For most of us, we don’t let go because no one ever taught us how. Letting go, especially today, is seen as an ambiguous and spiritual thing, and next to impossible to define. It’s elusive. Out of mainstream grasp. So we don’t let go. How could we?
I remember one time a few years ago, I was going through a pretty tumultuous time; I experienced things as very chaotic in both my personal and professional life, and was really struggling with feeling centered and calm. A good friend said I needed to “Let it go” for now, to basically unleash my claws from every situation in my life that was causing me to feel a sense of panic and fear, as this was beginning to infiltrate my every waking moment.
At first, I was a bit offended by the comment; I could see the inherent usefulness, perhaps even resonated with some of the spiritual resolve of the comment, but how on earth was I to do such a thing? Was she serious?
Wasn’t my life important? Were not these “problems,” these areas of my world that needed abrupt attention and a subsequent overhauling, a matter of necessity?
I came to find that the answer was a very loud, resounding “no,” and that, in fact, my attempts to control and manipulate these things that I found were so vitally important, were acutely detrimental to my sense of peace and fulfillment and actually seemed to make the very things I was trying to control worse!
I have come to discover that the “things” of which I need to let go of the most, whether material/physical things like a certain job or relationship or an emotional disturbance (difficulties in a relationship or a personal goal, for example) are the ones I am most intertwined with or feel the most need to control. When I am in the clutches of self-will, worry, and trying to manage and manipulate the world around me (this comes from fear and my inherent need to experience a sense of feeling grounded and calm by the illusion that my life is predictable, certain, and fixed), I am wrapped up in me, me, me, and the result is I am miserable AND no help to anyone around me.
The equation can be confusing but basically it is this: the less attention and focus and fear on me and my world and my “problems,” equates to more usefulness to others, joy, and peace.
Less me=more life.
Letting go is a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual process of releasing to the Universe that which we cling to so tightly. In this process, we can learn to ultimately let go of people, outcomes, circumstances, ideas, feelings, needs, desires, etc. We learn that hanging on this tight actually harms us and most likely is blocking us from getting what we need.
In learning to let things happen in their own timeline, we learn that is what they are going to do anyway! And as we slowly learn to take the obsessive focus and fixing and put it back on the shelf, we’ll also be happier and so will those around us. Letting go creates an environment where the most positive outcomes are allowed to surface and in which the most growth can and will occur.
So, how do you do it? How do you go about letting go?
I have found letting go to be a process comprised of different dimensions-physical, mental/emotional/spiritual. So, let’s keep this simple and start out with the first one-the most difficult for beginners and also the foundation for the rest-the physical. In an odd way it’s the most simple to do and the most excruciating. However, letting go is very much like a muscle, and with time and sufficient practice, the growing pains lessen and no longer feel so debilitating and restrictive. With enough practice, the ability to do let go becomes easier and the freedom offered by it is something you actually seek, rather than hide.
So how do you let go physically? You do exactly that.
You let go PHYSICALLY.
Take your hand off the phone, away from the email, texting, driving over to discuss, confront, etc. You physically take your body out of the control business. This might seem impossible to do. I understand. I felt like I was suffocating for quite awhile when I began to practice this. Have you ever thought about what the controlling does FOR you? Well, think about it. All the physical “doing,” helps give you and I the illusion that things are different, changing, in control, whatever, and we don’t feel as frightened. But it’s all a farce, dear ones. None of these desperate pleas for control of outcomes actually work. In short, we are just not that powerful. So, in the first realm of surrender and letting go, we physically stop trying to control and we let go.
Now, please don’t get upset and assume I am talking about such issues as letting go when you’re unemployed, in an abusive relationship or any other type of situation that demands action. You do the action. You do all you can for THAT DAY, and then you let go. You sit in the present moment, super uncomfortable and acutely aware of your discomfort and you DO nothing. And you will not die. I promise.
One useful thing to think about is what you could be doing in place of the controlling you feel so compelled to take part? What could you be doing with your emotional time and energy, your physical time? Could you be helping someone else? Could you be of service in some capacity? I have always found that turning my attention to someone else, even for the smallest amount of time, actually takes the force of my ego away from me, and allows some freedom from my own self and a reprieve from my obsessive thinking.
