Monday, February 18, 2013

What's Stopping Us?

PossibilitiesIt has been too long since I have even visited my own blog, let alone write something. It's not that I intended to abandon something I loved doing, just an example of how our lives are constantly changing.

A little more than four years ago, I embarked on a new career path that began unexpectedly when one of my children asked me to help him start a political organization to shed light on issues he saw affecting his young family and everyone he knew. I had no illusions that the odds were stacked against us but listening to his ideas and seeing the enthusiasm in his eyes, I told him that we did not have much money, we did not have a single connection in the government power structure and we had no experience in building such an organization so... "what's stopping us"?

This blog is not about endorsing a political philosophy or trying to convince anyone to agree with my views. There is a much more important lesson that I learned since beginning this journey that speaks of what we as individuals can do if we refuse to listen to others telling us that anything is impossible. Having no perceived conceptions on "the way things are done", we focused instead on what we were trying to accomplish instead of getting caught up in how it was done in the past. How many times in your life have you stopped yourself from doing something because you thought it would be too
difficult or outside of your comfort zone?

Often, it is because someone has wrongly convinced us that we are not capable or we have a perception that we are just not good enough to try. Now, if your idea is to jump out of an airplane without a parachute because you think you can fly, let me be the first to tell you that you can't! Many things, however, are completely within our reach if we just take the first step and work hard toward a goal. Our past is full of success and failure but if we let failure dominate how we feel about the future, guess what, we are much more likely to fail.

On the same line, if we measure everything from past successes, we set ourselves up for disappointment when our expectations don't meet the final outcome. This is why it is so important to focus on the present moment. Being open to what is "here and now" allows us to see each experience without judgment based on our own historical bias that in reality has nothing to do with the current situation.

When I started this new chapter in my life, I did not think the chance of success was very good. In all honesty, had it not been the fact that it was my son asking for help, I would have never taken that first step by myself. We learned amazing things about ourselves and each other as we took turns convincing one another to keep pushing when everything seemed futile. Life has no guarantees other than the simple fact that if you don't try, you will never know how something will turn out. It has taken me the last few years to find a little balance in one of the most negatively charged environments
I could ever have imagined.

I hope I never understand why politics makes people hate those who oppose their views rather than embrace the idea that we should be able to disagree and debate issues while accepting the right of others to think differently. What keeps me going is as I travel and speak to people from different backgrounds, experiences and political ideals, I see that in spite of this, we have much more in common than most would admit and some people are starting to wake up to the fact that this hatred is being used against us for political gain.

If we stay open to the possibilities that we can do what seems impossible if we are committed to working through the difficult times, the chance of success can turn into reality regardless of what our minds trick us into believing. If we believe that all things should be easy, disappointment is a certain outcome.

May we all drop any notion of how things "should be" and focus on how things "can be". This will only happen when we start treating each other as individuals rather than thinking that everyone should think like us. Think of how boring the world would be if we were all exactly the same.