The Art Of Working Against Yourself

The Art Of Working Against Yourself

Maggie and Watson never like to stay in the yard. Our two strong and high energy dogs love to run free chasing whatever they are chasing. Sometimes they are just running for the sake of running. In our fenceless neighborhood, the dogs have no idea where our yard ends and the neighbor’s yard begins. They see no limits or boundaries. They just run.

Recently, we looked into installing an invisible fence, for their protection and our neighbor’s peace of mind. The technology is quite impressive. We define the parameters of where the dogs are free to run, and to condition them where their boundaries are a small device on their collars emits an uncomfortable charge as they get closer to the limits of their space. In time, the conditioning helps Maggie & Watson know their limitations almost instinctively. They’ll know how far they can go.

Kind of like us humans.

And we don’t even need a collar.

The greatest thing standing between where we are and where we want to be in life are the limitations we set for ourselves. The limitations we’ve conditioned ourselves to accept as true. Through the course of our lives we’ve set our own boundaries for how much we are willing to allow to be possible for us. Much like that invisible fence prevents the dogs from running free, our thoughts, both consciously and unconsciously, tend to keep us in our own yard, a fixed space that keeps us exactly where we are.

Understanding your limitations often requires you to look at your life from a different perspective. I never knew I had limitations, simply because I never thought I had anything to do with why my life wasn’t where I had wanted it to be. Blame is far easier than acceptance. How could I be undermining my own growth and evolution? Why would I do that to myself? Yet when I was able to step back and observe and listen to the stories I was telling myself, I could actually see how I had unintentionally constructed my own invisible fence of limitation.

Those stories of lack and shortage and unworthiness become hard wired into our emotional DNA every time we speak them to ourselves. And like the invisible fence, our thoughts train us as to where we will allow ourselves to go in life. We may see exactly where we want to be yet we’ll never let ourselves get there. All because of the limiting stories we repeatedly and often unconsciously tell ourself.

I’ve felt the inner conflict between what I told myself I wanted and what I was willing to allow myself to receive. The same mind which could envision the future of my dreams was the same mind working to convince me I would never attain it. I knew what I wanted for me but I would always find ways to make sure it never materialized. Until I started listening I had no idea this limiting and conflicting dialog was actually taking place.

Recognizing this conflict was my starting point in changing the stories I was telling myself. Our subconscious doesn’t care what we think about who we are. It just reinforces what we tell it and always finds ways for us to remain exactly where we’ve told ourselves we belong, even if we don’t want to be there. Abundance or lack. Worthy or unworthy. Your story is your story and you’ll never out run it or out work it.

The good news is we can always change the stories we tell ourselves.

So, what about you? What are some of the stories you tell you about you? Do you see yourself worthy to receive the unlimited abundance which is all around you? Or does life feel stuck and you’ve accepted that what is will always be?

Listen to those voices in your head. Step outside of you and just listen to what you say to yourself, especially when life gets challenging. Self awareness is the critical first step in understanding where you actually are in your life, and once you understand where you are it’s much easier to get to where you really want to go.

If you want a different life you need to tell yourself the stories that will make such a life possible.

And it’s possible.

It’s a great day to be you!

Waiting For The Beautiful To Become Beautiful

Waiting For The Beautiful To Become Beautiful

“They’re gonna be so beautiful when they bloom!”

This was overheard at a local nature preserve known, in part, for their large daffodil field, home to thousands of bulbs getting ready to share their gift. Visiting the field has become an annual tradition for a great many.

You could feel the anticipation in their voices as the daffodils were just days away from fully blooming and offering their vibrant color to the world. A few thoughts came to me in that moment:

Weren’t the daffodils already beautiful? Right now? As they already are? Like, at what point does something – or someone – become beautiful?

Ours is a results-oriented culture with a track record of celebrating successful outcomes. We usually don’t get too excited about the process. What we accept as beauty is greatly influenced by expectations and contingencies and once those conditions are satisfied we then feel free to affix the “beautiful” label. The daffodils, so close to fully blooming, apparently had not met their conditions for being beautiful just yet.

From a human standpoint, can we only see others and ourselves as beautiful when they/we are done growing? Can we find beauty in our incompleteness, in our unfolding, just as much as we do when we have finally blossomed and become?

For many we don’t allow our unfinished self to be beautiful. We “rationalize” that the process can’t be beautiful, only the result. As if beautiful is some sort of destination. But as humans we are never done blossoming, never done growing, are we? Because as humans, our unlimited potential for growth and expansion in an equally unlimited and expansive universe will never allow us to ever be complete, or done, or fully expressed. If we are waiting for the finality of our expansion before we can acknowledge our own beauty we will be waiting an entire lifetime before we do so.

And that would be such a shame.

Because beautiful is something we already are.

Exactly where we are, right now.

In our infinite incompleteness.

In our never-ending unfolding.

It’s a great day to be you!

Maybe Your Life Already Is Something To Get Excited About?

Maybe Your Life Already Is Something To Get Excited About?

“Look, Dad. That’s Orion’s belt. See? Those three stars in a row. Do you see it?”

That was part of an unexpected exchange I had this week with my daughter in the driveway, her little finger pointing to where she wanted my eyes to go. We just came home from her dance class. Cold nights usually mean a clear sky, and on this night you could see to infinity and beyond.

As we got out of the car she threw her head back to find a sky full of stars. And for the next 15 minutes, despite the bitter cold, we scanned the night sky and found as many constellations as we could name.

“Isn’t this cool?” she asked, her voice filled with both awe and wonder.

One of the great things about having a younger child in the house is that they often remind you of things, things you used to simply always do before the whole adult thing showed up in your life and changed your focus. At some point life morphs into a pursuit, a race of attainment and the pressures and stress which come along with it. Instead of taking time to look up and enjoy, we put our heads down and push and kick and fight forward, looking for an ever-elusive happiness in the material things and the status which we feel will come along with them.

I remember awe and wonder. I remember when I wasn’t looking past what I was hoping to find, when I wasn’t so consumed by the future, so often at the expense of the awe and wonder of the present.

I can’t help but contemplate how much awe and wonder am I missing in other areas of my life? Do I see it in the people in my life, the opportunities I have, the physical world around me? Or even life itself? Am I too busy living that I am not really fully alive?

Look up. Look around. Look inside.

Awe and wonder are everywhere.

We just need to take the time to see it.

It’s a great day to be you!