In my world, it’s the little things that remind me that I am, in fact, living the dream. It is the movie marathons and late night Scrabble games with my wife, making vegan pesto with basil from our humble garden, and editing a few thousand images of my children’s soccer season.
Professionally, it is that divine moment when my heart is open and the actions I choose are aligned with my purpose and passions. That’s when my fears about not doing enough, or having enough — whatever the hell “enough” is — wash away. It leaves me hopeful, confident, and stunningly productive.
I only recently recognized how much time I spend cycling between two opposing states — in the flow and out of it. While both are very powerful, the latter is wildly unhelpful, except perhaps for learning what it feels like to be in or out of the flow… and I’ve spent more than enough time out of it. My need for recognition has been met.
Out of the flow — or out of alignment, as I usually say — feels like sickness, exhaustion, powerlessness, isolation, and poverty. Out leaves us creatively paralyzed, spiritually uncertain, and usually spiraling downward. Out feels like fear and it leaves us feeling stuck.In the flow is our natural state. When we are in it, we feel healthy, energized, empowered, deeply connected to a healthy support system, and abundant. We are creative and spiritual creatures. In alignment feels like love, and while we’re in that space, everything we need and desire can flow to us.
The biggest problem with being out of alignment is that every moment I’m there, I’m not living in alignment! And this is a problem not just because it feels bad, but because the fear rises up and interferes with my number one responsibility, which is living my dream.
It makes the ideas slow to a trickle, and leaves me without the energy to birth even that little bit of new life. And as I may have mentioned once or twice before, I believe wholeheartedly that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Spending more time in the flow — for me at least — is mostly about policing myself, noticing how I feel, and gently guiding myself back to the truth. And because I find it particularly challenging to feel my accomplishments (which feeds the ease with which I slip out of alignment), one of my favorite techniques is to document what actions I’ve taken.
For example, here are a few of the major actions I took this month that cognitively slipped away almost immediately… until I went back to claim them:
1. I did a complete overhaul of the Sick of Being Stuck class and the website.
2. I made minor (but essential) updates to my website.
3. I created and opened my Bold and Earthy Goods store on Etsy, which has been on my to-do list for three years.
4. My family did major household clearing and organized a yard sale, which made us a huge chunk of what we needed to take our next step!There were other things, lots of them in fact, but these were the actions that took a great deal of time, energy, and creativity (and physical and emotional strength on that last one). What I realized this month is that dismissing those huge investments of my most sacred resources is an incredibly disrespectful way to be with myself. And you may have already noticed, I’m not really into that.
And of course, as I’ve simmered on my new awareness, I’ve realized that some of my clients were suffering with the same exact thing. One woman, whose productivity can only be described as herculean, gets completely bogged down in what remains undone. She is always focused on how much there is to do that the second she completes a task, she rolls right past the “I did that!” feeling and on to the overwhelm of the next task.
It looks to me like she’s always in emergency mode, always putting out fires… and rather hysterical about how little water she has to fight them. And she’s not the only one; lots of the women I work with are highly productive but feel like they can’t possibly get where they need to be. It’s an intensity that leaves little room for feeling like you are successful and, frankly, a path that will lead you right off a cliff.
The bottom line is this: Living the dream is a feeling. If you want it, choose to be more loving, compassionate, and supportive of you… and the rest will fall in line.