The only thing interfering with our ability to experience joy in this moment are our thoughts about this moment. Even in the empty depth of wrenching heartache and despair, joy can be found: I speak from personal experience here.
Whatever hardship is weighing heavy upon us, there is always the option of aligning with it and learning from it. Surrendering to hardship with a note of sincere gratitude transforms our experience of life into a celebration of creativity.
When we stand at the precipice of our lives and step faithfully, the world rises up to meet us. This carries with it the happy consequence of inspiring others to do the same.
Feeling stuck? Confused? Uncertain how to move forward in your life in a powerful and meaningful way?
Often we use our fear of failure as an excuse not to take a leadership role in our life. Choosing the devil we know can seem a safer strategy than choosing the devil we don’t know. The trouble is, we end up living half-lives at the mercy of mass markets and elite moguls. What isn’t always apparent is that the devil is just an angel in disguise.
We have to want the experience of leadership, win or lose, more than we fear the uncertainty of it. Only then will it hold any meaning for us.
For most of us in the free world, feeling burdened is often merely a symptom of a conditioned mindset bent on finding hardship instead of freedom. Wishing our current situation was different than it is creates the illusion that we are trapped, and undermines our sense of autonomy. This effectively shuts down our creative thinking, which further stifles our capacity to effect positive change in our lives. Because we strengthen what we practice, even if we make positive change we will likely still be stuck in the mindset of burden, and we will not be able to fully appreciate our new surroundings.
“Less than ideal” situations are the perfect backdrop for us to cleanse ourselves of these limiting thought patterns so that when we reach our goals, our inner circuits are clean.
My suggestion: When that sense of burden arises, use it as your cue to challenge the limiting belief that you are a prisoner in your own life. The realization that your life is a compilation of choices you have made breaks down that conditioned mindset and empowers you to make more skillful choices.
Every time you become aware of striving towards a goal today, notice one breath consciously.
Notice that your very being is the successful result of billions of years of evolution. Taking the next step with open curiosity and unfettered awe aligns you with the fullest possible expression of yourself in this moment. It connects you to yourself, to others, and to life, in a radical and transformative way, resulting in an experience of fundamental success.
An experience of fulfillment is always available, it doesn’t cost a cent, and you don’t have to travel to some exotic retreat. If enduring fulfillment is truly your highest priority, then the most that’s required is to shift your awareness away from past and future to the intersection of here and now.
What’s your priority?
Truth cannot be spoken any more than it can be known. Truth can, however, be experienced. The trick is not to make the memory of that experience of truth into a false idol.
Hold the experience of truth loosely and challenge it often. Continually arrive at the experience of truth in this moment.
Things don’t always go as planned: scheduling conflicts arise; picnics get rained out; people die unexpectedly.
And yet, through it all, innate precision is revealed: breath and stillness keep dancing, sunshine gives rise to shadows; babies continue to be born.
Allowing this moment to remain unburdened by our ability to reflect upon the past and project into the future creates a space ripe for discovery.
Vision creates the illusion that we can see: a fact which can blind us to our very truth, and which carries unassuming life or death consequences.
How bad must it get, what loss must be endured, in order to at last step boldly in league with this life that is living you? What is at stake if you don’t?
Every situation contains the fullness of life. That means that every situation has good points and bad, joys and heartaches, pleasures and pains. If a driving factor behind your decisions is to escape the heartaches in your everyday life, then you are setting yourself up for a great disappointment. You might succeed at changing your life, but you won’t feel any more fulfilled.
The cause of your angst is not the situation, but your perception of the situation. Having what you want will never bring you enduring fulfillment. Chasing an ideal with the belief that it holds fulfillment is not a viable solution. After all, there is no shortage of stories of unfulfilled millionaires.
Fulfillment is an inner phenomenon. My suggestion: Stand where you are, find the fulfillment that is here, and then step. Fulfillment can be found in any situation when we look for meaning instead of happiness. When we recalibrate our perception to see the abundance of opportunity as opposed to the stranglehold of lack, we can’t help but discover a treasure trove of opportunity.
We now have a wealth of choices and no pressing urgency in which to choose one. When we finally do lock onto one, we make that choice not out of desperation, but out of alignment with the fullest possible expression of ourselves. Fulfillment is built in to the step, without regard to the outcome.
A statuesque frog
adorns a swift sunny log.
Now almost home: Ploink!
This moment presents us with an endless catalog of opportunity.
Looking through the lens of attaining our biggest conditioned desire in this moment, our choices contain a lesson to be learned.
Looking through the lens of experiencing our fullest possible expression in this moment, our choices demonstrate innocent mastery.
From this perspective, the capacity to discern the difference between desire and potential stands revealed as a crucial skill worth learning if enduring fulfillment is to be an option in this life.
