“Revolution is a trivial shift in the emphasis of suffering.” – Tom Stoppard
For today’s post I want to consider how trust and engagement shifts depending whatever is foremost in our minds. The blog post immersion and submission brought several ideas home to me — ideas (which I believe) influence our ability shift how we experience our attention and focus:
- Our constant immersion in the unknown provides many opportunities for letting go of pre-conceptions. Attention is always changeable.
- What we desire most is self-determination AND we willingly join others who press us into some challenge through a personal and unique invitation.
- We prefer our contributions to be “enough” (that is, to meet the need, but not exceed it).
There is a “ring” of altruism here: “I release pre-conceptions, join – willingly – with others, and contribute “enough,” but not too much.” I can almost see the Three Stooges fighting their way in, “None of that applies to me, and just who do you think you are anyway? No one behaves that way.”
We really want our cake and eat it too. Have our preconceptions, be self-determining, not really care about others, and make BIG contributions that call attention to just how powerful we are. What a perfect description for the Three Stooges! That, I think, summarizes the tug of war pretty well.
And it deeply influences our ability to change.
Any change we undertake is deeply tied to how we receive invitations — important ones — ones that pull us out of our normal routine. And as much as we want to be self-determining, the ties that bind are what really incline us to change. We do it for our children, for parents, for our spouses, for the people who matter most in our lives. And we only change when we sympathetically receive those invitations because we are just powerful enough to do what is asked – just barely. The slam dunk comes later. Once personal power can be claimed.
So… becoming bigger than ourselves is all about finding that “outside” necessity — the one that commands our attention. And it’s not personal, self-interest (more like … a sympathetically selected … outside … “other-interest”).
And the acknowledgement we crave (by accepting the challenge) is always bigger than we expect – especially when we feel personally and uniquely chosen.
So what does this have to do how trust and engagement shifts? The proof is in the invitation.
Taylor was in a heated argument with he wife. This was a routine argument. The two of them having on and off for several months. Taylor needed to know that he was right. Susan had repeatedly told him that he needs to consult her about weekend planning. But Taylor’s needs were always more important and his proclaimed reasons for ignoring her request always seemed to change.
By the fourth or fifth time, Taylor finally felt invited to try something different. Susan in a somewhat exhausted way said, “What makes you so special?” Taylor’s face screwed up for a moment, and he said “because I’m always tired.” Susan had invited him to discover what made him feel so tired. And now they were both in a different place. His self-interest and her invitation connected with his love for Susan, who was equally tired. Both made contributions that were just “enough.” No slam-dunk, barely enough. But the door finally opened.
The invitation we accept is often a shift in the expression of our suffering or the suffering of others – a revolution, to be sure!
Thanks for listening!