The Authentic Consequence Blog
Ideas and Perspectives to Help You Live Your Authentic Truth
I’ve been forced to ask for help recently. Well, forced
might be a strong word to use. But from an emotional standpoint, I feel forced.
See, I’m not a person who has lived my life to this point asking for help. I
mean, yes, there have been times when I ask for minor assistance from
individuals I trust, but when it comes to providing for my basic needs and
desires, I’ve made it on my own for a very long time. Until now, when certain
choices and life events have put me in a position where I can no longer rely on
the resources I once used to sustain myself. And so, I feel forced to ask for
I’ve always resisted asking for help because I felt it left
me open to manipulation, a giving away of my power. To me, being vulnerable has
always been viewed as a weakness, and so I built a strong army of defense
around myself including pride, individualism, control, logical thinking,
perfectionism, and self-judgment. Everything fit into a concise package, tightly
packed and categorized just right. Yet the balance and freedom I craved was
never really there. And my joy? I completely forgot where I placed it.
Then one day, I asked myself a question which changed
everything… “What else is possible?” …and very quickly, in reply, my life
Some people might look at my life now and think it has
completely gone to hell. But the only person who is actually living it is me
and that’s the only perception I care about. Even though the outside
circumstances may look really scary and grim right now, inside I feel free.
Balanced. And yes, even joyous. If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t
change a thing. There is a wonderfulness in it all that I never really expected.
I am learning about letting go of the perceived control I thought I had over my
life and circumstances. I continue to understand that I always have a choice, but
my choices do not guarantee outcomes. I’m not talking about putting
responsibility on another, because when we do that we give up our power and ability
to choose. I’m talking about giving up the false assumption that I have any
control over the outcomes of my choices, which leaves space for the beauty and
magic of the Universe to blossom before me. The need to be perfect also melts
away because I’ve come to realize I was making myself miserable by trying to
always be perfect, trying to meet the expectations of others. It was an
impossible game to win, and so I forfeited the game and walked away. I’ve also
had to face the fact that I’ve been operating with a large amount of pride, a
mask that was worn for protection to scare me into staying on the straight and
narrow. I see now that pride is another form of judgment, and who am I to judge?
Letting go of self-judgment has been the biggest challenge for me. It is so
much easier to let other people be ‘right’ and beat myself up for being
‘wrong’. Again, another question came… “How’s that working for you?” …it doesn’t
What I’m enjoying the most right now is observing all the
definitions, assumptions, limiting beliefs, judgments, and expectations just completely
fall away from my concept of my identity. Not much is left, and so I am re-building. As an observer, I can chose to not
get wrapped up in the drama of it all, the clinging, the worry, the fear.
Instead I chose to just observe, to witness, and to appreciate. Appreciation
is different from being grateful. Gratitude has a sense of lack to it, a
clinging, an attachment, a need for more. Where appreciation is detached from
outcome, it accepts things as they are when they show up, and doesn’t expect
anything more. Being in appreciation opens the possibility for more beauty to show up
in unexpected ways, observing in appreciation of simply ‘what is’ leaves room
for allowing and magic and miracles.
I’m still learning to ask for help. I’m not sure I’ll ever
get used to it. Yet I find people willing, friendly, eager and amazingly
supportive. I’ve actually never felt so supported in all my life. I’m in awe of
the vast community of connections and resources that are instantly available to
us when we just step outside of the tight, little box we’ve voluntarily put
ourselves in and ask, “What else is possible?”
Have you ever heard the phrase “Fake it till you make it”? It seems to be everywhere in entrepreneurial business advice. And I’ll admit I’ve been ‘faking it’ in my business building efforts for about three years now, with seriously minimal success. So I wonder, does faking it really work? And if so, what does that say about integrity and transparency in our business efforts? What about being genuine and authentic instead?
Just yesterday I was pulling together my taxes for this past year and although I spent a couple thousand dollars in marketing and business expenses, I have no taxable income to show for all my small business efforts. Not a single dime. This feels immensely frustrating to say the least, yet still, I remain optimistic. I hold onto my deep desire to help people live their lives on their own terms. This is a genuine motivation coming from my authentic inner self. And so I will continue to reinvent my vision until I feel I get it right. Willingness to reinvent yourself and what isn’t working has a lot to do with being successful, just look at Madonna.
