11 Chapters
Medium 9781576756300

A Master Teacher in Disguise

Crum, Thomas Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Angus settled into his office. His unfamiliar sense of lightness and ease was soon fogged by concern over his meeting regarding his project team, of which he was head. He realized that he needed to reestablish his credibility when he met with Harold today. His performance and his attitude were being scrutinized. And today he could understand why. He recognized an unproductive pattern in himself. He often was uncentered, full of anger and blaming. The truth was that he did doubt himself. And the more he doubted, the more he had to justify.

His thoughts returned to the morning’s strange events. What if he tried the “centering” that the old man had showed him? Maybe it could help him relax a little. He settled into his chair and closed his eyes. At first it felt a little contrived and analytical. But after several breaths, he felt his anxiety relaxing. After a few more breaths Angus noticed that he was able to detach himself from his analysis and simply witness his thought process. There were “the thoughts,” and then there was “the person who was thinking those thoughts,” the observer, who could simply watch without getting attached or reactive. Angus realized that, rather than getting plugged in to his thoughts, he could be watching a play, one in which he was the director and actor at the same time. If he wanted to, he could cut and do a retake, choosing an entirely different role for himself.

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Medium 9781576756300

Centering

Crum, Thomas Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The old man could have been Angus’s grandfather, yet he moved smoothly, catlike.

Angus climbed into the passenger seat of the Chevy. “This is fascinating, this centering thing,” he said. “But the truth is that I have no time to practice it.” He had already begun to worry about work and his busy life.

“Centering does not take time—it takes intention,” responded the old man. “In fact, when you are calm and more present, you will save time. You don’t need time to be happy.”

“Maybe I’ll do it during lunch break,” replied Angus.

“Great, but why not right now?” the old man suggested. “You could start by fastening your—”

“My centering belt?” Angus interrupted with a grin.

“That’s right,” chuckled the old man. “That belt, even that click you hear when you fasten it, can be a wake-up call to get centered. You don’t have to wait till ‘later.’ And notice, the belt fits right over your centering area.”

Angus hooked up the seat belt and, in spite of himself, he found himself taking some deep centering breaths.

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The Lift

Crum, Thomas Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Angus had a fitful night to match his day, this time fretting over his upcoming meeting with Harold, his boss. His conversation with his colleague Robert that morning confirmed a rumor he’d heard that his job as project manager for the new marketing plan was being questioned. Not just by his team, but by his boss. He had obsessed until he dozed off at 4:10 a.m., only to be jarred to attention by his daughter’s alarm clock, which he had borrowed to replace the one he had broken the previous morning. The Disney tune was on full volume: “Zippity-do-dah, zippity ay.”

No, this is not a “wonderful day”!

Fumbling unsuccessfully for the switch, he yanked the plug.

Angus rubbed his eyes and felt his tired body. He staggered to the shower and was drenched by a torrential downpour of warm water and cold thoughts. He stood aimlessly in the shower for who knows how long. It occurred to him that he was staring at his conditioner in his left hand, and couldn’t remember whether he had shampooed or not. In his next fleeting glimpse of consciousness, he caught himself staring into the mirror holding his toothbrush but unclear as to whether or not he had brushed his teeth. Only the mint taste in his mouth gave him some confidence.

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Practice, Practice, Practice

Crum, Thomas Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Angus opened one eye slightly, so he would appear to still be asleep. He watched his daughter twirling and leaping beside his bed, singing and performing a “wake-up” dance. Last night she had promised him that, instead of an alarm clock, she would be his “wake-up fairy” and awaken him to a magical day.

He felt Carly’s hand gently nudging him, making sure he wasn’t missing a moment. He wasn’t. Angus’s joy in this moment was almost overwhelming, but he held it back so that he could prolong the show.

Softly, Sierra danced high on her toes, in her little pink nightgown, chanting as she made her way in circles around the room.

“Wake up! It’s a magic day! Wake up! Get up and play!”

Angus feigned a big slow yawn, as good as any Rip Van Winkle. With a shout, Sierra leaped onto the bed and waved her pretend wand over her dad. At just the right moment, Angus growled to life and, just like a giant grizzly bear, he grabbed Sierra and then Carly, too. His girls squealed with delight, just as he knew they would.

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The Second Breath

Crum, Thomas Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“Could you tell me more about this breathing?” Angus asked Daisy. “What do you mean by breathing this strong loving ‘Mama’ in?”

Daisy turned her attention from the flowing stream to Angus.

“Well, I don’t know what to tell you. All I know is that every day I breathe in the ‘me I want to be’ and Daisy here still keeps growin’! My daughter graduated high school and is now enrolled in City College. I guess anything is possible!”

Angus took a deep Centering Breath. It was possible for Daisy to be the best ‘me’ she could be. She had turned that possibility into reality. It came from consciously breathing it in. Breathing! The second breath! The Possibility Breath! Breathe in the highest possible me!

It sounded wonderful, but he was unclear as to how to do it.

“What do you mean, breathing it into every cell?” asked Angus. “Do you mean just really believe and hope that you’re that person?”

“It’s not just a strong belief or hope. That’s just left up here.” Daisy lightly touched her head. “When you breathe it into your mind and body, you become it, you know it. Heck, you are it.”

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