Sheryl Sandberg wrote this book after husband died suddenly. The book explores how Sheryl and her children recover and rebound from the horrible event while building their reslience, finding greater meaning, and gaining a greater appreciation for their lives. This is part two of a longer discussion where Indrani, Amy, Stacie, and Jeremie share their takeaways from reading the book and how you can apply Sheryl’s lessons to the daily challenges you are experiencing at work and in your personal life.
Sheryl Sandberg wrote this book after husband died suddenly. The book explores how Sheryl and her children recover and rebound from the horrible event while building their reslience, finding greater meaning, and gaining a greater appreciation for their lives. In this episode Indrani, Amy, Stacie, and Jeremie share their takeaways from reading the book and how you can apply Sheryl’s lessons to the daily challenges you are experiencing at work and in your personal life.
I was visiting a very close relative a while back and the conversation turned to a favorite brand of candle she loves. I am always aware to bring some of those candles for her. She is in the winter of her life and a candle makes her happy.
The last time I brought candles, I had intentionally brought more than she could use in 8 months. I remember being in the store and purposefully filling the basket with more than I had ever purchased.
So, during my visit, as she is filling me in on the stories of her life, she says in a sheepish whisper “you forgot to bring more candles.”
I was quite shocked and thought for a few seconds that I had not sent the full compliment of the candles I had bought just a few months ago.
“You are out?” I asked.
She said, “Almost.”
I asked, “How many do you have?”
“A few.” she said.
I have history with this person and her inability to say the truth without having to twist it to serve her purpose.
“Few” is not a number.
I pressed, “How many do you have?”
She looked very uncomfortable and squirmed in her chair and said, “One big bottle and eight small ones.”
My first instinct was to lash out and say, “Why are you so greedy?!”
I did not.
Instead, I got up, went to the kitchen to get a glass of COLD water to calm down and then I went back to sit next to her.
I said, “I want to ask you a philosophical question.”
She asked what that word meant. I explained. She seemed to understand.
I began to ask her how she felt when she though she did not have enough candles for her immediate needs.
She answered as best she could and after a few more questions, she said
“I feel afraid that I don’t have enough.”
Then I explained the concept of scarcity and abundance. It took me about twenty minutes before she understood. I was not rushing her, I was not rushing myself. I had actually already accepted that she may not get it and that would have to be ok.
She did understand the concept. Then I said, “How might you feel if you BELIEVED that you had enough candles for your immediate needs?”
She said, “Well, if I use them all what about the rest of my life?”
I asked her “How long are you going to live?”
She said she did not know.
I said, “None of us know, we all just like to pretend that we do!”
So again, I asked about her how she would feel if she believed she had enough.
She said, “I would feel comfortable.”
I asked her to choose the believe in “enough and abundance” instead of “not enough and scarcity.”
She asked if I thought it would be wasting money.
I said, “I think it’s a waste of money to buy more stuff for you to STORE, instead of you using the STORES of stuff you already have. I could use that money for things that are immediately necessary instead of using it for stuff you already have.”
I do not know if she got the concept, I felt like I had done a good job of explaining and using an example with which she was familiar.
My question of you is this…
Do you get this concept?
Whether it’s as simple as candles or food or money?
Do you know when you have enough?
I invite you to look to your own life for your areas of not ENOUGHNESS!
If you are human, there will be many.
Take just ONE small area and do some inquiry around it.
Ask a friend to help you with the inquiry.
Ask a friend who LIVES in the abundant philosophy. You will know which one, they will be the ones who are happy and joyful and always ready to give to others.
Let me know how this goes for you in the comments below.
When Andrea Lee and I visited an amazing school for the children of sex workers in Delhi in Feb 2014, we were blown over by the level of JOY in the school and the level of commitment that the teachers showed.
We asked them what was on their wish list and the founder said a refrigerator.
We made that happen. Here are some great photos of that fridge and the smiles that it brought.
It made me extremely happy when I saw the blog by Melinda Gates saying that such appliances can significantly change lives.
Here, at ILF, we strive every day to positively change lives and end gender violence.
“If we can see our way through the uncertainty of feeling lost, unexpected callings often present themselves. One stirring example is the story of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, (1954-2006), who began her carrier as an accomplished Viola player. While on tour in Europe, her viola was stolen. Though she could have replaced it, the theft threw her into a state of feeling lost and uncertain. She stopped playing for a while and then began to work with the only instrument she had left, her voice. Though she had sung before, she devoted herself to the instrument within her, and in two years, became the luminous mezzo-soprano she was meant to be. “
This was taken from the book Seven Thousand ways to Listen by Mark Nepo.
