A few weeks ago, I stepped into the bathroom at my favorite teashop, closed the door and locked it, then wrapped my arms around myself. “I forgive you”, I whispered, with my eyes closed. After a few quiet moments, I dropped my arms with a sigh of relief. I walked to the mirror and tidied up my tear-smudged mascara, then got on with my day, feeling considerably lighter.
That morning, I awoke with a twinge of dread.
I hadn’t been monitoring my spending as much lately, and felt disconnected from my finances. I realized that I’d been adopting what I call Fake Abundance Mentality – “It’ll be fine!” – when deep down, I was feeling ungrounded. I felt sad and embarrassed, realizing what I was setting myself up for…
Disconnection destroys freedom.
Recognizing this as new growth edge, I knew it was time to take a step across the line. I walked to top of my hill and, looking out over the city, I made a promise to myself: I was ending any pattern of disconnection with my finances immediately.
As I walked down the hill towards the teashop, I called two girlfriends to make my tearful declaration, and sealed the deal with a call to my bookkeeper.
Since then, I’ve re-integrated my “money dates” (where I spend time looking at my financial world), and have been much more mindful about my spending. And even though I wasn’t remotely on the brink of bankruptcy or homelessness, I knew that even a slight disconnection was unsustainable.
Disconnection causes an energy leak that affects everything – our joy, vitality, confidence, productivity and pleasure.
When we choose to live on our growth edge, rather than backing away from it, we’re choosing our freedom.
“I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call “The Physics of The Quest” — a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: “If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself… then truth will not be withheld from you.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Pray Love)
Living on your growth edge requires is that you look at the dread or frustration in your life – the energy leaks – as signposts to that which needs your attention. It requires you to engage with courage, depth and gratitude. It required that you choose to be here – to really, fully and truly be present in your life.
You’re not here to “arrive”.
You’re not here to be perfect.
You’re here to grow, and enjoy life.
When I was a workaholic, I was in such deep avoidance of nearly everything in my life, and in such overwhelm with my work, that I spent most of my time feeling like I was nearly drowning.
When I faced overcoming my workaholism, I didn’t know how to do it. But I knew that ignoring my issues with money, my marriage, and my lack of true self-care and a spiritual practice, wasn’t going to make them go away or be resolved. I had to stop obsessing about the work on my laptop, and start doing the inner and outer work on my life.
THESE ARE THE 4 QUESTIONS THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING:
1. Am I acting productive, when in fact, I’m avoiding something?
When we’re living with the illusion that when we just complete our work, there will finally be more space to focus on other important things, we’re often living in just that – an illusion. To Do lists are like laundry – you can take care of the whole pile, but the next day, there will be more. Yes, of course you have to take care of business, but if you’re ignoring other aspects of your life, you’re working from a place of misalignment. It’s time to step back and bring your attention with the other areas of your life that need you – your spiritual practice, relationships, finances, health, etc – so you can realign with your desires.
2. Am I telling the truth?
It’s easy to talk about important things in life like we talk about the weather. Maybe it doesn’t seem like small talk, because we’re discussing important stuff, or maybe it feels too uncomfortable to “go there”, but the truth is that until you can tell the truth to yourself and others about what’s really going on for you, you’ll be stuck in the shackles of shame. Let sisterhood be your salve and speak your truth.
3. Am I enjoying my life?
Deferred pleasure is a sign of us not being truly free. I don’t mean to say that we should nap all day and forget about the contribution we’re here to make, but I’m talking about the deep pleasure that comes from living in alignment with our desires, and cultivating pleasure moment-to-moment. When I’m tense, I can take a deep breath. When I’m bogged down with work, I can create some space and reassess. When I’m walking down the street, I can appreciate the beauty around me. When my relationship is in turmoil, I can ask for support. Actually connecting to the beauty and joy available in each moment is part of the path.
4. Am I forgiven?
Without forgiveness, we walk in repent. And when we’re carrying a bag of shame around, it’s pretty difficult to move forward with ease and grace. When you see an unhealthy behavioral pattern, appreciate the awareness, forgive yourself and move on. Forgiveness is freedom.
I want you to know that your heart is beautiful, your desires are divine, and all the courage you need to create what you want is within reach. I am so grateful for your presence here. Thank you.