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Casual or Causal?

"Casual, Causal, Casual, Causal…", said the voice that awakened me before the alarm even went off one morning last week.  I have mind chatter on an ongoing basis, so I presumed it was simply another “distinction” or message I might get to pay attention to that day for myself or one of my clients.  I like distinctions – they denote clarity.

I did my internal wonder and rationalization as I do when I need to get the “conversation” removed from my brain.  Sometimes I even jot some notes, as I did in the damn morning pages that day.  Causal means I get to be focused on getting something done.  Causal is the opposite of formal or maybe means a slower, relaxed pace.  I probably can’t be casual and causal at the same time because things would move too slowly for me, blah, blah, blah.   I let the idea drop, figuring it would show up when it needs to be a message.

Alas, the concept couldn’t leave me alone as it came back this week.  Mother Nature decided to teach the lesson. Never at a loss for a sense of humor, “Mom” evidently thought that the aesthetics of my property were somehow diminishing and she needed to do something.  The snow banks have finally been shrinking on both sides of my driveway from face-height to hip-height over the past week or so with our 50 degree heat waves and some rain.  We’ve only had about 80” of snow to shovel this season so far to create the nice tunnel effect that I get to drive through from the street into my garage.  So for good measure, Mom Nature decided to take matters in her own hands and dropped about 6” of the nice heavy March snow – you know, the stuff perfect for snowball fights and making snowmen?  As I was shoveling that no-longer-fluffy white stuff off the sidewalk and driveway in order to amp up the snow banks, the casual-causal idea showed up again - with story analogies this time.

About half way down the driveway as I was energetically, methodically getting my equivalent of a P90X warmup, the Hare and the Tortoise story came to mind.  Both the rabbit and the turtle were causal as they both had strong intentions to finish the race.  Yet, which one of the two, if any, was casual?  Based on my original thought last week, both probably couldn't happen simultaneously, right?  Certainly, the hare dashed multiple times to his next stop so he could hang out and rest.  He could be considered casual, even unconcerned in his arrogance, knowing he would certainly win a race against a slow reptile.  Arguably, the determined tortoise could have also been deemed to be casual as he plodded, albeit unwaveringly, toward the finish line.  That said, my original theory from last week is incorrect.  "What's the point of this....my fingers are getting cold!", I found myself muttering.

The point:  What value could inspired actions, whether dramatic or diligent, offer us if our approach to a desired end was both causal and casual?  Could we land at the finish line more sanely?  Would someone who is used to a faster pace be bored or anxious?  Not really…I was casually (although not slowly as it was 30 degrees) and causally uncovering pavement and it was lovely because the all-encompassing hyper-focus of get it done at warp speed was missing.  The combo of casual and causal allowed me to enjoy the weather, the quiet and uninterrupted thinking time.

The purposefulness of being causal is what gets us into action toward a goal dream or end result.  The ongoing forward movement affords a sense of accomplishment. Considering a casual action plan, whether using methodical consistent baby steps (think tortoise) or big leaps followed by resting or regrouping (think hare), doesn’t mean jobs can’t be done quickly or without focus.  Steven Covey’s “Sharpen the Saw” analogy is an excellent reminder of the need to be “on purpose”, yet make time for self-care and improvement along the way.  Getting all wrapped around the axle pushing ourselves to a frenzy or burnout point serves no one in the long run.  Working casually often can take the rigidity away from the need to have something “look a certain way” while still creating a desired end.  Given our often hectic lifestyles, could that offer you a different perspective?

I wonder if Michelangelo, while chipping away at the rock that contained “David”, thought his work had to be done a specific, formal, rigid or hurried way.  Or was he simply intent to artfully remove any parts of the stone that weren’t David?  If your inner artist (yes, we all have one) were to master something in your inspired life, causal intention is necessary.  Would you do it casually, too?

BE the inspiration YOU are!