I was recently presented with the idea that Life is here to serve us; we’re not here to serve it. I think I’ve spent most of my Life living this idea backwards. Having this notion is like now having a new pair of glasses to see Life in a totally different shade…now I wonder how I can fully experience my most ecstatic, realized self by allowing (not expecting) Life to serve me!
I wonder what would happen if we changed our idea about ‘failure’ to simply mean a milestone for having tried something big?
And if we try something big and fall short of the goal, does that really mean we failed? If failure means not having met the goal, then yes it does. But I’d offer that our definition of failure is flawed. Shouldn’t the objective always be to do something bigger than we believe ourselves capable? Isn’t life about stretching ourselves, taking risks, embarking on adventure?
Where did we get this idea that the point in life is to be comfortable? Seeking a comfortable, easy life is analogous to striving for planned complacency–and doing it on purpose!
We’ve been programmed to believe that failure is bad and should be avoided, but what if we strived for failure on purpose? And I don’t mean planning for failure; I mean striving for failure. There’s a difference!
Planning for failure is using this idea as a means of justifying and explaining your failures in some kind of twisted logic where failure becomes the new success. “Well, the point of the exercise was to fail, and there I failed, so I succeeded.” No!
Striving for failure, on the other hand, is deliberately choosing projects or goals that are bigger than you, that feel scary, that are beyond our capability to handle and that have an element of unknown. Of course, when we do this, we are likely to fall short of our goal; but more importantly we will have tried something big. We will have stretched ourselves. We will have expanded our consciousness. And maybe, just maybe in the process of trying something bigger than ourselves, we can make a difference in the lives of people around us–in our families, our communities, villages, towns, cities, etc! ‘Bigger than ourselves’ by definition will have a ripple effect even into the lives of people we don’t know.
It’s like this: If it isn’t scary, it’s not worth doing. If at first you don’t succeed, then you were not challenging yourself enough. No one ever achieves something big by being grandiose. We accomplish big things by being willing to risk failure, by not being afraid to put our heart and soul into something that just might not work, by being willing to try. Trying is not dying; trying is the opposite of hiding (1).
(1) Thanks to Seth Godin for the perspective on trying.
I wonder why we persistently continue to insanely begrudge other people with our resentments when it never works, yet we stubbornly refuse, or at best hesitantly attempt to rely on a power greater than ourselves–a Divine Source that can actually help us?
I was reading Wayne Dyer today and came across this wise & priceless commentary, which of course sparked a Wonderment:
Removing blame means never assigning responsibility to anyone for what you’re experiencing. It means that you’re willing to say “I may not understand why I feel this way, why I have this illness, why I’ve been victimized, or why I had this accident, but I’m willing to say without any guilt or resentment that I own it. I live with, and I am responsible for, having it in my life.” Why do this? If you take responsibility for having it, then at least you have a chance to also take responsibility for removing it or learning from it.
If you’re in some small (perhaps unknown) way responsible for that migraine headache or that depressed feeling, then you can go to work to remove it or discover what its message is for you. If, on the other hand, someone or something else is responsible in your mind, then of course you’ll have to wait until THEY change for YOU to get better.
The doozie with resentments is that it relegates us to be dependent on someone else changing for us to feel better.
The thing I wonder is why we persistently continue to insanely begrudge other people with our resentments when it never works, yet we stubbornly refuse, or at best hesitantly, attempt to rely on a power greater than ourselves–a Divine Source that can actually help us?
While at the park with her, we found a pine cone and threw it for her to fetch. Throw, fetch, return. Throw, fetch, return. Over and over. In the sweetness and simplicity of the moment, it struck me that she was doing exactly what she was meant to do–to retrieve. It was intuitive and easy for her, without thinking about it.
And then I wondered…Why do we people make it so complicated to do what we are meant to do?
Instead of groveling for those we love to do something with their obvious talents, why don’t we focus on the pursuit of our own talents? This seemingly begs the wonder whether it is easier to love others than to love ourselves, but I wonder if that’s asking the wrong question. Perhaps the more true wonder is whether it is easier to pay attention to others than to ourselves?
Of course, our own talents are not as obvious to us as they are to others? Again, this seemingly begs the wonder: why is it so hard to trust what others see in us, if we know they love us? Perhaps the more fitting wonder is whether we trust ourselves to pursue that which we know is inside of us, or even more hair-raising; would we rather commiserate in our own un-lived life and nurse the fear of our own greatness?
I recently has a conversation with a long-time friend of mine and she was sharing about something in her life that was repeatedly frustrating her. My response, after listening, was a gentle reminder that what she resists will persist and that she might consider lowering her expectations. It became obvious, in short order, that what she heard was “Lower your standards”, in contrast to what I actually said, which was “Lower your expectations”.
