Don Paglia | Marriage and Family Counseling. Constellations Workshops


Tip # 14;

“If fishing is interfering with your business, give up your business.”

Alfred W. Miller   

It is so cliché to say life is short, yet this life each of us has been given, relative to death, it is extremely short. Some tells us we have all come from the unknown, into this present life – we call the known – and then, when we die, and go back to the unknown.

It is up to us to decide how we spend this known phase.

Here’s another cliché: Life is not a dress rehearsal. It is the real deal. Therefore we don’t have a minute to waste doing one single thing that is not in alignment with our integrity and with our inner compass – that very part of us often described as our inner voice. I’m lobbying for us to pay closer attention to our inner voice and utilize it as we formulate our actions and life choices.

 This relative short phase we call our life, since it is short can initially sound like justification to not be reflective, but rather to go at top speed, doing everything and anything we wish to do. But it is, actually, the reason for living a more intentional life; a life with purpose and meaning.

 When working with couples I often get them to each learn how to love their partner based upon what makes his/her partner experience being love, rather than what one loves for him or herself. In other words, I challenge each to shift loving smarter, not harder. I might love being given things, so I may logically think I ought to go about giving things to my beloved and think this will be welcomed. But this may not be what “floats her boat.” All I know is that this would float mine.

 So in order to effectively love another person I need to so on their terms. This requires being present and discerning – discernment that comes from good communication, solid listening, and subsequent reflection. Otherwise we are falling into the mistaken belief we k ow what is best, self-absorbed in our superior judgment, and ultimately an ineffective lover.

 Up until now I have resisted offering concrete suggestions. Here are a few I humbly offer for your consideration:

  • Start your day off peacefully. (We have raised a large family, so I laugh as I state this one).
  • Learn to be mindful by slowing things down.
  • Develop new forms of measurement for success – i.e.: “Am I turning toward or away from what life may be offering?”
  • Keep an eye out for miracles; and expect surprises.
  • Practice Gratitude and gratefulness each and every day, and see what comes of this.

 Sadly, too few people truly love what they do and do what they love. If this were the case, there would be no wars, no crime, and no inhumanity to humankind. Those who misinterpret the pithy fishing quote above may do so because they imagine a world with fisherpersons lining all the brooks and streams of the planet and consequentially nothing ever getting done. If so, they are wrong. It is not a call to irresponsibility; rather it’s a calling forth to responsibility – responsibility that cannot be realized until we are reflective and able to see our common shared humanity and common divinity.

 Responsible living starts when we take to heart what our inner voice is telling us. This inner voice ought to be what we allow to call the shots, and what ought to lead us forward, rather than ignoring it, and thus keep us locked into doing what we’ve always done, or doing what we hate doing, simply because we’ve always done it. It is a call to living what is known as a reflective life.

 Mystics, philosophers, and many others, speak about the importance of reflection, and for being a contemplative person. Centered is another way of saying this. It is also about being conscious. Many of us can get quite lazy and by default live unconsciously for as long as we can get away with it.

 Our present world is set up for us to unwittingly live mostly in an unreflective manner. The helter-skelter way we’re fostered into conducting our daily lives feeds into this unconscious, unreflective, living that is predominately the norm. Thus many go about life in a hurried, rushed pace, doing the more expedient, or what we think to be, efficient things, rather than the more effective. We uphold multi-tasking as a badge of honor. We rush in our cars, drive-through windows, “working” lunches, and frantic comings and goings.

 A reflective lifestyle would interrupt such an anxious state.  It takes deliberate discipline to interrupt this way of existing since we would be bucking the tide. But here’s the thing: it will allow us to become more capable of choosing more wisely. And this would distinguish us from merely existing to truly living.

 If your present life ain’t working for you, give it up. Take some small, incremental, and steady steps that will shift you, and keep you moving toward newer and better practices until you discover what best helps.  Over time you will discover what makes for significant and permanent change. In other words: Figure out what your version of “fishing” is right one for you; and get going at it. There’s no better time than now.