What do you think you can't do? Speak publicly? Learn another language? Speak publicly in another language? Get a job you enjoy? Run a business? Lead a team? Whip up a feast for 20? Do you tell yourself you are afraid of something? Making a mistake? People laughing at you? Failure? Ruining your life forever and dying alone and poor? Is any of that true? Or are they all just interesting points of view you bought from someone, somewhere, sometime? It doesn't matter where your points of view came from, how well do they serve you? Do they help you create the life you'd really like? If not, ask “What's the value of saying I can't do it?”If there's no value, you are hanging on to them for what reason? What if instead, you asked another question like "What will it take for me to do this with ease?"
What sort of people do you see everyday? Family? Friends? Coworkers? Students? Clients? Shop assistants? How many of them are fun? Do they make you smile and feel great about your day? How many do you let drag you down by listening to their tales of woe? Would you like more fun, light people in your life? If so, just ask “What will it take for more fun people to come and play?” When you ask, what comes to mind? Do you think you need to go somewhere else to meet new people? What if you all you needed was for YOU to be the difference? What if it were as easy as smiling, listening and offering a kind word and a giggle here and there? Just because someone was not fun 10 seconds ago, doesn't mean they can't choose it now. Are you willing to show them how easy it can be?
Do you have someone sick and suffering in your life? Are you surrounded by well meaning family and friends, and highly trained medical professionals all telling you how it's going to get worse and worse? What happens to plants when you direct negative thoughts, words and actions at them? Science shows us they whither and die. Are people any different? What if rather than contributing like this to someone's deterioration by adding your voice to the throng, you asked the person suffering "What contribution could I be to you?" Then listen and honour the person by being that, even if it’s just to hold their hand and smile. You are not expecting a miracle recovery, even if it's possible and could occur. You are honouring the person and offering them energy, space, allowance, and possibility. What difference could you be by contributing that?
Are you in a relationship? How's it going? Not so well? Are you suffering things you'd rather not because you think it will help the relationship work out the way you'd like it to? Will that help? Maybe. Maybe not. Is it fun to suffer? Or would you rather enjoy life with other fun people? Are you committed to making the relationship work no matter what, because YOU CAN DO IT and to do otherwise would be to fail? Have you decided he/she is The One and your rose-coloured glasses don't allow you to see things as they really are? If you'd like to see you, the other person, and your relationship more clearly ask “What am I pretending not to know?” You already know what will be the greatest contribution to your life, you just pretend you don't.
What fixed points of view do you have about who and what you have to be/do/have in life? For example, I have to get married because my mother expects it. I can't take a year off school to travel because my father wouldn't like it. I have to get into that company because otherwise I'll be a failure. I can't be nice because the tough kids will make fun of me. I have to cook dinner every night otherwise I'll be a bad mother. Do you spend all your energy, time and money on this hamster wheel? Is it fun? Does it create the happiness you'd like? If not, ask “What could be possible if I changed my point of view?” What if all your “I have to”s and “I can't”s were just points of view that you could change? What point of view would you start with?
How many people do you have in life you want to kill, or at least complain endlessly about? One or two? Or too many to count? When you think about these people do you smile or frown? And how do you feel when you see other people frowning? Do you feel happy and energetic, or not so much? What about when people smile at you, how do you feel? Do you feel like the children's song: “when someone smiles at me, I feel like smiling too, when I see someone who is happy, I feel happy too”? If you'd like to find out, ask “Who can I smile at today?” and start with one person. Then try another, until you smile at everyone. Yes, some of them may think you're insane. Who cares what they think if you're happier?
Are you happy with your life? It's OK to say you are. But you probably can't or won't admit it, right? What is that? When did you decide that you couldn't be happy and had to be dissatisfied and complain about life? Would you like to more happiness in life? Will moaning and groaning create it? Or will choosing to be happy create it? If you'd like to find out, ask “What can I smile about today?” and then SMILE and smile some more. You may only find one thing to start with. A really great cup of coffee. A break in the traffic. A clear blue sky. So SMILE. You can also smile at the not-so-great stuff. Boss cranky? SMILE. Lost your keys? SMILE. Heartbroken? SMILE. After a while, like magic, your sense of happiness will expand and you'll see more and more great stuff in life. You may even infect others and wouldn't that be something to smile about?
They're up in the air of course. Or are they? If you're “standing” on your head, then wouldn't your feet be on your head? How many things in your life are like this? Beliefs based on assumptions? You've heard it from your family and friends a million times, or you saw it on TV, so of course it's true? What if some, many, or even all your assumptions about how the world functions were different to what you thought? What if everything was the opposite of what it appeared to be and nothing was the opposite of what it appeared to be? So next time you'd like clarity about something you have assumed must a certain way, ask “If I'm standing on my head, where are my feet here?” You may find they are indeed in the air. Or they may be on your head. Maybe you checked them into the cloakroom. Or perhaps you never had feet to begin with?
With thanks to John for the question.
How often do you feel swept away by the stream of people's trauma and drama? Dragged over the rapids and smashed against the rocks? Or perhaps you're a salmon diligently struggling against the flow? What if instead you were a rock in the stream, allowing the water to pass one way and the salmon to pass the other? What if you could see it all, without being the effect of it, so you can choose what works for you? This is allowance and questions will get you there. Like to be the rock? Be the question.
Do you ever have those moments when your computer just won't work. It dies for no apparent reason? You're just about to buy something online, or give a presentation and kapput. It could be anything. The hardware, the software, the connection, the (non) service provider, or maybe you stepped on it? What if there was nothing wrong with the sudden non-functioning of your electronics? What if the gods in the machinery were letting you know doing something else could be more rewarding? What if by NOT buying that item online now, you got a discount later? What if by NOT sticking to the slide show, your presentation was so much better? So next time your electronics go CLUNK, ask "Computer, what are you trying to tell me?" and consider what else you might do instead.