The metaphor that seems most revealing is to consider life as a bowl of fruit where the fruit represents the things in life that you want — whether they be material possessions, happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment or the like. Our universe provides the fruit and it seems to do that exceptionally well. In fact, you could say that there is an unlimited quantity of fruit, certainly enough to keep all of our appetites satisfied for a lifetime.
If you look at the world more closely, you can see that there are many people who have an abundance of “fruit.” It is equally true that many find themselves lacking. What makes the difference? The answer is simple. There really is an abundance of fruit for all of us, but how much each of us obtains is determined by only two things: the first is the size of your bowl; and the second is how much space in your bowl is taken up by extraneous things which do not allow room for fruit.
What we have been sharing with our clients, as they consider this new year, is that the work to be done in 2008-2009 is really quite simple. If you want to have more of the things that you want in life, what you need to work on is only two things: making the size of your bowl bigger and eliminating extraneous things from your bowl that are taking up space.
Expanding the Possibilities
While not discussed in these terms, our article entitled Where Are We Going Anyway? is about how to make your bowl bigger. The size of your bowl is directly a function of the paradigm in which you live. If you live in a fear/scarcity-based paradigm, you will, by definition, have a very small bowl. If you live in an optimism/faith/trust/abundance-based paradigm, you will have a very large bowl. Being positive is the secret of success of every truly successful human being. You cannot produce abundance with scarcity thinking. You can only be truly abundant if you are willing to come from abundance, and coming from abundance means learning to trust that there will always be enough and to expect the best. Learning to expect the best will dramatically increase the number of times that the best occurs.
Emptying Your Bowl
Creating space in your bowl is done simply and most effectively by learning to be complete. Human beings have the potential, at every moment, to be complete with their past, but often choose unconsciously not to be. Let`s explore the phenomenon of being complete.
We, as human beings, are fundamentally designed to experience and express. Watch a child in action. Everything they experience they express. When they are happy, they laugh. When they are sad, they cry. Whatever they experience, they express and that completes the process.
Unfortunately, we are taught at a very early age to suppress our expression. We are told things like, “children should be seen and not heard,” “little boys shouldn`t cry,” “if you don`t have anything good to say, don`t say anything at all,” and it goes on and on. So, we get into the habit, early in life, of not completing the process of experiencing and expressing. It is not healthy to suppress a natural process. So, the first part of being complete is to learn to complete the process of experiencing and expressing.
The second part is to learn to let go of things. All kinds of things happen to us which we are not happy about, but rather than letting go of them, we tend to hold on to them. We have often said to clients that you have the choice to either be right or be happy. Unfortunately, people think that they get to be happy by being right. That is not true. Those choices are mutually exclusive. If you want to be happy, you need to give up your need to be right. This ultimately means that you learn to forgive, both yourself and others, for the things that happen in life that you do not like.
True forgiveness requires giving up resentment and the desire to punish; it necessitates pardon, the cessation of anger and the ability to overlook. Forgiveness literally means “to give as before.”
For your own sanity, it is critically important to forgive others and yourself. Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself and to another. Through the act of forgiveness, by giving up resentment and the right to punish, you are left with serenity, freedom and peace of mind.
Try This Exercise
To empty your bowl and make room for good things to happen in 2008, try this exercise with your team members. We have done this many times at the beginning of the new year with our clients, always with spectacular results.
First, in a group, have everyone acknowledge their accomplishments for 2007. There is no room in this discussion for any “yeah, buts” or “if onlys,” just acknowledgement of accomplishments. As a second aspect of this first part of the process, have everyone acknowledge what occurred in 2007 that was a source of pleasure.
Then have everybody express their disappointments, unfulfilled expectations, thwarted intentions and sources of displeasure in 2007. It is really important that everyone express everything, using the tools we discuss in the above mentioned article entitled Where Are We Going Anyway? This completes the process of experiencing and expressing.
The next question for everyone is: “Who do you need to forgive and for what?” It is crucial that people be willing to forgive themselves and each other for whatever happened. To the extent that people are not willing to forgive is the degree to which unforgiven acts stay in their bowl, taking up space that could be filled with the wonderful things they want.
The subsequent question is: “Who do you need to thank and for what?” When we do this in a group it is usually the most inspiring part of the process, as people go around the room and thank each other for all of the wonderful things that happened during the year. By the way, don`t forget to also thank yourself.
The next question simply is: “Is there anything else you need to say about 2007 in order to be complete?” If you just ask yourself each of these questions, what is there will immediately come to light. You do not have to search through your mind or struggle with the process. Whatever is necessary to be said will be readily apparent.
Finally, completion is one of those phenomenons that lives only in language. In other words, the only way you can be truly complete with something is to declare yourself complete. So, after you have spoken your accomplishments, your disappointments, forgiven and thanked people and said anything else you need to say about 2007, the next step is simply to declare yourself complete.
At a retreat, as the owners of a company completed the process, you could sense that they had created more space in their bowl for the greater abundance they all desired. At the end, one of the owners analogized the process to a session with a chiropractor. He said he could see that during the year, he and his co-owners had gotten out of adjustment, and that participating in this process together allowed them to get back in alignment.
This process is done very effectively in a group, and it can also be done by you as an individual at any time you want to be complete with something.
In summary, completion is a function of a willingness to be complete, a willingness to express that which you experience, and a willingness to forgive and let go. With regard to anything you are not complete with, as in a relationship from the past, simply express what there was about the relationship that was a source of pleasure, what there was that was a disappointment, who you need to forgive and for what, who you need to thank and for what, and whatever else you need to say in order to be complete. Then declare yourself complete.
Every time you do this process, either individually or with a group of which you are a part, the effect is to take the pits out of your bowl and make room for wonderful, juicy, succulent new cherries. If you simultaneously work to make your bowl bigger by moving from the fear/scarcity paradigm to the trust/abundance paradigm, every year can become a year in which you have more and more of the good things in life.
If it is not already obvious, we at The Hunter Partnership Alliance are committed to supporting companies in having everything that they want. If there is any way that we can support you or your company in that, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Copyright 2006-2008 Scott Hunter