Life After Goals — Recovering Meaning After the Job Is Done

If you’ve ever experienced the blahs after achieving a major goal this one’s for you.

Do you sometimes feel like you’re peering into the mist, and the longer and harder you look, the less clear things seem to be? The truth is that you do have the answers; but sometimes it takes a listening ear and a few good questions to bring them to the surface. That’s part of what I do with my coaching clients, and if it sounds intriguing to you, click here to learn more.

Why you don’t need to fear scarcity thinking

Why you don’t need to fear scarcity thinking

piggy_bank_3-2014Not surprisingly, scarcity thinking came up during the Wealth Makeover calls last week. One common concern was how to meet financial setbacks without going into scarcity thinking.

During the calls we talked about the essential wholeness and wellbeing that is our factory default as human beings. How we are each an expression of and participant in the dance of creation, part of the formless energy or intelligence out of which everything arises and to which everything returns.

We talked about how the experience of scarcity or abundance is a function of thought, not circumstances. Consider how easy it is to be elated about getting a new client only to be deflated moments later by comparing yourself to someone else in your field.

Or how a funk about not being able to afford to travel more can give way to a wave of gratitude as you contemplate something you love about your home.

If you reflect for just a minute on your own experience, you can readily see that what seems like more than enough money in one moment can seem woefully inadequate in the next and vice versa as your thinking about your circumstances changes.

We live in the feeling of our thinking, not our circumstances.

At first blush it might seem that a smart approach to being happy and prosperous would be to manage your thinking. Think happy thoughts, have a happy life. Think prosperous thoughts, have a prosperous business.

In other words, just say no to scarcity thinking.

But it doesn’t work that way. (Besides, when you think about it, it’s kind of superstitious, don’t you think?)

It’s said that we have upwards of 80,000 thoughts a day. We notice and track only a tiny fraction of those. It’s simply not possible to manipulate your thinking to create the experiences you want.

Fortunately it’s also unnecessary.

You don’t have to fear scarcity thinking precisely because it is just thinking. And thinking can’t damage the wellbeing that is your factory default. At most it can only obscure it temporarily.

When you see that all that is going on when you’re afraid, angry, or insecure is that you’re experiencing your thinking, you can relax a bit, even though the experience may be quite intense.

When you remember that you are the thinker, you don’t need to fear the content of your thinking.

When you don’t fear or struggle with the content of your thinking, your mind is free and open to new thought, including the insight, wisdom, and common sense to live peacefully and well.

And that’s why you don’t need to fear scarcity thinking.


 


Photoy by Images of Money

Opportunity: you can’t miss out unless you lock on

Opportunity: you can’t miss out unless you lock on

opportunity_lock_on_virtual_reality500_3-2014Nobody wants to miss out on an opportunity, whether it is for true love, adventure, new business–whatever.

But you actually can’t miss out unless you lock on.

Here’s what I mean.

We tend to think of opportunities as if they exist out in the world. But opportunities are a function of thought.

When you recognize an opportunity (it takes shape as a thought), you construct a virtual reality around it. Then you hold that reality in mind while you walk around inside it, testing possible scenarios and weighing the consequences of each.

That’s an amazing human capacity, and it’s incredibly rewarding when you’re in a spacious and creative frame of mind. But when you’re afraid of missing out, making a wrong move, or overlooking a ramification, it’s exhausting.

And it leads you to a dead end.

The more you fear missing out on an opportunity, the more you lock on, putting more and more of your attention onto that tiny subset of possibilities. Because that’s all you see, you start to believe that’s all there is.

You know you’ve locked on when your thinking gets muddier as the stakes skyrocket and your options shrink. The more important it becomes that you get this right, the less clear you are about what you should do.

You can’t think your way out of virtual reality lock-down. But you can recognize that you thought your way into it.

You can take off the goggles and headset.

You can relax and know that as your mind quiets and your mood lightens you’ll naturally see new possibilities.

In a universe of infinite potential, there’s just no such thing as an opportunity too important to miss.
Photo Credit: John Nicholls via Flickr

What can you do about creative block?

