I am in a space of flow, of success, of abundance. Every day is bringing with it more blessings, answered wishes, new experiences inviting me to step in and shine.
Life is good. Scratch that, life is great.
Amidst change, both unanticipated and long awaited, I am stepping up to the plate. I have been rolling with this feeling great-ness for a handful of days now comfortably, even happily. Claiming my strengths and learning a lot about myself as well, I have been present and vibrantly alive. To be honest, it has been surreal. Slowly and subtly I began to notice shadowy thought patterns creeping in. Do you know these with the same familiarity as I do? The sly, sneaky, passively condemning, coyly bullying gremlins” Things are good now but you know the other shoe is going to drop, don’t you? This can’t last forever…
Setting off a string of similarly negative thoughts, my go with the flow, trusting and elated self started to shift into the skeptic: This is probably too good to be true, I better not get used to this, is everything really okay or have I been fooling myself?
These thoughts, if entertained, can and will likely lead to self sabotage and a self fulfilling prophecy. I know they have for me. If, on the other hand, they are identified, questioned and called out for what they really are (just big, scared bullies), they can and will dissipate and fade away.
The truth is, the other shoe doesn’t have to drop. Things do not have to “go wrong.”
It is perfectly safe, acceptable and marvelous to experience continued success, positivity, and pleasantness even when challenges arise. The belief that after some success (in whatever ways you define and experience it) there must come drama, tragedy or lack is what I have come to call the upper limit problem. When life is going smoothly, it becomes uncomfortable or intolerable and sabotage enters in on an unconscious level. Self sabotage can happen before we know it and cause a train wreck where we had been sailing along, leaving us asking flabbergasted, “What just happened?!”
There are a number of authors, speakers, writers and spiritual traditions that speak to the upper limit problem in their own voices. I particularly enjoy how this is described in The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.
The common themes that I see in these discussions on hitting an upper limit with problems include fear, faith, and choice. Disbelief that it is safe or acceptable to experience what we desire leads to behavior fueled by the depleting states of fear or even terror. When fear comes, we can either believe it without question and follow it blindly into whatever dark corners it leads, or we can choose to question it and feed the faith instead. In short, we can become conscious. With awareness enters choice. We can choose to feed faith instead once we see the thoughts or behaviors for what they truly are: fear. Choosing faith means believing in the goodness of life, in our inherent right to have positive experiences, participating in the process of learning and growing and transcending our former limitations.
As much as it can seem like there is no choice, especially when fear has a strong hold on us, the truth is, the choice is ours. The fear will come. This is just part of being human. What we do with it when it arrives is what dictates where our path leads.
As the sneaky, sabotaging, trickster of a fear came in with “the other shoe is going to drop, don’t get too comfortable here” I met it with a formula I’ll share with you here. Here it is: I acknowledged it, questioned its validity and looked for what else is true. In this brief and powerfully transformative exercise this is what I came up with: Life will bring what it will bring. Right now, life is full of blessings and I am choosing to enjoy them. Even when I get nervous that this will not last forever, I remember that change is the only constant so more new experience is surely on its way. If this, too, shall pass, well then I am going to savor it while it’s here!
After getting in touch with myself, I asked a few simple and powerful questions:
Why am I afraid of feeling good?
Is there something I can do today that will support my feelings of safety?
If I saw this success, joy, and abundance as gifts sent to me from a loved one, how would I receive them?
Am I willing to release the fear and feed the faith?
How will I take care of myself if the other shoe does drop and things go wrong?
In what ways can I love and accept myself through all that I encounter?
Lastly, I returned to the practice that grounds me and lights me up simultaneously. The Gratitude List.
Being so in my head can get overwhelming, so returning to my center is vital after this type of self exploration process. Pen in hand, I grabbed a piece of paper and started listing my “thank you, life” items. The page was full before I knew it, and not just of the external experiences I have been graced with. Interactions with family, the fragrance of tuberose at the market, fresh picked blackberry tasting on the sunset walk, the smile of that loved one and other moments filled the page, too.
Letting life be, whatever it is, is the exquisite privilege and ongoing challenge of a lifetime. Good, bad, difficult, easy, fabulous, aggravating, inspired, ho hum, sacred, mundane, the list goes on. Whatever you are going through, just remember, it will change. So why not take it for all that is being offered now? Today, this hour, this breath, will never come again. The path could turn in an instant, what I know for sure is that right now is what we’ve got. Whether the shoes are on tight and cozy or have been flung off by the tidal wave of life, hang in there and join me in the High Tolerance for Feeling Great Club. It really is the place to be.
See you there,
I do not have children. The truth is, I don't know if I ever will. The call to motherhood, in the traditional sense, is something relatively foreign to me. Since I was very young, I noticed other girls and boys talk about having a family, being the mom and dad to their own little girls and boys. I did not share this fantasy. I did, however, dream of having animals, traveling to unknown places, interacting with people from across the globe and helping in places where love was needed most. Where kids and a "normal" family were concerned, I didn't hear the call. I still don't, at least not now. Being a woman is so tied to being a mother. With my inner compass guiding in directions other than family life, having and raising children, putting on the Mom role, I have felt a sometimes subtle, other times glaring alienation. Is there something wrong with me? If I don't have kids, how can I be a complete woman? The questions and answers have come over time, continuously changing and evolving as I myself grow and change. What I have found is that I, as much as any other woman, am a mother. If to no one else, to me.
