Judy Sedgeman and I had a lovely conversation on the Wholeness Hangout today, which pointed over and over again to the innate health and wholeness of every human being. And it occurred to me that we don’t always experience it that way. Here’s my perspective on what’s up with that and why it’s not a problem.
As always, I would love to hear how it looks to you. Please feel free to share in the comments.
Just typing that question causes something in my lower back to release. I can feel my buttocks settle into the cushion on my chair as I stop working quite so hard to live up to whatever unconscious standards are running in the background of my awareness.
How about you?
The hardest thing in life is thinking we need to get it right
It seems to me that the hardest thing in life, the hardest thing in building a business, the hardest thing about raising children or growing vegetables, is dealing with our ideas and judgments about getting things right.
Those ideas about what is and isn’t right keep us from going with what we know is true for us in the moment. Preoccupation with getting it right can make decision-making pure hell.
What makes making the right decision seemingly impossible is believing that there’s a right decision to begin with.
The need to get it right goes deep
The imperative that one must get things right is layered, persistent, sneaky. If you’re like me, you let go of the need to get things right, only to discover that you have a new imperative to not need to get things right.
Even (especially?) illness comes with imperatives about what’s right
As some of you know, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of June. As you might imagine, I’ve had lots of different feelings and thoughts about it.
Far and away the hardest thing about it has been the persistent arising of theories or concepts about getting it right.
Having the right feelings. (Yeah, like I’m in charge of that.)
Making the right choices. (For whom? When?)
Sending the right messages. (Hopeless invitation to self-absorption.)
What I’ve learned about making the right decision
I’ve been keeping a journal of my breast cancer journey at CaringBridge, and here’s an excerpt from my entry on June 24 about decision-making and getting things right. I wrote it after deciding to get a bilateral mastectomy, but I think it applies to decision-making in general.
“The hardest part of the past couple of days has been wondering if I’ve made the right decision. And the hardest part of that has been wondering what other people would think of my decision. Here, in no particular order, are some of the things I’ve learned.
“Decisions make themselves. We don’t know what we are going to do, and then we do. The less sound and fury I can inject in the interim, the better able I will be to discern the “right” decision. More about what constitutes “rightness” below.
“It’s not over until it’s over. Another way to say this is that I reserve the right to be inconsistent, erratic, and change my mind. If I’m struck with a sudden insight that changes how I see this, I’ll punt. I’m grateful to Dr. Wechter for explicitly giving me permission to change my mind, though she did ask me not to do it the day before surgery. 😉
“This decision stands until it doesn’t. Insight doesn’t flow from second-guessing. I like how I feel about this decision when I am settled down, and I’m going to stand in that. I won’t be surprised if I second-guess myself anyway, but I don’t intend to put a lot of energy into it.
“The right decision is the one you make. I have a bias in favor of decisions made from a place of peace, from what Syd Banks called “a nice feeling.” But there is no ultimate basis for grading the rightness of this decision. How could you or I judge? By whether or not the cancer returns? By whether or not a new treatment is discovered in six months? By how these journal entries affect an unknown reader? Will I meet my new best friend on the ferry one day en route to get my new boobs inflated? (Stay tuned. Or not. LOL)
“We’re all always doing our best. Full stop.”
There is no such thing as the “right way”
When it comes down to it, there is no such thing as the right way to do something; there is only the way we do it. The only justification I have for my choice to have a bilateral mastectomy is that I felt clear, grounded, and peaceful when I let myself want what I want.
And hey, if the best I could do happened to be to make a choice from a place of feeling, confused, ungrounded, and anxious, then that would have to be okay, too.
Because, as I wrote above, I see more clearly than ever that we truly are always doing our best all the time. The only thing that keeps us from seeing that are persistent fantasies and judgments about what our best ought to look like. Those fantasies and judgments are mental constructs, though, and they are utterly trumped by the reality of whatever we are up to in the moment.
I hope to serve, and sometimes I suck at it
As I reflect on my life, I see that I have always hoped to serve. I love it when sharing my experience helps others, and I feel so fortunate that for many years I have been able to earn my living by doing that.
But sometimes when I experience confusion or anxiety or any number of less than, in my opinion, admirable states of mind, I get seriously derailed. I start imagining that I have to get something right in order to be of service, and as soon as I’m on that track, I’m lost in endless self-absorption and self-criticism.
