The Space In Between
Do you have destination addiction? Most of us humans have at least a bit of it. Here is a definition by Robert Holden PhD… “A preoccupation with the idea that happiness is the next place, the next job, being with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.” It’s thinking that as soon as “X” happens, THEN I’ll be happy.
Another term for this is Conditional Living. Waiting for alllllll the conditions to be just right – THEN, I will show up and give my all, be happy, be my best self.
This can be summed up with one word. Resistance. By always waiting for things to be different than they are in this moment in order to be happy or to fully show up in life and in relationships – we are resisting and what we resist… persists. Focusing on what’s missing, the problem, not working, is a form of resistance. Resistance to the current conditions, or what IS.
By thinking we need conditions to change in order to be happy or fully participate in life and relationships, we cause ourselves a ton of pain because those conditions are outside ourselves – out of our control. So this then puts us in the role of the victim.
Consider this example… if a couple or one person in the relationship won’t admit they have a problem – how likely do you think they are to seek counseling and get solutions? Not very. Acceptance is the doorway to the solution. Once the couple accepts that a problem exists, they are more likely to seek help. When they resist, the problems persist.
Maybe you’ve heard the saying “bloom where you’re planted”? No matter what the conditions, we can choose to fully bloom and be our best selves. The anti-dote to destination addiction is to simply be present. Be. Here. Now. Not waiting for the stars to align and THEN I can be fully in the game.
Little kids do this instinctively - they are in the now. Dogs are MASTERS at this! You leave the house for 15 seconds and come back, they are just as excited to see you as if you had been gone for days. They are in the moment. No thinking about how they don’t forgive themselves or staying in the past and also no fear by thinking about the future.
This is also known as Mindfulness. Being aware of what is happening now, without wishing it were different. Enjoying what is, without holding on when it changes – which it will.
You see, here is the key to living in the Holy space between what is and what you want… it’s not the circumstances that create joy. It’s you. YOU create your joy. Deciding how you want to feel in the time between what is right now and what you desire, that’s being a creator. It’s what I call ACTING AS IF.
In order for happiness to arrive, you have to PRACTICE the feelings of having it before it gets here. It’s like a dress rehearsal I guess. You practice feeling the feelings you will have when what you desire arrives. Then there is nothing that can stop it from coming. Its belief combined with appreciation IN ADVANCE of the conditions.
The fastest way to become present and in the now is appreciation. When we are appreciating, we are allowing instead of resisting. When we are present guess what it communicates?… LOVE. And it works in reverse as well. When we feel full of love we are automatically present in the moment.
Neale Donald Walsh says that “Appreciation in advance is the most powerful creative force in the Universe.” It’s loving your now and being eager for more. Being appreciative before you see evidence that you can feel happy.
So, we often seem to think we must wait for things to be just right before we can feel appreciation for those things. We don’t have to be at the whim of the inconsistency of outside conditions in order to be who we want to be and feel how we want to feel.
If you want a relationship with someone, and you are waiting till everything meets certain conditions to show up and be your best self in that relationship… you’re going to be waiting a very long time. Being present and in the moment, going ahead and being your own best version of you isn't just for that other person - it's for YOU. And by the way... when you aren't present and showing up, you are blowing your chance of having a relationship right now with that person. Period.
If you need conditions to be different for you to be happy, feel good, show up, be your best… it won’t be sustainable even when those conditions are met. It will be temporary because the instant those conditions are not present, you will go back to waiting for everything to line up. We must be who we are, who we WANT to be, even without the perfect conditions if we hope to have any chance for happiness.
You cannot control conditions. So, if you wait for conditions in order to be happy, be who you say want to be, feel what you say you want to feel – you’re in resistance, & you’re screwed.
No one and nothing outside you is responsible for how you feel. This is GREAT news!!! This is empowerment!!! You don’t have to wait for anyone or anything to determine your experience. YOU get to do that, ALL of it! It’s no one else’s’ job to make things okay for you AND! It’s not your job to make it okay for anyone else. WOOO HOOOO!!!
