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Inner Vision: Pressing Hard

Inner Vision: Pressing Hard

We spend so much time trying to push, force, cajole and press for what we want… when if we just relaxed, everything we need would come to us when we need it.

Every day I diligently scribe my thoughts, my moods, my observations in a journal. And every day I choose a different colored pen because life just can’t be lived in the pedestrian hues of Bic ballpoints. My daily tools are “pens of personality,” if you will, as they’re meant to suit whatever I’m feeling at any particular moment. Pink, orange, glitter, metallic -- I keep the local stores in business with my obsessive need to have a vast array at my disposal.

What does this have to do with me, you ask? Patience, my friends. That’s part of what this little diddy is all about.

So the other day, I chose a pen with lavender ink. Very delicate, very pretty. I was feeling light and hopeful, high on life; and the color seemed to match my elation. As I was writing, I noticed that I kept pressing harder and harder to try and get a more intense color out of my little friend. Well, it’s not possible to get a more intense color with this pen. The ink is lavender: It was when I bought it, it still was this day, and it still is now. Yet, I found myself pressing ever harder to change it. And, of course, no matter how hard I pressed, the ink flowed only lavender.

What occurred to me as I vainly tried to force a magical transformation was that it was a metaphor for how we often approach life. I chose that pen for a specific reason; I asked for it. When I got what I wanted, I found out maybe it wasn’t really what I wanted so I tried to make it into something else and became frustrated when it wouldn’t cooperate. After several lines of fruitless insistence, I eventually switched out of the purples altogether and moved to a royal blue to represent my bold discovery.

We spend so much time trying to push, force, cajole and press for what we want… when if we just relaxed, everything we need would come to us when we need it. I know: This is hard to grasp in our highly competitive, me-gimme-mine-gotta-have-it-now-before-someone-else-gets-it-first society. But think of it this way: It’s much easier when you swim with the tide as opposed to against it.

When we try to force things to happen, we’re swimming against the tide. We’re saying to the Universe and to ourselves: “I know I can’t get what I want,” so I’m going to push as hard as I can to make it happen. That’s not going to work.

But while we’re on the subject, let’s chat about “making things happen” for a moment. Generally, there is the “everything is predetermined and I have no personal choice;” theory, which makes most people crazy because they can’t imagine not having control, and then there is, “I make all the choices that direct my life,” which, of course, assumes total control. (See how that all-or- nothing theme seems to infiltrate everything we think -- just an observation.) The way I see it, our life experiences are really a combination of the two.

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We each have a purpose to serve on this plane. A destiny, if you will. We are all created with innate talents that, when recognized and nurtured, spawn Nobel scholars, and rocket-scientists, and culinary geniuses and, yes, even presidents (because I just can’t resist saying it). However, there is also a certain amount of ambition and activity that go along with achieving your destiny -- and that’s where choice comes in. You can choose to sit on the couch and see if your computer turns itself on and writes an award-winning script or you can choose to take a more active role. Like putting down the Twinkies and taking a class, or reading Syd Field, or writing pages every day. You could also kill your writing partner and pass their script off as your own but -- trust me -- that kind of forcing will never lead anywhere good.

So, maybe my column here is really about choice.

See how I did that? It seemed like I was going down one road when I began and here I am somewhere else. I’m sure my stern English teachers would think it non-cohesive rambling, but what do they know? I think of it more as an unexpected bonus. My real goal here was to share some insights that began with a purple pen. I’ve done that, yes? I don’t think it was how I meant to do it but it doesn’t lessen the lesson. It only enhances it.

Beautiful. We’ve all just seen the organic revelation of what my apparent point is: There’s more than one road that leads to the same destination. And, while we’re getting there, we have to be patient as we discover what we truly want and make choices that feel right instead of forcing ourselves to remain stuck with choices that don’t work.

The way we get there is part of the journey. Like it was for me today. I took a hell of a detour for someone who’s used to being precise and I still made it where I wanted to go. We may feel like we’re floundering around with a column or a relationship or a matter of planetary importance -- and maybe we are.

The bigger truth is that even when we take diversions down the side roads, we’ll end up getting back on track just the same. If we go with the flow and pay attention to the signs, that is. You remember signs, don’t you? Just look around.

Looking forward,

Lisa V.

Miss the last "Inner Vision"? Read it here.

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Lisa B. Valentino