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Mindfully in the recession

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Exploration as holiday

Two days before Christmas, all the younger generation in our family are away, exploring new parts of the world, as we often do in early adulthood.  The “grand tour”, or what Kiwis call “OE”, is a venerated tradition to see the world and to cope with unfamiliarity and surprise.  Some people travel “to find themselves”.  Others are drawn by challenge & adventure.

Exploration as necessity

Real challenges, though, when there is no safety net, and lasting, damaging failure is possible, are altogether different.  We are often paralysed by fear, and we come to know too well the phrase ‘there is nothing to fear but fear itself’.  This really means, there is everything to fear, so much so that we cannot afford to indulge emotions that distract us from dealing with threat.

Am I suggesting that we “get hard”, or be Polyanna, and smile?

Julian Carron, a professor of theology at the University of Milan suggests we are all beggars and that to live our lives purposefully, in good times and bad, we must be conscious of our needs, aware of reality, and aware of our needs in our reality, whatever it is.

“The beggar has only one option: asking.”

“So the beggar is not the one who is most naive, but who is most realistic.  And, consequently, as we begin to defeat the confusion that surrounds and penetrates us, nothing can hinder us from become aware of ourselves in the the present moment.”

Like monsters in the dark, what is the unspoken need that panics you to name?

Is there not comfort in saying  “I ask for  .  .  .”?

Does not compassion for yourself awake in you compassion for others, whoever they are, and whatever their circumstances?

UPDATE:  The message that is delivered again and again by poets, philosophers and priests is that we must be able to talk to ourselves about our vulnerabilities; and it is only when we do that we can calm down pay attention.  When we refuse to acknowledge our predicaments, we become very anxious and cannot think straight.  Oddly, when we have not choice but to confront the threats against us, we often calm done and start to deal with them.

UPDATE: For an HR Managers perspective on the Recession, I have written a summary on a new post.



  1. Very interesting. I have one question though. Are all people aware of what they need? Yes, i do agree with you that a lot of people are afraid to admit what they really need, or are afraid to ask for it. But are there people who don’t say it because they just don’t know. I think there are people in this world who refuse to see the one thing they really need, or they have little self concept that they don’t actually know. Perhaps, the one thing they really need in this world is too much of a hinderance or will tear apart the life that they have built apart, and this stops them from realising that they are missing something in their life.

  2. Jo Jo

    Hi Trudy

    It is one of the key ideas of positive psychology and the related but not identical, mytho-poetic tradition.

    To find the still space where you don’t feel you have to be wilful. It has various names: flow, crossing the Rubicon, ‘where your deep gladness and the world’s hunger meets’, etc.

    When we do career coaching, it becomes very clear that 90%, of people, if not more, are terrified of that place. We panic as we approach it. Those who explore that place find that suddenly everything become ridiculously, even disappointingly, easy.

    As a career coach, when someone does explore that place, it is startling. What they come up with is usually very simple and very clear and we are astounded. Because they have done it – most clients won’t – and because it is is clearly authentic and uncluttered with pose or pretention.

    You know you are close to that place because your anxiety rises. If you can hold your attention and not take off, you are likely to make a discovery that you will value.

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