More great news… the better you feel, the more you ALLOW. When you feel good, you drop your resistance, you let the good stuff in. Conditions don’t cause any of this. It’s a choice. And it’s all yours.
So, why waste any more time waiting for happiness to arrive via some conditions? Why not fill that space between where you are now and where you desire to be with appreciation, love, feel the feelings of having what you desire and being present in this moment. I figure, even if it doesn’t work… it feels a hell of a lot better than suffering and waiting for it to arrive. Fill that space between with how you will feel when the conditions arrive. Act as if baby!
Be A Lighthouse
When we set an intention to feel good emotionally, we start out full of energy about it, clarity, conviction. This often lasts until we encounter another human being, THEN comes the test! It can be easy to get our buttons pushed by the words or behaviors of other people. Have you noticed? You start out fully wound up and ready to stay in your positive empowered zone, and that can all topple with a single comment or lack of a comment from another person. Ugh.
We all experience this. It does NOT mean you stink at staying positive! It might mean that you have forgotten that you are a Creator and you may have also gone to sleep slightly and unconsciously reacted rather than RESPONDING to what you experienced.
It seems to me that we all crave being understood and accepted to a certain extent. I mean isn’t that how most relationships are basically formed? You find another human who seems to “get you”, they understand and connect with you. You both feel it and you relax – wha-la! Relationship is formed. I guess the more vulnerable or in pain we feel, the more we crave being understood and accepted. So when we are focused on a problem, lack, what’s missing, how bad things are – we look for someone to validate how “right” we are. While this frequency match with another human being can give some temporary relief, it’s short-lived, because basically – it’s a bit of B.S. It's not where we want to stay because we want to be our best selves. When we are focused on the crappy stuff it's not real likely that we are being our best selves... YET.
We probably seek this understanding and acceptance from outside ourselves because it seems like an easier route to getting it than giving it to ourselves. Until we do give it to ourselves though, any hit of feeling understood from others isn’t sustainable. The feeling starts to dissipate as soon as we are no longer in the company of those who gave us our temporary fix.
It’s simply inevitable… other people will never fully “get you”. How could we expect them to? They haven’t walked your moccasins, and they weren’t supposed to! They have their OWN movie to star in. I’ve said it here before, and I stand by it, other people are our mirrors. Other people reflect back to you the image you hold of yourself. So this means that if you feel misunderstood by other people – YOU are feeling like you don’t understand YOURSELF. And that’s okay. To put it on other people means you won’t move forward, you’ll circle around on the idea that what is needed is out of your control. This is the way of victim-hood.
Now… knowing this, and living it are two entirely different things. You may know that what you see in others is a reflection of yourself. That what generally drives you nutso in someone else is what you don’t accept or see in yourself – but to take that information and use it to change your own course – now THAT takes consciousness and it takes being DELIBERATE.
As I heard Esther Hicks say recently…”You’re never gonna get me, and my need for you to understand me is EXHAUSTING!” Isn’t that true???!!!! Needing to be understood takes a ton of energy! Here is the best thing you can do; let them misunderstand you and let it go. Choose being in your own alignment over the futile idea of being understood by others. Now, I’m going to tell you how to take this to the next level of the Pleasure-dome… are you ready?
Level 1 – Let go of the idea of needing other people to understand YOU. Focus on Understanding yourself.
Level 2 – Build on level 1 by letting others off the hook for our happiness. KNOW that it doesn’t require one other person or thing to be different in order for YOU to feel how you want to feel.
Level 3 – When other people are not understanding you, accepting you, doing what you think they should, etc… LOVE THEM ANYWAY.
Yes, it is totally possible to let go IN LOVE. No blame, no negativity, no trying to control… just love them and stay in your own light. Care more about how you WANT TO FEEL than being “right”, justified, or what someone else is doing or not doing. To focus there is kind of like being on a game show called "Who's the biggest victim??!?!??" “I love you and I release you” is a great mantra for level 3. Try this mantra rather than re-telling the story over and over again of how other people don't seem to understand you. It's kind of amazing how it transforms you back to your path of feeling good.