Looking very honestly at my business efforts, I’ve tried a lot of methods. I redesigned my web site – twice – with optimized SEO and Google Analytics. I advertise and interact on social media, participate in network marketing groups, write articles for my blog, compose newsletters, attend expos, and nurture professional collaborations. I’ve even written and tested ten different versions of my elevator speech and earned two coaching certifications for more ‘credibility’. None of it yielded me clients or taxable income in the past year. Now granted, it could be a flaw in my business model, in my approach to marketing, in my attitude. Oh heck, it could be the failed economy! But to me, these all sound like excuses. Ones I’m not willing to accept because they keep me stuck in a victim mentality. I refuse to allow myself to remain stuck. My point here is that I've tried lots and lots of options and I still fail. Am I giving up? No. I'm simply directing my focus away from ‘faking it till I make it’ to being completely genuine about who I am and what I do in my business. Whether or not I'm successful by society’s standards, at least I know at the end of the day that I am being myself. I can respect myself and what I do, and know that the person I show to the world is who I am to my core.
As I figure it, I’m about half way through my life. I have no children, no spouse, and no relationship with my immediate family. I have a corporate day job that pays my bills but does not line up with my personal values. I've owned two small businesses that have failed. My web site and blog have four consistent visitors, who as far as I can tell live in Brazil and I’m pretty sure are just spam activity. A lot of people could look at the contents of my life and think 'epic fail'. But I'm not interested in what other people think and I’m not trying to start a pity party. Am I happy? Yes! Happier than I've ever been. And why in the face of all that failure would I be happy? Because I choose to be happy, in a most genuine way. And I finally get to practice what it is like to live my life on my terms. This brings me genuine joy. It's as simple as that. My only concern is about what I am thinking and how I perceive my failures. This is what matters most because my thoughts and perceptions are the only things that affect my life directly.
Who was it that defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Ah, yes, it has been attributed to many great thinkers. Who said it doesn’t matter because it is a great life lesson and it has a point. I’m taking it seriously. How many of us readily admit to our failures in our relationships, in our business, in our life adventures? And yet we continue to repeat the same patterns, reap the same results, and blame someone else for our failures. Let’s stop the patterns that don't work, and find the ones that do! As a society, we're so much more inclined to celebrate and open up about our successes, faking it till we make it, but what about celebrating our failures as well? They’re part of the journey too. Depending on how you look at them, our failures can be bigger lesson-learning tools than our successes. They can be a catalyst for tremendous change! I've learned so much about myself and how I approach my life thru my so-called life failures. As I see it, I’m earning my PhD in failure and that’s okay. I realize that these failures are huge opportunities for me to try a new approach, make an impactful change, and start again with renewed passion for the things I really want to do with my life. By taking responsibility for myself and my failures, I'm building my life through playing by my rules now. Making the choice to embrace failures, forgive yourself, reinvent your vision, and keep moving forward is an incredibly empowering process. Who knows how many more failures I’ll face in my life, but I do know that when the next one shows up, I’ll be that much closer to achieving the success I’m working towards. That’s the kind of success you can’t fake because it’s all about being genuine!
Why do we keep secrets? Why do we create secret activities and participate in them? How much do you know about why you have and keep secrets? And what affect does keeping secrets have on your life?
These are just a few questions I’ve been asking myself recently. As I become aware of my patterns I can see the connection between how my beliefs about myself and those around me shape my actions. And I can trace it all back to when the idea of keeping a secret began for me in my early childhood. I find this fascinating, and actually very helpful to making changes in my present life. As these changes come about, the amount of secrets I hold is dwindling, as does the shame and guilt associated with them. This is what I am ultimately after – complete freedom from shame and guilt. The road is certainly not an easy one to travel. I find myself looking at every single part of my life, knowing that eventually every secret I have will be dissolved. This is frightening at best. But I have a feeling that in exchange for my secrets, I get to re-possess my inner power, empathy, self-respect, self-forgiveness, and ultimate freedom.
