“When you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
Have you ever actually heard yourself complaining about how you can’t do something?
I have… and it wasn’t pretty. However, it was made for a funny story!
In fact, I created a demonstration based on stated humorous story and delivered it recently at a women’s networking event. The conversation was well-received (and everybody laughed at the funny part) but I rather surprised myself at the question and answer period afterwards.
My presentation was called,”The Electric Jello Story – Turning I Can’t Into I Could… and I Will.”
The first part of my talk was a rather sordid tale in my party days about a bachelorette gone awry. I had overindulged in some electric jello shooters and had been sent home from the pub early. But when the girls tried to awaken me from my drunken slumber in the wee hours of the morning (so I could buzz them up into the flat ) I wanted no part of being woken up, thank you very much.
Nor could I seem to find out which button to push on the silly intercom to allow them in the foyer.
Unfortunately, my repeated wails of”I can’t” (in the most whining and pathetic tone imaginable) was recorded on the answering machine. Much to my chagrin, the women played the tape back to me the next morning.
But to this day, I can still hear how dreadful I sounded!
Anyhow, in the next part of my presentation, I told the story of this conversation I’d had with my husband the day before he died. I’d said to him:”I am so scared I am going to wake up 20 years from now and not have completed writing a book.”
To which he’d responded:”You’re probably right about that… just as long as you know that will have been your decision.”
But in all fairness, after 12 years of being together, I believe the poor man had run out of patience listening to me whine and whine about not having the money or time to write. For at least a decade, I had used every excuse in the book as to why I could not make my writing a priority.
“I’ll show him!” I promised myself I would wake up early the next morning and do an hour of writing before going into work at my clerical job.
I pushed snooze. “I can’t get up,” I told myself (in a whiny, pathetic voice). “I’m too tired to write.”
When I finally hauled my butt out of bed, after pushing the snooze button multiple times, there wasn’t any time to write. In actuality, there was barely time for me to get to work.
And when I did arrive at work, my whole life changed in an instant. John died that afternoon. And I got the wake-up call of all wake-up calls about the danger of waiting for a tragedy to awaken us to the importance of achieving our dreams.
Two weeks after his departure, I started writing what would become my novel, A Widow’s Awakening. It took me 8 years to get it – and me where it had to be. However, I did it.
After I completed my presentation at the women’s media event, we had an impromptu Q&A, and the host asked me this question:
“If there was only one word to describe what you think is the most crucial thing in terms of transforming”I can’t” into”I could,” what could it be?”
I thought about this for a moment and then a single word popped into my mind.
“Faith,” I heard myself say to the group. “But not religion in the traditional way we often think about religion, as in having faith in some type of divine guidance or a religious belief.”
“I’m talking about faith in your self.” I continued. “I think it’s absolutely imperative that we have faith in ourselves and our ability to achieve what it is we really want to achieve. Because if we don’t have that, then all of the divine help and spiritual guidance in the world can not help us.”
Likewise with our mortal supporters.
John believed in my potential as a writer and did what he could to inspire me to take concrete actions towards meeting my goals i.e. get my butt in the seat and WRITE.
But in the end of the day, taking action was my duty. That was a really tough life lesson to learn in the aftermath of such an immense loss.
If we do not have faith in ourselves that we can – and will – measure up to the plate, each and every day, and do the job that needs to be done, then the reinforcement and support of our nearest and dearest, in addition to any type of divine guidance we may think is available to us, will not be of much use.
And for the record, I DO believe there is a tremendous amount of spiritual aid just waiting in the wings to help guide us… sending us all sorts of signs and signals. We just have to a) listen and b) take action. I suspect, however, that those other forces do not require our faith.