What can you do about creative block?

undo_creative_block_1-2014Humans are creative. Creativity is part of our nature. We don’t have to try to be creative; we just are. If that’s so–and I believe it is–what’s up creative block?

Given that we are so blinking creative, human beings have developed innumerable ways of losing contact with their innate creativity. That said, here are three that are tried and true.

Looking in the wrong places

We experience creative block when we don’t find ideas where we expect or think we want them to be and then conclude that we have a problem.

It’s not looking in the wrong place that’s the problem (though it made a nice subhead, don’t you think?). I mean, if we’re talking about creativity, can there be a wrong place to look?

The problem is believing that you have a problem when you don’t find what you think you need or want.

Believing you have a problem is like putting a clamp on the hose connecting you to your creative source. The more serious you think the problem is, the more you constrain the creative flow.

What really sucks is that on some level you know this, and knowing it you lean on yourself, further constricting the flow.

That would be why the subsequent desperate scavenger hunt for ideas doesn’t usually reveal treasure after that first round of frustration. You can search high and low, but if the creative flow is constricted, you won’t see the gleam of inspiration even if it’s staring you in the face.

Which brings me to a second common way to generate creative block.

Overlooking the obvious

Sometimes the creative thing to do is so obvious that we overlook it.

You know this one if you’ve ever puzzled over what to wear only to end up with the first thing you took out of your closet. Or agonized over what to write for the About page on your web site only to find the answer staring up at you from a forgotten note or email.

I’m not going into detail with this one because it happens so often to most of us that you’ll find plenty of examples in your life in the past week.

Why do we overlook the obvious? One answer lies in a third common way to generate creative block.

Comparison

If believing we have a problem is clamping down on the connection between us and our creativity, comparing our creative process or output to someone else’s is like dropping the hose. We instantly abandon our personal access to creativity as we try to figure out how to splice into someone else’s.

What’s more, we feel the disconnect. Adding insult to injury, we interpret that feeling as evidence that there really is something wrong.

That last bit is important, and it applies to all the ways in which we generate creative block. The block is insignificant compared to the belief that the block is a problem.

Worrying about creative block holds it in place

Worrying about creative block not only holds it in place, it is the block. Without worry, what we’re calling creative block doesn’t exist. In its stead are any number of moments in which any number of thoughts are freely flowing through your mind. Some you like. Some you don’t. Maybe you pick one to follow, maybe you don’t. But until you worry about it, you don’t have a creative block.

Wait a minute. Is that practical?

I can hear some of you rolling your eyes (can you hear eyes roll?). Isn’t this talk of blocks and worry just word play?

After all, if you need a creative idea, and you don’t have one, you still have a problem, don’t you?

Maybe.

Kind of.

Sorta.

What you have is an unmet desire that may and may not have any number of consequences (none of which, it’s worth noting, exist in the here and now).

Call that a problem of the “This needs worrying about!” variety, and you will continue to feel cut off from your creativity.

Call it a problem of the “Hmmmm…” or “Huh?” or “I wonder…” variety, and you can expect–sooner or later–to have an insight or aha that meets or exceeds your expectations.

Rely on the connection, let go of the content

As a human being you have continual access to the infinite flow of creative thought. You don’t get to control the content, but you have a a lot of choice about how connected you feel to that flow. The more connected you feel, the more likely you are to recognize inspiration when it comes along.

Your leverage is in trusting the flow, not sweating over the content or the timing.

Photo by Jessica Merz via Flickr

The incredible lightness of the goal-less goal

The incredible lightness of the goal-less goal

crayon_target_1-2014Spiritual teachers often talk about the pathless path, the paradox that enlightenment comes when, as Deepak Chopra has written, “a mind overshadowed by fears, hopes, memories, past traumas, and old conditioning finds a way to become free.”

Chopra observes, “The pathless path isn’t a straight line; it doesn’t even lead from point A to point B. The journey takes place entirely in consciousness.”

The notion of the pathless path resonates for me now at the time of the year when we are surrounded by so many exhortations to set goals and strike a path leading to their fulfillment.

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