The Sabbatical

by Lance Ekum on February 21, 2011 · 3 comments

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” ~ Albert Einstein

…this thing called life…

As I reflect on this journey, this thing called "my life", I stand in awe.  The intricacies that have brought me to where I am today.  The moments that have seemed so insignificant…and yet the reality of their deep significance.  The beauty of alive-ness.  The sorrow in death.  The thrill of feeling fully connected to soul.  The despair of feeling trapped.  Our world and her beauty. 

…this thing called life…

There is this one thing, though.  There is this thing which makes me "look" important.  This thing which makes me "feel" important.  This thing which is a spiraling story…a spiraling story away from that sense of awe.

…this thing which limits my own creative possibility…


Do you ever feel like you're going and going and going…only to one day question:  Where?  Where am I really going?

Where am I really going?


I've been busy re-creating this space (thank you, each of you – for your amazing support!).   This has all been great – re-birthing Jungle 2.0.  Really, this has been such a deeply good experience for me, as I just continue to draw closer to my own core.  And in all of this, I feel like I'm on the cusp in my own personal life journey. 

Well, I am…except…

Except.  In all of this going and going and going, have I been pausing to reflect on this journey?  Have I honestly been pausing, to soak in the awe of this amazing thing called life?

Today, I choose to pause.  I choose to pause, to reflect, to "stand in awe".

What does all of this mean?

This space, the Jungle of Life, will rest. 

"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop." ~ Ovid

I will be taking a break from writing here in this space.  And like an evening's rest, or perhaps like the winter season…this space will rest also. 

…this thing called life…

Perhaps this all seems so not appropriate, so strange, so "taking a step backward" – after all the work that went into creating Jungle 2.0.  Perhaps it is. 

Perhaps, though, it is the path I must take.  Perhaps, it is exactly what is right.  Perhaps that whisper in my heart is the essence of this Jungle becoming something even more meaningful.

And I stand at the cusp in my own personal journey…

I want to "stand in awe"…with this thing called life.  I want to fully grasp the magnificence of being alive.  I want to dream dreams.  I want to explore and create.

So, here's the deal.  The Jungle of Life is officially on break.  And it is exactly that – a break, a rest, a time for reflection.

The lights are off.  The lights are off, as the Jungle rests.  The lights are off…and will be back on again soon…

Peace, love, and all things fun!

Note:  During this sabbatical, I will be continuing the "Thoughts From the Treehouse" newsletter.  If you are not signed up, you can do that below.

Some of my personal favorite Jungle articles from the past year:

"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But, it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." ~ Winston Churchill

~ Comments Closed ~

I Just Want To Be Heard

by Lance Ekum on February 15, 2011 · 103 comments

y2.d7 | that edit girl

Creative Commons License photo credit: B Rosen

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood” ~ Stephen Covey

"Are you listening to me?"

"Do you understand what I'm saying?"

"Are you really listening to me?"

“Listen a hundred times; ponder a thousand times; speak once.” ~ Turkish Proverb

How well do you understand, before you speak?

A Story

This past weekend, my wife and I organized and ran a basketball tournament, with a total of 64 teams visiting our gyms over the course of two days.  (well…the honest answer is that mostly my wife, Lora, organized it…and everything came together in really amazing ways!).   And she came up with the great (well…in whose eyes!?!?) way of fielding everything that came up over the weekend.  She would take on any compliments and kind words.  I would take care of any and all complaints.  (wait…who got the better deal here???)

Really, everything ran smoothly over the weekend (see, that kept HER busy – graciously accepting compliments!!)

Of course, with the sheer number of people that crossed through our doors, the weekend was not incident free.  While everything that came up was minor, it also just really highlighted something very important.

"I just want to be heard and valued".

One particular incident involving a coach and a referee involved me "getting involved" (…that complaint department duty I took on!!).  I made it a point to take time alone with the coach, and with the referee – to really understand their points.  And I also took time to bring everyone together to share.  After our group meeting, I made a point of again talking to each party individually – to one more time, make it clear that their input was valued, and their concerns being heard. 

I chose to listen impartially to each person.  I chose to reconnect with these same persons again, and to listen one more time.

And I chose to reply with my own thoughts only after knowing that everyone had fully shared their views (and when I was asked for my thoughts). 

I share this, because it demonstrates, very clearly, the importance of listening, or perhaps even more than that – of understanding (both spoken word and non-spoken word).

“The reality of the other person lies not in what he reveals to you, but what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says, but rather to what he does not say.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

While I could certainly not fully understand either of these men in the few minutes we had together, I could seek to understand through their words, their actions, their non-verbal signs.  In doing that, and in respecting them – I created a place of open dialogue.  In that mutual respect, everyone left our "meeting", with an understanding that they were valued – and with a positive experience even in light of this "issue".

…by my open and genuine listening to them…


So, think about this?  How are you doing at really listening?  Are you seeking to understand BEFORE you seek to be understood. 

If we have not taken the time to honestly and genuinely understand, rarely will we come close to "getting it right" on what someone else is thinking (and to a greater extent – feeling).

