Trying to gain a genuine sense of empowerment in our lives is a daunting, if not impossible, endeavor. We are pushed and pulled by forces that seem* unsympathetic to the longing within our hearts. When we try to take control of an aspect that we feel is undermining us most, like our health or our career, we often end up falling back into our old habits and berating ourselves for our lack of willpower.
My suggestion: Stop trying to change anything. Surrender to your life just as it is right now. Disengage from the battle. Follow its lead like a dutiful soldier. Not forever, just for a while. Just long enough for you to see how every element of your life is there because of a choice you made.
Aligning with our life reveals the subtle patterns at work within and around us. Because our creative energy is no longer bogged down resisting what pops up in our day, we are free to enjoy its ebbs and flows. An excited curiosity takes root where once there was only malaise. Tiny sparks of inspiration pop and crackle in preparation for the purifying wildfire about to engulf us.
Recognizing that our “burdens” arise from the choices we make empowers us to discover the misconceptions that led us to make those choices. Our choices now arise from a level of cause rather than effect. We are no longer a victim of circumstance, but a creator of worlds. A moment of feeling “put upon” becomes our cue to reconnect to this budding sense of possibilities as we learn the subtle yet powerful art of personal mastery.
Have an inspired day!
[*The seeming insensitivity of the forces around us arises out of utter compassion. The unyielding “finger” ruthlessly pinning us forces us to shed false idealism. Were these forces to align with our ideals, there would be no impetus for us to dig deeper and we would be cheated out of the opportunity to discover our authentic self.]
Honoring your present situation is one surefire way to align with the fullest possible expression of yourself in this moment. It seems counterintuitive: “How can I honor where I am when I want so much to be doing other things?” More than that: “If I honor where I am, what will be my motivation to do other things?”
It’s a paradox, and the only way to resolve a paradox is to swallow it whole. It is exactly these types of “ifs and buts” that keep us stuck for so long. What I’m suggesting here is for you to set aside your objections just long enough to discover firsthand if there might be some aspect of the equation that you hadn’t yet considered. I’m asking you to suspend your beliefs in order to discover whether those beliefs are serving you or holding you back.
The deeper reality is that until you have learned to honor where you are, you will remain unfulfilled regardless of what you do. As long as your primary impulse is to reach for the next thing, you will only strengthen that “reaching” impulse and you will continue to miss out on the rich fulfillment that is right in front of you.
My suggestion: start with just one mundane, everyday activity such as washing your hands. At a point when you become aware of that activity (before, during, or after), discover what lessons it has to teach you. In that space of humble receptivity, of honoring the point of even being here to do it, look for what it is you can learn.
When we encounter something new, our ideals are suspended for a time. Our curiosity is peaked, and we experience a boost of creative energy that helps us learn.
As things become second-nature, we interact with the world through a screen of our ideals and we lose that boost of creative energy.
It is helpful to realize that there are essential life lessons still to learn in the mundane activities of our everyday lives. What’s more, learning those lessons will help us align with the fullest possible expression of ourselves in this moment.
The only thing more important than learning the lessons themselves is learning the art of learning. Enduring fulfillment is in the effort, not in the achievement. When curiosity becomes our default state, we unlock a wellspring of creative energy that will fuel our more creative endeavors.
My suggestion: start with just one mundane, everyday activity such as brushing your teeth. At a point when you become aware of that activity (before, during, or after), discover what lessons it has to teach you. In that space of humble curiosity, of noticing the sacred in the mundane, look for what it is you can learn.
Resistance to what needs to be done drains you of energy. When you engage and align with what needs to be done, you tap into a wellspring of energy. Don’t take my word for it: try it out for yourself.
When you become aware of “pushing through” a task today, consciously notice one breath, and get curious. What does this task have to teach you? That simple shift of attention brings pure creative energy that will then spill over into everything you do for the rest of your day.
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.
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.
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.
Whether you are struggling with the tedium of the daily grind or you are flat out frustrated with the entire scene, these moments can be transformed with a simple shift of focus.
Our daily life is our proving ground where we sharpen our skills in preparation for our magnum opus.
Dig deep and commit to doing the work that needs done. Welcome the challenges that present themselves each day. Commitment during these critical times will help us successfully navigate similar challenges that await us after the curtain rises on our life’s work. In many respects, commitment is our ticket to the big show. How badly do you want to see it? How much are you willing to pay?
We tend to feel uncomfortable when we don’t have ready solutions for obstacles that arise. In an effort to escape the discomfort, we may latch on to the first solution we come up with even if there is still time to consider alternatives.
These moments of indecision are ideal for engaging mindfulness. Bringing awareness and acceptance to an experience of discomfort is far more empowering than employing brute force tactics to escape or avoid the discomfort.
Rather than rushing prematurely towards a solution, be patient. Notice one breath consciously. Set a time for resolution and don’t decide anything until then. When we learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable, opportunities arise that transform our experience of life from one of uncerrtainty to one of adventure. This extra time allows for genius solutions to arise: solutions that are more fully informed, and that deepen and accelerate our experience of meaningful success.
A common trap we can fall prey to in our everyday lives is the inclination to gloss over the pesky activities that create the foundation of our day. You know, things like brushing our teeth, washing our hands, eating, walking to our car, preparing a meal, cleaning, and whatnot.
As with any activity, what we practice we strengthen. Demonstrating a lack of intention with our mundane daily activities can only undermine the degree of intention we bring to other areas of our lives.
Despite how many times you may have performed an activity before, these innocuous activities provide a rich opportunity to demonstrate intention. Because they are impersonal, they provide a safe space for us to let our guard down and break free from any judgmental mind chatter.
My suggestion: Each morning, call to mind a single simple activity that you do throughout your day. Then, each time that you become aware of doing that activity (before, during, or after), notice one breath consciously. Allow your shoulders to relax, and allow any tension in your face to fall away.
Survey your surroundings and activity with a heightened sense of curiosity: What do you smell, feel, hear, that even one moment ago you were entirely unaware of? Slow down, and perform the activity at hand as if you were savoring your most favorite activity. As you finish the activity, perhaps offer a silent word of gratitude.
Your experience of life will be well served by weaving in these micro-moments of high intention. As you continue on in your day, notice how that high quality of intention spills over into other activities and transforms your overall sense of wellbeing.