This Might Get You What You Don’t Want

He sped up and headed directly toward us. This was confusing. The motor revved, an emotion flashed. A catch in my breath took me out of the moment. It plunked me into “Not this time!” but we had never met.

Spirit of Haida Gwaii

He didn’t respond to my request. Please don’t put us in the lake.

This is the second in a series called “Snapshots of a Swamped Canoe.” Read #1: Getting There.

Our minds speak in staccato. A word or feeling takes us somewhere else.

By living the past in the present, I created an encounter that didn’t exist. How then, could my response be relevant?

This relationship was a fabrication that seemed real, but wasn’t happening now. Can you remember a time?

With my request ignored, I paddled. Vigorously.

4 Factors that I Contributed

It was a time of being over committed and out of center. I lost touch with myself.

  • I brought the past into the present.
  • I focused on what I didn’t want.
  • I couldn’t see options.
  • I didn’t know what I did want.
I Am Not Alone

I asked some friends about getting what they didn’t want. This is what they said.

  1. Gerd: When I changed an old light bulb I thought to myself, Don’t drop that on the floor! Of course, that’s exactly what I did. Next time I thought, I shouldn’t tell myself not to drop it. Guess what?
  2. Tom: I was on the 18th hole, needing less than six to break 100. Just before swinging, I noticed a swamp to the right. No problem, it was impossible to hit the ball that way. Unbelievably, that’s what I did, followed by the next five—all in the swamp. It was like my ball was made of metal, and the swamp was a gigantic magnet.
  3. Cami about her son: My son got a new truck. The top of the box showed a picture of someone sitting on it with a red line through it. My son said, “Look! You’re supposed to sit on it!”
  4. Amy: Training for my first triathlon, I feared biking downhill, certain I would hit a rock and fall. I couldn’t let up on the brakes. I steered erratically. The more I tried, the less stable I felt. Finally I fell, going ridiculously slow.
  5. Maura: Despite my generally optimistic attitude, the bulk of my falls in life resulted from the fear that it might happen.

It’s a place none of us want to stay because there’s so much more for us.

The Neurobiology and Spirituality of Focus

Our brains have a filtering system that determines what we experience. We only see what we look for.

  • We see what we expect.
  • We expect what we invite.
  • We invite what we focus on.
Turning It All Around

Many factors contributed to us landing in the lake. These were my contributions:

  1. I reacted to something that wasn’t there.
  2. I was certain I’d be swamped.
  3. I didn’t consider another option like rolling with the waves.
  4. Knowing what I didn’t want, wasn’t the same as knowing what I did.

I’m headed into a less busy time. I’m refocused on the present, being neither in the past or the future. When I’m unsure, I consider what I want. I believe in the possible.

Your Turn

What’s your experience of focus, the present moment, and getting what you want (or the opposite?)

Image credit: The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: vlitvinov

Marie LaForce About Marie LaForce

Writer | Photographer | Explorer |Dreamer | Intentional Disciple of Christ


  1. Marie, this post has actually stayed with me during the week since you posted it. I have also been looking into what I called the power of intention over the last while and seeing what happened and how it worked for me. Fascinating. I have a tendency to focus entirely on the positive-side, so looking at the same topic from a what-you-didn’t-want-to-happen actually took a bit of mental work for me. I can recall some situations where I was focussing more on what I didn’t want to happen and that is exactly what happened.

    Interesting, because it demonstrates how the power of belief can impact reality in both ways, following the energy we put out into the world – even if cognitively we may not actually want it. Also interesting when I think of cognitively wanting to play big, but inside feeling scared of taking things to the next level – and by this unconsciously sabotaging the efforts we are making. I am sure I have been guilty of this along the way…

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences on this! I love it when I read something and it creates enough impact to keep my brain engaged with the topic over a period of time. Thank you.

    • Marie LaForce Marie LaForce says:

      Jennifer, I love to hear that you thought about this over the week. For me that is a deep sense of satisfaction. I am happy that you tend toward the positive-side of seeing and living your life. I would generally put myself in that category, too.

      I wrote the post because sometime we don’t get what we want, but we can turn it around. The power of belief IS so powerful and what we put out we get back. Sometimes we can know these things, but can’t see how we’re doing them to get the results that we do. I agree with that unconscious sabotaging. We don’t mean to do it, but for a variety of reasons we think, believe and see just what we don’t want.

      Thank you for your comment today. I have been contemplating a problem of mine and as I am responding to you and reading your comment, I am reminded that in this situation I need to think about what I want instead of what I don’t want. The light bulb has come on! Whoot!

      I am grateful for your encouragement, Jennifer. Thanks for reading.

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