As you can see, the three levels in my plan get increasingly more difficult! What this boils down to is caring about how you feel. Not letting circumstances, behaviors, stuff outside of you determine how you feel. That is to be at EFFECT of the world. Being a Creator is about being at CAUSE.
Here is my metaphor for this… it’s very much like being a light house. Like the quote below from Anne Lamott - you don’t go out trying to get ships to come to you and understand what you do – you just stand there shining. Beaming out your love, staying true to yourself and how you want to feel. The storms come, it gets scary and dark and you just keep shining your inner light. And in this metaphor, the more you shine that light, the brighter it gets till pretty soon it engulfs everything around you and you don’t even notice that there are people who don’t “get you”. It’s a non-issue because you are hooked up to your Source and focused on staying there because it feels so dang amazing! You are so busy just enjoying shining that you forget about needing to be understood and accepted by others. If ships choose not to like your light - you don't judge them for that because it simply doesn't change the fact that you are gonna shine baby! It's what you came here to do!
Take other people’s experience of you out of the equation. You can’t control that – AT ALL! You can live the life of a saint and there will be those who judge you and find fault. It’s a game for playing small and you aren’t here to play small my friend. Make your own understanding of yourself and the acceptance of yourself the non-negotiable view on your life. Then get deliberate about how you want to feel and don’t let anything dim your light. We are all depending on you to shine and you’re right on track!!!
Shame Storm Survival Tips
What do you believe about yourself? I'm not taking about the things you tell yourself you SHOULD believe, I mean those thoughts you chase around in your mind unquestioned. The ones that cause you to dim yourself a little or maybe even a lot.
Esther/Abraham-Hicks says something that has always stuck with me... "A belief is just a thought that you keep thinking". We all have some beliefs that we have thought over and over again for so long, that we no longer question if they are true. Sometimes these grooves we've worn in our brain with these repetitive thoughts are not only untrue, they are very harmful to our well-being.
I’m certainly no neurologist, but I DO know that brain neurons that “fire together- wire together”. It’s a sort of communication system in our brain and when we think a thought over and over again, it creates a sort of circuit in our brain that is like a path that has been walked on over and over again. Left unquestioned, our thoughts will automatically take the path we know best – even if it’s the worst possible route we could take. It’s a mental habit not unlike taking the same route to work each day or doing things on auto-pilot.
I've worked long and hard to grow myself on a personal level. I've been reading self-help books most of my adult life, done counseling 4 different times, multiple training courses to be a coach, immersion seminars, watched videos, the list is long. Even with all this work to bust my own limiting beliefs and habits of thought, I discovered very clearly recently that those beliefs run very, very deep and can hide in the nooks and crannies of our psyche.
My hair stylist is a long-time friend. I've actually known her since she was a child. We have great respect and love for one another. At a recent appointment we were catching up and she said something like "I'm not judging, but there's a rumor about you." Then she said what it was. I replied, without hesitation; "That's true."
I had absolutely no issue with her asking me this question directly. In fact I appreciated her authenticity and the respect she showed for me by asking me straight up. I figure I'd much rather have someone ask me if they have a question about me. It's my call if I chose to answer or not. She wasn't accusatory in her delivery, just asking by telling me what she had heard.
What came next is what shocked me and showed me just how deep our limiting beliefs can be hiding. My mind started going through all these contortions... thoughts like "what a horrible person I was", "I'm fatally flawed", "unlovable!" This by itself was disturbing enough, and then after I had knocked myself to the ground mentally – I came up swingin’!! I started looking in every corner of my mind for justifications. Things like "other people have done things that are considered "bad", worse, I'm no criminal or villain". Then my over-achiever took over; I dredged up a few more skeletons from my own past to whip myself. I heaped them on the fire I was starting in my mind to make sure I built plenty of evidence for the case of me being of no value. Wow. The speed at which I found my mind tearing myself down, justifying, etc... I was in the middle of what Dr. Brene’ Brown calls a SHAME S&!@ STORM! (click the link on her name for her amazing Ted Talk on shame)
It was shocking. I was doing all this to myself in a matter of minutes. Allllllll this personal growth work and here I was, spiraling mentally into a place that leads nowhere beneficial. I tried to just breathe, slow down, notice the storm rolling through, but I kept getting pulled in, deeper and deeper by these groves worn deep in my brain. I told myself “Just shut up and be with it.” Dr. Brene’ says the antidote it to call it out, TELL somebody what's happening in your mind. So, I text friends, who throw me a life preserver. Telling me it's natural, it's ok, of course I feel what I'm feeling, pointing out some big positives about the whole thing. I semi-recovered, followed by pretty much losing it – crying during my hair color... and that’s okay!!!
