When I ask people what they would do if they could do anything, they usually give me deer-in-the-headlights look. That, or a list of things like paying off the bills, quitting a job, and buying a new car -- things that would feel good for a minute, but aren't really fulfilling.
In a realm of unlimited possibility, some of us freeze up. Some of us don't ever think that big because we feel trapped in a small life and we don't want to feel even worse by thinking about something better.
But some of us know exactly what makes our hearts sing yet we are terrified to admit to even having a dream at all. We are afraid of failure, of being judged.
We are afraid we aren't good enough.
And some of us have a feeling there is something more to life, but we can't put our finger on it just yet.
“The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it. “ ~William James
Imagine something more...
Over the next few weeks, we will cover all those dynamics and then some, but today we are going to talk about that magical, mystical, and often elusive 'something more'.
Here's the real scoop: All you need to know to begin making your life amazing is how you want to make the world feel. You do not have to know the plan to live the dream.
I'm talking about the expressions of feeling we all innately long for, such as:
These are expressions which are born within you, rather than reliant on what happens outside of you.
Once you know which one you resound with, then you just become that expression little by little yourself, and before you know it -- POOF! -- you are changing the world because everyone you interact with is getting a little slice of heaven just by being around you while you hold that expression.
Choose an expression, and practice BEing it.
For example, if you choose peace, then look for the ways you can be in greater alignment with your own peaceful nature. If you are angry, take compassionate action anyway. Drive gently. Stop the war of negative self-talk inside your own mind. Smile at people.
If you choose love, then drop your judgement and passive-aggressive tendencies. Practice having better boundaries. Be in the present moment more often.
If you choose gratitude, then be grateful even for the things that you don't understand, simply because you are learning something about yourself in those experiences, if for no other reason.
This practice alone will change your life.
What expression makes your heart sing? Let me know in the comments, and what steps you’re thinking about taking to become it!
"Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes." ~Carl Jung
Last week we talked about having a global vision for yourself, choosing a single expression to practice embodying more fully - love, peace, joy, etc. - something you long deep down to bring to the world.
This week, as we continue to practice our global visions, we are going to add in some self-compassion.
The idea this week is this: Be enough for yourself.
Recently my daughter was watching an episode of Glee, and popular girl Quinn realized her long-time dream of being voted Prom Queen. She said, "You know it's funny, but I've wanted this more than anything for the past 3 years, and I don't feel any different." In the show, she gave up her votes to make someone else's dream come true, and in doing so, she found what she was looking for inside herself all along.
Radical transformation begins the moment you acknowledge and accept yourself right where you are. You can't change when you are in denial or judgement of the current facts.
I remember being a teenager and thinking when a boy loved me, then I would be happy.
Then a boy loved me and I was not happy.
So I said to myself, when a boy wants to marry me, then I will be happy.
Guess what? No dice.
Maybe if I was skinny...maybe if I had babies (who would always worship the ground I walk on, and never ever be mad at me or make me feel judged, by the way)...if I had a car, a house, more money, more friends, a better job- surely I would feel better. Surely I would finally love myself then.
The more I had, the more acutely I realized the hole inside me was a bottomless pit. And yet I STILL couldn't face the fact that wherever I go, there I am. I was the problem. Or rather, the problem was me.
It took a lot of time and gnashing of teeth for me to admit to myself that I didn't feel deserving of love. So even when I got the love I so desperately desired, I couldn't accept it, because then, I rationalized, it would leave (when the giver of the love also inevitably realized I didn't deserve it), and I would be worse off for having hoped.
Ugh. What a mess! I have so much compassion for the people who tried to love me, who I wouldn't ever let within arm's length of me emotionally. In my own pain, I was hurting other people and didn't even know it.
The lesson I finally realized was that what I wanted to feel had to come from within me. No amount of external adoration was going to do it for me.
I began to listen to my own thoughts, and the tapes that played in my head all the time. They sounded like this for me:
These kinds of thoughts were just going on constantly and unchecked in my mind. If someone else spoke this way to me I'd be indignant and hurt at the least, but I spoke to myself this way all the time. And I mean ALL the time.
Although it feels awkward and untrue at first, make an effort to catch these thoughts, and deny them and replace them with something you want to be true for you instead.
Tell yourself in the mirror that you are awesome, that you are beautiful, that you have a good heart.
You'll be embarrassed even though you are alone. That's okay. You are stepping out of your comfort zone, and that is a very good thing. You will get used to it eventually, and then you will even start to believe it.
Deepening the work:
Next week we will talk about living on purpose, and we will take this work and this list to a deeper place.
Meanwhile, if you are feeling brave, leave a comment and share a story about a time when you allowed your inner critic to stop you, or when you didn't...
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
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