What your dream will ask of you…

As appeared in Sybil Magazine, August 2015

As appeared in Sybil Magazine, August 2015

Why do our biggest dreams tend to bring up so much fear and resistance? Anyone who has dared to dream big knows the story. You start out daring to dream about something you really want. You fall in love with your dream, excited by the promise of the future, certain that the road ahead is paved with sparkling sunlight. For a while you eat, drink and sleep your vision. You tell everyone you know. You work doggedly for it. And then it happens – your first serious road-bump or obstacle.

Maybe you don’t get accepted into the program you need to launch your dream profession. Maybe your CEO turns down your pitch to lead your cherished project. Or maybe, after putting your heart and soul on the line through your marketing, no one signs up for your amazing transformational course. Whatever the obstacle, it can knock the wind out of your sails. It can make you doubt yourself, scale back your dream and settle for something less – something safer, more certain and predictable.

The hard truth is that when we hold a dream or vision, especially a big one, we DO NOT have the ability to achieve it. Why? Because dreams, by definition, are not reality. They exist as sacred but fragile seeds in our hearts, minds and souls. Those seeds ask us to stretch, grow and evolve beyond who we are now to become someone else – the person who can actualize it. But the pathway to that result is not guaranteed, not easy and not linear. Not ever. It consists of twists and turns, obstacles, adventures. It will challenge us beyond what we can do not once but multiple times. It will ground away our edges until we learn and develop the capacity to BE the person who can live our dreams into reality.

So the real reason that our dreams can terrify us is not because we’re afraid of failing or because there’s so much is on the line. It’s because our dreams will ask us to die to who we are, time and time again, to become the person who CAN bring the dream to fruition. The process can challenge some of our most cherished ideas of who we are and what we are able to do. It can have us wrestle with our demons, blind-spots and inadequacies, to acknowledge our areas of incompetence. The process will humble and bring us to our knees if we are to live into our true greatness.

Real visions ask us to die to who we think we are to become the hero or heroine of our own story, accomplishing the million trials along the way that hone our ability to shine. The trick is to love our challenges and who we are along the way as much as we love our vision and promise.

Stop Trying to Shine!

As published in Sybil Magazine March, 2015

As published in Sybil Magazine
March, 2015

(#3 of a series of 12 articles on ‘Unlocking Your Sacred Power’)

Can we shine or excel through an act of will?  Yes, intention, desire, and commitment are important. But our light never shines because we decide it should, because we tell it to, or because we ‘manage’ it into being. It shines when we get out of our own way and allow it to shine.

Think about what happens when you ‘try’ to do something important, something beyond your comfort zone. Maybe it’s writing a report or a speech, creating a program, or completing an important project. What happens? Perhaps you sit at your computer, looking at a blank screen. You fidget. Get distracted and check your email. Maybe you zone out for a while. Or get up and pace. Sooner or later, you get frustrated. You get up and make yourself a snack, or make a phone call, then come back and read what you’ve written. Annoyed, you delete everything. Maybe you tell yourself to forget it, to come back tomorrow and you start over again. Or maybe you ‘forget’ to come back at all.

When this happens, we know we’ve come up against a block or ‘resistance’. But what do we really know about this state of mind that we struggle so hard to overcome?   Our thinking mind may try to dissolve a block through the force of will, or by telling it what to do. But we can never push our way through our resistance. Trying to cajole or drive it away only makes it stronger.

Resistance asks something different from us. It asks us to stay put, to put aside our judgements, and to practice compassion.   Resistance asks us to be curious and ask questions. To ask what the block looks and feels like. To wonder what it wants and what function it might serve. It asks us to listen to its messages – to notice if they’re kind or brutal, or whether the block is asking a question or wisdom we might need to hear. Resistance asks us to know it intimately – to track how it arises and disappears. Whether there’s a pattern behind it.

Often we don’t stop to ask these questions. We only know that we feel frustrated. And, squirming away from our discomfort, thinking it’s ‘wrong’, we try to will our block away. But if we are willing to touch the block, to feel it, see it, touch it, and listen to it, resistance opens up into something else. Something we don’t expect. Something that feels more like ease, flow, expansion and light. Something that gives us access to our brilliance and higher capacities. The moment we relax into the experience of being blocked, we can bring the light of awareness to what we are doing. Resistance dissolves when we stop resisting it.

What’s under procrastination?

Ever wonder why we get stuck and just can’t seem to move forward on something?

One view is that buried under that stuck feeling and procrastination is ‘fear of feeling’ our feelings fully.  The solution?  Risking, making friends with failure and the feelings (and automatic thoughts) it brings up.  For more on this perspective, see this article from Harvard Business Review (via Andrea J. Lee) – http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/05/the-unexpected-antidote-to-pro/

And according ‘Truthbomb’ from Danielle LaPorte, ‘procrastination can be a form of intuition.’

More on other theories to follow, but I’m curious – how do you understand procrastination?