I’m not suggesting that everyone should start blabbing all their secrets to everyone they know immediately. And certainly when in the process of dissolving secrets, one needs to be very aware to include respect for others, non-judgmental actions and words, and compassion. Society has secrets, so do governments and politicians, family members and friends, co-workers and neighbors. Everyone has secrets. But people hold secrets for many reasons and some of these reasons are destructive to our beliefs and perceptions about who we are as a person. These are the kinds of secrets to dissolve. Making the distinction between whether a secret is held out of love for another, or for protection of a person or country, versus holding a secret because you want to control another with fear and manipulation is vital. We all have the ability to choose for ourselves. Any form of hindrance of allowing someone to choose for themselves is manipulation. Ponder your motivation when considering whether or not to dissolve a secret. Revealing the secrets of others has tremendous moral and karmic ramifications. We need to remember that not all the secrets we know about are ours to tell. But I’m really talking about dissolving the secrets that you keep from others about yourself. When you hold a secret that causes you to act on self-destructive patterns of behavior, it’s time to do the work to dissolve it.
Doing the work of dissolving a secret that you hold about yourself, your beliefs, your perceptions and your life experiences involves taking an intensely honest look at yourself. You have to get past the fear of looking within and get clearly honest with yourself in order to reveal why you keep the secrets. Most times we’re not even aware of the ‘why’. The awareness comes to consciousness in layers because usually when we look honestly at the stuff that scares us, it’s too much to process at one time. So we can’t force this process, it has to happen naturally. Yet as we peel back the layers and look deeper, the process intensifies and creates its own inertia. This process can be powerfully motivating and life changing! And yes, the fear is present too. And yes, it feels sometimes like the end of your world, but what about approaching this end as a beginning? A birth of your authentic self, a start to knowing and understanding yourself on a level you’ve never experienced before. What about actually creating an atmosphere of honesty and integrity in which you will thrive instead of just survive?
If we want to see a change in the world, we have to start with ourselves. The courage is here, it is activated and powerful. Consider how you might tap into this well of awareness and conscious change. Start with one small secret found within and just watch as your world transforms.
Recently I re-opened a book that has been sitting on my bookshelf for many years. We all have those kinds of books, ones we intend to read cover to cover, absorbing every detail, letting it transform our lives, yet somehow we never get past the second chapter. Yeah, one of those books... Well, I was feeling like I needed some transformation. So I slid the book from its dusty shelf and opened to the first page where I found this familiar quote:
“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium. It will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive.” ~ Martha Graham (to Agnes de Mille)
I first read, studied and analyzed this quote while preparing my senior thesis in my final year of college. The subject of the thesis was on the music that Aaron Copeland composed for two choreographers – Martha Graham and Agnes de Mille. At that point in my life I had an extreme passion for music and dance, one that motivated every action I took and Martha Graham was my creative idol (she still is). In looking back now almost 15 years later, I wonder what happened to that passion. I still appreciate all forms of visual and performing arts yet somehow I lost sight of how I participate in them. My need to provide a comfortable lifestyle for myself has dominated my daily living to the point where I now feel creatively aged, dried up and empty. I secretly told myself that being an artist was just a hobby for me with which to pass the time between my childhood and the day I joined the real world as an adult. Inside I always hoped that my talents were genuine yet I allowed the critical self-talk to take over and talk me out of ever pursuing my artistic dreams. I’ve spent many years wondering what could have been. Living with the constant dissatisfaction of my daily routine, I’ve become numb. I deeply miss the creative passion I once felt, the moments of inspiration, the feelings of accomplishment. It was with this heavy heart that I re-read this quote and I felt… hope. The words popped off the page at me! I felt an instant realization that no matter what I might think I’ve “lost” there is no denying that the power of my unique expression must prevail. No matter the illusion of how much time has passed, it truly is my business to remain open and aware. I am taking the action, here and now, to do everything I can to keep that life force unblocked and the channel open. My creativity may look different now yet its inevitable expression still holds the same motivation, passion and accomplishment of my college days. It is with this same enthusiastic energy that I share what I have learned. I do not claim to be an expert nor will I ever think that I have all the answers. I know that I am learning still, ever evolving and changing. I just want to help others do the same within their own unique journeys…
Naturally, I'm a curious person. I am constantly questioning myself as to where I am in my life, where I want to go, and how do I get there. My mind is a blur of logic, technicalities and creativity while my heart is always trying to find the balance to make sense of it all. Possessing a kind of nerdy inquisitive nature, I read product manuals cover to cover to understand exactly how the product works before using it. I research topics intensely before making decisions. I always have to find out the "what?" and "why?". On the flip side, I possess a surprisingly keen intuition that I'm still learning to trust when it comes to matters that are not so logical. I'm also quite curious when it come to people. I find their unique qualities to be intriguing, their behaviors fascinating and I'm always wondering what they're really thinking. A satisfying conversation to me has elements of asking questions of other people just to find out what they believe and how they process information. Applying this natural curiosity to the art of helping others is what attracts me to being a life coach.
