Stories with and about Grandparents

Oct 13, 13 Stories with and about Grandparents

Posted by in Mindfulness

Some time ago I was reading an article by Simona Tache – “My Grandparents’ Love Story”  (in Romanian) and the many comments filled with nostalgic love stories from half a century ago…I then lovingly remembered my grandparents and a thought stuck with me that I needed to write their love-story some day, just as I heard it hundreds of times from my grandmother when I was a child. Granny was an incurable romantic. I’d know she was in a good mood as soon as I entered the door because I heard her humming an old love song from the time when people would spend peaceful summer afternoons eating pies and listening to an orchestra in the Public Garden. For a few days now this song, from back then, has been playing in my mind… Today I went to the cemetery and lit a candle by my grandparents grave. I also did something that, custom says, should not be done – I played this song in the silence of the cemetery. It was my gift for them. So is this story. It is said that if you truly want to understand and befriend your past, the history which brought you to this point in your life, then you should go back to your very first memory. Is it a happy one or not? Who is in it? My oldest memory dates back to when I was about 2 or 3, when I used to pretend I was a circus acrobat and would put on a huge show with all my toys as personal assistants in front of an enthusiastic audience made up of … my grandmother. I perfectly remember the whole “routine” – me hiding behind the wardrobe and granny, as I affectionately called her all throughout her life, would play host and solemnly announced the beginning of a new, fabulous show. At the right time I would enter the “stage” with all my stuffed Teddy Bears, with my favourite doll, Oana, and all the other...

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Authenticity, Trust and Following Your Heart

Last week I stood in front of around 150 students and spoke about authenticity. Today I stood in front of about the same number of managers in a large company, speaking about trust. Both times I felt completely connected with the subject and with my audience and had this very deep feeling that what I was saying to them was truly meaningful for me too. Now, thinking of the learnings from these two events I just realised how much my life has changed over the past two years because of these two simple words: authenticity and trust. Just over two years ago I was a corporate employee with many reasons for gratitude. The money was good, the job was nice – I was doing what I like best – creating and delivering workshops – and I was surrounded by a team of like-minded people, some of which I was and still am happy to call friends. Still I was miserable. I was dreading every single morning when that horrendous alarm clock would ring and make me reluctantly get out of bed for the dawn of a new day “at the office”. If asked, I could describe what I was so unhappy about: I disliked the rules and fixed schedules, the somber offices, the deadlines and procedures, the power-point templates that forbade me to put funny pictures in my slides. I hated the very idea of a dress code and, more than once, I received a warning from HR for shamelessly breaking it and wearing blue jeans at work. I definitely dreaded having to be there on time in the morning and leaving at a fixed time in the evening. I was saddened by the serious people all around me, seldom smiling, never seeming to have fun doing their jobs. I had a hard time sitting in meetings, doing “official” presentations and I could never really find my words when I had to speak “corporate”. But well beneath all these complaints that I had, there was...

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Life Equations: Gentle self-honesty x Congruence = Authenticity

What I have noticed lately in many people whom I meet through my work or otherwise is a deep desire to live more authentic lives. Two years ago it would have been unheard of for a workshop participant to mention “spiritual evolution”, “self-discovery” or “self-acceptance” as his personal objective for the seminar. To make things clear, I am not talking about workshops with a specific spiritual theme, but about workshops taking place in a corporate environment, whose participants are managers and whose subjects range from “leadership” to “coaching”. I cannot tell you how glad I am, however, to be hearing such aspirations from people attending our workshops. I am even happier at the end of the 2 or 3 days we spend together, when they say they feel that the experience we shared together has brought them one step close to that goal. Apart from my joy of seeing people’s increasing preoccupation for their inner universe, I have started to pay attention to the ways people who actually progress quickest towards self-actualization are able to achieve that progress. And what I noticed is something very interesting, that I’d like to share with you and get your opinions and perspectives on. I noticed there are many paths people take towards increasing their own happiness, self-understanding and self-development. I chose to analyze two, which I find most interesting. One is gathering as much information as possible. These are those people who read a lot, are preoccupied by spirituality, psychology and all other subjects that promise to bring them closer to themselves and their purpose in this world. While most of these self-taught people are fascinating to talk to and an inexhaustible source of knowledge for anyone curious enough to ask them what they know, there is one thing that seems to be holding, at least some of them back: their reluctance to actually live what they are reading about. It is as if these curious minds are afraid to put theory into practice, to experience what...

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On being different…

I’ve written about “being different” before, but from another perspective, more, let’s say “business oriented”. This time it’s more personal. I want to share with you a lesson I learned this evening about personal identity and having the courage to accept and communicate to the world that you are who you are, even when “you” are perhaps, in more ways than one, different from the norm. We all take on roles in this life – professional roles – marketing specialist, trainer, coach, sales person, manager and personal ones – mother, daughter, friend, husband. What I have just realized this evening is that once we’ve communicated that particular role to the world, others start having certain expectations that we fit the role. There is something akin to dogma surrounding different roles. There are “right” and “wrong” things that mothers, coaches, friends should do or should avoid doing. Once you are “qualified” to be in a certain role, it’s as if you’ve just, inadvertently, joined a community of people, all sharing that role. You have a child, you’ve joined the community of mothers. You are a qualified coach, you’ve joined the community of coaches. You’ve joined a family through marriage,  you’re part of a whole new community of in-laws and cousins and friends of the family. And that community has standards, rules, regulations, procedures that you must follow, if you want to be accepted by that particular group. What happens when you trespass others’ expectations from that particular role? What happens when you don’t behave as you are supposed to, within the role? What happens if you craft your own, personal version of the role, that is different from anyone else’s? What happens, for example, if a high-profile finance consultant decides to wear blue-jeans and a t-shirt to work? Will he suddenly become less competent in managing his client’s finances? What about a sales-person who cares more about customer satisfaction than sales targets? Or a mother who decides to offer a completely different education to her...

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The Drama Triangle – Where We Run When We Hide From Ourselves

Why, when and how we hide from ourselves is a theme that has been on my mind for some time now. And, as it happens more and more often recently, just when I needed to understand more about this, synchronicity brought my way several people who gave me the opportunity to look in a “mirror”, confronting my own truths about running away from myself.  These were either people whom I had met recently or old friends who suddenly started a conversation about their fears of confronting themselves, thus prompting me to reflect on the topic. And since the Universe seems to be giving me so many opportunities to learn more about this, I thought I’d better share my thoughts with you all, just in case you too are preoccupied with this or simply have a valuable perspective on the subject. So…what’s going on with this idea of “hiding from yourself”?  Knowing yourself is a journey that might take you to some really dark and potentially threatening places. What we often do in life is that we tend to avoid going to those places. And we do that by hiding from ourselves. Hiding, denial, or running away seem to be strategies people tend to adopt whenever they are confronted with something that undermines their good opinions about themrselves or threatens to reveal some inner aspect that might render them vulnerable. Decisions such as leaving a job that no longer makes you happy, an abusive boss, an unproductive relationship – all these force you to confront your own fears. What I noticed is that, whenever they reach such crossroads in their lives, people tend to blame outside circumstances for their unhappiness, instead of confronting the truths that lie within. Many of you might have heard about a psychological concept called “The Drama Triangle” , which I also mentioned in a different post. It basically states there are three places where we tend to go when we run away and hide from ourselves – the role of the “persecutor“, the role of...

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