The View From Here


What Lies Ahead?

I am pondering today:  How much do my “views” about the world actually shape my future experiences in the world?  How much do my beliefs about the world and how life works create the form my future takes? Do I usually get what I believe I will get?

This seems especially relevant to me right now as the U.S. enters the home stretch of a particularly nasty and malicious presidential election.  And it’s also an election where the 2 main presidential candidates have very different viewpoints about the world and how it all “works.”  So, which viewpoint do I vote for – Obama’s or Romney’s?  Does my vote even matter?  How much might this one little choice alter my future?

Years ago, 2 amazing change agents named Jerry Weinberg and Jean McLendon introduced me to an eye-opening model of perception and reality:

 Malicious, Stupid or Kind Universe?

Do I see my world as Mean and malicious?  Do I believe that people are out to hurt me and reject me? Do events seem to conspire against me? Do I live in fear that God is watching and waiting to punish me?

Or is my world Stupid?  Does everyone I meet seem to be a moron?  Do I believe that I am the only one that knows what’s going on around here – is everyone else just too stupid to see the truth?

Or do I live in a Kind world? Are people basically caring and kind? Do people want to assist me and help me? Is God supporting me and helping me in every moment?

(I believe this model was originally created by psychotherapist Virginia Satir)

I LOVE this model of the Universe!  When I take the time to use it,  I realize just how much I can sabotage myself by approaching the world like it is out to hurt me or trip me up and get in my way.

Remembering this model, and asking myself just one simple question can jerk me right out of my “story” about whatever is happening in my personal life OR in world events today that bothers me:

 “Which Universe am I living in today?”

Asking which Universe I find myself in right now, helps me stop whining and blaming others. Then I can back up and gain a bit of perspective. And when I ask this question a lot, I begin to see how I add to my own misery every time I approach the world from any space other than kindness and benevolence.

What happens when I assume a kind Universe, a benevolent God who is just waiting to help and support me?  What happens to my day?

And what would happen if I choose to make kindness my religion?

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
–Dalai Lama 

My heart opens whenever I see this quote from the Dalai Lama. And that’s the energy I feel  emanating from the Dalai Lama; pure kindness.  I bet HE inhabits a kind and caring Universe most days. 🙂

So, here I sit pondering my personal life and global events… How much does my viewpoint matter? Do my choices make any difference?

I choose YES!  I choose to matter –

because in my world, change happens one kind little choice at a time.

I Am Me

All of Nature is Unique, Including Me

I am me.
In all the world, there is no one exactly like me.
There are persons who have some parts like me,
but no one adds up exactly like me.

Therefore, everything that comes out of me
is authentically mine because I alone choose it.
I own everything about me
My body including everything it does;
My mind including all its thoughts and ideas;
My eyes including the images of all they behold;
My feelings whatever they may be…
anger, joy, frustration, love, disappointment, excitement
My Mouth and all the words that come out of it
polite, sweet or rough, correct or incorrect;
My Voice loud or soft.
And all my actions, whether they be to others or to myself.

I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears.
I own all my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.
Because I own all of me I can become intimately acquainted with me.
By doing so I can love me and be friendly with me in all parts.
I can then make it possible for all of me to work in my best interests.

I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me,
and other aspects that I do not know.
But as long as I am friendly and loving to myself,
I can courageously and hopefully, look for solutions to the puzzles
and for ways to find out more about me.

However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think
and feel at a given moment in time is me.
This is authentic and represents where I am in that moment in time.
When I review later how I looked and sounded, what I said and did, and how
I thought and felt, some parts may turn out to be unfitting.
I can discard that which is unfitting, and keep that which proved fitting,
And invent something new for that which I discarded.

I can see, hear, feel, think, say and do.
I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive,
and to make sense and order out of the world of people
and things outside of me.
I own me, and therefore I can engineer me.

I am me and I am okay.

Self Esteem by Virginia Satir
Published in 1970 

The Five Freedoms

The freedom to see and hear what is here, instead of what should be, was, or will be.

The freedom to say what you feel and think, instead of what you should.

The freedom to feel what you feel, instead of what you ought.

The freedom to ask for what you want, instead of always waiting for permission.

The freedom to take risks in your own behalf,
instead of choosing to be only “secure” and not rocking the boat.

–Virginia Satir, Making Contact

Today I honor Virginia Satir, who was a pioneer in the area of family therapy. Virginia was one of the first therapists to focus on how each individual interacts with other family or group members – how they can choose to express themselves congruently and honestly or hide behind masks to protect themselves. Her work changed the face of family counseling dramatically.

Virginia also created a model for change, detailing how people react to and cope with change in their lives.  Virginia died before I could meet her, but I was exposed to her work by two of her amazing students, Jerry Weinberg and Jean McLendon.

Virginia Satir’s work was all about being open and aware and taking responsibility for your own happiness.

Thank you, Virginia!