Something recently clicked in for me in a big way.
“You are not chasing the goal itself, you’re chasing the feelings that you hope attaining those goals will give you…We create wellness or dysfunction in our lives by how we go about getting our needs met.” ~Danielle LaPorte
This is partially why I have become so drawn to Danielle LaPorte and why I have become a facilitator of her work, and now run “Desire Mapping” retreats and workshops. Yes, she is a bad-ass and, small dream accomplished, I am featured on her site . You can check me out here!
When I read that quote, I had a sudden flash of ALL the times in my own life that I had been unconsciously pursuing certain feelings. Because of my limiting ideas about what most generated those feelings, I was creating major dysfunction in my own life. I could see it so clearly with my clients as well. They were so focused on what they were SUPPOSED TO DO, and had forgotten how to listen to themselves, so they wound up taking fear-based action. Because of that, it didn’t feel……good, and they didn’t wind up following through, or if they did, they wound up feeling disappointed with the results when it didn’t feel the way they thought it would. They didn’t realize how important this alignment really was.
A lot of the time, they were RE-ACTING to circumstances as opposed to PRO-ACTIVELY creating change in their life based on how they want to feel and aligning with appropriate action.
I am no exception! I, too, did this. Back when I was an actor full time, I was always trying to lose weight. It was the never ending journey, and was often precipitated by feeling out of control in my life. At least I could gain control over something!
I realize now that I wanted to lose weight because I longed to feel powerful in my career. I longed to feel graceful, sexy and comfortable in my own skin. What I didn’t know at the time, is that once I felt powerful in my career (which actually turned out to be coaching), comfortable in my own skin without outside validation, sexy and graceful, it would become a lot easier to continue to take the action that made me feel that way (eating well, exercising consistently, taking time for self-care). Weight-loss would become a very natural bi-product, and it would stay off.
But at that time, I wasn’t focusing on what feelings I wanted to CREATE in my life. I was focusing on getting away from the fear. I feared that because of my very normal and healthy weight, I would never have the career or recognition that I craved. Similarly, I feared that if I didn’t get my finances in check that I would never be an adult. It always felt terrible as I envisioned all the catastrophe that would ensue if I didn’t get my act together. I would get “on track” for a little while, but while I was running from the fear, if one thing fell off balance, (an unexpected expense, a couple pounds gained), the limiting story I was telling myself would grow more real. The fear would catch me for a moment, and I would roll over and start eating the Special K compulsively or buying the make-up from Sephora I really didn’t need. “Why bother?” I would tell myself. “Things are never REALLY going to change for me!” Bring on the wine!!! Aaaaand more Special K eating.
Fear is not a sustainable motivator.
Focusing on what we WANT TO SEE HAPPEN is imperative, not on what we don’t want. When we are creating action out of FEAR instead of out of possibility, we are always running, and it is so much easier to trip and fall, and then stay on the ground, where the fear of falling again no longer exists.
So, how do we step out of reactive mode in our lives? Out of running? How do we start CONSCIOUSLY CREATING instead of spinning our wheels out of fear? It’s so simple.
1) Allow yourself to ALIGN before taking action. Give yourself the space! Start to get clear on how you want to FEEL in your life first and what would TRULY make you feel that way when you let go what you are supposed to do (“shoulds”).
Slow your roll for hot second. Chances are, you have been pursuing the same core feelings your entire life, you just might not have been aware of it, or doing it in a productive way. You are more than likely pursuing many of those same feelings in different arenas in your life; with your body, with your career, with your relationships, but how you go about it may be causing dysfunction for you. So, we want to take the time to step onto a path that will provide wellness and momentum.
Here’s an example. A client recently realized she had constantly been pursuing a feeling of belonging. She associated belonging with making herself indispensable to others, so that they wouldn’t leave her, which was leading her to over-extend herself at work, and look for validation outside of herself for that feeling. It left her feeling burnt out and isolated, like an outsider who was trying too hard. Once she realized she had the power to create those feelings of belonging for herself, by creating her own community, inviting others into her space and surrendering the reigns of control, a whole new world of possibility showed up. She could finally relax and it felt MUCH more in line with how she wanted to feel. She could start to take responsibility for her own experience instead of waiting for others to give that feeling to her.
2) Create ALIGNED goals OUT of how you want to feel.
If you REALLY want to feel sexy, how can you take responsibility in providing those feelings for yourself? Re-vamp the wardrobe? Maybe investigating your spirituality makes you feel sexy! (To each their own). That may feel a lot more liberating than the punishing cleanse that makes you feel deprived and cut off from pleasure. When an activity makes you feel good, you are more likely to be consistent with it, leading to MORE feelings of sexiness. You build more and more momentum.
If you want to feel powerful, what would need to happen for you to start to feel that way? Swinging kettle-bells? Creating a new project at work? Writing your first pilot?
If you want to feel passionate, what activities or images come to you? What ignites you in passion? Maybe it looks like volunteering at the animal shelter, singing for people with Parkinson’s (one of my clients does this) or taking the beginning steps toward owning your own home.
The possibilities are endless and constantly unfolding and it opens up a Pandora’s box…so be careful. This can be powerful stuff.
3) Recognize the stories that tell you it’s not possible, and choose your next steps anyway.
As soon as you start dreaming of the possibilities, the fear will come in. Oh, yes it will. It will disguise itself in so many voices. This is silly. Your mom will get so mad at you. Your partner won’t understand. There isn’t enough money for you to travel. This is too hard…just do the cleanse!! It’s okay. Just recognize them as what they are…self-protection. The more you listen, the less you have to risk or take action. Invite them into the conversation but don’t let them drive the vehicle.
It’s okay to start small…schedule the improv class, buy the lingerie, re-decorate your home-space. The more you start to feel the way you want to feel, the more you will believe it is possible.
You got this. Oh, and tell me your thoughts and realizations below!
Rock On & Be Well,