Not everyone is comfortable with asking questions. Or stated another way, people are more uncomfortable with the answers to questions and so they just avoid questioning altogether. Seems to me though, in order to progress as individuals and members of our communities, we need to ask powerful questions of ourselves and others so that we obtain clarity, understanding and growth.
I recently participated in a teleconference with the Chicago Coaching Federation (CCF) on the topic of Powerful Questions. There was a lot of "coach talk" from the other participants yet most of the call was done within an inquisitive atmosphere - at times it was even lightly humorous. This was not the tone I expected from a serious life coach topic yet I was delighted to chime in and listen to the ideas presented. At one point during the call a coach brought up the concept of how to deal with the fear of "getting it right". We've all felt this at one time or another - am I saying the "right" thing? Am I doing what is "right" for me? What will others think of me if I don't get this "right"? This kind of fear can be crippling!! It deals with our own ability (or inability) to accept ourselves just as we are, imperfections and all, in this present moment. And it also asks the question - am I willing to allow myself to accept the possibility of failure? Maybe even failing miserably?
We all make mistakes, its part of being human and living life, the key to our success is how we perceive ourselves and our situations before and after we have failed. To have the willingness to take the risk to be wrong - allowing ourselves to do the very best we can do - knowing that if we fail, we still win! Making the choice to see all of our life adventures as learning experiences really does bring a sense of lightness to the risks we take, no matter the outcome. If we all perceived our choices this way, what happens to our fears? What if our fears vanished? What accomplishments are not being fulfilled because of the fears we let hold us back? What do we need to let go of in order to accomplish our goals?
Perfection really is overrated. None of us have all of the answers. What is important to remember is that we are all learning at our own pace and in our own way. In the words of one of my favorite college music professors, we are all here to "love the process". For most people, it is necessary to ask for help while "in process". A life coach is a supportive, encouraging and inspiring resource that you depend on for the appropriate assistance you need - feel free to contact me when you are ready. In the meantime, take a moment to ask yourself a powerful question or two. Maybe even start backwards and ask - what are the answers to the questions I'm afraid to ask? You might just surprise yourself at what you discover.
Recently I’ve been contemplating the concept of what it means to change. I’ve been thinking about change on a small scale yet I’ve been focusing on ultimately making big changes. These are changes so big that from where I’m standing now, I can’t envision the outcome, yet I know it’s there waiting for me. I wonder about what these changes will do to my sense of self and my emotional well being. What good will they bring to my life? Will they finally leave me feeling happy and satisfied? And where do I even begin?
Needing to bounce some ideas off of a willing sounding board, I sought out a dear friend who has given me inspiration and motivation for action in the past. We discussed these thoughts over dinner and although my friend did not express any specific opinions, our conversation left me in an emotional tizzy! I felt like this was a conversation we’d had many times before yet even though months had past, I’d made no progress with the big changes I desired in my life. I felt incredibly frustrated, even judged, and I wondered why my current life just doesn't seem to ever measure up. I instinctively reacted to these feelings of inadequacy by wanting to change everything about my life - instantly. I wanted my life to be grander, more meaningful, BIGGER, and I wanted it now! My heart was screaming at me to push though the process faster while my logical side slammed on the brakes and spoke of fear and regret. Frustrated, I tried to calm my thoughts and simply asked myself “What do I really want? And WHY do I want it?” I repeated these questions to myself until the answer came softly, and it said, “What’s the rush? Slow down. Enjoy the process, learn from the small steps, rejoice in the details, and smile at the subtlety. Your change is here now, in this present moment. Just notice.” And after sitting with this for awhile and absorbing the instructions, I understood that this is how real, positive, satisfying change happens.
