Thich Nhat Hanh tells a beautiful story in his book “Silence” about the Coconut Monk. This monk did many things to teach peace. In Vietnam, at the time of the war, he once collected bullet and bomb fragments from an area in the Mekong Delta. He then did an extraordinary thing – he took the bullet and bomb fragments and forged them into a big bell – he called it the bell of mindfulness. He then hung this bell in his practice centre in Mekong Delta and wrote the following poem:
Dear bullets, dear bombs, I have helped you come together in order to practice. In your former life, you have killed and destroyed. But in this life, you are calling out to people to wake up, to wake up to humanity, to love, to understanding.
This bell’s very existence was a symbol of how transformation is possible and he rang it every morning and every night to invite soldiers into times of reflection.
At the beginning of this year, I really hope this story helps you to believe that you can make small changes in the way you live and work. That even difficult things and brokenness can be used as a reminder. And may the metaphor of the bell remind you to make small decisions about the way that you will (literally or metaphorically) ring a bell in your own life to remind you of the small changes and habits that you want to stick to this year. To wake up to humanity and love. Do keep it simple!
And let’s remember the words of Leonard Cohen in his song “Anthem”:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget the perfect offering
There’s a crack in everything
But that’s where the light gets in
Take 5 minutes to think reflectively about the following.
How can you create something that can be like a bell that rings in your life this year – something that reminds you to stop, to love and to be human? Think about something simple that you can use as a reminder, not to make you feel guilty, but to help you, your team or your family to believe that small changes and transformation is possible in 2020. It can be a reminder on your phone, a photo or a picture against a wall, a tree that you pass every morning or maybe a bell at your office? Keep it simple and specific though…
My bell was a drop of water…watch the video of my story here.
Events for 2020:
I am again conducting a few retreats and leadership retreats this year – more information can be found here.
And I still spend time with individuals and teams on request for reflective walks, experiential team development processes and team retreats – more information here.
I regularly spend time with teams in a labyrinth – ask me about this.
Also, keep letting me know if you have any soulful stories to share – it is wonderful to hear about the small moments that provide meaning and purpose.
Ring the bell!