The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ancient Child #14: What resources will you need?

#14 What resources can you align NOW to meet you along the road?

Remember--these questions take on their true significance not when you ask them of your ordinary, conscious mind, but when you ask them of different aspects of your "internal community." Unless you effortlessly achieve your goals almost "zenning" your way through life, there are competing intentions, values, beliefs, and/or goals, and you are going to need to get internally aligned. The symbolic images of (say) child, adult, elder, chakras, light, etc. just give you "complex equivalents" of different ways of experiencing the infinitely varied reality of the restless ocean of consciousness.

And when you tap more deeply into your intuition, you will tend not to set goals that you cannot reach. When you are aligned with your deepest goals, every action is suffused with energy and meaning throughout the day.

The greatest gift of the Hero's Journey is the implication of a syntax for future action.   It is the combined wisdom of the world's  storytelling elders, teaching the younger generation what they can expect in life.  And one critical lesson is that, if you seek any transformative goal, you must take responsibility for your situation, deal with the fear, take constant action, seek out role models to educe new skills and behaviors...and prepare for the inevitability of failure.   INEVITABILITY.   Not "maybe".   Not "sometimes".   But inevitable.  In the process of learning to walk, we fall down.  Period.  The unfortunate thing is that we forget this, and every time we try something new, the same sneaky voices pop into our heads, trying to convince us that failure means that we cannot do it.

Optimists tend to remember their pasts as being better than they really were.  Pessimists tend to remember their pasts as being worse.   I had a teacher challenge me on this: "not everyone can build on success.  Some people have no successes to build on."

I said to her that if she could understand what I was saying, converse with me...or if you, my friend, can read these words, then you do indeed have success to build on.  You've learned to speak, to understand language, to read.

Ah!   (You say) that's no success!   Everyone does that...
So then, you've defined a "success" as doing something others cannot do, or that is unusual to do.   

Let me know how that works for you, because mastery is a matter of doing small, simple things more often, more regularly, and with more attention than others do.  In other words, there is nothing "special" about the building blocks of mastery in any field.  It is the mundane opening the door to the extraordinary.  And it is in the most basic lessons of life: walking, talking, dressing ourselves, feeding ourselves, reading and writing--that we first encounter the "basics" of the advancing life. we progress, we will meet every shadow-self we contain along the road. Every pain and disappointment, every negative belief and self doubt.  Every limit and bad habit.  And hey!  Just to make things more interesting, the environment will also respond to us in entertaining ways.  Unless you have accidentally chosen a perfect goal, at the perfect moment, with the perfect allies just waiting to help're gonna fall on your snoot.  That's just the way it is.  And if you've ever seen this recipe for success: "fall down 99.  Get up 100" then you know that the most consistent quality of "masters" in any field is that they simply do what they do every darned day. Day in, day out.  That's the recipe.

So...what stands between you and your dreams is whatever stands between you and a daily ritual of success.   There are no accidents here.  And you KNOW before you begin that both internal sabotage and external resistance will push against you.   You know this by watching any kid learn to walk or read or ride a bicycle: the frustration and doubt and anger and fear, prior to breakthrough.  You may not remember your own process: one trick of the ego is to deny us the internal resources we need to thrive. So we don't remember the fact that we go through this cycle again and again and again...

But watch children.  They are an enormous gift.  They remind us of what we were, and how we became who we are.  

So, once again...if you KNOW that you are going to hit a wall, then you can, before you ever begin your process, put in place the resources you need when you fall into the pit of depression.  What has worked in the past?  Hugs? A letter from your past self?   A trip to the zoo?  Getting up and dancing?   Ginger snaps?   A yoga class?  A talk with your best friend?

Part of the price of adulthood is learning to push your own buttons, figuring out how you're wired up and taking the controls away from your parents and teachers.  Putting your own hands on your steering wheel.

You know what's coming: doubt, fear, fatigue, discouragement.   You've been this way before.  What resources can you place in advance, what allies will you need, what can you do NOW to prepare yourself for the moment in which those who never achieve their dreams turn back?

THAT is the question to ask your conscious mind.  Your "inner child".  And your "inner Elder" or death-bed self.   The differences, and similarities, in their perspectives are enlightening.



BC Monkey said...

Hi Steve, of possible interest to you:

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