Saturday, November 23, 2013

The New Red Shiny! (My Idealized Perfect Future Reality Has Finally Arrived!!!)

We've all had it.  That moment when the new thing captures our attention.  A new model car.  A second glance by an attractive man or woman.  The possibility of a new VP of Sales.  An old flame entering from stage right.  It really doesn't matter what "it" is.  It's a new red shiny.

And, all of a sudden!  That new red shiny begins to represent a perfect future reality of our life as it was meant to be!  A new beginning!  A fresh start!  Coffee in bed every morning.  Beautiful sunsets.  Off the chart sales.  Prestige and Power.  No more laundry.  No more diapers.  No more disappointing sales reports.  Doesn't matter!  The future has arrived and it's perfect!  The new red shiny can wipe away years and years of un-expressed emotions, disappointments, shortfalls, neglect, guilt... all of it!  Go!  Jump!  Take the leap and you will learn to fly!!!

And what about the old car?  That piece of trash?  Lousy mileage.  20 pounds overweight.  Lazy and stuck in a rut of low production.  Heading nowhere.  At least, no where good.  Or, worth going.  Dump it.  Who needs it?  I've put up with it long enough.  There is nothing new, red, or shiny there.  In fact, it's old, black, and tarnished.  Dead end.  Might as well go die a lonely death in a gutter in Central Park before living with that.  I deserve better.  In fact, it's their fault.  They've caused me to be miserable.  The new red shiny "gets me" and this old black tarnished thing... well...  Whatever.

Sound familiar?  Well, I've heard it all.  And, I've done most of it.

So, what to do?  How about a few good questions?

It doesn't really matter which train I am on, the questions are pretty much the same.  Whether I'm heading down the track to the perfect future reality or imagining the cliff at the end of the track of despair and worst possible outcome... the truth is that I am making up a story.  And, I'm damn good at making up stories.  We all are.

So, when I catch myself on either train, I can always stop and separate the FACT from the FICTION.  What's really happening here?  What might a video camera record?  What would an observer see here?  What are the triggering events?

And then, separate the FICTION from the FEELING.  What am I feeling right now?  Is it anger?  If so, what boundary has been crossed?  How have I given myself away?  What disappointments have been left un-expressed?  Is it Sadness?  If so, what has been lost?  What am I grieving?  Who am I feeling sorry for?  Or, Fear?  What's the bad thing I am trying to avoid?  How am I trying to protect myself?  From what?  What's the deeper fear?  What am I FEELING in my body right now? What does it FEEL like?  Is there any Joy?  What might be appreciated?  What am I learning?

Sometimes, when that new red shiny is right in front of me, I can make it a sign from God.  Yes!  It's not ME going for the new red shiny, it's God opening a door!  It's a spiritual awakening!  I must follow His leading in my life.  Another opportunity to stop.  Take a breath.  And, another breath.   And then, inquire within... How has God revealed Himself to me before?  Is this consistent with His voice?  What is God's posture toward me right now?  What is he thinking about my life and what I've made of it?  If this new red shiny is good for me, is it good for all concerned?  Am I only seeing God on one path?  Hmm.  (That one almost always stops me in my tracks).  If the divine is showing up in a critical, defensive, one-sided, never-been-this-way-before kind of way I know I might need to stop and ask myself... "What is the story I am I making up about God here?"

I could go on and on.  The big idea (I think) is to stop.  Breathe.  Let it land.  Seek wisdom from both my most mature self and my most mature others.  The new red shiny will still be there.  And if it won't be there, then maybe it isn't as red and shiny as I hope.

Am I Listening?

A while back, someone said to me, “Wow, Vince, you’re such a good listener!”  It made me wonder what it’s like to be a bad listener!  So, I ...