When Reality Hits, It Isn’t “Reality”

When Reality Hits, It Isn’t “Reality”

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I was a heavy smoker. Heavy as in two packs a day.

One day I decided to quit. It was the last day of a hunting trip in eastern Washington. (Yes, in that other galaxy in that other millennium I hunted ducks and other birds. We had two wonderful Labrador Retrievers, Tide and Yoyo, and I was a hella good shot.)

We hunted in the morning and early afternoon, then piled into the Chevy Suburban three decades before SUVs became the car we love to hate. As we drove over the mountains, I sucked on a bottle of scotch to steady my nicotine-deprived nerves. I was probably eating pretzels, too. I like pretzels on road trips even now, in this different galaxy, this new millennium, decades after leaving nicotine and scotch behind.

I was probably smoking pot, too. I can’t imagine that I wouldn’t have been.

But I digress.

Watch out for the dog!

As we pulled into the driveway after dark at the end of a long day, I said rather irritably to Miles (who in that alternate universe was not yet The Charming Prince), “Watch out for the dog!”

He said, “What dog?”

I said, “The big dog! Dammit. The dog right there in front of the car.”

I’ll never forget the look on his face, one part tired, two parts disgust, and seven parts WTF?

I looked again.

For a moment there was a dog, and at the same time there wasn’t a dog. I did and I did not see a dog until my perception settled down, and I decided that there was no dog.

I know. Confusing.

Reality is like that

The reality we perceive, whether the external reality of dogs and doormats or the internal reality of possibilities and preferences, is always in flux and always mediated by perception.

Granted, on that occasion my nervous system was particularly scrambled, but the variables governing reality are still operating, even when they are not so exaggerated.

Our vast capacity to perceive is organized by social and cultural norms,  our beliefs and assumptions, life history, language, and our nervous systems, among other things.

Most of the time for most people these variables vary within fairly narrow parameters, with the result that we tend to experience what we call reality as  fairly stable.

That saves a lot of time and trouble. We don’t have to figure out if the sound that awakens us in the morning is an alarm clock or a white rabbit.

And sometimes it helps to question reality

There are times when it behooves us to shake things up, especially when it comes to what we assume about ourselves and what is possible in life and business.

One morning in 1984 I awoke from an alcohol and cocaine haze to the brief vision of myself as a window, a window that was closing. I got out of bed, made a few phone calls, and through the kindness of both friends and strangers, found myself in rehab within 24 hours.

I promise you that the woman who had gone to bed a few hours before that vision did not have the resources (moral, financial, physical) to make that happen. In a very real sense (ha ha, no pun intended, but I hate to pass one up when it offers itself) reality shifted.

In one universe I was a hopeless alcoholic slut (sorry, there’s just no nice way to say it), and in the next I was a courageous soul embarking on the sacred project of creating a life.

You can explain it in various ways

There are many things you could point to by way of explaining that reality shift. One is grace, and I made a brief video about that. youtu.be/7lbCZs-9Mws

You could also point to choice, and the first and last videos in this month’s video round-up speak to that.

In this post I invite you to consider the facticity of reality’s plasticity.

It ain’t solid, folks

What you think is possible for you in this moment is a function of inputs and filters, not of a permanent and pervasive structure imposed on you from outside.

One more story.

Somewhere around 1999 I got the idea that it would be incredibly cool to take my niece, Amy, to Europe when she graduated from high school. She was 15 at the time.

I was still a relatively new coach, and I did not have the kind of money one would need for that kind of adventure. But that seemed to me to be a detail, and I had time to sort it out.

I started a savings account for the trip and added a hundred dollars here, fifty dollars there.

I went about my business, assuming that we were going to do this thing and looking for ways that it could be done.

And then the miracles happened

Along the way, some unexpected things happened. I received a totally unexpected legacy from a friend. I got my first $10,000 contract when a person in the first Authentic Promotion class asked if I would bring it to NASA. (Um, that would be a “Hell, yes!”

Needless to say, those things helped, and in 2003, Amy and I went on an amazing 29 day odyssey to Paris, Rome, Florence, London, New York City, and Washington, DC. (Sometimes I overdo things. Oh well.)

But even miracles have filters

Something to notice: all those lovely unexpected things that happened would NOT have helped if I had set up my reality filters a little differently.