So, now being one that wonders about life, I got curious and I resorted to Webster’s. Here’s what I found:
Expectation: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future; a belief that someone will or should achieve something.
Standard: quality, level, grade, caliber, merit, excellence; principle, ideal; code of behavior, code of honor, morals, scruples, ethics
What jumps out at me right away is the difference between what’s within our realm of control and what isn’t. “Expectation” is all about something outside of us, whether that be a goal we want to attain or a measure for another person; “standards” are all about things within us, things within our realm of control, choices we can elect for ourselves.
It seems that where we get confused is in thinking that we have control over someone else’s standards. We may have influence (positive or negative), but influence and control are not the the same thing.
So, it’s not a wonder that when someone says “Lower your expectations”, that what is heard is “Lower your standards”. When we have crossed that invisible line into placing expectations on another person’s standards, aren’t we really just trying to mind their insides, so we don’t have to tend to our own?
It is much more challenging, yet rewarding, to act in a manner congruent with the inner knowledge that my standards are personal to me and, likewise, others are personal to them, and they don’t all have to be the same. My expectations are exactly that, MY expectations—and those have no bearing on what might actually happen other than to set us up for disappointment or to get us so focused on that exact thing happening that exact way, that we entirely miss something way better is unfolding.
My expectations are inversely proportional to my my level of peace. The higher my expectations, the lower my peace; the lower my expectations, the higher my peace.
Standards, on the other hand, are about knowing who you are, what’s important to you, what’s not, what your boundaries are and what’s tolerable. As with anything though, “standards” are not without their risks. They give us easy ground from which to judge others—higher ground.
Of course, most of us recognize this as a commonly referenced passage of the Bible, specifically a quote from Jesus. The Bible connoisseurs among us know the passage is John 14:6 and will be quick to point out that the rest of the quote is “No one comes to the Father except through me”, so let me go ahead and make that acknowledgement before sharing what’s on my heart.
I’ve recently had some very interesting wonderments about this statement. I spent a great many years with a certain disdain for organized religion. While I certainly have times marked with good memories while participating in church and related activities, deep down I was plagued with bothersome feelings for which I could not quite formulate words. For years, I disguised these feelings as an intellectual curiosity, under the guise of “seeking to understand”. I thought I had to understand it with my head before I could believe it in my heart. Understanding was the cause and belief was the effect.
As I meandered along my own personal journey of discovering what a connection to God actually felt like, I also started to discover the source of my previous disdain. And this quote from Jesus lay at the core of it. As I’ve grown in my relationship with God, I eventually came to put words to those previously indescribable, bothersome feelings–this inner observation that the purveyors of religion believed they were in sole possession of the Truth.
So herein lies my wonderment: Is is possible that what Jesus meant by this statement was that he, in his essence, was his own way; his own truth; and his own life–that his source for the peace, prosperity and goodness of life was the God-source that laid within him? And is it possible that what he was offering with this quote was that the same was true for all of us? That we all are born in the eyes of God and thus all have an innate source of God within our being; one that we can harness as our own personal Source of God to help us find our way, our truth and ultimately learn how to live our life in service to that authority within us?
I wonder if Time is still really money? I think it is, but to say “Time is money” sounds so absolute! I wonder how many times Time really passes this test? I also think Time is other things now, too–like creativity, for example. Being creative definitely consumes Time and when it is guided by inspiration, it’s that timeless kind of Time. Or what about soulful conversations? When we get lost in these kind of heartfelt, super-charged-relationship-changing kind of talks, doesn’t Time seem to be unimportant? When we are engrossed in our creativity or in the midst of a soulful talk, or knelt down in prayer, or deep in meditation–measures like the passage of Time or whether the Time is productive are insignificant details. What is really important is that our soul opens and is nourished.
So then what is money? Time (in theory) could be money. Creativity could be if the result is monetized. But soulful conversations, prayer and meditation miserably fail this test. We don’t engage in these things with the result of money in mind.
So maybe money is completely beside the point. Time is Creativity=TRUE. Time is Soulful Conversations=TRUE. Time is Prayer=TRUE. Time is Meditation=TRUE. Time is Money=SOMETIMES.
I wonder why we think the object of marriage is a perpetual state of happiness and bliss? Isn’t it really about creating meaning, both in your life and in another’s, and discovering the truth about yourself thru the lens of someone else?
I wonder what would happen if, as a society, we all started to see the purpose of marriage as the latter and started to behave congruently with that belief?