I have also found that when I turn my attention away from myself enough and with consistent practice, the areas of my life that I am so wanting to fix, have this surreal quality of changing slightly on their own, finally given the space in the absence of my force. Sometimes, nothing actually changes in the physical world, but my perception of things and my life, when given some space and freedom to evolve, change, thus actually changing what is going on in my world. It is impossible to have a change in perception without a resultant change in my external world.
It’s Thursday evening right now.
Lets start small.
How about for one 24-hour period you commit to this practice. For one 24-hour period (after you have taken all the necessary action) let’s commit to being still, sitting on our hands, acknowledging our discomfort and not doing one thing to change, manipulate, control things that are in the forefront of our minds. For you dare devils, how about through the weekend?
Will this be easy? Probably not. Will this be fun? Depends on how you experience your environment and feelings. Will it be worthwhile? Definitely. This is the foundation of a huge expanse of peace and serenity. This is the building blocks of a new way of living. Th
is is the doorway to freedom and the ability to sit right where you are, with whatever is going on both around you and in your own head, and be still, welcoming the fluctuating dynamic of your world, and not allowing a delusional need to take action in a vain attempt to alter this ever-fluctuating life to give you a false sense of comfort. This is the real deal, my friends.
Let’s get started.
If you would like to learn more about coaching and if the process aligns with your goals, books a complimentary Breakthrough Call here. On this call, we will clearly identify the different dimensions of your life that are limiting your success and happiness, how your ideal life would be if you were able to get past these blocks, and the direct and quickest path to radically shift you into this vision. This might be the most powerful 45 minutes you have ever spent.
Carrie, who splits her time between Denver and Dallas, is an International Coach Federation (ICF) Professional Certified Coach (PCC). As a trained therapist and certified life coach, her goal is to provide the essential expertise and practical tools to tap into and harness your inner strength, wisdom, and power in order to overcome the struggles and pitfalls that are bogging you down and to be your guide in creating a life you love – fast.
Have you ever noticed how much anger or resentment can dominate you?
“Dominate.” I actually was so drawn to that word that I looked it up:
I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want anger or resentment ruling over, governing, or controlling me! But once you feel these negative emotions welling up, you begin to identify with the situation and start to literally re-live or re-create the conditions in your mind, truly experiencing the painful feelings time after time. And the anger or resentment builds and gains intensity . . . and power to dominate. No wonder anger is so vicious.
So, how can we counter such a powerful force? Well, I’m not sure what will work best for you, but I can share what works for me. Regardless of what tactic you choose, it is imperative that you find something that works, to free yourself from the domination of these self-destructive thoughts and to ensure that this domination is an experience you no longer have to endure. The freedom I found after learning to deal with these negative, potentially dominating emotions was one of the most life-altering and profound changes I have ever experienced.
When I feel anger or resentment welling up from within me, the first thing I do is look at the facts. What really happened? Often, my interpretation is a bit skewed. I find another person can usually help me with this much more than relying on my biased interpretation alone. Usually my one-sided interpretation will continue to re-act (act again like I did in the past) and re-feel, and the anger (and/or fear) builds and becomes more intense.
The second thing is I ask myself if I’m taking it personally. I do not believe that anyone has ever woken in the morning and said, “You know what? I’m going to take a program of action to harm Carrie. Yep, better get out of bed and get started.” Nope. Sorry folks. It just doesn’t work like that. One of the most insightful things I have ever heard is, “They’re not doing it to you; they’re just doing it.” And that is almost 100% true in every case. People are living their lives, wrapped up in their own concerns and thoughts, trying to take care of what seems necessary for them, avoiding their own fears, trying to do what they need to succeed, and, in the midst of it all, we collide. We just collide with each other. The lethal part of this, instead of opening our eyes and realizing that, although perhaps unfortunate, the collision was not intended. We tend to judge hastily, and we most often assume the stance that things were indeed maliciously planned, and then, we take this corroding energy home with us. This corrosive baggage continues to linger and pollute our consciousness as we spend time with family, make dinner, and go to bed. And often, the anger is still there when we awake, and the re-feeling of it is the feeding of it and only results in intensifying things. We have imposed our own self-inflicted mental torture. Once the cycle has begun, it becomes increasingly difficult to extricate ourselves.
