The “Green Man” is the mythic and legendary god of eternal spring. He is that part of us that seeks renewal and resurrection for everlasting life. The Green Man is “Mr. Sustainability.”
Last night at Nyenrode Business University in Netherlands where I presented my book, “The Sustainable Life: The New Success,” I met a real, living Green Man. He is Paul de Blot, a Dutch/French/Indonesian Professor of “Spirituality and Business.” At 88 years-young, he is the ultimate rebounder, a true boomerang man who was imprisoned in for 5 years in WWII, has been fired by the Business University two times, has crash landed his plane, and, and, and….
Not notable to me just because he is an amazing survivor, but most importantly because he is diverse and keeps growing and diversifying – the keys to sustaining yourself to live well and live long! Like the proverbial Fool archetype in the Tarot, Paul is open and risking as he explores new and different aspects of himself as a professor, priest, children’s storyteller, hospice volunteer, clown – you name it and he’s probably tried it. What’s next, I wonder.
Repetition kills! Not getting old, but growing young, Paul renews himself by always re-defining and re-inventing himself. His class that I just presented at was in fact brand new for him this year along with some new books he has just written as he continues to teach at Nyenrode, where after being dumped twice, he has been presented a lifelong teaching position at this prestigious University. Wow, how did that happen? Because he is so popular, and I surmise this is because students need and crave his energy, his spirit, his life-force – which is the real bottom-line for success in life, in business, in everything. And his message of “turning setback and crisis into opportunity” is one of the most imperative qualities to sustainable success.
His teaching focus now is about the “power of story” so that you can author your life to authenticity. When he asked me in the beginning of the class, “Who am I,” it came to me that I am a “Seeker” – one who keeps questioning and questing – the path to stay young at heart and mind. Pressing me for more, Paul helped me find my “mission” in life. This narrative way of learning and growing is absolutely brilliant, memorable and powerful. So, what’s your story? How do you want to change and make up your story to remake your life? We are all a product of story – the stories we tell ourselves and believe in guide our lives. As mythologist, Joseph Campbell, once said, “The day I woke up was the day that I realized I was living somebody else’s story.”
To evergreen yourself like Paul, it takes heart to follow your heart. Synchronistically, the Voyager card that he got in the class was “Courage!” Perfect. Like Paul says, to keep re-purposing and re-establishing yourself to be authentic and evolving, you will inevitably meet resistance. Then you know you are on your true life- path. That was so inspiring to me and gives me strength to stand up and stand out. No fear, the heart of love and love for yourself is the way.
And to follow this path with humor is Paul’s way. As we say, “He who laughs last, lasts.” Babies laugh 500 times a day and they are on the fast track of growth and vitality. Connect the dots…. growth and laughter. Laugh now, laugh to laugh.
Underlying Paul’s renewable life is his philosophy that “we be and we do.” Focused on the doing side, we are busy creatures and we eventually deplete and burnout. By going to the source of being, the great spirit, we are replenished, reenergized, rejuvenated, and regenerated. To “Re” your life is the holy grail today. Paul is, indeed, a living, breathing, laughing, creating force of life that sustains on and on because he taps into the infinite well of life.
I thought at almost 70 I was getting old. No way now. I got my attitude re-adjustment. Paul infused me with the force! He is the man. Love rules. Green Man lives!