Declarations come from nothing, from a future that hasn’t happened yet, It’s a future that doesn’t exist until there is someone to say it.
The declaration is the source of what’s next and inspires the actions to be taken that match it.
At Thanksgiving, I declared to my family that I would take my granddaughter Eve to Paris in 2018. It would be her Christmas present. We started to explore doing it during her spring break in April, four actual nights. My son Gill, her father, said he had had the same idea, and this would be the perfect opportunity: We three would go. I framed a picture of the Eiffel Tower and printed calendar pages for Eve to mark off the days.
As if on cue, The Past, my past, did that thing it often does around spending money. It starts like an ice cream brain freeze and settles in and blocks everything else out. This happens every time I actively think about doing something my parents would consider “extravagant”: You can’t do that, it is frivolous, you need to save your money for the future, you will want that money someday. The words attack my vision.
This old story is so familiar that I have learned to wait it out, then make the decision about spending the money. I have trained my nervous system to belong to me, not be the boss of me.
I figuratively stand in front of the idea of spending the money and ask myself if I will regret later not doing the thing or buying the thing. If the answer is yes, that life will somehow be enhanced by spending the money, I go for it and end my private conversation with myself. If the answer is no, then I let the thing and the conversation go.
The Paris declaration was sourced by my love for Eve, wanting and standing for her to have great experiences and memories with me. All the past-based concerns would have forestalled any action and disrupted this particular expression of the commitment. Fortunately, I have practice in dealing with my past.
After researching flights and places to stay, I saw that June would be better, after Eve is out of school, so we could spend six nights in Paris instead of four. Gill said that’s awesome, let’s do it.
One of my former clients who goes to Paris every year sent me links to apartments and places to visit with a to-be-10-year-old.
We are going to Paris. Because I say so.