I recently wrote an article for my eZine on non-attachment. In it, I tell the story of a client who decided to live the motto, “What will be, will be”. Empowering, right? Well, sort of. He took that laid-back, wait and watch stance to mean that he should stop choosing, stop creating, and start reacting. Reacting rather than Creating is disempowering.
(By the way, if you don’t receive my free eZine click over at your right and get on The List. If you’re already on The List, cool, see ya Thursday.)
So I was writing about dreaming big without being attached to specific outcomes. And that made me remember a self-development seminar I participated in years ago…
We spent 3 full days talking about our Story. How there is no such thing as objective reality, we all interpret the world through our unique Story and our personal Story is usually complete crap that we made up as a little kid in response to some fear.
Then those stories become our patterns.
Very similar to the stuff I talk about around here, actually.
We came to see that all of our fears were only scary when we added Story to them. Like, so many people were afraid to ask for what they wanted because of the Story they would tell themselves if they didn’t get it. If they asked for something and someone said no, oh the horror.
According to their Stories, hearing no would mean that they tried and failed, or who do they think they are for thinking they deserve that, or no means you’re not good enough.
When the seminar leader saw our pattern, he assigned us homework to complete during one of our dinner breaks. We had to make an Unreasonable Request. Totally out there. Ask for something completely insane that you were almost positive would be refused.
People did things like sit down with a group of 5 or 6 others at Applebee’s, order everyone’s dinner, and then ask the waiter if it could be on the house. Just because. Yes I’d like a refill and by the way, could we please have all of this for free?
Or ask the complete stranger smoking outside if they could quick borrow his car to run over to Canada (I was in Detroit at the time, making this a somewhat more reasonable, actually).
Or the guy who called his ex-wife in Tucson and asked her to fly out to the Motor City for lunch the next day so that he could apologize for ruining her life face-to-face.
You’d be amazed at how many “Unreasonable” requests were granted. But it’s not that amazing, actually. Most of what we don’t have is simply because we never asked for it.
But the real point of this exercise was to show us that all the no’s we heard didn’t kill us. Or even embarrass us, or inconvenience us, if we didn’t attach our Story to them.
No is just no. It’s not a personal rejection or failure or concrete proof that we suck. Without our Story about what the no means, it’s just a word, no more powerful or important than yes.
If you dropped your Story about no, what requests might you make? Hey, you just might get a car to take to Canada. Or an angry ex-wife at your door step. Better choose your requests wisely…