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Monday, September 16, 2013

Leaping off Cliffs... Are you game?

I read a woman's blog today and under her byline was written.....Author, Blogger, Motivational Speaker.   I googled her and found that her field of concentration was...wait for it...Happiness.

Isn't that the best?  If you are going to speak or write about something wouldn't you chose the Happiest thing available?   And what if the happiest thing there was happened to be happiness?

Are we not happy because we aren't happy?  Could it be a choice?

OK, sometimes I have chosen to not be happy...

Anytime the conversation begins with, "You can't....."  fill in the blank with anything, anything at all.  Starting with, you can't park there, you can't stand here, you can't have that, you can't do that...My husband believes that I could move a mountain by sheer force of will if I am told "I can't."

When I have to say good-bye, which is why I gave up AOL.  "Good-bye"

When people underestimate me.  (on the other hand I love it when people underestimate me.)

That they swapped out Faith Hill for Carrie Underwood.

Anytime I call Sam's Club Discover.  If we fought a war and our only weapon was the automated system at Sam's Club Discover, the enemy would surrender without a whimper.

I don't like feeling fearful.  It is my struggle, my stumbling block...Fear keeps me from peace, it keeps me from having the kind of faith that fills us with the notion we can do anything.  

Being unhappy is a choice.  Often we lose sight of the fact that we have the agency to choose.  We can choose to be happy.  It's hard to be happy in the face of turmoil, strife or even habit, but it is completely possible.  I think of the book "The Hiding Place" and how they were able to find a blessing in the face of evil.  I admire that choice but I am also baffled by it.  How could anyone see lice as a blessing?  But they can see that the lice keeps the sadistic guards away because they are repulsed by bugs.  How were they able to discern that?  Because their attitude kept them in the light and they were able to see the positive side of a seemingly hopeless situation.  When you spend your time in the dark you aren't able to see solutions.  And all you can feel is negativity, failure, and fear.

So how do we do happy?   How do we retrain ourselves when we are so entrenched in fear, or in the mindset that we cannot succeed?  Is there a map that leads us to faith and then finding happiness? 

I am going to do yoga

Have you ever thought to yourself, my prayers will be answered, but maybe not how I have envisioned.  Are there things you really want, but feel you don't deserve them.  Do you set yourself up for disappointment before you have even tried?  Do you say, I am just being realistic, the worst usually happens.  Is it realistic to assume we will fail, or fall short?  Do we limit God?  Wow, aren't you glad George Washington didn't feel that way?  Or the Wright Brothers?  How about Henry Ford who changed the face of industrialism, or Steve Jobs?   From the television to the microwave to the integrated circuit, which is how I am writing this blog...none of those inventors thought they would fail.  What is the difference between me and the guy who invented the vacuum cleaner?  He saw a machine that blew the dust off of things and thought it would be better if it sucked up the dust instead.  So with that idea he invented the vacuum cleaner.  What is the difference between us?  He acted on his good idea.  I haven't.

That incredible quote from Marianne Williamson...remember it?  It is brilliant,

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Seriously, isn't that brilliant?  It begs the question, why are we willing to be content with so little?  I was throwing the word "deserve" around a lot.  Either I thought I deserved more or less than what was occurring.  Now with some introspection, I hope I never get what I deserve, I want rather receive what a loving God is anxious to give me.  Most folks settle, they make safe choices that only allow half the life experience.  Maybe they know a book is in them, or a sonnet, or an opera.  But they are afraid to fail...afraid they will look foolish.  But how will you look to yourself?   And how do you explain to God you refused the gifts He was offering you?

I am going to get a chicken coop just like this

Want to feel alive?  Leap off a cliff.  

You know the woman who wrote the blog that started the idea for this post?  I sent her a friend request on facebook, assured her I wasn't a stalker and then asked if I could talk to her.  She wrote back and sent her cell number and we have a phone appointment tomorrow morning.  I want to know as much about being happy from her that 20 minutes can give me.  

I am tired of being afraid.

I am leaping off cliffs.  

There is a life out there that I want to live.  It isn't the one I have lived in my head lately...I have been given amazing blessings, incredible family and friends and one opportunity after another.  But I have been playing small and minimizing my life.  I have been assuming I don't deserve all the great things I have so there is no reason to fight to keep them.   And I have stopped dreaming.  After all, I am older, too old to start a new career, and certainly too old to make it a success.  You know that adage....It would take a miracle.  Well, miracles don't occur when your butt is chilling at the beach.  It takes a crisis or a disaster to produce a miracle.  I qualify on that front.

I spoke to a woman the other day who is getting married soon who just happens to be 60.  She is happy, really happy, because she is leaping off cliffs.

I have a friend who introduced me to the concept of leaping off cliffs years and years ago.  She is 30 years my senior and spent all of her time lighting fires under people.  She subsidized several tennis players to give them a chance to make it.  She was my mentor reminding me, and not always in the kindest way, that I was more than I thought and I could do anything.  Together we built a wetlands in my front yard.  Completely permitted by the state, it was an extraordinarily difficult experience.  Because it had not been done before I had no hope we could do it.  But Beth had no doubt we would do it.  No surprise, we did it.  Our wetlands led to a PBS documentary on water conservation that went all over the country.  She was leaping off cliffs and pulled me with her.  

Our country has gone through a horrific financial malaise.  Millions of people have lost their entire life savings.....and a huge proportion of them are my age.  Unemployable because we aren't thirty.  Maybe a few aches and pains....maybe poor eyesight, a little memory loss....a nap would be nice.  How easy it is to convince yourself you have earned the right to quit, all the evidence is there.  Giving up is easy in the face of 90 million people out of work.  But my husband and I couldn't give up... we are starting over, with a brand new business. 

We are leaping off cliffs.

And I want a greenhouse.... 

This was this ugly voice in my head, "Who are you to start a business?  What are you thinking ?  Just take your lumps, accept the tragedy of financial ruin, sell everything, get an apartment and a minimum wage job.  Just exist."  Those thoughts did not give me peace and giving up gave me huge anxiety.  Would I spend the rest of my wondering if we could have made it work if we had just tried?  No...I....will....not. 

Because I am leaping off cliffs.  

We are going to be a success, I don't want to play small.   Remember that great line from Apollo 13?  The one where everyone is discouraged thinking the Astronauts were doomed?

NASA Director: This could be the worst disaster NASA's ever faced.
Gene Kranz: With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.

I am going to let my light shine, just like Marianne said.  Because when I do, I give everyone permission to start over if they have to.  Or write a book, give a speech, start an orphanage, design dresses, invent something, run a marathon, be a teacher, go back to college, fight cancer, survive divorce.....or start a business when all of your friends are retiring.  This is a time for courage, not worry.

Let's leap off a cliff.  OK?

And I want bees and sell honey