The two year anniversary of my layoff from the corporate world came and went without much fanfare. I had intended to write something that day as I worked my Thursday job as an elder care companion, but the date passed quickly with no words of wisdom. One day runs into another week, another month, another year. Is this not the way our lives seem to pass?
Time speeds into a future I never could have imagined then. I am so busy living in the now I don’t spend much of it reflecting on my past or worrying about my future. But I certainly didn’t start this journey out that way, and I can’t help but pause now and then to think about where I’ve been and where I’m going.
If we spend too much time on our path looking back at where we’ve been, we’re pretty certain to run headlong into some obstacle or keep going in circles. If we focus too much on what’s ahead, we may miss the beauty all around us or continually stumble along the way. However, if we are too intent on looking at the ground beneath us, we can also end up lost. I’m still learning how to hold a multi-dimensional view.
I love the ideal of living in the present moment, and I do a pretty good job these days with my focus on the here-and-now. However, without vision for the future or remembrance of my past, I could easily slip into a contentedness that leaves my original dream of becoming a speaker and writer behind. In many ways, such complacency has already begun to happen. After all, I’m successful supporting myself doing work I love and I’m happy.
It’s hard to hold onto something as nebulous as becoming a spiritual luminary when the pathway there isn’t clear. It’s easy to justify giving up on wanting to make a big splash by paying more attention to how my day-to-day actions are creating ripples. Finding motivation to be disciplined in writing or pursuing my original dream is difficult when I’m busy just being happy.
I can also do mind bends around the idea that the reason we want something in the first place is because we think it will make us happy. So, if I am happy, why should I need my life to look a certain way? It makes so much more sense to just be. Accept what is and practice non-attachment.
But there is a niggling little doubt that keeps popping up that has to do with whether I am truly “living up to my potential” (whatever that means) — And there is no doubt that when I share the “spiritual lessons” I have learned throughout my life, I feel more alive than at any other time. I may not always practice my own “wisdom” but darned if I can’t spout it with the best of them. 🙂
In the midst of writing this blog, I discovered Netflix has a documentary of motivational speaker Tony Robbins workshop titled “Date with Destiny.” Robins proposes the idea “If you don’t have something to move towards, you settle for where things are.” However, I can argue that if we’re always striving to reach something more, our lives may become full of discontent. What’s wrong with where I am? Is it really settling to be content and happy with the life I have created?
But I love Tony Robbins and his wisdom always rings true when I listen. Mid-way through the film he says:
“Most of us are unaware of the patterns that are controlling us. You have to know precisely what it is you want at this stage of your life; what do you need? What are the triggers for you that make you crazy and are they worth letting go of? It’s deciding — just like building muscle — that you’re going to sculpt yourself into what you’re capable of being, as opposed to whatever life and circumstance has provided you the opportunity to show up as. We all get what we tolerate. This is a program that’s saying ‘I’m going to decide what I want; I’m not going to tolerate anything inside of myself that is less than I can be or share or give.’”
Bam, I’m right back to feeling as if I should be working harder to figure out how to make this original dream of mine come true. Yet, as I watch Tony Robbins dance across the stage and navigate a high energy event that lasts for over 12 hours each day for six days, I have a difficult time envisioning this as my future. His protege’, motivational speaker Mastin Kipp, followed a very similar script when I attended one of his events in Asheville:
Envision high energy music playing as people enter the room. Pump up the volume. Then everyone is instructed to greet their fellow attendees with a high five or hug. If you get what I’m saying, give me an “I.” Crowd goes wild …
I love the idea of helping people transform their lives — but there is something in me that resists such theatrical measures. Is all that hoopla really necessary? And I have to admit there is a part of me that wonders if the ‘transformations’ experienced by the attendees aren’t just a wee bit created by a bit of brain-washing. Furthermore, are those transformations really long lasting or just another ‘ah ha’ quickly forgotten once back into the fray of life?
The first fall after I was laid off I dropped $2,000 on a course teaching how to succeed at the whole on-line, seminar-gig thing. Although the information was good, the process by which one becomes a multimillionaire selling their ‘solution’ felt too icky for me: give away some valuable content to establish trust, enroll folks in a program, then up-sale them on the next program.
Is it any wonder I have allowed myself to be content doing direct service where I’m not trying to sell people something or convince someone that my solution/program/product will change your life? Yes, I want to change lives, but at what expense? Yes, I know what I have to share can be very valuable, but I also strongly feel it should be freely given.
With this attitude I’m likely to end up staying with exactly what I’m doing … writing a few articles, blogging here and there, and never reaching a greater audience. Some days I’m okay with that, and other days I yearn for something more.
Time is going to move on regardless. Another year will pass and I’ll reflect again on where I started, where I’ve been, and where I’m going (or not going as the case may currently appear). I keep trusting that somewhere along the way I’ll figure out how to balance this thing called past, present and future.
I can say without any hesitation, however, that if anything has been demonstrated over the last two years it is that I am easily able to support myself and continually discover the flow of prosperity finding me. It is clear God/the Universe/Spirit (whatever term you want to use) supports me in what I’m doing. I am blessed beyond measure.
My job is to show up each day and do my best to make sure that I’m not tolerating anything less than I can be or share or give. If along this journey I figure out how to actually support myself through writing or speaking without having to compromise my principles, then I’ll eagerly follow that opening. Until then, I’m still here enjoying life and being happy for no reason.