Don Paglia | Marriage and Family Counseling. Constellations Workshops


Tip #89:

“I love fishing. You put that line in the water and you don’t know what’s on the other end.  Your imagination is under there.”                 

Robert Altman

I must admit I am a big lover of possibility. I believe in the power of seeing and of dwelling within the possibility of possibility. We are people that generally subscribe to cleaning up our former messes and starting fresh. We, in fact, have our annual New Year ritual where we treat December 31st as an ending of the old, and January 1st as the entering into something new. Today, in fact, we mostly think of the New Year as a time to be open to new possibilities. Some are making New Year resolutions right now that may or may not prove effective or prudent. We make sincere promises to do better this time around. Why not? It is possible. 

I think of it this way: anything and everything is possible if we can think it is. For example, there isn’t a building or a company or anything that has been developed, built or come into existence that wasn’t first as someone’s idea. It may have started with a drawing or a scale model or a business plan.

I once wrote a book that first started as an idea I had while in a diner. I wrote a bare bones outline on a paper napkin and went from there. When we set out for a goal, even if we may fall far short or be ridiculously naive with grandiose goals, we are more likely going to get further toward those goals from our bold and audacious ideals, than if we’d started out with a rather ho-hum, “maybe we’ll make it but it’s not likely,” approach. 

Sometimes we go after something and we end up exceeding far beyond what we initially intended. That’s pretty cool, too. Many people have caved in to cynicism, and have thus given up having dreams and goals – even if they were never expressed. Or they keep them as idle dreams. But there is a huge difference between people who dream and people that take action toward their dreams.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” is attributed to Lao-Tzu. It is also true that the first step is often the most difficult. But having that persistent and visual image of our intended outcome can carry us through to the final goal line. It lends itself to the old adage:

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

What is also true is whenever we do have a possibility underneath it is no possibility awaiting to quickly raise its ugly head. No sooner do I dream of something great and wonderful than immediately that inner voice starts shouting at me, “Who are you kidding? That’s not going to work. That too difficult. You can’t get that to happen…”    

I call these inner voices the vultures that come around and start circling our brain with their poisonous venom. It’s critical to just know this is going to happen. It’s S.O.P. And when it does start happening we need to tell each and every one of these critters to “take a hike!” Some of these negative thoughts, however, might actually have some useful input for consideration. They may help us succeed. We don’t need to allow them to stop us, but we might say “well, thanks, I’ll keep this all in mind,” and then keep on keeping on. Maybe it will cause us to double down on our efforts. Maybe it will cause us to go it alone, or find more suitable kindred spirits to team up with.

There is one more thing and it’s an extremely important and essential ingredient:

In order to succeed we not only need to have a tangible goal(s), be persistent while also flexible enough to adapt and keep on keeping on moving forward, we MUST also see our goal(s) as something we are worthy of obtaining. We need to believe that we deserve to have this in our life.

There are countless stories of people that when they win the lotto jackpot, within a very short time go about losing every bit of their windfall. Why is this so? What happens with this sudden prosperity, while they’ve long dreamed of winning it, once they do get it they are confronted with an inner belief system that tells them, “I don’t deserve having all this.” And so it vanishes; it gets pissed away.

So many people have an incongruous dilemma when good things occur: They secretly – or not-so-secretly – believe they do not deserve to have a happy life; so they don’t.  And they will not have one, at least not until they take on a different belief – one where they believe they are worthy.

Because of this core belief people sabotage their own success. They’ll tell you things like, “I have such bad luck,” or “No sooner do I get a little bit ahead, the other shoe drops and I have to …” I have people tell me, “I can’t win for trying,” or “nothing ever works out for me.” I knew a man who told me “the whole world is out to screw me over.” And so it did until he was able to change this belief. This is what we call self-fulfilling prophesy. Self-sabotage may end up as either a psychological, relational, behavioral, financial or health problems, or some combination of these.

Our life operates somewhat like a house thermostat. If we set the thermostat for, say, 70 degrees, it kicks on the furnace at around 68 degrees and stops it running when the temperature reaches 72. We have our internal thermostat set for the amount of happiness and success we’re comfortable with, as well. Our life does not drop too far below or go too much above our set point.  

By happy and successful I mean having a life that is, while not perfect, yet is one filled with greater doses of satisfaction. Our own set points for happiness and success have a lot to do with our more pressing questions concerning our life: Why we are here? What is our purpose or mission? What really brings us joy and happiness?

Again, regular meditation and a practice of contemplation can and will aid us toward our greatness – our true Self. That true Self is love. Love is who we are. Love is our finest human grace. This love is unconditioned by expectations, neediness, or any desire to change, control, or rescue anyone.

This love readily lets go and is never clingy or controlling. Whatever is true about love is true about each one of us. Love is a miracle; we are ALL miracles. Every choice in life supports or denies this one penetrating fact that our identity is unconditional love.

Every risk is a challenge to love more. Everything that happens in and through us is about the possibility of this love rising and being manifested. It allows us to see things uniquely from a very different vantage point; and it is how we can express love. Love is not an emotion, but an unsentimental Being-Here-Now. It is a generously, non-hurtful, and a powerful way of being. It is also a truthful, and conscious knowing.

We must begin with ourselves. While we go about chanting “I’m not worthy,” God has other plans. Our love for others comes out of our sane and fearless love of ourselves. Love is all that can satisfy the inner and irrepressible longing we carry inside us.

Our life will always be in a deficit until unconditional love occurs. Only when we realize what has always been missing will we find our success and happiness. The irony is that while we think it has been missing it was always here within us all along. “The kingdom/queendom of God/heaven is within.”

There was a terrific movie a few years back called: Pay it Forward. It was on the premise that if everyone practiced but acts of kindness we would change the world. Small things really; not giant ones, done regularly and randomly. Acts of kindness. That’s all.

This past week one of our sons briefly here for the holiday said something seemingly very minor. Our trash needed to go out to the curb for the next morning’s pickup. As he left he asked; “Do you want me to go out the back door and drag the trash to the curb?” This one thoughtful gesture touched me. I smiled and thanked him. It made me miss having him around even more. I am not talking about needing someone to pull my trash cans to the curb. I am saying that having someone who genuinely offers such loving kindnesses to those around them touches me. We have little awareness how our thoughtful words and small kindnesses affect others.

Do not discount the part you play in making this planet a better and more just world. Whenever we, consciously and indefatigably act with compassion and tenderness we advance evolution through our imperfect love. 

Imagine what we can create by this becoming our practiced way of living together. Imagine how much more we can do when we are intentionally manifesting our individual love into the world. You just never know. Possibilities are limitless. Kind of like fishing, if I don’t say.