It’s a book I love for many reasons. One is its use of the word bloom.
I know the word, of course. It’s the context that enthralls me.
For 3 decades, Jon Kabat-Zinn has been a prominent American crusader for the benefits of everyday mindfulness. A friend gave me a copy of his inspired 1994 book “Wherever You Go There You Are.”
See if you can detect the bloom of the present moment in every moment, Kabat-Zinn writes, the ordinary ones, the “in-between” ones, even the hard ones.
Easy to see in the blush of accomplishment. During the thrill of the victory lap.
How do I see it when the same colleague pisses me off once again? When another tedious meeting ends in indecision? When I don’t look forward to completing a single task that is in front of me today?
You know the list. And no, not easy.
We don’t find it by pretending something isn’t so. By escaping to positive-thinking la-la-land.
I think of a radio interview I heard on Veterans Day. The host interviewed a veteran who had left the army and was enrolled in a special MBV program – a MBA designed for Veterans.
What is your favorite class so far? the host asked.
A class on leadership, the veteran replied.
Leadership? the host sounded surprised. Didn’t you already learn about
leadership in the army?
Leadership outside of the army is delicate and ambiguous, the fellow answered. I love that!
I loved his answer. He understood the beauty of the context-switch.
It shows itself when I see the special in the seemingly un-special.
The special shows itself the moment I context-switch. The biggest, widest, deepest workplace context is the human context. It is larger than the business context. Larger than the getting-a-task-done context.
Human delicateness. Human ambiguity. Plain humanness.
The spark of life behind the interference.
That’s where it shows itself. In the sheer humanity of the moment.
So simple. So complex.
Because I am human, it sometimes feels impossible to make the switch. Understood. Maybe this moment isn’t the moment.
Don’t force it. But consider it, please. On a bad day, when someone pisses you off. The context switch.
We can do it anytime. In any meeting, any conversation. In the throes of any task. Switch.
And the bloom will start to reveal itself.