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  • All my adult life I have appreciated the Zen-like perspective of keenly observing that which is around me, of letting things flow past rather than trying to control or interfere. There is something respectful, curious, peaceful, and educational in such a philosophy.

    As my time becomes more limited, I am questioning this passive appreciation; for it does not seem to mesh with an active plan for one’s life, with the desire to accomplish certain things while it is still possible to do so.

    After seeing and learning so much, I now want to act on that – to right the wrongs, to assign resources to those I select, and to pursue the dreams that have been so long postponed. I want to extend my experiences and leave a legacy of insight and opportunity.

    For this to become, my passivity must yield some to active planning, to taking the wheel rather than watching the drift. Yet I do not want to lose the curious mind of Zen. Like a student, I ask myself how to resolve these opposing viewpoints.

    Zen, interlaced. Create a plan; execute it. In doing so, I can pause intermittently to notice the shimmering leaves of Aspen, the child’s pursuit of a beetle in the grass, the taxi driver’s religious artifact hanging protectively from the rear view mirror. Even as I make the phone calls, send the texts, and attend the meetings, I can observe. There is meaning in the expression on a face. Such observation may help me achieve the active plan, or at least entertain as I execute.

    Act, observe; act, observe. Suggest a new approach to a problem; observe the facial response and body language. Adjust the suggestion to accommodate more points of view. Listen to the tone of voice to detect receptivity.

    Appreciate the bright color of the tie or dress, just because you like it and it gives you a little boost of energy. Breathe in the wind that moves the branch back and forth in front of the sun; use that force to help you sail closer to your intended destination.

    Active, passive; execution, philosophy; Zen, interlaced.

    ©2012 james chandler
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