Which pretty much shuts down the creative process, prevents authentic connection and communication, and generates a seemingly accurate self-fulfilling prophecy of wasted potential, meaninglessness, and alienation.
And in those moments my life looks like a wasteland. The idea of service seems like a cruel delusion.
And that’s how it is for all of us. When we are lost, we see loss and waste.
But it’s not real
It sucks to feel like we suck. But the important thing to know about those self-fulfilling prophecies is that they are only seemingly accurate. Because our scary self-fulfilling prophecies are dreams. They are not real.
And sooner or later we come home to ourselves.
We come home sooner when we understand what is going on
We come home to ourselves sooner rather than later when we understand what is going on.
When we understand that, even though they feel very real and compelling in the moment, our fears and judgments are phantoms, we are less inclined to amplify and invest in them.
And like any fire that lacks fuel or oxygen, even the most intense emotional blaze passes when we don’t feed it.
It may burn for a while, but it will not burn forever.
What would you do if you didn’t have to get it right?
If any of this has resonated, I invite you to hold this question lightly. What would you do now if you didn’t have to get it right?
If no answer appears, that could be your answer. Nowhere is it written that you have to know what you are doing or why you are doing it. Wisdom runs deeper than language, and life is far more mysterious than that.
Talk back: I’d love to hear your thoughts and welcome them in the comments section. Also, if you would like to read my CaringBridge journal, it is being cross-posted to my blog at Owning Pink. owningpink.com/users/molly-gordon
I am SO excited about this month’s Wholeness Hangout!
My guests are Steve Adair and Tony Fiedler, two Three Principles practitioners from the United Kingdom, who simply radiate love, goodwill, and wisdom.
I had the pleasure of meeting and having lunch with Steve and Tony last year. We laughed heaps, always a good thing, and I found myself profoundly moved by their embodied wisdom. They spoke eloquently and simply about how wisdom guides them in life and business. Never once did I want to run screaming from the room as one does when in the presence of holier-than-thou, too-good-to-be-true, happy talk.
They are genuinely nice gents with genuine insight to share. Their formal bios and photos appear below the information about the Hangout.
Guided by the Feeling of Wisdom
Our topic, which may well morph in the moment, is Guided by the Feeling of Wisdom. As I said above, I was moved by the way Tony and Steve speak about what it means to be guided by a good feeling. I think they make this sometimes slippery concept palpable and accessible.
Watch the Replay Here
About Steve Adair
Steve Adair is an international speaker, trainer and Three Principles based practitioner. As co-director at 3P Life & Soul he is committed to supporting you to realise your true identity and to uncover innate mental health to bring unlimited balance and depth to life.
From an early age, Steve has been fascinated by how people think and behave. This, blended with his passion for helping others, has guided Steve to work within the human potential development field since 1991. Steve has studied and practised as a coach, trainer, mentor, and peer educator. He is also a qualified psycho-therapeutic counsellor.
He has always followed his compassionate and helpful nature and has the rare ability to touch people with a feeling of love, which in turn wakes a person up to their true identity.
Steve co-runs a Three Principles practise in Bedfordshire and London, UK, in which the focus is on working with individuals and also practitioner development. Steve has spoken at both the Tikun Innate Health conference in London & the 3PGC conference in the US about this work.
Steve is dedicated to helping you to uncover your innate health and wisdom, from within.
About Tony Fiedler
I have a diverse career in both the corporate & third sector, through which I have gained invaluable experience in management, training & coaching.
I uncovered an understanding of the Three Principles in early 2011, following attending a seminar with Jamie Smart and Aaron Turner. Since then, I have completed intensives with Aaron Turner and George and Linda Pransky. My most significant experience of deepening my understanding was gained through Fellowship with Chip Chipman and Elsie Spittle, a six week programme in 2012.
I can now safely state that I am much more comfortable in my own skin having uncovered insight into the nature of thought and my true identity.
Presently, I co-run a Three Principles practise in Bedfordshire and London, UK, in which we focus on working with individuals and practitioner development. I have a passion for community based projects and have spoken at both the Tikun Innate Health conference in London and the 3PGC conference in the US about this work.
For more information about the Three Principles
There is a wealth of information online about the Three Principles. Here are some great places to start.
