“Getting in touch with your true self must be your first priority.” — Tom Hopkins
There are a lot of gags that start with “your money or your life…” And what’s true about all of them is that our priorities quite often becomes convoluted and even reversed. “The good I would do , but I do not” becomes the common refrain when we undermine our most heartfelt intentions by needlessly misunderstanding “the-game-we-are-in.”
This phenomena goes by “mighta,” “woulda,” “coulda.” Second guessing what might have happened if only we had done whatever it was we didn’t. That’s not the only way. We could exercise mindful discernment using “choose, respond, and change.”
Let’s look at a few examples:
Elizabeth – A woman seeking her fortune in a male-dominated profession. She feels compelled to out do her peers. She works long hours, sits on many boards, speaks at conferences when she can. She’s also a mom to two children. Supermom and super manager. She puts in well over 80-hours per week. Not much time for any extras. Maxed out and running on fumes.
Steve – Eight years out of college he served as a community organizer with an inner-city minority. He had no income. His organization took care of him. All of his associates were like family. Their mission was his mission. But he became disillusioned by what he saw. People did not live up to the ideal. So he left. Now he works with a multi-national organization and making over $150,000 per year. But the disparity within his community still eats at him and he sometimes longs for what he had.
Lois – Ten years on the job and she just plain hates her work. She does the absolute minimum to get by but does that so well that she really could never be fired. She has accepted the perks and the benefits, but it all still translates into boredom. After-hours variety just doesn’t seem to take away dullness that has creeped into her life. She wants to get out of the “rut” but feels trapped the gilded cage of the job. Too much to lose, she fears.
This list could go on. We’ve all experienced some version of these stories. Like Goldilocks, our work lives are just never quite right AND unlike Goldilocks, we never feel compelled to actually make a change. If we only accommodate enough well then everything works out. Or so we hope.
So what does this have to do with “choose, respond, and change” or with “mindful discernment”? What are these people failing to tap into?
If we go back to clarification dilemmas, everyone is failing to pay attention to the waking reveries they have. Those daydreams that push them beyond the here and now. Discernment in large measure is about those reveries. Discernment is one of our natural endowments, but only when we listen using all four of primary endowments.
Self-awareness presents itself in the reverie, in how we choose and respond in the moment. Creative Imagination and Conscience are present in our mindfulness; we become open to seeing more than just the obvious and the routine. And finally, Independent Will is our willingness to act and put ourselves into the environment, just to test things out.
Of course, habit and stubbornness are the culprits. We fail to break free because we walk away from the challenge mindful change and discernment. We do not pass the test of open-ended engagement.
Thanks for listening!