We are so good at coming up with excuses for why we haven't started that healthy habit we've been planning, or taken steps toward that new career we desire, or begun carving out the life we want for ourselves. There are a million reasons we can name that prevent us from getting to it, but what is the real reason? Are we afraid to be happy? Do we think we don't deserve it? Are we afraid of the unknown? We all know what failure feels like. It's easy to imagine. But do we dare to wonder what success feels like?
We can easily identify successful people who we admire. When we look deeper into the qualities we admire in them, we can understand that we have access to embodying the same qualities. We can also tap into the unbounded potential in our own uniqueness. There is no limit on life besides the one we put on ourselves. What are we gaining by holding on to our limits? When we can truly ask why we hold ourselves back, we can begin to uncover our potential.
People we admire seem to have that spark. They seem to be more alive, more awake, and more inspired. This spark is within us all. It is the stuff that makes us up. We are that. We aren't the stuff we cover it up with. We have to wake ourselves up from whatever spell we've cast on ourselves to keep us in our narrow ideas of our lives. I know this, not because I'm making it up, but because this reality is just like water and yoga. These things have always been here for us. When you practice, when you meditate, universal truths reveal themselves to you. To understand and experience, we have to quiet our minds, our egos and pay attention.
5 Steps to Getting Out of Your Own Way
1. Stop the sabotage. We've all sabotaged ourselves at one point or another. Whether it's by being judgmental toward ourselves or others, overindulging in food, alcohol, or drugs, or knowingly holding ourselves back. First step is to identify our method of sabotage, so we can begin to understand the behavior and stare it right in the face until it dissolves.
2. Meditate. The universe is within us. We forget that and make up realities for ourselves that we are small and insignificant. Meditation brings us back to our natural state of consciousness. We need to quiet our mind to become aware. Follow the breath not the thoughts. The breath will take you there. And "there" is YOU. It's been waiting for you to come back for a while.
3. Be nice. We have to be nice to ourselves and others in order for life to run smoothly. This is just how it goes. A fun little game of the universe we like to sometimes call karma. If you are mean to yourself you're more likely to have a bad day. If you are mean to others it will come back to you sooner or later. If you are mean to the planet we won't have a planet to live on. It's simple. Be nice. Take care of yourself and others.
4. Keep good company. Be careful who you hang around. If your friends like to complain a lot and are full of bad behaviors, and you realize that you want to change your life, than it is time for a shift. First, be nice to your friends. If it's helpful maybe drag them to a healthy activity instead of a bar, or try being open about how you feel and see if they are up for living a more productive life also. It might be hard or embarrassing, but it's worth a shot. Friendships naturally shift over life. We have different friends for different times in our lives and sometimes it's not the best idea to hang on to a friendship to try to make it work if it's an unhealthy connection.
5. Keep going. "If success were easy everyone would be a champion." -- Nadia Comaneci.
I made my Dad tape that movie from television when I was little and I would watch the life story of Nadia every Saturday for years. Her determination to keep going no matter what was a quality I wanted in myself. Even when she sabotaged herself, she picked herself back up and rose again to the top. She was the first gymnast to score a perfect 10. The score boards weren't even set up to go that high. When her score came up it said "one." Only one!
I don't care if it's corny. The happier I get in life, the cornier I get, and it's ok with me. By doing this work my life is significantly better than I can imagine, much better than if I chose to wallow in my own obstacles (which we all have), or follow around a guru other than my own awareness (another trap of modern seekers).
Meditate. Hang out with others who live good lives. Do good things. Be simple. Your life will change. I'm telling you from experience. Look around to people you admire. Notice the qualities you like, find them in your self, and bring them to the surface in your own unique way. This doesn't happen by following someone around. It happens by recognizing that everything you like and need is already there inside you. This stuff works. My heros in my life have become my good friends, advisors, and colleagues. Isn't that something! And I'm just a girl from a small town in Illinois. We all are.
Your life is going on right now. Don't forget about it.