What do you think? “How many times should you try?” These inspiring examples of people believing in their ideas, skills, and talents are incredibly inspirational. 1500 times to launch Rocky? Amazing. 1500 times. Which of my projects do I believe to be so perfect or so inspirational that I am willing to subject my idea to 1499 rejections? That is a lot of Belief.
So, the question is: How many times should you try? What project or dream or invention or book or screenplay or song or practice or blog or . . . are you committed to launching? How many times should you try? Will you try?
Should is a loaded word in these days of intentional and mindful living. Google’s “define:should” gives this definition: “used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.” Obligation. Duty. Correctness. Criticism. No wonder many of us bristle when we encounter the word should. I should do this. I should have done that. I should take care of this. I should be nicer to him. To her. To me. I should have worked harder. Run harder. Played harder. I should be better at that. This list is endless. All of the many shoulds.
I ask myself: What are some of my common shoulds? I sometimes think that I am too hard on myself. And there are those times when I am too quick to step aside and let fate and coincidence charge into each other.
When this happens, I wonder why I seem to take myself out of my own life’s equation — only to later banish myself to the Realm of Should. I shouldn’t have said that. I should have stayed home. I should have been more aware. I shouldn’t have danced like such a dork. I should have been more supportive. I should have been a better self-advocate. I should have given a hug to that stranger who was crying in the frozen-food section of the grocery story. I should have been more gracious, kind, loving. I should have been tougher and just said what needed to be said.
I should have just said it . . . all of these shoulds. No wonder I find that I am too hard on myself.
Surely, life is not entirely left to coincidence and fate. I have a part in this passion play, and it is my role to navigate past the shoulds that present themselves to me as I shift should into will. I remember when I was going through a tough time of either-or in my life — one of those definitive crossroad moments — and my brother was encouraging me to shift into a new change. I was balking and reciting the many excuses as to why I could not do anything to create something more positive in my life. I remember my brother’s question to me: “Can’t? Or won’t?”
Can’t? Or won’t? Should? Or will? The lyrics from an Indigo Girls song have been running through my mind as I have been writing this morning:
“There’s more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.”
The closer I am to fine, the more likely I am to be more flexible. More fluid. More willing to be in flow-mode. There truly is more than one answer to the many questions that present. And a crooked line is sometimes to be expected.
Life has its many many blessings that are all around me. When I experience an active awareness of this, I feel my spirit bumping some of the ever-present shoulds into a different position, allowing me to enter that magical bubble of grace, easing me into an easier space.
This is one of life’s anointed experiences that is rarely stored in the memory for later recall during some of the more challenging times. And like the Biblical manna, this sort of moment is supplied miraculously on a daily basis. It is up to me to harvest it, to enjoy it, and to not try to store it or hoard it. It is a single moment to be released into and from my life. One at a time, preferably without an army of shoulds marching at the head of the procession.
In life, we are blessed when we can experience true sweetness. At the risk of sounding pessimistic, this can be quite rare. How many times will I try to not only acknowledge but to return this sweetness? Over and over. Like Thomas Edison and his 10,000 tries to invent the light bulb, I will.