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13 April 2009

The pattern underlies the doing.

20 In only 20 days, we'll finish this 37days challenge.

Perhaps we've done what we said we would these past 17 days. Perhaps not.

But the learning isn't really the doing or not doing, no. It's not even whether we fulfill our promise to ourselves that we will do one thing for 37 days. Not even the accomplishment of a goal. That's not really the point.

Instead, this is all about what we do at the edge when we falter--that's the pattern we are seeking, that’s what will tell us something important about ourselves.

Do we forgive ourselves easily and move on and start anew? Or do we stomp away in anger at ourselves, demeaning the goal and our performance as we do? Or do we simply eat family packs of Raspberry Frosted Pop Tarts (purely hypothetical example)?

I've had a few world class conversations during this challenge, conversations that have revealed myself to myself in significant ways. As I process the learning, I'll share it here. For the moment, the questions:

What is your pattern?

What keeps you out of intention?

What makes you give up on your promises to yourself?

What do you do when you perceive that you have "failed"?

That’s the juice.

That’s the knowing.

That’s the pattern.

That's what underlies the doing.


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Patti, I was doing fine with my intention until my mother died suddenly on April 5th. Now there is no time for writing two hours a day. I traveled to North Carolina and back last week, and I will need to do the same next week. I was her only child and there is no one else who can make the necessary phone calls or sift through her belongings or find a book dealer to haul away her thousands of books. Yes, thousands.

Sometimes we have no choice but to put our life on hold; sometimes we're derailed by events beyond our control. But I have learned some valuable lessons from my mother's death. Put your insurance policies where your surviving family members can easily find them. Don't bury sentimental items like your high school diploma in a box with newspaper clippings and magazine articles about Hollywood celebrities. Be mindful that you may not be lucky enough to have 37 days to prepare to die - and your survivors may not have 37 days to figure out where the hell you've hidden your car title.

I sure could use one of those family packs of Pop Tarts right now - but make mine frosted brown sugar cinnamon.

Kim, best of luck with that car title (and everything else that you have to wade through--paper and other). After reading your comment, I left two notes on my counter this morning. One for my sweet cousin with my Gmail password. And one for my estranged husband that says "David. Love. Always."

Just in case I won't have 37 days.

As anyone and everyone who knows me can attest, I have so loved this challenge. Truth be told? It is only day 16 for me. It took me two days to get started.

So often we don't know the ripple effect that our thoughts and actions have on this world. Hope that you, Kim, and you, Patti, know that my life is better because you put your fingers on the keyboard and shared something.

All the pop-tarts in the world,


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