“Everything starts as somebody’s daydream.” — Larry Niven
It’s interesting how much we are drawn to the performance principle: Do the exact right thing so we can believe we are “acceptable.” From this perspective, acceptance is a performance piece, a simultaneous: “look at me” and “aren’t I great!” collusion. And that pre-conceived acceptance totally ignores the trust and engagement invitation offered in the moment.
Yesterday, I looked at the idea that trust and engagement shifts depend on whatever is foremost in our minds. Attention and focus are like gateways to larger worlds where who we are becomes larger simply because we can shift the terms of our engagement and our trust.
Today, I want to look at the specific invitations that are offered by four root images. Any change we undertake in our lives is deeply tied to how we receive invitations. The chance encounter with that “sympathetically selected…outside…other interest,” the one that alters the way judge our own self-interest in the here-and-now.
And the trouble with the “performance principle” is that it totally ignores the invitation offered in the moment. Every invitation asks us to be bigger than the acceptance which places trust ahead of AND before engagement. The invitations outlined below are opportunities to let go our preconceptions because we feel the presence of the “outside…other interest” that is willing us to shift the focus of our attention.
Invitations to question Constancy and Change
- What does my experience mean? How convinced am I of that meaning?
- Can I own my experience? How does that ownership change me?
- Can I give this event a new meaning? Where will that leave me if I do?
With matters of constancy and change, the invitation is to filter everything through past history, but if we challenge the relevance of personal history – then we move into an interpretive realm where “the other” is equal to “I.” These invitations lean us toward self-reflection, ownership, and interpretive meaning. They shift the focus of our attention to questions of conscience.
Invitations to question Health and Development
- Is there danger here? Is something being taken away?
- If I learn this, will it help or hurt me? Do I want to grow in this way?
- What’s happening here? What will I win or lose?
With matters of health and development, the invitation is about safety. What is going to threaten me? Is this something I should learn more about? These invitations lean us toward protection, mental and environmental growth, and bodily integrity (body, mind, and environment). They shift the focus of our attention to questions of self-awareness.
Invitations to question Integrity and Decision-making
- What is required? Is there another way forward?
- What will happen if I do this? Who will hold me accountable?
- Can I be authentic? Do I know “who I am” if I do this?
The issues central to integrity and decision-making lean us toward action, contribution, and position. We want to know if we are doing “enough”? Are we “sufficient?” And these invitations make us bigger in a paradoxical way. We sense the internal standard that places and holds us — despite any outside standard, AND by being more fully ourselves, we become bigger. Trust and engagement shifts to issues of willful independence.
Invitations to question Vision and Certainty
- What is my aspiration or goal? Am I connected and aligned with that?
- What convinces or persuades me? Can my values or beliefs be altered?
- What does it take to start again? Will I be the same person if I do?
The issues central to vision and certainty lean us toward acceptance, forgiveness, and renewal. It’s all about sustaining an “image relationship,” about finding the ability to “live ourselves into an image,” one that matches the invitation and sustained our relation with that “outside…other interest.” Trust and engagement shifts to issues of creative imagination.
Remember: “Everything starts as somebody’s daydream.”
Thanks for listening!