Enjoying the Holidays

If we are going to spend the holidays together with friends and family, we should try to enjoy ourselves.  But for some of us, seeing certain friends and family during the holidays brings up strong emotions.  Sometimes we hold anger, hurt or resentment from the past and we relive it each time we are with this particular person.  We want our relationships to be better, but we don’t know how to get there.

I suggest trying the idea of Maybe this holiday season.  The dialogue of Maybe will allow you to drop the story that things will be bad between you and that person this holiday just because it has been that way in the past. Just opening our minds to Maybe allows us to look for some common ground instead of digging our heels into the anger, hurt or resentment from yesterday, last month or last year.  If we want our relationships to improve, then we need to see them in the light of all the possibilities that they hold.  Maybe allows us to engage the chance that these relationships can be different.  It allows us to open our hearts to the people that have been difficult for us in the past and Maybe find a new way to be together.

So try this holiday to think of Maybe when you are with friends and family.  You Maybe surprised!

 

A Change of Perspective

Diana is an aspiring actress that I’ve been speaking with for a year. The other day she called and was very excited about the news that she got a callback for a role on a major network television series. She said  “I have to get this!  This is it – my one chance – and if I don’t get this I’ll never be a successful actress.” As happy as I was that she had this great opportunity, I became concerned that if she didn’t get the role she would be devastated and give up her dream. I thought about an experiment detailed in the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche, and decided now would be a good time to do it with Diana.

I asked Diana to pick up a coin. I asked her to imagine that it represented a career as a successful actress. I asked her to hold the coin tightly clutched in her fist and extend her arm, with the palm of her hand facing the ground. I then had her let go and relax her grip and the coin fell to the ground. This holding on so tightly and then losing the coin represented the belief that if she didn’t get this role, her dream of becoming an actress was over.

Then I said Maybe there is another possibility here: Maybe you can let go of the coin and yet keep hold of it. With her arm still outstretched, I asked her to turn her hand over so that the palm faced the sky. I then asked her to relax her hand and see if the coin still rested in her open palm. She let go and the coin was still hers resting in her hand, even with all this space around it. I reminded her that holding the coin this way represents her dream of being a successful actress regardless if she gets this role; she needn’t grasp it so tightly. This way of seeing her goal shows that life doesn’t have to unfold one way, but instead there is open space that can lead her in many different ways to joy and success.

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A Change of Perspective

Diana is an aspiring actress that I’ve been speaking with for a year. The other day she called and was very excited about the news that she got a callback for a role on a major network television series. She said  “I have to get this!  This is it – my one chance – and if I don’t get this I’ll never be a successful actress.” As happy as I was that she had this great opportunity, I became concerned that if she didn’t get the role she would be devastated and give up her dream. I thought about an experiment detailed in the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche, and decided now would be a good time to do it with Diana.

I asked Diana to pick up a coin. I asked her to imagine that it represented a career as a successful actress. I asked her to hold the coin tightly clutched in her fist and extend her arm, with the palm of her hand facing the ground. I then had her let go and relax her grip and the coin fell to the ground. This holding on so tightly and then losing the coin represented the belief that if she didn’t get this role, her dream of becoming an actress was over.

Then I said Maybe there is another possibility here: Maybe you can let go of the coin and yet keep hold of it. With her arm still outstretched, I asked her to turn her hand over so that the palm faced the sky. I then asked her to relax her hand and see if the coin still rested in her open palm. She let go and the coin was still hers resting in her hand, even with all this space around it. I reminded her that holding the coin this way represents her dream of being a successful actress regardless if she gets this role; she needn’t grasp it so tightly. This way of seeing her goal shows that life doesn’t have to unfold one way, but instead there is open space that can lead her in many different ways to joy and success.

Most of us grasp at the coin with our palm facing down when we believe something has to happen one way in our lives for us to find opportunity and achieve our goals.  How often, for instance, do we believe that we need to get a particular job or promotion to be going in the right direction? Or that a stock must go up for us to be financially secure or that we need to land a particular client to further our careers?  How often have we yearned for a certain person to like us so we can be happy? The problem is that sometimes we lose our grasp on that one thing we believed we needed to happen, and it then becomes very difficult  to imagine recapturing our dreams.

Yet how could it be that our lives only work if this one thing we are grasping for happens? How can we continuously live with the pain believing that our lives can manifest only one way? That is why I love the idea of Maybe.  Using Maybe, we can learn to hold the very thing we want but also leave space and room for other possibilities. If we are willing to look at life another way, opening up to letting go can be less scary or more inviting.  It allows us to maintain our dreams and goals while experiencing the twists and turns that our journey in life may take us.

Diana did not get the role she was trying out for that day. However, she has chosen to see it not as her last chance but instead as a flip of her palm that keeps the dream safe. She has another audition next week for a guest spot on a well-known show. Who knows, Maybe!

Why We Get Stuck

We get stuck in life because an unexpected event makes us believe that what we have worked so hard for is no longer possible or what we want for our lives can no longer be attained.  But often what has really happened is that life is not fitting into our plan, or our story.

Ironically, we write the story of how life should go to protect us from feeling groundless in our everyday lives.  In order to alleviate fears of uncertainty, we examine and solidify these stories every day, creating expectations that the events of our lives will happen exactly as we anticipate. These stories become so real in our minds that when our life experiences do not match them, we feel devastated and confused.  But our stories often have nothing at all to do with our goals themselves.  Instead they are fixed and finite thoughts about how our goals should come to fruition. These stories are often mere illusions, and when they don’t happen, our goals usually remain intact – still there for us to achieve them in some other way, shape or form.

How often, for instance, do we believe that we need to get a particular job or promotion to be going in the right direction? Or that a stock must go up for us to be financially secure or that we need to land a particular client to further our careers?  How often have we yearned for a certain person to like us so we can be happy? Story after story we tell ourselves, reinforcing the belief that life must unfold in certain ways to guarantee our well-being and success.  Logically, most of us would agree that there are many ways to achieve a particular goal, but emotionally we fail to live with this knowledge in our daily lives.  When the emotional attachment to our stories defies logic, we fall into a trap. And stay there, and stay there.

The philosophy of Maybe is a simple and effective way to strip away our stories and achieve our goals.  The reason the philosophy of Maybe is so effective is because it continuously offers us more than the one possibility that is making us feel that we can’t move forward with our lives.  As we realize that Maybe there are other ways to achieve our goals, we begin to connect with all of the other possibilities that lie ahead of us. As we learn to sit with all these possibilities, our wisdom begins to guide us to the path of our greatest potential and fulfillment.

Just say Maybe and open your life to all that is possible!