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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Response After the Response

by Doug Wysockey-Johnson

When was the last time someone wrote you a $100,000 check at a holiday party?  

A few weeks ago Susan was conflicted about going to a holiday gathering.  Actually she was pretty clear that she didn’t want to go. But there was this inner nudge, this intuition telling her just to show up.  She listened and she prayed.  Then she got dressed and went to the party. 

Backstory:  Susan is a therapist, working with people with eating disorders.  She and a group of others are fundraising to open a new residence house for those struggling with anorexia, bulimia, and other issues.  As a survivor herself, she cares deeply about those in the grip of an eating disorder.  

Long story short, she met a guy at the party whose life had been touched by anorexia.  This guy had a lot of money, and on the spot he wrote her organization a check for $100,000.  

Fun as that story is, this isn’t a blog about eating disorders, fundraising or holiday parties.  What struck me most about Susan’s experience was her willingness to follow her intuition and get past her resistance.  At Lumunos we talk a lot about willing to pause long enough to listen more deeply.  We have to get past the default yes or no. 

Most of us have a quick response to invitations.  The invitation may be to a party, a volunteer opportunity, a potential relationship or anything new.  Sometimes that default response is a yes and sometimes it’s a no, and the reason we have the set response is usually due to a number of factors.  Sometimes the default response is the right one.  But not always.

Around the holidays, there are default yesses and no’s flying all over the place.  “Yes we will buy gifts for the cousins because we always buy gifts for the cousins even though we can’t afford it.”  “Yes we will go to that party even though people drink too much and it is too loud to talk and we would much rather have a quiet evening at home.”  “No, I will not introduce a new tradition into the family even though I have an idea I keep thinking about, because I’m not the kind of person who stirs things up.”

Listening for call means getting beyond the default yes or the default no.  Even if you take just a few moments, it may help you hear a deeper Truth.  As Morton Kelsey writes in The Drama of Christmas, “Sometimes our religious experience needs to displace our conventional human wisdom.  Saints are those who follow their deepest inner promptings, even when they make no worldly sense.” Mary may well have had a default “no” before she pondered the angel’s words in her heart.  We know Joseph had a well deserved “no” on his lips.  The Wise Men had a default route back home until a dream changed their mind.  The Christmas story is a story of people listening deeply, and then having the courage to go beyond the default response. 

What is your default response to something new?

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