Creativity for the Rest of Us

Busting My Assumptions

We’re big Jodie Foster fans in our household.   We were curious about this odd little film that she made with her pal, Mel Gibson, unfortunately titled, The Beaver.

If Jodie hadn’t been associated, I would not have given it a second look based on my assumptions about Mel – a combination of what I had read about his politics and his messy and public implosion when picked up for drunk driving.  I swallowed the whole “ain’t Mel awful” rap hook, line and sinker and refused to see the film when it was in the theaters.

Curiosity won out, thankfully.  This is a smart, touching, provocative and honest film about mental illness and its affect on families.  Mel Gibson gives what could be the performance of this career.  Jodie Foster’s direction keeps it real with a deft balance of poignancy and humor. I was pleasantly surprised.

What I want to bust myself on is how I nearly missed out based on my assumptions about Mel the man vs. Mel the actor.  This is not the first time I’ve done this.  My stubborn little heels can dig in pretty deep when I feel resentful, envious, hurt or unforgiving toward someone or a situation.  As is the case here, I don’t even have to personally know the person.

Every person in this life has something to teach me, and as soon as I accept that, I open myself to truly listening.  ~Catherine Doucette

Assumptions are not useful.  They separate us from each other and from our own truth because they aren’t real.  We make them up based on fear, insecurity, laziness or the need to be right.  It’s much easier to wallow in a job that starves your soul, assuming no one is hiring in this economy than to get out there and start doing something that makes you come alive.  It’s much easier, and in some cases safer, to go along with the prevailing view than to express a difference of opinion.  It’s much easier to write off someone we don’t agree with than to have a deeper conversation to discover our common values.

There is a lot of doom and gloom surrounding us now if we choose to believe it.  What if you took a different view, busted apart your own assumptions?  A view that this is the perfect time: to launch that great idea you’ve been dreaming of, clear the air with that friend or colleague you feel offended you (they may not even be aware of it), or register for the class you’ve been putting off.

Our creative energy is alive and well.  Judgment and assumptions block the flow.  When we get choosy about where our  learning comes from, decide in advance how we think an outcome should go, or argue for our limitations, we are not open to the mystery of creation and the unlimited possibilities available to us.

There is a risk in busting our assumptions.   We just might experience more creative energy, spaciousness, joy and love in life.



Here is a good piece on The Ladder of Inference to delve deeper into tracking assumptions.

Byron Katie’s work has been very helpful to many people in changing their beliefs.  Her website is rich with resources.

3 Responses to “Busting My Assumptions”

  1. paget says:

    thanks mary, and very timely as we all get increasingly polarized and self-righteous.

  2. Elifaza says:

    i love reading through your blog, thank you for sharing with us.

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