The Tree of our Thinking Minds

“We are sitting under the tree of our thinking minds, wondering why we’re not getting any sunshine!”

—Ram Dass, American Spiritual Leader

Image of a person sitting in the shade under a tree

Image from Flickr by Kat Northern Lights Man

On a hot, sunny day we all enjoy being in the shade, perhaps with a frosty beverage. It’s cooler, and just more comfortable.

Our own thinking often plays the role of a shade tree in that we are literally blocking out new, more creative or innovative input, which might enlighten us.

If, for some reason, you feel stalled, stuck or plateaued in your growth and development, take a hard look at how often and how much you are sitting under your limited thinking canopy.


How can you let in more bright ideas and alternative perspectives by welcoming the light of other people’s input, personally or professionally?

The Knowledge of the World

“The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet.”

-Lord Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

Image of Milford Sound in New Zealand

Image of Milford Sound from Flickr by Bernard Spragg

What do the following places have in common?

  • Bay of Islands
  • Milford Sound
  • Auckland
  • Dunedin
  • Tauranga
  • Wellington
  • Akaroa

For those who wish to travel more, these are wondrous destinations in New Zealand.

I visited these amazing places as part of my 60th birthday adventure. Getting out into the world can be transformational! In just a few weeks, I felt I took a quantum leap in my awareness and knowledge of geography, history, culture, plants, animals, and many other subjects.


How and in what ways can you investigate and explore your world more fully to add and expand to you awareness and knowledge?  Consider scheduling one of your most exciting “Bucket List” travel adventures soon.

Guests see more in an hour

“A guest sees more in an hour than the host in a year.”

-Polish Proverb

Image of Barry on the bridge overlooking the Sydney Opera House

Barry and the Sydney Opera House

For my 60th birthday, my wonderful wife Wendy surprised me with a “Bucket List” vacation to Australia and New Zealand. I take adventures such as this with my senses wide open, even though they can be exhausting.

The sights, sounds, tastes, and feelings make experiences like this magical!

Surprisingly, a good number of the people we met who live and work in Australia and New Zealand saw their worlds as “normal,” with only reasonable pleasure and satisfaction in what we, as tourists, experienced as amazingly beautiful and extra-special.


How and in what ways can you more fully explore and take greater delight in the world right around you? You may wish to invite a guest, friend, or colleague to visit your home and express what they see and appreciate about your world.

We never do anything well

“We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it.”

—William Hazlitt, 19th Century British Social Commentator

Meme of today's quoteHow many activities in the following list have you engaged in over the past year?

  • Giving a speech or major presentation
  • Writing a book or significant article for publication
  • Interviewing for a new job or promotion
  • Playing golf, poker, or a game of chess
  • Building a piece of furniture or other handy-person activity

If at least one of these activities occurred this past year, how well did you do? How competent, skilled, or masterful were you? How much effort, struggle, or ease and flow did you experience?

Hazlitt’s quote points to the fact that when we are so focused on doing things correctly we often diminish our own ability to do things well because of our preoccupation with our potential to make mistakes.


How and on what activity might a more playful approach, without much thought about doing things perfectly, help you enjoy the process and perhaps do far better than you might have imagined?

Your Awakening

“I awake each day thinking of your awakening.”

—Brendon Burchard, American Motivational Author

Image of sunrise

Image from psychicsvideokline

What percentage of people go through their lives half asleep, or awaken only for special occasions and weekends?

How bright-eyed and bushy-tailed are you in the morning? How much do you look forward to each new day?

I deeply desire my own daily awakening and have pursued my career as a coach to support others to do the same. With a “pay it forward” approach and attitude, many of my clients do the same in their communities. Most would say that is one of the most satisfying parts of the coaching process.


How and in what ways can you enhance and improve your world, to wake each day with greater enthusiasm and vitality?

Where and with whom can you awaken the lives of others, so they can do the same?

Climate vs Weather

“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.”

—Mark Twain, American Author and Humorist

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A few months ago I had a wonderful family vacation in the San Diego area, purported to have one of the best climates in the world. We spent a rainy evening with a few of my son-in-law’s friends, who were a bit upset with the weather. Coming from Michigan, we were more than OK with a bit of cool temperatures and precipitation.


How can greater awareness and perspective regarding your professional and personal expectations help you embrace whatever the weather brings into your world?

Thousands of Tiny Miracles

“Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles. Notice them.”

-Author Unknown

Image from Flickr by JOPHIELsmiles

Image from Flickr by JOPHIELsmiles

In late February, my wife Wendy took a week to visit her friends in Florida and I stayed back here in Michigan to hold down the fort.  Although I missed her dearly and we talked often, I became very aware of a different life rhythm, and other experiences not previously observed in our normal routines.

Miracles I noticed and am grateful for include:

  • The wonders of medicine and our healthcare system in improving the quality and quantity of life.
  • The electronic and technological capacities that our smartphones, the internet, and a host of other devices provide.
  • The miracle of our living planet and the huge diversity of living creatures that share it.
  • The miracle of our minds and bodies that allow us to design and impact our world.
  • The miracle of community and family in which we can share our journey with those we love and care about.


Feel free to reply to this post regarding some of the small and not so small miracles you observe today.

Don’t Stumble

“Don’t stumble over something behind you.”

-Seneca, Roman Stoic Philosopher

Image from

Image from

Where do you live? Regardless of city, state, or country, we all live first and foremost in our thoughts.

How often do you think of past events or experiences that were negative or upsetting? We have the ability and tendency to travel back in time to revisit – and yes, stumble over – the same events and all their limiting feelings.


Image you were born with a factory-installed time machine with three settings: past, present, and future.

How would you use your current level of self-awareness and intentionality to limit your negative journeys to the past in order to maximize your experience of the present?

“Being entirely honest with…”

“Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.”

—Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and the father of psychoanalysis

Photo from

Photo from

Coaches are frequently asked, “What is the difference between coaching, counseling, and therapy?”

A thirty-second post would never do justice to this question. In today’s quote, Freud points to the value and usefulness of creating greater self-awareness, which is a component of each of the three supporting professions.


How would greater self-awareness and honesty serve you today?

“A mind that is stretched by a new…”

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

—Oliver Wendell Holmes, American physician & poet

Photo from Flickr by Moyan Brenn

Photo from Flickr by Moyan Brenn

My trip to Europe last month was definitely a mind stretcher. Relatively unaware of this region of the world, I was somewhat embarrassed by my ignorance of the languages, customs, architecture, and of course, history.

Seeing the churches, castles, cities, towns, villages, and of course the people, made me realize that I am a not-so-worldly citizen with much to learn. I also now can see that both my roots and Wendy’s were formed to a good degree through the lives of previous generations of our families, who came from Europe.


What new experiences have you had recently, or are about to experience in the next month or so? How can and will you make the most of these mind-stretching opportunities?