I think perhaps everyone goes through this kind of mental storm from time to time. The unfortunate thing that I feel happens for some people is that they aren't aware that their thoughts are creating "the storm of the century" and they spend a large percentage of their life thinking that these painful thoughts are true. This will certainly dim your light and when we judge ourselves harshly - it's inevitable that we will judge others with equal harshness. There's no gettin' around that one. Take the Lady Ga Ga body shaming stuff recently on social media... when we say things like that we say much more about ourselves than we do about the person we are attempting to shame or discredit. I normally don't think it's wise to respond to negative comments, but the Ga did it with style. Addressing her followers rather than the haters. She battled hate with love, the only formula that has a chance in hell of working.
Dr. Brown defines shame as the fear of being unlovable, it's the opposite of owning our story and feeling worth. She also says there are three truths about shame: 1. We ALL have it. 2. We are ALL afraid to talk about it. 3 The less we talk about it, the more power it has.
So what did I learn in all this that I'm hoping will be helpful for you in some small way???
2. We all need a list, a very short list, of people we can reach out to when we are in a shame s#!@ storm. You need to be selective who is on this list. It’s likely five people or less. I want to personally strive to be the kind of friend that I have been honored to have in my life. I can’t explain this any better than Brene’ Brown in this article. The women in my life that are my amazing friends knew just what to say, throw me some life preservers in the midst of my storm and that enabled me to LEARN from the whole situation rather than stay stuck in it. That’s an incredible gift. Reaching out for help is sometimes scary for us because it's vulnerable, but it's a game changer.
3. When a thought it's painful, that is the tip-off that it’s NOT TRUE. This is especially true when thinking thoughts about ourselves. When we think a thought that is untrue about ourselves, it is painful because we are seeing ourselves in the way that our Source does not agree with. For example, when we look at someone and were angry with them or we judge them, it doesn't feel good. That's because our Source looks at them and thinks "I don't know... I kind of like them!". The Love of us never sees others or ourselves as lacking in any way, so when we see ourselves or others in that way of being lacking, or not good enough, or too much... it feels off when we judge others or ourselves because it IS off to see it that way. It’s simply not true. Questioning our painful thoughts is the best way to bust them. If a thought feels crappy - it's because it's not true, remember that!
4. We all have stuff. ALL of us. If we are fortunate enough to be willing to look at our story, own it, then we get to stop running from it. It takes courage and the only way to get to courage is to be vulnerable. As Joy said to me “We all want to feel better. The question is… are we willing to do what it takes to get us back to our sweet spot?”I think often times, due to these pathways in our brain from habitual thinking, many of us end up finding other things to beat ourselves up with, rather than being willing to really feel good and get back in our sweet spot. We can unconsciously chase suffering because we get used to it, it sort of feels comfortable like an emotional home or set point. An example might be if saying horrible things about ourselves has as some point led to others giving us attention or loving us – we will create a connection in our brain that says “if I put myself down, I get love” and it can become an unconscious addiction. Staying awake in your life takes effort and practice.
5. We all want to be understood, accepted. But here’s the rub with that deal… no one can ever fully “get you” because they haven’t walked around in your story. It’s like walking in on a movie in the middle and then expecting to understand the whole thing without crucial information. So that means we have to understand and accept OURSELVES.
