A couple years ago, my son’s dance company used Dancing through Life, from Wicked, as the theme for its annual concert. While the lyrics aren’t necessarily completely whimsical, the tune is catchy, and the basic message I caught was encouraging.
Since then, I have looked for ways to “dance” rather than “trudge” through life. I recently went as far as buying two versions of that song from iTunes, intending to use the karaoke version as background for recorded affirmative statements.
As usual, life is full of vicissitudes. Ups and downs are the common lot of every human. What we do with our experiences makes the difference in our results. How we perceive our experiences makes the difference in our actions.
It struck me this week that sometimes I dance through life, sometimes I trudge through life, and sometimes I hide from life. As I want to be the person Haanel describes in paragraph 11-21, the one who completes every task with a “happy knack,” it made sense to “battleship” my actions to see the thoughts and beliefs underlying.
The battleship exercise is to undo the process that created a physical object step by step, all the way down to understanding the motives in the minds of the people whose demand(s) created the object. When I did this a couple months ago with a battleship, I could eventually perceive the individual needs for personal security and cultural continuity that underlay the motive for providing for a common defense via an armed military.
As I exercised this time, an image from my youth came to mind. As a young adolescent, I remember my Dad bringing home one day a Dymo label maker. This was a mechanical device that formed letters, numerals and special characters by embossing them on adhesive-backed plastic tape. I know, my gray hair is showing. It was very convenient to attach an adhesive label to things, as the previous technology was paint or ink.
As I remembered the fun I used to have working the label maker, the answer to my query appeared. I could see that I had a label maker in my mind, and that, like every other human, I attached labels to the tasks before me. And, also not surprisingly, many times my labels are arbitrary and a consequence of programming I’d borrowed from others. Many of my labels prompted me to heed the “stop” voice rather than the “go” voice.
Another benefit from the battleship exercise was the insight that sometimes my actions (or lack of action) gave rise to anxiety feelings. As I revisited these feelings, I saw that they arose when I denied the truth of who I really am. I grew anxious when I was acting (or failing to act) in a way that best gave voice to the magnificence within.
Therefore, one way to be happier in the performance of my tasks is to change my internal labels. I’ve already found this to be true for one task, and learning how to apply the principle to other tasks will yield similarly desirable results. By so doing, I will more frequently dance through life and complete more tasks with a happy knack.
Will you dance with me by taking control of your own label maker?by