Saturday, July 31, 2004

You Can Have Anything You Want But Not Everything

Life’s version of not having your cake and eating it too. Once you’ve eaten it you don’t have it anymore. And in life you CAN have anything, but have to give something up to get something else. You can’t spend 100% of your time on your career and still have time to sleep, play, eat, be with friends and family. Uh uh. You can spend a portion of your day on your career, yes. Or you can spend all your waking time on your work, but what do you have to give up to maintain that? You lose those closest to you, have no time to learn, experience or just ‘be’.

And is that what you really want?

Recently I worked with someone who wanted to never be afraid again. We did an interesting exercise. “No fear?” I asked her. “Absolutely none?”

“Yes!” was her response.

I remember doing this exercise in a group setting which was a huge eye opener. This was the perfect time to try it out on her.

“OK”, I said. “There’s a jar on the shelf on the wall….it’s a special kind of place where there are jars holding just about anything and everything you could imagine. But you need to give me something to take something away. If you want to give me all your fear, what is it you want in return? But remember it has to be all of that, not just a small portion. And if you give me all your fear, remember you will never feel fear again, in any context…. any circumstance. Are you sure that’s what you want?”

She started to waffle. If she gave me all her fear, she wouldn’t have any defense mechanism if someone unsavory was approaching her on the street or if she was in danger, or being threatened in any way. We discussed that. Did she want absence of all of it?

We might think we spend ‘all our time’ on something, or want something so badly we lose focus of what it is we already have. Some take their lives for granted, financially, environmentally, and emotionally. And because of that, lose sight of what is important or precious. Focus is so acute on one goal, task or event, everything else gets left by the wayside. And once they open their eyes to what they’re throwing away (usually when it’s way too late to recapture it) only then do they realise how much they have given up.

Life’s lesson. You really can have anything. Ask yourself what you need to sacrifice to get it, what do you really really want for your life and what makes you feel alive. Then choose wisely.

Donna Karlin

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