I ran into Adam the other day after my co-op shop. I passed him eating lunch at a picnic table on my way to the bike rack, and he asked if I had time to hear a story. I did!
He wanted to tell me about the most amazing job offer he recently got. This job represents one of those gorgeous marriages of various facets of who he is, including the job description that suits his talents and experience (including mentoring) and aligns with key things he wants from his work (like getting to play the role of mentor to a population he cares about), plus a connection (and travel opportunities!) to a foreign country he loves. He turned it down.
He was excited because the decision in the past would have entailed agony and torture. On paper, it was so clearly a great job and a fantastic choice. But there were other factors in his personal life and the whole of his life balance that made it not such a great idea.
How did he stay out of being ripped apart by these contradictory realities? He applied what he and I have talked about together—got out of his mind and into his body. He felt into the decision instead of thinking it through and figuring it out. In other words, he trusted himself—his own knowing as felt in his own body.
It wasn’t hard. It was as simple as noticing that when he considered taking the job, he felt contracted and conflicted. He felt heavy. He felt off. When he thought about turning down the job, he felt relief. He felt like himself. He felt it was all going to be okay. And that was that.
If your impulse now is to say, “But what about …?” “But didn’t he …?” all you’re doing is projecting on Adam's story what you do inside your own head. Notice that this doesn’t feel good, and it doesn’t yield clarity. It just keeps tugging mercilessly at that place inside that feels torn. It panders to the part of you that wants to white-knuckle it through life and let go of nothing lest you lose everything.
Part of my everyday magic curriculum is about minding your feeling states on an ongoing basis (and these register in the body) to support you to keep coming back to things you want to focus on, things you actually choose to give your focus to—like anything that stirs awe, wonder, curiosity, joy, and crazy-wow feelings about how amazing this life is here on earth; or like any way the universe is actively responding to your clear intentions and the questions you’re living into. Those responses are part of your guidance system, as are the marvelous and entirely trustworthy sensations in your body that let you know whether you’re right on-track or heading off-course.
Adam did 4 coaching sessions with me and read my book, and just about every time he sees me, he reminds me how much he’s gotten from that pairing. (This time he politely asked me if I liked being stopped to get these stories. (Uh, yeah.)
I told Adam I especially liked it this time because, as it happens, I’d recently asked for a sign that I was still on-course with this coaching work, and not only had I gotten a sign that very day that brought tears and set off a tiny bout of (no, I wouldn’t say maniacal) laughter, I’d since been getting more little and large signs on a daily basis, sometimes several a day, for a string of days. That day, it was his turn to bring the message and, truly, what a sweet mirror to look into.
Love & blessings, Jaya
Here's a sane, peaceful, trusting alternative to doership.
The idea of doership, or being the doer, is that you’re the one making things happen or getting things done—and when you’re in doership, you’re in illusion (uh, not to mention stress). You’re also prone to getting intense about how things go, in what timing, and with what outcome. Here’s a great sentence from an online dictionary explaining doership: “If there is no feeling of doership in the deed performed, then bondage will not result.”
How do you get out of doership? (If you’re skimming or in get-in-get-out mode, drop down to bullet points below for sound things to tell yourself when you catch yourself being the doer.) First, simply notice when you’re believing you’re the one who makes it happen, or you have to get it done, or if you don’t do this, no one else will or it won’t get done right or all hell will break loose. Notice when you’re doing a task or moving from point A to point B between tasks in a way that’s tense, driven, anxious, frenetic. Notice the lack of peace [substitute ease, equanimity, joy, connection to magic] in do-do-do-do-do.
Stop. If you can’t take a pause, then follow the next instructions while you’re carrying on with whatever you must do. Tune in to your breath and watch it go in and out. Follow the passage of the breath, right on its heels, experiencing exactly where it is in your body at any given moment. Feel the inevitable pause once the out-breath is spent. Come back to the core of yourself, back to center, by following the breath. This will also instantly serve to calm you, even a bit, and to elongate the breath—with no actual effort to do that. Just watch the breath—don’t slow it down; it will slow down on its own.
Now find where you’re believing you’re the one who makes it happen. Notice you think you have to make it happen. Notice you’re believing that your doing is why you’re here, or your most important assignment, or at the very least what you must do right now. Consider the possibility that you’re in illusion. Tell yourself clearly, explicitly: I’m in doership right now, so I must be in illusion.
Next tell yourself a number of things you can actually believe to counter this thought that you have to make it happen. I’ll list a bunch of possibilities, and you can adopt those that resonate and come up with more on your own. The point is to counter this potent belief with a good number of other things that you can also believe and that are closer to truth:
If any of that leaves you feeling more relaxed and more expansive, you’re on the right track. Use the contractions you feel to call you to a pause for breath and mental reset. On the physical level, notice clenched muscles, furrowed brow, frenetic motions—even irritated or bossy tones of voice. Catch yourself (kindly, without judgment) in needless intensity and tension. Come back to the breath, back to what’s truer and more aligned than forcing your way through as the doer. You really do get to live in alignment and flow—and you’ll function more effectively and even more efficiently when you’re there.
Beyond doership is a great exhale and opening to magic! Note that part of living in everyday magic includes aligning with flow, connecting to your guidance system, living in the now. Show up for the journey, now and now and now, because that’s where the magic reveals itself.
Love & blessings, Jaya