In today’s post I want to take you through the process of anticipation. This is the second principle in the book, Flash Foresight by Daniel Burrus. We’ll take a look at our proposed Relevant Light Seminar through the eyes of an audience member and try and anticipate their reaction to our stage play.
How to Anticipate the Future
To set the stage, the stage play takes place two weeks after an imaginary death of the audience member. The funeral is over and the scene is set in the garage of the deceased. The stage has two garage scenes on it. One side has a garage that is relatively neat and clean, with two clean cut actors representing the son and daughter of the deceased. The other side of the stage has a different garage scene, with a real mess and two disheveled actors representing a different legacy altogether.
Having been in this type of situation a few times over the past few years, I can say how difficult it is to go through other people’s stuff, especially when it is a parent or close relative. I anticipate this will be a powerful exercise for the audience.
When my dad died back in 2005, he had over 50 years worth of “stuff” plus items he had brought out from Cleveland when his sister died. After we took care of the funeral, my sister and I faced a huge undertaking. We had some old antiques, lots of furniture, and a massive amount of assorted personal items. Since my dad was a photographer, we had also had boxes upon boxes of photographs to go through.
Unfortunately, like a lot of things in life, no one trains you for times like this. You have to jump in with both feet. I wish I could tell you it was easy. After a few minutes I discovered one big factor I hadn’t counted on…
Almost every item had a sentimental value attached to it.
There were memories on each piece of furniture.
Each plate, each cup, each saucer was special.
A decision had to be made for each piece
Do you keep it, trash it, or Goodwill it.
There was no one else to help do it
One item, one memory at a time
Each move had lasting impact
His legacy was in my hands
A whole life remembered
Picture after picture
After hours of this the first day, I was an emotional wreck. I can’t tell you how many times I went back and pulled things from the trash. A rescue here, a memory there. But then reality hit. I had no place for all this stuff.
After days, weeks, and months of this exercise, I came to one conclusion.
My dad was gone. I needed a way to properly remember him.
All the “stuff” was a painful distraction.
Years later I would discover a powerful way to do this.
My wife and I were driving down through the coastal town of Carlsbad one day, when we spied a sign for an open house. This particular property was on top of a bluff overlooking the ocean. After doing a tour of the home, we came out the front door to a gorgeous view of the ocean a half mile away. The sun was just breaking through the clouds, and a huge ray of light shown down from the sky upon the water. Right then a large sailboat crossed through this light. It was like a picture postcard.
Suddenly in my mind thoughts came together. Both my dad and my mom had their funeral ceremonies at sea. During these ceremonies, we went out on a boat with the Neptune society and sprinkled their ashes on the ocean. My last memories of both of them was watching their ashes dissipate into the swirling water with the assortment of flowers we had tossed in with them.
Both my mom and dad loved the ocean. My dad had spent his last years on a couple of sailing trips, One in Alaska and the other off the coast.
That moment of light that day was like God himself was showing me a sailboat with my parents on it. Memories flooded back. The interesting thing was the house was off of Poinsettia drive.
That day at the top of Poinsettia hill, a sailboat went through a ray of light, and forever gave me a powerful way to remember my parents. The flowers, the stirring waters of the ocean, and the light from heaven all came together in a powerful way that day.
I realized I could let all of the stuff go.
The rays of light upon the ocean changed everything.
Someday, I told my wife, I would love to live somewhere with an ocean view. For now though, every time we crest the hill on Poinsettia drive, the memories come flowing back.
The sea, the sun, and the flowers.
The Relevant Light.