Attempting to live a life that isn’t in sync with our own natural time table leaves us unsatisfied, crazed and feeling empty. Just as nature shows us in subtle ways how the earth is changing because of our choices and lifestyles, our emotions are subtle indicators of how sustainably we are living our lives. Pushing ourselves beyond our emotional capacities on a regular basis and carelessly wasting our emotional resources wears us down. We are left dried up, lifeless and numb, unable to express or even recognize our true selves. Moving too fast and constantly being distracted by what comes next - what we “should” be doing, what we “have to” accomplish, who we are “expected” to be - is living in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. At the opposite end, getting ourselves wedged so tightly into a state of “comfort” that our desire for growth and progress completely disappears is living in a perpetual state of status quo. Striving to find the balance in our emotional environment is essential for living an emotionally sustainable life.
This life is not a competition it is a journey that is individual to each one of us. All of the small changes that occur in our everyday lives, most of which we don’t even notice, are imperative to the process of getting to our desired point of big change. We renew our emotional resources by taking the time to slow down, get quiet, breathe deeply, and become aware of the subtle shifts of change. Softly asking ourselves “What do I really want? And WHY do I want it?” When the answer is honest and emotionally sustainable, it naturally leads us on our life path to change at a pace that brings us happiness and deep satisfaction.
We've all heard talk in the media about the power of your thoughts. Self-realization gurus preach it, doctors relate it to your ultimate health care plan, and even Oprah has shows dedicated to exploring the topic of this “secret”. It is the belief that what you think in your mind is directly related to what you experience in your life. What you believe to be true in your mind creates your reality and experience. This topic can seem kind of confusing, mystical and even unrealistic. It might even lead you to question “if it really was that easy, wouldn't everyone be doing it?” Ah ha! In reply to this skepticism, I respond with a resounding, “Yes!” It really is that easy. Fortunately, every single day more and more people are recognizing the correlation between mind and matter as a scientific fact. As a Life Coach, a core part of the work I do with my clients is helping them become aware of the thoughts they hold in their minds. And to become aware of whether or not these thoughts match their true desires and goals for what they want to experience in their lives. If the thoughts and desires do not match, we work together to plant new seeds and watch them grow. It is a beautiful process to witness and as their coach I learn a lot from my clients. I also learn a lot about myself.
One of the most aggressive beliefs that people hold onto is their inability to let go of something, someone, or a past regret. This aggressive belief can have a tenacious grip on the limiting thoughts we all have about ourselves and how we relate to others. It can also cause so much damage to one's self image that it seems almost impossible to overcome. Yet it is possible to release the grip, to bring healing and to ultimately let go. In my coaching, I like to start my clients on this path of letting go by sharing small, simple steps. It is amazing what can happen when you start small yet think big. For today, I want to share with you a small, simple perspective on the difference between “letting go” versus “giving up.”
Giving up is a passive, negative action. Its motivation stems from frustration and fear. Giving up says to the world, “I don't care enough to try to figure this out for myself, so I give up!” When you give up on something, you no longer allow the idea to manifest good in your life. You allow yourself to believe that your ability to reach a goal is absolutely impossible and thus it becomes impossible. Giving up has negative energy at its core so it can only bring more negative energy into your thoughts and thus your life. And when all you can see is a negativity reality, the negative events that follow your negative thoughts only confirm your impossible, miserable state of being. Giving up leads nowhere, you can’t learn the lesson if you don’t chose to walk the path.
On the other hand, letting go is a positive, affirmative action. It confirms that even though you may not have the answers you seek today, you are willing to remain open to those answers appearing sometime in the future. Letting go removes the ego from a decision or an action. It puts aside desperate, selfish motivations and recognizes that time and patience will bring about your intended outcome in the most beneficial way possible for everyone involved. Letting go involves love and selflessness as a basis for motivation. It recognizes that the only person we truly have control over is ourselves and the thoughts we think. Letting go has positive energy at its core and this energy invites peace, forgiveness, hope and happiness into your thoughts, your perspective and your outlook for the future.
