This past fall a class gathered to take a deep dive into the topics of Autonomy and Authority. Eleven of us from around the world took on the challenges and the promise of this work. First we opened up to an audacious concept that infinite possibilities are available to us at any moment. It is amazing to tap into this energy — that all you can imagine already exists waiting for you to grasp it! Then we had to examine deeply what is in our way of actually doing so. Each of us looked and felt our young emotional dependency, waiting for a parental figure, a gate keeper, to give us the permission we felt we needed as children. In this mindset someone or something was in the way of what we wanted — of all that was possible. We each had to answer the question — what do I really want when I wait and lean on another for all that is already waiting for me? This was a vulnerable place. I could feel each of us literally grow up a bit as we began to activate in our selves what we wanted from another.
Next we embraced another huge, expansive idea. If you focus inward and are willing to go through the uncomfortable emptiness, you will find everything! This is a challenging practice. We found constant distractions. And then we found that what was in our way was how we all give over our attention to outward authorities and wrestle with them instead of finding our own inner authority. The promise of an ongoing practice of turning inward versus reaching out is that we will experience vibrancy, aliveness and an unleashing of our innate creativity.
As the class wrapped up in December, each of us had significant breakthroughs. They came at unexpected moments and not in a literal or linear fashion. Mine came as I was in the dentist chair with my mouth wide open — getting my teeth cleaned the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We were spending Thanksgiving at our vacation home with our children and two grandsons. I worry about the older boy — he doesn’t fish with his Dad and brother, and I wanted a fun activity for him. Right then in the dental chair I visualized a perfect project that would also produce Christmas gifts for everyone.
Recently he had brought home his school work and showed me how he had learned fractions by making mandalas. A gifted artist, he has astonishing skill at doing this freehand. We already had colored pencils and my daughter brought paper. This seemingly random inspiration in the dental chair blossomed into a wonderful creative activity. My grandson loved it, he taught me to do it and I find it magical and soothing to shade and color and create, and many lovely mandalas were the result.
The funny thing about the journey of self growth and change. It never produces the results you actually expect. It always produces so much more.