I work for a company that designs and delivers strengths-based leadership development programs. What that often results in feedback from clients is a description of how our curriculum encouraged them to examine what was working in their management/leadership style and how they can utilize their strengths in new ways to improve ongoing challenges. I think one of the most powerful elements of the program is that we present a paradigm shift. A new way of thinking about their perception of the world based on what can be appreciated rather than focusing primarily on what is going wrong.
I was given a similar gift last weekend attending a seminar by Micheal and Ricki Beckwith. I’ve written about these powerful teachers before and am continually inspired by them. And although I’ve been listening to them for 15 years (!) I still find such depth and surprises in their soulful messages of song and word. One such message was around my paradigm of competition. I often find myself stuck in my desire for good in anything: love, money, gifted employment, creativity…and how that limits my belief that there is good left for others. Or, if others already have such wonderful experiences of some quality, it means there is less for me.
Take for example the recent realization that about 80% of my friends are partnered. Not all married, but nearly all are in serious long-term relationships. As I turned 30 just a few days ago, I reflected on how I was going to let this impact my desire for more love in my life, especially as I move towards single-hood again. After attending a recent party with my son as my date, I observed all the loving couples and frowned. I realized it bothered it more than I thought AND that my focusing on the absence of a partner made me more irritated that the partner was not yet here. But I SAY I don’t believe that a room full of loving couples means there is less likelihood of finding love for myself, but my reaction was one of competition: wanting to be one of those in the room as half of a loving couple! I wish now I had heard Rev. Micheal’s words:
“Release the idea of competition, that the presence of good with someone else means less good for you. Goodness is omnipresent.”
The paradigm shift in that moment would have been to recognize the presence of appreciation, abundance, joy, peace, harmony swimming in the room. I could have considered how to deepen my display of parent-child love or friend-to-friend love which was also present in that moment.
Love was there waiting for me and I ignored it because I wanted it to look a certain way. But if I believe in the idea that goodness is everywhere-present, then I must also believe that it’s available in my life right now in more ways than I can imagine.
That’s what re-imagining peace is all about.