6. There is something called spiral dynamics. It’s a very interesting concept that I learned about in some leadership training I did and also in the Tony Robbins Date With Destiny immersion training. It’s about large scale psychology. It’s sort of a way of understanding human nature and how we are all at different points in our own evolution. It gives you an idea about why two people can look at the same thing and see it completely differently. I can look at my story and know it’s true for me, okay for me. Someone else may look at my story and not see it that way at all. We each get to choose. Remembering the motivators for each of the dynamic really helps me in coaching others, understanding their motivations and beliefs.
Notice in the above graphic that 40% of the population operates in the "TruthForce" dynamic. Order, right & wrong, rules are what resonates with and drives this group of people. Not ALL people. That also means that 60% of the population is driven by and resonates with other main motives. It's also interesting to me that the further we evolve up the scale, the more we are focused on the bigger picture view of life. As we evolve in this theory, we are less self-focused and more world focused. This likely means we are less and less driven by what others think of us as we go further and further up the scale and more interested in what serves the whole. Interesting stuff.
So! I'm so glad this storm happened for me. I learned a lot about myself! With any luck, what I learned might help you too. Shame and guilt are indicators that we are focused on the past, which means we are totally missing out on the present moment by being in negative thinking. That's a waste.
I’m going to try a new mantra next time the shame s#!@ storm rolls through (because it will, it will for all of us from time to time), when shame pops up in my brain I’m going to tell it “Yeah, you’re right… so what?”. I’m going to get curious about why it’s there and what it wants to teach me, and then I will compassionately say “Thank you. Now please go sit down, I got this”.
On a typical day we all make loads of decisions… what to wear, what to eat, which route to take, who to spend time with, what time to go to bed, etc…
I love the feeling of making a decision, taking action, solving. When I am most alive and lit up it is typically when I am seeing something that could be looked at or done differently, developing a process or a solution and implementing that idea! Being a Creator is a big part of what gets me in my sweet spot.
The past couple of years I have wrestled with a decision that I THOUGHT I needed to make. Is it this? Or is it that? Am I in? Or am I out? If you have ever spent any time in this limbo land you know it totally sucks the life right out of you. Being the driven person I am, I would much rather make a bad decision than to spend even a moment in the limbo land, yet, that is where I have hung out and caused myself loads of fear, pain, and anxiety.
It’s really similar to a time back in late 2014 when I was wrestling with whether or not I should continue with my side career of teaching Jazzercise. I went back and forth, spent many sleepless nights, catastrophized with terrible outcome thinking, painted worst case scenarios, bla, bla, bla. I was quite a mess over the deal. You see, I had LOVED Jazzercise for decades – it was my BABY, literally! I lived, ate, breathed teaching classes, hoping to help others, growing my business. Then came the burn out. I was emotionally and mentally tortured by ME! What “should” I do? It didn’t feel fun anymore, why had things changed so much?
So, I made the decision to gift my business to my instructor and walk off into the sunset. I thought my decision was finally made – inner conflict resolved… right? Well, not so much.
You see, I had addressed the effect, not the cause of my angst. I thought my decision was about whether or not to continue teaching classes. But that wasn’t the real decision I needed to make. I needed to make a decision about how I wanted to FEEL, not about what I wanted to DO. I thought I had lost my fire for something I once loved – Jazzercise. What I had lost is my focus on managing how I wanted to FEEL. I was letting conditions, circumstances, changes cause me to think that my the activity of teaching classes was what was causing my lack of passion. The cause was my own lack of being on purpose of how I wanted to feel. I was focused on the condition or RESULT which was outside of me as being the “problem” (victim mentality) rather than looking within and seeing that the cause or REASON of what was happening was coming from MY thoughts about it.
THE DECISION I MUST MAKE IN MY CURRENT LIFE CONDITIONS IS:
HOW DO I WANT TO FEEL?
It is NOT a decision about who to be in a relationship with, what to wear, what to eat, which route to take – it’s about how do I want to FEEL and what is best for me? THAT has to be my priority. Once I get clear on how I want to feel and then do what will help facilitate that – all decisions fall into place.
