Change always starts with a question. Or, perhaps, a dissatisfaction with a part of yourself, or a situation. It begins with self examination. How did I arrive in this situation? Why is this happening? Will it always be like this? Is there something more? Is there someone for me? And on and on and on. Questions. The internal dialogue that rages in our minds. Our everyday minds. You know, the ones that are filled with all that stuff that we must do, must remember. The stuff that always seems to get in the way of the stuff that you really want to do. Or perhaps the stuff that you really think you should be doing. Like yoga. Or reading the Tao Te Ching. Or exercising more. Or eating in a healthier way. Or finding time for a spiritual practice. I understand. While the life of a solitary monk on a mountaintop often seems like the only alternative, the reality of most of our lives is quite different. Even if you’re single, living alone, there are constraints on your time. There never seems to be enough of it. If you’re a parent, raising a family, especially young children, well, having time seems like the most impossible thing in the world. Yet, we all have the same clock running, don’t we? Yes, yes we do.
Change begins with a question, perhaps born of a dissatisfaction. The inability to get to the things, or perhaps, more accurately, begin the things we say we’d love to do. Or feel we need to do. Or feel we should be doing. The truth is, we often put all these things in our way. Self sabotage, you say? Yes, even a very gentle form of it. We sabotage ourselves, and sometimes, the people we love the most. I know, you’re not that kind of person, you’d never do that. Yeah, actually there’s a good chance you do and you would. Rationalization. Ah. there’s a word that seems at first, so innocuous, so reasonable, lol. But rationalization kills dreams on contact. Just like Raid.
Rationalization is the nasty, but well dressed offspring of the real mother of all self doubt, Fear. Capital F-style Fear. Fear is the voice that plays inside our heads. Fear is the record keeper of all our failures. Fear keeps score of all the bad endings, bad choices, and most importantly, all of our “less than” moments. The moments we didn’t summon the courage. The times we weren’t our best. The times we looked the other way. Fear cheats, too. Fear doesn’t tell the truth. Fear doesn’t play fair. Fear is an outright son of a bitch. An evil bastard that always rises to the challenge when it comes to keeping us from being all we can be. From achieving what we want most. And Rationalization is one of it’s evil by-products.
Rationalization is often worse than Fear itself when it comes to crushing our dreams quietly under it’s expensive heel. Why? Because Rationalization is so damn, well, rational. And reasonable. Rationalization is the sweet, snake tongued siren telling us that “Go ahead, have another slice of that dreamy chocolate cake, you deserve it, you work so hard. Besides, you can start that new exercise regime tomorrow”, or “Now’s not the time to do that, you’ve got all these other irons in the fire and starting a business is hard. You won’t have any time for your family or friends.” Yeah, Rationalization is nasty. Balls nasty.
And what’s even worse, is that Rationalization will often rear it’s will sapping, dream killing venom in the form of words falling out of a significant others mouth. And this happens for a few reasons. One, that we all indulge in, that at times (especially when dealing with your own children) seems almost instinctual. And that is we just don’t want to see the other person, the person we care about, the person we love and cherish, the dear friend, our son or daughter, our beloved companion to be hurt, to experience pain. This seems like the right thing to do, hell, it can even seem noble. We don’t want them to suffer the disappointment of failure. And their mad dream will, most likely, fail. That is the nature of experience. It, like trying to hit a baseball, it is an exercise in high percentage failure. Most of the things we attempt, we fail at, or do rather poorly at. Especially the first times we attempt them. And since we have our own interior conversation about failure courtesy of our dear friend and lifelong companion, Fear, we have lots and lots of evidence to support our rationalizations.
So there we are at the moment of creation, that moment when a friend, a lover, a child speaks their dreams, their desires, their vision. You can feel the excitement in them. If it involves a real passion of theirs and isn’t a passing fad (or made to look like a passing fad by their feigned tentativeness so as not to get the Dream Crush Express driven through their freshly minted idea), you can feel the excitement in them. Their energy is palpable. You can feel it rising in them. And, quite possibly, you start to get caught up in it yourself… until Fear pulls the pillow out from under Rationalization’s head as the bastard snoozes on the couch and tells that bitch that’s it’s got work to do. And so you listen and then say “that’s great, but…”. Ah, but. The key word. The one that sets up the rational, the reasonable, the dream kill. “I love you, but…” oh yeah, that’s a classic. Excuse me, but you seem to have crushed my heart in your hand. But let’s not get sidetracked, lol. More on love and blame in a future post. So you listen and then you begin to give all that “rational” and “reasonable” advice that, while it may actually be valid, may actually be something this person will need to consider or think about, is not what they need right now. Nope. Not at all.