The third step is to examine whether I did anything to contribute to the situation. Did I have anything to do with what happened? Much like the need for an “other” to help sort out “the facts,” I often need an alternate view point here as well. It can be incredibly challenging to objectively “see” how I might have caused some of the harm myself, how I might have contributed to the situation, or how I might have been partly to blame. Although there are exceptions, when I am honest with myself, it is rare that any party, including myself, is completely blame-free.
And the last step is to summon a countering, and more powerful emotion from within: compassion, compassion, compassion. I have found in my experience, that rarely does anything happen to me (or to those around me) that I have not done myself or that I am not capable of doing. Despite this potential hypocrisy, we often fly to judgement regarding others. The intriguing thing about judgment is that we tend to project our past experiences and their emotive responses onto the present situation at hand. And this remains true whether we are on the passing or receiving end of the exchange.
Be that as it may, we must acknowledge that basically, if the people around you could do better, they would do better. Just like you and I. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have, and when we judge someone and get angry because we are taking it personally, it is the height of self-centeredness. “It’s not all about you,” is one of the best lessons I have ever learned. It took my extreme sensitivity and toned it down to a realistic level, where I didn’t feel battered and bruised at the end of the day.
The final thing I want to touch upon is the awareness that ultimately comes from “being” and attentively addressing each step for dealing with anger or resentment. What we intuitively and (easily) come to see is how much resentment actually harms us. When we are resentful, we are, at the very core, focused on ourselves and cut off from others around us. This is what it means to be self-centered: centered in oneself. When you are angry, you are simply centered in yourself. And this feels lousy. No growth or joy can come from this. Joy comes from connection and openness to others and to the world around us. Peace stems from the experience of being a part of humanity and realizing how interwoven our lives truly are. Nothing grows from a place of constriction; attention to your own thoughts spurred on by anger is a slow death of happiness.
Is it possible to be enlightened after “knowing” these things? Possible but doubtful. Awareness is a road one can choose to take in the creation of a different kind of life. It is a journey rather than a one-stop repair. Awareness of the reckless nature of anger and its malicious effects is a good start. The “knowing” slowly becomes a spiritual awareness that seeps into all of your thoughts and activities.
In this space, the miraculous can happen. In this space, we can truly learn how to address our inner urgings towards anger and resentment and quell these hostile and destructive feelings. In this place, we are able to strip away anger and resentment’s power to dominate us, and we are able to build an edifice from which we can soar and discover the greatness of our humanity.
“Your natural state is joy.” I had that quote on my fridge for years.
And every time I would pass it by, I would feel a moment of awareness, of seeing something which resonated within me as truth. Then, just as quickly as that moment came, it would pass as my glance shifted to the next object, the next thought.
And that’s how I lived my life – ricocheting from one moment to the next. I was never “still” enough to just be in the present moment.
It was a hollow way to live. An afterthought of a life, really.
Today, living is different for me. Things are not always amazing or wonderful, but I am here. I am experiencing the Now’s of my life. I am available for this present moment. It is a moment un-reigned, undictated: it does not have to “be” or unfold in a certain way. And when I truly disengage from the urge to reign or dictate my present moment, when I let go of the selfish need to impose my own expectations upon that moment, that is when I can actually experience that moment and all that it brings.
Do you see that when you try to manage your experience by resisting how things inherently are then you never truly experience anything? Resistance naturally implies thinking – it is impossible to resist anything without simultaneous thinking and judgement . The actual resistance is based on the thoughts that something is “bad” or “undesirable.” The moment your mind starts narrating an event and you give precedence to that dialoge, the real-life experience of that moment is lost. And the irony of all of this spent energy, is that your resistance CHANGES NOTHING. Nothing that you are thinking has an effect whatsoever on what is occurring. We engage in this pulling back, backing away, squeezing shut our eyes, etc. in an effort to change what is happening, but this resistance doesn’t change what is happening, it only heightens our own internal aversion.