So the question to ask yourself next time you are facing a difficult decision is, “Am I going to give up or let go?” Start small, think big. Let go of the belief that you are motivated to do anything out of fear, frustration or need to control. Let go of that aggressive belief that tells you the only way to joy and happiness is to hold on tight with all your strength. Loosen your grip and let yourself be free.
And if you feel you need some help along the way to clarify the unique path upon which you are traveling, simply reach out. I am here to help you and support you - every small, simple step of the way.
Recently I watched the film The Shadow Effect which was produced by Debbie Ford. I didn’t know much about the film or anything about Debbie Ford, but the theme of the film was what intrigued me. “The Shadow Effect explores the forces of dark and light that compete for attention within every human being.” www.theshadoweffect.com
I have always believed that suppressing and denying who we are and what we have experienced, particularly the dark side of ourselves, has a destructive effect on our entire lives. Elements such as fear, shame and guilt cause us to hate the dark part of ourselves on a deep level. And sometimes we may not even realize just how destructive this self-hatred has become. What I took away from The Shadow Effect is the concept that it is vital for each one of us to find the courage to explore and uncover the elements of our “shadow self.” This may be the most terrifying challenge we will ever face, yet it is the only way for healing and progress to occur.
In my own life, I have attempted to become more aware of the elements of my shadow self for over twenty-five years. And I feel like I am just beginning to understand and accept who I really am. This process of self-discovery is continuous and brings me new enlightment every single day. My adventure will never be over because there is always something new to learn, a new fear to conquer, and a different part of myself to explore. Sure, the process is pretty scary at times, yet it also holds the gifts of freedom, excitement, joy, gratitude, and satisfaction with each new accomplishment.
After watching the film, I also relate to the concept of my shadow self on an entirely different level. I used to think of my dark side as something I needed to hide, be ashamed of, or get rid of at all costs (and the costs are very, very high!). Now I see that to understand and accept my shadow self is a part of who I am as a progressive spiritual being. I can never outrun my shadow, but I can shine a light into the darkness, face the elements of my shadow self, accept the lessons they bring, and forgive myself for all of the self-hatred. With each step, I experience feelings of freedom and absolute love, the effects of accepting another part of my shadow self. This is incredibly empowering and it motivates me to continue to move forward.
Encouraging all of you to explore your own “shadow self” using the courage and power you carry deep within you. Shine your light into the shadows to reveal and accept every element of your true identity. Find your peace.
It’s the dead of winter. It’s a time of hibernation for nature, rest and renewal. As humans, we may just feel tired and cold for a few months. I know I’ve spent most of my time recently indoors, hibernating under blankets, and watching TV. Although this may seem like lazy behavior, I still find inspiration during this restful period. Two television programs provided me with a renewed perspective this past week - The Winter Olympics and Dr. Wayne Dyer’s “Excuses Begone” telecast on PBS.
I am continuously amazed at the physical abilities and mental stamina of Olympic athletes. Their examples of courage, strength and triumph over every obstacle are spell-binding. Many times I found myself transfixed by the television screen, mouth open in awe, sitting at the edge of my seat, hoping and praying and cheering them on to victory. Some athletes won gold and some are going home empty-handed, yet their consistent drive to achieve their Olympic dream is an awesome motivator for people of all abilities. I consider myself to be an observer of sports rather than a participant and as an observer, I want to get inside the mind of an athlete and understand what drives them so fiercely. What lessons can I learn from their example? Perseverance under pressure comes to mind. Giving it all you’ve got no matter if the odds are stacked against you is another lesson to learn. Holding the vision of a dream accomplished in your mind before it is even a part of your experience in reality is the most powerful inspiration for me. I imagine that every single Olympic athlete across the globe has dreamed of winning an Olympic gold medal for most of their lives. And because of their ability to hold the clarity and detail of that dream in their minds first, they accomplish great things.
