You Can't Seek for Change and Control at the Same Time
I saw a coaching client recently who wanted to get right down to business and plan out her new, bold life. She wasn't sure what that life was, but she wanted to map it out, pin it down, and make it happen. She looked at me with exhausted eyes and silently begged me for light. I wanted to tell her, "Put down your organizer and step into chaos." But she may have smacked me with that eight pound black leather daytimer, so I chose another way to suggest that she let go of the reins. The life that you can control is a small, tired, and desperate life. If you want to know a great big ease in your life, you can't drive the bus. Your soul drives that bus. And your soul has different definitions of direction and progress.
Still, that pesky old head can get in the way. How long will this take? Do you know where you're going? What if you stay stuck forever? These are just some of the enlightening questions the mind likes to ask before breakfast. Then it really gets going. And as clever and insistent as it is, your mind or "the monkey mind" as Buddhists often say, is not the navigator of this journey of the heart. The heart has different paradigms and portals through which transformation takes place.
That's why I'm not a big fan of programs that promise you change in 8 easy steps or just 30 days. The inspired life defies a blueprint or a schedule. And we make ourselves crazy when we allow the mind to measure the progress of a journey we don't even understand.
So, put down your daytimer and take your time. Surrender has its own rules and they are different than our conditioning. If you want to fly and dance, then let me offer you 3 insights about how to "step into chaos" or unfold the life of your dreams?.
1. Surrender your Presumptions
A student of mine recently visited Italy and she told us about an American man who kept speaking louder in a café because the waiter didn't understand him. The patron was obviously annoyed that the waiter didn't speak fluent English and that the restaurant didn't serve a particular item. Basically, the American expected Milan to be a carbon copy of Chicago. He expected the foreign to be familiar. He expected things to run the same. Are you doing that in your experience? Are you imposing your "rational" standards on this exotic journey of the heart? In This Time I Dance! I said, "You won't find the secret notes to a saxophone life with a bookkeeping mind." Are you pushing away your experience instead of delving into it?
If you want a life that feels different, you will have to do things that feel different. You can't seek for change and control at the same time. If you want passion and poignancy in your life, you may need to let go of predictability. This is an unfolding journey of trusting in a more vigorous power than that of your own mind. Forget your project management skills and your tidy agendas. You're in the soup of soul discovery. Lean back, observe the noodles, and ride the broth. You will not be the one who changes your life. Instead, you will be the one who allows life to change you.
2. Welcome Bewilderment
All true change begins with uncertainty. If you're on a well-marked highway, you're lost. This isn't a journey of staying on the road you know. This is about getting off at the next exit and wandering around in the field. You can only redefine yourself by first letting go of old definitions.
One of my favorite poets, Galway Kinnell, says, "And the first step shall be to lose the way." This doesn't sound helpful to a linear mind. And it's not--to a linear mind. But it is inevitable to a creative mind. You are larger than your current life. You are stronger than your present circumstances reflect. You will have to step out of familiar territory, to create something new. The new life is on the other side of the fence. So allow yourself to feel some discomfort. Don't run for cover just yet. Every time I've grown into the next part of my life, there was a period of feeling vulnerable, naked, and disoriented. But I found my solid ground by stepping into this murkiness. If you avoid vulnerability, you prevent healing and creativity. Yes, it's painful to be confused. But it's worse to be stagnant.
3. Inhabit the Present
Here's what I've discovered again and again. There is clarity in the given moment, but not the future. You can't see the outline or agenda or how your whole life will unfold. But you do know what feels right to do or experience in this moment. I know you sometimes don't feel like you do. But you do. If you were listening to yourself and not pushing away anything that you feel or think or know, what would you choose to do in this moment? I know you know. It could be take a nap, take a walk, make that call, write that screenplay, or do nothing. You may be judging what you feel, resisting the instinct of your heart, or thinking that what you receive doesn't look like a step. But I assure you that if you knew you couldn't do it wrong, that anything you felt like doing would bring you to your next horizon, you'd know what to do.
All fear occurs because you are thinking about the future or the past. If you are truly in the present moment, there is no fear. And the present moment will tell you what to do. This is a moment by moment journey that leads to the momentous. Stay with your instincts. And remember, an inspired future comes from an inspired moment today.
And of course, this all comes down to trust, trusting the Universe, trusting yourself, trusting the moment. But that's what it's all about. Because when you have trust, you don't need control. And then you can step into ease, grace, and a creativity that will blow your mind. And that's what we're here to do.
Tama J. Kieves, an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, left her law practice with a large corporate law firm to write and to embolden others to live and breathe their most meaningful self-expression. A leading alternative career coach and best-selling author of THIS TIME I DANCE! Trusting the Journey of Creating the Work You Love/ How One Harvard Lawyer Left It All to Have It All! (©2003 Tarcher/Penguin), Tama devotes her dynamic energy to life/work coaching and to facilitating workshops and retreats throughout the country. For more than a decade, she has helped thousands of individuals unleash their creativity and their callings. Founder of Awakening Artistry, an organization dedicated to creating a global family of creative and visionary minds, her inspiring work has frequently been featured on T.V., radio, and in national publications. Learn more about Tama's workshops and coaching or sign up to receive her free inspirational e-zine at http://www.AwakeningArtistry.com
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