Have you ever really, really wanted something? Of course you have. Have you ever really wanted something that you felt you worked hard for and still, seemingly, could not accomplish it? I’m sure at some point you’ve had the feeling that you were forcing yourself to make something happen as opposed to allowing it to happen naturally. It’s a bit of a terrible feeling, amirite? That icky, creepy, gross feeling that sets in when you begin to realize that you are in fact completely bullshitting yourself? Honestly it’s awful and must be why somewhere along the evolutionary path we developed a coping mechanism to deal with that feeling and still function — queue denial.
the refusal of something requested or desired.
synonyms: refusal, withholding
Sweet, isn’t it? It’s amazing to me how we humans innately know when we are distrusting what life is handing us. For me this “knowing” would usually present itself as a mild discomfort. I’d feel a little uneasiness or some tension regarding whatever situation I was in. Then after awhile if I hadn’t addressed the root cause of those feelings that uneasiness would grow into a two-headed beast of paranoia and inevitably throw me into various states of depression. I hated it. I know the feeling all too well and I know how hard it can be to pull oneself out of the pits of denial and back onto the shores of reality. I’ve had a few moments sitting alone with my thoughts before falling asleep and knowing in my little heart that I was lying to myself, trying to make something work (aka: shitty job, shitty boyfriend, shitty insert-life-experience-here) and completely unwilling to deal with the pain of that reality. I didn’t want to admit that it wasn’t working. So I would wake up the next day and continue my efforts of thwarting that inevitable outcome, trying to convince myself daily that I was in fact happy with the situation and that if I only could do X, Y or Z that it really could actually work and begin to feel right.
But I was wrong. I was wrong not because I could not have what I wanted or because the happiness gods had deemed me unworthy. I was wrong because that denial was actually a signal to my subconscious mind that this particular situation wasn’t right for me and that it was time for change. What did the symptoms of my denial look like? Well for me I guess they looked like compromise. The compromising of my needs for the needs of others. Compromising my desires to appease people who didn’t deserve it and compromising my happiness in order to hold onto the things and (mostly) people that I was afraid of losing.
But I waaanted it to work. I really, really wanted it to work. So instead of allowing life to naturally pave a way for me, easily and effortlessly like it always does, I challenged it. I rearranged and modified myself and my point of view to accommodate what I thought I wanted. Now don’t get me wrong, after all of my efforts I did to some degree have some Frankenstein versions of what I was asking for, and it did feel okay at times but it still wasn’t right. Why did it still not feel right?
Because I wasn’t allowing it to be. I fought life like a child having a tantrum, not wanting to give up my position and my idea of how I thought things were supposed to go. Because, what about my plan?! I had this great path mapped out in my mind and clearly (obviously) I knew what was best for myself at the time… or did I?
What if I don’t get that client? I thought I'd have way more money at 26. Should I have spent more time on that project? Were those girls talking about me when I left the room? Is he seeing other women? I think he is but I’m too afraid to ask. Should I have worn that green dress or was the blue one a better choice? Was my pizza joke funny? When I make more money they’ll respect me more. Maybe if I have a bigger following they’ll take me more seriously. I wonder if I say ‘fuck’ too many times in our conversations? Does he think I’m good enough or is he waiting for something better to come along? Do these people really like me or do they just want my help? I know this doesn’t feel right but I don’t want to let it go. I still cant figure out when to use a semicolon, I should probably quit writing. I hope they didn’t think I was bragging. What if no one reads my blog and I’m wasting all of my time? Can I handle another heartbreak right now? I really want this shitty relationship to work and I don’t understand why it’s not happening. If my business fails am I going to have to go back to school? I fucking hate school.
These were the kinds of thoughts that plagued me until I realized that none of it mattered. I liked that green dress goddamnit and if that client didn’t want to work with me then another one would come soon enough. Writing made me happy and if I had to wonder about the authenticity of the people in my life it was time to let them go. And yes, I say fuck a lot, and no they don’t have to like it. Finally I stopped. My efforts felt too strenuous on my psyche and peace of mind and I eventually stopped fighting. I stopped telling myself that I needed to change in order to have what I wanted. I stopped working tirelessly at saying the right thing and doing the right thing and going the extra mile. I let go of the idea I had in my mind about how I thought things should go and decided that I would instead try to open up my arms and trust life in that moment.
