Enough said . . .


The art of unfolding

Stacks of options and opportunities

I’m a book lover and a budding unfolder. An unfolder is a person, who lets life unfold at its own pace and in its own way. (Yes, I’ve made up another word!)

Unfolding is an art, not a science. It takes practice and patience – two things I used to avoid in life. You see, there once was a time if I could not do something well after the first couple of tries, I simply crossed it off my list. Yes, you are right; that was a silly thing to do. And, I must admit there was also a time when “having it yesterday” was not soon enough for me. Yes, yes, you are right again, that was a silly way to be. 

Fortunately for me, and those around me, I have learned the benefits of trusting myself and my instincts and embracing the art of unfolding.

To me, unfolding is like being in the library walking through rows and rows of books. My feelings of excitement and anticipation grow, as I realize all the options presented before me. So many books, so little time! I peruse the shelves, looking high and low, stretching and bending to read the titles. Then slowly and with intention I raise my hand, and use the tip of my index finger to gently tilt the chosen spine toward me, and the book of choice slides from the shelf.

An option has become an opportunity, and a bit of my fate now rests in my hands.

A personal tipping point.

It’s just a book, you say. Perhaps, but like any moment in life, it might hold much more. It may spark my imagination, expand my experience, increase my knowledge, or perhaps become part of my future.

I read the cover, and if it captures my attention I flip it open and check the table of contents or move directly to the opening paragraph, letting the story unfold before my eyes.

Ahh, the priceless art of unfolding.

To become an unfolder, please:

  1. Show-up
    • Nothing happens without action
    • Picture yourself heading to the library of life
    • Plan to sit a bit, no need to rush these things
  2. Listen
    • Best way to learn and to open yourself to opportunities
    • Listening is like reading the titles and the first few pages of each new book
    • You know you are really listening when you are no longer thinking of yourself, but only the person or subject at hand
  3. Reach-out
    • Best way to help and to receive help
    • Picture yourself opening a new chapter of your life
    • Don’t be afraid to become involved, trust your judgment, if you have followed the first two steps, you are ready

Am I always unfolding? No, not always, but when I do slow down long enough to follow this simple approach; I’m richly rewarded with new ideas, information, insights, and sometimes even new projects and friends.

I’m constantly learning new ways to slow down, to pay attention, and to reach-out at just the right moment. And, yes it is true, sometimes I reach-out and nothing happens or I get stung a bit. I’ve learned not to fret about those instances and to simply slide that “book” back into its place on the shelf and to continue browsing for others. I have seldom left a library empty-handed, and now I trust that the library of life will leave me with at least a good story or a rewarding lesson or two, and maybe, much, much more. 

If you would like to try the art of unfolding: Show-up. Listen. Reach out. Repeat often, and then wait for life to unfold in front of you.

While you are waiting, you might want to open a good book.



Are you an unfolder? We’d love to hear and learn from your experiences. And, if unfolding suggests a particular vision or image – tell us how it looks to you.  

Asking, listening

Monday morning reflection . . .

“… the more confident of their abilities that persons are the less they feel compelled to tell others of their achievement” a quote from Dr. Ben Carson, in his book, “Think Big: Unleashing Your POTENTIAL for EXCELLENCE.”

I know that, but sometimes I forget it.

You see, sometimes I find myself in situations where I feel I have to justify my existence or something I have done or am doing by explaining, who I am and what I am doing with my life, and then I end-up talking too much, or rambling, (yes, just like now) or maybe saying something silly, or well, stupid, and that’s silly, because I’m not stupid.   🙂

How does that happen? 

My perfect life scenario is one in which I go through an entire party or gathering without ever talking about myself. I simply ask and listen, ask and listen.

My perfect life is me doing that forever.  Asking, listening, asking, listening.

So far it hasn’t happened, but I am confident it will, and when it does, I won’t even have to mention it.

What would you tell them?

Commencement season is winding down, and Ann Curry is in the news for making it more memorable than I am sure she would like it to be. I have always enjoyed listening to Ann on the Today Show. She comes across as interesting, knowledgeable and nice. I hate to see her embarrassed, and I love Wheaton College’s (Massachusetts) response. 

Her situation reminded me of two things:

1. Not to take myself too seriously – mishaps and mistakes happen, best to make sincere amends and gently move on, and now moving on . . .

2. Graduation speeches I like. One of my favorites is often attributed to Kurt Vonnegut, who is one of my favorite authors, but credit for the speech rightfully goes to Chicago Tribune columnist  Mary Schmich for mentioning the importance of wearing sunscreen, among other things. 

Rereading Schmich’s words inspired me to ask myself, “What would I say to the Class of 2010?  What tidbits of wisdom would I pass on?”

What would you tell them?

(Did something surprising just pop into your head?  If so, it might be an honest reflection of how your life is going at the moment. Sometimes our mental pop-ups can be valuable to us; I get them all the time – who knew I was even thinking that? They are actually good, and mean we are willing to look at who we really are. If what popped-up wasn’t what you wanted to hear, remember any awareness is good awareness; note it and move on.)

I would love to hear your speech, I truly believe we each have unique wisdom to pass on. Here’s what I would tell any and all graduating classes, because it is what I keep trying to do. 

Patrice’s short and sweet commencement speech:

1. Let people have their say.

2. Don’t let being afraid stop you from doing what is right – for the world or for yourself.

3. Sometimes doing “right” is just listening.

4. Sometimes it is reaching out and touching someone.

5. Sometimes it is doing something.

6. Sometimes, way less than the others, it is saying something.

7. Learn the difference and do that.

And, then I would share Christopher Robin’s (aka A.A. Milne’s) immortal words to Winnie the Pooh: “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”      

Because you are.

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