On Second Thought, Stephen Covey Can Kiss My …

(or) Why the Word “Seeker” Is no Longer in my Vocabulary

I feel a bit like Amy Adams’ character in the film Julie and Julia the moment she realized that people were actually reading her blog. Though I’ve never met her, Roberta is also an alum of Spa Samui, the detox spa in Thailand that changed my live. When she complimented my blog, I responded by writing, “I’m now working on clarifying the central theme of my message, and I think it’s about SEEKING.”

Roberta’s response was: “I was a student of Adi Da for seven years at one time. He said something on this topic that has stayed with me, which is ‘ALL seeking is suffering.’ Kinda’ like you can’t enjoy the Garden if you’re always running outside to chase some butterfly which you are convinced is much more exotic and appealing than “the Garden”. And you are always somewhat miserable because even if you catch a butterfly or two, you are still deeply unsatisfied. In fact, until we deeply relax and abandon all ‘agendas,’ it seems that we don’t even know that we are IN “the Garden”!

Her e-mail stopped me in my tracks. When I talk and write about goal setting, visualization, creating change, and being more efficient, it implies living a better life. It also implies that there is something better than the present, better than what we are experiencing now. And not to get too Eckhart Tolle on you, but all that exists is now. Perhaps even more dangerous than thinking there is a better life than now, is the idea that we, as human beings, can somehow be “better” than who we are in this moment.

As I wrote in a previous column, the term “transformational work” is really a misnomer. It’s not about transforming; it’s simply about getting rid of the wax so the bell (who we really are) can shine brighter and ring clearer. We don’t need to transform—or to seek. If anything, we need to appreciate who we are and re-connect to that essence.

The irony is that as I was writing this, I emailed one of my coaching clients with a very Covey-esque challenge that her goals be specific, quantifiable, and have a deadline. If it seems like I’m swinging the pendulum, get used to it. There are multiple ways of looking at things and you have to find your own balance. After living in the New York City rat race for three years followed by the yoga and daily massage paradise of Koh Samui, I’m still finding my balance. For me, goal-setting is a useful tool, and Stephen Covey is a great resource. So no, I’m not asking Covey to kiss anything; I just need to remember that setting goals and “seeking” are not synonymous. And that this moment, and me, are perfect as they are.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist…and be even more perfect tomorrow.


Roberta suggested the work of Andrew Cohen. He addresses the apparent paradox between “being still” and “having goals” fully in his teaching, which he is now calling “Being and Becoming.”

One Response to On Second Thought, Stephen Covey Can Kiss My …

  1. erlaine says:

    You’re the best

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