Nine Words and a Question Mark
I have had a habit, pretty much all my life, of talking myself into not doing things. Not trying things, not joining, participating, leading, confidently chasing each and every dream I ached for. Pema Chodron, the Catholic Buddhist nun and author of many wonderful, helpful, and supportive books, talks about “our ancient stories”. Stories we came up with somewhere along the way – way back there – and have clung to, mostly in the subconscious, all our lives through. I can’t speak for you, if this is your truth, but I have little doubt it is mine. Here are a couple of my golden oldies — “I’m not good enough.” “I won’t be able to do this.”
Fallout from this thinking has been evident for me, as in much energy invested in ways to feel less, run from, avoid at all costs. At all costs. Now, it is true, I have taken a few substantial and pretty big risks in my time, decisions that had friends and family scratching heads in clear “are you kidding?” reactions. Though many of these, come to think about it, have involved travel from one place to another, as in “I bet it will be better there than here.” (Hello couch surfing.) The old geographical cure. But I have taken a few risks, I haven’t hidden in a closet all my life, and a future post will focus entirely on the topic of risk-taking. No, this is more of a confidence thing. And my ancient stories, like fairy tales, are powerful.
I came across a question recently. Nine small words. It got me thinking – actually, it got me amped up, focused more brightly through the ever-present brain fog, excited about the opportunity, the real possibility, to look at things from a different perspective. Shoo those old, old personal stories away, at least for some sacred time set aside for, well, dreaming.
This is the question – “What would this look like if it were easy?”
Yup, just that. See recent example – “I can’t create a new website, especially on a WordPress platform, I’ll never get it” morphs toward “What would this look like if it were easy?” Almost immediately, in my case, it seems possible. Sort of like the “One time” scene in the movie The Little Giants’ (on YouTube). Maybe I won’t be able to do it – and in the case of this very ‘Couch Surfing’ site I ended up paying some dude on ‘Fiverr’ $24 (including tip and the $4 Fiverr took) to install the “Subscribe” button, without which I’d pretty much be talking to myself, and also the social media Instagram, Facebook, Twitter da da buttons. But, the fact is I also asked for all kinds of help from the chat people at the hosting site, including someone so frustrated with my technical incompetence to understand directions a seven-year old would breeze through that she offered to call me and stayed on the phone with me nearly 40 minutes, painstakingly saying “try it again”, long enough for the foundation of the site to be built. Following that I went to YouTube and finally found an understandable step-by-step instructional video for WordPress and actually got the sucker up and running – hopefully resulting in your reading pleasure today.
This may seem rather childish if you can build a website blindfolded. But (quoting my son Spenser) not to me. There’s still many features I would like to add, and right here right now don’t know how. But, and I’ll morph the above question a little to my own usefulness, “What if it’s easier than I think?” And, yes, it’s just a website. But consider this. I have, right here and now, rolling through my head on a daily basis the strongest urge to step out from the shadows and make a more significant contribution to my ultimate number one goal of saving the planet, and ideas on how to increase my footprint that have raised their little hands and said “Pick me” include creating my own Podcast (I am totally insane for this idea), creating my own YouTube channel to upload videos all about hope and wonder and goofiness, and finding my way onto the stage of a ‘Ted Talk’, with a topic like “How we can cheer-lead each other onto a path of joy” or something like it.
As I write this, creating a podcast and having content worth listening to, creating a YouTube channel (ditto), and worming out an invitation to share on a Ted stage, well, my 50 year-old self hauls up one of them old time never gonna happen stories and says, “Seriously Dude?” But, what would they look like if they were easy? What if they are easier than I think? What if someone reading this post private messages me “I can help you with that”? The fact is, thinking it might be easier than I think, that I can almost see what it would look like with me and a broadcast partner sharing a mike or two, I spontaneously reached out to someone in Portland 40 years younger than me and left a message on their own social site – “I want to talk with you about something.”
Who knows, right? What would it look like if it were easy?
I am so interested in hearing what you think about this post. Have five minutes of your life dragged by and you can never get them back again? Or have a few brain cells perked up a bit, a little more sparkle now in the old noggin’? Do you have your own dream to share because maybe another reader has an idea for you, or have you long ago considered this very nine-word question or one like it and pushed on through to the other side? Please leave your thoughts. And please, reader, return to the Blog after a day or two and see what other people have had to say. The comments in the last post were outrageously wonderful.
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If there were a perfect fortune cookie providing surfing wisdom that could apply to all things, it would read, “It’s better to wipe out than to wuss out.”
P.S. I haven’t forgotten that I’m taking you surfing, whether it’s back in the cool waters of Oregon, the steep bombs of the Jersey Shore, or, somewhere Polynesian perhaps. ??
Oh and I just thought of and want to share about this recording of George Carlin I saw recently in which he said his career didn’t take off until he “stopped giving a shit”.
Man, thanks for the comments and great to have you on board. Adding a little juice into the discussion. And, more and more, wipe out versus wuss out — I get it.
I am looking forward to the upcoming stories and checking out that book.
I truly appreciate all the support Jeff.
I was inspired and delighted reading this post. Happy to share our life.