4 Things to remind yourself early & often
(which will connect you to self & to guidance)
1. Bring it to now: Come back from the future (quit predicting what you don't want) and come back from the past (quit accruing towers of one thing stacked on top of another so it's all too much) and don't try to figure it all out. What can you do right now to align with this moment? Notice that you're equipped for this one moment.
2. Come back to the breath: Breathing is a felt, sensory experience, but we typically don't feel it. I love to invite people not to breeaaaaathe or even to take a deep breath, but to simply drop into the breath; follow it; stay with it; feel it. Feel its soothing, its kindness, its calming capacity. Feel how it brings you to the core of your being and brings your whole nervous system down a notch or two. It's powerful to take some moments dropping in with the breath and come back to yourself.
3. You don't have to figure it all out right now: This is a great thing to tell yourself to get out of your head, out of fix-it mode, out of believing you're not okay till you have it all sorted out and see the way forward. Actually, if you don't see it all clearly, then you don't have to figure it out right now. Soothe yourself instead (see Come back to the breath above).
4. You are guided: Life wants to get you where you're going. It wants to feed you, provide for your needs, heal and evolve you, keep bringing you closer to love. When you think you need to know what the future will hold, or insist on a blueprint for getting there (when there isn't one), or--yuck--fault yourself because you must be doing something wrong if you don't see the way forward: STOP. Quit thinking you're all alone and it's all up to you to find your way through the dark. You're guided. Connect to guidance.
Love & blessings, Jaya
heyyyy. LOOK RIGHT for CORONA SUPPORT label under CATEGORIES. Find posts most likely to support you as you move through the fascinating challenge of a pandemic. You're equipped to meet this, and to meet yourself kindly on this journey!
(Would you, could you believe that it’s supposed to be easy?)
I just found a little note I wrote for myself with an Abraham-Hicks quote that struck me: “The path of least resistance is also the path of greatest joy, greatest clarity, and the most fun!”
Abraham’s path of least resistance is a crazy-simple concept: You watch for and find the easiest, most effortless spot to next place your foot. Don’t see the whole picture? Don’t have a start-to-finish plan? No problem. Find your next step, knowing that’s enough. Take the easiest step you have access to.
You can do it tired, scared, confused. Point yourself roughly in the right direction (as I talk about in part 4 of Scooch!) and step forward, wherever your foot can land without some big leap or forceful stomping.
You can do it with curiosity instead of dread; you can stay tuned for the guidance rather than fear you’ll get it wrong. You can trust yourself to course-correct as you go.
It’s always okay to find you’re in resistance. Watch it dispassionately, compassionately. Then find your point of least resistance, and step there. Rinse and repeat; rinse and repeat. You’ll see and feel the resistance melt away. You’ll find the momentum builds as you go, often surprisingly swiftly.
To proceed along the path of least resistance, start by noticing when you’re in resistance.
In your body, resistance can feel like
You’re in resistance when you're
It also helps to be clear about the signs that you're on a path of least resistance:
How to follow the path of least resistance:
All you need to do is gingerly pick your way along the unknown way, one step at a time, simply finding your next point of least resistance. What’s the easiest way to go that feels like it’s in the right direction? Forget the whole picture. Don’t call this one step a drop in the bucket. Your point of least resistance simply gives you access to movement. One step, and another, and the next, until you’re moving so well, you forget you didn’t know how to do this. You’ll course-correct as you go, so don’t worry about whether you’re heading just the right way. You’re meant to build and ride momentum.
Hey, it’s not just that the path of least resistance will get you to where you’re going in the most effortless way. Remember the quote I began with from Abraham-Hicks? “The path of least resistance is also the path of greatest joy, greatest clarity, and the most fun!” So when it feels like that … you’re on it!
Love & blessings, Jaya
Note that an earlier post on least resistance approaches these concepts from another angle.
Part of trusting your guidance system is trusting in your capacity to course-correct: not to get it right!
Course-correction is a power—may even be a super-power. You have the power at any given moment to simply course-correct toward what feels better to you than where you find yourself to be or what you thought you were aiming for. Isn’t that kind of amazing?
Sound too easy? Here are some typical ways you might hamper your innate ability to simply and swiftly course-correct anytime.
You’re too attached to the course you’ve set--so you’re not open to guidance about where to head NOW.
Maybe you need to be right or you believe you have to finish what you started or you really really want that thing you were heading toward. But guidance comes in now, for now. You may be guided to Santa Fe and find yourself called to Seattle midway. Santa Fe is just what got your attention and sent you roughly heading the right way! Will you let go now and head Northward as new information comes in?
