I am growing to love the time between Christmas and New Year. Not so long ago, I looked forward to those days between Christmas and New Year when the office was open, and I could convince myself that I definitely needed to go in and catch-up on work. As we grow older, and hopefully a little wiser, we begin to appreciate and cherish the quiet times, whether we spend them with our families or in quiet contemplation – or something in between.Whilst I am not the most dedicated user of all social media (I can’t bring myself to l share my daily experiences on facebook) I am totally enthralled by following the tweets and blogs of those I admire, both in a professional and personal context. This last week therefore has been a combination of family celebration, quiet moments, and lots of (on and offline) reading and video watching. As the year has come to an end I have been particularly struck by the extent to which many people are aware of significant changes happening in the world at large and in more personal ways. I’m old enough to remember 5th Dimension’s ” Age of Aquarius” from the 60s, and some of my friends (who know more about such things than I) suggest we are in a period of transition to more enlightened times. In as much as it seems to be part of the human condition to feel discomfort with change, it seems probable that we are in for a bit more of a bumpy ride on our way to something better.
There seem already many signs of a move away from rampant consumerism, towards a more understanding way of responding to the world. Trendwatching refer to some of these under their trend of “Generation G” (which formerly may have referred to greed, but now covers a movement towards increased ‘generosity’). As they observe, our desire for companies to care more…
“beautifully coincides with the ongoing (and pre-recession) emergence of an online-fueled culture of individuals who share, give, engage, create and collaborate in large numbers”. The sharing and giving nature of much of the web enables us to continually find sources of inspiration and stimulation. In that spirit, here are few things that I have inspired by the last (reflective) week.
The first ones come from the ever fascinating and challenging TED conference videos. William Ury, whose main work is helping to resolve conflicts (and he’s been involved in most of the major ones of the last 25 years), demonstrates that ‘the secret to peace is us’ and that we all have a responsibility, as he says, as representatives of ‘the third side’ to contribute to the process of reconciliation. He calls on us all to help find and bring “the 18th camel” to the world’s many difficult situations. http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf World famous conductor, Benjamin Zander, humorously shows us, through the vehicle of a Chopin Prelude, that by seeing individual experiences in the context of a broader vision we can more fully experience them. He also encourages us to believe that we all have the ability to awaken possibilities in others – to do something that makes others eyes shine. This ability comes with a responsibility to regularly ask ourselves “who am I being” (in this situation, and what is the effect on others around me?) http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf
His Holiness the Karmapa is definitely a man with shining eyes. He reminds us that whilst continual technological advances connect us with an almost infinite amount of information, from the political to the personal, each of us has a responsibility to pay attention to that information an allow it to make a change in our heart and make our motivations more sincere.