When we shut down from present moment awareness, we miss out on our entire existence. It takes a mammoth amount of emotional energy to resist, repress, distract, and continuously identify with your mind. It takes absolutely NO energy to release yourself into the awareness of the now and to open yourself to what is directly before you. Indeed, you actually feel energized, rested, and replenished when you embrace the present moment. When the frantic mind is quieted (even for only brief moments, for example, when you are washing the dishes, sitting at a red light, spending time with a loved pet) and you are no longer engaged in dualistic thinking (separated from the present moment and others/me and them/etc.), than you actually draw in strength, energy, and peace. You are better able to harness your own natural center and, therefore, are more innately productive and fulfilled. When we can accept the present moment for what it is and embrace the truth that there is nothing lacking from it, then we can stop trying to manufacture a different moment now and that will follow. When the manufacturing of artificial moments begins to slow, then your real life begins to appear.
It is really about capturing your attention and focus for the moment. Because experiencing the present moment with your attention on that particular moment is what brings forth the essence of being in that moment.
It’s like a light. Imagine, a magnificent lighthouse with its powerful beam of light illuminating its surroundings. You also have the magnificent ability to focus your beam of attention, your light, if you will. So, you have to ask yourself what is yours shining on?
Take this moment and consider this: Where is your attention?
Ask yourself this question, for there is no other question more important than it.
Don’t lose the value of the moment in its fleetingness. And don’t lose the treasure which I’ve just shared with you, for it is indeed, a treasure worth clinging on to. So, right now, in this present moment, write something down to capture this singular truth and to remind yourself, and when you wake up tomorrow, before your feet hit the ground and you’re off and running, return to this place of knowing. Remind yourself of the vitality you can experience just by living each moment of your day. You deserve that. The people in your life deserve that. The day and the individual moments that define it deserves that.
Embrace the truth that you can experience joy in this moment. Smile, and realize the possibility that everything is as it should be, and in this moment (if only this tiny one) try to actually enjoy yourself. Try to actually laugh and have fun. Be serious. Be silly. Be whatever you want to be. But allow yourself to BE by focusing your attention here and now.
Every moment is made up of the Now. All your pasts are made up of a million different Nows that have come and gone. Your future is made up of the Now’s that will be. So how about actually experiencing one or two of those? Treat yourself, and unleash the joy in each moment by recognizing the inherent value of the present Now and of each Now that will follow.
Take a deep breath and resolve to be an active participant in your life. Resolve to slow down the frantic pace of your day and exchange the energy of resistance for that of appreciation. Look someone else in the eyes. Say thank you, and truly mean it, when someone holds the door open for you. Place your judgments aside, and allow yourself to just marvel in the beauty of the world. Allow yourself to marvel at the colors, the smells, and the rhythm of the day. Allow yourself to be there. Allow yourself to attend to the presence of each moment of this hour, of this day. Bask in the luxury of being in the present moment.
There is no better way to have a remarkable day. There is no better way to unleash the joy waiting to be discovered within each moment.
Have you ever come across a song or piece of writing that leaves you feeling like you connected with something inside yourself? After the experience, did you feel fortified, more grounded, loving, free and capable? Or perhaps you felt less fearful, less anxious, or less distracted? Did you notice being more present and aware?
The reason is abundantly simple and amazingly incredible, and it is truly life-saving and life-affirming.
Becoming aware or conscious of your Truth, is about “discovering, uncovering, and discarding.” It’s about discovering all the things you have built up in your mind and, either consciously or unconsciously, defined as your source of fulfillment and security. It is discovering the core of what this life experience is all about and identifying the difference between your life and life situation. Your life situation will always evolve, build, crumble, turn, and appear differently depending on your perception. Your life situation is your bank account, relationships, where you live, who you call your friends, your job, and the other varying details of your life. The first step in becoming empowered is to be aware that these things are (1) not permanent and (2) lack power (we have just perceived them to have it).
