2016 was a doozy of a year, wasn’t it?
We are not quite at the end of it yet, but wow, it has been intense. Many people have been through life-changing ordeals, myself included. If I were to summarize the theme of 2016 it would be “letting go of the old”. How your year went is likely a reflection of how willing you were to let go of that which no longer serves you.
We are sometimes aware of how we perpetuate limiting stories of who we are. What we are not always aware of is how pervasive these thought patterns actually are. Throughout this past year, I couldn’t help but notice. Any negativity or disparaging self-talk, usually a subtle background hum, became as obvious as having a leaf blower in my face.
Like most everyone else, I had some aspects of my life that were not going well. The patterns were familiar to me. I had been dealing with these blocks in one way or another as long as I could remember, but this year they reached a critical point. If something didn’t change, there were going to be dire consequences. As I focused my attention on my “problems”, I was still approaching them with the same consciousness as I had before, meaning I was not shifting my perspective. When you direct more energy towards anything, it grows larger, so not only was my situation not changing, in actuality, it kept getting worse, which increased my fear until the stress became unbearable. I knew I had to find a way to shift my consciousness, but I was afraid that if I released the tenuous grasp I had on the circumstances in my life, I would lose everything. And what happens when you send more water towards a dam without opening a relief valve? Yep, it breaks. I finally reached my own breaking point.
I awoke in the middle of the night, alone, frozen with terror – the muscles of my throat had seized shut due to the stress and I couldn’t breathe. The only way I could receive life-giving air was to let everything go. Everything. My thoughts. My fears. My hopes. My dreams. My home. My relationships. My finances. My business. I prepared myself to have nothing. I entered a state of complete surrender. That night, as I lay awake in the hospital bed (yes, I did call 911 for help and yes, I am aware of the symbolism) gazing at the ceiling, I realized I already and always have the ONLY thing that matters – my relationship with myself. In that knowing, I became free.
Although this situation was overly dramatic, it provided the catalyst for the shift I needed. In one fell swoop I let go of my old state of consciousness and embraced a new perspective. These are some of the new thoughts I’ve been thinking lately:
I give myself permission to enjoy life.
As my situation was deteriorating over the year, for a while I was still able to laugh. Eventually, however, my negative thoughts crept in and I allowed guilt to erode my joy. I questioned myself, “Who was I to be in such a difficult situation and still enjoying life?” So I stopped. What a mistake. I learned that I cannot be miserable enough to change the circumstances of my life for the better. So I went back to enjoying life, even when it is a sh*t show.
I can feel good without needing to change the conditions of my life.
We are habituated to think that if we can just change the circumstances of our lives (e.g. to be in better health, to have more money, etc.), then we will feel good. The problem with this is that our feeling good becomes subject to the external conditions of our life, over which we have little control. What we do have control over is how we feel. After that night, the external circumstances of my life had not changed, yet I felt a lightness of being within because I had shifted my focus. As long as I maintain connection with my inner being, I feel good, conditions be what they may.
I am willing and able to receive.
One of the blocks I had been facing was my inability to receive. Receptivity requires us to be in an open, allowing state of being. The existence of any resistance in our thoughts and in our bodies limits our ability to receive. The visceral memory of my closed throat is enough to remind me how life-giving it is to remain open. To receive we must let go. Relax. It’s okay, the Universe has got your back. And mine.
I trust I am fully supported by the Universe.
I had been depleting myself trying to figure out how what to do to make my situation better. I learned that not only do I not have to “do it all myself”, I don’t have to “do it” at all. We live in a responsive and equitable Universe. It is such a relief to know that there is a much more powerful engine at work behind the scenes, an engine that is not my job to operate. My job is to focus on where I’m going, the Universe will supply the pathway to get me there. This makes life a whole lot easier.
I expect good things to come to me with ease.
I had also propagated the belief that good things only come to me through hardship and struggle. Ha! Guess what I created in my life? Well, I learned this couldn’t be further from the truth. The harder I worked to overcome obstacles, the worse things got. When I finally did let go – when I stopped trying to control or manipulate the circumstances of my life – was when what I wanted began to flow to me with ease. Once I discovered how easy it can be, I wouldn’t expect it to be any other way.
I am worthy.
Almost everyone maintains some version of a story about their “not-enoughness”. Typically, an event happens when we are young that causes us to develop a belief we are “less than” and if left unchecked, eventually we adopt this story as truth. But it’s a lie. For most of my life, because of my “not-enough” story, I tried to prove my worth through my work. I hoped that if only I could offer something of real value to the world, then my life would be deemed worthy. The catch is this requires external validation and there is no one who can ever proclaim our worthiness, only we can do that for ourselves. I finally recognized there is nothing I need to do to prove my worthiness, the mere fact that I exist is enough. I exist. I am worthy. That’s it. There’s no more story than that.
Abundance is a natural state.
When I began to notice, really notice, the abundance of the world we live in, it became ridiculous to believe anything else was natural. First, I began with awareness of my own abundance, which seemed to be most prevalent in the form of lack. I had an ever-growing lack of energy, a lack of ease, and a corresponding lack of enjoyment of life. I also had an abundance of frustration and stress. Then I noticed the abundance of desirable things in my life – love, creativity, a supportive community, natural beauty, and adventure. Finally, I moved onto bigger things that I had been taking for granted – more than enough air to breath, more than enough opportunities for a variety of life experiences, and more stars in the night sky than I could ever count. If we remove ourselves long enough from the tiny bubbles we occupy in our minds, it is apparent that abundance abounds.
I act from a state of inspiration only.
When we are experiencing circumstances we don’t want in our life, our tendency is to move into action to compensate for or to overcome our disadvantage. However, when we act from a place of fear, lack, or doubt, we create more circumstances that reaffirm our fear, lack, and doubt. Instead we are better served to act from a state of inspiration. Inspiration is the combination of all of the above factors. As we maintain our connection with our inner being, we feel good and stay receptive. In our open state we receive guidance in the form of energy and ideas – what to create, who to talk to, where to go, what are our next steps. Through believing our own worthiness and the inherent abundance of the Universe, we trust that what we are being guided to is the fulfillment of our heart’s true desires. We may not know where we will end up, but heck, it will be an amazing journey along the way.