We use a lot of words to describe how wonderful our lives are: joyful, abundant, amazing, incredible, fulfilled, purposeful. There is nothing that feels as good as accomplishing the goal you’ve been striving for, fulfilling a sense of purpose deep inside your soul, having amazing experiences for ourselves and with our loved ones. Life can truly be incredibly amazingly stupendously wonderful!
But, sometimes it isn’t.
Sometimes it hasn’t been anything close to amazing in years, and we find ourselves in a place we don’t like very well. Sometimes we use words like anxiety-ridden, defeated, pointless, stuck, chaotic, shit show and we mean those feelings. You know, the deep down parts of owning and meaning of those words. I’m not talking about the 16-year-old version of being depressed when the Madonna CDs were sold out at Target. Yes, I’m aware I totally dated myself on purpose – hope it made you giggle! I’m talking about real-life when it feels like it sucks in every way possible and there’s no end in sight kind of depressed. That stuff. The real stuff.
Often times people end up in my office when they’ve tried lots of different approaches and feel like nothing is working. Nothing is making it better, and oftentimes, this is exactly where we start, with better.
I recently heard a very wise person reference a statement she heard from another very wise person who said, “When you started out it was the difference between bad and good. Then, you worked up to the difference between good and better, and then you climb to the difference between better and best. It’s a journey”
Part of the problem might come with a society full of folks who want you to believe their life is the best life there is and it’s so amazing and you should want to be them. But, what they don’t want is for you to be you, right where you’re at, with your imperfect life and feel bad about it. Here’s the deal, maybe they want that, maybe they don’t. Maybe we’re just feeling bad about us and ours, but sometimes those messages just suck. From the outside it looks like you are supposed to just wake up one morning and everything is aglow, and your life is so incredible and you’re “there” (wherever that is, I have no idea so, perhaps don’t follow me if you’re looking to magically arrive anywhere). But sometimes, it looks as though there is this magical place others are, we believe we’re supposed to be, we know we are not, and so there we are facing our failed self again. They say comparison is the thief of all joy. But, it’s so hard not to compare.
Climb. Please do me a favor and climb.
Joy, fulfillment, abundance, even contentment are not things we flip a switch and “have” overnight. I tell my clients often, “it’s not a light switch, you can’t just turn it on or off”. Nor are any of those things about “having”. They are best experienced as states of “Being”. We’re not very good at Being as a general rule, especially as American first-world folks. We haven’t been raised for it, nor have most of us trained at it. It’s like running a marathon (or so I’d imagine as I’ve never run a marathon, nor do I intend to. On the bright side, I have worked with a lot of runners), but is like I imagine the training to be. You can’t just hop off the couch one day and go run 26.2 miles, you have to start at the beginning. There is a lot of support work that comes as part of it. You can’t just run, run, run. You have to lift weights, build flexibility, work on your mental game, and all this other stuff to help you stay healthy so you can continue to expand your mileage. It is a process of “becoming” a marathoner. Climbing is like that.
We start by learning to accept what is. Not from a place of being stuck there, but just acknowledging where we’re at. It’s impossible to track your distance traveled if you don’t know where you started. So, look at what is. Then look at what would be better than what is right now, and what can you do to build into what would be better. Small changes make a huge difference. You can’t jump straight to “ideal”, so get yourself in the habit of seeing change by a degree or two. Shifting by a couple of degrees, one small “I’m going to start with a daily affirmation” can lead you to a monumental shift of your personal perspective over time. Follow a two-degree shift out over a couple of weeks and you’ve developed a nice size slice of pie! Let yourself to hang out in “better” for a while. Get comfortable with it, learn you like this better, knowing there is still some room for improvement. Then, take a look at what improvement is for you.
Do not look at the person next to you! Remember hearing some teacher along the way emphatically stating this one from the front of the room? Me too. It’s truer now than ever. Seriously, “keep your eyes on your own paper”. At this point in our adult lives, this is really our invitation to not care about what everyone else is doing. You’re not in Jr. High anymore and it’s no longer important for you to care what everyone else is doing, or care what they think about what you are doing. Wayne Dyer said it best, “what other people think of me is none of my business”. Truth! I officially grant you permission to not give a hand makers make about what other people think of you. It just distracts you from the climb. When you’re really focused on making strides, and the pressure is on, you know what I’m talking about. You’re making a big move, you’re choosing yourself over other people, or you’re identifying for your first time what you want instead of going along with what everyone else wants, you need to stay focused. Block out everyone else, stay true to you and keep your eyes on the rock face in front of you. Climb.
As you identify your version, of better you’ll learn you can change, you can receive more of what gives you joy, what fulfillment means to you, and how to know it when you feel it. You’re learning about clarity, how to ask for what you want, how to block out or get rid of what isn’t good for you, and how to see yourself most important of all. You’re learning that you’re not for everyone and that’s ok because they’re not all for you either. Discernment. You’re learning, and learning is good!
Best. Yes, let’s talk about best. Sadly, there is no magic transportation to a perfection pill but as you get into the rhythm of better, and it is feeling groovy, you realize there is not perfection and not all is what it seems across the street in the world of “others”, and you’re kicking butt right where you are. It’s time to give yourself permission to ask for your best version. Because you never really needed my permission, you really only ever needed your own. What is your ultimate? What is the life, feelings, relationships, things or thoughts that help you recognize you were made for greatness? Spirit loves you. It has the entire time. This entire existence Spirit has been gently prodding you to wake up to your Soul’s truth, to your infinite Light within and shine brightly. Best is a process of loving yourself enough (because we’re never “there”) to value you. To see yourself as a gift in this world. To see yourself, at least more often than not, as Spirit sees you. Beautiful, special, original, on purpose. And from there, anything is possible. Even joy, abundance, amazing, incredible, best.
But for right now, start to climb.
Blessings Galore, Anne