What they need is support. Even if you know the path they are headed down is filled with landmines and dream snipers, ready to put a quick end to this silly thought. They need support. That dream is like a blade of grass, just emerging from the earth, from the dirt and it needs some soft sunshine, some gentle rain. It doesn’t need a thunderstorm and 110 degree day in Las Vegas. But for some reason support is hard to muster. Yes, we care about these people, they matter to us, we love them, and all we want to do is protect them from all that eventual disappointment. That’s what we say, anyway.
But sometimes there’s a much darker, far more insidious reason that we are busy doing the Rationalization Dream Stomp. It’s not always a stomp, sometimes it’s an artful ballet performed with great delicacy and skill. But the results the same. Dead dream in the middle of their head. And that’s because we feel threatened. This can especially be true with a dear friend or, even worse, a loved one, a spouse or significant other. By the way, I love the term significant other. It’s rather brilliant on a lot of levels. But I digress. What happens to us sometimes when a loved one is telling us of a plan, a mad chance, a half baked thought, the creative fire that is actually scorching their ass into action, is that we get insecure. Way deep down inside, we start to rev up that insecurity engine. And that bitch is a hemi. Yeah, we get insecure for a variety of reasons, but mostly, in my own humble experience, because we aren’t doing anything ourselves to forward our own action. We aren’t making it happen. We aren’t lighting the burners on our own dreams. We’re stuck. We’re in a rut. And we’ve got a long list of very rational and reasonable reasons why we are. So when someone else, someone close to us, is bubbling up with enthusiasm for some new venture, some new thought, whether it’s a business they can run out of a spare bedroom, or the Tai Chi class they are taking, or even the self improvement book they’re reading, the novel they’re writing, we can get very insecure.
Why is that? Because it’s our nature to grow and expand. It’s our nature, our dna to seek happiness. To seek more. we’ve done it from the very beginning. From the savannahs of Africa, to the long nights in a cave without fire. We ask questions, we seek knowledge. We seek expansion. More. It hasn’t changed. Some times we lie dormant. In those ruts. Self created and self maintained. Yeah, that’s right, those are choices you make. They are not the fault of someone else. If you think that, get over it. It’s the first step to expanding, to healing yourself and having what you actually want, for creating the life you really want to live. But again, that’s another subject.
And because it’s our nature to expand, to learn, to grow, when we’re not, we are unhappy. Or perhaps, vaguely dissatisfied. And we have a tendency at times to let that unhappiness out and spill all over the dreams and ideas, small ones, big ones, of the people we most love. That shit must stop, lol. And besides the obvious benefit to you and to your loved one of encouraging, listening and offering assistance to fuel those creative fires, there’s a really great side benefit to ourselves. When we encourage others, we encourage ourselves. By beating down that evil boogeyman, Rationalization and the even more wicked Fear, we get some practice, we open up some channels. And this part, this is very important… we become part of the creative process by participating in the others dreams and aspirations. By the simple act of encouragement we move towards grace and gratefulness. By engaging in a conversation about something new, we open ourselves to possibility. By creating the warm sunlight of positivity, we let it shine on ourselves. Conversation breeds new ideas. New thoughts. Language is a powerful tool. Perhaps one of the most powerful tools ever invented by man and woman. Be aware and be careful how you use it. It has the power to change the world. To change ourselves. for better or for worse. In conversation we create possibilities and ideas that weren’t there before. Doors we didn’t know were there suddenly appear and open. Connections are made. A new idea forms in the soup of conversation and is brought forth. The amazing can be born.
So the next time a friend, a lover, a co-worker begins to express some possibility, some dream, even in a small, seemingly insignificant form, encourage it. Feed it. Even if it’s a smile and a few positive words. Give the gift of encouragement and you are giving one of the many gifts of love. And there can never be too much love in the world, now can there?
Next, maybe we can talk about how to actually do something with those dreams, lol…
Yours in expanding and creating the reality,