What really matters?


“If only” and “Someday”

What is it you tell yourself?  Isn’t it something like “If only I had the money/food/love/sex/fame/power/status…. then I’d be happy and everything would be perfect”?  Which tends to go along with “Someday when I have the money/food/love/sex/fame/power/status/perfect partner…. everything will be just great, I will be happy”.

Are you and I chasing after the right stuff?

I have a question for me, for you: “How do you know that when you get what you are after – money, fame, love, sex, power – you will be happy?”  Put differently, before you spend your life chasing something in order to be happy might it not be useful to question if you are chasing after the right stuff?  Lets take a walk with Timothy D Wilson in his book Strangers to Ourselves:

“Imagine that you are part of a grand experiment in which you are provided with everything you need.  At regular intervals you are given gifts of money, food, love, sex, fame – whatever you want.  The only catch is that you can do nothing that increases or decreases the likelihood of obtaining these rewards.  In fact, in order to receive the rewards, you have to spend eight hours a day in a room doing nothing – no career to occupy your time, no one to talk to, no books to read, no paintings to paint, no music to compose – in short, nothing to engage you.” 

How do this show up for you?   Look you are being offered everthing that you are chasing!  Not only that, you get everything that you are chasing after with no effort on your part.  That’s right, sit back and put your feet up.  Are you raring to go, to take the plunge wholeheartedly, to take up this offer?

Even though you can get any reward you want, this would be a hellish life.  Compare it to quite different existence, in which the tangible rewards are modest.  You make only enough money to meet your basic needs and have few luxuries.  But you spend every day absorbed in activities you love.”

What do you really love doing?  What do you enjoy doing simply for the doing?  What is it that so involves you that lose your self, you lose track of time, even if you end up being ‘tired’ you are not tired, you are uplifted?

“In such extreme cases few of us would choose the first life over the second.  In everyday life, however, I think people sometimes opt for lives more like the first one.  I see undergraduates striving for careers that will pay them lots of money but doom them to mind-numbing daily routines (tax law comes to mind but that might just be me). The second kind of life is that of the struggling artist, a social worker who loves to make a difference in people’s lives, or, I suppose, tax attorneys who are really turned on by the latest changes in Roth IRAs.  Daily absorption is more important than the paycheck at the end of the month, as long as the paycheck covers our basic needs.

Which brings me back to the central questions – for me, for you, for us

How do you know that when you get what you are after – money, fame, love, sex, power – you will be happy?

Are you ok with living a life of drudgery, of meaninglessness, in order to simply fit in, be comfortable, be approved of and in the hope that someday you will have all that you need to be happy?

What do you really love doing?  What do you enjoy doing simply for the doing?  What is it that so involves you that lose your self, you lose track of time, even if you end up being ‘tired’ you are not tired, you are uplifted?

Here is my experience :  I have been profoundly happy/fulfilled – singing and smiling – cleaning toilets.  And I have been profoundly unhappy staying at a five star hotel, in a ‘beautiful’ city, driven around in fancy cars and eating in fancy restaurants!  I have been profoundly bored in ‘safe places doing safe stuff’ and on the edge of my seat, fully alive, fully immersed, totally fulfilled and joyous sitting a jeep being driven along one of the worlds most scenic and dangerous routes.   This blog is just another vehicle for access to joy, to self-expression, to be the stand I have chosen to be:  I love sharing what I have learned, I love sharing my experience, I love being of service/contributing to my fellow human beings.

Here is,perhaps, the most radical question

What if happiness is something that you bring to the table, that you put into life, rather than something that you have to search for, dig for, to beg for, to build brick by brick?   Really what if you can choose to be happy right now and bring that happiness to the game of life, to your living such that wherever you are happiness shows up? If you are open to entering into this conversation then please check out this post that I wrote some time ago:  “Happiness: a master speaks and shows the way (not for the faint hearted)”

What shows up in our lives when we stand in the clearing called Possibility?


Possibility (or the lack of it) is what gives us being in the present

Possibility (the future we are living into) is what gives us Being (how we are being right now, what we are doing or not) in the present.  What do I mean?  Let’s take a look at Spring.

Spring has arrived in Berkshire and I notice that the people all around me – my family, my neighbours, the folks in the village – are smiling, their faces have lit up, they have a spring in their footstep.  Why this dramatic change?  What is is about Spring that has brought this on?  Isn’t it the Possibility that we associate with Spring?  The possibility of: being outdoors in a T-shirt’; of the sun kissing your face; of flowers blooming…..?  Notice, how the Possibility associated with Spring is radically different to the Possibility associated with Winter.

What is possible?

I am not asking you a theortical question.  I am asking you a personal question: what do you think is possible for you, for us, for life on this planet?  Go deeper and ask yourself: “what is my relationship to Possibility?”  Are you one of those who has an optimistic outlook on life (open to Possibility) or are you a pessimist (‘dead to Possibility’)?  Now I ask you which game, if entered into fully, is more fun to play – ‘open to Possibility’ or ‘dead to Possibility’?

Do you want to reorient your relationship to Possibility?  Then watch the following video (1 minute long) and see for yourself what was once considered impossible and today is simply taken for granted:

The music of Possibility:  a moving, touching, inspiring example of Possibility

What is the Possibility for a baby born to ‘ordinary’ parents?  Now, lets go further.  What is the Possibility if you are that baby and I tell you that you are born without eyes?  That narrows done that zone of Possibility somewhat, right?  Lets, go further because the ‘bad news’ doesn’t stop there.  What if I tell you that you are born such that you have a tightening of your limbs and joints that prevents them from every straightening?  What Possibility is present for you?  What is the future you are living into?   Not much!  Isn’t that what pretty much all of us would say without having to think.  That is my point when it comes to Possibility most of us are wrong most of the time and yet we do not see it.

Allow me to share with you the Possibility that Patrick Henry Hughes and his father co-created, lived from and having been living into, and the results that have showed up for them, for their community and for us.  Please watch this 5 minute video – I am confident that this will open up your world (your mind as to what is possible) and touch your heart:

My question for you?

What would show up in your life if you lived from Possibility rather than Impossibility?    What would show up in your life if like Patrick Henry Hughes you did not accept the labels others put on you (and you have been putting on yourself)?   What would show up if you moved from “disabilities”to “abilities”?   What would show up if you gave up playing “victim” and became totally responsible for you life and played “god the creator”?

I invite you to get present to your living right now?  Is joy present?  Is self-expression present?  Is vitality present?  Is relatedness, connection, belonging present?  Are they all present?  If not then are you willing to be 100% responsible for what is so and is not so in your life?   OK.  Are you present to the cost of not living a life from the context of Possibility?  Great then you are in the right place to to let go of your prejudices, your doubts, you fears to step into the clearing of Possibility and invent possibilities that move-touch-inspire you?

Remember

It is the future that you are living into that is giving you your being in the present (right now)!   You can change your being by inventing a future that moves-touches-inspires you.  All leadership starts with your self and the Possibilities that you envisage, commit to and play full out to bring them to fruition.  The paradox is that it is the path that matters more than the outcome!  Being on the path, wholeheartedly, is transformation.  Enough for today.