Life on the Outside: Finding the Secrets to Living a Masterful Life in Three Steps

To live a rich and masterful life, we often encounter blocks and difficulties that cause us to want to give up.  One of the greatest teachings I ever received came from an old man who explained to me the process for living “outside the box.”  Life on the Outside requires going outside the realm of our comfort zones, outside of our safety nets and outside what we know.  When I was having an episode of doubts, fears and worries, my old teacher told me that I had to certainly come outside the box but he went further with a powerful secret of the box, “The real truth about going outside the box requires that you get the directions. BUT!  The directions are always written outside the box!  You will have to find someone who is already outside the box to read the directions to you!”  I was blown away with his simple truth.

Often, we try to find the solutions to our dilemmas by working harder.  We try the same failed processes over and over, hoping for a different result. This is called insanity.  These neurotic attempts at success lead to more and more frustration.  Albert Einstein offered this:

 “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

In other words, we can never solve a problem from the same thinking that created the problem.  We can never solve the problem at the same level of the problem.  We will have to “think different.”  “Inside the box,” we keep doing what we’ve always done and we get the same results.  We tell ourselves things like, “I’ll just work harder.  I know it will work this time.”  In truth, if we continue our actions that do not have proven positive results, we will continue to produce negative results AT BEST.  Usually, we throw our whole lives out of balance as one area of our lives spin out of control, causing a rippling effect into other areas of our precious lives.

Life does not have to be so difficult. Life always offers clues and when we listen to the clues and follow the directions, we break the cycle of our unsuccessful and neurotic behaviors. Often, when we are “inside the box,” we will find windows but we can’t seem to go through. Our successes lie outside the window. However, few are willing to cross the threshold to their hopes, dreams and desires. The few who will cross over can find their successes by following three simple steps.

1.  Our growth starts with identifying the limiting idea that keeps us snarled up in dysfunction, neurotic behaviors, those behaviors that we do over and over again, expecting different results. When you get really quiet and contemplative, you will hear a small voice telling you the best action to get you out of the box. If your heart begins to palpitate when you think about this action, you are headed in the right direction. You must do the thing that you fear to do.

2.  Second, you must identify your RIGHT teachers. Many people make their greatest mistakes by seeking advice and counsel from those who have not traveled a similar road. Avoid the “teacher” who has not mastered your obstacle. The greatest teacher you will find is the one who has mastered your obstacle and succeeded. The master teacher holds the directions as she stands “outside the box.” She can lead you out!

3.  Finally, be willing to step outside the box. Willingness will signal the universe that you are ready for all of your hopes, dreams and desires. The universe will conspire alongside you. Pay attention as things around you began to fall into place so that your hearts desires will come to fruition.

After realizing that the directions for living “outside the box” could not be found inside the box, I began to seek great teachers for guidance.  I learned to ask, “How do I get out?”  Seeking the wisdom of masters never means that we betray the wisdom of our inner teacher and personal guidance.  However, it does mean that through collective thinking, “putting our heads together,” we can find meaningful solutions and results.  None of us knows everything.  We need the counsel of the masters.

 “We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly embracing one another.”      Luciano De Crescenzo

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Permission to Make a Mess

This posting is inspired from a 10-minute-challenge from  Weekly Writing Challenge,  I must say, it was a fun activity.  

Permission to Make a Mess

I remember back  in the early 1960’s and my family was packed into our beat up blue station wagon, probably a Chevrolet.  I remember the window that cranked up and down when it was not stuck.  My sister and I would sit in the back and watch the yellow line of the pavement and the green Spanish moss laces trees pass by.  I was about thee so she must have been five years old.  We were on our way to Savannah, Georgia.  We lived in North East Georgia but my dad, a pharmacist, had bought a drug store in the coastal city and we trekked back and forth every weekend to work in the store.  We were a struggling African American family crammed in a beat up jalopy.  Certainly, a red flag for the police officers who constantly stopped us to find out where we were headed.  Sometimes, they accused my mother of speeding.  Shoot, that car was not even capable of speeding!

One particular Saturday, a foul odor entered the car.  I will never forget.  This earliest memory still follows me.  I remember my older brothers and sisters getting mad that we would have to stop, prolonging the 4-hour drive!  They screamed that I, me, the three-year-old, SHOULD have learn to go to the potty.  They claimed that I had messed my diaper.  I knew I had not.  For sure, the checked my diaper and I was good to go.  As we drove closer to Savannah, the smell became more pronounced.  As they entered the city, they realized that the smell was the paper mill causes foul odors in the city. That day was extra hot and extra disgusting.

