It’s a hobby of mine to ask people about the secret dreams they’ve given up on. As a childhood witness to adult disappointments, I learned there is no better guarantee of failure than to succumb to one of these 5 all-star reasons for letting your dreams go unfulfilled. It’s almost as if people with chronically unfulfilled dreams have substituted the reason for not doing it for the thing itself, so attached do they become to that reality, instead of putting their energy into creating the one they desire.
Bottom line: Success is never guaranteed. But you can guarantee failure by continuing to not take action on your dreams. How wrong would you like to be? Do you recognize any of these?
We Earthbound Creatives often feel the enormous gulf between the magical alignment with our creative flow that we long for and where we are now on our creative path. Getting to alignment doesn’t take sleight of hand so much as it takes knowing some of the manifesting secrets that creatives have used through time. This list isn’t exhaustive, but it does touch on the major points: claim your truth, have a daily practice, create a magical space, and, beware the Devil’s bargain. Instead, strike a good bargain with the loving Universe, which is totally on your side.
1. Ritual = Regular Intervals(time+place+purpose).
Each moment is an intersection of time + place + purpose. What makes it a ritual is you repeat it, keeping time (when and for how long), place and purpose the same. I’ve often written here about the power of daily writing, but only seldom have I spoken of the magic of my writing space. Now, before you imagine that I have your idea of the perfect writing space, let me tell you that half the room is filled with cartons and piles, and the corners are stacked with stuff. It was designed to be a bedroom and has an entire wall of closets. The closets are filled with winter coats and boxes of photographs and my supplies for mailing and packaging, art supplies, musical instruments and my five 25-quart plastic bins full of notebooks. So it’s not a pristine, distraction-free oasis.
My brain is in distract mode. I’m flitting from FB to researching things to do/eat/enjoy in Portland. I’m paying bills, answering emails. The email discussion is about consciousness for Pete’s sake. Last night I dreamt my Dad was driving with his shirt off. He was very happy. It was warm out. He doesn’t visit very often, but I’m glad he visited last night. I woke up thinking, I’m not ready for another person to die. I wanted to write letters to everyone. This is my letter. I love you. You matter more than you’ll ever know, more than I can ever say. Those stupid thumbs up and smilies, shares and comments, it’s just evidence that you’re out there. In some ways, it’s evidence that I’m here, too. I also talked with real people on the phone. I ate cookies. I worked on the outline for my writing program and created a separate document, a task list, and one of the categories ended up being “wildest dreams!” On a task list! But, yeah, I want to have a retreat once a year where writers in my program, current, future and graduates, get together and deep dive into this crazy journey of creatively living, expressing and coming out of the closet as who we are. And I want to send little gift baskets every 6 weeks or so, like real ones, in the mail, to my clients who are slaving away at their books. Hand cream, buckwheat pillows, comics, coupons. I might as well pour my heart into this, because I’m creating it, and I get to say how it goes. Where else can we do that? That’s why I’ve started saying, “What do I want to create today?” instead of “There’s no money coming in!” at the beginning of every day. Both create the life that I live, and only one creates the life I want to be living. I stayed in my P.J’s all day. I’m going to shower and change before bed, though. Do you know what matters? Me neither. But I trust that if I follow my gut ruthlessly and quickly and listen for the instinct that comes before I have a chance to understand it….You know something? It takes practice to create. To really catch that impulse and be true to it and not try to make it all neat and just like something that already is. It’s such a simple thing. None of it is complicated. But, jeez, the training we have to undo in order to be able to be true to the creative, expressive impulse that’s within in us. So, I give myself a pass on the P.J.’s and the cookies. I created something today. I loved today. I connected, and I laughed at myself. I figure this puts me in the top 5%. How blessed and lucky is that? How lucky and blessed do you want to be? What do you want to create today?
In this post, I tell a story about a failure that was predicable and a success I didn’t see coming. (And give a nod to one of my favorite funny men, who had a signature way of falling that was really quite graceful.)
I don’t know why I thought I’d never encounter the Shadow again. I guess it’s possible to believe you’ve seen the worst, lived through it, and now, what? Smooth sailing? Endless chai lattes? Bagels with cream cheese that don’t cause instant weight gain? Yeah, something like that. But just because my darker half showed up again doesn’t mean I haven’t acquired some impressive chops in facing down my demons. I might have found myself in some of the same places, but this time I had different equipment: a better map, a brighter headlamp.
You know the Shadow, right? That dark part of you that wants to trip little old ladies and steal a pack of gum in the check-out line? Most of us have our Shadow under control, so we don’t act on those impulses. In fact, they usually go unnoticed. They just stream by in the never ending river of internal experience, bumping up against other impulses, thoughts, feelings, impressions and memories, as we process input from outside ourselves and navigate each moment.
But have you ever found a powerful tool that guides you through a thorough process of rooting out the peskiest of unconscious negative beliefs, the ones that are keeping you stuck? Has there ever graced your conscientiously self-disciplined personal growth area a clear guide to the anatomy of a kick-ass affirmation?
I’ve made only one New Year’s Resolution, and I’m doing smashingly at it: I’m leaving my cell phone in another room while I write. That’s it. I like to pick resolutions that are no-fail doable and instantly gratifying. Lazy, or do I know how to hack a resolution? Let’s put it this way: I believe in setting myself up for success.
I think most of us know when we’re ready to make a change, and when we are, we go ahead and set it in motion. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. It just means we don’t have to talk about it. Instead, we look around and ask ourselves what we need to put into place to make it work. That’s a process. Not that I don’t love and adore magical transformations that come in an instant of expanded awareness – But in most cases that magical moment has to be followed up with action in order for the change to take root in our lives and create the new reality we desire. By focusing on the magic to the exclusion of the process, we cheat ourselves of the satisfaction that empowering changes bring. Hence, I opted for a small, doable change born of a moment of expanded awareness (i.e., I am very distractible and will use the phone to avoid writing through stuck places in my project.)