Rather than choosing an opportunity based on attaining, choose based on discovering. In other words, rather than asking “what should I do?”, ask with sincere curiosity “who might I become?”
As children, we cultivated mental, vocal, emotional, and behavioral strategies to help us relate and cope with the world around us. From this junior perspective, it didn’t matter whether these strategies were consistent with each other. We would apply different strategies at different times with different people, and if one strategy proved ineffective, we would seamlessly shift to an alternate strategy to see if it might produce better results.
There was no consequence for inconsistency, and at the time it seemed we could gain more of what we wanted if we learned which timely chord to strike with which people. As such, there was no obvious need to take responsibility for consistency within our thoughts, speech, feelings, and actions.
We learned these strategies by closely watching those around us and modeling their inconsistencies (read: “do as I say, not as I do”). We may have also been regularly told some form of “you don’t have to like it, you just have to do it”, which further encouraged inconsistencies. Unless there was someone we respected in our lives setting an example of pristine integrity, it was unlikely to even appear on our radar as something to consider.
As adults, many of these learned strategies, along with their inconsistencies, form the basis of limiting conditioned patterns that interfere with our experience of the fullest possible expression of ourselves in this lifetime.
Aligning our thoughts, speech, feelings, and actions is a fundamental step towards enduring fulfillment. Awareness of inconsistencies empowers us to take responsibility for, and transform, limiting conditioned patterns. Breaking free from this conditioning empowers us to respond more skillfully in alignment with our fullest potential.
When I know better, I do better. By recognizing limiting patterns, the most important thing has already happened: The pattern is disrupted, and awareness of the pattern takes center stage. That shift is fundamental in a quest towards experiencing an inspired, compassionate, responsible life.
When we trust that our actions arise from a space of genuine caring, vulnerability, and wholeness, we are empowered to step most skillfully into uncharted waters.
The key lies in discovering our innate goodness, and then keeping an eye on it every step of the way by asking: Is this thought, word, feeling, or action in alignment with the fullest expression of myself in this moment?
The only thing I know for sure is that I don’t know anything for sure. At first glance, this truth can seem paralyzing. Upon closer inspection, this truth reveals a source of genuine empowerment. When fully embraced, this truth becomes a tool which stimulates authentic discovery.
The quest for purpose is a growing topic in contemporary societies. Having risen above the immanent fear of safety, starvation, and disease, we now turn our sights inward to reflect and explore the meaning and purpose of our even being here.
A sense of uncertainty about our purpose can prevent us from fully committing to one particular course of action. We don’t want to waste time or resources, because the one thing we know for sure is that we are not getting any younger. Without that commitment, though, it is difficult to know whether any course of action is the “right” one.
Throughout our lives, many things we’ve held as truth have been proven wrong, and this experience causes us to doubt ourselves and question everything. What I’ve discovered is that it isn’t really knowledge of our purpose that we need, but the confidence to trust our inner “knowing” despite the reality that seemingly stands in the way of our fullest possible experience of ourselves in this lifetime.
Unanswered questions simply mean the wrong question is being asked.
What if your purpose right now is not to know your ultimate purpose? What if your purpose right now is to just explore yourself and the world around you? It can be uncomfortable not knowing whether we are on the right path, but perhaps your purpose right now is to learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Perhaps for now, your purpose is simply to trust the process.
Surrender to the “not knowing” creates the inner space needed in order to “know”.
The advice we get, whether it be from ourselves or a trusted source, is only as good as our capacity to insightfully recognize the useful part of it, and then act on it despite opposing fear or conditioned behaviors.
Every time you become aware of walking through a doorway today, notice one breath consciously.
Notice that it is the empty space, and not the door, which makes the doorway most useful. That space was here first, and will endure long after the doorway is destroyed. Science tells us that our bodies are 99% space. Can you sense your enduring spaciousness?
Integrating mindfulness into everyday activities is essential to aid, energize, and accelerate profound transformation. Opening to life in this way, we can more skillfully discern inspiration from aspiration. As inspiration guides our actions, we come away from tasks energized instead of exhausted. Enduring fulfillment then becomes the foundation from which actions arise.
Countless factors, very few of them known, play a major role in the choices we have available to us each day. Yet if we deflect responsibility for the circumstances of our lives, we give away the only power we have to effect positive, lasting change.
For instance, there was a series of choices you made that led you to be where you are. Choosing now to take responsibility for your reality, including the parts that you have no control over, engages a largely untapped source of power.
Taking responsibility eliminates the opportunity to blame the situation for our dissatisfaction, quiets our fear of being taken advantage of, opens us to seeing doorways instead of walls, and empowers us to make more skillful choices. Ultimately, responsibility for our reality serves to align us with the fullest possible expression of ourselves in each moment.