While that day has long passed, I will always remember the FEELING.  They say that our earlier memory tells a lot about who we are today.  For a long time, I had intense fears of “making a mess.”  The day of the “messy’ ride to Savannah followed me like a bad odor (pun intended) for many year.  It followed me until I decided to forgive myself and to give myself permission to make a mess.  I gave myself permission to grow on my own terms.  They say that growth is messy.  Well, it has been but it has certainly been worth it.  I believe that we are who and what we rehearse being day in and day out.  To grow, we have to break the patterns of what we have learned.  We must CHOOSE to rehearse something different.

The Probability That You Will Succeed Is Very Low, So You Might as Well Give Up! 7-Steps to Creating Your Hopes and Dreams.

Many years ago, a wise old teacher gave me a piece of advice that I take with me everywhere that I go. When I was facing doubts and fears about my hopes and dreams, he very sternly instructed me:  “Based on all circumstances, the probability that you will succeed is very, very low, so you might as well give up.” He calmly waited a few seconds as I tossed his ideas around in my head. After a long pause and after he had gazed deep into my eyes to see my reaction, he smiled and gently said: “But, the possibility that you can succeed is infinite. You must focus on the possibilities of your life, your hopes, and your dreams.” This wise old man taught me to become a possibility thinker. The possibilities for our lives are infinite. Most people never come close to living out the possibilities for their lives. Many remain stuck, adding up and subtracting the probabilities of their lives. They scour the newspapers and watch newscasts filled with statistics and probabilities. They give more credibility to these news reports rather than to their hopes and dreams that tap them on their shoulders.  The old man gave me 7-Steps to Creating Your Hopes and Dreams.  I share them with you.

Get Quiet – Beyond the noise and chatter of living in the modern world, the old man taught me to make space for quiet time at least twice a day.  He instructed me to shut out the negative chatter and noise of the probability thinkers.  I started sitting for five minutes at a time.  In the early days, those minutes seemed like hours.  Eventually, I learned to sit for 30 minutes and then longer.  In those quiet moments, I discovered realizations to problems that I had wrestled with for long periods.  Flashes of insights colored my mind and my imagination. I learned that many of the problems that I thought I possessed, already had solutions if I would only be still and listen.

Take Inventory – The old man taught me to take the visions from my quiet time and find the demonstrations of those visions that were already present in my life.  Often, we find that what we have been looking for, we already possessed.  The old man reminded me:  “You say that you want more abundance; you must realize all the ways that you already have.”  After taking inventory, I began to feel that I already had and once I knew that I already had, more abundance came into my life.

Build a Community – I learned that in order to hear, see and live my dreams, I had to surround myself with others who could also see the possibilities for my life.  Living in the modern world, we cannot always choose our co-workers, neighbors and family.  But, with respect to our dreams, we can choose what we wish to share.  The old man helped me to realize that all of my associates could not see what I could see.  All of those in circle had not taken the time to dream.  Therefore, not only could they not see the dreams for my life, they did not see the dreams for their own lives either. I learned to avoid sharing my hopes and dreams with those people.  To share my dreams with them would only weigh me down.  One day, I would demonstrate to them what they could not see.

Rehearse – There comes a time when dreamers will have to take the thing that they see in their dreams and bring it to the world.  The old man taught me to start small and work every day to get bigger.  He reminded:  If you want to sing, then give your song to everyone that you see.  One day, they will only evoke your name as, the singer.  Do what you love, demonstrate who you are until the world only knows you for what you do, action!

Play – Dreams should be lived out in JOY.  I learned how to do what I loved with a smile.  The old man taught me the art of play.  I learned what Einstein professed:  “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”  The old man told me that I would not make new discoveries without play.  I learned that insights and discoveries do not come to a heavy mind.

Share – We must give in order to receive.  With the old man, I began practicing the art of giving.  I began to see amazing gifts in my life.  He taught me that to withhold giving blocks our ability to receive.  I learned that giving and receiving are the same.  No act of giving is too small.

Give Thanks – The old man taught me that by giving appreciation and thanks, I would unlock my heart.  I had already practiced how amazing sharing had transformed my life and lifted me up.  I learned that by giving thanks, I increased my ability to give.  The old man instructed:  “By giving thanks, the universe recognizes your gratitude as a sign of appreciation.  The universe loves to give and will see your appreciation as a trusted co-conspirator in giving.” 

Many years have passed since those encounters with the old me.  It feels like yesterday since he gave me his timeless wisdom.  I think about him often and I dream of telling him, “Thank you,” for giving me more tools for the journey of success.