It’s the time of year when a lot of us get reflective — thinking back on what we achieved and didn’t, what we’re grateful for and what we’ve overcome, all our loves and losses. Perhaps we’re beginning to make some resolutions for our next trip around the sun based on this past year’s discoveries.
For me, it’s been a real doozy of highs and lows, head-spinning learning curves, and ultimately the cultivation of deep resourcefulness, commitment, and faith. And out of all that, yes indeed, I am making plans, declaring intentions, and charting a course for the future.
One thing I’ve recognized (again) is the typical habit into which I fall in times of uncertainty and stress: I work harder, applying more effort and diligence and duty, investing not just more sweat and muscle but also emotion and spirit. I tend to pour myself all in, giving it everything I’ve got.
We’ve all got our own versions, our own strengths and strategies — how we’ve learned to meet life’s challenges, the survival programs we adopt when we feel like the chips are down and we’ve got to give it our absolute all. Some of us fight, some of us fly. Some of us plunge in head first, some of us step back thoughtfully to create a plan. Some of us go it alone, some of us rally as much support as we can find.
None of these is bad or unhealthy. Depending on the circumstances, each approach can be pretty awesome. At my best, my way of being shows up as unstoppability, an infectious enthusiasm, and a toughness that is both affirming and often quite effective. It feels like wholeheartedness, and I like it. But it’s got a flip-side (they’ve all got a flip-side) which is that I am prone to burnout, fatigue, and feeling crushed by disappointment.
The exercise and application of our natural strengths and talents can be spirit-affirming or it can be soul-sucking. I prefer the former. I’m interested in what makes the difference.
What occurs to me as I consider my own journey is that, for me at least, the difference isn’t necessarily a matter of how scary are my circumstances, or how long things are taking, or whether or not it all appears to be on some sort of track. I can feel on top of the world in the midst of a crisis, or deflated and depressed even when things are going more or less my way…
Right now, what I’m thinking is that the difference between the spirit-soar and the soul-suck is simply a matter of the degree to which I am owning my own creative authority in it. Am I doing whatever I’m doing because I want to, because I’m choosing to? Or because I think I have to?
When I come from a sense of deficiency, of reaction, of not feeling truly at choice because I think it’s on me to fix a crummy condition, or atone for my own inadequacies, or compensate for the world’s shortcomings or the failings of others — it’s a slippery slope into “dammit, I am so sick of all of this!,” whether or not things seem on track.
If, on the other hand, in any moment, in any circumstance, we are free to CHOOSE…
If we can acknowledge freely our strengths and vulnerabilities, what we hope for and what we’re afraid of, what’s working and what’s not…
If the challenge/opportunity in any given moment is always simply for us to be honest about what’s in our hearts, and our only work ever is to show up fully as ourselves…
That’s the stuff that dreams are made of.
My resolution as we head into this season of gratitude and anticipation is a recommitment to consciously create my life — not as a fixit or whitewash or bypass, but as a choice and an honest expression of wholehearted self.
I hope you’ll join me in this journey of personal empowerment, self-love, and inspiration. Each of us can create our dream lives individually. And together, we can create our dream community. From there, we’re well on our way to creating our dream world. Onward, dream-makers! XO, Drew
© 2018 Drew Groves