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that your job, where you live, what you do, is not important. Of course it is, without question. But your Truth is found in not attaching to them. Your Truth is not equating them with good or bad. Your Truth is recognizing that you do not need them to experience joy and peace. Your Truth is believing that these things (or lack thereof) do not determine your worth or value. If you choose to place your security in these possessions and roles, then you have immediately placed yourself and your life-view in a vulnerable position. Should these things change or leave you, your self-imposed definition will be one of deficiency or scarcity. By assigning the power of self-definition and self-worth to the variables in your life, you have placed your freedom and peace in things outside of yourself; and you are playing a game that has no end and that you cannot win. You will continue to go through your life, fiercely (and I mean fiercely) attached to things that at their very nature are impermanent and will not last. You have set yourself up to fail. You have set yourself up for defeat again and again and again. There is another way . . . a better way, a more glorious way.
Your Truth is, unlike your life situation, found in your Life. Your truth is internal and nothing on the outside can touch or harm it in anyway. It is infallible, pure love, absolute power. Your Truth remains the same regardless of your Life Situation.
And here it is:
You are perfectly made and perfectly, magnificently whole right this minute. You have always been as perfectly and magnificently made and whole as you were when you were born, and nothing that happens in this life can add or take away from that. You are safe and protected. There is nothing to fear. All that you run from and obsess about and worry and agonize over are simply scripts generated from your mind that you have identified and given power.
Everything is going to be ok because everything has always been ok, and everything will continue to be ok.
Your entire life is right Now. Every moment of your life has been a Now, and every moment after will be a Now. Not one thing can touch you right Now. Not one thing can harm you right Now, except by the power you give it in your mind. The Now in which you stand is spacious, expansive, full of possibilities and wonder. The Now in which you are is the experience of whatever is going on for you at this moment. Whether it is with a friend, reading a book, spending time with your kids, or sitting in silence, it is an opportunity to be in awe, childlike, innocent, excited, because you have never experienced this Now before. This experience is fundamentally unique and is literally begging you to notice. This Now is waving itself deep inside your soul and when you connect with it, you feel a surge of joy, your natural birthright, and you Know.
When you read that page in the book that caught your eye or see the photograph that brings up a sensation of peace or find yourself watching the kids at the park who embrace the Now and have not yet identified with the prison of a man-made mind, you know it. For an instance, maybe a minute, maybe even longer, you wake up and recognize the Truth. You relax, You breathe. You smile. You exist. Right Now.
The Truth, Your Truth has always been there and always will be. Your Spirit is there, connected, empowered, fierce, and all you need to do, all you need to BE, is right here, right Now.
A friend of mine recently shared with me that her fears were just skinny little things looking for a good meal.
Wow! Words of truth!
Yet despite the reality of fear’s deprived and ravenous nature, what do we do? We invite these fears inside, sit them down at the table, take their order, and spend most of the day feeding them until they loom before us larger than life. And we do this at the expense of the betterment, health, and joy of our own spirits.
With the exception of instances of immediate physical danger, fear will never (and you can hold me to this) have to do with the present moment. Fear can surface as silent as an invisible undercurrent to a deafening cacophony in our heads. We get stressed and worried about the something “out there,” “up head,” or about what is “going to happen” or “not going to happen,” and on and on. If you look closely at these fears, you can recognize an assumption about what will or will not happen if that something becomes reality. These assumptions are limiting, constrictive, and suffocating; they are our own self-imposed prisons.
My fears are stifling. They all have to do with presumed labels of something being “good or bad”, “winning or losing,” “elation or depression,” and all my fears really do is shut me down. We could choose to exchange one fear for another. Our fears are not brilliant. They are not worldly or glamorous. They seem threatening. They tighten around us as though they are dire, treacherous, and specific, but they are not. They are trivial and generic. When faced head-on, fears (like the bully I endured when I started a new school in fifth grade) will generally shrink back, unfed into the shadows.
The hidden truth is that you are, in essence, magnificent, perfectly whole, and radiantly fine in this moment. You are incredibly capable and purposeful in this moment (and will be in the one that comes after, and the one that comes after that), and the one thing to be aware and cautious of is your own thinking.
