Successful Nut: What the heck happened here?


By Sue Ellen Haning


The following quote by Robert MacIver is an excellent definition of a successful nut: “The healthy being craves an occasional wildness, a jolt from normality, a sharpening of the edge of appetite, his own little festival, a brief excursion from his way of life.”

Have you ever been gliding along through life and all of a sudden nothing looks familiar? Have you spent years doing the same things like slaving over your own business, or climbing the corporate ladder, or giving all your energy and time to raising your children, or even sitting around enjoying just what you have, when suddenly you realize none of it feels right anymore (well maybe your kids … or not). How does this happen? Seemingly all of a sudden you realize this is not what you want for the rest of your life, and at the same time you are thinking, “What the heck happened here? Everything seemed to be moving along okay.”

There is a giant within you, and he/she is churning. A lot happens when a giant moves. Your giant, let’s call him Edgar or her Ethel, has been residing in a place that you pay little attention to. Edgar and Ethel, for the moment, are gently helping you realize your desire to make some adjustments outweighs your desire to stay in your … er … um … rut. Edgar and Ethel don’t miss a thing. These two know when anything stirs you. Maybe you were inspired by something you read, experienced, watched on TV. Maybe you have survived something horrific and are now realizing a valuable lesson from it years later. Or like me, one day while teaching second graders in an inner city school, I realized that I hit the jackpot … I won life’s lottery because I had two (not one, but two) parents who loved me dearly, provided for me, supported and nurtured me, educated me, set the example for me, were my personal advocates and gave their all in raising me and helping me reach adulthood. On this day when I realized I had won life’s lottery I also realized my jackpot is the exception rather than the rule. Next came the question, “Now what am I going to do with my win?” I reached deep inside, and there stood Ethel ready to help.

At some point, your life’s experiences will arouse the giant. If you are hooked on American Idol, (as I am), gaming, texting, working, etc., you are likely to dismiss the rustling giant. If you choose to acknowledge Edgar or Ethel, fear may be the next feeling you experience. Unfortunately, giants evoke fear in most people, and these people will spend the remainder of their lives, consciously or unconsciously suppressing their giant. The giant is your power, your strength to do anything. Your giant is a part of the authentic you. Who wouldn’t want a giant on their side?

Although Edgar and Ethel are giants, it does not take much to keep them hidden. The best way is to simply ignore Edgar, tune Ethel out (we are all masters at doing this just ask your children). Allowing Edgar and Ethel to come forth takes courage and perseverance not to mention an iron will, and you will be going against the odds and leaping outside your comfort zone. Here is a good time to interject something… You can do it. The most exciting thing about allowing or even encouraging Edgar and Ethel is they can become your go to person. They elevate you, protect you, toss you around from time to time, but having a giant on your side is exactly what you want. Can you imagine what a giant can do to your comfort zone?

I’m a horse lover and subscribe to daily messages from a site called “Touched by a Horse.” A message came through this week that I would like to share with you.

“In a moment, one decision can bring you heartache for life. I am here to share with you that all mistakes have a purpose larger than what you know. Even your worst days are your best, looking back for all you become because of them.”

After enough years, it becomes easy to look back and see the person we’ve morphed into because of foolish decisions made in the past. Hindsight is not always the case when you are “steeped in the mire.” Sometimes it takes years to get the distance necessary to “see” what needs to be seen. During or long after the inevitable poor decisions, the giant within us can be a lifesaver, if we are connected to him/her.

This week I double dog dare you to visit with your giant. To help you recognize your Edgar or Ethel, all you need do is listen. Listening requires ceasing activity, being quiet, just being. Leaning against a tree, sitting by the river, hiking in the woods are great places to listen, but you can also find a spot right where you live, maybe with a cold beer or a cup of coffee. Edgar and Ethel, though giants, can be gentle so there may be gentle stirrings or flutters or for those of us requiring more, a rapidly beating heart, sweating, or an outright BFO (blinding flash of obvious). Your Edgar or Ethel knows what is required to get your attention, so whenever you are ready, listen. Making a connection with the giant may be a bit much all at once, so maybe for now simply acknowledging there is a giant within you is enough. Just get used to the idea.

Join me next time for “Inviting Edgar and Ethel to Dinner.” Until then, I leave you with a thought from the world’s authority on myrmecology, the study of ants. “Giants exist as a state of mind. They are defined not as an absolute measurement but as a proportionality … so giants can be real even if adults do not choose to classify them as such.” — Edward O. Wilson.

Make it a great week.