It’s midsummer, and the weather here in the Pacific Northwest has been moody, unpredictable. In the grocery store, in the teller line-up at the bank, people shake their heads and say: “July!” Mournfully.
Fog erases the contours of the land; melts sea and sky into a seamless mist; swirls like a cloak around the dark apparitions of trees.
In the course of a single afternoon, July morphs into March, or November.
And then, with the suddenness of a baby’s smile — radiant sunshine in a cobalt sky; the sea shimmers, an undulant gold.
And people smile at each other in the street. They turn up in droves on the beach near my house, lugging picnic baskets and beach towels, toddlers in tow. Raising their faces to the sun.
Each moment of weather has its own presence, its own qualities, unlike any other.
July isn’t trying to be some notion of July. It is itself — shifting, changing, wet and cold; hot and dry. Muggy. Sultry.
Like children trying to make sense of an unpredictable parent, we make up stories about July’s changing moods.
Sullen, we say. Or sparkling. Dreadful. Glorious!
We judge. We complain, or rejoice. We rush about, protecting ourselves from the wet; eagerly seizing our place in the sun.
And our judgements — our likes and dislikes, our stories about what we experience — obscure the truth of this moment, this weather, this day. They keep us disconnected from the world around us. They keep us disconnected from ourselves.
Thicker than yesterday’s fog, our bewilderment about the changing weather keeps us from savouring the delicious coolness of summer rain. It numbs us to the rush of awe at the delicate tremble of a thrush’s wings as she shakes raindrops off a pliant branch and launches herself into flight.
There is nothing cleaner, more satisfying, than unadorned attention to what is. There is nothing more magical, more extraordinary than the simple truth of things as they are.
Beyond our dreams, beyond our drama, lies the elegant body of life. It offers itself in each moment.
This big-eyed buck, with his two-pronged velvet horns, munching leaves off the cherry tree in my garden. The crow with his sideways waddle and glossy black feathers, pecking at the grass. Clouds resting softly against the mountain’s face as it kneels in a pewter sea.
The body of life. Its sacred, inexplicable beauty.
Your business has its weather too. Its own particular, unique, ever-changing landscape. It is itself; and no amount of moaning and complaining, hoping and longing, clinging or running away, will change its essence.
Your relationship with your business is also a landscape. One you nurture with your energy and attention. One you shape with the quality of your thoughts, feelings and actions towards it.
The real basis of all transformation is love. You cannot grow your business — or change what isn’t working — without loving it first. And to love it, you must give it your simple, direct attention. Beyond your stories, your dreams, your drama — to the truth of its own being.
When you try to make it something it is not — more special, more dramatic, more successful; or less demanding, less exhausting, less whatever-you-think-it-ought-not-to-be — you miss the power and beauty and magic that are its beating heart.
Can you see the beauty of your business when lightning strikes? When it rains in July? Can you love your business, when your product launch fizzles, or your systems spring a leak?
Business is as challenging as any intimate relationship. Every bit of fear, doubt, resistance you harbour in your body, will show up when you create your next thing, when you give your heart to it.
Love keeps you connected to the shining soul of your business. And love keeps you holding your business’s hand when the skies open up, the monsoons hit, and the ground under your feet dissolves into a swamp.
Love keeps you nourishing your business when your team members bicker like a bunch of kids hyped up on sugar, and your biggest client walks off into the sunset with another beauty on his arm.
Love gives you the courage to change course; the resilience to explore new options; the trust to step into the swamp and to know the path will appear underfoot.
Love is the single most essential element in your business. It is the air you and your business breathe. It is oxygen, and life, and sustenance. Without it, there is no relationship between you and the soul of your business. And without that relationship, your business cannot thrive.
How do you nurture love in your business? How do you suffuse the culture and landscape of your business with love? What do you do to keep your attention to your business clean and alive?