“If you take responsibility for yourself, you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams.” – Les Brown, businessman
“… I KNOW I WANT TO MOVE ON WITH MY LIFE.”
Tom was a tall guy about 6 foot 4 inches, and in his late thirties. He looked like an out-of-work cowboy, with short, blondish hair, ragged blue jeans, western boots and a grubby, over washed shirt of no distinct colour. He had a quiet, almost shy, demeanour…like he didn’t really know why he was in my office. But, he had called and booked the appointment, so there was something going on, he needed to address.
Tom wasn’t a cowpuncher, he was a guitar plucker…a musician. He play bass guitar in a local band, and did OK with gigs around the eastern end of the country. He was on the road a lot, and was finding it, more and more, dissatisfying. He said it had gotten so bad a band mate had accused him of being in a depression.
Tom had been in a serious relationship with Bronwen, whom he called Bron, for over two years. Bron was a dental hygienist and was ready to plan a future with him, he said. But, he seemed unsure what his future held.
As we got acquainted and he was sharing this background information about his life, Tom said, “I’m not totally clear why I’m here…except maybe…that I know I want to move on with my life. I’ve travelled enough, been on stage enough, and heard applause enough, to last me a lifetime. I just don’t know what’s next. Bron has a much clearer idea what she wants, but I don’t!”
“…I’M AFRAID SHE MIGHT LAUGH AT ME.”
“Tom, here’s a thought you might find interesting and useful. People are biologically wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain, to ensure their survival. In my experience, that means they always know what will give them pleasure…what they want…but, often don’t share it, for a couple of important reasons.”
“What kind of important reasons?” he asked.
“The first is internal, it’s because they are afraid they can’t achieve it. And, the second is external, it’s because they are afraid of ridicule, if they try.”
“In a way, that kind of makes sense to me. I’ve had a dream….but, it’s probably a fantasy…in the back of my mind, for a long time. I’ve never really shared it with anyone. Not even Bron knows for the reason you just mentioned…I’m afraid she might laugh at me.” he said with a sadness that seemed to envelope him.
“Tom?” I asked. “Are you aware of the basic difference between a dream and a fantasy?”
“Not really! I kinda thought they were different words for the same thing.” he replied.
“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” – James Dean, actor
“A LOT OF DEPRESSED PEOPLE CARRY AROUND FANTASIES, INSTEAD OF DREAMS…”
“A dream is something you believe you can achieve if you work hard at it diligently. A fantasy is something you believe you can’t really achieve regardless of what you do, and you use it to beat yourself up. A lot of depressed people carry around fantasies, instead of dreams, which actually helps support their depression.”
“That would be me, Ken!” he said.
“Maybe? Maybe not? What is it, you call a fantasy, which you have been using to depress yourself?” I asked.
“I want to live ‘off the grid’…totally! Be totally independent! Lots of people have tried it. But I think I can do it right here with all I’ve learned in the last few years.” He said this with a spark, I had not seen before. It was in his eyes and his voice.
“What do you mean ‘off the grid,’ Tom?” I asked.
“I mean I want to design and build a self sustaining house on a little piece of land I have. I want to grow my own food, raise a few animals, and collect any electric power I need, using the latest solar, and wind technologies, available.”
“Given what I have seen in the media, I would suspect that’s a dream, not a fantasy. Why do you consider it a fantasy, Tom?”
“Ken, contrary to the way I look, I’m really a city boy. I have very little skills or experience, in using my hands, in the way I would need to, in order to design and build the ‘of the grid’ home, I want. I have OK skills with musical instruments, guitars and such…but, a hammer and a skill saw are another matter.”
“DO YOU BELIEVE THERE ARE FREE LUNCHES IN LIFE…”
“Tom, voids create values, so, I’m wondering why is it so important for you to create an “off the grid’ house?”
He looked down at his hands for a moment, then said, “Ken, I grew up on the tenth floor of an apartment building in Toronto. When I was about nine years of age, I witnessed my Grandmother, who lived with us, have a heart attack and die during a power outage, because the elevator wasn’t working.”
“I can see why it is so important to you! You have strong internal motivation to create your ‘off the grid’ house, eh?”
“Yes, I do!” he replied in a serious voice.
“If you imagine yourself initiating a plan to create your ‘off the grid’ house, would you be inspired, highly motivated and fulfilled?” I asked.
“Indeed I would, Ken! I can think of nothing I would rather do, at this point in my life!” he added.
“Do you believe there are free lunches in life, Tom…that you can get something for nothing?”
“I don’t know…never really thought about it before. I know I have worked hard in my music career.”
“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” – Jesse Owens, athlete
“DO YOU KNOW THE ORIGINS OF THE WORD PASSIONATE?”
“Nature operates by a fair exchange process…there must always be a 50/50 give and take; a 50/50 pleasure and pain; and a 50/50 support and challenge. This optimizes the evolution of everything and everyone. Do you believe you can create a pleasurable dream ‘off the grid’ house without an equal, counterbalancing, measure of pain?”
Tom looked at me for a moment with a befuddled expression, as if he didn’t know quite how to respond. Then he said, “Well, that house has been my secret passion for a long time…I guess I was expecting more pleasure than pain.”
“Interesting choice of words, Tom. Do you know the origin of the word passionate?” I asked.
“No, I don’t…not a clue!”
“It comes from the Latin word, passionem, which means “suffering or enduring.” I replied.
“Are you telling me Ken, to be passionate about my ‘off the grid’ house means I should expect to suffer and endure if I strive to create it?” he asked, incredulously.
“I sure am, Tom!”
“So, thinking it’s not worth trying because people won’t support me, won’t agree with its viability, and so on, has been holding me back, creating depressive thinking, and keeping me stuck…is that what has been going on in my head?”
“What do you think, Tom?”
“I think I need to get on with my life and start planning my future! Would you be able to help me get started with a plan, Ken?”
“It would be my privilege to help! But, how about a Life Plan that includes, not just your ‘off the grid’ house, but also the rest of your life such as plans for your relationship with Bron; financial plans, health plans, and so on?”
“That sounds really interesting to me because, I’m realizing to do this house, will affect most parts of my life. I want to be prepared for the pleasure, and the pain, eh?”
“Right on! So, let’s get started!”
Tom worked hard over the next several sessions creating a detailed Life Plan with specific steps that would take him forward in his life. It took him almost three years to complete his house and it now sits on a wooded lot in a remote spot that, for the most part, is ‘off the grid.’ The last time I had contact with Tom, he was working on a way to pump water from his well using solar power, exclusively. He was having some storage battery pains, but he seemed OK with this challenge.
“Disney tries to sell you a fantasy, but dreams are the only option, if you want to be purposeful!” – King Ayles, author
Until Next time…
Now you know, there are no free lunches in life. Where have you been looking for them? Expect you dream will have to be paid for fully, to respect nature’s laws. But the price is well worth it because you get to honour yourself, and fulfill your destiny. So, go for it…expect the pain! But, because the pleasure and pain equilibrate each other…you won’t regret it!
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Our next seminar, “A Transformation Day!” will focus on relationships. It will be on Saturday, February 27th, 2016 at our offices. Details are available at ww.kenpiercepsychologist.com
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Namaste, (I salute the grandly organized design of the universe, manifested in you!)
Further information: www.kenpiercepsychologist.com