Some years ago, I had an epiphany that I did not know if I was capable of being happy with myself and my life. I had struggled so long one way and another and then it dawned on me — maybe I wasn’t capable of being happy. You know, chemical imbalance in the brain or congenital or something.
I love experiments, though. So, I had the idea to see if I could be happy… if I could choose to be happy.
I have always been a music buff. My special favorite and go-to music has always been singer-songwriters. Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, James Taylor, etc.
Now that I had made the decision to see if I could be happy, I started noticing things that I thought, concluded and did that stopped or undercut that choice.
Like the music I listened to. Over and over. For decades.
Longing. Sorrow. Melancholy. Loss. Lost love. Lost chances. Death. Pain. Sorry. Lack. Loneliness. Madness.
All things I had, to date, decided were the most noble, the most universal, valuable, precious, human, aspirational, in-touch, Truths about Life.
All my favorite music, songs I had intentionally listened to over and over for hours, days and years of my life, formed and reinforced, shaped and validated the “truth” about life as being a tragic journey of striving without achieving, loving without being loved, disappointment, failure, and suffering, and more like that.
And any joy, any satisfaction, any pleasure, any sense of being supported was only in service to being in pain, or suffering.
I suddenly could see what a closed system it was.
Everything that came in — any good luck or bonus or friendship event that did not fit into this paradigm would have to either comply or be rejected in time, because these definitions were what I was choosing to reinforce and believe in, over and over again.
In fact, I had already identified melancholy as a best friend.
I couldn’t give up melancholy. Melancholy had been my most faithful companion, helping me write the poetry I loved to write, seeing the world and live in that poetic way, the luxurious feeling of being and identifying as a poet, as sensitive, and artistic.
I was completely loyal to melancholy as it gave me so much.
It fit my pictures, gave me meaning, gave my life the meaning I was most comfortable with because it fit my pictures, beliefs, definitions, conclusions, assumptions, projections and more about life, meaning, and me.
But I thought I was deducing all that, not predicting and projecting it, then doing everything in my power to make and keep, maintain and justify that reality.
To see all of life through that lens, through those pain and stuck pictures took thousands of choices every day.
The mechanics of how we choose and create our reality require we slow down and attend to, be curious about, and actually listen to the split second autocorrect programs we’ve installed and maintain in our heads.
We are most comfortable with the ideas, music, movies and people who are on that same wavelength, that same channel of what and how reality is, and tend to not like or trust other wavelengths, other channels, other stations of reality.
Because of the lie that there is only One Reality. But that’s another story.
One of the most useful things that occurred to me as I started to practice making a different choice was the notion of — “Maybe. Maybe not.”
Because my reality felt and seemed so rock-solid Real, I could not pre-conceive how to be-think-choose differently in the moment.
I mean — how it Is is how it IS, right?
So — when I’d have the same old conclusion-definition, I’d notice and answer back — “Maybe. Maybe not.”
“Maybe. Maybe not,” was enough to create an opening in the absolutism of my beliefs.
With repeated use, it created that crack that let the light of other possibilities in. So, in time I could switch to believing in other possibilities, even those I could not yet see.
Maybe. Maybe not is like the water that created the Grand Canyon.
It is fluid, flowing, and will cut through the stone of old conclusions, decisions, and beliefs.
How great is that?
You do have more power than you’ve imagined, though probably not in the ways you have imagined and certainly not in the ways you’ve been told.
Start changing your reality, your experience of life, with questioning your own believes, conclusions, definitions not to make you wrong, but to set yourself free.
Maybe. Maybe not. Using this can set you free.