When Reality Hits, It Isn’t “Reality”
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.
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.
Photo by Pixabay.com
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
REMINDER: Heart of Money Transformational Journey
Money is a sore spot for so many people, regardless of whether or not they appear to have enough. It’s no small feat to find sanity, healing, freedom, and agency around this topic.
My friend Mark Silver has developed a deep, rich, and healing course about money called Heart of Money Transformational Journey. He is offering it now on a Pay from the Heart basis. You determine what to invest based on your circumstances, the value you expect to receive, and the guidance of your own sweet heart.
Mark brings extremely high integrity, real (not invented) spiritual awareness and presence, and a profound understanding of the nitty gritty of business to the topic.
If you want to change your relationship to finances, if you want a Divinely-inspired healthy relationship with money, I recommend this 8 week course highly. It runs late January through mid-March.
Click here for details.
Note: That is an affiliate link. If you use that link and choose to take the course, I will receive a modest thank you payment from Mark. That said, I’ve been sending people Mark’s way for years, usually with no compensation. He’s the real deal, and I’m happy to share his work with you.
This note is for you if you know deep inside that you are an amazing being with infinite potential. You really get that creating is your nature. But there’s some connection between your creative-being and your daily-doing that isn’t completely . . . well . . . connected.
For some reason (and God knows you’ve thought about a lot of possible reasons), you’re not stepping up.
You’re not doing the thing.
If that’s the way it’s been, and you’re ready for a change, I invite you to join me for a five month adventure called “Come Alive and Do the Thing!”
Get your mojo on with a focused mastermind group
Come Alive and Do the Thing! is an eight-person Mastermind group that will meet by videoconference weekly for five months. I’ll be working with each participant to thoroughly understand his or her issues, goals, and dreams so that we hit the ground running with customized structures and experiences.
Through coaching, exercises, and mutual support you will get off the sidelines of your life. And if you sign up before next Wednesday (11/18/15) at 8am Pacific time, you’ll save $200. That’s something to dance about.
Click here for details: http://shaboominc.com/come-alive-and-do-the-thing-mastermind/
Check it out now; the early registration discount ends Wednesday morning. If you have questions, feel free to phone me at +1-360-697-7022 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And have a great weekend!
Quick reminder that tomorrow, Friday, November 13, at 11am PT (2pm ET, 7pm UK), my guest Wyn Morgan and I will be exploring why coaching works–when it does.
Coaching can be a powerful context for personal and organizational transformation. What makes coaching “work” when it works? What’s missing when it doesn’t? What’s the difference between “transformational coaching” and other modalities or traditions?
Join us for this live Zoom videoconference. Yes, we will record it and post a replay, but we would love to have you join us live with your questions, insights, and comments.
No advance registration required. To join us, just click the link below a few minutes before the scheduled time. You’ll be able to join from your computer or by phone. If you join by phone, tolls may apply.
If you will be joining from a Mac or PC and this is your first time using Zoom,
please come to the Hangout a few minutes early to allow time to download the
free Zoom client. This download will happen automatically when you follow the
above link from your Web browser.
If you want to join from an iOS or Android device, please install the free Zoom
app of your choice in advance so that you are ready to go when the Hangout begins.
I hope you will join us!
Last week at a coaching conference one of the speakers held forth about her wildly successful book on the formation of habits, habits that, in her view, lead to success.
Among other things, she proposed a model to explain why some people do what’s good for them and some people don’t (and some people do it some of the time but not other times). She went on to name some of the 21 (!) strategies that she had codified for forming habits that lead to success.
Her suggestion for a useful exercise was for us to sort ourselves into groups according to her model and come up with mottoes for our “types.”
Can you see how instead of pointing us inward toward the source of our moment to moment experience, she was pointing us outward, toward her model? Not only that, she was asking us to invest our creative energy and attention into developing her model, dressing it up with mottoes.
The world is overflowing with models and life hacks that don’t work.
You are a human being, a creature with infinite potential, not a robot who could benefit from an operating system upgrade.
Instead of looking outside for models of success, look inside toward the source that inspires and catalyzes human beings of all sorts to do extraordinary things.
Have you noticed that sometimes you just feel alive? Really alive?
And have you noticed that when you come alive, life works?
And have you noticed that sometimes coming alive happens regardless of your circumstances? It can happen when you have bills to pay (and no money in the bank). It can happen when you or the people you love are sick.
That’s because coming alive has absolutely nothing to do with your circumstances. It happens before and underneath them.
Coming alive is the realization of what you already are, not a new accomplishment.
It’s what the mystics and sages are pointing to when they tell us that all is well and all manner of things be well.
And when you are in touch with the underlying okayness, when you let that okayness unfold and reveal your true aliveness, life just works.
An invitation to “Come Alive and Do the Thing”
As you can perhaps tell, I care a lot about this. I care so much that, for the first time in nearly three years, I’m forming a mastermind group and calling it “Come Alive and Do the Thing.”
Come Alive and Do the Thing is about two things: experiencing your aliveness and taking action in the world.
It’s about letting go of analysis paralysis and embracing the game of life wholeheartedly.
It’s about connecting deeply with the formless energy that animates all things and showing up regularly as a creator in the world of form.
It’s where insight meets action, and I would love to have you along for the ride.
Come Alive and Do the Thing begins December 1
I’ve known I wanted to convene a coaching group to explore this territory, but until I sat down to write this article, I didn’t know what it would look like. The details are still coming into focus, and here’s what I know so far.
Come Alive and Do the Thing will be limited to eight persons. We will meet weekly on Tuesdays at 9:00am Pacific time (noon Eastern, 4:00pm UK) beginning Tuesday, December 1, 2015. We will get a running start before the turning of the year!
Meetings will by video-conferences using the Zoom platform, and there will be a private Facebook group for connecting between meetings.
I’m working on a web page for the group now and will email you as soon as it goes live. I expect registration to open on Thursday, November 5th. Because it is such a small group (and it has been so long since I have offered a mastermind), I expect it to fill quickly.
If you have questions now, feel free to email me.
Yes, you can still sign up for Pay What You Choose Coaching
Whether or not you feel called to this new group, remember that you can request a coaching session with me on a Pay What You Choose basis. Pay What You Choose means exactly that: you choose how much to pay based on your resources and the value you perceive. Details are here: shaboominc.com/coaching
Photo credit: Pixabay.com