Now, when I feel fear creeping up, I make a concerted effort to observe what is present within me at that particular moment. What is it exactly that is feeling threatened? What part of me is rushing to fix and to solve and to manipulate and to change what is going on? Is there something in me that feels I need to take or avoid action?
And as small as it may sound, the first thing I do is to remind myself to breathe. In these moments, I often find my shoulders tensed up around my ears and my breathing artificial and shallow. I take stock of my physical body, and address what needs my focused attention and self-care. I assess my spiritual standing. Have I gotten quiet today? Have I connected in prayer and meditation? Have I been outside? Have I spent time with my loved ones or pets? Have I cultivated gratitude and acceptance today? There are many methods in which to get centered in the present moment, but these are just a few that work for me.
After this, I look at the evidence. I look at the facts. I take the emotion out of the equation and look at reality. If there is fear because I am frightened to take action, I am now able to move forward (if I still feel moving forward is appropriate), fear be damned. I am now able to see the fear for what it is – the façade of an inescapable enclosure forever tightening in on me, and although it may now, still feel pressing, I have enough experience to know it is a shadow dancer and nothing more. So many of my blessings have arisen from taking action IN SPITE of the fear. So many miracles have come from ACTION in the MIDST OF my fear (not in the absence).
If I am still uncertain how to proceed, I acknowledge and celebrate that as well. There are times when after considering the facts, the guidance and counsel of others, and my own spiritual compass, not doing something can be just as powerful and, often times, more difficult than taking action. Because, deep down inside, if I have made my decision based on an awake consciousness and spirit, then there has been a miracle within; growth is always borne from awareness.
At the end of the day, I am tired of feeding these fears. I refuse to engage with these phantom bullies that I help to sustain. Life is too precious to waste one more second in a solo-war. I have yet to perfect confronting my fears head-on, but I have seen the value of even the minimal result of waking up to my fears and self-constructed prisons and doing something different than I have in the past, And this incalculable value is the very essence of change.
Has anyone ever told you that you are powerful? Has anyone ever told you that you are actually more powerful than you could ever imagine? Has anyone ever told you how incredibly masterful you have the capability to be? Has anyone ever told you that you are the biggest factor in creating your reality?
Well, I’m telling you.
Do you believe me?
Actually,your disbelief is the very reason why you are presently blocked from that power, from that masterful capability, and from the self-demonstration of creating, actually, literally, creating a life that is abundant, joyful, and purposeful – a life in which you are exhilarated to participate.
Now, before you rush to agree or disagree, I ask you to be open and just give it a single effort. I invite you to have an experience, a real-life experience by trying something different and seeing the results. After all, that’s what this is about, right? Results. So it’s of great benefit to discover why you are getting your current results and how can you get different ones, the ones that will deliver the peace and joy you’ve been struggling for up until now.
Right this moment, but I am asking you to hold judgement, have an experience, and then decide.
Now, just stop for a moment.
What are you thinking? Pinpoint exactly what you are thinking. If you find that difficult, reflect on the type of thoughts you have been having today. What do they entail? What is their emotional content? What is their dialogue, their commentary? What are they saying? And now, consider this . . . What are you creating with those thoughts? How are those thoughts manifesting in your reality, in the environment around you? Because – please do not be mistaken, you are creating as you go.
Now, I want you to look at the correlation between the types of thoughts you have been having today and the reality of your day. What types of conversations have you had with those around you? What has been your experience driving around today? What has it been like this morning or afternoon at home?
Consider now what you have been feeling today. Do you feel happy? Tired? Lethargic? Angry? Bored? Resentful? Joyful? (I previously instructed you to examine your thoughts, and while thinking and feeling are interwoven, they are distinctly different).
Now, just taking one day is small-scale, but I believe this is how we start to grasp a law of Being-ness, so to speak, or a Universal Law, of how things coincide between our thinking and our external environment. Once you get a handle and can see the chemistry between these things, you can apply it on different levels: your work, your relationships, your aspirations, your desires, and your ultimate goals.
