"Youare old, Father William," the young man said...
GirlJust Wants to Have Fun
I'm47 and entering a wonderful new time in my life - a new marriage and a newbusiness that really gives me the chance to manifest my true gifts and passions. But this road I'm traveling as I assume new roles (wife, coach) is really scary,and each decision that I need to make feels so big that I make it all so seriousand pondering and deep - and then I lose my joy. Yet Joy is what I'm allabout. Can there be a connection between deep thought and playful joy?
Love,The Girl Who Just Wants to Have Fun
DearGirl Who Just Wants to Have Fun…
Yourquestion is a profound one. Millions of other good, intelligent people are as disturbedby this apparent paradox as you are. Whowould not want to be both deeply thoughtful and playfully joyous?
Sowhat’s going on? How did we cometo the point where we believe thought and joy interfere with each other – andthat we can't be both deep and light? Whata depressing belief system to be caught in! Where did it come from and how did we catch it?
Thissickness is called EITHER/OR thinking and it's been epidemic in western culturesince the Greeks. It became muchmore virulent with the industrial revolution. EITHER/ORthinking believes the world is composed of opposites that are mutually exclusive(like deep thought and playful joy), and, of course, what we believe is what wesee – and live.
Whilethere’s no total cure for this disease, symptomatic relief may easily beobtained by applying BOTH/AND thinking whenever you experience a reoccurrence ofEITHER/OR. To do this, just takethe particular EITHER/OR that's giving you a problem and change it into aBOTH/AND. You can use our simpletechnique of "Finding Your Personal Paradox" by making a wish – andasking yourself why you want it three times. For example, in this case you wish you had more joy in your life:
IWISH... Icould have more joy in my life.
WHY? (Don’tyou just go ahead and be more joyous since “Joy is what you’re allabout”?)
Becausemy new marriage and career are very important to me, and I want to start them aswell (perfectly?)as I can.
WHY? (Does “startingimportant things” mean being serious and not joyous?)
Becausegood people take important things seriously.
WHY? (Do good people take important things seriously?)
Becausenot taking things seriously means you don’t care – that you aren’tcommitted.
IWANT TO…(Could your BOTH/AND be something like…)
BOTH Be consistently theplayful and joyous being I am…
AND Feellike a good person deeply committed to her new marriage and career.
Doesn'tthis open up some possibilities that were hard to see before? Why? Because when you breakthrough an erroneous EITHER/OR belief (like “I have to be EITHER joyous ORcommitted), new universes emerge!
“Howcould I have ever thought I'd be a better wife or coach by being overlyserious?” Seriousness may be yourpersonal Direction of Error,but for others it’s just the opposite (there are plenty who need to play lessand “take care of business” more.) Balanceis what's needed – uniquely personal balance chosen by you, for you, and foryour individual situation. No oneelse can do it. And you can do itso easily if you remember to apply the BOTH/AND remedy when the EITHER/ORsymptoms occur.*
Butremembering is the hard part. I'm not kidding. Youwouldn't believe how many people I've taught this simple technique over theyears and how few remember to use it when they need it. (I know you won't be one of these.)
There'sanother hard part, too. It has to do with that phrase “Direction of Error” (DàE)I used above. Einstein said, "You can't solve a problem with the samemind that created it." Thisapplies here. If your DàEis being too serious, you'll probably “be serious” about becoming moreplayful. This is not going to behelpful. We don't become lighter bybeing heavier.
Whenyou know your DàE(being too serious), you'll also know this means you overuse this method,sometimes very inappropriately. Ifthe EITHER/OR you want to bring together involves your DàE(reducing over-seriousness), you’llhave to deliberately use the opposite method (playfulness) so you just don'tsuck yourself back into your own black hole again. This can seem hard because it takes you out of your comfort zone (where“good people” take big, scary things seriously). But since that old comfort zone isn't feeling all that comfortable anymore, why not use this as a chance to do some extensive (and “playfullyjoyous”) renovations?
©1964-2008William Idol All Rights Reserved