Tracy’s been having some lousy days lately. Her latest and greatest deal fell through, her clients were less than pleased, and her little cat had been sick. Having a happy thought probably wasn’t top of her to do list.
What were you aware of today? Did you notice what you were thinking? Maybe what you were feeling was more obvious? If you’ve been reading my posts (and I just want to say thanks for all your encouragement) you’ll know I’ve been aware of some oddly and decidedly unfriendly thoughts this past week.
My friend Tracy, must have decided to join the same club. She shouldn’t have bothered…it’s not much of a group…I should probably get a sign, beware…for your own benefit keep away. Or maybe if I shine a light or two no-one else would get caught on those twin cliffs of despair and despondency.
Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save:
they just stand there, shining.~Anne Lamott
She was certain being a realtor was all wrong for her. She couldn’t do it…she wasn’t up to dealing with…basically everything.
Tracy’s big challenge was she that was stuck on that old roller coaster of thoughts, up and down and round and round. Been there, seen it, done it…and I confessed all here.
And here she was, clients mad…cat sick…deal down the drain. Cat sick…deal sunk…clients sue…no they weren’t going to sue…but hey let’s make matters worse…what else could happen…surely we can imagine even greater calamities.
I got fired, my cat died, and now I’m being taken to court…woa there, hold on just a minute…relax a little Tracy. Give yourself a break.
She desperately needed some new assumptions, since, as we all know…don’t we…that assuming things you really don’t want to show up in your life isn’t only unhelpful, it verges on being crazy making. Just ask me.
Our assumptions are going to float our boat or sink our ship. So because I’m helpful like that, I shared some assumptions I’d learned along the way. And whilst it’s true, I can still get into trouble when my thoughts begin bucking like the proverbial donkey or is it bronco…I’m managing those pesky thoughts quicker and better.
My learned assumptions…and no it’s not learn-ed as in being super duper clever, its just what I’ve picked up and accepted along the way.
Now is the only moment that counts
Staying focused on what had happened…no, more than that…making what actually happened so much worse in our imagination, actually does just that, makes matters worse. Tracy had run and rerun the recent events in her life over and over again until it became unclear what really happened and what her imagination told her had happened.
Yet, the important thing to remember, is that there’s only one moment that matters and that’s now. And now is where our opportunity lies to experience different outcomes…to imagine what we want, not imagine worse case scenarios. Currently, neither best case or worst case is ‘real’ and Tracy’s in a position to create the future she would like, not focus on what she fears the most. ‘Cos as we all know what we fear always finds us.
Ask yourself what do I want over and over again and it’ll become really clear what you do want in life.
How many times have you been frustrated because you weren’t sure you were doing the right thing…had you made the right career choice, should you be doing something different? That’s where Tracy was. Not a happy place, and it was made worse by the fact that her friends seemed totally involved and passionate about what they were doing…maybe it was time for her to change careers. Maybe she just wasn’t suited to what she did. Oh my.
It’s all too easy to get off track when others are totally involved and passionate about what they’re doing, and all you have is a giant question mark as to whether you’re doing the right thing for you. But the experience of asking yourself repeatedly what do I really want and taking the time to honestly listen to the answer, gives you the power of really ‘knowing’ who you are and what it is you want to experience in your life.
And should you discover you truly do feel more joyful taking another path, then you can move into it with ease and grace and no giant question marks.
As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears ~ Rumi
Knowing what you want means you no longer focus on what you don’t want.
The world is filled with wonders. What to choose can be a challenge…but answer the question what do I want and then take a pause, what does it feel like, what pictures can you see in your mind’s eye, what sounds do you hear. Sit in silence with yourself, as Virginia Wolf once said my mind works better in idleness and so does ours. Give yourself the space to get your best ideas.
If there’s no lifting of your spirits, no joy, no thrill of expectation, ditch it…it’s not for you. So what if you don’t want to climb mountains or be a computer genius or save the world from some great ordeal. You have your life to live and it’s precious and important and beautiful and some other soul will want those other things. And who knows, maybe, one day you’ll want them too. Just not today, not now and now is the only thing that counts.
Give up ‘shoulding’ on yourself.
How many shoulds and musts do we get every day? All the stuff we hear on television, or from our friends and sometimes our family can put us under pressure. I really ought to be happier, slimmer, more spiritual, work harder, talk less, talk more…blah, blah. Its’ exhausting just listening to it, never mind trying to be it.
Which is where the power of having worked out what you want comes into it’s own. Knowing you’re always asking and answering the question what do I want liberates you. Instead of running around chasing after what you ‘should’ be doing you now have the time, and most importantly the energy to follow the desires of your heart.
Isn’t it amazing that so many people are doing wonderful things in life, and now you can breathe a sigh of relief and join them. Who cares if five or ten other people think you ‘should’ be doing something other than what you desire…you are dancing to the tune of your own music and the rhythm suits you perfectly.
Assumptions, choosing what you want and living in this moment can transform your life.
