Pair #71 No wonder
Hey, what's happened to curiosity? Did it do something wrong? Did it get relegated to the third division? When did we decide that all things have answers and that life is a search for definitive solutions and no questions should be left undone?
We turned life into the multiple answer quiz and removed the option "None of the Above".
But I was thinking this week and I wrote down on my pad next to me:
What if all life were the adventure of finding out, rather than finding?
Maybe it is the nature of the human mind that has become so petrified by the discomfort of not-knowing that it will settle for a poor answer or half-truth before it admits it does not know.
Or has it just become not cool to not know?
I thought there used to be joy in the process of discovery. Didn't we like a bit of mystery? The word 'wonder' ponders and considers. It's open. It shrugs its' shoulders a bit. It has patience. And Christmas used to be a holiday of 'wonder', right? We have 7 Wonders in this World.
Actually, only 7?
That's not a lot of Wonder.
To be unsure is to be invisible. The humiliation of the admitting you have no answer is actually worse than hoofing something indefensible or silly. Ever seen someone defend a totally made-up fact because they got cornered by their own uncertainty?
"Actually, dear, no, I'm not sure which road to take or where we are."
Will you hear that?
Well, we can all recognize ourselves here. I certainly see myself.
Having said that, I can't tell you the weight that lifts when I say, "I'm not sure."
Try it on.
What do you think?
"I don't know. But I wonder..."
Pair #70 That's a definite Yes. I think...
For me, one of the great values of putting something into the same brain compartment where you store: "pick the kids up from school" and "catch plane home" - is that when you've really committed to something, you find out if you really want it or not.
What a relief.
Everything that follows the moment of commitment is information to you about how much you really want something or how much you don't. Sometimes, it's the first time you actually realize you really just don't want this thing - and can stop fooling yourself (or trying to please others or not let them down) and just get on with your own life the way you want to live it.
We can waste a lot of time trying to 'should' ourselves into things we never wanted in the first place (like those college majors we dithered over). Commitment is the great sorting hat!!
(May you not end up in 'Slytherin')
Pair #69 - The bravery to be average
We all celebrate achievements and successes, but sometimes I wonder if our occasional champagne-fueled trophy ceremonies, while celebrating the lone winner, aren't attended by a crowd of self-punishing people who mainly feel bad it's not them.
I mean underneath, we all are aware of having set high sites on a goal and then failed. Maybe miserably and humiliatingly. And then we turned that failure into the lifelong drive to never feel that sting again. We set a course toward destination Avoid Failure At All Costs, and whenever we do that we pay a high price. From where I'm standing I think two things happen
we lie to ourselves and we try to be something we can never be: a perfect human.
We lie to ourselves because we tell ourselves being perfect is possible, which it is not. We tell ourselves striving for perfect works to create perfection. Which it does not.
Then we abandon ourselves. We walk right out of our own bodies when we think that it's possible to be anything other than who we are.
To achieve something feels good. I made a promise to myself that every month I'd keep my accounts up to date and every time I do that and keep my commitment, that feels good. Nothing wrong with that. And I notice that doing what I say, and living up to what I believe doesn't require me to be perfect. Just to live and be myself. Maybe living as myself actually requires that I mess up - otherwise how can I even know my own preferences.
We don't need to make what we are perfect, that is just another form of self-punishment. You can't self-punish yourself into loving yourself. Might as well let it out - warts and all.
This week...consider rewarding yourself for doing a terrible job.
You might notice that you are still yourself - perfectly acceptable You.
Hear Jen Louden and I talk about Ending Perfectionism on September 10th, live on the show
Pair #68 A dollop of helplessness to go with that...?
One of the weirdest things to comprehend as I've become a student of the mind and how it works - is how we create our world through our thinking.
But what is it to 'create'?
The popcorn version of this idea says that you "get what you think about" - which interpreted literally means: parking spaces, Porsches and bicycles appear just because we think about them enough. Now if you can do that, great. That makes me very happy. Really. I mean, life is all about what is true for you and what you know from your experience.
But if you've tried to think and make it so and that did not work - here's a clue. Change the words 'get what you think about' to 'experience what you think about'
We experience everything in the world through our thinking about it. I don't experience you, I hear, see and experience my thoughts about you.
And if you think about that, it makes sense. In fact, it's incredibly simple and boils down to:
It's hard to have a good moment if you are having shitty thoughts.
The implications are just a simple, and just as far reaching. If you are in the middle of something and you want to experience something different, you will have to change your thinking about it.
Of course, you can also walk away, you say.
Well, quite right. And you can walk away and continue right on thinking about it too. For as long as you like. Even for a lifetime, if you so chose.
The simple maxim 'you get what you think about' = you are experiencing life through your thoughts about life. If you are aware of that, then you have choice.
The definition of powerless is not realizing or exercising that choice.
Pair #67 Anyone seen my happiness lying around?
Recently I attended Robert Holden's Coaching Happiness training
and I really experienced the power of asking yourself deep questions about happiness ... and then listening for the answer.
What Robert brought home to me was the power of asking questions like, "What is Happiness for me?" and treating Happiness, not as a destination, but as an inquiry.
Here are some of my fave quotes from Robert that week
"When we forget who we are, we forget what happiness is"
"Happiness is a non-deserving issue"
"Happiness is the experience of your true nature"
"Will your choices help you be happy Now... or Eventually?"
Where am I with my inquiry? For me, today, happiness is relaxing into me exactly as I am and exactly as I am not. Self-love and self-acceptance may sound pretty dumb when rolled up into pat utterances like "love yourself" or "I'm OK, You're OK" but when you ask what that looks like and what it means for you, it can become meaningful.
What is happiness?
when I stop trying to 'become'
when I'm kind and loving
when I'm not believing all my small thoughts about myself
the space when I'm not trying to rid myself of anything
Happiness is when I look and really see that I'm always just one thought away from happiness.