A dear friend with a rich spiritual life says that our mission in life is to learn how to love. He says it’s part of the contract while we are here. And, if we don’t succeed, our soul comes back – again and again – until it learns the lesson. In short, hell.
“Why don’t you say ‘I love you’ to the people who are dear to your heart”, he challenges me. “And don’t limit it to just your family!”
“And, when someone says ‘I love you’ to you, don’t offer a cowardly, ‘me too’! Say it back. You’ll see that the energy released by these three little words is incredibly powerful. You can say ‘I love you’ to a lot of people, without having to marry all of them”, he adds with a smile.
His challenge made me curious, so I started with a few people who already know that I am a little bit nuts. I tried a variety of different ways: face-to-face, by text message, and by email. The results have been absolutely incredible. Everyone I reached out to was touched by my offering, and without exception they reciprocated with warmth and enthusiasm.
Give it a try and see what happens. Don’t do a bulk mailing to all of your contacts, of course; start with people you sincerely care about and see how it goes. I’d love to hear about your experience, whatever happens!
A while back my friend and I caught ourselves drooling over a travel brochure for horseback riding. For years we’ve been dreaming about combining our passion for riding with some kind of safari. But where? When? Which travel agent?
Jokingly, I suggest that we should do the trip in November in order to escape the greyness of the weather in Paris at that time of year. She liked that idea, and then built on it by quoting Walt Disney:
« The difference between a dream and a project is a deadline. »
With that, our dream of riding through sumptuous landscapes looking for wild animals had become a project. The train was moving. Good-bye catalogues. Hello saddle sores!
And you? Do any of your dreams need a deadline?
Until very recently, whenever somebody mentioned the word “muse”, I immediately associated it with the following image: a scantily clad Rubenesque female form, lasciviously draped on a chaise-longue with a come-hither look. No idea where that came from, but that is what came to mind whenever I heard the word ‘muse’.
So I was a bit taken aback when one of my business partners told me with earnest enthusiasm that I was a muse for him.
What?! How dare he! Still, before busting him in the chops, I googled the actual meaning of the word. And I found out what most people already know. The definition of a muse is simply someone who inspires or who offers good advice!
I knew from feedback over the years that I am often an inspiring consultant and trainer for my clients, but being their MUSE put a new edge on things, in both the way I saw myself and how I viewed my business. I am not convinced that I’ll change the title on my business cards, but knowing that I am a muse to someone definitely inspires me to give my best.
And you? What title would inspire you to give more of your best?
A friend who was travelling through Paris on his way home to Germany mentioned that his neighbor would be making dinner for him when he got back that evening. I congratulated him on having such a nice neighbor, and he chuckled before explaining that he had simply called her earlier in the day to say that his fridge was empty, his apartment cold, and to ask whether she would be willing to share her dinner with him!
She was only too happy to help out.
How many times have you found out after the fact that someone could have used your help, but didn’t ask? How often have you said something like: «I would have picked you up!» or «why didn’t you tell me?» or «why didn’t you call – I would have done it with pleasure!»
In such circumstances we often feel cheated, that it’s a pity that our friends don’t reach out to ask for our help. On the other hand very often we don’t ask for help ourselves, as we prefer not to ‘bother’ someone.
How about if you dared to ask? Rather than killing two birds with one stone, you might just make TWO people happy with one request.
Bucephale, the horse of Alexander the Great, initially seemed to be untamable. Not even the best horsemen in the realm could mount him.
Alexander wanted to understand the reason why the animal was so skittish, and – after studying his movements – realized that Buchephale was simply scared of his own shadow. When he saw his shadow he’d try to get away from it, but of course the shadow moved with him and scared him even more.
Alexander’s solution? He turned Bucephale’s head to face towards the sun so his shadow was behind him, out of sight, and he was then was able to train him without risking life and limb.
«Don’t be scared» is useless advice, particularly if you haven’t found and addressed the origin of the fear. If that is the case, even well-intended encouragements won’t help.
And you? Have you given yourself space to look closely at what is really happening when you get scared, to find the shadows behind your fears?