Monday, March 4, 2013

I'M NOT NEGATIVE!! I'M NOT!


“Hand it over
Hand it over
Give it up
Give it over
Hand it over
Get on your knees and pray.”

Keb Mo – Hand It Over

Sometimes I’ll be asked, “How did you sleep?”  If I’m feeling humorous I might say, “Well, I laid down in the bed, put the blankets over me, closed my eyes and that’s how I slept.”   That may not be the funniest answer of all time but it makes the point.  Perhaps a more important question would be, “How did I wake up?”  Today I woke up feeling sad, angry and a little scared.  Throughout the morning I was able to subside those feelings, but they kept coming back.  Finally I decided to just accept them.  I also decided to accept my inability to let them go.
            “Yes, I’m sad.  Yes, I’m angry.  Yes, I’m scared.  Yes, I’m frustrated.  Yes, I’m insecure and need constant reassurance.”  Ugh!!  Sometimes I get tired of myself.  Negativity is monotonous.  It’s always the same old thing.  The same old complaints.  The same old loneliness.  The same old insecurities.  Here is more bad news.  It will always be the same old thing.  It never changes.  Evil, negativity, pain, rage, bitterness, complaining, fear, selfishness, laziness, resentment, irritation, self-absorption – none of it, none of it, ever offers us anything new or fresh or interesting or life giving.  I never, never, never, NEVER, ever come away from one of those times saying, “My unhappiness just gave me a life-changing insight that will help me and many other people.” 
            Grief, sadness and pain should be acknowledged and addressed (not ignored), but only as quickly as possible.  True solutions only occur in a state of joy, release or acceptance anyway.
            The Enemy is fierce, powerful, omnipresent (though not omniscient), persistent and underhanded.  But here’s another thing it is:  boring.  The Enemy is boring.  It has only one ultimate goal – annihilation, nothingness, darkness.  That’s it.  The Enemy doesn’t want to offer us color or sensation or knowledge or laughter or creativity or fun or intimacy or warmth or beauty.  Yes, it offers us false versions of those things but its only true end is nothingness. The Enemy wants us to literally lie down and die and then crumble into dust.  Can there be anything more boring or pointless?
Purpose, on the other hand, is infinite and offers us infinite choices.  Purpose wants us to get up and live and be and do. Purpose wants us to be happy.  Purpose wants us to visit the shut-ins and the sick and the prisoners.  Purpose wants us to write blogs, start pre-schools, clean up inner and outer spaces, make a home-made meal, begin our business, make love, pursue our passions, get organized, smile, write poetry, perform at open-mike night, feed the poor, give blood, find a better job, love each other.  Purpose wants us to live, really live.  Life is infinite. And when I am living, really living, I cannot help but love others.
In The Power of Now Eckhart Tolle says,
“When you create a problem, you create pain.  All it takes is a simple choice, a simple decision:  no matter what happens, I will create no more pain for myself.  I will create no more problems.  Although it is a simple choice, it is also very radical.  You won’t make that choice unless you are truly fed up with suffering, unless you have truly had enough.  And you won’t be able to go through with this unless you access the power of the now.”

            I think our biggest problem is how many problems we create for ourselves in our minds.  It has been said that 90% of the things that we worry about don’t actually happen.   Maybe that’s true and maybe it’s not.  But this is true:  100% of the things I worry about possibly happening haven’t happened yet.
            In Now Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham says that instead of spending so much time trying to improve our weaknesses, we should spend that time developing our strengths.  I think the same is true for our inner life.  Instead of focusing on what we lack or fear, we should focus on what we have.  And what we have is Purpose.  All of us.  So we should focus on Purpose.  This will not make all our problems disappear… or...maybe it will.  I know that I felt a lot better after I started writing than before.  And I know that some of my problems have disappeared since I began writing these blogs.
            So today was an opportunity to be captured by the Enemy or be captivated by Purpose.  Fortunately, I was given the grace to choose the latter.  Despite the way my morning began, I was able to Get Started and Keep Going.