February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston ~ A "Collective Awakening"

Something “happened” on February 11, 2012. The world shuddered. An icon passed away. These are the “moments” in life I’ve always lived for, and no, it’s not that someone died. No one celebrates “death.” And yet, in that moment, you could feel the world sitting bolt upright, wherever they were. Whether in their cars, at work, or at home, everyone took notice. It reverberated loudly on the news, the social media, including the biggest of all in Facebook. It was instantaneous energy.
But why do I say “I’ve always lived for” those moments? Let’s put it this way. Think back to those moments in YOUR life when something shook your world to the core. And it doesn’t have to be something tragic. Remember the “Miracle on Ice?” No one thought a ragtag group of American hockey players, kids really, could beat the mighty Russians. But they did. And when Al Michaels, the iconic sportscaster passes away, he’ll be forever known by these words; “Do you believe in miracles?! Yes!!!”

The American women’s soccer team winning gold at the Olympics. The fall of the great wall in Russia. And yes, even 9/11. Remember that? Everyone thought the world was coming to an end. But it didn’t. Think of movies that inspired you so much that, when you left, you had a sense of hope. Your soul was moved. Then there’s Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Hitler. All of those and more, were “moments” when time stood still. The world took notice.

But that’s not the point. Those moments passed. What’s important is how they affected us deeply on an individual level. More importantly, its how those moments caused us to suddenly forget about our bank balance, whether we’d have enough money to make next month’s rent, whether Johnny would get braces, or whether we were “down-sized” at work. None of that mattered. All that mattered is somehow, at that “moment”, we came together. 

Those are what I call moments of “collective awakening.” Our world is suddenly rocked. The routine is gone. We’re suddenly shoved off dead-center with whatever rut we’re in. Tragic or triumphant, it stirred our blood. It brought out the passion in us.

Now let’s take it down even further. Inside our own four walls the next day. The hockey game from last night is a fading memory. Our attention turns from soccer back to Johnny’s braces. Saddam and Osama died. Our world goes on. Back to our little routines, our comfort zones, the places that, IF we allow them, breed stagnation and complacency. And there we are. Our lives suddenly back on track, back in that same old routine, day after day after day.

Are you picking up what I’m laying down yet? One of the things that intrigues me when I speak with clients is the common undercurrent of stagnation and complacency. It’s almost universal, regardless of the situation. Whether its relationships, jobs, health, finances, or what have you, people are feeling “stuck.” Here’s a newsflash. Don’t wait for the world to change to make your world change. Don’t wait for the death of a singer to get your passion stirred or a team of hockey players to inspire you. Inspire yourself. Shake up your routine. Take a different route to work every day. Surprise your family with bacon and eggs for dinner and then, the next morning, serve them last night’s casserole. When you’re going through the drive-up for lunch, specify to the voice you’re talking to outside your car window that you want your order “to go.” Say it with a straight face. Do you get what I’m saying?

Or perhaps you’re one who thinks I’m going a tad over-board? “Seriously, Gus? Tell the guy I want my drive-thru order “to go?” “That will bring me out of the stagnation I’m in?” My reply, “Instead of thinking of ways you can’t, think of ways that will work. Flip the crystal ball around and look at life thru a different lens. You’ve got enough negative energy that your mind creates every day all by itself. Negative energy which is amplified every time you turn on the television, the radio, or read in the news every day about the economy, crime, or the latest political dance going on. There’s beauty, inspiration, and good all around us. We just have to cut through the fog of what our minds create and what the world tosses at us to see it. It’s there. Don’t give up. Miracles happen every day.”

And if you can’t do that, at least do this. Next time you’re feeling down or you’re feeling stuck, just remember that voice from long ago, the one that said loudly…”Do you believe in miracles? YES!!!”


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