The Authors Collection: How It Was Isn’t How It Has to Be.
May 12, 2013
AS A TEENAGER, I would often fight with my dad for what I perceived as my rights as a person, not hampered by the fact that I was a “girl.” I would argue with him that it was unfair that my younger brother could stay out longer at night (for example) than I could, because I wasn’t a boy.
Dad would stand in the living room, big and tall, I would walk up to him, little and short, and we would exchange loud words. My mother and brother stayed out of the way, probably a wise choice on their part.
When we got tired of arguing vocally, we would continue the discussion by pinning quotes and opposing ideas on a common bulletin board by the basement stairs. It was fun researching things other people said that supported my point of view, and almost as much fun reading how he would counter them.
I thoroughly admired my dad, but I did not admire the point of view that just because I wasn’t male, things were different for me.
At the time, I thought that it was a local argument, just between us. When I entered the “real world” in business, I realized it was part of a larger problem. However, it wasn’t until my husband and I joined the crowd that watches Mad Men that I realized how pervasive that limited belief system was during that time. I saw how my dad was simply caught up in a something that everyone thought had to be a certain way.
By the time my sister came along ten years later, my dad had soften his strongly held stands on many issues, and over the years we reached a more common ground on almost everything.
Those early years of fighting for equality with someone bigger, and more powerful than me, must have stuck with me. I realize that I have always been arguing against limited belief systems of all kinds, no matter where I found myself working, or living.
If the point of view was limited, if it meant there is inequality, then I wanted to shift it, and the people that held those beliefs, to an expanded and inclusive point of view.
I see I am still doing the same thing that I did as a teenager. I argue, aloud if necessary, but now with quieter words, no longer tacked to a bulletin board, but posted in books and blogs.
Over the years, I developed systems, tools, and courses that helped me see things differently. I shared them with others so they too could move out of the idea that just because something was one way, doesn’t mean it was right, or must remain that way.
Besides, it is so much easier to make these shifts within a group. Everyone expands everyone else by becoming both a mirror, and a guide, out of the maze of worldview perceptions.
As teenagers in the 60’s we were pushing against strongly held beliefs in all areas, especially in the area of limitation of all kinds. As adults, we must still be pushing against, and dissolving, strongly held limiting beliefs in all areas of life. We should not be part of the culture that says, “This is how it always has been, and so that’s how it is.”
Just as it takes practice to be good at anything, it takes practice to break free of limited belief systems. In day-to-day life, we don’t often notice that we are holding onto a “that’s how it has always been” point of view.
Later in life, I discovered that my dad, at the time I was arguing with him, was also studying Utopias. In fact, he became a leading scholar in the study of Utopias, founded the Utopian Society, and his collection of Utopian literature now has its own room in the library at Penn State University.
Turns out, we were working on the same thing. Because isn’t Utopia what we all are striving for in some way; to establish a Utopian environment for ourselves, and for those we love?
I know for sure that it can be done, but that it starts within, and involves questioning, and shifting beliefs and perceptions that limit or exclude.
I need lots of practice, but the good news is – there is never a lack of ways to do so, and there are many people practicing with me!
The series of 7 Day Shifts found with the book The Daily Shift, are perfect for practicing shifts of perception of everything from money to love.