One of my favorite folk stories is the tale of the prisoner.
It begins with a man in a dungeon, sitting in a cell during the Middle Ages.
It’s cold and bare, and nothing happens there except for the daily appearance of a prison guard.
The guard is massive, like a brick house. He says nothing to the prisoner, just stares and slides bread and water under the jail door.
Twenty years of this go by.
The prisoner becomes desperate, beyond exasperation. Things have to change, there’s no choice anymore.
He doesn’t want to live like this anymore. He can’t kill himself, so he decides to attack the enormous guard. That would provide the same outcome.
He prepares for the guard’s next appearance, examining the door. He tests the handle.
The door opens.
He’s astonished. He steps into...
I have a friend who’s pushing right now, really pushing.
He’s uncomfortable. But he wants freedom.
He’s taking uncomfortable actions.
So, do you know any pushers right now? Are you pushing for freedom?
Sometimes I think the toughest and strangest thing about pushing is that you’re pushing into the unknown.
The truly unknown. To break free and to SOAR. Even if you don’t know where!
Otherwise it wouldn’t be pushing, right?
You’re pushing past your experience. Past your limits, your borders, your comfort zone, and past all those other avenues that didn’t work out.
Inspiration is the reason. You know how that feels.
But inspiration’s weird.
Inspiration’s like a friend that grabs your arm and jerks you excitedly, smiling all along.
And you look up, and see you’re...
When exactly is the beginning?
When did you fall in love with that special person?
When did you first notice them?
When did you first notice that music you love? That artist you admire?
When did you start your career?
Action is critical, but before the action comes the idea.
Now, I couldn’t even guess how many ideas I’ve forgotten altogether. Even great ideas sometimes just move along, gone unless we take a deliberate note of them.
Some ideas, though, are different.
They return whether you choose them or not. They haunt, they nag. They stand up and wave while watching something inspirational.
Let’s talk about those ideas.
What’s the most curious idea you have right now?
The one with some real sugar on it.
I bet it comes with instructions.
What’s the first instruction?
Maybe something uncomfortable....
I love creationship. Creationship demands honesty.
What are my true desires right now? What if I were filling out an order form? What would I request for myself...really?
What would be beyond any thing I have chosen before?
What vision would like to be birthed now?
Visions change, of course. And I find a vision that’s fresh and clear - that’s something we can really throw ourselves into creating. We are always updating. Phones! Clothes! Jobs! Why not create something that we have always desired but never dared dream?
I have a friend who lost his job right as the pandemic set in.
It was bittersweet. The job kind of...sucked.
It didn’t pay much. His duties had diminished. He didn’t get along with his boss.
But it was a job!
When he started out he felt such...
It’s the grandest illusion of all. You’re on your own.
And how about this pandemic? It was like a formal invitation to separation.
Remember 2020? Your local leadership probably announced rules about staying inside. You might have been alone at home, or you might have been with others and reached a painful limit.
This makes me think of Peggy.
Peggy’s an old friend who’s been in an assisted living center for a few years. She’s a friend to lots of people; really, I think she could have moved in with someone. But she opted for a solo apartment where she could get some help.
You probably know what happened as the virus spread - everyone in assisted living had to STAY INSIDE.
Oh boy. Poor Peggy. I mean, we are talking about a social icon here!
I know she had some lonely times....
Have you ever known someone who took a quantum leap?
One of THOSE people.
Maybe you’d known them awhile, but then life just SHIFTED for them.
Could have been Mr. Awesome or Mrs. Amazing suddenly appeared.
Maybe they had that breakthrough with their creative life. Or a beautiful career success materialized.
Maybe it was all the above, with a new birth of possibilities thrown in!
So, how did it make you feel?
Go back to hearing the news. Maybe you were scrolling through social media and saw the ‘She Said Yes’ post. Or maybe you got a wedding invite. Maybe they ran up on the sidewalk to announce their new promotion at work.
Did you feel pure happiness for them?
Or did you feel a little envy?
Now, be honest!
This makes me think of one of my...
I know someone who’s moving right now. It’s a long way away where they’re going.
And it’s been a long process.
The idea appeared months ago. This was a way for my friend to be closer to family.
And she picked a date.
She started picking out what she’d bring. And she sold some things.
She found a mover. And a piano mover.
She had to get some things fixed before leaving town, so she did that too.
And along the way she had to ask for help, bringing in a couple friends to keep everything organized. These friends helped with the tough decisions. What to do with that beautiful, custom-made couch that was too big for her new place? What about that large painting? Keep this, get rid of that?
They made steady progress, and it took weeks and weeks.
So, what do you like to do to relax?
In 2020 there was a lot less encouragement to relax! Headlines blaring, news about the pandemic and politics running like a stampede. And we all talked about it, of course. Always another update... And words like “shelter in place,” “social distancing,” “quarantine” took on different meanings.
What else was there, though?
Did you ever find your way to some quiet?
Maybe it was learning to cook, maybe it was making chalk art on the sidewalk with little children, maybe it was getting more sleep, maybe it was spending time with a musical instrument.
Maybe it was even meditation, returning to a very special, quiet place: your body.
Quiet might have been more elusive, but it was right there for all of us.
And it’s still available! Right now.
Could you use some...
Sometimes the hardest thing to admit is what it is we truly desire, what we really care about, and what makes your heart sing. It can be like catching a butterfly.
It really seems like I’m chasing a butterfly sometimes!
There’s such a clatter of voices inside us: the need to be responsible, the need to plan, the need to cover expenses next month and the one after, even the need to get something from the grocery store!
Those voices silence desire.
But there’s such a fine line between creating our life and missing out on living.
Each day there’s something inside you that wants to stand up and be heard. How is your practice of honoring that?
Maybe it’s the voice of a loving, patient spouse; the voice of a budding artist; the voice of a great parent; the voice of a leader at work. It might even...
I have a friend who spent two years in grad school, pursuing his master’s degree.
He strutted right into this chapter of life. It was such a great idea! A responsible idea.
Fancy educational pedigree!
Better job titles in the near future!
New connections with classmates and professors!
A vibrant East Coast setting!
The school even gave him some grant money. And he arranged a job on campus that came with free room and board.
It seemed to fit with his career trajectory too. He’d been working as a writer in the news business, seeing his words read on television many nights.
And before the news business he was a high school English teacher abroad, a job he chanced into through a friend. He kept a bag packed by the door and traveled throughout Eastern Europe on weekends, returning by Sunday evening to get ready for...
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