Some people can affect change in their lives by triumphing over willpower. I am not one of those people. Beacons of inspiration have overcome illness, disability, obesity, disease, financial ruin, and the like: all through sheer determination. Not me.
My past efforts to feel more alive through exercise, diet, investments, meditation, affirmation, or organization had all failed. It seemed that the only thing I could succeed at was “failing”. Like so many other people, I believed that if I could only overcome my obstinate willpower, I would achieve great things.
We live in a time of unprecedented availability of empowerment advice, yet our society is faced with an enduring sense of powerless at our failure to create lasting fulfillment. The endless provocative testimonials touting the astounding success of each program we purchase only deepens our sense of personal failure when old habits reclaim their seat at the head of the table.
A triumph over willpower is a hard battle of inches, and that battle is never over. The slightest slip can send you right back down where you started from . . . or worse. You have to stay vigil. You may have achieved your goal, but at what cost? Now you have to maintain it.
My hat goes off to those people who have triumphed over willpower: it is not something I have any interest in even trying anymore. I discovered that there is another way. It was quite an innocent discovery. There was no master plan other than to just get out from under the weight of seeming failure.
(If you enjoyed this excerpt from my book-in-progress, email me by 7/31/14 and when it’s done I’ll send you an advance pdf copy for free!)
“What was once so utterly effortless has now become a wrist-slitting razor.”
Who would have ever guessed that such wealth could amass from so little change?
The journey winds its way through me, like a snake in search of a morning meal.
Ultimately, his shadow became the light which exposed me so completely to myself.
The prisoners embodied such freedom that the guards began to think it was they who were in jail.
Everyone she knew was on board the train, so it seemed to her that she should be on it as well.
Upon awakening, the great bear looked upon the night sky. Rather than seeing the constellation which was her namesake, she only felt that it was time to get up.
Resounding silence cradled the war-torn battlefield as soldiers fell dying and the opposing Generals met on common ground to discuss terms, each resolute that their sovereign nation remain intact. Meanwhile, the nearby King warmed himself with a hearty oat and berry cookie and a steaming cup of imported tea.
The warmth of your coldness is hotter than any sun ever was.
Wrap yourself in courage. Like the crisp, cool sheets on a cold winter’s night, it feels so sensuous and titillating: like love. Notice how your heartbeat warms the experience, and then with your feet and legs, go in search of more coolness that needs warming.
For the first thirty-nine years of this life I call mine, there was a story of authenticity longing to get out. As it so often goes, the feelings of a life-less-lived started out innocent enough, but the longer this false story of “me” became, and the more stuff that I added to “my” life, the more I felt like a failure. As I looked towards the subsequent “chapters”, all I could see was more suffering and more failure. I finally surrendered that limited story of “me” because it seemed to create more problems than it solved, and it wasn’t doing anyone any good.
With that surrender came an internal peace. The war that had been going on inside me stopped, and I could just “be” without needing or wanting anything for myself. I started noticing everything I had, and that was shocking and brought with it a sense of humble gratitude. In this open state, I picked up on clues that I hadn’t seen before, and started following them with a sense of intrigue to see where they led.
What I found was an experience of truth beyond any concept of truth, and this truth is still being revealed to me to this day. As I embrace this truth, the authentic story of me is also being revealed. It was this story that was longing to be told, and the agony I felt while not honoring this story was the real cause of my suffering: it wasn’t the choices I had made or where I lived or the job I had, it was simply that I was living one story when all along there was a truer, more powerful story wanting to be told.
Deeply rooted in truth, I realize now how life is supporting this authentic story of me, which allows me to live courageously. This truth allows me to trust myself and life in a way I couldn’t before, and eliminates the need for second-guessing and regrets. The energy freed up from not having to look back helps me be more present and focused on the needs of the here-and-now. This brings with it an intangible level of quality that ensures a quality future, what ever that may be.
More than anything, I am just free to enjoy what it is that I am doing now, and that’s more fulfilling than anything I could ever look forward to doing or having. There is no truer story than the one that is being created right Now. At this point I have no idea what the next chapter holds, but that’s what makes it exciting. If I knew how the story was going to end, there’d be no surprises.