1.to make a formal beginning of; initiate; commence; begin
2.to induct into office with formal ceremonies; install
3.to introduce into public use by some formal ceremony
I invite you to feel the power of these two words: WHAT IF...
Today, and every day, but most especially today, because it is now, and your power and influence always lie right here and now, I invite you to step out of your ideas of right and wrong, good and bad, what is and isn't, what needs to be or shouldn't...and I ask you to step into WHAT IF. I invite you to clear a space, whether it's 3 minutes on your commute, a clean sheet a paper, a deep breath, whether you have to hide out in the bathroom to make this space...I invite you to take the kindest softest breath. If this feels hard, slowly do it again and again until it doesn't feel like trying. It just feels like letting yourself breath. With ease. You've been doing this your whole life so you are really good at breathing. And you've spent your whole life discovering, learning and practicing kindness - so give just a little bit of that to your own breath.
Then take 3 minutes to imagine your big, beautiful WHAT IF. A WHAT IF doesn't have rules or steps or instructions or to do lists or limitations. It is straight-up and pure what would you desire and want if anything were possible? Any kind of world? For yourself, for others...it really doesn't matter which because we are all so connected that bringing goodness to yourself brings it to others at the same time. It's not your job at this moment to figure out the hows, or to judge what comes up as good or bad. Just see yourself, your life, your world the ways you want it to be and just breath into that vision. Let yourself feel good for a moment as you visualize the amazing possibilities.
We are inaugurating a new story today. We are making a commitment to the vision we have for the world. And when we zoom out and out and out from this vision, the details get fuzzy but we see a bigger picture - we start to notice that our visions mostly overlap. We want a world where everyone has food and shelter and love and appreciation and self expression, and most of all, freedom. We generally don't disagree over the vision- it's the hows, the means, the details that start to divide us. We war over the how to get what we want, not what we want.
Today feels like a day when the stakes are especially high. No matter what angle you stand at in your beliefs, there are places that seem dire, scary, uncertain, worrisome. Everything that lies behind and around us has created situations that have lead to a story that feels against all odds. And our favorite stories through all history, spoken, written, tv, movies...are the ones that are against all odds. It's what makes epic stories like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings so thrilling. How can the hero ever pull it off when everyone against him seems smarter, stronger, more powerful?
Here is the secret: the hero clings to his vision of WHAT IF as if his life depends on it. The hero's greatest power is not being smarter, stronger or more powerful. His greatest power is his ability to focus on his mission. He sees his vision of the world, the outcome he wants and he focuses so intently on it, that he discovers resources and allies that he would miss if he were worrying about all the things that were happening and could be getting worse. He has to acknowledge these concerns, but he can't stay and worry about them otherwise he loses his greatest power and all the resources it brings - the great idea he happens to spark, a friend showing up at just the right moment, forces coming together to help in seemingly magical ways.
And that, my friend, is also your greatest power. Your ability to focus on your big beautiful WHAT IF.
You are the hero of your story. And you aren't just living your story, you're telling it as you live, making it up as you go along. It is an against all odds tale of epic proportions, and it may just be the greatest one ever told. And your greatest power is to focus on your big beautiful WHAT IF- and while acknowledging what is happening around you, not get stuck there. As tempting as it is to worry and push against what is happening that seems so wrong, this deflates your power. There are lot of situations in the world that are "not working out", that are painful and horrific. And we see them and we can feel great sadness and anger. There is great value in those emotions as they cause us to want change, they call to us to ask for a better world, they bring our WHAT IF into a clearer, stronger vision. But if we stay in sadness and anger too long, our focus is on what we don't want, what we don't like in the world. And the more we focus there, the bigger those things seem to get, and we start to lose our power to build the world we want. This does not feel good so it starts to create a loop of feeling helpless, then more and more worried, creating a cycle of despair that does not bring the change we dream to create.
To build the world we want, we must focus on seeing the world we want as clearly and often as we can in our imagination, in our conversations, in our day dreams, in the people we interact with...Talk about it, write about it, draw it in circles and word bubbles connected with squiggly lines in a way that only makes sense to you, meditate on it. There are so many things in our world that would have seemed impossible, if not unfathomable, generations ago - airplanes, the internet, hot showers, soap, vaccines, electricity...all these things were discovered and created because someone saw the problem, but didn't stay with the problem and let it get them down. Instead, they kept looking to their vision, their WHAT IF...all great change comes from building a vision of what could be and staying focused on that WHAT IF and not letting what is drag you down.
What could be is much more powerful than what is.
Because the past is already over and disappearing behind us. And the present is just a reflection of our ideas and where we are right now. And those change and grow and as we focus more and more on big beautiful WHAT IFs...our present can't help but change into a more beautiful reflection of the world we dream of in our hearts.
On this day of inauguration, we have a choice. Do we inaugurate our pain and anger and fears or do we inaugurate our vision, our hopes and dreams? Because we can't hold them at the same time. To be the hero, at some point we have to put our sadness and anger down so we have more room in our arms to carry the hope of our vision. Because hope is very very big and it's going to fill up all the space, and you're not going to have room even for frustration, after a while of carrying around all this hope. And as the hope gets bigger and bigger, it's going to start to flower into trust and knowing. You are going to begin to know that the kind of world you dream of is already starting to happen in tiny ways around you - you'll actually start to see it more and more in your every day life.
So take 3 minutes right now and inaugurate your big beautiful WHAT IF today. And dear friends, and fellow hereos, I've never been so excited to discover with you, against all odds, what could be...