The purpose of thinking is to ultimately eliminate the need to
think, right? Think about that for a moment.
Thinking should become so automatic that it downloads into the habit
files which then automatically emerge when the warm- blooded computer between my ears
wakes up. Thinking should work like that funny little paper clip guy who bounces up on
screen offering to instruct me when I open a piece of software without my needing to ask
each time I turn on the bloodless robotic peripheral brain. (I will not call the computer
"cold" because lately my laptop is the one thing in life that keeps my lap
But my portable brain has not been programmed to fulfill my coaching
needs. Access to e- mail provides a certain degree of human coaching. E-mail has connected
me to others who share their insights and tools for focusing attention. Coaching is an
exciting new profession, but what I really need is a coach inside my head to help direct
my processes toward the habit file before they become lost in the stacks.
Hopefully, computer coaching will evolve as a tool for focusing
rather than providing yet another way to get lost in details and information. By itself,
gathering information is a self-propagating activity that does not teach balance or
thinking. Having piles of information stacked on the floor and in the computer does not
help me to know anything per se. It is like my Mom Unit's recent observation concerning my
skills in meal preparation.
"Linda, it does not matter how many frozen pie crusts you have
purchased from Sam's Club. You can have all the pie crusts in the world stacked in your
freezer, but if you do not put the proper ingredients together, pour them into the pie
crust, turn on the oven and remember to bake the pie at the proper time and temperature,
then there will be no pie."
It sounds simple enough, doesn't it? My Mom is a practical woman.
She also does not like computers.
Finding my life pie: The first ADD coach I ever met offered to do my "life pie" for me.
I took a brief momentary pause before shooting an answer from my Annie Oakley hips. I did
not want to admit to this genuinely concerned coach that my children had just told me that
I needed a life!
Taking my obligatory pause to "stop and think," I reminded
myself to answer the question instead of bouncing off into a standup comedy routine on the
value of pie. Nonetheless, I couldn't help thinking to self, silently: "Do I look
like someone who needs a life pie?"
But instead of going for the funny bone, I looked directly into this
obviously caring coach's eyes and said, "Yes, thank you. I would be interested in an
It was a close call. I almost tripped into another newly recognized
pitfall. A small bead of sweat was budding beneath my third eye and nearly blew my cover.
If this coach had known how close I had come to disconnecting she
never betrayed any suspicion. She seemed discreet enough for this not-yet-very trusting
Much to my relief, this kind of coach does not use instant replay.
Interrupting the imp: Fortunately, the coach did not catch my almost-fumbled attempts to employ my
latest attention- focusing tool. I am forever creating new techniques to help me pay
attention. While it seems funny in retrospect, I was also tempted to try one of the Tai
Chi standing positions I'd modified into a tool for focus, but I decided not to test it
then and there as I had not yet tested its ability to automatically activate at the first
indication that Impulsivity was lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce.
When my preprogrammed red flag signaled the Imp's approach I settled
into position only to draw all the attention in the room to my surprised shriek of pain as
I extracted my foot from where it had cramped. This drew an unexpected show of concern
from my would-be coach who assured me that a life pie evaluation was an exercise in
achieving balance. My foot already felt like I had sliced it on the chairs from the
unbreakable ceramic pie plate that I had dropped last week when I tripped over the missing
How can you eat pie with your foot blocking your mouth?
I decided to go for the twenty-minute personal life pie session. It
was free, and was scheduled to last five minutes longer than anything else I had allowed
for personal reflection.
Secretly, I could never resist an offer for pie.
As the pie overcomes the piles: A "life pie" refers to
a circle divided into pie wedges representing the various aspects of daily life. It can
used as a tool for self-assessment. Here is pie in your eye!
As I diagrammed my newly attentive self I was pleased to discover
not only a bouncing spirit inside but a dormant " big thinker" who was
reawakening as a VERY big thinker.
Never one to do things halfway, I decided to draw a very large life
pie and hang it on my wall. Then, by adding the connections between the slices of pie to
the various stages in the development of the body, mind, spirit and soul, a sphere began
to take shape. This big thinker was turning every circle into a sphere.
