Hi there !
If you’re new to our tribe, (even if you’re not) here’s the deal.
My name is Lorne and top of each month I’ll send you my very best ideas and truth powered concepts.
I’m a slightly irreverent, non conforming, modern day elder with a strong bent to make a dent in today’s messed up world.
One of the best ways I do this is by helping us become better servant leaders and difference-makers right where we’re at.
I write about the business of life, leadership, community and relationships and how that all intersects with our quirky human nature.
Basically, I’ll tackle anything that gets us down the road toward our vision of service to others.
Hopefully this is a bit of “leadership jet fuel” that serves to inform, inspire and focus us for the month ahead.
BTW. Did I mention I like coffee? I’m still working my way through that monster bag of Torrefaction Foncee’ espresso beans that Margaret brought home last month. It brews up nicely with “crema”. It’s that tawny, caramel-y layer of micro foam that occurs when you get the just right amount of super heated hydraulic pressure forced through roasted and ground-to-perfection beans. It’s a sort of holy grail for true espresso lovers.
My tastebuds are doing the mamba right there in my mouth.
Stop it guys!
Ok. Take a moment and get yourself a cuppa whatever you love. I’ll wait right here and enjoy mine.
Once you’re back, we can walk through some important ideas together.
What’s in Your Backpack?
I love this story.
It’s about four people on an aircraft that has only three parachutes.
There was a genius, a minister (rabbi, imam, priest, spiritual advisor of your choice) a Boy Scout and of course, the pilot.
Sure enough, about an hour into the flight, the engine catches fire.
The pilot, highly trained in emergencies, promptly locks the controls, grabs one of the parachutes, says “follow me” and bails out.
The genius stands up and says, “I’m the world’s smartest man! The world really needs me”
He grabs one and jumps out leaving the minister and the scout.
The minister looks at the boy and says, “Son– you have your whole life before you. You take the last parachute.”
The scout answers “Don’t sweat it, mister. The world’s smartest man just bailed out with my backpack!”
There are emergencies happening all around us. We often stake our entire future on the survival gear that we’re carrying. These could include good works, possessions, faith, money, education, training, grit, merit or status.
Fact is, we all go through life carrying stuff around with us. Not all of it is useful or good.
There’s the stuff we’ve latched on to that we can’t seem to let go of.
Other stuff we hang onto because we think it defines us and somehow or make us cool or special.
There are experiences and traumas that leave an indelible mark. Memories are very real. They can linger in the pathways of our brain for years, sometimes decades. When triggered, they can unleash a flood of cortisol- fuelled “fight or flight” emotions.
At age eighteen, I was involved in a horrific car crash. My friends and I were able to walk away with only stitches, a broken ankle, and deep bruises. That didn’t lessen the emotional impact.
Huddling dazed and shaken beside the road, we watched as the grotesquely twisted, pancaked pile of metal erupted into a flaming fireball, lighting up the rainy night sky. We could have been in there.
I relived the moments of the crash in slow motion again and again in the form of nightmares for years to follow.
It was an event that left me profoundly changed in ways I didn’t immediately understand. It infused me with an awareness of the fragile preciousness of life.
The dawn of each new day, every pleasure, every pain, every second is a gift.
Each relationship and each human interaction no matter how fleeting has eternal value. It left me with a fierce, deep-down resolve to fully live each day with intent, meaning, and purpose.
I mention this as an example. It’s now a distant memory and I rarely think of it anymore. It just became a part of me. It’s part of the everyday survival gear I carry,
On a side note, to this day this experience informs my engrained defensive driving habits You never know how fast you’re really going until you leave the road and start crashing into stuff.
Trust me on that one.
When it comes to real life backpacks, I’m a huge fan.
It’s my favorite aisle at Mountain Equipment Co-op.
Being fairly active, I have a dedicated “go-bag“ that keeps me organized and ready for just about everything I do. My video gear bag has everything I need to capture great stories. My fishing backpack has entirely different stuff than my hiking bag. My book bag of dog-eared reads and my Kindle is always nearby. My work backpack has everything I’ll need for that particular workday. Daypacks, overnighters, weekenders. The list goes on.
There comes a point when I need to get down and dirty, dump everything out and re-assess my stock of baggage items I carry.
Is this still useful? Does it bring me joy or cause anxiety? Is this essential for my well-being or survival?
Does it help me help others?
If you ever meet my friend, Nita, there’s a couple of things that’ll stand out. You’ll note she is smallish and compact with a cheery disposition and a winsome smile. The other thing you’ll note is her ginormous backpack that she packs around like some kind of urban Sherpa.
When I ask her “Nita, what all do you have in there?”, she smiles mysteriously and says “oh, …many important things.“
Every time she heaves it up and slings it on, there’s a moment of teetering uncertainty until the load centers, balance is regained, and off she goes.
She recently admitted- “Sometimes, when I can’t find something in the house, I just have to remember to check in my backpack and quite often, there it is.“
I may never know what’s in Nita’s bag.
I do know whatever it is, it’s definitely working for her.
What kind of baggage do you carry?
When it comes to life’s baggage, each of us carries something different.
If you’ve ever been wrongly accused, cheated or abandoned, you might have trouble trusting.
If you ever were made to feel ridiculed or put down, you might have trouble feeling acceptance or worth.
The more you know about your own personal baggage, the better equipped you are to handle situations that arise.
Life can certainly become burdensome at times. We all know this is true. Carrying the dead weight of the wrong kind of baggage just makes matters worse. Have the right stuff in your backpack for life. Recognize what needs to stay behind.
Something to think about.
Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough. -Charles Dudley Warner
Have a great month of October!
Until next time.