangled Banner”. As he played, fireworks exploded in the background and filled the night sky. I can remember it like it was yesterday although many other memories from that era have been lost in the mists of time. My faithful buddy, Tom, and my then girlfriend, Katie, were with me. Forty two years later both of them are still my friends. We’re not quite the young flower children that we were then but I think all of us retain that hippie spirit and we still have a rebellious streak. Admittedly, if I was in the middle of 400,000 people of any kind today, I would have a serious panic attack.

I’ve always been an under-achiever. It’s nothing I’ve done intentionally. Yesterday I was talking with a co-worker about “climbing the ladder”. We both agreed that we’ve afraid of heights and most of the time we didn’t even know where the ladder was. Thinking of the relationship between mindfulness and ambition, I said, “When you’re always focused on the moment, you never think about tomorrow”. In terms of a career, I feel that I peaked early and have been on a holding pattern ever since. In recent years, however, I have received a lot of praise for my writing. This praise is one of the few things in my life that has felt like personal success. Most of the other things I have done often felt unfulfilling, unappreciated, or unnoticed. I suppose that success is in the eye of the beholder. The famous singer/songwriter Bob Dylan says that “If from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed you are doing what you want, then you are successful”. I don’t know. What do you think? Do you feel successful in life?

No comments: