I’m getting married. Thanks, yeah, that’s nice of you to say, thanks. Just look for my wish list on Amazon for the gifts. Here’s the kicker, I’m getting married on the French Riviera.

A little background on my personal endeavor:

I’m a writer. My fiancée is a translator. These are good jobs, fulfilling jobs. We don’t punch the clock or take orders from middle-managers. We make our own hours and we can work from the couch or a coffee shop. But let’s be honest, we’re not exactly the financial elite. We don’t influence legislation with our own think-tank. We’re not thinking about an upgrade for our personal jet. In fact, there are three dents in my car from when a shelf fell over in my mother’s garage. They’ll probably never be fixed.

But some time ago, we spontaneously decided we’d get married on the French Riviera. I can see you sharing that cynical laugh with my friends and family. “You’re crazy,” you’ll say. “Regular people don’t get married on the French Riviera! Movie stars and society-types get married on the French Riviera.”

Perhaps you’re right. Why would we do that anyway? I don’t know. We like France. We’re romantic. Of course, my fiancée’s family is all in Europe, so that helps.

Here’s the thing, you don’t just decide that and it happens right? We can all agree on that. But something happens. Two things actually--willingness and purpose. These two happy friends just pop into existence. You can’t really have one without the other. If you were just willing with no purpose, then what are you willing to do? If you have purpose without willingness, then nothing is going to happen because, let’s face it, you really don’t want to do it. Any personal endeavor must begin with these two phenomena.

Let’s assume that we, the happy couple, have achieved purpose and willingness, obviously there are many more hurdles to be overcome in our personal endeavor. We’ve got to figure out where exactly we want to have the wedding, how we are going to get there, and how we’ll pay for it. We’ve got to convince our employers to give us some leeway for a little while and deal with our 3 year-old daughter, who gets bored when it takes too long to make her chocolate milk, so we can only assume a 13 hour plane ride will be hell.

To figure out the answers to these questions, we’re going to need some serious communication. This is where things get really interesting. Communication is, in fact, how humans create their reality. It’s the clincher, the lynch pin, the great creative force. But communication is tricky. There’s a bit of push and pull when it comes to communication. A balance needs to be achieved between the informal conversations that my fiancée and I have that clarify these questions and the raw facts that are the framework of reality that we’re working within. Remember, as we discussed in a previous blog, all reality exists within some social context.

We’ll have to talk at length about the trip, the wedding plans. We’ll bounce ideas off of each other. Some the other won’t like and some will seem like total brilliance to both. We’ll muse about French food and the beach and remind one another that we need to budget time for our little daughter to run around and get her “wiggles” out. These informal conversations will shape our view of what the trip and the wedding will look like.

But this communication is useless without a little harsh reality. We’ll see that plane tickets are $1,200. The house we want to rent is another $2,000. We’ll realize that’s the best option is to fly to Frankfurt and rent a car to get to France. We’ll have to grapple with the mathematical reality that the house we rent can sleep 10 people, but 16 are coming.

The interplay between the informal conversation and the formal, fact-based information will force adaptation and require flexibility.

Luckily, we’re old travelers who have quite a bit of experience in these matters. In THEE, willingness, purpose, and communication are called “transcendent” levels because they let us float above whatever exists, dipping in and out, and dreaming of something new, different or better. There are three more, which we’ll talk about sometime, where we have to put effort into what does most definitely exist to get the result we want (called “actualization”). Between the two, we’ve got experience, bridging the divide and stabilizing or de-stabilizing your (or my) personal endeavor.

Following the formula doesn’t mean success. It’s more like a map. Having a map doesn’t tell you where to go, or the route to get there, and it most certainly doesn’t mean you will make it. But would you want to travel in an unknown land without one?

It is entirely possible that our experience will make us realize that the whole idea is bonkers, that we’ve overstepped our abilities and resources. The formal account, the harsh reality might bring us to the same conclusion.

Stick around for experience and (hopefully) actualization.

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