Dr. Wayne Dyer’s program “Excuses Begone” provided me with an inspiration that hit closer to home on a more practical level. He spoke of the power of our subconscious mind and our ability to tap into that power by simply observing our thoughts. I’ve been practicing this technique for many years yet I’m always learning new approaches. Dr. Dyer spoke of the activity of your conscious mind during the last five minutes before you fall asleep at night. And how most of us lay there in bed rehashing our days, what was accomplished, what was not accomplished, and particularly what went wrong during our day. These daily summaries tend to be negative in content and, if we are able to drift off to sleep, when our subconscious mind takes over we are entering this period of rest with negative thoughts swarming around in our heads. Not exactly a restful, satisfying, stress-free approach to sleep. This got me to wonder, what do Olympic athletes think about right before they fall asleep? Maybe they think about their training schedules and how to do better tomorrow, but I bet you without a doubt that every one of them drifts off to sleep with the thought of winning that gold medal. And they do that every single night.
So maybe we are not all Olympic athletes or doctors of psychology, yet we can learn from their examples. Imagine the power we can harness within ourselves by simply thinking positively right before we rest our conscious minds into the subconscious. Taking those five minutes to count blessings, affirm our strengths, congratulate ourselves for doing the best we could, and feeling hopeful for a fresh start tomorrow. Holding our dreams actively in thought and believing that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to. Then, we get to dream of endless possibilities for a few solid hours, without restrictions or limitations, finding ourselves rested and refreshed in the morning.
Make your dreams Olympic-sized and go for the gold!
As you start to read the words of this article, just pause for a moment and pat yourself on the back. Congratulate yourself for getting to this point in your life journey and for being you – as is, in this present moment. You are quite an extraordinary individual. No one else in this entire universe could be you because you are infinitely unique. Congratulations on being one in infinity!
Since we are all unique in our own ways, why not celebrate those ways to their fullest? There are parts of you that only you can express and only in the way you can express them. Sometimes life gets in the way of our ability to be who we are. Expectations from family, friends, jobs, communities, even our own fears can put the things we love to do on hold for extended periods of time, sometimes years. Yet because we find joy in expressing the unique parts of ourselves, that joy can be accessed any time, after any period of hibernation, no matter how many years it has been, because these joyous activities are a part of who we are.
For example, I am a creative individual. I spent my growing years performing music, dance and theatre. Yet when I graduated from college with a music degree, I lost my ability to perform. And it wasn’t because someone told me I couldn’t perform, or that I was incapable of performing, or that I had no talent for the performing arts. It was simply that I stopped putting forth the effort of finding new opportunities to share my unique talent. I allowed “real life” to get in the way. There were bills to pay, job tasks to accomplish, things to acquire. I allowed all of this to take over and my joy for performing was covered up. Over the past fifteen years, I’ve allowed myself to believe that this was a good thing. That allowing my natural, inherent artistic ability to stay hidden deep inside of me was okay. I was afraid that the sacrifices I would have to make to get to a state of performing again were too big and that I had been away from the stage for too long. The obstacles I put in my path (all mental and of my own doing) were huge to me and too overwhelming. And then, a couple of months ago, completely out of nowhere, an opportunity for me to be involved in a dance performance presented itself. The instant I learned about this opportunity I felt a deep and intense joy rising from inside of me. I was literally jumping up and down I was so excited! And this made me realize, all those blocks I had put in my own way were useless in the presence of this joy. The power of the emotion I felt melted the fear I had held onto for so long and I could finally see a way to allow my creative talents to rise up once again and be expressed. I figured the path might not be easy, but now I am more than willing to allow this part of me to shine. And this time, it doesn’t matter to me if I succeed or fail, the point is that I am involved in doing something I love and I am allowing myself to be me. This is where the foundation of the joy I feel lies. And every life experience I have had up to this point enriches my resurrected joyous activity.
Now that you have taken the time to congratulate yourself on being you, what parts of yourself are you not allowing to shine? What is a simple, small step that you could take today to bring that part of yourself out? Release the investment in the end result. Taking that simple step could involve a multitude of choices, yet just allow yourself to be present in the moment and experience the joy again. What will put the spring in your step?