Perhaps an even bigger part of this is how we choose to value the persons with whom we come in contact with.  By listening, by showing we care, by seeking to understand first – we touch upon the soul of another being.  We touch upon the soul, by valuing each person. 

There is no way we can even begin to understand the path that has brought someone to where they are today – just by making some generalizations. 

There is no way we can know that his mother just passed away, after a long battle with cancer.

There is no way we can know that her child has been sick, and she is worried.

There is no way we can know that he just celebrated his granddaughter's first birthday.

There is no way we can know that she is just starting down the road of an unplanned pregnancy.

There is no way we can know that his car needs major repairs, and he's been living paycheck to paycheck.

There is no way we can know that she just was accepted into the college of her choice.

There is no way we can know that he still faces the demons that haunt him from childhood abuse.

There is no way we can know that she is being re-united with her birth mother after twenty years.

Seek first to understand…

And we may or may not reach these deeper levels.  That's all okay.  In valuing another, we touch upon the human condition, that which connects all of us.  This is so much more than race, creed, social standing, etc.  This is about our humanity – about the value of human life.  Not just mere existence, but the depths of our purpose, our life direction, our need for love…

This is also part of the journey for each of us – for me, for you.  I am a work in progress – sometimes really "getting" this, and other times completely missing these moments to "understand".

As you continue on YOUR journey, may you continue to create deeper bonds as you seek also to more fully understand those who travel this path with you.

Everyone matters.

You matter.

You are valued. 

…and life is a great adventure…

Note:  If you are having trouble viewing this, please click here.

Note:  If you having trouble viewing this, please click here.

Playing For Change: Redemption Song

~ Comments Closed ~

Laugh and Get Rich

by Lance Ekum on February 8, 2011 · 76 comments

"I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person." ~ Audrey Hepburn

Laugh and Get Rich!

February 8th:  Do you know what is significant about this day?

It is officially also known as "Laugh and Get Rich Day"!

If you are reading this on February 8th…LAUGH!!!  Right now…let that laugh in you out!!

And, shoot – even if it's not February 8th…LAUGH!!! 

Ahhhh…doesn't that feel AMAZING!!

Laugh and get rich!  Okay, I'm not going to guarantee that by laughing you'll become richer monetarily.   I DO have a guarantee, though:  Laugh and you WILL become richer.

Richer in your health

Richer in your relationships.

Richer in our well-being

…richer in your soul

So, let's all…

CELEBRATE!! (…and have a good time!)

Laugh and get rich!!!!


Perhaps you need some help to get those laughs coming (although I'm all for laughing for no reason at all, too!).  Let me share a story with you.

Adventures in Travel

I recently spent several days in California (attending a conference and visiting some very amazing people).  That's not what I'm talking about today, though.  I'm talking about my travels TO California. 

I was flying form Milwaukee, WI to San Diego, CA…with a layover in Las Vegas, NV.  The plane I was on was also the plane going on to San Diego (so I would not have to get off the plane in Las Vegas).  When we landed in Las Vegas, every one of the other passengers exited the plane (seems as though all travelers EXCEPT me were on there way to Vegas, baby!).  There was to be about a 45 minute layover before this plane would be leaving for San Diego.  I chose to stay on the plane.  So, it was just me and the stewardesses (and a guy restocking the kitchen area) on the plane. 

NOTE:  The next part may contain TOO MUCH INFORMATION (you've been warned!)

This stopping point also seemed like a good place to visit the airplane lavatory (because, well…too much coffee and water…).  So, I wandered to the back of the plane to use the restroom.

I squeezed into the small room, locked the door, and began to unzip.

At that moment (mid-zip), one of the stewardesses got on the intercom and said, "To the gentleman who just went into the restroom….HANG ON!!!!!". (said with conviction!)

…let me just say…

FREAKY!!!!!  (and…it's a good thing I was in the restroom!!!)

She then continued to talk to me, over the intercom, while I used the restroom (the WHOLE time I was in there!).

Why?  Just for fun!!!  Just because she had never done that before.  Just because…

How cool is that!!!  (well…after you get over the freaky-ness of it all!)   And the thing was, after that restroom "incident", there was an instant connection between myself and both of the stewardesses.  That moment created connection (…as weird as that "moment" sounds…).  That moment created a space for friendship, however brief, to begin…

In case you are wondering…and I'm glad to share – the airline was Southwest Airlines…which, from my experience, their employees have a whole lot of fun at their work!!

So there you have it – your LAUGH for today!

Now…go out and laugh even more!!

Richness (beyond measure and in so many ways) awaits!

To those of you with inquiring minds, I know of this very special day (February 8th), from a calendar I received this year…that has something to celebrate every day of the year!

A couple of good ones coming up:

February 19th:  Chocolate Mint Day! (yum!!)
March 18th:  Awkward Moments Day (wow…who knew I could have just saved these moments all up for just one day each year!)

Where Is Sunday?

by Lance Ekum

Where is the Sunday Thought of the Day? It has been a consistent part of this site here for nearly three years. To provide more value and meaning, the Sunday Thought has shifted to an email subscription based method of delivery.  The new format will allow for a more focused message to be delivered to […]

Read the full article →