There is no prison, no box, no punishment that will ever compare to that imposed by our own self-talk. No one will ever judge us more harshly. No truth will ever feel so absolute.
As I walked the waterfront with my dear friend, I circled the wagons around my less-than-convincing (to her) evidence that all was lost, I had made a royal mess of things, and there was little hope for redemption. I was a screw-up and that was all there was to it.
Pay no mind to being a great father, a loving partner, and a deeply caring human being. Forget about the people I’ve helped along the way or the ripples that continue to go out into the world.
The tyranny of the voices in my head was so absolutely convincing, I was sure that none of the rest really mattered.
So… she laughed. She laughed! Seriously? In the midst of my pain, she laughed. “You are right!” she conceded. “I don’t know why you even bother. Give it up, brother. It’s too late, and you blew it.”
I smirked a little. “No, really,” she said, “I don’t know how you’re even still walking.”
I smiled a little more. “But, but, but…” I stammered. But I knew I was beaten. The absurdity of my little tragedy-of-the-mind hit me.
Then… I looked up, and there in front of me, as if by divine intervention, was a massive wooden rack, appropriately labeled the “Dinghy Rack.”
And I was the Dinghy, the dingbat, the clown. How silly of me. Of course I will rise. I always have. Of course all will be well. It always is and always will be. Of course this is the darkness of the womb, just before the beautiful birthing of something new and wonderful.
I ran up, hung myself next to the sign and she snapped this shot.
“So,” I said sarcastically, “you think maybe there is a connection between me seeing myself as belonging on the Dinghy Rack and the way things have been going?” We laughed and hugged and the spell was broken – at least for a bit.
The Dinghy Rack picture now hangs in my workspace, a reminder of the absurdity of the voices in our heads. Powerful as they are, they can only live in the dark – ready to be vanquished by the light of who we really are.
My friend was an inspired personal leader in that moment. In her refusal to join me in the dark, she rescued me from the Dinghy Rack. How nice to know I can climb down whenever I like. I just need a little light.
Ready to shed your light? I just opened registration for the new online version of “How to Be an Inspired Personal Leader.” The link below will take you to the details, and a chance to enjoy the the extraordinary benefits of being an early adopter.
(There is still space in the live workshop on March 9, as well. Would love to see you there!)