Tracy’s currently giving it a whirl. So far so good…she’s working on a new deal with her old clients, and her cat is doing great.
Are you floating, your boat or sinking your ship?
Encourage one another.
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13 thoughts on “Are You Floating Your Boat, Or Sinking Your Ship?”
Hi Elle — it’s funny, as I read this post, it became clearer to me how relaxed I feel today compared to how I used to be. I used to constantly fret over whether I was doing something with my life that other people would respect. Now, I’m just too absorbed in doing what I want to do to spend a moment fretting about that. I guess I’ve got a life that forces me to live for right now.
Isn’t that awesome Chris, or should I say Steve, since I’ve pretty much determined that’s who you really are! You’re one of the passionate people who are in love with life…a guiding light of encouragement for us all. Thank you so much for sharing where you are on your journey – it sounds a wonderful place to be. 🙂
Thank you for the gift of these two excellent tools for increasing the quality of our lives and our spirits. The realization that we CAN assume anything we desire, at anytime we choose, is monumentally liberating. Add that to recognizing the power of living in the moment (turning away from the grip of the past)and you have delivered your reading audience another wonderful lesson/article.
Write on, Elle !
Joseph, you are always so encouraging and you’re right it is monumentally liberating to know we can always assume whatever we want…the trick is actually doing that. 🙂 Sounds as though you have it all under control – good job you.
Thank you Elle. For me, right now, all I really want to do is focus on expression….singing, writing, feeling– to make up for all those years of repression. And the battle is mostly with myself. I imagine what others may think, how this compares to most people’s lives, that it is self centered, and think at times that I should be doing more…that I don’t measure up…blah, blah. So I try to just bring myself back every time that happens, and remember that this is MY journey. There is no script, and I am doing exactly what I should be right now.
Whoa- you’ve offered up a lot of thoughts on this platter of goodies.
I could talk with you about each point you mentioned BUT let me just address one – the ‘shoulds’ of life. As soon as someone tells me I ‘should’, I know that I probably won’t. This morning when I was at the rowing club before dawn, one of the elderly fellows spoke with me about how I ‘should’ only speak Hebrew since I live in Israel. This happens to me all of the time…..and sometimes in a punitive manner.
Since childhood, we have been inundated with shoulds. Becoming aware is the first step. Beginning to know that living in the ‘should’ world is a prison is the next step.
And finally, living a life filled with ‘I want, need, or would love to’ is the road to freedom.
As always, your words ring true with me. xxoo-Fran
That’s so cool Fran, I love that when you hear you ‘should’ do something, you know you probably won’t and you’re so right it is a prison if we fall for it. Been there, done that my own self. And as Jonathan said in an earlier comment…there are times when I have to remind myself I get to choose – isn’t it always the way that it’s one thing to know something and then comes the doing. Hmmm. 🙂
Such a powerful message! So many great quotes here, and so many great points. You’re absolutely right with the “shoulding” and how focusing on the events of the past only hold us back. I loved your point, “Knowing what you want means you no longer focus on what you don’t want.” That totally speaks to me, and it resonates deeply. Thank you for your continued inspiration! I just love reading your wonderful messages! 🙂 Take care!
Aah Victor, that point speaks to me too! It’s all too easy keep our thoughts directed to the very thing we don’t want…and we just keep practicing turning towards the things that really resonate. Thank you so much for your generous words…it’s all about us encouraging one another isn’t it, and here you are encouraging me. I’m truly blessed. 🙂
Two great boat images linked to thoughts. I’ve had a rough day and I can see that I was sinking my ship with whiny, negative thoughts. I can shift, if I choose, and I do, to floating thoughts of opportunity and gratitude. Thanks to you!
Sometimes those stormy seas pop up out the so called ‘blue’ don’t they Galen and I love your idea of floating thoughts of opportunity and gratitude. That’s a great picture. I’m going to pinch it…if I may? 🙂
I enjoyed what you wrote here and that I clicked over from your comment on my post – Thank you by the way for your lovely encouraging words – I was feeling rather let down today, because I was getting NO to many of my calls…then I just asked myself what do I want and immediately I knew I wanted a YES…so I dropped the work I was doing and called to make a grooming appointment for my pup and then his booster shot appointment – 2 Yeses in a row, now that felt better right away.
Then I went to see if my children had played Words with Friends – and I wanted to find words right away with a double digit value….3 more yeses…wow this felt great.
Then I noticed that my nose was not dripping and I had forgotten the sore throat and the sun burned off the morning fog..
I was floating….what a ride – I do know what I want
Thank you for sharing your good ideas.
Thanks for stopping by Patricia and It warms my heart to hear of your yes’s. It’s such a good feeling to ask for what we want and get it. So much so that it keeps us in the place of getting more yes’s. Good job you. Funny thing about this stuff is we can read it, but it’s the doing of it the counts. And you, kiddo, went and did it. Kudos. 🙂