Monday, May 09, 2005

The Billboard

There's a billboard up in Rubidoux with the following quote:

What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?

I have no idea what this billboard is advertising. If there's a logo or something on the billboard, I can't see it. There are some trees blocking the lower right hand corner--maybe that's where the logo is.

I googled the quote, and it's usually attributed to Robert Schuller, although occasionally they credit it to Tony Robbins.

But since it's been bugging me, it's caused me to really ponder the quote. It coincides with the things in this week's Artists Way stuff--recovering a sense of power.

In that book, she argues that some unbelievers use their unbelief as a crutch. Yes, my life stinks, they say, and nothing I want ever happens, but that's because the universe is cold and merciless and cruel. Belief--be it in a god, or in positive energy, or in moral absolutes--belief in anything would force them into a situation where they would have to accept responsibility for their own actions and for their own circumstances. Anything you believe in opens up possibility, and possibility is dangerously, intimidatingly freeing.

For one of the exercises in that book, you were supposed to list who, if you found yourself in the afterlife, you would want to meet. Then, you were to list who you would want to hang out with. Comparing the lists was supposed to be insightful.

I began to imagine in. Me, there in the afterlife. Everybody who ever lived was there, somewhere. After tracking down a couple of people I knew personally, I imagined my treks to go find the people I just had to talk to.

I hope I can explain the insight I got in a way that makes it clear what an epiphany it was for me.

As I was pondering my journeys in this place, marveling at my ability to move freely among all of humanity that ever had been, it occurred to me that I currently live in the same world as all of humanity that now is. Every place that now exists is there to be seen. I'm as free to move about this world as I was to move about the one I fantasized about.

I don't think I've ever fully comprehended that before. The reality that anything is possible. When I was a child, I didn't possess the financial or logistical means of doing such things. When I got older, work and other responsibilities always made me feel anchored down in a similar way.

But ultimately, if I can obtain the means to make it happen, anywhere in the world is open to me. Every person in the world exists to be met and learned from. Every opportunity afforded anyone, anywhere, is mine to have.

That's a terrifying proposition. Suddenly, I am no longer bound by circumstance. I'm no longer "just" my job or my title or my current station. I'm a creature of incredible potential, who is either moving towards it, moving away from it, or, worst of all, spinning his wheels, allowing himself to be borne down by the weight of a thousand yesterdays recycling themselves endlessly into today.

Please, please--not any more.


Rebecca said...

I find it interesting that you mention a higher power in this post related to that billboard saying, because the first thing I thought of was the billboards that have messages from God all around that area. I wish I could think of examples, but I've seen several in the San Bernardino/Riverside area. Sounds like someone took a spin off of the God billboards idea.

Your epiphany sounds great, btw!

Erik said...

I remember those. They were all over PA when I lived out there. they'd say things like

Don't make me come down there.--God.

Hey. Be nice. Yes, I mean you.--God

Did anybody ever figure out who was putting those up?