No longer would I care what people thought about me. I started living my life one day at a time. I started appreciating the things I did have instead of focusing on what I didn’t. Food in the fridge? Check. Lights on? Check. Mom’s healthy? Check. Woke up this morning? Check. And what happened? Well, for starters I could breathe again. I could enjoy every second of my day again. No longer were my days peppered with thoughts of stress and unfulfilled attempts at pacifying myself or others. No longer did I wonder or worry about what was going to happen next. What tomorrow would have in store for me. What I would do if it wasn’t what I had been hoping for. I let go and I stopped thinking about whether or not my dreams would come true and began instead to just believe they would and not micromanage how. I was free.
And without even realizing it, one by one the things I wanted started to materialize. The only thing I did differently was re-focus my attention to the things I appreciated that already existed in my world. My dreams were slowly coming true and I was literally doing nothing other than enjoying my life, all of my life, even the weird parts, 100% of the time. Instead of focusing on what I didn’t yet have, I focused on what I did have and all of the other desires that I had were fulfilled when I started to relinquish control.
Everything I wanted from my dream apartment down to the exact potted plant I had pinned on Pinterest I attained easily and without much thought. I finally had the friends and the love and the life that I had wanted all along.
So what happened? Go with me for a second. Imagine your life as a stream of water. That stream need not cut through rock or Earth to flow where it would like to go, it simply flows in the direction it wants and effortlessly makes it’s way around all of the objects in it’s path — it does this without any resistance.
This is what happened with me.
This is literally what can happen with all of us. By allowing life to naturally take us to our desired destination without resistance we automatically find ourselves on the quickest, easiest and most effective path to our desires. Do you see what I mean? The key is that we do not resist the obstacles. We must not resist the perceived challenges because our resistance stops the flow of our intention, and the flow of intention is our path to success.
You intend to be happy. You intend to travel. You intend to find yourself, to love, to seek adventure. The truth is you already have. Have you not loved? Have you never felt joy? Have you not laughed until you cried? Everything you want is already here and the second you see that is the moment you will begin to receive more and more of the experiences that you seek.
Your perception of your reality is the only truth there is. When you recognize the beauty that already exists in your life, your mind will begin to find more and more things that are right. If you see your life through the "things are great lens" and find the reasons why, things will be great. As you begin to focus on what is good in your life, your active conscious mind will begin to find ways to create more things to be happy about. You will create things that are right, by focusing on what is currently right. And if you see your life through the "this shit sucks lens" then the shit's gonna suck. You will create more things that are wrong, by focusing on what is currently wrong. Your mind and the perspective you take is so, so powerful.
Try something new for me. You might be thinking to yourself, "that’s cute Raven but this is real life and things like that don’t just happen in real life. I have a job, I have bills, I have real problems." Hear me out, if you’re already unhappy (fighting off denial, binge eating and watching 5+ episodes of Peaky Blinders in a row before crying yourself to sleep in your pillow every other night quietly telling yourself that everything’s fine and that you’re actually totally cool with your life) then what do you have to lose?
Try this. Accept where you are in your life right now. Accept all of it, even the parts you hate. All you have to do to shift the direction of your life is accept exactly where you are right now. Moving to a place of acceptance moves you out of a place of resistance. Once the momentum of resistance has been curbed, you can finally begin to move towards the things you want. Like the old cliché "what you resist persists"... that cliché exists for a reason. Think about the fact that if you weren’t so hyper-aware of what you dislike in your reality at the moment you wouldn’t know exactly what it is that you do want. And if you don’t know what you want, you obliterate any and all chances of having your deepest desires fulfilled. Accept the roadblocks and changes of direction and embrace the wrenches that life has thrown in your handywork. Stop swimming upstream and fighting the tides and let go. Stop trying to force your dreams to happen. Let go of what you think you want. Detach yourself emotionally from the things you think you should have right now. Wake up in the mornings and allow yourself to remember a few things that you have right now that were once things you could only dream of having. If you can’t think of anything, count your breaths. With each one remind yourself that they aren’t really breaths but opportunities. Take those opportunities and let them re-formulate your day and stop the patterns and behaviors that made you feel like your life was somehow inadequate. Stop lying to yourself about shitty people, and let them go. Stop comparing yourself to others and realize your journey is not theirs and that your way is being paved for you always. Trust the weird moments and the setbacks that don’t appear to be great opportunities. Once you begin to see these weird roadblocks for what they really are and stop fighting you will begin to see that they aren’t roadblocks at all, but detours. They are detours that will accelerate you and carry you to your desired destination — so long as you trust it. Trust is the flow, it’s the water of life and it will carry you downstream if you allow it.
Surrender to your experience and watch what happens.