I have held space for and nurtured many ideas, periods of experience and transition. I am compelled to care for and provide comfort in way only a mother can. Being a mom is about more than having biological children. Motherhood is an archetype all women channel in their own unique ways. Mothers are the nests where precious life grows, the watchers and protectors, the teachers and guides. Mothers are generous and caring, masters of compromise and creativity. The decisions and circumstances that lead to the external role of mom are just one aspect of this archetype. Parenthood and motherhood are not one in the same. This being said, I honor all parents. My mother and the women I have been raised by and with are incredibly compassionate, resourceful, dynamic, generous, intelligent, insightful, supportive, brave human beings. I have learned how to be a woman in the world by their examples and through their encouragement. They have shown me to how channel the archetype of motherhood and lent me the courage to forge my own path.
I am my own mother. I nurture and protect the seedlings within that are taking root and in the formation stage. I wrap a warm blanket around the shoulders and heat the tea kettle when I am sick. I look in the mirror and say I believe in you when fear is telling me to give up on my dreams. I tend to the details like only a mother can. I hold on when it is needed and let go when it is time. I am always present and stand by me no matter what. I stand up for what I believe in and offer others the respect to choose their own way. I am a mother, to myself.
Claiming this powerful archetypal energy is available to women everywhere. It is built into us, a birthright. Regardless of the decisions or circumstances that have shaped the outer world, if their are children running through your house, have been, or ever will be, you are a mother. Whether your experience of motherhood leaves a smile on your face or tenderness in your heart, there is space for expansion and healing. Choosing to recognize the mother within is a life affirming move. When the mother within is found, seen, and allowed to express herself, the whole world changes.
Can you recall a woman who has shaped your life in meaningful ways? Perhaps it is your biological mom, perhaps it is not. Whoever comes to mind represents a loving mother to you and can be honored. What did she do, what energies did she embody and what did you learn from her? Tap into this wisdom and channel it. Now try on the motherhood cape, just for yourself, and notice what you find. Becoming what we desire from others is the key to living a peaceful, deeply fulfilling and vibrant life. If you have children, I have no doubt that providing and showing up is a constant. Giving is honorable and important, and so is receiving. Looking in the mirror and seeing my own inner mom gazing back is the sweet stuff I wish for all of you. Whatever you've been through, wherever you're going, that inner mother companion and guide is there cheering you on, sometimes with a quiet sweet smile, other times hooting and hollering. It might take practice to find her or make sense of how she speaks to you. Good things can take time to cultivate. If you feel lost, simply start by asking "what would a loving mom do?" and go from there. You know the way...
Whether I think I am prepared for something or not, life brings it. In the past month, I have had many encounters with unexpected memories and recollections, synchronicities and surprises, challenges and quantum leaps. What I have concluded, yet again, is that when something is in front of me (or within me for that matter), I am ready for it. If it is happening, I am ready and able to meet it. No exceptions.
This belief has been tested and strengthened preceding and following my recent trip to Thailand. Lingering doubt that I can handle all that comes was squashed in one challenging, emotional, surreal and liberating afternoon this week. Within the course of five hours, I found a planner from high school, empty ring boxes, a wedding invitation, the declaration of love heart pendant from my first beau, and a journal with reflections and confessions on years’ worth of experience. In this same afternoon, I drove past a great love I had not seen or spoken to for some time on my way from the market. Reminders of love, life, change and turbulent growing opportunities kept presenting themselves. This was a day! Why is it that all of this comes at once, like a line of dominoes, one leads to the other and to yet another. What led me to be ready for all this so close together? Was this a call to reflect or let go, or both? Thoughts paraded with banners reading “this is too much!” while emotions beamed with shades of vulnerability, sadness, nostalgia, playfulness and honor. The one question I asked in the midst of these thoughts and emotions brought me back to serenity and curiosity:
What is the gift here?
This question itself changes the terrain from panic from the past to peace in the present. I remember a lot. Sometimes this feels like a blessing. Sometimes it does not. The reminders of connection I have shared in previous chapters of my life called me to choose; follow the path of emotions and thought or pave another way. Acknowledging my readiness to handle, survive and even thrive in any circumstance opens me to experience the magic, gift and growth in it. By the end of this particularly memory packed afternoon, I had shed a few tears, chuckled a few laughs, and landed in immense gratitude. I have expressed love freely and received caring passionately in relationships. I still do, now more than ever, with myself. Ready or not… Ready or not!
Your turn: If you’re human, something is showing up in your life, internally or externally, that has you questioning your capability or the outcome. Right? Perhaps some fear crops up when you think about that family dinner or missing the deadline for FedEx to deliver by Christmas.
Find or create some space to be reflective for a few minutes.
Take a seat, take a walk, take a bath and bring this situation to mind.
Notice what emotions and thoughts rise as you do. Remember to breathe, allowing any sensations to rise and fall in their own way. What surfaces is presenting itself to change, why not let it?!
Now ask “What is the gift here for me?” Take a few long, deep breaths and open to what you hear, see, smell and taste. If there were a gift, what could it be? If there were many gifts, how might they be showing up? Play with this, allowing the sensations to transform into guideposts for where you are headed.
I believe in you, you are ready.
So… what do you want? My guess is a gift. Who doesn’t love a present from time to time?
With Blessings & So Much Gratitude,
This article is featured in Simply...Woman Magazine at http://www.simplywoman.com/ready-or-not-life-is-coming/
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas