How many things do you have in your life that don't work for you, that you think you have to be/do/have because someone else said so?
You have to study for that exam, go to that school, study that subject, enter that company, learn that language, marry that person, have that many children, attend that event, put that in your body, follow that government directive and so on. How well do you do them?
Just because someone else says you need to be/do/have something is a good idea, will it always work out well for you?
Who is the one person who does know what will work for you, what is true for you?
You. You know if something is working for you. It feels light as a feather. Unlike all the heavy stuff you know doesn't work for you, but you do because you were told to.
So if you're not as happy as you'd like to be, start listening and trusting you more by asking "Does this work for me?"
Notice whether you feel heavy or light, and if you'd like to change the heaviness, ask "What else is possible?"
What would you like to have show up in your life?
A great new job, a successful business, smart staff, more customers, reliable suppliers, an investor, more money, greater ease (less stress), better health, more fun? For life to go back to normal or become something even better than lockdown and panic?
Whatever that is, invite it into your life with this question, while letting go of any conclusions you might have made about what it will look like and how it will show up.
Be aware of the specifics of what you ask.
For example, if you ask for the “perfect job,” you may create a job based on other people's expectations of perfect, including how you have to work long and hard, do what your boss says even though you can see a better way, take sides in office politics and so on.
So instead, be clear on what you'd like and ask “What's it going to take for [example, a rewarding job that I enjoy and allows me to extend my talents, with flexible, fun, creative people] to show up, that would contribute to my life more than I can imagine, or something greater?”
For me, right now that is "What's it going to take for me to be able to see my mother freely in her aged care facility without unnecessary restrictions or having to give my body things it does not need and would prefer not to have?" Or something greater...
Have you been asking questions but things don't seem to be changing in the way you'd hoped?
What sort of questions are you asking? Do they sound like this “What do you know about X?” or “What's it going to take for people to get that I know all about X and recognise my worth?”
Are these really questions?
Or are they conclusions with question marks attached?
In other words, you've decided what you want (to tell people about X) and that without people listening to you about X that you have no worth.
So if you're not getting the change you'd truly like, check your questions. Ask “Is this a question, or is it a statement with a question mark attached?” (also known as "Am I being a superior asshole?")
Then ask a real question.
Are you bored, uninspired and unexcited with study or work? With your relationships? Life in general?
Perhaps you were doing something because you decided it was a good career choice, a noble cause, a higher purpose, or just because you've always done it? You'd be crazy to give it up. You'd let everyone down. Right?
Before lockdown, were you spending time with people only because you worked with them, they'd been friends forever, they were family, or they'd be upset if you didn't?
Since normal living has been turned on its head, have you started to reconsider your life, how you do things and who you do them with?
If so start by asking “Who and what truly excites and inspires me?” and choose that.
Rather than doing something begrudgingly because you thought it was "right" (for whom?) or expected (by whom?), what if you were excited and inspired by what you did everyday and everyone around you? Would your life ever be hard or tiresome again, regardless of apparent limitations or disruptions?
What amazing contribution could you make, by doing wholeheartedly what you love, rather than half-heartedly what you think you should?
Do you find yourself behaving in way that is, well, not quite you?
Like getting really cranky, crying like a madwoman, throwing a floor-fist-banging tantrum, being distracted by a pointless fight with some faceless idiot online, or otherwise doing something you know is crazy and not you, but you can't seem to help it?
What if it wasn't you? To find out, ask “Who am I being now?”
We pick up all sorts of stuff from those around us, from our parents, teachers, friends and pretty much everyone. This question reminds you that maybe it really isn't you.
Then you can ask “If I were me, who would I be?”
If you're a parent, try it with your kids. Are they mad as hell or being drama queens?
Ask them gently without heat “Who are you being now?” (Don't be surprised if they reply “YOU!!”) Then ask “If you were you, who would you be?” and listen.
At the very least it might crinkle their universe and stop the drama spiral for a second or two. At best, their whole life might change.
Are you addicted to organisation/designing the perfect system/keeping the perfect house/sticking to the ultimate schedule?
I was. And I was REALLY good at it. Trouble was, I also got irritated - even downright cranky - when the ducks didn't line up and the kittens didn't herd. And then lockdown chucked EVERYTHING out the window. Know that feeling?
