Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"I Can't" becomes "I Can"

There are days when I'm feeling low, tired, overwhelmed, stressed, and/or sick...and underneath all of those heavy feelings, when I look deeply, I discover that what I'm really thinking is usually variations on a theme of "I can't".

There are various possible ways I can respond to this thought:

  • Fight it.
  • Flee from it.
  • Freeze in my tracks.
  • Keep thinking it and believe it.
  • Collapse under the weight of this thought.
  • Stop thinking it.
  • Accept this thought and see it as something potentially true and life-affirming, rather than something that creates pain, suffering, and hopeless desperation.

I was sick last week and experiencing a great deal of stress, so I was presented with the opportunity to take a good look at these options.  I found the last one especially interesting.  

I realized that it was quite possible that I really can't do what I was intending to do on my own.  This left me with a need for help from something or someone other than my limited, conscious, thinking self--something much greater that could support me in carrying out my intentions.   When I opened myself to the possibility that there might actually be an untapped resource part of me (not somebody or something outside of myself which I need to depend on to do something for me) which really does have the solution and the strength to support and help me through my difficulties, I was presented with a choice: either take the risk to trust that unknown, deeper part of myself; not trust it and seek for something outside of myself for support; or give up on my intentions. (And the first two choices are not mutually exclusive; in fact, the combination of trusting myself and others can be particularly helpful at times.)

When I choose to trust this mysterious, unknowable part of me (some people call it the "higher Self", some people call it "God within", Missy Vineyard calls it our "inner helper", others prefer "inner teacher", "inner guide", "a little voice inside", "the primary control", etc.*), and let it help the smaller/ego part of me by organizing and coordinating the use of my whole self, I somehow start to know that "I can" follow through.  This trust restores my hope, confidence, and faith in myself, and it motivates me to continue onwards in the direction about which I was previously thinking "I can't".  

Uniting the inner, powerful Self with the lower, weaker self (which is thus transcended), is, to me, what it means to be fully human.  This is what it means to fulfill our potential and live with integrity.  In this unification lies our wholeness/holiness, and all things become possible.  May we all learn how to become whole again in this way.

And then, whenever we fall back and down into the habit of believing that "I can't" is something absolutely true (and, as long as we are human, this is pretty inevitable), may we remember to open ourselves up to trusting the Unknown within us, again and again and again.

*I am not intending here to equate all of these possible expressions; I'm just suggesting that any of these ideas could "work" in this context.

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