Deb Sofield


Suspend Your Disbelief

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I love poetry, and recently I re-read the simple and yet profound poem by William Wordsworth ~ With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.

Do you see into the life of things? Or do you allow your mind to stop any exploration into things you know little to nothing about? The reason I ask is because I am curious to know if you are stuck in the pluff mud of life or if you are open to simply suspending your disbelief about the way you assume things are going to be or how things are going to go and allow the wonder of it all to take you freely to where it lands.

You know how this happens. You’re invited to an event and you really don’t want to go, when lo and behold, you get there and it is nothing like you expected. By the end of the dinner or evening you’ve had a wonderful time, despite your reluctance to get dressed up and show up.

I see it all the time. Good people just like you do not allow anything into their life that they don’t have a handle on, knowledge about or even a fleeting interest in because they assume there is nothing new under the sun (so to speak) or at least nothing they have an interest in for their so small world.

In fact, too many people allow the comments of others, who have no joy, curiosity or real interest in life, to cloud their opinion of what might be a grand adventure. It is a shame to see and hear so much misinformation in our everyday world that people accept as gospel truth when in fact, there is little at all in the message or the messenger, and no gospel and no truth. Whether by intent or ignorance, we are steered away from the opportunities in life by others who choose to see the glass as empty or perhaps half full instead of overflowing.

Would you consciously suspend your disbelief for a day, a week or a month about how you think the world is? Would you do that and allow it to be what it really is (the positive, optimistic, full throttle side of life)?

Could you stop the constant banging of negativity pushed on you by others? It creates a false narrative about life–your life–and, in turn, creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom, gloom, sadness and boredom. Can you will yourself to be strong enough to allow the sunlight to chase away the darkness that others heap upon you?

You know you a have a choice on how you want to live your life. You just need to man-up (or woman-up) and walk your own path. Stop being led by others to the dead-end they fear, which was created by their own actions. And just because others choose to live a small, meaningless life without responsibilities or rewards, does not mean you have to follow their path. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail,” my friend. This year, don’t allow others to be the makers of your misfortune and don’t allow yourself to be that person either. Life is too short to live unhappy, unfulfilled or unappreciated. Choose how you’re going to live the rest of your life, making the best of your time here on earth by following the path of your calling, your heart’s desire and your destiny.

I have an exercise for you to try. I would encourage you to choose an upcoming time, place or event that you have been invited to or that you can attend (pay the admission) and then consciously suspend your disbelief about how you think the event will be, whatever it is, and allow it to be what it is. What it really is. Will it always turn out wine and roses? Probably not, but if you’ll at least set your mud-stuck opinion aside and be open to the new, you might be pleasantly surprised. Really, what do have to lose? In many cases you have to go anyway, so why not make the best of it and leave your negative self behind.

A while back I wrote a blog post called “Act As If…” and I came to that phrase from a friend who says she approaches every situation with an open mind for opportunities to present themselves because you always have a choice about which lens you are going to view life through. She chooses to act as if she is happy, act as if she is prepared, act as if she will have a good time at any occasion she is asked to attend. And the funny thing is when you act as if, it really does seem to make things more tolerable because of the simple mind shift, from negative to positive. It’s just like my theme for today, suspending your disbelief allows the moment to be what it is–what it really is.

Now you may be saying to yourself that my idea is great for others, but not for you because you’ve obligated yourself to your path and you see no way off the course that you’re on. I will respectfully disagree. I have been around long enough to know that no matter how deep you are in the mud, there is always a way out. You just have to do the extra work to search for another path.

I used the phrase pluff mud at the beginning of my post, and here is why. I grew up in South Carolina, and every year my family would rent a summer beach house at the coast. A few things that you learn quickly about the South Carolina coast is that our oysters are deliciously salty, our blue crabs are small, our shrimp are sweet and the fish are fat. So when you’re done fishing, crabbing and hunting for shells and shark teeth, you begin to explore, and within a few minutes you’ll end up in the marsh area. Once you’re there, you will come upon a smooth, dark gray or black muddy surface. It seems stable and smells something like salty, briny, over-ripe eggs (if the wind is blowing). In that smooth, black muddy marsh oozing with marine life; with so many crabs, shrimp, bugs, lost bobbers, fishing paraphernalia and reeds, you will feel like a pirate treasure hunter searching for fortune from the sea.

Pluff mud appears to be solid at first glance, but as you begin to innocently explore the newly salt-washed territory, your feet will slowly sink, and within a few minutes you’ll notice that you cannot lift your feet as easily as when you started out. You’ll begin to sink into the cool, black ooze called pluff mud, and you will find it hard–very hard–to pull your feet up. You’ll have to walk or stand on a piece of wood or old board to give you leverage so you can continue to explore without being sucked under. All Southerners know never to wear shoes that they don’t mind losing because if you’re caught in the mud, you will most likely walk home barefoot, your shoes never to be found.

Pluff mud appears deceptively safe, but many a lost shoe will attest to the fact that what you see is not what will be. And it’s just like my theme for today, what you have been told by others may not be the way it is because people portray things as they see them and not necessarily as they are. Instead of listening to the noise of the landlubber crowd telling you that the mud is harmless, step out on your own and test the marsh to see if what you’ve been told is true. Or, now that you know your options, you may be willing to try a new adventure and be brave enough (and wise enough) to find an old piece of board or log that will suspend you so you can enjoy your exploration in safety.

Friends, stop listening to the noise of the crowd that never allows for freedom, exploration or investigation into the wonders that surround us all. Take your leap of faith, knowing that you will land in a new place with new opportunities that are simply waiting to be explored with the wisdom you have for a future that is waiting for you. But know that this only happens when you suspend your disbelief and listen to your own voice. This will allow you to hear and see and feel into the life of things. This will give you the freedom to explore using your voice and your vision of what can be if you suspend your disbelief and live who you were born to be.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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