The Board of
Private Enemy #1

Board of Mis-Directors

These are the guys you don't want running your life - but all too often, they do. More...

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The Board of Mis-Directors PrimerBoard of Mis-Directors Primer
The Board of Mis-Directors - our internal dialogue, inner critic, etc. - takes us in all sorts of unproductive directions.  And they're just plain mean!  Yet, they are surprisingly, disturbingly effective at directing the course of our lives.

What to do about these guys?

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Board of Mis-Directors Tactic: Take It Personally!

On The Relationship between the Board of Mis-Directors and Distractions and Seductions

Just What Is a Raging Magma Life?

Distractions? Seductions?

Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute; what you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius and power and magic in it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Dreaming Together

Have you ever joined forces with another, only to find out some time later (days? months? years?) that his or her desires in life were actually nothing like yours? And, perhaps, that in order to stay in partnership you had put some part of yourself on a shelf or in the freezer? Perhaps it was such a large part of yourself that you had to rent a storage area!

Or have you thrown your lot in with a group of people intent on creating something new – a community, an organization, an inspired solution to some pervasive problem and then begun to feel like the real problem was your so-called teammates?

Honoring PhenomeNEWS

This article was originally published in mid 2008 in PhenomeNEWS, the long-running Michigan paper. PhenomeNEWS ceased publication as of the end of 2008, approximately. We honor their 30 years of good work, and send them best wishes for their future endeavors.

Some dreams we just cannot make happen alone. (Try folding a large tarp on a windy day!) There’s something exciting, romantic, inspirational in this: joining with others to make our shared dreams come true. But in reality, we often come nose-to-brick-wall with the truth of being human: people are messy, complicated, imperfect, frustrating, confusing beings. What do we do with that? How do we make our way, as individuals, partners and communities, with our many diverse but interrelated goals and dreams?

As in so many things, the solution emerges directly from the problem:  the tensions that arise between us are actually one of our greatest resources.  Imagine that windy day again:  it's because of the tension created by two people that the tarp gets folded! Tension is nothing more than built-up energy - a potential source of creativity and movement that can be directed in intentional ways.

We can begin to redirect this tension energy by exploring both the shared and the individual components of our dreams. Too often, we get caught in assumptions about how much of our dream is shared by others: “Well, we’re married now, of course we’ll buy a house/have a child/get a dog.” "Now that we're in intentional community, of course we all care about recycling."

With that we set ourselves up for feeling pain, disappointment and even betrayal the moment our partner(s) show a little individuality - i.e., want something different than we ourselves want.  In fact, this diversity is the true power of partnership – but to make use of it, we must be willing to really see and value what others bring to the table. And we must be willing to speak our own dreams - our glorious, complicated, messy, confusing dreams.

Getting explicit about our dreams - and speaking them out loud - is one of the places  tension starts to build:  is it really safe - or even possible - to name what I'm most passionate about?  What if my partner(s) see it differently from the get go?  What if we name it and then can't pull it off - isn't it better to never have named it all?

These fears too often keep us from exploring new territory and actualizing our goals.  By bringing our dreams into relationship with another, we begin to harness one of the priceless benefits of partnership.  Without a partner, we are often much slower to define or even acknowledge our dream, and we sidle past commitment – there’s always tomorrow, and who would know?  But a partner becomes a witness, giving our dreams weight just by seeing and hearing them. The creative tension just in sharing our dreams with another starts to give them substance and form.

But that tension is just the beginning.  The tension turbocharger in shared dreaming comes from those hidden thoughts, worries, and fears that arise as things start moving. You know what we mean:  "Wait!  I didn't expect that!"  "Oh no - I thought I wanted this, but now I'm not so sure."  "Yikes!  I’ve thrown my lot in with someone who can’t even keep a clean desk!"  These and similar thoughts inevitably crop up, and are often considered to be "unspeakables."  What we do with these unspeakables can be the make-or-break difference in our ability to dream together.

Keeping unspeakables unspoken is like building an energetic dam.  As we edit out parts of ourselves, things accumulate behind that holding-back like water in a reservoir.  And, because we have not planned ahead and called in the Army Corps of Engineers to help us create a structure strong enough to hold all that energy, the dam eventually breaks.  The resulting flood may be too much for the partnership to handle.

However, speaking these thoughts, in the proper time, is a gift to the dream that can give back tenfold.  You bring yourself fully into that moment, into that partnership, and are effectively saying, “This dream together is worth my whole self.”  By risking that truth, you release the energy back into the partnership, asking the partnership to find solutions and carry the dream forward in a new and stronger way.  You embrace the possibilities of difference.

This is the simple act of building faith, both with your partner(s) and with yourself.  You are in this together because both of you are needed to get this tarp folded.  Each time you successfully negotiate a moment like this, you reaffirm the original commitment and dream of working together:  we are all important to what is being created here.  Together we can create something wildly different, and much bigger, than we can separately. 

May you bring your full value to your shared dreams and may they flourish through the creative energetic tension - the power - of partnership.

What's the relationship between the Board of Mis-Directors and Distractions and Seductions? Read more here!

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