Can you imagine what her parents told her when she refused to replace the viola?
Do you imagine they said, “Oh well honey, just SING!”
I think they probably said the opposite.
If you have ever had a child who has given up a sport or an activity that you thought they were good at and said something to them, it was most likely something negative.
I believe that it’s a Neil Diamond song that has lyrics that say, “and being lost feels like coming home.”
Yes, BUT only if we surrender to the LOSTness of feeling loss and feeling lost.
When this happens, we cannot command the stars or the planets to make things the way they were.
A parent who loses a child cannot imagine a world without them. Yet, they often have other children who love and need them and have to find a new path to future joy.
Only time can show the way to weave life and light into the numbing darkness.
It is the acceptance of the dark time, however, and the ability to stay present with our emotions and not push them away that makes room for light when the time is right.
We cannot “will” the time to be right.
Over the course of our life, we all experience loss. This is a fact of life…loss happens and will continue to happen.
We can probably count the things we have lost and can still feel the pangs of pain.
We are less adept at counting out the things we have found.
We are woefully inadequate at sustaining the buoyant feelings of joy at the levels we can sustain the pangs of pain.
Brene Brown tells us that rehearsing for tragedy does not make us any more able to handle it when it arrives… and arrive it will.
It is the nature of all things.
The only thing that can help us with deep loss are the overwhelming joy stores we build up while we can.
This simply means that we must try to squeeze the joy out of all situations, whenever we can.
We cannot allow joy to be lost to the ether because we are too scared to feel it.
Feeling joy is not something we are taught to do. We are also hard wired to look for the “lions and tigers and bears” so we can run away and live another day.
We often react as if we live in the same fearful jungle that our forefathers lived in.
Our jungles are now often just in our heads and we create many of the lions and tigers and bears.
As we dive into this New Year, I encourage you to make a list of THINGS YOU FOUND that made you joyful.
If you keep a gratitude journal, go back through the entries and make your list. Perhaps you want to share some of the memories with your family and friends. Why not have a Joy-fest! Kind of like the opposite of a pity party.
Take time out to celebrate the things well won and well earned.
Happy memory trails to you, until we meet again.
Love and light,
If you should see a sign above a beautiful doorway in a lovely building that reads Department of Emotions, you may be curious.
You may enter cautiously, with glee or maybe with anxiety. Let’s assume that you do enter and begin to look around.
Within this department, you may find floor upon floor of beautiful offices with open doors and nicely dressed people working away.
These employees have the job of dispensing emotions to the whole world. They actually love their jobs.
The way they do it is that they get telegraphic requests and they dispatch emotions at the speed of light.
You want Joy? Done.
Gratitude? Yes, lots being dispensed these days.
You look around some more and realize that some employees are sitting still, making no movement with no work to do.
You look at their titles and there seems to be a theme….Bliss, Ecstasy, Passion and you wonder why.
Then you wander some more and see some employees over-burdened, just dragging and stressed and you glance at their titles.
You see another theme…
You ask them why they are so exhausted and they don’t even have time to look up or answer you.
One of the other employees, the one called Ecstasy, tells you that some emotions are overused and the guys dispensing them cannot catch a break. No time for rest or sleep. No one seems to be taking breaks from fits of anger, rants full if rage or blinding hatred.
Then you begin to realize that you too have overused some emotions and woefully underused others.
You cannot remember the last time you telegraphed for Bliss or Passion and forget about Ecstasy.
I know that this blog is way out there. I hope that it gives you pause to consider which emotions you over use and which others you ignore.
I encourage you to use less anger and rage and use more of joy, bliss and passion.
Find something to be passionate about…a hobby or a cause.
Find Joy in the everyday stuff, even little things like the gift of sight or the ability to still climb stairs.
I believe it was Albert Einstein who said we can behave as if nothing is a miracle, or as if everything is a miracle.
Let’s live the miracles that are all around us.
Love and light,
Donate to Indrani’s Light Foundation
Your donation will be used towards eradicating gender violence, training community leaders and sharing behaviour-change tools with people who are ready to leave violence behind and create a brighter, more peaceful world.