The Three Principles Global Community is a non-profit organization that is committed to bringing an understanding of The Three Principles to people throughout the world. Click on the Media Tab in the navigation menu to access videos and podcasts about the Principles.
Brainchild (love child!) of Rudi and Jenny Kennard, threeprinciplesmovies.com is a comprehensive resource for interviews, documentaries, and full length trainings in the Three Principles.
For insights into the Three Principles and Mental Health
There are numerous practitioners working with The Three Principles and mental health. A good place to start if you want more on that topic is to search the above sites for Judy Sedgeman, Bill Pettit, and/or Linda Pettit. You can also click on Judy’s name to go to her web site.
Have you ever run yourself mentally haggard trying to convince yourself to see a spiritual truth more deeply or clearly than you actually do?
It’s easy to do. After all, the fundamental principles behind the human experience are quite simple to articulate. According to Sydney Banks, Mind is the infinite formless intelligent energy behind all things. Consciousness is our ability to know reality and our ability to understand how our reality is created by thoughts. Thought is a source of all mental activities and source of all feeling, actions and reactions.
Our experience in any given moment is created by the interplay of these principles.
When I first came across Syd’s teachings, I was frankly underwhelmed. I didn’t disagree; I just didn’t see anything earthshaking. I had studied intensively with Byron Katie, and the notion that thought generated our experience seemed obvious.
Still, I kept returning to Syd’s work because of the profound changes I saw in people who had been influenced by him. And one day my own understanding shifted, deepened, expanded, and what had seemed obvious and verging on trivial started to blow my mind.
I’ve shared many of the insights that have emerged from that in previous blog posts and videos, but I want to take a little different look at things today.
You see, there’s a way in which we can become addicted to knowing. We can chase insights as if our wellbeing lies in having more of them.
When actually, our wellbeing is nonnegotiable. Invariable. Innate.
Our essential wholeness does not depend on our moment to moment experience of life. As I’ve written before, we don’t have to feel okay to be okay.
But damn! I don’t know about you, but sometimes all I really want is to feel okay. Which last week had me wrestling with this notion of essential wholeness. I was frustrated by feeling fragmented and, frankly, stupid. Where was my innate wellbeing? Where was wisdom?
How could I get there from where I was?
What good does it do me to have a theoretical understanding that I am okay when I feel cornered by the limits of my current thinking?
And then something funny happened.
It occurred to me to simply doubt.
To drop the gospel.
To quit trying to feel or believe or find wholeness and wisdom.
To drop my story that I should trust it.
And to drop into my honest in that moment experience of WTF? Where is it?
To ask in an open hearted and abandoned way, are we really whole? Does God or Mind or whatever you call it have our backs?
Where is wisdom? Is it really always on, only sometimes obscured?
I dropped into the questions, which had a whole different feel from struggling to believe in the answers.
And I can’t account for just how or why, but as the days passed, I started to get a glimmer.
A felt sense of something beneath the surface.
Not an intellectual understanding, but the barest shimmer or breath of a feeling that something is there.
Dim. As yet unknown. But palpable.
I don’t know what, if anything, that does for you, but it did a lot for me. Somehow out of my honest doubt I had touched bedrock.
I don’t know what the bedrock is. What it means. How to talk about it.
But I know down to my toenails that it is there.
Thank you, doubt.
Your turn: What’s your experience with what Byron Katie has called trying to live beyond your current level of evolution? What might doubt have to offer you?
What if there is an intelligent force in the Universe that supports you to grow into your own perfect self just as a tomato seed grows into a tomato plant and an acorn into an oak? What if you really have that going for you?
As a coach I work with a handful of special clients to understand the spiritual principles behind the human experience so that they can reliably access and trust their creative intelligence and take bold action in service of their dreams. You can learn more and request an interview here.
There is a way in which you can count on getting what you need to thrive. When you tune into this, you are not only more resourceful and creative, but you also find it easier to ride the ups and downs that are inevitable in any business.
As a coach I help my clients explore the immense practicality of joy. I point them to the spiritual principles behind the human experience. As their understanding deepens, their joy increases. They act with greater ease, creativity, grace, and wisdom. If this resonates and you’d like to have a conversation to see if we are fit, click here to visit my coaching page and schedule an interview.