Before I even start, I want to thank you. Thank you for choosing to read this. Contemplating the following ideas with an open mind and heart is a practice in self-discovery and an investment in your personal growth. Living into these ideas can have a radical impact on your life—your career, your relationships, your health, your self-concept.
One of my intentions is to encourage people to search inside themselves for greater understanding of their most important challenges, questions and curiosities. So last night 12 of us gathered for an Open Dialogue on the topic of “intentions”.
You can connect to that dialogue in a way by simply asking yourself, “What is an intention that I would like to more fully embody or live by?” Or, in other words: What is it that I want more than anything else right now? What are my deepest longings?
Before we go any further, just pause for a moment. Seriously. Slow down. You may even want to write one of those questions down so that you can contemplate it for some time. When you’re ready, let’s keep going.
Now, are you willing to suspend your beliefs and opinions about this topic for just a few moments? If you’re having any trouble these days fulfilling your desires, then you may benefit from at least examining your beliefs and your current approach—openly and with curiosity.
It’s likely that you’re not seeing things from all possible angles. In fact, you’re probably seeing them through one relatively narrow lens that has been formed by your past experiences, memories and conditioning. The brain’s ability to create memories, become entrained and develop shortcuts to process massive amounts of information offers us many benefits, but it also tricks us into believing that what we see is “reality”.
We all have self-limiting beliefs, by the way.
So what do you believe is blocking you from getting what you want? What is holding you back?
Are you aware of any beliefs that, however convincing they might be, you’d be willing to examine (or better yet, let go of)?
When asked what’s holding them back, some people are quick to point at someone or something else—it’s him, it’s her, it’s the the industry, it’s the economy, it’s Trump.
But we’ve all done enough finger-pointing to realize that this doesn’t really get us what we want. And so many people are waking up to the realization that the answers we are looking for must be inside us.
The Buddha said that the cause of suffering is our “attachment to desire“. Not desire alone. Not ambition. Not vision or possibility. It is our attachment to what we want that is so hard to live with.
What if the greatest obstacle between my and what I want was simply my attachment to attaining it?
Write that down. Contemplate that for a few minutes (or the rest of this year!).
What would your life be like if you could keep your head and heart focused on your greatest desires, while continually letting go of any attachment that arose?
I coached someone who was a world-class athlete a decade ago. She had a dream of winning the World Championships. So she gave everything she had to the sport (and loved the process, it’s important to note). She trained with top-10 athletes and poured her heart into every moment.
When she reached the world stage, however, her performance didn’t win her the spot she had dreamt about for so long.
She was disappointed beyond words. “Devastated” is probably a better descriptor.
And that moment was transformational for her—she developed the belief that if she went after her greatest desires wholeheartedly, her heart would be broken.
This belief led her to live life half-heartedly, pursuing an education, a career, friendships and a self-image that was just “OK”.
When we first spoke, she discovered that she had been living life avoiding the disappointment of failure (in the pursuit of her dreams). She had a breakthrough when she realized that this approach had left her feeling even more dissatisfied. Her energy, beauty and grace that characterized her past life as an athlete had become but a vague memory.
What she needed in order to reconnect with her passion, we discovered, was her seeing the possibility of having desires without being attached to them.
The moment she got this, her whole energy shifted—she lit up and was radiant. Looking into her eyes I knew that this was the beginning of an exciting new chapter of her life story.
I commend you for taking the time to read all of this. I hope it resonates, and helps to free up energy for you to live your own life more wholeheartedly and in the pursuit of your own vision.
If you value these reflections, please share them.
And if you’d like help clarifying your desires and cultivating non-attachment, you may be interested in my work with Open Dialogue. I love working with ambitious people who sense that they are capable of more, and want to unlock their potential. Reach out if you’d like to talk more!