The Potentiality of No Buts
I woke up this morning by Gracie tapping her little furry paw on my chest. She’s ready for the day to begin – I’m not. I feel into the sense of lacking – my orientation in life is that I’m always lacking something – what is it this morning? (Can you imagine waking up next to this person who is always lacking and anticipating a day created from lack – not fun, right?) And this is what inspired this writing. Cool, eh?
I’m graced with the ability to cultivate greater degrees of awareness regarding how I’m choosing what I choose. The truth is, we all are graced with this ability. I just happen to be fascinated by the human dilemmas that face us all – enough that I keep diving deep into those aspects of humanity that keep most of us stuck, stymied, and settling for a life that is less than outstanding. I want to know how to get out of this ‘less-than’ orientation and create for myself, and perhaps inspire others too, to see the potentiality we are immersed in. Potentiality for what? Here are some examples that perhaps points to the potentiality for what:
*** I’ve been teaching myself to draw portraits with colored pencils, and I need to buy some supplies that could make the process more enjoyable and effective. I say to myself: “Well, I don’t know how committed I am to this particular medium. I don’t want to buy something and only use it once or twice. What if it doesn’t work well and I’ve wasted that money ($20!). What if I abandon colored pencils altogether.”
So I struggle more because I choose to use less, thus missing out on the potential of enjoying and excelling in this medium.
*** I’ve lived in a small travel trailer for over 13 years, which works fine enough. All my needs are met – warmth, comfort, freedom from a burdensome mortgage, and more. When I imagine the house I’d like to build, I say to myself: “Well, you are old – how long would you live in a house like that anyway (Only for about 30 years)? And, besides, with global warming, weather changes and all, that house may be destroyed before you get a chance to live in it. You like being environmentally friendly, keeping your footprint of existence small – do you really care about the environment? You don’t need more – you’re good with what you got.”
So I continue to live in my tiny trailer, longing for room for – yes, an art studio, among other things. I miss out on the potential for creating space that will give me greater degrees of ease, comfort, and beauty.
*** My friends Heather and Bryan Benepe, and their daughter Zoey have invited me to visit them in Bali, and to stay for as long as I’d like. They have a hotel there, right on the beach. I could snorkel, work on my books, paint, and rest. I could also continue to work with clients over the phone, and perhaps provide a workshop or retreat. What an amazing opportunity, eh? But I say to myself: “Well, what if I don’t like it, what if it’s too noisy, what about my job at the Center, I’ll miss Gracie – she’ll miss me! It’s hot and humid in Bali – I don’t like hot and humid. What if a huge storm blows through the Pacific Northwest and destroys my home?"
So I dither and consider all of the potentially bad consequences that could ruin my life by going to Bali, and by doing so, I miss out on the potential for unimaginably wonderful things to happen because I went to Bali.
*** I haven’t had a partner for over five years. I imagine enjoying the company and partnership of someone who laughs a lot, loves to cook, is warm, sweet, adoring and affectionate – okay, I’ll say it – a soulmate! But then, I say to myself: “Well, you are really happier on your own; you don’t like sleeping with anyone; and you know it will most likely turn out like all the other relationships in your life. It’s too much of a pain when there are disagreements.”
So I miss out on the potential of even meeting a guy who might just want to be friends and share some life experiences together. I miss out on actually experiencing directly what I only allow myself to imagine for mere moments at a time.
Can you hear the pattern?
Through my teaching, coaching, and my life and spiritual practices, I encourage people to explore how they are choosing to choose to create their lives. In this moment as I examine how I chose to create my own life, much like my clients, I notice that I am afraid of making mistakes.
I won’t let myself have what I want; I only let myself have what I need. I look at what I don’t want – to waste money, time, and energies. The question that underlies all the dilemmas above is – What if I don’t want what I think I want – what if I’m wrong again?! That means that I have wasted valuable resources, money, time, and energy. Most of us waste these resources all the time and think nothing of it. By focusing on the potential of wasting time, money, and resources, I just keep missing out on realizing the potentially positive moments of even just saying – this is what I want!
I take a deep breath and feel into the discomfort of the probability of getting it wrong. What are the consequences of living within my needs and not my desires? What if I only let myself want what I know I can have?
My mind constantly attempts to justify my heart’s desires. Truth is, I’d most likely have a much more fulfilling life if I didn’t let my head have a say in the whole thing. I’ve been taught that ignoring reason and logic is very dangerous. That’s so fascinating, given that the potentiality of all the amazing inventions that make our world as wonderful as it is that began with ignoring reason. We are not supposed to be able to fly, right?
But here is the thing: In this moment, all I want to practice is allowing myself to say just to myself – “Here’s what I want!” Tears well up, my throat closes down. Then, my mind says: “What the Hell is going on?! It’s just a thought, for GOD’s SAKES! Get over it!!!”
My experience is that this is where most of us live – in the “I want it, but,” and in the “if only.” Quite often, when a client is sharing with me what they want, it is always followed by, “but I can’t have it because….” I get paid the big bucks to say to these individuals: “Just say what you want, leaving off the ‘but!'” Wow! It is hard work to leave off the ‘but.’ More times than you would imagine, my clients also end up in tears and feel choked up by just saying what they want out loud – no buts! Try it for yourself!
My commitment, in this moment, is to just allow desires to arise, without the need to act on them (a big element of our humanness is that we believe we have to act on everything, or justify why not to act). I’m curious to experience the potential of what could show up by just allowing desires without the ‘buts.’ Already my mind is creating stuff to derail this commitment. Jeesh!
The Rolling Stones sang, “you can’t always get what you want.” The truth is that if you don’t let yourself want and desire, you will never get what you want. You will never get what you want!
The point is that we will never realize the potential of saying, “yes, this is what I want,” if we never allow ourselves to truly know what we want, and to say what we want. The potentiality of possibility is lost.
In the aftermath of horrendous hurricanes, as millions of people experience the loss of what they had, including safety, security, and stability, we realize that we can no longer justify ignoring our true desires, the ones that dreams are made of, for maintaining the desire for safety and security. It is all up for grabs. Nothing is secure; nothing is for sure, except for the potential to create a life worth living.
I don’t know if I’ll get a house, a soulmate, a holiday in Bali, or new art tools. I only intend to experiment and witness the outcome of allowing the possibility of desires to show themselves – and they will show themselves!
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