Saturday, December 05, 2009


Principle: The starting point of movement,

such as we find at either end of a measure

of length or a stretch of road.

- Aristotle (Metaphysics Book ∆, Chapter 1)

It's a clear California dusk, forty-eight hours after Thanksgiving. The sun is dropping fast tonight. My Arizona holiday week spent with four-dozen friends and family members is over. Things happen for me when I cross the state line and step onto Arizona soil. I don't know how to explain this, but the ground there has a certain familiarity, whether standing or when I fall, balance lost, on outstretched hands. I did both this trip. The dry Arizona air is familiar too, as are the odors of new rain and washed soil carried by it. This is the land from which I grew.

Passing through Joshua Tree National Park some days ago I found myself wondering how a person unfamiliar with the dessert southwest might perceive this arid open space. Lifeless? Actually, Joshua Tree is quite a forest, though not of fir or pine, redwood or spruce. But it's there and full of life; and as with opportunity, one has to pay attention and see it. It's all around and overwhelming, provided one pauses long enough to look.

The mountainous route I took was a few hours distance from where I grew up. Territory unvisited by me until this past weekend; breathtaking badlands separating Kingman, Arizona from Laughlin, Nevada. My brother told it would be this way, breathtaking. But I hadn't an idea of what he meant until I was there looking upon it myself.

There are a lot of things others have told me about, that I have had no idea of until I experienced them on my own. Ever find that true for you? Someone, a friend or relative, relates something to you. You wonder what they are talking about. Then one day you live through it yourself, and your perception changes in a big way. Thinking you know something is quite distinct from knowing something through an experience.

As the 2009 dims I want to call your attention to the articles that have appeared in this newsletter over the past eleven months: Seeds (Nov); October Potpourri (Oct); Food for Thought & Action (Sept); A True and Short Story (Aug); What Grabs you? (July); Profound Learning (June); Don't Lose Your Attractiveness (May); Breathing and Service (Apr); Thoughts from Taiwan (March); An Interview with George Hersh (Feb); In the Face of Fear, Take a Deep Breath (Jan). If you didn't read some of the above articles, or if you don't recall them, spend some time to revisit at They are there for your reference and use.

The articles were written with a singular purpose: serve constructive effectiveness. The events of the last twelve months here in the United States and elsewhere in the world indicate that being effective in constructive ways is important. My hope is that we have learned from the last twelve months and will change course. My concern is that as the road to recovery widens we'll get lazy and forget, make a show of it, and not change course. But I don't want to dwell on fear.

The road of November took Susan Hammond and me to La Jolla (California) to serve the 125 executives and managers of Event Network attending their annual conference called The Huddle. We delivered "The Art of Practice & The Event Network Dojo" - an exciting and powerful short course of integrated study now available to the public and organizations through Allied Ronin.

The November road also took me to Brisbane (Australia) where Paul Marshall ( completed his training and certification to become Australia's first certified Samurai Game® facilitator. There we conducted a public offering of Developing the Warrior Within™, and then we served St. Agnes Primary School as the seventh grade class engaged in the Samurai Game®. Congratulations Paul!

And finally, the road led to Phoenix, Scottsdale, Meyer, and Prescott (Arizona) to connect me with associates and clients, and then to enjoy family, friends. Meyer and Prescott are special - my father's birthplace and hometown respectively, and the towns where his parents and grandparents lived out their lives. In Prescott I walked familiar streets in front of old saloons and homes, and stood aside fences and trees where in my youth katydids buzzed their summer nighttime songs before breaking shells to fly off into less constrained - at least for a while - lives. In Meyer I walked the dirt road on the ridgeline above town to the family plot where etched names and dates will endure for as long as marble can withstand the rain and wind, and the sun and snow.

Three days from now the road of December will lead me to Mexico City to serve with Luis Dominguez (A to B Mexico) and work with Jenaro Pliego Fox (Allied Ronin Associate and Mexico's first certified Samurai Game® facilitator). And then on December 10-11 to work with and serve Roberto Martinez and Dr. Rafael Lopez as they continue their journeys regarding facilitator certification.

These journeys have me thinking about some of the past eleven months' articles, which like recent roads, have been along. No need for that today. Just a few questions to dwell on as days grow short and 2009 closes. It is a natural time for reflection.

The people and places that we have surrounded ourselves with over a lifetime form the soil from which we have grown. At this moment we cannot change the facts of that soil. But we do have choice about how we relate to it. We can affect the result that the soil will have by how we step through it: (1) honest acknowledgement, (2) attention to how it continues to show up, and (3) by engaging in practices for future constructive results. Each step is important, must be attended to and not skipped over or avoided.

The people and situations that we currently surround ourselves with on a daily basis form the soil from which we will grow our tomorrows. There ought be no denying that the soil in which we find ourselves - who and what we surround ourselves with - influences our future.

A Reflection.
What past do you come from each day?
Does this serve what you want?
Who and what do you surround your self with each day?
Do they, does this, serve: (1) what you say you are about and (2) your future?

An opportunity.
Before December 31st arrives and the time comes for resolutions what actions can you, will you, take regarding this? What practices will you engage in? How will you till your soil?

Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished:

If you're alive, it isn't.

-Richard Bach (Illusions)

© Lance Giroux, October 2009

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