Things had been going great. Ideas were flowing, business was growing, and then suddenly I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. I was falling into an emotional darkness laced with panic and confusion. Absolutely nothing had happened that would cause such a reaction. It was more like when you’re walking and suddenly trip on your own feet. I’d manufactured my own invisible obstacle to keep me from moving too far from my own comfort zone.
The part of me kicked in that was on autopilot to stay under the radar and be safe, to not grow “too big for my britches” (as my mom used to say), too smart, too beautiful, too happy lest I make those around me uncomfortable because of their own self-imposed happiness limits. Like a high powered alarm, my system was set to default to a certain place and when I reached my limit, I would need to be pulled back into the safety zone.
In yoga, we call this Lila or Divine Play. Its the contrast to our true nature. We experience it through the aversions, excuses, and shadowy contractions that keep us limited. Are they real? Yes and No. These are simply things we create to keep us safe. but are often manufactured in very real ways- picking a fight with your partner or getting irritated by something you could normally overlook, catching a cold just before a big presentation, breaking your arm right before your big race.
When you find you’ve manufactured a “I can’t do this!” limitation, take some time to just breathe. Slowing down creates space to explore. Besides, if you try to plow through, you only hit your limitations harder and that will keep you stuck longer.
Ask yourself what is really going on? Why are you arguing or irritated? Why are you worried? Why are you suddenly ill or injured? Compassionately explore what’s really at the roots. For example, if you get a cold but you weren’t exposed to anyone with a cold, what happened? Perhaps you had been running yourself ragged, pushing hard and reaping the rewards, but not really taking care of yourself. You were worried about a big presentation coming up. On an unconscious level, illness is always a great excuse for not being able to give 100%, much better than simply not being good enough. If the later is a deep fear of yours, your body will do what it can to protect you from it, in this case through a cold.
Once you have at least an idea of what’s going on, take some time to do what you love to do. This starts to shift expand your energy again. Commit to your own joy. Some people in your life may not like that, they may even challenge it. That’s okay. Stay focused on your joy and allow it to become a full body experience, not just a mindset. Notice how you feel when you’re joyfully doing what you love. How does it feel when you’re in nature, watching a beautiful sunset, spending time with someone you adore? It’s a whole body experience! Engage your body in order to change your happiness set point.
Practice gratitude. Feel the gratitude all over rather than just thinking, “Oh, I am grateful for this.” BE grateful. Gratitude increases your energetic capacity to grow. It also attracts more joy to you. When in a space of gratitude, you expand into more joy, beauty, and fun. Also include gratitude for your limitations. Your safety mode was designed for survival. There’s no need to criticize it. You’ll transform it faster through compassion and gratitude.
Awareness, commitment, self-compassion and an attitude of gratitude is the magic cocktail for transformation and evolution into an aligned version of your truest self, a version the world is waiting on to experience.