Jan 30, 2012

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Weed Out the Naysayers and Fertilize the Uplifters

Weed Out the Naysayers and Fertilize the Uplifters
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Ideas are crazy and can pop into mind at the most unexpected times. One human quality that is found in all the ages – even long before civilization – is creativity. When left to our own devices, we can take what is available, and connect dots or create systems around these objects in ways previously unimagined. Throughout history we find people taking actions or speaking principles that previously would have been unacceptable, but in the face of them cannot be denied. Ralph Waldo Emerson speaks to this individual process in his essay, “Spiritual Laws:”

“Our eyes are holden that we cannot see things that stare us in the face, until the hour arrives when the mind is ripened – then we behold them, and the time when we saw them not is like a dream.”

We experience this in the act of creating art or discovering ideas – after we see them, we can’t imagine life without them. It is in this way that the Infinite gets to express through us – if we allow ourselves to be available to this natural creative process.

What happens next, though, after the thrill of the idea or the creation? Well, we usually take it to someone to show them. Being seen is a deep human yearning, especially in our culture where most of us don’t take the time to see ourselves, much less each other. So we have this little baby of an idea, and we are excited, and we want another to be as excited as we are, or at least excited for us. Unfortunately, what usually happens next is what keeps that baby from ever seeing the light of adulthood; we kill it, or allow others to do so when they don’t match our enthusiasm. We don’t kill it violently or purposefully, of course, but we stop giving it nurturing because we don’t trust in its ability to grow. We stop looking at it and feeding it with our added ideas because we start to believe it isn’t good enough to be an adult creation anyway. We sadly tuck it away as a lost cause wrapped in a bit of resentment (and perhaps a flavor of unworthiness of having the grown thing ever anyway), and give that next great idea (which always comes) less attention because of the corpse in our closet reminding us of “what happened last time.”

How sad we all know this story too well!

So, what do we do about it? Turns out, a few things.

First of all, lets go back to that idea as an infant. The practical and quick-read 5 Gifts For an Abundant Life talks about this concept, and in the Intentions chapters the author suggests not showing off your “infant” until it can “stand on its own”. I like this, find it challenging (which is usually a sign I’m in the right direction for me), and also wanted to take it a step further by asking the question: Why do we so badly want to show off our newly-birthed idea? By looking at some areas in my life where I had been doing exactly as described above and tucking my corpses away without knowing it, I discovered some answers that ring true for me, and I suspect they might for you as well.

Lets face it, our culture doesn’t really support original thought anymore, unless it’s originality fits within certain guidelines. Because of this, I believe that as soon as we give birth to this baby idea, we begin to question if it is worthy of existence, and of our being the expresser of it. Next, we logically want to find someone else – another parent for our baby? – to help us grow it, since we don’t trust we can do it ourselves, or maybe we don’t trust that we should. This is our first mis-step, and what Rev. Diane Harmony deems as showing off our idea before it can stand up all by itself. We must take responsibility for the expression of our own stuff. If it came to you, it is yours to do! So, while it is still growing, resist the urge – even if for a week – to share it with those close to you. You don’t need a co-parent; you are enough!

The next part that I recommend I also believe to be more difficult, for it requires looking honestly at the people we let spend time with us. Once our idea is big enough to show to others, then it sort of matters who those others are! We all can think about the people in our life and pretty much know whether they are going to Uplift us with their support or drag us down with their Naysaying. There may be a few who surprise us either way, but people can be somewhat predictable if you know them well enough and they haven’t had a big transformation recently.

So, here’s the hard part: realizing we are worthy of being surrounded by Uplifters!! Don Miguel Ruiz in his book The Four Agreements says that we surround ourselves with people who “abuse” us about as much as we abuse ourselves. As we begin to treat us better, people either do so also, or they can’t handle it and they bail. We can see this as a loss, or as us outgrowing those Naysayers in our life to make room for the Uplifters. I believe there are plenty of people out there just waiting to support a bigger, brighter version of you! And those are the people we must choose to give more time than we have given in the past, while being honest with ourselves about how much we’re feeding the Naysayers with our energy instead of weeding them out of the gardens of our lives. I say this is the “hard part” because it can be painful to let go of relationships that have been a big part of us, no matter how much we see them holding us back. It can feel selfish to put our growth ahead of people who have been with us through years and many chapters of our life. Sometimes, too, they’ll take the challenge and begin to shift with us toward an Uplifting relationship.  In the end, though, it isn’t about them; it is about us. I love myself enough to not give energy to that which does not support me. Not only do I want to surround myself with Uplifters, I want to be one.

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  1. You said:

    Lets face it, our culture doesn’t really support original thought anymore, unless it’s originality fits within certain guidelines.

    True and true. True to the point that many of us don’t understand the difference between ORIGINAL thought and RANDOM thought.

    This has its effects on creativity. Much of the “art” that I see on display looks like someone smeared paint on a board and called it “art”. Much of what is called “music” is sampling (stealing) someone else’s music and calling it one’s own, or repeating the same tired phrases, in the same monotone, over and over.

    This will change. I was a participant in the explosion of new ideas that we now call “The Sixties”. After experiencing the doldrums of the past 40 years or so, I’m really ready for the next burst of creativity!

    Peace,

    Sharif

    • You said:
      many of us don’t understand the difference between ORIGINAL thought and RANDOM thought.

      This makes me think of training to be a Practitioner and how we were taught to view the difference between a psychic and a mystic; one taps into the Divine One mind (mystic), and the other taps into the collective unconscious (psychic). What if original thought is that tapping into the unlimited possibility and universal Truth, as the mystic does, while random thought is like a psychic picking up on the energy field that all of our collected thought creates, but that is limited to that chaos of human consciousness?

      It would explain why one can catalyze a feeling of openness and calm, while the other just evokes confusion.

  2. How many ideas have been killed because people showed the idea before it could “stand on its own”? Every idea needs time to gestate before we show it to our inner AND outer critics.

    Oftentimes I think we overshare because we are afraid that, left to our own devices, we will waste a bunch of time pursuing a bad idea. But if an idea is truly bad, it will pass as quickly as the wind. Plus, beneath so many bad ideas there is a gem of an idea waiting to be uncovered.

    Thanks for writing this. It really made me think.

    • Too many killed ideas!

      Great point, that even if it is a “bad” idea, there is something in it for us. I think most of us fear failure too much to go through that process, mostly because of our stories about other people’s stories about us!

      You are very welcome, and it made me think writing it. 🙂

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