Not to digress, but have you ever dreamed of being hit in the face
with your favorite flavor of pie? I still harbor secret hopes for chocolate cream or
coconut crème pie under all that meringue. I refuse to consider that it might have all
been a dream, not really whipped but just shaving cream!
My personal capacity to appreciate pie is tremendous.
My first "life sphere" took over three walls in my now
"bedless" bedroom. Who needs a bed? Not requiring as much room for sleeping on
my bed as previously needed there was more space into which my sphere could merge.
As my spherical life pies began to interconnect they took over all
my spare room, floor and closets. Soon they occupied all my "spare" time as
What spare time? Time is relative!
From this now overburdened perspective I was certainly not capable
of pulling back from the situation long or far enough to recognize the extent to which
this very big, big project might be undoing all my efforts toward an attentive life. I was
in love with my walls.
Who needs perpendicular walls? I was born to live in a tent!
The next heroic addition to my life pie sphere was to construct the
connecting stages of growth and development to the spheres of the various archetypes of
human development. I was now bridging mankind's inner and outer worlds towards a
harmonious connection to the "whole".
At least I had gotten the clutter off my floor and onto the bed and
walls before the ambulance arrived.
Finding the filling: I was, however, disturbed by my growing dissatisfaction with the core center
of the hub of the pie. At first I had decided to connect the radiating lines along a
soul-spirit-body-mind wheel. But I was at a loss for finding a term to describe the hub.
Then I discovered The Four Fold Way *. The tools and techniques for
developing the " whole self" discussed by Angeles Arrien in her four-fold
exploration of " warrior' healer' teacher' visionary" were placed on this BIG
PICTURE, to recapture human archetypal development.
To this I added the icons, the totems, the astrologic implications,
the wisdom of the indigenous peoples and not- -so -indigenous peoples, the ancients and
many others, followed by the I Ching, the wheel of life, the cross of change, the
Enneagram of Christ, clippings and Xerox images from every book and tape, my own ideas,
photographs, buzzwords, and every aspect of the toward the "re-enchantment of
everyday life" that I could find, and on and on, etc,etc, and the result: THE BIG
But, then I discovered a problem. I had VIOLATED THE FIRST RULE of
"Never eat anything bigger than your head!"
Was the BIG THINKER eating too much of THE BIG PICTURE and doomed to
choke? My " TOO VERY BIG PICTURE" had become so complex that I couldn't find my
telephone under the colored markers and collections of "wisdoms" that had yet to
So who needs a telephone? It was already too late to order a
Wiping pie from eye: Now totally off balance, I had lost my center. Paying attention certainly had
been my goal, but now, without balance, it all seemed to lead to nowhere.
What was missing? How did this "warrior" get so far from
home? What was the missing connection? Was God at the center of this ever growing sphere?
Did a computer virus attack me for turning on the "Net" after the kids went to
I was lost and "cornfused" as to where went my attentive
self, or the universe for that matter!
This bouncer fell into a tailspin. Stop the music! This isn't my
beat? The dark night of the soul must be recognized. It must have its day and its night.
Besides, soul music goes so well well with pecan pie.
I have learned to offer no more than four ounces of resistance in
order to stay balanced and rooted within. This is a philosophy used by Tai Chi masters and
it has many practical applications in daily living. As a brief moment of quiet
transcended, an inner awareness of my own balance grew. I considered Chinese Moon pies.
THAT'S IT! BALANCE is the key. It is balance that we seek.
Whether as packets of energy, or parents, or writers, or students,
warriors or bouncers, the truth within each of us is reclaimed as we approach our innate
sense of balance.
Pay attention to balance! Balance is the
center of all life pies.
Balance is purest as we become aware of the natural flow that comes
from offering less resistance to the too-busy world outside and directing our attention to
the flow within.
It is by tuning within to attend to the alignment of mind with
heart, soul and spirit that each person can discover her own balanced and centered life
So if you are among those fortunate enough to have a choice in a
Coach, I recommend one who is conscious of life pies and the balance it takes to fill
If you are really lucky your Coach will have previous pie baking
experience and will also help you organize your freezer and remember to preheat the oven
before baking anything that is larger than your head.