Giving Up My Command-And-Control Post

Sometimes I get stuck in a feeling of lack.  It could be lacking anything – enough money, enough time, the right attitude, the right opportunities, the perfect interactions with others.  Like everyone, I find myself ruminating that “This is not enough” and “That is not right.”

This weekend, I was throwing away junk mail when I ran across a flyer from a self-help program.  In my cursory flip through, I found this suggestion:

“Get in touch with the feeling of what’s it’s like to feel you have your every need and want already met.”

Every need and want already met.  That sounds nice, I thought.  Impractical, but nice.

It continued:

“Just rest into that feeling for a moment.  Feel it in your belly.  Allow it to expand up into your heart.  Open up your awareness to feeling it spread all throughout every cell in your body and even to the area around your body.”

Of course it sounds cheesy.  It is absolutely cheesy.  But I try not to let judgments like that limit my experience, so I gave it a shot.

I opened up my journal and wrote down everything I needed and wanted:  a perfectly-balanced travel schedule, the willpower to follow through on my health commitments (The Month Without Sugar is in full swing), a thriving social life that is both broad and deep (this has been challenged by my travel schedule), and a perfect and cheaper-than-expected wedding venue .

This exercise of visioning the future was not unfamiliar to me; my journals are filled with goals, expectations, and ambitions.  What felt different about this, however, was experiencing those ambitions from the perspective of ‘already-havingness’ and ‘already-beingness’ instead of plotting how they would occur in the future.

You see, when I set a goal, my instinct is to write a tactical plan that outlines exactly how I’ll get there.  So when I set the vision of a “perfect and cheaper-than-expected wedding venue,” I was quick to start my Excel spreadsheet of locations, ask former brides for their suggestions, and fire up the online diligence.  When faced with a goal, I default to strategic thinking, clever problem solving, and executionary prowess to get me there.  These are my trusty old tools; I’m good at them, and, most of the time, they work.

Make it all happen

This challenge to try on ‘already-havingness’ and ‘already-beingness’ eviscerated my typical approach.  I had to turn off the achievement machine in my head.  No more mental to-do lists, no more clever plans to bring my goals to life.  Instead, I just had to sit, to let them come, to feel them to be true with every part of my body.  And it felt amazing.

Beyond feeling good (many things make you feel good, this is just one), it seemed to be useful as well.  Case-in-point:  As soon as I gave up the spreadsheet, the appointments, and the aggressive pre-planning, we locked down our perfect, cheaper-than-expected wedding venue.  The already-havingness was, weirdly, already true.

Do I believe that you can imagine your goals into existence?  Not necessarily.  But it’s both wonderful and relieving to think that every good thing doesn’t need to be the result of my effortful striving.  A better approach for me might be to just let go a bit.  Stop trying to drive so much.  Stop trying to work so hard.  And maybe join together my vigorous action to make things happen with the faith and feeling that they already have.

Meredith

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dont work too hard

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