“Wrong Way” Need Not Apply

image: pixabay.com
image: pixabay.com

If you are starting something new as I currently am, you may find yourself running into obstacles you could not have easily anticipated beforehand. And some of those obstacles may prove to be downright discouraging. They seem to bear signs saying: Dead End, Wrong Way, or Do Not Enter. If you are typical rule follower as I tend to be, you may take those signs at face value and  do what appears to make sense: turn around, change course.  At present I see those signs in front of me and I’m thinking: how can I be sure that these signs apply to me? Maybe these signs are for cars but I’m a pedestrian.  What if these signs are outdated and no longer accurate?  How brave am I feeling right now?  What if I ignore this sign and keep on going?

That’s the abstract. The concrete version goes like this: my head is full of great ideas, plans, offerings. So I seek my audiences, find out who might have an interest and make the necessary pitches. And then I wait. And wait. And wait. Then I come up with more plans, more ideas, more offerings and share. The waiting for responses drags on. The silence and the waiting become my daily companions.  The waiting is my obstacle, the lack of response: a wrong way sign.

While I contemplate the potential accuracy of that “wrong way” sign,  I refer to this quote from The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist in which she explains the power of sufficiency as a mindset:

“Sufficiency resides in each of us, and we can call it forward. It is a consciousness, an attention, an intentional choosing of the way we think about our circumstances. In our relationship with money, it is using it in a way which expresses our integrity; using it in a way that expresses value rather than determines value. Sufficiency is not a message about simplicity or about cutting back and lowering expectations. Sufficiency doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive or aspire. Sufficiency is an act of generating, distinguishing, making known to ourselves the power and presence of our existing resources, and our inner resources. Sufficiency is a context we bring forth from within that reminds us that if we look around us and within ourselves, we will find what we need. There is always enough.” (p.74-75)

Wait a minute. In the scenario above  I have of course made my waiting a burden; something to be gotten through, endured.  I have given the obstacle and the signs their meaning.  And yet, waiting is a choice. Seeing the waiting as an obstacle or an opportunity is a choice.  I can choose to view and  use the time differently. I can create value in this time at my disposal rather than watch it evaporate untapped.  This assumed period of “inactivity” between creating and connecting becomes a resource.  If I dare to  “call forward” a sense of inner sufficiency, I create the opportunity for developing resources around me.  Once I realize that I am too curious to quit now, that is when and how those “wrong way,” “Dead End” and “Do Not Enter” signs lose their power over me and my judgment.  I let go of scarcity as my default mindset and press on.

To scarcity thinking, I hold up my own STOP sign and say:

I am waiting and I am productive.

I’m scared and I am enough.

I’m uncertain and I am enough.

I’m taking a risk and I am enough.

I fear that I won’t have, do, or be enough and yet, I am and continue to be enough.

Here I go.

(For those of you who following this as a process, it is an example of “reframing” which enables you to change the perspective on a topic and work from that new perspective.)




Learning to Build Community; Sharing to Sustain it

I am in the middle of a terribly compelling read: The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist (2003).  Recommended to me by a good friend, I am finding much in its pages to wake up and shake up my thinking and feeling around not just money, but my fundamental beliefs related to scarcity and sufficiency.  At the same time, I’m thinking about my inner and outer resources: what are the things I hold dear and what do I have the greatest joy in sharing?

My last post talked about the value of being able to learn as more essential to progress than knowing stuff.  Getting beyond thinking that revolves around money and thinking about resources that I have and what I would call important, I recognize both my unbridled enthusiasm for learning and my deeper need for sustaining and sustainable community – not simply having community but creating, developing and nurturing community.  An in my pursuit of learning, I have often discovered communities of like-minded individuals through workshops and courses. However, the experience was often fleeting. Shortly following the conclusion of the event that brought us together, despite our promises to stay in touch, our individual and group connections sputter and eventually fade into the (often digital) background. My sense of community with that set of people may remain faintly in tact, yet it rarely becomes the go-to resource which sustains me and lasts over time.

Oddly enough, and I hesitate to admit it, I have found pieces of that aspired community experience specifically on twitter. I feel like I have gained a few twitter neighbors with whom I gladly connect and share. It helps me to have just a few such neighbors in that vast online world who are able to offer genuine interaction when I need it and whose wider contributions of links and thoughts, I can often use and incorporate into my practice. When I look at this development in the context of resource flow, I see that in order to create more of the community I so desire, I can dare to share a bit more.  The community can become stronger, better, fuller when I offer what resources I have, however humble.

With so much talk about making a difference in the world, it’s easy to scare ourselves away from acting on anything based on all the inadequacies we bring to the task matched up with the magnitude, complexity and variety of needs to be addressed. It is exactly at this intersection where learning builds the bridges we need to get beyond our hesitancy to act. Learning, experimenting, risking, discovering – these are the experiences which build and strengthen communities when they are shared and extended beyond the two halves of our constantly churning brains. This process also  fairly accurately describes my  increased involvement in online media, especially through this blog and twitter: a steadily unfolding learning experience, a flow.

On a more practical note: I have found that it also pays to repeat some thoughts which we’ve previously shared and to stay tuned to others because when we least expect it, that critical piece of learning we were missing may just show up at the right time. (Thanks for Rafranz Davis and Beth Stiller for recently sharing tips about how to use google forms which I was able to immediately apply!)  And if that doesn’t happen, all we have to do is ask. Right, neighbor?