The experiences of your day are actively shaped and formed – they are created – by your thinking. To demonstrate this, I am going to ask you to try something different, so I implore you to be patient and go through the experience before quickly disregarding this position. The type of thinking you choose (for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say, “negative” and “positive”) is dictating and creating the types of experiences you are having. This is basic quantum mechanics, building blocks and the basis of some of the most powerful tools I teach my clients (because we all have access to the same tools, the same truth, and the same joy and freedom). What you direct your attention towards and what you devote your consciousness to will determine how you create the experiences you will have.
So, my dears . . .
On what, are you focusing? Since your internal focus will affect the attributes of your thoughts (i.e. positive or negative) and those thoughts are the building blocks of your experiences, it is crucial to control your internal focus. So, what in the world are you watching, observing? Ask yourself this, please! What is your consciousness doing? Realize, the choice is all yours. Just like when you go to the grocery store and pick out ingredients for a meal, so, too, you select what you will focus on, what thoughts will result from this choice, and what ensuing experiences you will have.
So, you are a creator.
The most powerful creator of your own experience.
I’m sure you must be feeling excited about this newly acquired gem. I understand you might also be a little angry because you’re only just hearing this now, or you might even be feeling a little frightened, or you may be experiencing some other emotions over this little discovery, but whatever you are feeling, my hope is that you are willing to try something different for the next 24 hours. I ask you to do a Life Experiment. You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. You could literally make a brand new life with this little secret!
This Life Experiment requires you to commit yourself to conscientiously choose those things upon which you will focus. It’s a commitment that involves your attention and discipline 24/7 (or 16/7 because you do get time off to sleep!). I recommend focusing on positive, life-affirming things. Focus on what is working in your life, what brings you happiness, what makes you feel “good.” When you start searching out this focus, you will quickly come to see that there are many things that are in these categories. Even individuals who are really struggling with life, suffering from depression, heath problems, etc. can find a few things that are still “working” in their life on which they can focus. By focusing on the positive in our lives, we stimulate the creation of more of these positive things and experiences.
Now, it is to be expected that you will run into snags, feel irritated, displeased, or uncomfortable throughout your day and get swept away in negative, limited thinking. When this happens, I encourage you to be as aware as possible, and notice your mind making that turn. How will you recognize the change? By the way you are feeling.
When you start to feel something negative, immediately hone in on the focus of your thinking. What are you thinking about? Almost invariably, your thinking has taken a turn or made a shift, and you are in a negative spiral; your feeling will reflect the change of direction. So, what should you do when you find yourself in this predicament? Exert a focused effort to change your train of thinking. Substitute your current thoughts with a different object, subject, or theme. Basically put, think about something else. I choose a thought substitute that I feel happy about or secure in that reconnects my feelings to a higher consciousness, one that results in feelings of joy and peace. I personally have found it helpful to choose one constant that I can rely on to replace my negative thoughts instead of trying to come up with something new in the midst of a negative spiral, but absolutely, do whatever works for you. And that is always the true test in the Life Experiments: “Is it working?”
Throughout the day tomorrow, stay alert and be aware of what’s going on within YOU. Remain vigilant and attentive to what is going on internally. Remain the constant observer of yourself throughout the day, and as your Life Experiment begins to unfold, start to notice the connections: what is happening, what might possibly be linked, what is causing the creations of the realities in your life? Do you begin to conceive that your thinking, your feelings, and your external reality are all connected and that the common denominator is you? Do you also begin to sense that you, as the common denominator, have a multitude of choices, and although choice brings responsibility it also brings the potentials for abundance, fulfillment, and peace?
Responsibility can cause us to feel uncertainty, fear, or dread, because it oftentimes appears so huge and heavy. It can be daunting to realize that we have a hand in creating the realities unfolding before us, but when we hold fast to the truth, we can see with clarity that responsibility in the choices we are making today carry the ultimate gift of free will for tomorrow.
