Posts tagged ‘just right’

October 6, 2015

Is Bigger Always Better or Should I Channel My Inner Goldilocks?

Here’s what I’ve been pondering: Is bigger always better or should I channel my inner Goldilocks and learn to be satisfied with just right. I know, it seems obvious that just right is just right and therefore the obvious choice, but I’m surrounded by images, ads, attitudes, messages, and the occasional TEDx talk that imply, or outright state, that just right is somehow failure; that if I do not reach the absolute pinnacle of wealth, status, expertise, or achievement in my field, I will have failed to have a great career or a great life.
Versailles USA
And it seems to be no secret that I’m supposed to feel happiest when I buy a bigger house, fancier car, more expensive TV, computer, phone, coffee maker, iron, and larger lips, boobs, and these days, perhaps even booty. But I know plenty of people who have bought a bigger house or a high end car and now talk as if they’re more stressed than they were before. I have numerous friends who own the latest and greatest everything, look fabulous, and feel anxious, so anxious in fact, that they use daily medication or alcohol to take the edge off. Working in a service business for 25 years, I am also no stranger to the conversation that includes an expression of dissatisfaction with a job or spouse.

But something feels wrong to me. I understand that most of us are our own greatest limiters, so trying to inspire us to be more isn’t a bad thing on it’s own. The hard thing with all the messages encouraging excess is to determine when more becomes too much. Without tools for discernment or a different measure of enough, it’s easy to fall prey to the lure of too much and too many. Once we get on that roller coaster, nothing is enough and we certainly can’t be enough or produce enough or ever live up to our expectations. How can our spouse, our kids, our boss, or anyone, ever measure up? In this environment, how can we help but feel anxious and fearful?
Rev Run
Last fall I went to see Joseph Simmons (Rev Run) speak at a college nearby. He described a scene early in his career when he was experiencing the kind of success we’re told to strive for. Run DMC’s albums had just gone gold, platinum and then double platinum. At that point, Run’s goal became to top LL Cool J, so, his plan was to go to LA, get a presidential suite with a huge Jacuzzi tub, order French toast and smoke some weed. Then one day, he’s in LA in a presidential suite, in the Jacuzzi eating French toast and smoking weed just like he planned. As he described it, syrup was falling in the tub and ashes were falling in the tub. A guy that ordered him a Rolls Royce to rent was at the door. “Rolling Stone” magazine was at the door with a girl for him, and the hair cut guy was on the way. He had everything he had imagined as “winning”.

Then, Rev said, he had a moment of clarity. He realized that he was trying to have everything at once. He was trying to win like we’re told to win and it did not come with the good feeling he expected. That point was the beginning of his bottom, or as he said it when I saw him, his top was his bottom. To quote the way he said it on another occasion to CNN, “At that moment I took a deep breath and realized that there`s more to life than just being No. 1, pushing the other rappers down.” It was the beginning of a journey that led Rev Run to become a real reverend with a real ministry.

When I was reading “Fearless Living” by Rhonda Britten, the book instructed me to choose a list of heroes. In various versions of this list, I chose Burt Rutan, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Ben Vereen, Theodor Seuss Geisel, and Ron Clark. In the beginning, I noticed that most of my lists were full of men and none included anyone I actually knew. Was it possible that the idea of bigger is better had caused me to believe that no everyday person could possibly qualify as a hero? Even more frightening, did I believe that only men could achieve the level of hero?

By the time I’m consciously asking a question, I know I’ve already shifted my subconscious beliefs enough that I can entertain a new point of view. Today my hero list includes Michelle Knight, Elizabeth Smart, and Michelle Wilkins – all women who endured the unspeakable and emerged with a bright, sweet spirit intact. It’s that spirit that inspires me. You can’t buy it. You can’t get a degree in it. You can have it no matter what you look like. It’s available within each of us and it can be cultivated, nourished, and shared. It is a piece of wholeness.

We all have different paths to healing and wholeness. Along the way, some of us will enjoy accolades, win prizes and garner fame as the foremost achievers in our field. Some of us will receive recognition for our contributions as parents or patrons of the arts. For some of us, there will be no overt recognition. We will only know we are having a positive effect during brief moments when we feel it in another’s response to us.

No matter what my job, my social status, or my financial situation, the more whole I am, the more contentment, satisfaction, beauty, and joy I’ll be poised to experience. That sounds to me like the underpinning of a great career and a great life!
Wholeness does not require wealth, a bigger house, a high end car, a Nobel prize, a larger TV, plastic surgery, a ticket to the Super Bowl, or French toast in a presidential suite. If I am whole, I can be a hero in my life. It seems quite simple, perhaps obvious, that bigger is only bigger and better is only better when it’s just right. Now that we cleared that up, I’ll just sign off – as Goldilocks, of course!