As a part of their wonderful online course on 5 Hidden Strengths, Erika Bugbee shares the story of talking with her then five year old daughter about flying on an airplane for the first time. Her daughter’s response was to ask “Does it hurt?” Erika reassured her that it was just like sitting in a big comfy chair, to which her daughter replied “Not that, mommy – does it hurt when they shrink you down really tiny?”
Now, it’s easy for us to laugh at that story, because we know that neither airplanes nor the people on them actually “shrink” – it’s simply a question of distance and perspective. What we’re less likely to laugh about (or even take into account) is that the same thing is true about every problem we’ve ever had or challenge we’ve chosen to take on.
When we’re “in” our thinking about it, we can’t imagine that it will ever look like anything but a great big mountain to climb. On the other hand when we go up the elevator of consciousness and see our big scary thoughts for what they are – thoughts that look big and scary because they seem to be about something fixed and real – they almost always shrink back down to the size of molehills as we reconnect with our deeper resourcefulness and sense of hope and possibility.
Over the past month, I’ve gotten the chance to experience this magical shift in perspective in real time. I’ve been on half a dozen airplanes, too many hotel rooms to count, and somehow managed to take on an additional project which ate up my “spare” time like PacMan in the midst of an ’80’s revival meeting.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I came down with the flu and tried to take on all the above along with extra fluids and bed rest. I did have the presence of mind to realize that there was a connection between my state of mind, physical health, and inability to get anything done; I did not see that what it was I had to get done was anything other than a huge mountain to climb “once I got over the flu”.
The physical fever broke about a week ago, but it still seemed to me that I had created an insurmountable challenge for myself “once my state of mind improved”. Then on Thursday, my mental fever broke – the cloud of thinking that made my world look grey, daunting, and just a wee bit hopeless. To my delight (and absolute shock), when I looked out into my life with fresh eyes there was no mountain there to climb.
There are certainly still things for me to do in order to complete the projects I’ve taken on; it’s just that whether or not I’m able to do them in the time allotted doesn’t seem like a significant or life-altering question anymore. If I do I will; if I don’t, I won’t.
It reminded me of my wife’s comment on first reading The Inside-Out Revolution. She said that it was her favorite of my books, but it seemed like such a simple message that she was concerned people wouldn’t really get its significance.
“What did you take away as the message?” I asked her.
“Stop making mountains out of molehills,” she replied.
And while that wasn’t what I had in mind when I wrote it, it certainly speaks to one of the real and lasting benefits of the inside-out understanding. When we see that our “reality” is just a construct made out of Thought, brought to life by Mind and experienced via Consciousness, we realize that life (and all the problems and challenges it seems to contain) is a lot more fluid than we think.
With all my love,