Wayne C. Allen's "Works in Progress"
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I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

reflection

Well, I'm in a reflective mood today, caused, I believe, by my feelings of joy as I watch the lives of friends around me unfold. I recognize and celebrate my interactions - some big, some small - in their lives, and how they have used our contact to become more comfortable in their own skins. The theme of coping with "blindness" - whether physical or spiritual, plays a role in each story. As in, it's not the thing that you can't see that's the problem, it's what you do to get past the obstacle.

We have an "adopted" daughter, LeAnne. The adopted part is a joke between us, as LeAnne was a student of Dar's, who came home with Dar one day, back in 1987, to help us move, and has been around ever since. Whenever she's needed a break from life, she's called and come for a visit. We feed her, I do Bodywork, and we talk about everything.

Dar teaches hearing impaired 7th and 8th graders, and LeAnne has a moderate hearing loss, which she compensates for with two hearing aids. LeAnne has Usher's Syndrome. Her deafness is a result of that. The other thing that happens with Usher's is that, in middle age, you go blind. I'm guessing on dates now, but around 1990, LeAnne called to announce that she'd, almost overnight, lost 95% of her vision. Early onset.

She indicated that all of this had taken place some 6 weeks earlier, and that she didn't want to call and "worry us" until she'd sorted it out. Being LeAnne, she had no doubt that she would. Her process was to crawl into bed for about a week, and feel sad and sorry for herself. She then gave herself a shake. She got up, and began to face her new reality. She got Spirit, her guide dog. She can still see in daylight - enough to read a menu or a book. At night, well, that's another story. We had lunch with her the day after she called, and she filled us in on her process. She concluded, laughing, "Boy! Just my luck. Deaf, blonde and blind!" She proceeded to attend college, and moved past the supposed roadblock.

Not much later, LeAnne showed up with Dave in tow. I often wonder what went through his head, meeting Dar and me. He now says he was comfortable with us from the start, but I thought he looked just a tad shell-shocked. Anyway, we soon had an "adopted" son too. We continue to love them both, dearly.

Dave always wanted to be a pilot. He tried all sorts of ideas to become one, and finally, a year or so ago, dedicated himself full time to getting his license. I can never keep track of where he's at, but I think he now has his commercial ticket. He's working for a small carrier at The Toronto Island Airport. He focus, dedication and obvious joy is truly a sight to behold.

I mention all of this to indicate that Dar and I are now proud "grandparents" of Tristan Douglas Bale, who entered this world on Monday, March 5th. I've watched LeAnne and Dave walk up to and through each and every obstacle that has come to them, always with a smile, always with faith. I've seen them grow together and turn into best friends. Tristan is a very lucky boy. He'll learn to have a moment, have his feelings, and then move on.

So, that was my Monday. On Tuesday, one of my favourite people showed up in my Port Elgin office. She came into my life as a client just about three years ago. She's since become a regular at workshops, and has gotten to know Dar and me as a friend. That happens, around here.

I don't have permission, yet, to tell this story in detail, but I can say that when she walked in the door three years ago, she was trying to decide about staying in her marriage. She was extremely field dependent - everything was run through the filters of "What would people think?" or "What will my parents say?"

Our work together went on for some time. Then, she'd take a break, and be back 3 months later for more. I was learning Jin Shin Acupressure back in 1998, and she volunteered to be one of my "test cases." We soon were doing Bodywork - she's probably had 80 sessions since we started.

Her marriage ended, and she found herself. She's the same woman that I've talked about in the Body Embarrassment part of our Web Site's Bodywork section. She's coming to Elmira this weekend to be the model for a Bodywork video I'm producing. She thought volunteering for that and for pictures for the web site would be another way to land comfortably in her body.

Yesterday, I got to meet the new man in her life. I watched with great joy as the two of them dialogued easily. They were using the communication model and were at ease with each other, although I suspect he wasn't sure how to fit in to the 3-year relationship she and I have. I like his energy, and like the way they interact.

Again, I mention this to indicate that three years is not a particularly long time to ground yourself and to establish a new relationship. My friend is now considering embarking on a new career. She's found her feet, has learned to fit comfortably into her own skin, and is working her way to health, overcoming a lot of past body embarrassment and illness in the process. I see a light in her eyes as she simply states that she is going to heal herself, using Bodywork and alternative medicine as a way out of past patterns. There is no doubt in her, just clear focus.

I have a ton of stories like this, and will share more of them over time. Others of you, like the nice lady last week, send me stuff by e-mail, letting me know what's happened for you after reading something here. With your permission, I run such pieces, and either identify you or not, depending on your preference.

Stories about others help us to relate to the concepts presented here. No one is "stuck" with anything. No matter what crosses or path, no matter how we were parented, no matter what physical or mental challenges we face, no one is stuck with anything. We may have predictable ways of reacting, but we also can, at every turn, choose another path. As we endlessly say, who you are at your core is hard wired in. How you walk your path is entirely your choice. You can always see the negatives, always create stress, always blame others. Or, you can simply walk along, steadily, fluidly, modifying your approach to match the terrain, treating yourself gently.

Because it's all about choice.


The Phoenix Business Focus

The Mindset of Satisfaction

The mindset with which we approach our work determines our satisfaction, plain and simple. I can't tell you how many people I come across who are firmly convinced that their company doesn't know what it's doing, and that there should be a way to change things. They go on to complain, gripe, gather in little clots in the lunchroom, and plot ways to "make" the company change. Or, they threaten to quit. Or they actually quit.

And the company just keeps on keeping on.

It's like change in society. Nothing happens overnight, not even a revolution. Wars change things, but wars typically run for quite a while. Plagues change things, as does technology, but both take incubation and persistence of use. Remember, back in 1968, a computer the size of a room, reading punch cards, had a memory of well under one meg. I know. I programmed an IBM 1620. Boy, am I dating myself . . .

No, change within the workplace is an inside job. I've always operated under the premise that, if I do my job and make things run more efficiently, my work will get noticed and I'll get the ear of someone. My task is to create a work environment for myself that does two things.

  1. It accomplishes for the company what I'm paid to do, and
  2. I do it in such a way as to maximize my enjoyment of what I am doing.

Those two things are also in the right order.

When I consult with a company, I have to accomplish the goals we've contracted for. How I accomplish those goals is largely up to me. If my style doesn't fit, I can easily adjust my style. If, on the other hand, the company itself is a bad fit, i.e. their way of doing business violates my baseline ethics, I am out of there. I have the flexibility to modify my approach endlessly. I will not, however, sell my soul to the highest bidder.

A job is just that. You're there to do what the people paying you want you to do. Ultimately, if you don't like doing what others tell you to do (that would be me!) you can work for yourself, recognizing that you'll be giving up the perks, like paid vacations. I haven't had a paid vacation since 1996. No sob story, just reality.

Do your job. Do it well. Figure out a way to make what you do fun. If you can't, plan an exit strategy and pick somewhere else to work. And do it all without complaint. No one is listening, anyway.




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