Fairies, Unicorns and Most Things Magical

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I have a fairly expansive belief policy. My kids will tell you that I believe in anything that is good. Santa Clause and Guardian Angels, yes…. evil monsters and zombies, definitely no.

This may seem like a joke, but I assure you that my policy is well thought out and quite sound.

It is grounded in the existence of infinite diversity, and the knowledge that virtually anything is possible, especially when we focus on the greater good.

From an implementation standpoint, my policy is highly robust, transferrable and scalable to most domains and settings. It allows me to scan for the positive, picking and choosing perspectives and teachings, remaining open and determined to find something of value.

From an impact standpoint, it serves many functions. By espousing such a policy people always know where I stand, especially my children who I am most interested in influencing. My policy also affords a certain protective functionality- preventing me from getting bogged down in the endless negativity and defeatism that threaten us at every turn.

To be clear, I want to be known as a dreamer, an optimist, someone who believes in infinite possibilities and potential. And so I let my curiosity and openness guide me, feeling my way forward toward new adventures, relationships, and the magic they afford.

In some ways my policy has high discriminative validity. If it resonates strongly with the policies of others, I can usually tell right away. There is a certain synergy that ignites, catalyzing collaboration, innovation, and excitement that is too apparent to be ignored.

But interestingly, my belief policy does not have the opposite repelling effect on those with more cynical tendencies. Although I have been known to madden my staunchest and most empirically minded colleagues with my openness to the worlds of the unknown, they seem to be drawn to my sense of wonderment, even if they would never admit it.

Let’s face it, the opposite of openness is not very inviting, even for those who are trapped inside. The Land of the Cynics, Skeptics, and even Realists can feel dark, desolate, and shrouded in fear. And clearly, it’s growing more crowded by the minute. Conversely, the Land of the Dreamers is infinitely inclusive and open, with endless room to stretch and explore the landscapes that continually change and reimagine themselves.

You might ask whether my belief policy is somehow counter to my training as a researcher, but I would argue that the two go hand in hand. Data and research allow us to be thoughtful and reflective, pushing the boundaries of what we know and can do. But ideally, they should be grounded in theories and world views that are strong and powerful, guiding our questions and interpretations, scaffolding us higher and further.

I concede that my approach- and associated policy- may be unconventional, but I can assure you of their inherent appeal. And since the Land of the Cynics isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, I encourage you to take a little vacation.

I will leave my door ajar, just in case you choose to visit… and stay.

Welcome to My Workshop

My 6-year old has a workshop in her head. She told me about it the other day. I was so impressed and excited for her that I decided to create one of my own.

Natalie’s workshop has lots of different rooms. Her favorite is a screening room that can play any movie or TV show that she’s ever seen. When she’s bored or not allowed to watch television she lies in her bed or pretends to read, and then watches her favorite shows, either from the beginning or just the good parts.

Natalie also has an animal room. Since she loves all animals, this room is very crowded. In it she cares for and plays with puppies, bunnies, and all the cutest babies, but she also sometimes tames the wild animals that nobody likes or wants.

Natalie has other rooms in her workshop but they’re not as interesting. She prefers to spend her time with movies and animals, but perhaps someday that will change. Since her workshop is a mansion there are endless rooms to visit, and she can organize them as she likes or add new rooms as she goes.

Hearing Natalie talk about her workshop is a gift in itself. She speaks with such pride and a sense of knowing- both in terms of the reality of her workshop but also the knowledge that I get it, and her, and that I will always share in her excitement and be worthy of her secrets.

I certainly do get the wonderment that comes with appreciating one’s cognitive capacities and the unlimited possibilities they afford. Although I can’t remember when I first came to my own realization, I continue to be amazed almost on a daily basis.

In some ways, writing my blog has become my own mental workshop. I am able to notice patterns or recognize challenges and then delve into drawers of past observations or theories, weaving together ideas and constructs, and sharing as posts. Doing so allows me to clear my mind and be more present, enjoying my experiences and those with whom I interact, at home, at work, or out in the world.

Like my daughter, I am grateful that I can share my workshop with others who are worthy of my trust. I suppose all workshops are inherently intimate spaces, since our minds focus on what is most precious and dear. It is perhaps through our workshops that we play out our dreams and provide our souls with what they crave.

My Natalie knows so much for a six year old. She seems to know that life is magical and that she has all that she needs to nurture her gifts and dreams. She knows that while she can take comfort in her workshop she can play out her dreams within real life, when she is ready, at her own pace.

I hope that I will continue to be invited to Natalie’s workshop. And I hope that you will continue to visit mine.