Mantras and intentions alone won’t shift the life needle; we need to put our desires into motion and make them reality
If you’re reading this newsletter, it’s probably safe to say that you are a bonified ‘seeker’ on this journey through the human experience. There’s some awareness you possess that, while still wanting to stop and smell the roses of the present moment — you want to step into more of your best self.
You’ve likely got a collection of self-help books, inspirational apps, courses, podcasts and programs you’ve purchased stacked up (throw in some candles, card decks, crystals, etc.). You try to see the glass half-full, look for silver linings and reach for rose-colored glasses in all aspects, body, mind and soul. Perhaps you are even a professional self-empowerment junkie like me. Am I right?
But the time comes when you have to put the pedal to the metal and put things in motion — bring your practice from the proverbial mat into the world.
All talk and no action isn’t exactly a recipe for activating your superpowers.
We’ve all got the mantras, buzz words and catch phrases down pat, but sometimes we can get lost in the shuffle, never truly incorporating our desires, dreams and intentions into reality. There are many reasons for that: We’re busy. We don’t know how to do it. We don’t know where to start.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. And I’ve also been realizing that it starts with a promise…a promise made to self. I made one and I’m patting myself on the back…because I kept it.
A year ago, here in the offices of Best Self Magazine, we were knee-deep in producing a big project. It was a whirlwind of new experience, excitement and all-consuming time commitment, not for the faint of entrepreneurial heart.
In a heated moment of frustration and exhaustion, I declared, “Next summer I’m NOT working like this.”
First off, the caveat to this is that I’m happy when I work (and I pretty much work 7 days a week, to some degree). As a matter of fact, I’ve worked to create a life doing work that I love (and those aren’t just buzz words). But I also knew that this summer would be my last before taking my son to college.
And yes, this past year has been a parade of sentimental ‘lasts’. But back to my promise to self. What that promise really translated to was that I wanted to be present. I wanted to be playful and laugh and to relish in the time I had with my son before he left on his new life adventure. I wanted to seize every seemingly insignificant moment and all the in-betweens, to not brush past them and to grasp their hidden gifts. Who wouldn’t want that?
That was my goal. It required keeping myself in check (big time) with reminders like: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t get lost in the perfection of how neat and tidy the house is, or how many things are checked off the to-do list, or how much you produce in the office.
Ultimately, it meant that I didn’t create as much professionally. I didn’t post as much on social media. I didn’t advance my business at the rate of some others. I didn’t attend every invitation. I made some choices that weren’t easy at first.
Those deeply ingrained patterns of behavior made it difficult to adhere to my promise…alas, it got easier. I had to catch myself continuously, but the key here is that I did. I simply had to ask myself over and over, how do you want to feel in this moment? That became a go-to bounce-back strategy. Admittedly, it was like working out a weak muscle, but it got stronger with time.
Yes, it was work. But how much work is it to clean up our messes after the fact; to reconcile our guilt, shame and regret — to lament over the could-have-beens? That’s a pretty heavy (and exhausting) burden to lug around.
There is always a price to be paid for bypassing self — and self always comes to collect.
So before it’s time to pay the piper, wouldn’t it make sense to exert a little energy and make some adjustments to our regularly scheduled programs? I think so. And back to something I mentioned earlier — I consider my books, workshops, card decks and the like as my back-up reinforcements. They stand as reminders of what is possible, but they alone cannot shift the paradigm. I need to show up for that party.
I’m writing this to you from the plane flying amidst the clouds somewhere between Miami and New York. The significance of this is that I just dropped my son off at college — which for anyone who has been through it knows, is a dance between exhilarating excitement and heartbreak. It is a rite of passage, for sure. But these moments arrive for each of us in many ways, in many forms.
Not everyone would have necessarily agreed with the choices I made this past year to do my business life expansion more slowly. Sometimes I even questioned myself. My inner demons told me I was going to miss the boat. But I’m proud of myself for staying the course. It didn’t mean that I didn’t work…but I did work less frenetically. I carved out space for what was most precious to me and I was rewarded.
I tell you this story because the same holds true for you. Whatever it is that you are desiring is also calling to you. Are you listening?
I didn’t take a poll about my approach to doing life this past year because I didn’t want the opinions of others. I didn’t want to download any of their fears. I simply listened to my heart in big ways and small — and then put my money where my mouth was.
Life is never a perfect practice…but the perfection is found in the practice.
I didn’t do it all right, but I showed up. I honored how I was feeling and I flowed with this season of my life. And now as my boy (the no-longer ‘resident teenager’) is ensconced in his college dorm (deep sigh)…I am transitioning into some uncharted territory for myself. Along with it, I feel the rumblings of creation, evolution and fullness. I think it is the place where I will step into me…not just someone’s mother, partner, friend, activist, Editor-in-Chief or any of the other labels we define ourselves by — but rather as the real me, not just the buzz word and catch phrase version.
I ask, where is life calling for you to do the same? How about a best self soul roll call? How can you put your buzz words and catch phrases into motion?
As always, I love hearing from you, my tribe. How is this resonating with your life? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments below.