The Biggest Turnaround

Upside Down Tree June 2012Last week I had the opportunity to hear from a client who had coached with me for a year about three years ago. I am consciously unattached to outcomes with clients so it hadn't occurred to me to check in about progress. But I'm so glad he did!

Three years ago, Gavin* was "crawling" to work each day at a tech startup job in Silicon Valley that was easy to stay in because of the prestige and pay, but made for sleepless nights knowing he was not listening to his heart. Now he is living abroad, exploring many of his passions from childhood, and happily piecing together a creative life that supports his whole self.

The quote that made me smile the most was, "Life is not better or worse; it just feels more magical."

What would you be willing to do to bring a little more magic into your life?

Over and over again, my clients and my own experience keep teaching me that we don't get what we want by focusing more on what we want and on ways to get it.

"We don't attract what we want, we attract what we are." - Wayne Dyer

What we want "magically" arrives when we practice and sustain the ability to come back, over and over again, to a conscious awareness in our entire being that everything we want is already here.

What do I mean by that?

When we align our attention and energy with the feeling and being state of having our wishes already fulfilled, this enables us to see differently.

"How we see determines what we see, and what we feel." - Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

We are taught to believe that, "When I have what I want, I will feel peaceful/successful/happy." The biggest turnaround is realizing, "I can experience the feeling of peace, success, and happiness right now." In other words, experiencing the feeling is not dependent on having the thing you want.

This is the "biggest turnaround" because it's the opposite of what many of us think we need to drive us toward our desires: that we have to focus on getting the things we really want, to identify the gap between where we are and where want to go, to set goals based on current and future performance, to put our energies into "filling in the missing blanks".

All of these approaches can lead to many accomplishments in life, but if those accomplishments were enough to create feelings of satisfaction, why all the Prozac and binge drinking, even among the most accomplished of people?

The magic is activated when we shift our attention away from identifying and focusing on the missing blanks, and start cultivating a state of being completely unbothered by whether there are any blanks at all, missing or filled in. We open more to receiving the magic the more we allow ourselves a state of being at peace with everything exactly as it is.

But I really don't want you to take my word for it.

Here's an exercise to try at home:

1. Start by noticing what happens when your thoughts are focused on an area of life where you want to solve a problem, create something new, or feel something is missing. Keep your attention focused on the problem, and allow all the details of this scenario come to life for you. Feel the density of it, see the colors, hear the sounds, notice the temperature of the problem as you hold the image of it in your mind.

2. Once you feel you have a complete image in full detail, turn your attention to your body and find the physical sensation that arises for you. Notice its location and find three words to describe the physical sensation. Choose words that can be experienced with one of the five senses - like red, hot, or tightening - not a concept like anxiety, doubt, or worry.

3. Now take a few breaths and shift gears. Take your mind into the future, to a time when your problem has been solved, or your creation has been completed, or your missing piece has been found. Surround yourself in the images of you in this state of fulfillment, completion, and satisfaction. What do you see? Notice every detail of your surroundings, including the people you are with, the place you are in, and the scents in the air. Flood yourself in the details of this imagined scene in the future, and feel it in every cell of your body.

4. Now turn your attention to your physical body and find the location of these bodily sensations. Choose three words to describe this physical sensation.

When I did this exercise with my Vision Board workshop participants this past weekend, it was striking how similar these last three words were for each person in the room. Even though they had started with a variety of problems they wanted to solve -Tracy* and Deb wanted new jobs, Sarah wanted a new relationship, Steve wanted a new living space, and Melissa wanted a better topic for her PhD thesis - the words they used to describe their final fulfilled state were surprisingly similar - light, free, open, warm, spacious, breathing.

The other thing I noticed was that just by doing this exercise, the entire experience of reality in that moment had shifted. Nothing had changed in the external circumstances in their lives, yet the feeling states they experienced in their bodies had transformed profoundly.

All because of the thoughts that filled their minds.

The act of choosing pictures and then arranging them on a page was merely an afterthought - but an important afterthought, because it allowed the cells of the body to experience the thoughts and create a physical form from the exercise. The board itself is an artifact - an imprint of the feeling state of completion, fulfillment, and success that can instantly take their minds and bodies back to that state of lightness, freedom, openness, warmth, spaciousness, and breathing - the feeling of having what they wanted, whether the "thing" they wanted had shown up in the material world yet or not.

So I invite you to give this a try yourself. What happens when you spend time each day imagining and practicing a state of being at peace, free, open - whatever your three words from the exercise above happen to be - without actually having to change anything in your circumstances right now?

Be a scientist and gather your own data by experiencing it in your own mind and body.

Be curious and open to the results.

The magic is waiting patiently for you to greet it with your attention.

If you want a full weekend immersion in this and other kinds of magic, join me for an Oceanside Retreat with an intimate circle of up to 6 participants in November. There's still time to take advantage of a great early registration savings, through September 24th.