This video is a bit longer than usual. It’s all about the freedom we have to make up whatever game we choose to play in life from what matters to what we create to how we keep score. We can’t control the outcomes, but we have infinite choice over the inputs. When we shift our focus from outcomes to inputs, we see that rocking the game of life is more like making art than it is about winning races. Along the way I touch on choosing to work on a gift basis and marrying The Charming Prince. I enjoyed sharing this ride with you, and I hope it leaves you with a good feeling for how much freedom, possibility, and joy are available to you. ♥
You are creative, resourceful, and whole—no, seriously, you are!
Coaches are trained—at least those who work under the umbrella of the International Coach Federation (ICF)—to hold that clients are creative, resourceful, and whole. The thing is, there’s a huge difference between holding that as an article of faith or useful framework and seeing it as an accurate statement about our essential natures. But don’t take my word for it. Look around. Experiment. Wonder. Then let me know what you find.
At the Three Principles Global Community Conference in Los Angeles at the end of October, I was struck by an insight shared by Mara Gleason and Eirik Grunde Olsen, founders of One Solution. Mara and Eirik created a successful international conference in just five months, and one of the reasons it worked out is that they didn’t get hung up on getting the form right. Instead they stayed oriented to the infinite, limitless creative capacity out of which all forms emerge.
As I listened to Eirik and Mara I thought about all the times I have been stopped because of internal or external criticism. It occurred to me that stopping oneself because of criticism is akin to stopping a flower mid-bloom because something isn’t quite right. It just doesn’t make sense. If that sounds familiar to you, may this video wake up a different response to negative feedback.
This is a heads up that the early bird discount (save $100) for The Art of Living ends tomorrow, April 19, 2016, at 5pm Pacific time.
The Art of Living: Creating Magic and Meaning in Life and Work is the culmination of years of seeking, learning, and experimentation. It’s a way of coming home to yourself and engaging with your own deepest, wisest ways of knowing.
During this 12-week program you will rest in the deeper intelligence available to every human being, an intelligence that will guide you in the creation of what you want in life, whether you think it is possible at the outset or not.
Do not let money be a barrier
There’s a contact form on the web page in case you have any questions. I’ve kept the price of the program quite modest compared to other offers of this nature. If the cost happens nonetheless to be an obstacle, you can use the form to request an adjustment. If you want to do this work, I will work with you to make it possible.
What do you say? Shall we make some artful living together?
The flowering tree doesn’t have to make an effort to contribute its beauty to the world. What if your contribution is just as natural and inevitable?
One of the many memorable scenes in “The Wizard of Oz” shows Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion finally standing before the Great and Powerful Oz. They have come to present him with the broom belonging to the Wicked Witch of the West after having conquered her with a bucket of water. Oz thunders at them mightily and tries to put them off, but as he blusters and blasts, Toto, Dorothy’s tiny dog, pulls back a curtain and reveals that the wizard is just an ordinary man pulling levers in a magic show.
There’s always a man behind the curtain
The same thing happens whenever we see through the illusion created moment to moment by our thinking. One minute we are gripped by the certainty that the feelings and perceptions before us are real, and in the next, we see that they are projections of our amazing power of thought. One morning last week I had a realization about a long-standing story I sometimes live about not being a good-enough sister or friend or neighbor. I noticed how I’ve resisted and resented and avoided that story, and how that sets up a tug-of-war inside of me, an internal argument about being kind. I took out my notebook and made a simple list of related stories that came to mind.
- They need me.
- I should do more.
- I am not thoughtful.
I burned the list. It was funny. The paper in that particular notebook must have a special coating. It resisted burning. On top of that, it was a windy day. I used up half a book of matches failing to burn the list on our burn pile. Finally I got a ceramic bowl and found a place by the front door relatively sheltered from the wind. It still took at lot of matches, but that sucker is burned.
Back to the Wizard
In the movie, after the curtain is pulled back, the phony wizard is able to endow each of the characters with his or her wish. How does a phony wizard pull that off? He does it by revealing to each of them that they already had what they sought. The Scarecrow may have thought that brains lived in the diploma, which the Wizard granted him, but we know that his intelligence was there all along. The Tin Man’s heart was apparent throughout the movie, long before the Wizard gave him a heart-shaped clock. And the courage of the beloved Cowardly Lion shone through repeatedly as he shivered and shook, but stayed the course in spite of his fears. Clearly his courage was not the result of receiving a medal. And Dorothy? Dorothy wanted to go home. Home, a place that lived right there inside of her.
The magic worked by the Wizard is ours every minute of every day
You could say that the magic of the Wizard was to show each person that they themselves were the power behind the illusions they had been living, and that they had equal power to see through those illusions and come home to their wholeness and wellbeing. We have that same magic at our disposal. Whenever we see through our thoughts to the intelligence and wellbeing of which we are made, we come home. We encounter our intelligence, our compassion, and our courage.
What I noticed after burning those stories
After burning my stories about not being nice or compassionate or caring enough, I continued to reflect on those qualities. After all, I do want to be kind, compassionate, and caring. I noticed that thoughts about care and compassion can come from many sources. When it comes from an identity that is attached to being good enough, an identity that wants to be liked, or any other identity projected from a sense of insufficiency or incompleteness, thoughts about care and compassion are rooted in those things. But there are other times when those thoughts seem to stem from a different identity, one that is resourced in lovingkindness and that is not afraid or attached to outcomes.
Our hearts can always tell which identity is at work behind the curtain
Our personal thinking can get very confused about this, but our hearts can tell in an instant when we are operating from lovingkindness, which is another way of saying that we are connected with our true nature. It was good to see that what seemed to be the same drives or intentions can be generated from quite different sources. I don’t know about you, but there have been times when I have been trapped in my stories because I was afraid of losing something, like the will to be kind. How lovely to see the difference between the root of kindness, which can never be lost, and my stories about kindness, which can sometimes be quite distorted.
Burning didn’t dispel my stories
I burned my stories as a physical expression of an inner knowing: that the stories that I live are made of smoke and mirrors. It was satisfying to witness their return to smoke, but in no way necessary. The freedom we seek from our stories is ours as soon as we see that we are always the man behind the curtain. Have a wonderful, wonder-filled week, and please let me know what you’re discovering by sharing it in the comments.
Click here to learn about my newest program, The Art of Living: Creating Magic and Meaning in Life and Work.
Video credit: The Critical Commons