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Early AM (Random) Thought: The past can not provide power to the present moment. It’s impossible for a burnt out light bulb to light up a room…

You might remember a few months back I posted techniques for being present. One of the techniques was called “The 3 Lightbulbs”.

I often use this light bulb technique to help bring me back to the present moment. First, I visualize clearly and distinctly a specific place where the three lightbulbs would be: one in the trash can (not any trash can, my trash can so the vision is very specific), one in my dining room light fixture, and one in our “odds and ends” cabinet.

Where’s the power?

Well, the one in the trash can has no power left. The one in the cabinet has the “promise” of power, but sometimes it’s false hope. I mean, haven’t you ever screwed in a new lightbulb only to find out it doesn’t work? This has happened to me a few times. And the one in the fixture only provides light because of the present moment energy of the bulb actually being properly screwed in to the fixture. On its own, the fixture doesn’t provide light nor does the bulb. They need each other, and they need to be plugged in at the moment.

There’s a lot in that whole idea of the 3 light bulbs that makes me think. When I’m stuck in the past, I’m giving power to something that has no power. When I’m constantly worrying or hoping or even just thinking about the future, I’m giving power to something that might not even have power. When I’m in the present moment with my energy source (for me, it’s God), I have so much power. Without God, on my own, not plugged in, I have little power, if any.

This thought of the 3 light bulbs comforts me. Brings me to the moment. Connects me to my creator. And I can breathe fully, deeply, again. I hold my breath when I am thinking about anything other than now. It might be a subtle hold, but a hold nonetheless, and I absolutely can not take a full-on breath.

I once read a book by Doug Pitman, “Living on the Edge”. A friend of mine, Dan, referred me to the book, even lent me his copy. I was so inspired cover to cover, it made me feel like the world was mine to claim. But one story in particular stuck with me – it was a story about a flea circus.

First off, I didn’t realize fleas were actually jumpers. Did you know the average flea can jump about 30 feet??? I always thought that grasshoppers were the jumpers, but fleas actually put grasshoppers to shame.

Second, I forgot about flea circuses. I mean, I heard of them, but I didn’t actually know what the term meant, or how they are created. So, I’ll explain. A flea circus is usually a traveling amusement where fleas perform. It’s a novelty, with miniature carts and such, and it just looks like fleas are participating in a 3-ring circus.

But, it’s very hard to train the flea to be in the circus. It takes a lot of time and a big commitment, so we don’t see too many flea circuses anymore. Pitman explains that to train a flea, you need to use a series of different size containers, beginning with one the size of a mayonnaise jar.

Basically, you put the flea in the jar, turn the jar upside down, and let the flea do its thing – jump. The flea can jump 30 feet, but the jar is less than a foot tall, so inevitably it hits its head on the top of the jar every time it jumps. The flea realizes it is no fun to hit one’s head, so it (eventually) adjusts its jump in fear of getting hurt.

Once the flea has been taught to jump less, the trainer changes to a smaller jar, and repeats this training process until the jar is as small as a baby food jar, and the flea is only jumping about an inch or two.

Now, that flea is ready to perform!

Jar away, jar no longer around the flea, and still, that flea, who was born to jump, no longer jumps 30 feet. It bumped and thumped its head long enough on the top of the jar, that the flea decided life is better if it just doesn’t even bother jumping.


Then Pitman goes on to explain that people actually do the same thing that the flea does. We are born for greatness. We are born to “jump high”, but with every negative experience, every demeaning word, we proverbially are placed in a jar, and sadly, we also adjust our jump.

Jar is gone. Experience is over. It’s in the past. Like the lightbulb, it’s in the trash can, but we still continue to give it power…