For one thing, I have a whole heap of nieces and nephews. If I had set up my filters based on some notion of fairness, I doubt the trip would have gotten off the ground.

September, 11, 2001, shook up a lot of realities, and if Amy, I, or her parents had responded to that differently, we might never have followed through on such bold travel plans.

I’m not saying that fairness or caution are bad filters; I’m just pointing out that installing them would have made a difference in whether or not the miracles that happened made a difference.

Now, at last, this is about YOU

The purpose of all my storytelling today is to awaken your curiosity about the reality you’re living in.

I hope that it is one that amazes, delights, and nourishes you and the ones you love.

And if it is not, please know that there are other possibilities.

You have more choices than you may realize.

You have hidden allies.

You are every bit as miraculous as the fragment of a woman that I was on that lonely morning in 1984, and grace not only can happen, it WANTS to happen for you.

Reality testing

As I arrive at the finish line of this strange post, which has meandered like the race course in “Alice in Wonderland,” I feel quite wonderful.

In this moment my filters are set to miracle, and true to form, that is what I see and feel.

I don’t always experience life this way. I do not control my thoughts, and sometimes my thoughts are bleak, limited, and unpleasant to live with.

But they are only thoughts.

And I have come to see thought as the raw material of our magic making. Just because a thought appears doesn’t mean you have to use it to cook up your life.

When reality hits, it isn’t reality

While planning to take Amy to Europe, I often had the thought that it wasn’t fair to other nieces and nephews.

I could be writing the story of how going to Europe seemed like a great idea until the “reality” that it wouldn’t have been fair hit.

But that wouldn’t have been reality, would it?

Shortly after getting sober, I moved back in with Miles, who, over the next few years, morphed into the man I now call, without a shred of irony, The Charming Prince.

I was plagued with guilt until one day I saw that I could have guilt or a happy marriage, but not both.

I chose to give up guilt.

I could be telling the story of how how we tried to get back together after addiction destroyed our marriage, but the reality of my misdeeds got in the way.

But that wouldn’t have been reality either, would it?

You get to look and look again (and again)

Reality is a bit like a kaleidoscope.

You get to look, roll the barrel, and look again.

Have a wonderful, wonder-filled week, and please let me know what you’re discovering by sharing it in the comments.

Love,


Photo by Pixabay.com

 

Focus on the freedom to choose, not ton making the perfect choice

This week’s video is an exploration of the freedom to choose. I invite you to reflect on two quotes, one from William James and one from Viktor Frankl, and notice where you go when you consider them. What happens when you focus on the pressure to make a right choice? What arises instead when you focus on your capacity to choose?

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind.” – William James

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl

Hello, young Jedi! Giving life to life giving identities

A friend told a lovely story on Facebook recently about coming across a young Jedi knight. When, while walking her dog, she greeted him the five-year-old Jedi, he first collapsed into himself and mumbled that he wasn’t a real Jedi. When she and the dog circled back around, the same thing began to happen. She stopped, drew herself up, and, looking him directly in the eye, saying, “We mean you no harm, young Jedi. I ask permission for my dog and I to pass.” The boy’s jaw dropped. He snapped to attention, turned on his sword, and said in a voice filled with purpose, “Permission granted.”

Each of us generates a stream of identities ranging from Jedi warrior to perfectionist to mom to coach to hero to failure. Often we are unaware of how we suppress some of our most vibrant identities while giving air time (and thus life) to the stories that pull us down. It’s innocent, and, once we are on to it, unnecessary.

Here’s to giving life to your most life-giving version of yourself. May the Force be with you!

Soul Speak: An invitation to wake up and light up the world

Soul Speak: An invitation to wake up and light up the world

While we are on the topic of transformation, if you haven’t already heard about it, I invite you to check out Soul Speak this season in honor of Wayne Dyer.

When Sheldon Pizzinat invited me to participate in Soul Speak, I hesitated. Does the world really need another telesummit, even one with a spiritual theme?

I said yes because something in Sheldon’s vibe just felt right to me. I sensed that he would be having conversations with the potential to enliven and awaken listeners. Conversations that would add light and meaning to the world.

The intent of the series is to promote awakening so you can more fully embody your talents and gifts and light up the world, something Dr. Dyer did with grace.

Click here to sign up for The Soul Speaks Telesummit: A Tribute to Wayne Dyer
sheldonpizzinat.com/soulspeak/mollyg

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