Who Contributes to My Success? by Jane Grafton
Part of the Success Series, a series of Question/Answer pieces centred on John Maxwell’s The Value of Asking Questions
What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
Jane: To live in the present moment. In Eckhart Tolle’s book ‘A New Earth’ he writes about recognising when and what the present moment actually is. Whilst travelling with his book, I found myself delayed at an airport. I’d been intrigued by his explanation of ‘a moment in time’. I kept reading it to try and make sense of the message. When I paused and let go of his explanation, and just gazed into space, it suddenly became crystal clear. I became aware of an eternal now.
I could see ‘space’ and knew that ultimately there was nothing to lose, nothing to gain in life, nowhere to go, nothing to be late or early for, just a sense of a series of events passing across the stage of life. It was like I was the audience just watching it all pass by. A sense of life happening around me, not me making life happen. That has been the most liberating and joyful lesson.
What are you learning now?
Jane: To return time and time again to the awareness of the eternal now aka the present moment. My mind gets caught up with passing events, relationships, money, achievements, emotional situations, health issues etc which can be overwhelming.
Yet at the same time, I know there is a vast space of calm all around me. I can observe and participate in passing events and not necessarily get lost in them. So my ongoing learning is to live more and more in a balance of calm observance whilst engaging with life as it unfolds moment to moment.
How has failure shaped you?
Jane: I spent years trying to avoid failure as it felt so horrible. I eventually came to consider failures as just events. When I could stand back a bit, I could see there was always a flip side.
I remember someone calling a presentation I’d done as “a complete train wreck”. It had indeed been a tricky experience. However, with a capacity to stand back from it and take the heavy judgement out of it, I was able to gain insights into what felt like a more honest real world.
Life as it is rather than how I’d like it to be. It helped deepen my awareness of what is happening below the surface of the conscious mind. I realised ‘failure’ is complex and not particularly personal. In the case of the ‘train wreck’, relationships were deepened, the truth was clearer, courage was strengthened, awareness of new possibilities became evident. So I guess failure has helped me live with more balance and happiness.
Who do you know that I should know?
Jane: The people I’d most wish to introduce others to are people with presence who live in the now. So not any particular person but those who are more often than not in a state of mind that makes friendship, the world, work, life, feel whole, full, alive.
How and where have I got to know these people? At times and places where hearts are open, ego is diminished, there is a need, people are pausing, in laughter, in sport, in pure attention, in love, in pain, in celebration and in momentary glances in the street are just some of the situations.
What have you read that I should read?
Jane: Eckhart Tolle’s “Power of Now”. The first time I read it, it made no sense to me. It was in the second and more careful reading that it came alive. It is a book that seems to find its way into people’s lives and makes sense when the time is right.
Also “A New Earth” and “Stillness Speaks” by the same author. For me, they are books which contain invaluable universal wisdom in a way that is applicable to everyday life situations.
What have you done that I should do?
Jane: Encounter the power of inner silence. My experience is that inner silence liberates me from what worries and burdens the human condition. In becoming familiar with inner stillness and calm, all else feels possible. So I’d say take quiet personal time each day, maybe in nature or meditation, some form of mini-retreat from activity and demands. It is a time to be clear of incessant thoughts so the body can relax, re-energise and allow wisdom to emerge.
How can others add value to you?
Jane: By allowing me to be who I am in a spirit of acceptance, honesty and kindness. This seems to be the most liberating gift that enables me to try and be who I am and do what I do to the best of my ability.
Jane Grafton is British and based in Warwickshire, UK. She offers coaching and training in mindfulness as it relates to happiness, relationships, decision making and life directions. Much of her work has been with Potential Project, a global corporate-based mindfulness training company. This is one contribution, of many, to the Success Series, a series of Question/Answer pieces centred on John Maxwell’s The Value of Asking Questions. To read other contributions in this Series, please go to the original introduction of the piece, Who Contributes to Your Success
If you think this post is interesting, please share using the buttons below!
#failure #mindfulness #now