Designing Your Leaven

Discussion Facilitator: Bruce Cantwell. September 14, 2019.

When LaVeta announced to Waking Up that Melissa would be leaving her Leaven role, I was filled with happiness for Melissa and curiosity about the Community's wicked problem.

In Designing Your Life, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans explain, "They're called wicked not because they are evil or fundamentally bad, but because they are resistant to resolution."

Burnett and Evans continue: "Life is all about growth and change. It’s not static. It’s not about some destination. It’s not about answering the question once and for all and then it’s all done. Nobody really knows what he or she wants to be. Even those who checked a box for doctor, lawyer, or engineer. These are just vague directions on a life path.

“There are so many questions that persist at every step of the way. What people need is a process— a design process— for figuring out what they want, whom they want to grow into, and how to create a life they love."[1]

Written Meditation Instructions

To better reflect on what we want Leaven to grow into, it makes sense to discover what we want to grow into.

Good Time Journal -Activity Log (available here).

We spend a fair amount of each meditation reflecting “That was great,” or “That sucked,” or anticipating "That's going to be great" or "That is going to suck," but we seldom sift through the particulars of what contributes to those experiences.[2]

Our meditations are made up of mind moments, some of which are great, some of which suck, and most of which lie somewhere in between.

Your mission for the next ten minutes, if you should choose to accept it, is to drill down into each reflection and anticipation and catch yourself in the act of having a good time.

Set a timer for ten minutes.

Just meditate as you usually do. No rush. If a reflection or anticipation arises, simply jot it down.

Note your level of engagement with that thought.

Note whether it's energizing or draining.

If the thought is associated with being "fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity, resulting in loss of one's sense of space and time," check the box for flow.[3]

“We recommend that you make Activity Log entries daily, to be sure to capture lots of good information.

“We recommend that you do your Good Time Journal reflection (available here) weekly, so your reflections are based on more than just a single experience of each activity.

“Typically, after you start to get the hang of paying more detailed attention to your days, you notice that some of your log entries could be more specific: you need to zoom in to see more clearly. The idea is to try to become as precise as possible; the clearer you are on what is and isn’t working for you, the better you can set your wayfinding direction.”[4}

[1-2-4] Burnett, Bill; Evans, Dave. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life . Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

[3] “Flow (Psychology).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Mar. 2019,

Bruce Cantwell