Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pep Talk: "Toil the Soil"

I recently rang the cell phone of a dear friend who is battling breast cancer. She’s doing well and the prognosis is good but it’s a journey the devoted wife and mother of two would prefer to avoid.  The conversation moved through many areas of life. For whatever reason, my mind wandered to a moment a few years ago with this woman, her hubby - my buddy - and their kids who are like a niece and nephew to me:

It was a typical Friday evening in our Congress Park neighborhood on Denver’s near east side: I’m hanging with the neighbors, sipping some beers, visiting about the week and savoring dinner. This evening take-out Chinese was being consumed in hearty amounts – that happens when you have teenagers and invite McIntosh to dinner.

Anyway, after devouring the various delicacies we turned our attention to dessert, fortune cookies. The neighbor’s daughter, at the time, a high-school sophomore cracked open a cookie and read some wise words written on a thin strip of paper: “Life does not improve by chance. It improves by change.”

Ah, that was music to my ears and made me think of William Bridges. A former professor of English, the California-based consultant and lecturer is one of the world’s foremost experts on change and transition. His second book, The Way of Transition is one of my favorites and was tremendously helpful in the aftermath of my second painful divorce more than a decade ago.

In the book Bridges discusses his own painful experience following his beloved wife’s death from cancer. He was really struggling with her departure and was also beating himself up emotionally because he was the “change guy” but he wasn’t dealing with this change very well.

With these issues as the emotional backdrop, Bridges after speaking on the East Coast was flying back to California. It was a beautiful and clear day across America and from his window seat the Ivy-League educated change expert was glancing down on America and pondering his future. He began to notice our country’s great rivers: The Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri and how each twists and turns on its journey toward its ultimate destination. But something else warmed his marrow. Where these rivers twist and turn is where rich sediment is dropped and a large portion of our nation’s food supply is produced. In other words, the twists and turns along the river’s journey and the sediment dropped provide a fertile spot for growth!

The irony shook him more violently than unexpected turbulence. Could it be that life is often that way? That the unexpected twists and turns, while painful, ultimately can produce rich soil for us to grow into something superior to our former selves?

It takes us back to the fortune cookie: “life does not improve by chance. It improves by change.” But here’s the important point. Life will not improve by change unless we keep a healthy attitude toward it and commit to being a student, not a victim, of our experiences. We all have our stories, right? Has anybody’s life gone exactly the way you planned? I would suspect the answer to that question is, “of course not.”

Life might be taking you on some crazy twists and turns right now. The question becomes how will you handle it? Don’t forget to till the soil of change. Within it might be all the nutrients necessary for explosive and fruitful growth at home, work and elsewhere.

No comments:

facebook metwitter
linkd in

Hey Comeback Coach Copyright© 2009

About The Comeback Coach | Contact Us | Links | Privacy Statement