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Chapter 1


Blocked by the Clouds


Simon was a little bit like all of us - simply trying to be successful and happy. Actually, he already was successful in many respects - according to the opinion of others, but he really wanted to be successful in his own mind.  He was having occasional problems. They weren't always overwhelming - but annoying nonetheless. He knew that somehow things could be better, but he wasn't quite sure what he could do. Besides, many things were going well. Rather than focusing on problems or what could be he usually paid attention to what he was supposed to be doing - his current responsibilities, assignments, and projects.

Years Gone By -

One day Simon sat and stared vacantly out his window. He noticed the seasons were changing. Spring was arriving. Flowers were blooming and birds were singing. For a minute he recalled what spring was like when he was a child. The pictures in his mind were diverse and fleeting, yet all were similarly pleasant and uncomplicated:


squiggly tadpoles,
yellow dandelions,
freshly cut grass,
and the last days, hours
and minutes of school.


"I wonder if it is at all the same for kids these days," he thought, smiling to himself. "lt's too bad we lose these simple perspectives so soon.

Back then we really had fun! We played games, changed the rules when we felt like it, made new ones, and invented other games when we wanted to - just for the fun of it. We created our own entertainment without really trying. It seemed that life was so simple then - so fresh and exciting." Simon realized not only years but decades now distanced him from these experiences; they seemed so close, tangible, and real -almost like yesterday.

The Value Remains -

Now things were different - more practical and more serious. Underneath it all, some fundamental values remained, repositioned in a way that felt a bit awkward and uncomfortable. Basic themes from his youth, Iike play fair and play to win, were still with him. But now the focus was on working to survive and grow, not simply playing for enjoyment. Play was something to do only when the work was completed - and there seemed to be less time for that these days.

Working to win, with few rules and penalties, seemed to be the only game for mature adults, and winning seemed to be more highly prized than playing fair. That bothered him.

Seeing people move ahead with no apparent concern for fairness to others was frustrating. He, too, wanted to move ahead, but he simply couldn't compromise fairness to do it. He knew he might miss some opportunities with this attitude - but also knew he had to accept the consequences. Still, it wasn't always easy to watch others move by.

Fortunately, he knew he was also making progress. His childhood values would continue to help him do this in his own way.


Note to readers: Within the actual book these sections follow in this opening chapter:

    Reflecting on Things -
    Troubling Verse -
    The Bigger Picture -
    Clouds and Barriers in View -
    More Ahead -
    A Change in Weather -
    Only in Your Dreams? -

Press continue... to move ahead to the this closing section of Chapter 1:


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