You have been given a divine gift. You have been given the birthright of consciousness and the glorious free will to choose what you allow into that consciousness. There is no responsibility greater or more important. Nothing can come into your focus or awareness other than what you choose and allow. So, throughout your day, be gentle with yourself when you get angry or impatient or frightened. Becoming aware of our consciousness is a messy but wonderful thing, and it takes day after day after day of practice, and it can be years or decades before you attain full mastery. Bring to the table curiosity, an open mind, and the anticipation of a child. There is no way to lose in the Life Experiment other than not to try.
When you go to sleep after a day of successful inner-awareness and you realize, however slightly, that there is more to the workings of your mind than mere dance and play, then know that you are on your way. Then, you will have begun your journey into realizing your potential as a powerful creator of your life and its realities. You will, no doubt, enjoy the intoxicating effects of being aware of the you, within you. And most people, once they have a bit, want more. So, go get a bit of awareness.
I bet you’ll want more, too.
I read something recently that struck me: ” It’s not that we fear the unknown. You cannot fear something you do not know. Nobody is afraid of the unknown. What you really fear is the loss of the known. That’s what you fear.”-Anthony De Mello.
Are you clinging to anything? Are you clinging to the familiar, the old, the comfortable? We find a certain safety and satisfaction in the similar and predictable. I think it is normal, a human trait even, to cling to that which we can define with our eyes closed. We are all guilty of this passive acceptance. This is the predicament of our human nature. The result is a resistance to change; a resistance which is inherently limiting and stagnant.
Why do we stay stuck? Why do we stay in place? Why do we cling to mediocrity? I don’t refer to mediocrity regarding wealth, prestige, or power, but I mean the mediocrity of denying your very BEING. I mean the mediocrity of denying your inherent worth as someone who is breathing. I mean the mediocrity of stifling your purpose, your ideals, and your visions with the negative inner comments you utter: “could never happen,” “I’m not good enough,” “not smart enough,” “not fill in the blank enough.”
Why does our negativity speak louder than the voice we hear inside commanding us to “Move! Do something. Assert your consciousness!” Don’t you see that the simple vow to do, to move, to assert is enough to suffocate the mediocrity and shine light on what is really there? Don’t you see that it is not the final moment, the final goal that defines the purpose, but it is the transformation that is elicited by the doing and the becoming? Don’t you see the joy and bliss that can be found in the very discovery of your unknown destination? Don’t you see the lure of taking action for the love of the transformation itself?
I do not speak of a desire to be famous, to be known to the outside world, or to leave one’s “mark” here or there. I do not speak of those types of aims, for they have absolutely nothing to do with this conversation. But I speak of the much grander purpose to permit ourselves to seize the opportunity to express our unique authenticity and purpose. When we live our purpose, it is impossible NOT to be great, to be known, to leave our most real mark. As long as we try to go out into the day being the person we want to be, open to the possibilities, and really seeking to “do” the things which allow the inherent joy and wonder within to be seen, then we can start to make decisions and effect changes that are in line with this principle.
What types of things are you avoiding? What types of things seem too far away, too risky, too “never going to happen?” Are you ready to re-evaluate? Or, are you still looking for the things that connect you to your most inner resourcefulness and joy? Are you open to what these things might be? Either way, you are in one place and what calls to you right now seems out of reach. What can you do today to start on this trek? Even the smallest possible notion to action is brilliant, magnificent, and necessary. A beginning is still the most fierce of actions, as everything stems from this energy. Give yourself this gift today.
Do. One. Small. Thing.
You will be astonished at the power that results from the shift in your consciousness.
Eckhart Tolle states “Remember that your perception of the world is a reflection of your state of consciousness. You are not separate from it, and there is no objective world out there. Every moment, your consciousness creates the world that you inhabit. One of the greatest insights that has come out of modern physics is that of the unity between the observer and the observed: the person conducting the experiment –the observing consciousness-cannot be separated from the observed phenomena, and a different way of looking causes the observed phenomena to behave differently.”
What this says to me, is that by doing something small to elicit your purpose, your actual consciousness, how you interpret and view what comes next, will change. Instead of allowing fear by this statement, how about conjuring up excitement or anticipation? After all, what could be more thrilling than to be a conscious witness to your most magnificent life? What greater motivation, what greater gift, could you possibly give yourself than the gift of your life?