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Mindful : October 2015
of the ladder only to realize it’s leaning against the wrong wall? Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time with people who made it to the top of the ladder. One CEO—who was not much different from the others I’ve met—has stuck in my mind. He had decades of action addiction on his curriculum vitae. He had made it to the top of an interna- tional insurance company. He had worked hard for years—hard enough to have suffered two strokes. But he was willing to take a beating to secure his retirement and family. Sadly, his health began to fail him and he wasn’t sure he’d make it to retirement age. And in the process of securing the future, he’d lost his family. Action addiction had kept him from noticing his family pulling further and further away. This is all not to say activities are not impor- tant. Working, cooking, cleaning, and caring for our families and friends are mandatory for us all... But we can choose to write some space into our to-do lists. “Lots of activity, but not busy” The Dalai Lama was coming to town. More than 10,000 people were coming together to see him. Over 500 volunteers, dozens of security people, and masses of journalists had to be coordinated. The man behind it all, Lakha, was a little man in his late 70s and an old friend and study mate of the Dalai Lama. I arrived at the venue early, to meet friends and be there to greet the Dalai Lama. There was intense activity setting up security, managing the crowds, and taking care of the press. In the middle of it all Lakha was standing in his suit. I walked straight up to him and asked him the default ques- tion we all tend to ask each other when we meet. I have never asked anyone the question since then. “ Hi, Lakha, are you busy?” Lakha turned to me, looked at me calmly and said, “There is lots of activity, but I am not busy.” His presence spoke We may have deadlines, projects, and activities, but we have the freedom to choose whether we become action addicts. 74 mindful October 2015 insight practices JON KABAT-ZINN RAM DASS TARA BRACH JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN CONG. TIM RYAN AND MORE! SANDRA OH JACK KORNFIELD AND TRUDY GOODMAN And Featuring LIVING WITH A JOYFUL SPIRIT AND A WISE HEART with Hosted by Sunday, November 15th at 10AM The Broad Stage | Santa Monica Visit www.insightla.org to learn more. InsightLA is having a few friends over for a day of practice and meaningful conversation. Jack_Trudy_Mindful Ad_TheBlues_NoBleed.indd 1 7/23/15 11:10 AM