Paula Swenson

Archive for the ‘Abundance’ Category

the Creativity Switch

In Abundance, Art and Creativity, Business on April 22, 2010 at 11:49 am

I’m one of those people who cannot look up a word in the dictionary without stopping to admire at least 3 other words along the way, so you can imagine what happens to me once I plug into the internet!?!?

However, despite being deeply distracting and fine procrastination tool, the internet often yields up some lovely gems and this post on How to Flick the Creativity Switch is one of them. Joanna Patterson has multiple blogs about writing, and learning and this is her latest endeavor.

I think this post is important for two reasons, it gives a simple approach we can use to help our clients and it applies to other things as well . . . go read it and then think about what “switches” YOU need to turn on in your brain: the productive writer switch? the coaching switch? the money switch? the relaxation switch?

Me? I’m definitely going to turn on the “smart about money” switch as soon as I finish this post!

~peace, joy and prosperity~

Paula

Advertisements

Don’t confuse Service with Servant!

In Abundance, Art and Creativity, Business on March 14, 2010 at 4:06 pm

There is a lot of buzz these days about SERVICE. Customer Service, selfless service, active service … the dictionary lists no fewer than 12 definitions for service, but the most basic, in the terms I’d like to consider here is this: work done by one person or group that benefits another

Notice that definition says nothing about being downtrodden, under-appreciated, taken advantage of, nor creating a situation of indebtedness.

Recently my colleague Trish talked volunteering at a Hospice, and Trish mentioned that she always leaves with a very full heart, feeling that she gets even more than she gives. I think perhaps TRUE SERVICE fills us rather than empties us. Which is not to say we don’t get tired, etc, and need to be kind and refill our own wells, but rather that Service provides some intrinsic rewards.

Service, in my view, has an extra value component — it is not just doing for others. I think about Service like Food. Anything you eat will stop you from being hungry (junk food, cold stale vending machine sandwiches, dirt, school paste . . .) but some things you eat also give you vitamins and nutrients, and the BEST foods (like the highest SERVICE) also give you full sensory experience; you enjoy the eating of them, the taste, the smell, the texture in your mouth – eating becomes a sensual meditation and you are totally in the moment, PRESENT and aware of how wonderful food really is! Likewise I think true SERVICE is fully engaging. You are aware of the impact of your actions on others and it brings satisfaction and joy on a very deep level.

It occurs to me that GRATITUDE and SERVICE are linked and that when we truly serve, we experience the true gratitude of others — not necessarily in words or thank yous (although that may be) but in seeing the shift or the change in the other(s): the student who ‘gets it’ , the patient who is resting more comfortably, the child who proudly ties his own shoe, the person smiling at the image in the mirror upon seeing her new hairstyle, the shoulders that relax as a burden is lifted, the coaching client glowing with success!

Nobody wants to feel like a servant — but we all benefit from giving and receiving SERVICE.

The View from Here

In Abundance, Art and Creativity, Time and Change, Travel, Uncategorized on February 8, 2010 at 10:56 am

It’s February, and although we are still wrapped in a blanket of white, the days are getting noticeably longer and the worst of the cold is arguably behind us. Winter in this climate is an invitation to hibernate and contemplate, and I’ve been doing a bit of both.

When I was a child of about 11, a rallying cry went out amongst the young “never trust anyone over 30!” I was very confused about this as I transited my teen years, because although I had the same tussles with authority figures most teens experience, some of my best, most trusted confidants were much, much older—not only over 30, but over 60! Maybe it was that personal first-hand experience that has made me wary of sweeping statements about groups of people, ANY groups of people.

Two recent conversations, one with someone a generation younger than me and the other with someone a generation older put me in mind of this again. Of all the things that disturb me in our present reality, the one that disturbs me the most is seeing intelligent people abandoning their prerogative to question assumptions and to experience life first-hand; choosing instead to accept a second-hand version of reality from the media, the government, the church, their teachers, friends or family.

