Friday, May 06, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean!

My family and I just returned from an extended vacation in Californa and Disneyland. My all-time favorite ride is Pirates of the Caribbean. The creativity, the music, the ghosts, and of course, the saying "Dead Men Tell No Tales" continues to ring in my ears even a week after leaving. At ofttimes while meandering through the cursed coves in the rugged boat I wonder what would happen if the ride broke down, the lights would come on, and what I might see. I am afraid that the fun illusions might lose their luster and appeal if I could see the ride in its true form. I might see more fully the warehouse walls and ceilings, faded painting and chipped characters. The lights would change my perception and beliefs of the make-believe world Walt Disney envisioned.
Many times, our life is similar to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. We live with a certain beliefs in ourselves in the warehouse of our mind and hearts, believing them to be true. Our internal warehouse may be filled with shadows and meandering corridors that though comfortable, are not an accurate representation of reality. It is only when the lights turn on that we see the illusion. We can learn that the things we believe about ourselves and our value and self-worth are incorrect. We find that the dimness obscures our vision of the luminous people we are with infinite value and capacity. How often do we dim ourselves out or let others dim us to maintain in relative comfort that can actually damage our personal growth?
I had a conversation about this with an individual recently. We were discussing how their fear of change is like a shroud of comfort that kept them from moving forward. They even admitted, (quite wisely I might add) that fear is comfortable and safe, because it is predictable and stable. Facing the fear and trying something new can be even more frightening, because it requires looking into the unknown, trying new things, and even failing. I told the individual that when Disneyland first opened, the streets got so hot from the weather that the asphalt began to melt, and that attractions did not work as planned. It could have been considered a failure or flop, but somebody kept trying. Very similar to how Thomas Edison continued trying until he succeeded with making the first practical commercial light bulb (he wasn't the first to make the light bulb--just clarifying that). The only way to change is to try, which will require not succeeding the first time--and that is okay! It is only after trying many times that we discover more about how to do it correctly, and little by little the light turns on, the illusion fades, and we see who we truly are.
Although, I hope the Pirates of the Caribbean never breaks down. That's an illusion I enjoy!

Practical Ways to Begin Change

For those who want to work on personal change, here are some solution-focused steps.

1. Awareness: Be aware of what you want to change and have a final goal. How do you want to be when it's all said and done? Write it down!

2. Steps: What is the first step you need to take? Most of the time, it is just trying. The first step is the hardest, because we're afraid it will fail. However, the truth is (turn the light on now) that we truly never fail unless we try. It's part of the process. Failure is when we do not try or even begin.
Once you begin, work at BEING what you want to BECOME. William James said that it is better to act into the correct way of thinking than to think your way into the correct way of acting. It's hard to do, but it's supposed to be. You're exercising muscles you've never used. You'll be emotionally and mentally sore, just as you would after a few workouts.

3. Pat yourself on the back: Give yourself encouragement, even if you don't want to. Act into the correct way of giving yourself encouragement.

4. Endure: Don't quit. If you need to take a break, that is okay; however, don't quit.

Hope these are helpful. If you have any other suggestions that you have used, or want more specific information, let me know.

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

I love your Pirates of the Carribean analogy. It reminds me of things your old Dad taught you during sacred evenings of family time (complete with the right or wrong questionaire--bop game- at the end to make sure you "got it"_ Also, I recall telling you to go into your new school in 8th grade and "act" like you are so happy to be there and to meet new people etc...I do believe I got "the Law look" from you. But it reallyy does work if you pretend to be something that you want to be, them pretty sure you are that person. Good writing Jamie.