Feel a ‘No’? That’s where to go. Screw this up, and miss out on life!
Over the weekend, at a day-long workshop, with options of classes, I scanned the list when we arrived. Sure there were technology classes, and social media classes, and things that I would have a have an opinion on, or some experience in. But there was one workshop name that tickled me. The name said something about ‘A Still Better Way,’ and ‘Suffering and Pain.’
At first I brushed aside going there. I heard my own ‘NO’.
After lunch, (and a pretty dry morning class on church websites) I had the chance again to check out this class on Suffering… or whatever it was. ‘NO’, I heard myself say. ‘What if it’s weird, or depressing? Well, I’ll just walk by the entrance to that room’… Then seeing it was almost empty, I got the message, ‘If it’s good, why aren’t other people here.’ I may go find another class… By then I had procrastinated my way into having to walk a long distance just to enter another class late, or go ahead and try this one.
The next 90 minutes were a profound and deep reflection, explanation and guided insight, on my life, as it has looked for the last 4 years. Oh My God. I was nudged and urged to be here, by some incredible force. My own earthly being told me ‘NO’, with little fears and worries and social uncomfortableness… but my Soul knew, and somehow I got there.
The class led by Loretta Ross, of the Sanctuary Foundation for Prayer, detailed and unpacked the experience of the Dark Night of the Soul. It’s about loss, and pain, and suffering, and public humiliation too. It’s about detachment of all we know. It’s about being stripped down to our core. It’s about living an experience akin to Jesus’s crucifixion…
It’s also about hope.
When we experience this Dark Night, it is painful; a growing pain. It’s about starting life with a cute and cuddly version of God, in our minds. It’s the rainbows and waterfalls and beauty in the thunderstorms relationship with God. It may be Sunday School stories. It’s prayers that ask our always happy SkyDaddy, for stuff we want, or stuff we want to get rid of.
In the Dark Night, we lose that image. God’s not cute anymore. We feel left alone.
On the way through this, we do really suffer. We really feel lost, but we’re not. We actually grow in our relationship with God. We experience maturing. We move from childhood, to adulthood. When all is gone, and we are bare bones, we find we still have a breath. We still have a tiny kernel of warmth. We have not been forsaken. This magnificent force is ever present. Though the world itself has changed completely, God remains. Though the world has taken away from us, all that we rested our happiness on. God remains. Though we may be blessed again, or stripped again, by rising and crashing waves of the world, in it’s shiny trinkets, or experiences, or even people. God remains, beyond comprehension.
She showed that, ‘we are purified in life, only by losing those things that are most important to us’… I cried and nodded… Ugh! A punch of truth and love and hope, right in my gut. I needed this.
But had I listened to my own best idea, ‘NO’ was the answer to whether or not I should attend this class. I am so seriously thankful that I didn’t listen to myself.
Later in the week, it was Tuesday afternoon at 5:30. I was clicking an invite for my friend and fellow blogger, Michael Wright, to join me, on my first ever recorded weirdforgood hangout. Again, this whole idea, of creating a workshop, an online class structure and discussion forum, lead by me, the Teacher version of me, was a ‘NO.’
My wonderful coach Megan, sees something in me, that I don’t quite grasp yet fully. If I had to answer today, right now, am I a Teacher? My answer would be ‘NO’. Even feeling my own ‘NO’, I followed through with her suggestion. I set the date and time (BIG STEP). I then worked in small ways to be somewhat prepared when that time came. Then I just followed through, winging it the whole way. It was a ‘NO’, remember? So I wasn’t attached, and knew that if it sucked, I would trash it. But it didn’t, and I didn’t. In fact, I was loving it!
Sure it was only my first attempt, I could improve a lot from that point. But with Michael’s real presence, his words and thoughts, together we made something wonderful. After the 30 minute session was up, I felt two hours of real joy. I now have started this project. I am not on square #1 anymore. I hope it can grow and become something useful to people over time. What Michael said that night is true. I Do Care about Your Success, for You.
How strong do we have to be, to physically act in the face of something in which our internal message is No? Maybe we don’t have to be strong at all. How about practiced?
These two examples are just recent and real versions of what has been going on with me, for years now. Feeling that ‘NO’, feeling that the next step is stupid, or too hard, or a waste of time, or not important, or impossible, and trying it anyway. Taking a small step into ‘NO.’
Can we learn over time, in super small ways, that self-discipline, and going where our ‘head’ is telling us not to, is the key. It’s the opposite of the message of our culture. We’re told that we have certain personalities, that make us who we are. We have certain likes or dislikes and we create our own self-image, by saying yes to the yes’s and no to the no’s. It seems that the most popular people around, have cultivated their image this way.
There is still yet a better way.
Transformation, playing and testing, pushing our limits. Breaking the unenforced boundaries of fear. We stand off of them, away and guard ourselves from unimpending dangers. Fear is our access. Say ‘Yes’ to our ‘No’s. Feel Real Life. Not the padded and plastic version of the World. It’s fake y’all…
To join the next weirdforgood hangout – you’ll need a free Google+ account, 30 minutes to engage with us, at 5:30 CST, and device with a camera & headset/microphone. If you can Skype, you can do this, (it’s actually really easy 🙂 ) Then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – before Tuesday – I’ll send you the hangout invite when we start.
Check out last week’s hangout here, to get a feel for it. Looking forward to seeing you then!