Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Dialogue with Purpose

“The working artist will not tolerate trouble in her life because she knows trouble will prevent her from doing her work.  The working artist banishes from her world all sources of trouble.  She harnesses the trouble and transforms it in her work.”

Stephen Pressfield – The War of Art

“Everybody's got a thing
But some don't know how to handle it
Always reachin' out in vain
Accepting the things not worth having…”

Stevie Wonder – Don’t You Worry About a Thing
Me:                  I feel bad!
Purpose:          You mean you feel sick?
Me:                  No, I feel bad.   Sad.  Angry.  Scared.  Without hope.
Purpose:           Are you in physical pain?
Me:                  No.  Aren’t you listening?  My problems are emotional!
Purpose:           That seems obvious.
Me:                  Are you making fun of me?
Purpose:           Not at all.  But if you’re not sick or in pain, what is the problem?
Me:                   I told you!  I’m sad, angry, scared and I feel hopeless.
Purpose:            Are you under some sort of physical threat?
Me:                    No!
Purpose:             Are you physiologically depressed?
Me:                     No!  It’s not physical.  My heart is broken.
Purpose:            Maybe your head is broken, because I think a lot of your problems are there.

Me:                   Are you saying emotional pain isn’t real?  Don’t you think loneliness is just as hard as       any physical pains?

Purpose:          It’s usually harder.  We can often find something to put in us to relieve physical pain.  But release from emotional pain usually needs to come from the same place it started, from within. We’ve brought ourselves there. We can get out, though it takes a little more work.  Sometimes when we’re lucky, the rescue can come from a Source greater than us.

Me:                 I appreciate your advice, but I still feel terrible.

Purpose:         What are you going to do about it?

Me:                 I don’t know.  Maybe I can go back and fix things.

Purpose:          You can’t go back.  You can only move forward or you can die a little each day.  But you can’t go back.

Me:                 Does that mean things will never get better?

Purpose:         No, but it could mean that things will never be the same.

Me:                 But I want things to be the same. I hate change! I liked things the way they were.

Purpose:          No, you weren’t completely happy with the way things were.  That’s why you unconsciously orchestrated things to change.  If you really liked things the way they were, you would have fought tooth-and-nail to keep them good and make them better for you and everyone involved.  They weren’t that good in the first place.  Not as good as you wanted to believe.  Or maybe they were good, but they sure weren’t great.  Or maybe they were great, but it’s time for something new.  Or maybe the timing was all wrong.  Or the place wasn’t the best place.  Or you didn’t prepare.  Or maybe you didn't keep your word.  Or you just weren’t ready.

Me:                    But some really good things happened.

Purpose:            You’re right.  And so did some bad things.

Me:                   Wait a minute!  I just realized that you don’t even know what the situation is!

Purpose:            It doesn’t matter.  They’re all the same.

Me:                  What?

Purpose:          They’re all the same.  All problems are the same.  Problems with money, relationships, your job, your setbacks, your mistakes, your willful misbehaviors, being stuck in traffic…it’s all the same.  You always react in the same old ways – with sadness, anger, fear and hopelessness.

Me:                Trust me, this situation is completely different. 

Purpose:          Maybe for you, but none of your problems are new or original.  Neither are your responses to them.  In Ecclesiastes, King Solomon said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.”

Me:                But this change is so huge!  And it was so unexpected.
Purpose:        Whatever changes occur don’t really matter, because soon enough they will change, too.

Me:                But I didn’t expect this change.  I thought this situation was secure.

Purpose:         We never expect them because we want everything to last forever. 

Me:                 Wouldn’t it be nice if the good things would last forever?

Purpose:          Then they wouldn’t have the chance to become great things.

Me:                  Do you have all the answers?  Are you God?

Purpose:            No, but He expresses Himself through me.  And I express myself through you.

Me:                  So you’re the answer to all my problems?

Purpose:          No.  I’m the one who is telling you that you are focusing on the wrong problems.  The only problems you should have are the ones I give you.  Everything else is a distraction that is meant to keep you from me.

Me:                  But what about this thing that is hurting me so much?

Purpose:           Just focus on me.  The rest will all sort itself out eventually.  Besides you can’t resolve it by fighting it anyway.  You can only resolve it through acceptance and through    gratitude for the lessons you are learning.

Me:                   That’s not easy to do.

Purpose:            It’s impossible if you’re not working with me.

Me:                    Maybe I should get to work then.

Purpose:            You’ll probably feel better.

Me:                   What if the bad feeling returns?

Purpose:            Then I’ll be here, too.

Me:                    I’m going to Get Started.

Purpose:            And Keep Going.