The Myth of ‘Not Enough’

As published in November's issue of Sybil Magazine

As published in Sybil Magazine, November, 2015

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

It’s all around us – the deafening sound of ‘not enough’. Not enough time, money, expertise, common sense, love… Just listen and you’ll hear someone lamenting that there just isn’t enough.

Sometimes there’s an element of truth in it. Maybe you don’t have enough fabric to make the dress you’ve envisioned, or you just can’t pack three weeks of project work into a day when you or your manager haven’t planned well. But I’m not talking about ‘not enough’ as a unit of measurement, something you need to consider when baking a cake.

I’m talking about a core mindset in our culture that says “more is better” and “there’s not enough to go around.” That shared, unconscious belief would have us scramble to be, do, and have more because of the assumption of insufficiency. That cultural mindset is so loud, noisy and powerful that it’s difficult to see – never mind unhook from. But it keeps us engaged as hamsters on a wheel, addicted to having, doing and being more. And having us feel wrong, bad and insufficient when we don’t ‘measure up’.

The cultural mindset of ‘not enough’ has horrible consequences. In our larger world it justifies decisions that would value profit-making and the stock-piling of wealth over the well-being of people, the environment and the fate of our world. In our personal lives it would have us locked into proving ourselves to our bosses at the expense of our health and our home life. It would have us rack up enormous credit card debt to have that new indispensable thing we think we need. Or constantly building our expertise through new training instead of actually getting out there and sharing our gifts and our message. Instead, we can remain scrambling, anxious and chasing what is always ‘just out of reach’ or ‘what will prove our value’.

The deeper truth is that we’re all blessed with gifts, skills, abilities, relationships and conditions that we often overlook because we’re so busy trying to be, have or do more. Health, time, the capacity for love, the ability to draw inspiration from nature or give to friends in need – all of these are precious forms of wealth.

The good news is that we can unhook from the cultural myths of unworthiness and insufficiency by looking in the mirror and seeing the true value and worth looking back at us. When we stop and appreciate what we have – this moment, this relationship, the learning opportunity of this challenge, we begin to notice the wealth and plentitude we already have in our lives and world.

Whoever you are and whatever the conditions of your life, you ARE blessed. The world does not need you to be, have or do more. It just needs you to get off the hamster wheel of insufficiency and share the blessing of your gifts.

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.

The Myth of the Early and Late Bloomer

(#6 of a series of 12 articles on ‘Unlocking Your Sacred Power’)
As published in Sybil Magazine, June 2015.

As published in Sybil Magazine, June 2015.

Is there a ‘right time’ to bloom? The question may seem a little silly asked in this way but it’s at the heart of many of the dilemmas that women have shared with me over the years.

Younger women often believe that it’s too early for them to step into their power. Often they’ll work flat out, hoping to prove their worth to their supervisors. Or maybe they’ll hold themselves back from applying for that dream job because they believe it requires a degree, credential or experience that they don’t have.   And perhaps they just have a vague notion of not being ready because they haven’t paid their dues.

And certainly there’s an element of truth here. We don’t want someone in first year of medical school performing surgery on a loved one. But on the other hand, too many of us waste precious years waiting to be ready. We can waste our lives waiting for permission to step into our dreams, missing the fact that we have unique talents that others don’t have and that, in many dimensions of our lives, we’re already in full bloom.

On the opposite end of the spectrum there are the so-called ‘late bloomers’. They’re the ones who have a sense that they haven’t quite stepped into their calling, full voice or potential and are secretly afraid it might be too late. Often they fail to recognize the many ways they have bloomed throughout their lives. Instead, they focus on the sense that time may be running out and their fear that the last bloom is the only one that matters.

In both cases, it’s ourselves – our harsh ‘inner critics’ – that really are the problem. And a disempowering set of cultural beliefs about success, power and what it means to blossom.

But when you think about it, are the flowers that bloom in May any better or less beautiful than the ones that blossom in June – or even September?  Is the fragrant desert flower – the one that blooms once year at night – any lesser than the geranium that thrives in full sun all summer long? Are perennials better than annuals?

It seems to me that nature offers a profound lesson. In the garden of life there’s no such thing as too early or too late to bloom. We’re all uniquely beautiful and each of us unfolds according to our own inner rhythms. What’s inside of us can be honored, nourished and supported but it can’t be forced or rushed or stuffed into boxes of ‘supposed-to-be’.  What does support us is patiently tending those gardens, and paying loving attention to the unique needs, conditions and roots of our lives.

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.