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Racine, WI 53405

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The Possibility of a New Day

Henry David Thoreau, in his book, Walden, wrote, “We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep.”

This is a little reminiscent of the last line of Gone with the Wind. “Tomorrow is another day.”

Or the song from Annie, “The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun.”

There is a whole movement for the LGBTQ community called It Gets Better, the whole point of which is to hang on because there will be a new day and another new day and each day brings with it new possibilities, new hope, new ways for things to get better.

Every day we awake to a clean slate with a myriad of possibilities available to us. To embrace the possibilities and walk confidently into the unknown takes courage, openness, optimism, curiosity, hope, flexibility and a positive attitude.

Sadly, we currently live in an anti-mystery culture that doesn't like the unknown. We want everything to be explained and defined. We want a reason for everything, we want someone to blame, we want answers. An anti-mystery culture leaves little space for the Energy of Love, the Essence of All That Is, the Ineffable One, to be present in our lives filling our moments with possibilities. I love this translation of Psalm 144 by Nan Merrill:

Blessed are You, O Radiant One,
You, who are hidden within our hearts,
Even as we are hidden within your Heart!
You invite us to participate in the Divine Unfoldment,
As we awaken from our long sleep
And give birth to creativity.

The author of this psalm points us to mystery, reminds us that the Sacred One is hidden within our very selves, and that we are invited to participate in the Divine Unfoldment, the sacred unfolding of life before us one moment at a time. In each moment there is an infinite number of possibilities, depending on how we choose to engage or not engage the moment.

Too often we look at life in a black or white way, we judge a moment based on past experience, and we don’t see, or look for, possibilities or options.

There is a story of a farmer whose only horse ran away. That evening the neighbors gathered to commiserate with him since this was such bad luck. "Your farm will suffer, and you cannot plow," they said. "Surely this is a terrible thing to have happened to you."

He said, "Maybe yes, maybe no."

The next day the horse returned but brought with it six wild horses, and the neighbors came to congratulate him and exclaim at his good fortune. "You are richer than you were before!" they said. "Surely this has turned out to be a good thing for you, after all."

He said, "Maybe yes, maybe no."

And then, the following day, his son tried to saddle and ride one of the wild horses. He was thrown and broke his leg, and he couldn't work on the farm. Again the neighbors came to offer their sympathy for the incident. "There is more work than only you can handle, and you may be driven poor," they said. "Surely this is a terrible misfortune."

The old farmer said, "Maybe yes, maybe no."

The day after that, conscription officers came to the village to seize young men for the army, but because of his broken leg the farmer's son was rejected. When the neighbors came again, they said, "How fortunate! Things have worked out after all. Most young men never return alive from the war. Surely this is the best of fortunes for you!"

And the old man said, "Maybe yes, maybe no."

Perhaps this is a somewhat extreme example of pre-judging a circumstance, but it gets the point across. We never quite know what will happen in the Divine Unfoldment of life, or how our choices will affect things, so maybe it is best to simply remain open, work on experiencing “life on life’s terms” as a friend of mine says, rather than projecting good or bad, expectations and desires, or our own narratives, upon them. Work on leaning into life, accepting what comes as simply what it is, look for the different possible choices, and make the one that is for our highest good and the highest good of others.

Having an open mind, thinking outside of the box, exploring the options, having a positive attitude as we face the challenges in life, all takes practice.

There is a wonderful exchange between Alice and the Queen in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass:

 “I can’t believe that!” said Alice.

“Can’t you?” the Queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”

 Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

The line that sticks out for me is “There’s no use in trying.” Sometimes I’ve seen people give up before they even get started. It’s the epitome of “we’ve never done it that way” or “that will never work” or “why would you want to do that?”

It’s up to us to change the narrative, to stop ourselves from stagnant, stuck-in-the mud thought processes. Sometimes to do this we need to invite a new perspective and not squash it.

The Zenith Drilling Company prided itself on being the best drill-bit-producing company in the world. In many ways, they had revolutionized the industry, using tungsten-tipped drill bits. The problem is the competition caught up with them and began to erode Zenith’s market share to the point where profitability was in question. The board of directors decided to get a new CEO who could perhaps help the company recover its previously held market-leader status. The new CEO called all the leaders and managers to a three-day crisis conference, where he asked everyone to clarify what they thought the mission of the company was. After much conversation and deliberation, they decided that their mission was not only to make drill bits but also to make the best drill bits in the world. They all agreed this was an excellent purpose for the company. At this point, the new chief executive said, “No! Your job is not to make the best drill bits in the world; rather it is to make the best holes in the world!” They went on to innovate laser drilling and become the best holemaking company in the world.

How many companies have disappeared because they defined themselves too narrowly and didn’t look for the possibilities open to them? Here’s two…

Kodak dominated the photographic film market for most of the last century, but missed it’s chance to lead the digital revolution. Steve Sasson was the Kodak engineer who actually invented the first digital camera back in 1975. Unfortunately, the reaction of management was “that’s cute – but don’t tell anyone about it.” They were so focused on the success of physical film that they couldn’t see beyond it. Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

You all remember the Blockbuster stores, right? They were doing great until Netflix started shipping DVDs to consumers’ homes. Still, Blockbuster figured that nothing could replace their brick and mortar stores, so when Netflix approached Blockbuster about a partnership, the idea was turned down because the CEO of Blockbuster at the time, John Antioco, thought it was ridiculous and that Netflix’s business model was a “niche business.” Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and now Netflix is a $28 billion dollar company.

The beautiful thing about a new day and new possibilities is that it is available to everyone! First, we need to open our eyes and develop the ability to see the possibilities, open ourselves to learning and growth, ask ourselves what Divine Mystery is unfolding before us and offering us. And then we need to choose. Because it is always our choice to join the unfolding, or not.

Join me and treat every day as the mystery that it is, watch it unfold with wonder and curiosity, dare to join the flow of the Divine, lean into life, and soar on the possibilities.

Love & Light!