Tuesday, November 1, 2011
The Magic of the Alligator List
Life is not easy but we are equipped with many resources to help us survive and even live well. The fact that our brain is divided into different parts is one of those resources. We have the reptilian brain which sends us alerts to danger. Then we have the higher parts of the brain which can question and judge those alerts and make decisions as to how we should act on them, or if they should be ignored. However, it is easy to became like ostriches, putting our heads in the sand, and ignore danger. This is especially true if we think the danger is not an immediate threat. We tend to suppress the shadow side of our personalities, the part that admits problems are a big part of life. The fear and worry is just too much to deal with on a constant basis so we deny and suppress. But our inner wise magician has a way to get around that denial. It sends us dreams and humor so we will look to our own safety and well being. If we can look at things with the bit of comfort that dreams, humor or enchantment brings we are more able to put the paralysis of fear away from us and use reason to solve or deal with problems and danger before they are overwhelming. That is the magic. We are cushioned from fear and danger so we can deal with it without being paralyzed by it. For me, the alligator list is such a way of looking ahead to see what I have to face and deal with. I probably need to explain: People often refer to "the elephant or the gorilla in the room" to mean a situation that is being avoided and denied. However it does seem that the gorilla sits there and no one really deals with him. I decided to actually make do lists I call my alligator list so I would have some urgency about it. Alligators seem more dangerous that gorillas. On the list are things I had better deal with, or else I will be in trouble. I am using the cushion of humor when I do this. When I was teaching in Arizona, one day there was a cartoon in the teacher's lounge of a person standing among a lot of aggressive alligators in a pond. The caption was "It's hard to realize that your original intention was to drain the swamp when you are up to your a** in alligators." In such a case you do have to deal with the alligators, the most dangerous one first, before you can get about your original intention, or purpose. Accepting the urgency of certain things before they have overwhelmed you is the action of a wise magician. I am working to develop habits of a much more active lifestyle, both for health and to become more proactive in other ways. I know that if I don't do this the results could be very bad for me. So I suggest to all wise magicians that you find a place of comfort and look to your crystal ball. Gently muse on what you can do to make your life more magical and better. Do you have fees you can avoid by paying bills on time? Do you have health problems you can avoid by changes in life style? Do you have opportunities knocking at your door that you will regret ignoring? Stand out of the pond, bring some enchantment to your awareness and act to bring yourself a better life. May the spark be with you.