So how I want to feel is LIT UP!, connected to my Source, full of love, an open channel, my light filled self and in my truth. If I make that my priority and then make decisions from there, easy peasy, lemon squeezy! Robert Holden in his book “Lovability, knowing how to love and be loved” says this…
I have spent enormous amounts of energy the past couple of years twisting and turning over a decision that I thought I needed to make. Have I mentioned how much I hate limbo?? So I know this has taken a toll on my health, my attitude, my self-compassion. One clue I could have picked up on that indicated I was on the wrong topic was how it felt. Trying to figure it out has felt LIFE SUCKING. A sure sign that I am focusing on something that is not true. When we are in our truth, clarity and ease are natural outcroppings. Another sign that I was not in my truth… I felt the need to find fault in the other person, build a case so that my “decision” would be justified. Justified to WHOM???!!!? The people of T.H.E.Y.?? “Everybody”? My “social self” was screaming at the top of her lungs and drowning out my ESSENTIAL self.
If I come from the priority of deciding how I want to FEEL, I am being a deliberate Creator and clear on my priority (instead of a victim). I am coming from a place of love and a desire to be in alignment with my Higher Self which radiates out to others in a positive way (rather than REACTING to circumstances and others which is almost never on purpose).
Just know that sometimes you are going to allow others and conditions to pull you out of your sweet spot. It’s gonna happen friend. You might be feeling high and happy and solid on your foundation and out of nowhere, BAM! Someone comes up and tugs on you with a comment or an attitude and pulls you out of your alignment and where you wanted to be. You end up pulled into their negativity or unloving, fearful place. THEY didn’t do it to you – YOU did. This doesn’t mean you need to kick your own butt, it just means you forgot your priority. Notice that you made a decision that took you out of your alignment and make a new decision. Recovery – that’s what it’s about. How soon can I get back to focusing on feeling the way I WANT to feel? What actions can I take that will move me in the direction of feeling good? In the direction of self-compassion.
The decision I must make is not about anyone else. It’s about me and how do I want to FEEL. Some tools that can move me (and you) in that direction faster include:
So, the rest of my Jazzercise story… yes, I did “retire” for a year. Momentarily, I thought I had relieved my angst, but I missed the feeling I got from teaching… a lot. Then through the grace of the instructor I had gifted my classes to, and the advice of my counselor Joy, I was able to return and I am again teaching classes every week and back in love with it! When I am teaching class I am TOTALLY in that feeling state that is my sweet spot! I feel full of love, fun, playfulness and I’m just sharing that place of being filled up. It really seems to me that this is the key to living fully – to fill yourself up with what it is you want to shine out into the world. As my counselor Joy always says “Stand in your own light”.
You can make a decision and then you can make another one – choose again. It helps though if you check-in with yourself to see if you are making your decision about the thing you really need to make one about. Are you focused on the actions or attitudes of others? Your decision is not on the true REASON if that’s the case – it’s on the result and you are not likely going to get sustainable improvement mucking around there. That’s like if one of my dogs gets sick and I just clean it up, but I don’t address WHY they are sick, I am just glossing over the real REASON for their illness and will have to continue cleaning it up and even worse they could die if I don’t seek the REASON for why they are sick.
You have to go DEEPER. Look Within versus outside yourself. Not everyone is ready to go deeper, and that’s okay. But if you read this blog regularly, my guess is that you WANT to go deeper. You might just be a little afraid to do it or fear what you'll find if you go all the way in. Trust me, Iv'e been down in the depths and there's nothing down there but light baby. And I promise, it's the same for every one of us.
This quote below is a good one... if it's not a clear yes, it's a no, or I would add at the very least a NOT YET. Making how we want to FEEL emotionally our priority give us inner guidance that will give us clarity and a whole lot more sleep at night. So how do YOU want to feel? How can you make that a priority this week? I’d love to know!
Sandy Edie Hansen
I use this space to "Chat" about things I am working through and learning in my life currently. Join me!