The Glass is Half Full

by Alan McAllister, CCHt PhD-phys

In the sciences I was trained to identify the problem and solve it. This type of thinking runs throughout western culture in general; medicine, engineering, raising kids, or even dealing with ourselves. It takes the form of “if only I can figure out what’s wrong with X and fix it, then it will all be OK”.

We know consciously this isn’t true, but the programming is deep and pervasive, much of it being absorbed subconsciously. Some of it comes overtly (as in schools), but much of it comes in the form of how everyone around us is doing things. It just is. It is also heavily supported by the advertising industry which is based on telling us that if we buy the right car, or the right drink, or the right whatever-they-are-selling that everything in our life will be great.

The subtle effect of this is that we focus on problems, often ignoring potential answers. The glass tends to be always half empty rather than half full. There is a valuable place for problem solving and the skills that go with it. It can be a place of creativity and genius. But if our focus is too heavily there, if our instinctual patterns are to look for problems then we will find them. Perhaps even create them.

I have seen this in myself, even when I am supportive of something I may fall into critiquing it. High school english anyone? Isn’t it preferable to change our default to one of appreciation? It is vitally important that we never forget what is going right, what we already know, those things that make the glass half full (or more).

If in real life you are sleeping on a bed with a pea under it, do you really want to focus your awareness on the pea, or on the 99% of the bed that is comfortable? This doesn’t preclude getting up and removing the pea, but sometimes that’s not possible right away.

When you are trying to manifest something, by growth or change, why not start from places of strength? Are there places in your life where it already exists?

Perhaps you are wanting to relax more at work, to bring in more joy and amusement. This can be challenging as workplaces are often not set for these energies. But there are probably other areas of your life where you have joy and amusement, where you can play and relax. Or there are people in your life that know how to do this. These are your resources. Identify these and build on them. Remember the feelings you want and then invite them into your workplace.

If you are having challenges with someone in your life, resource the relationships that are easier, more joyful and consider how to invite those energies into you, and then into the more bumpy relationship. Remembering to appreciate the aspects of a relationship that do thrive can also help you to step out of the box and shift the ones that don’t. When we stop focusing only on the things that are wrong with another person it helps them to step out of their box too. It can be almost magical. Looking for resources, for things that are right, we can surprise ourselves.

Perhaps this problem reflex solving is even genetic, a primitive survival mechanism, but it is not inevitable and we can choose to put it aside when its not necessary or useful. We simply have to train ourselves to remember that we have a different choice we can make.

The same thing goes for group and social projects or situations. Perhaps its just easier to list the faults and weaknesses? But to what extent is this really useful, especially if we neglect to list the strengths and positives. Perhaps these are not as “obvious”, but take a little time to invite them to appear. Appreciate what is already there to work with. Releasing expectations about what it should be and seeing what it is can shift things powerfully.

When I say easier, I see two things. If we list enough negatives we can write something off and walk away, even though we honestly want it. This may be “easier” than wading in and working with it. Let us try to be honest with ourselves about what we want, and what we have time for. There is no shame is choosing consciously to pass something by, even if it is something we want or support. We can appreciate something and allow that good energy to flow to it, but still choose not to engage it. We shouldn’t need to talk ourselves into walking away.

The other level of “easier” is looking for a magic bullet. Say we want a group or project to grow. It may seem easier to look for the fatal flaw that we can “fix” and then everything will be cool. But is this truly possible? Appreciating what is already there and focusing on what we can work with and build from may be a path of slow evolution, but isn’t it more likely to eventually bare fruit? Even in engineering, the best “problem solvers” are the ones who can build what they need from what they have, even a pile of junk.

If you wonder why we might choose an “easier” path that doesn’t lead to what we want, good question. But we do it all the time. Seeing the glass half full and moving forward to create something may mean dealing with fear of change, the fear of failing, mistrust of our own creativity, of others, or of Spirit. There may be risks of all sorts. Until we are practiced it takes a certain type of effort, but with practice the sense of effort lessens.

In our personal lives this is the same issue as shifting from “Who am I supposed to be?” to “Who am I already, deeply, in my soul?” We know which of those questions is more likely to bare the fruit we all seek. Remember to remember that in Spirit you are always full.

To move beyond dreams and into action, we must claim the positives for ourselves, about ourselves, about all the aspects of our lives. Then we can have the inspiration, the energy and resources to manifest our dreams, bit by bit, walking forward with each other.

This is the time, the game is afoot, but choosing love and hope over fear and doubt is something we have to remember to remember over and over, until the old habits are worn away.

May you appreciate the shining brilliance of your half-full glasses, there you will find the resources to fill them to overflowing.

(© 9/2009)

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