The Benefit of the Doubt

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At this time of year, when we celebrate the advent of miracles, it seems the perfect time to reflect on the Benefit of the Doubt.

Have you ever become completely absorbed in a fantastically impossible movie, like “Ghost”? To navigate this shift in perspective so that we can dive in, we must suspend that which we believe to be true. In the process, we come face to face with Doubt.

Ah Doubt. Who is this unbidden guest? It appears at the intersections of our life. We may recognize it as a tightness in the chest or a pit in our stomach. Not a pleasant visitor, Doubt brings us to a place of questioning. When we encounter Doubt, our usual reaction is to dismiss the situation that has caused Doubt to come calling.

But there is a deeper meaning to a visit from Doubt. Doubt invites us to relook beliefs that we hold as truth and gives us the opportunity to offer the Benefit of the Doubt.

The Benefit of the Doubt may be extended to another, or towards oneself. Have you ever thought “ I doubt that John will be there for me if I need him “ or “ I doubt I am strong enough to make this change in my life ”? If so, you have entered into a conversation with Doubt.

Can we extend the Benefit of the Doubt to our most fervently held dreams? Can we open our hearts to others whose motives we question?

My husband and I have had direct experience with the Benefit of the Doubt. We discovered Asheville during a road trip and fell in love. The call to move was mysterious and unrelenting. Knowing no one, leaving friends and family behind, and without jobs, we bought a house in Asheville. The day of the closing, we found ourselves browsing in a metaphysical shop. Pausing in the journal section, we looked at each other and said, “ What did we just do? Are we making a gigantic mistake?“ At that moment, a card literally fell off of the shelf and landed at our feet. The face of the card was an angel looking over the edge of a cliff. The interior contained one phrase: “Leap and the net shall appear”. Ten years later, our lives have changed beyond measure, as we have danced over and over again with the benefit of the Doubt and awakened to our highest destiny. That card holds a prominent place on our refrigerator, a daily reminder to always enter into the conversation when Doubt comes calling and to keep our hearts open.

When we bow to Doubt and accept the invitation, we enter into an age old dance. Although we may not recognize the steps we muster our courage and move into the unknown; acknowledging our fears, embracing our vulnerability and opening our hearts to the mystery. This requires courage, and a willingness to accept risk. When we offer the benefit of the Doubt, we say YES to life and awaken to greet our destiny. It is here that Doubt hands us off to a new dance partner, Faith.

When we embrace Faith, we move from the landscape of the Scared to the realm of the Sacred. We remember who we really are, we awaken and we begin to heal. We begin to see from the eyes of the heart, and it reveals the magic, the mystery and the miracles that are possible.

There is a quote from Albert Einstein which embraces the possibilities that arise when we offer the benefit of the doubt: “There are only two ways to live your life, one is if nothing is a miracle and the other as if everything is a miracle”

I invite you to give yourself the benefit of the doubt and practice living your life as if everything is a miracle, for just 30 days. I’d love to hear your stories.

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