That long-ago uttered phrase by JFK in West Berlin to a crowd of 450,000 has been ridiculed for decades as incorrect and a public example of miscommunication.
While the former president meant to declare solidarity with the communist-surrounded people of West Berlin during the Cold War, his adding of the word “ein” was later, in the 1980′s, reported in popular culture as incorrect (Len Deighton’s spy novel Berlin Game, and an op-ed by William J. Miller in The New York Times). They declared that what he actually said was “I am a jelly doughnut!”, as the word “Berliner” also referred to the sugary treat.
According to Wiki, JFK had in actuality been correct in his phrasing because he was a foreigner, but the idea that he had gaffed stuck and the perception of his error changed the comprehension (to some people) of the speech that he had intended to be unifying. The impact of his underlying message got a little lost in the snickering. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ich_bin_ein_Berliner
Communication is so important, but even more importantly within communication are perception and comprehension.
Everything is dependent upon those two buggers, as they define our realities. You know the sayings:
“I think, therefore I am”
and “Seeing is believing”.
What I believe I’m seeing and what I believe is happening IS happening – in that moment, in my mind – even if I’m the only one who believes it. I will physically, mentally, and emotionally respond to what I perceive and comprehend is happening.
And that can be strikingly different from what’s happening externally.
But it’s what’s happening within me – that internal communication – that matters the most. If I can’t get clear within me, it’s ridiculous to think I could ever be clear with anything outside of me.
For example, when I need to leave the house by 8:30 and the clock clearly states that it is 8:20. I know I should get my ass in gear and head toward the door, as I always have at least five last little tasks left to complete (let the dog out one last time, find my iPhone, take my vitamins, put on my shoes, etc) before I can actually drive away. But instead I check email again…read another chapter in a book…keep writing a post…
Am I intentionally trying to screw with the lives of the people who might be affected by my lateness? No. Do I honestly believe I can bend the space/time continuum to conform to my individual bidding? Ok, maybe a little, but that’s another post (I think we all can…).
The communication breakdown isn’t outside of me, it’s within me. I am in complete denial of the constraints of time having actual effect on my life because there’s a bigger, internal communication I’m actively ignoring. http://www.stevepavlina.com/articles/overcoming-procrastination.htm
In this case the true issue at hand is that I’ve denied myself some much-needed down time, or even admitted that it’s necessary.
(This is where – in my head – I digress to my imaginary happy place, which is a sunny, breezy finca in Mallorca, complete with family, friends, almond trees, & wine. It’s the fantasy of a slower-paced life that incorporates rest and solid enjoyment of the beauty in life as essential parts of the bigger picture. And now I want un cafe... I have an actual talent for distraction.)
Yet instead, because my disconnected sense of what’s right tells me I must “GO!” and meet my worldly obligations, I eventually do. And am either late or skin-of-my-teeth not, the chronic stress of which, current popular medical reports tell me, contributes to my risk of heart disease. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=209139
Why do I choose to make a constant state of denial and resistance my reality? Because at some point in life I bought the notion that my inner voice should be shut down so I can run around in life over-scheduled, over-caffeinated, and most importantly of all “busy”, because busy=productive=worthy.
Honestly, my intuition didn’t give me this notion. No, this is a social misperception, a social miscomprehension.
At some point I turned my attention away from believing in myself because that is what I was taught was right – to look outside of myself for direction, fulfillment, and answers. I did this for money, for approval, and for any number of fears – including safety and acceptance. I was so inundated with the importance of the “practical” side of life that the equally important spiritual side got left in the dust. And I don’t think my experience with that is so unique.
Very recently a friend and I were talking about this and the resulting, insidious loss of self-value we have accepted. Because really, that’s what it boils down to: if we are meeting any expectation from an external source – whether that source is friends, family, corporations, religions, etc. – at the expense of honoring our personal truth (which we come by intuitively), we have lost connection with our own core value and values.
It’s a spiritual reckoning when we start being more selective about things like which career(s) we pursue, with whom we choose to spend our time, and what hobbies we develop. Hard work, consideration, compromise, and consistency are essential in life. I’m grateful I’ve been taught this, and that I grew up with all of the first-world opportunities I had. I just think the overall American mentality needs a rebalancing with intuition, inner wisdom, the feminine divine, and allowing life to simply flow more organically.
Anyway, what if they’re wrong – those external demands – and we’ve spent all this time trying to satisfy them?
It takes strength to listen to your inner self because listening is a form of surrender, and any true surrendering requires immense strength, even more so the kind where you have to look within and maybe face things you’ve avoided for a long time. It requires going into or past our fears and relearning how to nurture and allow ourselves to be in a balanced state.
That can be difficult for those of us taught to be constantly in “GO!” mode, but I believe it’s a part of everyone’s karma.
The older I get the more I understand this balance. When I was younger I thought surrender was weakness, and that strength meant I could hold up my (external) world at the expense of my inner one – the one that didn’t seem to fit with the rhetoric around me.
But I’m realizing that though I’m a hard-headed, fiery Aries, I’m not Atlas.
I can’t keep fighting an external system or reality with which I’m at odds armed mostly with procrastination and grouchy disdain. I’ve got to rebuild the bridges of my internal communication – my perception and comprehension – and reorient myself to my true reality, the one that combines what practically needs to happen in life with what actually feels right for me intuitively – the one that’s been there all along, waiting for me to see it.
I’m finding the more I listen to my intuition, the better is my reality. And since my reality is all I’ll ever know, this seems like a good plan.
Sometimes that means honoring my need for more downtime so I stop procrastinating so much, and sometimes that means saying “no” to external obligations in the first place, so that I can spend my time and energy on people, pursuits, and things that matter most to me.
Change doesn’t always have to be sweeping and dramatic. Sometimes it can come as the slight turn of your attention to what your heart is saying. The trick is, we have to be willing to listen.