Thursday, December 10, 2009

Popping the lid on our thinking

For as long as I can remember, I have used the phrase "popping the lid on our thinking" to describe that kind of thought that makes a numb for a moment as we feel a new thought sweeping through our minds and opening us to new ideas. Popping the lid means you open to new things and let the fresh breeze of possibility into your consciousness. It's a good thing. :)

Today is Emily Dickinson's birthday, and Writer's Almanac today published this quote of hers: "If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry." Yes, exactly! Let the sun shine in. :)

THIS is my letter to the world,
That never wrote to me,—
The simple news that Nature told,
With tender majesty.

Her message is committed
To hands I cannot see;
For love of her, sweet countrymen,
Judge tenderly of me!

[source: image and verse from]

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Don't let the cloud win

Last night I had a conversation with a friend about the nature of discouragement and the feelings of hopelessness and "why try?" that go along with it. It seems we all run through cycles of times when internally we feel ready and able to take on any task, and then times when we feel overwhelmed and too ineffective to resolve even the tiniest challenge. I'm not sure why our emotional boats pitch and sway like this--perhaps it's our inner sense of identity, maybe it's the stars, or it could be we're all fighting colds. :)

Whatever it is that disempowers us, when we feel low, the cloud of discouragement comes to sit on our shoulders. Suddenly we can't see the way out of things. Answers seem far away. Life doesn't feel right. We doubt our abilities. We wonder whether we'll ever feel effective again.

This cloud, as heavy and dense and real as it feels, is just vapor. Vapor filled with the exhaust of past experiences, of all the doubts that stick to us during ther day, of all the fears we project into the future about obstacles that could arise.

The reality is here, in this moment. Right now. We are capable creators, who sometimes forget or can't see (for whatever reason), the sheer joy and power of our potential to create. We can create for ourselves clouds around our heads or beautiful meadows under our feet. We can pave our own way with obstacles or line the path with beauty and peace. We create in every moment, and our creations--for better or worse--inspire others to create their own worlds.

So today, if the cloud of discouragement follows you around, remember that it's not real--it's not who you are. Reject the worries that say your life isn't what it should be. Claim responsibility for where you are and know that wherever that may be you have within you the creative power to create the story you want. There is a force (I'm convinced) that is for you--it's part of your creative heritage. Try it and see. Just say to that cloud "You're not real," and pay attention as your internal energy begins to build.

We're not here to be victims or our lives--passive recipients of events--but to create the lives we envision, in love, in blessing, in joy. Let's try it! :)

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Listening to Receive

This morning a thought occurred to me about a subtle difference in listening that can make all the difference in relationship. Last night I saw the movie Everybody's Fine with Robert DeNiro. It was a sweet movie with a simple a painful premise: when we tell people in our lives--especially those to whom was are closely tied--that we are "fine" and cover up the real struggles, events, and happenings, we create a distance that makes our relationships artificial. It's true--I've seen it and lived it in my own life.

There is a school of thought (one I do subscribe to, mostly) that whatever we pay attention to grows. So the tendency to not talk about the bad stuff as a way to avoid making it real is understandable. But there's also that level of "protectionism" (I didn't want to worry you) and fear (I didn't want to burden you) that really can be justifications for hiding.

Some of this ability to speak truth has to do with the quality of listening. If we have rarely been deeply heard and received, telling these kinds of realities about our lives--job loss, fears, relationship troubles, health issues--may leave us feeling very vulnerable and exposed. How can we trust the other person to care and handle our truth in an honoring way if they haven't ever received what we've said in the past? If someone doesn't feel your real presence, if they don't really understand you, if you can stand next to them and feel alone, why would you tell them the deepest things you're struggling with in your life?

I think when we make the choice to be authentic, to tell the truth in love no matter how we are received or by whom, it heals us, for usHopefully the other person will receive what we say--maybe not today, and maybe not this time. But when we're authentic, at least the other person sees it and knows we're making some kind of effort on behalf of our relationship with them. And that decision, made as consistently as we can make it, will sooner or later lighten the air between us so that one day, we'll realize that no matter how the other person reacts, we have shown up authentically in the world. And that's big. And it gets easier, the more you do it. :)