Therefore, I do not expect you to just accept what I say here as true for you — but I do urge you to consider if your fears and worries are based on first-hand, personal experience or on the experience of someone else, who may be living a different life with a different agenda.

The following are things I have personally experienced in the past 3 years:

· ~ I lived in Turkey for 10 months, surrounded by Muslim people. None of them tried to kill me. To the best of my knowledge, none of them wanted to. None of them tried to convert me. NO two were exactly alike. People were variously kind, helpful, generous, curious, dishonest, gruff, fearful, argumentative or hostile. Pretty much like being in San Diego or Tacoma, Hamburg, Munich, New York, Athens…but on the whole my experiences fell on the positive side of the equation.

· ~ For the past 18+ months I have been living in and wandering around Europe. Europeans are often outspoken and curious. They often criticize many things about America and American political and social policies, American fast-food and pop culture, but I have not yet met anyone who hates Americans. I don’t doubt such people exist, but I have not met them.

· ~I have friends and family who are quite liberal, some are ultra-liberal. They do not want to kill old people and unborn babies. They do not want everyone to denounce religion and become an atheist.

· ~ I have friends and family who are quite conservative, some are ultra-conservative. They do not want to shoot all liberals and burn all books except the bible. They do not want to lock up my gay friends, nor are they interested in forcing everyone to drive an SUV to church.

· ~ I have European friends who want to live in America, while I have chosen to live in Europe.

· ~I know young people who are writing books, volunteering to help the homeless, the poor and the sick and I know young people who have no interests outside of football and beer.

· ~ I know old people who have locked themselves away in gated communities awaiting the apocalypse and others who are planting organic gardens, teaching life skills to the young, donating time to help the illiterate learn to read or hitchhiking across their countries.

· ~I have learned how easy it is to be misjudged and how equally simple it is to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

· ~ I have learned that kindness is usually more effective than anger; and that, although very few things are actually worth getting stressed about, many things are worth caring about.

· ~ I have learned that individuals really can change the world.

Yes, there are individual people in the world whose ideas are completely opposite from yours or mine (some of my ideas are probably completely opposite for some of yours!) and some of those people with opposite ideas are so fearful, so lacking hope, that they will kill others and perhaps themselves to try to be heard, to “prove” something – BUT THEY ARE A MINORITY.

So far I have traveled in 16 countries, and lived in 6. What I have found is that people are mostly good, mostly kind, and doing the best they can to get by, to feed their families, to work, to enjoy their children, friends and life in general.

I am not asking you to accept my experience as your own, but I am asking you each to think about your own experiences, and to avoid being swept up in gross generalizations about those things, places and people that are different and outside of your experience. Be wary of sentences that begin “Everyone in . . . . thinks/wants/has . . .” and “All .. . . are .. . .” remember to listen with your hearts as well as with your ears.

Be kinder than necessary, for we are all facing some kind of challenge on our journey.

Be happy, be well, find joy where you can.

Giving and Receiving

In Abundance, The Natural World, Time and Change, Uncategorized on January 10, 2010 at 10:05 pm

From the time we are small we are told “It is better (or more blessed) to give than to receive”. I’m pretty sure those doing the telling mean well; they are trying to teach us to be generous, to share. But where, in fact, is the balance in this equation? If there are no receivers how can we give and to whom?

This question interests me as I listen to people who are struggling with the ideas of scarcity and abundance. We all have so much to share, be it skills or extra apples on our trees, and yet we are afraid both to offer and to accept help.

Often we are afraid to offer for fear of the offer being rejected, but why are we so afraid to accept what it is offered? Are we afraid of being pegged as inferior (because it is” better” to be a giver)? Do we, as a result of subliminal conditioning, feel somehow superior to those we give to? Does this make us fearful of accepting the goodwill of others? And does our own fear of accepting color our perceptions about giving as well? Can we break this cycle and start sharing again?

I don’t have any answers today, just questions. Think about it, and let me know what your heart tells you.