Reminder that the Universe can provide the general thing you’re after in multiple forms. A great way to counter attachment to a specific form is to remember the general thing you were after: a fulfillment, a compatibility, a connection; a sense of place that felt like home; a new, heightened level of expressing your intelligence or artistic vision—perhaps your entire being. Name the general intention and open to how many specific forms could fulfill that.
You have too many bad feelings about where you find yourself right now.
What if you didn’t judge the status quo? You may have regret or self-recrimination about what got you here. You may feel defeated or discouraged because of how someone else or your own body or life itself seems to have betrayed you. You may categorically hate where you are and be embroiled in the very real complications of your current reality. What if you entirely accepted where you are right now?
Invitation back to nonresistance! I just read words from inspired pelvic pain coach Lorraine Faehndrich saying that her healing began when she stopped fighting her body and everything seemingly wrong with it, and from that space of acceptance simply started listening to what it was telling her. (And her body did not withhold! Inner guidance!) Likewise, my sleep class kicks off with an invitation to nonresistance—hence its name, Give It a Rest: Get Your Sleep Back by Letting It Go. Participants begin by accepting sleeplessness and sleep deprivation, and end up resting better and … sleeping! Byron Katie’s first book is called Loving What Is because she invites readers into nonresistance—or as she puts it, out of an argument with reality. “Argue with reality and you lose,” she loves to say, “but only 100 percent of the time.” You’re fine wherever you find yourself at any given moment, and the course-correction asked of you is within your skill set.
You think course-correction requires knowing exactly where to go or what to do next.
No no no no no! Just think of it as always good enough to head roughly in the right direction. The tweaks (and radical shifts) are made along the way as you keep paying attention! Trust that.
You’re having trust malfunctions!
You don’t trust life to show you the way. (For life, plug in Source/the stars/Higher Power—you name it for you.) Guidance has always been forthcoming and always will be.
You don’t trust yourself—what? To read the signs right? To stay the course? Pause to tune in to what you fault yourself for or expect yourself not to get right. Even if you’re right (and you probably are) about your history or tendencies, whatever you lack or whatever flaw you perceive in yourself will never be fully true. Identity is not fixed, your limitations are ready to become your new strengths, and you get to recreate yourself and your life as much as you care to do. You get to keep course-correcting toward more of what you want and who you most want to be.
You’re confusing letting go with giving up.
They feel really different. Letting go can feel downright good. If not, it will certainly bring relief and probably some sense of new possibility. At the very least, here comes a question like Now what? or What’s possible now? Some part of you can begin to feel the breeze from the open window now that you’ve shut that troublesome door. Giving up feels awful. It feels like defeat, heavy and contracted, and inspires self-loathing or at best instant regret and second-guessing. It feels like failing yourself (sometimes others—but see the next point for where worrying about that can get you!) Trust what brings relief and lightness: that’s part of your guidance system.
You’re listening to someone else’s opinion or advice instead of what’s coming from your inner guidance.
Hey, some people will quickly, and for years, default to failing themselves—as long as they never fail others. That’s always misguided. What’s right for you will be right for them, even if they fight you on it initially. Could be their weak self (or attached or unclear or unhealed self) calling you selfish for following your path. You must nonetheless follow your path. Make your guidance system more important than their unhealed stuff!
By the way, if you go to what someone else wants from you (or deems best for you) because they’ve called you a name or brought forth your worst fear, you’ve just succumbed to manipulation (which obviously isn’t coming from their highest self, and may or may not be conscious on their part). DO NOT CHOOSE YOUR PATH BASED ON MANIPULATIONS FROM OTHERS. (And hey, if you think you’re being manipulated but aren’t sure, I know a good coach. I’ve walked more than one soul out of confusion on that point—funny that being confused is a sign of being manipulated!—and back to clarity about their own knowing.)
Risk being selfish—or irresponsible or bad or all over the place or whatever they’re calling you that cuts you to the quick--and just go when everything else but your fear calls you elsewhere.
A few more things that could hamper swift course-correction:
Love & blessings, Jaya
P.S. For more on advice (and when it's right or wrong for you), See Want inner muddle? Seek outer guidance.
Ever hear yourself say, as I heard a client say about a decision she and her spouse were making, “We were doing pretty well until we started talking to other people.” Ay, that'll muddle things every time. Another client choosing between two demanding jobs, as she gave me her best reckoning to date, included the statement, “All my friends think [job B] is a no-brainer.” To them, perhaps, but the more I questioned her, the more aligned she seemed to be with job A!
What's wrong with getting advice?
The right thing for you—you as you are right now, you at this point of becoming, you at this juncture, which may take you into new directions and new identity—can only come from your own inner guidance system. What you'll get from others is what they've come to at this point based on, at best, their own guidance system (which is all about them) or, at worst, their own fears, beliefs (often unquestioned), and projections.
