“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” ~ Buddha
One of the perks of having coached thousands of clients is the ability to see beyond what’s being said and pick out the theme. As different as we all appear, there are some universal themes that we gravitate toward that really block our happiness.
These themes are not readily apparent because when they are triggered it seems like we are doing what we need to do to move forward, but instead they just keep in stuck in our pain.
Here are three common themes I see that on the outside look like progress but only in hindsight do you realize you’ve ended up right back where you started.
Are You Living in Your Past or Present?
“Asking ourselves, ‘Where am I right now?’ gives us a chance to step outside the internal dialogue for a moment of peace. Look around you, take a deep breath and notice what you see, hear and feel. Present moment awareness is the point of power and choice. It frees us from our compulsive thoughts.” ~ Laura Harvey
As simple as this question about living in your past or your present sounds, it’s really insidious when you are in an uncomfortable spot. As long as your past is informing your present you will get the same results, over & over!
So, how do you know if you are living in your past?
- Are you experiencing emotional pain?
- Are you thinking negative thoughts?
If you can answer, “YES” to either or both questions then you are in your past.
In the right now there are only possibilities. Try this out: stop right now and ask yourself, “Am I OK in this moment?” Focus only on this moment and the answer almost always will be “Yes”.
Client Case Study:
Nancy came to me in the middle of a nasty divorce. She was angry at her husband for all the injustices she experienced while in relationship with him. But her major source of pain was her fear of not getting a fair settlement. This trepidation had her in daily agony.
I noticed that every thought she had about her husband, their relationship, the divorce, and her future was totally infused with anger, resentment, fear, and pain. And all these feelings were about the past. She was stressed out, not sleeping, anxious, and paralyzed by her overwhelmingly painful thoughts. At the moment she was with me, none of those things were happening. Her husband wasn’t controlling her, she wasn’t destitute, and she wasn’t a victim, it only felt that way.
Once we cleared away all the things she was pulling from her past to clog up her present, she was able to shift her energy around her divorce. Possibilities now had the space to open up for her.
Her newfound peace and clarity allowed her to end her relationship with grace. And she received a fair and acceptable settlement.
Now she no longer spends her days crippled from past pain. As those feelings come up she can easily navigate back to the present moment where she is clear and happy.
The past is for learning and the present is for living. If you can keep these two states aligned with their purpose you will discover how easy and fun life can be for you.
Are You Moving Toward or Away from What You Want?
“Running away was easy; not knowing what to do next was the hard part.” ~ Glenda Millard
Living in your past or your present usually is a reflection of how you feel about something. Moving toward or away usually is a reflection of how you think about something.
When we are in a situation that feels bad our thoughts are engaged in figuring out how to get away. We are wired to have stronger, quicker flight reactions. Just like touching a hot stove, we immediately pull back.
However, focusing on flight just keeps us in a loop of having things to flee from. Without a clear vision of what you want to go toward, it cannot appear.
Client Case Study:
Mary came to me wanting to change careers. She was in a job that no longer excited her. And to make matters worse, her boss was overbearing and inconsiderate.
In the beginning Mary was very invested in cataloging all the ways that her boss made her life miserable, how the job had changed over the years, and how justified she was in her decision to leave.
She was so focused on escaping that she looked surprised when I asked her, “What do you want to do next?” She had not given any thought to what she wanted or where she wanted to go.
After her focus shifted to creating her vision of what’s next for her, her action steps were easy and clear. She was able to get out of her rut of discontent and actualize her dream job.
The sticky part is flight feels so natural, we think we are doing what’s needed when the exact opposite is happening.
So if you have a situation you feel like fleeing, stop and create a forward plan. Give your creative powers something to go toward in order to break out of your backing up cycle.
Are You Addressing Your Source or Symptom?
“We often preoccupy ourselves with the symptoms, whereas if we went to the root cause of the problems, we would be able to overcome the problems once and for all.” ~ Wangari Maathai
This theme is the sneakiest. You will absolutely convinced you are addressing your source only to find out it’s just a symptom.
Chasing your symptoms will only keep you running here, there, and everywhere. The chase absorbs all of your time, energy & effort and you end up exhausted and frustrated. It’s like living a whack-a-mole nightmare.
Client Case Study:
When Jane came to see me she had lots of constant complaints about her family. She was disconnected from her husband and her relationship with her daughter consisted mostly of them screaming at each other.
She was sure that their behavior was the source of her pain, but in fact it was only a symptom. We followed the trail of her feelings and reactions all the way back to her childhood.
Once we were able to isolate the source, Jane was much more open to taking responsibility for her part of the family drama. She was able to listen and interact differently with both her husband and her daughter in such a profound way that their household is one of laughter and connection today.
By doing the work to dig down to the source you have access to transformation. It’s only at this level that you have the ability to hit the re-record button and create a new life.
What’s going on in your life right now? Is there something you are mentally fleeing from? Are you polluting your present by dredging up past pain? Do you feel exhausted by chasing symptoms instead of addressing the source?
You can live a life of ease and joy. Call me today and discover how we can co-create your unique metamorphosis.
I love to hear your comments and stories, so please share your thoughts below. Or I’m available at 336-540-0088. I look forward to hearing from you.