As I said in the previous post, where you put our attention will govern your life.
Medical intuitive and teacher Carolyn Myss asks the question this way: into whose hands are you commanding your spirit?
A quick check of your thinking always reveals the answer. If you are worrying or obsessing, you are giving your energy to the worry and obsession and you will find yourself with more to worry and obsess about. If you make a practice of gratitude, you find yourself with more to feel good about.
Side note: This is not about denial or repression of our so-called “negative” feelings; worry, anger, and fear are allowed and welcome in this work. As we practice observing our thoughts, we begin to see that these mental states are actually no big deal and we expand our capacity to work constructively with turbulent emotions. I will say more about what that can look like in the another post.
Today though, I want to explore what gets in the way of stepping into our co-creative power to shape our lives. If everyone has the ability to choose their experience of a given moment, why the heck isn’t everyone choosing love and joy and appreciation? Why aren’t we all being kind and loving and generous with one another?
The short answer is this: we’re afraid. We have these egos that are on a mission to keep us safe and secure at all costs. The magnitude of our creative power and its attendant responsibility scares the living bejesus out of the part of us-the ego-that wants certainty and familiarity, and identity. Here’s the very famous Marianne Williamson passage on the subject:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
This quote is deeply resonant to so many because there is a part of us that stands up and shouts “yes!” when we hear the truth.
But here’s where it gets tricky:
There is a whole lot of familiar comfort in reacting to people and events. When you are in reactive/victim mode, you may feel shitty but it’s a familiar shitty. As victim, you know who you are and where you stand. And you can keep identifying with the stuckness, the overweight, the tough childhood, the drinking, the partner who should just act differently, the kid who is out of control. You unconsciously shackle yourself to the “problem” with your thoughts because you have no idea who you might be without it.
Every time-every single time-I have walked with someone through the process of letting go of an unwanted behavior (food stuff, relationship stuff, sobriety stuff), there comes this point where all this space is suddenly freed up and it is terrifying. Objectively, they may have gotten what they wanted (freedom from food obsession, abstinence from booze, an ability to stay connected with themselves in relationships, for example)but there is this incredible discomfort that arises from having the rug of false identity suddenly pulled out from under their feet. Groundlessness. Who the hell am I?
The usual strategy is to find a new problem to identify with. But there is another way.
First, we have to stop underestimating the lengths that we will go to in order to feel comfortable and secure. It helps to understand that establishing some sort of fixed identity is very, very important to the ego. In fact, nailing things down and making them solid and secure and predictable, is the ego’s Sisyphean task.
(Thank you, ego, for working so hard and so relentlessly to keep us safe and secure. Truly, there is no one more committed to the job than you, my friend. There is just one eensy-weensy problem: it is never, ever, not ever going to work.)
Because guys! The kind of permanence and security and identity the ego is striving for is in direct opposition to the basic truth of Life-everything comes and goes, nothing is fixed, nothing is permanent.
Whoops! Small misunderstanding.
I’m so glad it is cleared up now and please remind me when I forget in thirty five seconds.
In our confusion and mistaken identity, it’s easy to overlook some really amazing news:
We already have everything we need to be happy and our job is simply to pay attention to what’s working rather than what’s not. Our job is not to “figure it out” or improve ourselves or conceal our flaws; our job is to be fully available to the present moment and thus be open channels for grace and love.
People often say that remaining vigilant and responsible for every thought and feeling sounds like an awful lot of work. Living this way does require tremendous amounts of courage and commitment (and re-commitment) and honesty and willingness to get comfortable with uncertainty. But, as I said before, it’s not a lot of work, it’s a lot of awareness. And it’s infinitely less exhausting than scrambling for control and security and trying to fix ourselves.
Ask yourself: What is working beautifully in my life in this moment? Where am I supported?
Where is my edge right now? Where is Life asking me to show up more fully?
Where do I hold back from knowing and claiming my heart’s desire? Where am I playing small?
If you need some support, that’s what I’m here for. This is my favorite subject!
Meanwhile, remember that energy flows where attention goes. And please consider this a standing invitation to shine at full power. We need your brilliance.