Then I looked at nature. The most highly functional and efficient systems exist in apparent chaos. Do flowers grow (naturally) in neat rows?
No. And yet the bees find them, pollinate them, and contribute elegantly to sustaining life on the planet.
What if you were more like a bee?
What if, regardless of the apparent chaos, you could find the flowers, and contribute awesomely to your life? So ask "What if I created my life from chaos?"
I'm not suggesting you create random, artificial chaos.
Simply that even if things appear messy, you need not be the effect of them if you can see where to collect the pollen.
How often do you feel trapped in a no-choice universe? Feeling that right now?
When did your parents, teachers, bosses, co-workers, friends, children, government and everyone sell you the idea that you have no choice but to do what they tell you?
What is that for you? To study a subject you hate, take a job you're not interested in, break off a great relationship, marry a person you don't really like, be available to everyone for everything 24/7, subject your body to something it prefers to avoid, consider everyone but you an expert? What else?
Guess what? You always have a choice. Infinite choices in fact. This is a free will universe.
So remind yourself. Next time you feel trapped ask "What choices do I have?"
Then notice whatever possibility feels lightest and ask more questions about what it would take for you to create that as your life.
Of course, it may end up being exactly what other people told you to choose in the first place.
But you'll feel differently about it because it was your choice.
Have you been doing a lot of reading and research lately, trying to make sense of what's going on in the world? Are you seeking the truth about options for you and your family's/community's best health now and into the future?
Do you get excited when you uncover a new piece of information, only to find that your sense of lightness and possibility growing heavy? Have you experienced this light-heavy-light-heavy cycle continuously? Have you gone down a rabbit hole or two hundred?
Remember that what's true for you always makes you lighter and a lie for you always makes you heavy. So what is it when you sense the heaviness of a lie, but it keeps playing on round and round in your head, keeping your attention?
Next time this happens when you read an article, watch a video, or have a conversation with someone, ask yourself "Is this a truth with a lie attached?" If you feel a lightness, then ask "What part of this is true?" (it will feel lighter) and "What part of this is a lie, spoken or unspoken?" (it will feel heavy).
These questions can help you pick your way through the myriad stories on sale without being compressed into a solid block of granite. How light would you be if you could pull apart all the stories with ease and find what's light for you, rather than feeling like you have to buy the whole bundle and then tie yourself up with reasons and justifications for doing so?
Better still, what if next time you find yourself like a stone down a rabbit hole you simply choose lightness? Turn off the trauma and drama, go play with the kids/pets/partner, have a sleep, do some gardening, watch a funny movie, ANYTHING that is light for you.
How much of everything we hear is part true and part a lie? What could you create as your life if you considered it all "an interesting point of view"?
Much gratitude again to Dr Dain Heer for this one.
How often do you limit your choices – before you even consider them – by concluding that other people won't approve? “My husband/wife/partner wouldn't agree”, “My parents wouldn't like it” or even “No one else does that, so what would everyone think of me?”
Worrying about what other people think is one of the main reasons you will give for not doing something.
What if you took other people out of the equation so you could see what you'd really like to choose?
Ask “If other people's points of view weren't real – if everything were just an interesting point of view – what would I choose?”
How many of the world's science, social, cultural and business innovation, and even new lands (you know, the world is no longer flat), came from people doing what they loved and knowing what was right for THEM, no matter what other people thought was real, true, or possible.
What could be possible for you if you listened more to you?
Do you ever think yourself into a knotty ball of confusion? Listing pros and cons, researching "truth" and "fake," collecting background info to analyse to death from all angles, trying to figure out what to do? To get it Right. Whether it's which subject to study, job to choose, car to buy, relationship to pursue, or what choice to make about you and your family's health?
Do you enjoy this process? Is it as fast and easy as you'd like? And how does it usually work out?
If you don't enjoy it and would prefer a faster, easier – and dare I say it more reliable for you – approach, next time you find yourself embarking on a thought journey into the abyss ask “If I didn't think about this, what would I know?”
You know those moments when you just know something? It feels right and light to you (even though others think you're crazy)?
Only you can really know what is right for you. Are you willing to trust you more? Life might become a whole lot easier.
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