I’m Listening – What Do I Hear?

Russ Towne (russtowne.com) who pens the glorious “A Grateful Man” was prompted by a friend to respond to a question that grabbed my attention.  “What do you know for sure?”  His responses were pure Russ, written with candor and beauty, simplicity and reflection.  And I began asking myself the same question – and would submit that it’s a reasonable query to pose to ourselves from time to time.  I will admit that my answers didn’t arrive with the same eloquence or confidence; nor do I know if this represents an all-inclusive list.  Nonetheless here goes..

– I know for sure that I still love loving my husband.  I also know for sure that he drives me crazy sometimes, while I on the other hand, I never affect him in that way.  I know for sure that he is the anchor to my kite and were it not for him I’d probably be getting stuck in the trees like a wayward balloon.

– I know for sure that my adoration of my children knows no bounds and I know for sure that they know it and probably don’t fully get it.  I know for sure that parents screw up all the time, and children grow up in spite of us and not because of us.  To reflect tremendous self-congratulatory aggrandizement for their successes as fantastic people is folly and a little narcissistic.  This is their time.  And I am grateful to be along for the ride.  Let’s remember that I’m the sap who cries when we say good-bye to each other despite living ten minutes apart.

– I know for sure that at different times in my life I have let disappointment and anger have more power over me than I realized at the time.  And the only person who suffered from its toxicity was me.

– I know for sure that my life continues to be enhanced by the people who enter my world  – and also those who exit.  Some people need to stay for a little while, and that’s ok.  Some people will be here forever and that’s a gift.  Last I looked, one can’t suffer from having too much love in their life – for however long.

– I know for sure that I’m at a point in my life where I’m wondering what my next contribution will be.  I need to listen harder to my heart, for it’s definitely speaking.  We don’t spend enough time paying attention to its messages.

– I know for sure that if there hadn’t been a black-out at the Super Bowl last night I wouldn’t have fallen asleep and missed the best part of the game.

– I know for sure that the silence that announces the arrival of snow always makes my eyes fill.  It is one of the most peaceful calming sounds in the world.

– I know for sure that I want another puppy (honey are you reading this?).

– I know each day offers me the chance to say ‘Thank You’ – for the ridiculous number of gifts that are in my life.  And I also know I don’t say ‘thank you’ enough.

– I know for sure that for all the articles about leadership, for all the seminars I’ve led on management, motivation, employee engagement, etc – none of it means a damn thing if a person loses his/her character.  Save the HBR studies for another day – as you shimmy up the food chain, hold tight to your sense of integrity and honor.  You will be remembered for little else.

– I know for sure that I can out-happy dance anyone I know.  Not because I’m such a good dancer, but because I have lost enough, found enough and love enough to know how to celebrate all of it.

And finally, I know for sure that there is nothing I can be sure of – except this moment in time.  And this moment in time – in the quiet soft rhythmic beating of its longing – is perfect.