This post was written by guest blogger Sylvia Lovely, a Lexington restauranteur, radio show host, author, speaker and teacher for our upcoming workshop based on this blog, happening September 4th. If you missed her previous Dodging Coconuts posts, you can find Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here and Part 4 here.
It was Christmas Eve, Eve (two days before Christmas). At the last minute, as is my usual, I had been shopping all day, frantically putting the pieces of a decent Christmas together for friends, children and grandchildren. Feeling self-sorry for my plight, I made a crucial decision—to throw caution to the wind and treat myself to a pre-Christmas present. I DESERVED it and my credit card was already greased from overuse and more than ready to accommodate. I had been wanting a new crockpot as my old one was as old as my marriage—nearly 47 years old. OK, my guilty pleasures can be too practical!
Standing in the grocery store aisle bewildered as I stare at the myriad of choices, I begin to wonder at what should have been a simple act. But, so many crockpots—I had no choice but to get down with it, examine the features and make a choice. Finally, for $34.99 I spied the one I wanted. But, wait a minute. There were crockpots for $19.19—perfectly good I’m sure for my limited purposes. Oh my. How could I justify $34.99? It came to me. My chosen one had a timer that turned off when done, lessening the danger of overcooking or fire (I am analytical to a fault). In addition, it had several time settings—it had a four-, a six-, an eight- and a ten-hour button. OH MY! But the deal was sealed with this; under my breath I uttered, “I kept my old crockpot for 47 years. Surely by paying a bit more, I’ll keep this one for the same amount of time.” Done!
And then, it struck me like I had been run over by Rudolph and the gang. I WON’T BE HERE IN 47 YEARS!
What does the ordinary act of purchasing a crockpot have to do with being resilient? Moreover, what meaning is there in my moment of epiphany? Let’s start here. In anticipation of my September 4 workshop, “Dodging Coconuts—Building Resilience in Challenging Times“, to be held in the Co-op’s Community Room 6 to 8 pm, we have been working through the 4 P’s that serve as the foundation of the Dodging Coconuts series.
We have examined the 4 P’s of resiliency—that is, the ability to dodge the flying coconuts of life in our modern times and to thrive in a world marked by chaos, discord and just plain “noise,” the likes of which are unprecedented. We learned that we must be PREPARED for the world in which we work and live; we must PLAN meticulously and mindfully and we must both discover and hold firm to our PURPOSE, our reason to get up in the morning.
The final P is PERSPECTIVE. Perspective is resiliency at its core. It is about the accumulated skills and experiences that add up to wisdom. But Perspective is also a choice. Are you willing to “step onto the balcony” of leadership (as referenced in the book Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading by Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky), away from the chaos and noise and make decisions that matter for you and for others?
An ancient Jewish wedding tradition says it best. At the end of the ceremony the couple shatters a glass. The glass symbolizes the world as it will come to them—the ups and downs of their marriage that can only be mended through their joint efforts to make decisions that knit the shards together. As famed writer Ernest Hemingway offered, “The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broken places.”
So, back to the lowly crockpot and my epiphany two days before Christmas as I was caught in the simple act of indulging myself with an early present. Perhaps the pearl of wisdom that was reinforced that day, and hopefully threads itself into my very being, is that both you and I must come to grips with the nature of our lives. We have only a finite amount of time to make our world and the world of others better. To do that we must embrace the life we have and live it as fruitfully as possible. There is no time for befuddlement or bewilderment or burnout. We owe it to ourselves and those around us to come to grips with all the “noise.” All we can do is work to make it better, and, like the wedding couple, endeavor every day to put the pieces together.
Sylvia Lovely has a passion for helping others find the sweet spot in their lives. She has developed Dodging Coconuts and her four P’s as a template that contemplates that in good times, coconuts nourish, but in high winds, they become flying missiles of destruction. “That we are overwhelmed with life in the mid-21st century is an understatement. In a world of social media, people empowered to speak their minds in whatever way possible, and technology and gadgets that control us as even as we embrace them in hopes of greater efficiency and effectiveness, it’s easy to get lost,” says Sylvia. She has dedicated herself to sorting through the noise to get to the heart of what matters in life and is excited to share her methods for finding peace and balance. In addition to being an author, speaker and teacher, Sylvia is one of four owners of Azur Food Group and a co-host along with Chef Jeremy Ashby and well known Tony “Twitch” Longo of Z-Rock 103.3 on Food News and Chews Radio airing from 1-2 pm every Saturday on WVLK 590.