Sometimes I invite people to try going against tendency, because it's useful for anyone to counter any set defaults they have in place. Getting really simple with this: the person who rushes around may need to slow things down, while the person who moves too slowly may need to rev it up. Most people giving advice tell you to slow down because they've needed to do that (or still need to, so they're speaking it again to you to reinforce it for themselves). Byron Katie says you should always eavesdrop on yourself when you give others advice, because it's really all for you! So what if they tell you to slow things down when you need to rev it up?
Well, this happens all the time. Helpful advisors will tell you to persevere when you need to let go and quit pushing the river; or they'll tell you to stop forcing it when you just need to hang in there a bit longer. They'll tell you to let the other come to you when it's right for you to reach out. They'll tell you to be more diplomatic when it's your moment to assert something no matter how it's received. Oh, the advice people give you when you're dating! They tell you to stay open when you need to have clear boundaries around what you will or won't have. They'll tell you to give someone a chance when you know the person is wrong for you (however adorable they may be—everyone deserves lots of chances, but not necessarily from you!).
All this wrong advice serves no one—except perhaps the one who does eavesdrop on their own advice.
How do you know when advice is bad advice?
It may seem especially hard to evaluate advice when it sounds good and comes from intelligent people or perhaps from those who really know you. As to the latter, consider that they knew who you were a moment ago, and what you're on the cusp of now is very likely to be unknown to them—especially if you can't yet articulate it. Or they may even have known you so long that their stories of you are truly antiquated and have little or no bearing on your current reality, never mind your potential.
Their advice sounds good? So does your best thinking on each side of the coin you're considering. That's why I tell people to stay away from pro-con lists—or at least use them initially just to look at the overview and sort it out a bit, but don't use them to decide. The right choice for you doesn't boil down to intelligent reasons to do or not do something. You could intelligently talk yourself in or out of most anything whether it's actually a good idea for you right now or not (now being the operative word here). So if you're going to look elsewhere for how to decide it, look away from others' smart reasoning as well.
How do you know when even good advice is the wrong advice for you?
It's so easy to tell:
Is all outer input worthless?
I'm certainly not saying there's no place for talking to others as part of a decision-making process. Just listen with a hefty dose of take-what-you-like-and-leave-the-rest. Here's how you know when someone else's perspective actually applies to you and is being spoken for your benefit:
Great input that isn't advice
At the end of coaching sessions, I almost always ask my clients, “How do you feel right now?” They almost always give answers like, much better, more clear, relieved, calm or peaceful, present, ready to go out there again. They feel better not because I gave them great advice. (It's been known to happen, but I seldom give clients a strong “do this” sort of directive.) They feel better because I've helped them come back to themselves. I've reflected back to them how they're thinking or operating unclearly, or how they've failed to get behind a choice. I've echoed what I heard them say that shows they're thinking out of fear or shame or obligation or some old concept about themselves (perhaps recently fed to them by an advisor who supposedly knows them well), and I've helped them deconstruct that thinking. They feel better because I redirected them to what they know and away from what others know. Perhaps I've shown them how they're not applying their own belief system, then we've looked at how they might do so here; or we've addressed the fear that has so far kept them from doing so. (And by addressed I don't mean cleared away: fear is tenacious, and you need to be able to keep moving in the direction you know or suspect is right for you even as fear keeps gripping until it's been along for the ride long enough to know it's okay, it's really, truly okay.)
So ask people for the kind of input you want. Ask them what kind of input they'd like from you, and offer what matches what they want. Ask them to listen with no input and play with listening to them without offering yours. Say no (if no's the right answer) when they ask, Would you like to hear my thoughts on this? End the conversation if they keep proffering thoughts you don't want. When you start to notice their words are causing agitation inside you or getting you more muddle, ask their forgiveness for engaging them and tell them you've just remembered you're seeking to make a new habit of locating and following your own inner wisdom. Or change the subject. Ask if they knew that sea otters sometimes eat so many urchins that their teeth and bones turn purple. (It's okay if they look at you funny.)
Byron Katie invites people to offer experience instead of advice, as others can benefit from your stories and apply to themselves what's actually applicable, but they may or may not benefit from your advice. I know my kids enjoy stories of my past wacky choices and their fascinating consequences much more than they enjoy any direct advice about how they should proceed or any predictions of the consequences of their current choices. I give less and less advice as I grow up in my parenting. I believe my job with my kids is to point them inward to their own guidance system. For that matter, that's also what I do with my clients and with anyone I'm in any kind of relationship with. May this writing support you to look inward, where all the right answers for you can be accessed.
Love & blessings, Jaya