My whole life, for as long as I can remember, I have had a deep, primal internal drive whose job it has been to propel me into the next job, house, or project. This drive has been like a motor with the power and throttle of a speedboat—almost always on, sometimes in neutral (not often), but never completely off. It was constantly moving under the surface to do better, be better, and have better.
I received a lot from this motor, for years it was necessary for my survival. It propelled me out of a small-minded social and birth-family circle into college, then graduate school, up the corporate ladder, out to California, and eventually it helped find the courage to leave my six-figure job to pursue my passion to teach, write, and speak about self-love (a passion I only found on one of those rare occasions I let myself float with the motor off).
But somewhere in the past three years, I began to see the cost of the continuously running motor, and I began to see the deeply ingrained patterns that ran me ragged.
COST: I had become the gas-station slave to my life (and this motor). I worked harder and more than I had to because I had to fuel the motor with my energy. This meant I had to work almost all the time. Sure I could take short breaks but I had to be ready to go back to fueling because, eventually, the motor would need more fuel, and as the gas attendant I was the only one to do it, in my mind. My internal psyche was hardwired to believe that I had to put the energy into my book, courses, Web sites, or whatever wouldn’t generate the energy needed to sustain my life and my business. I had tons of faith in the universe to provide me opportunities, to show me the way and to be there when I fell … but I did not trust (or know how to trust) that it would do the majority of the fueling for me.
PATTERN: I have to drive and strive in order to survive. This carrot-chasing pattern, and all carrot-chasing patterns keep us always chasing tomorrow for the day when XX will be true. Up until my early thirties, I had chased the carrot of happiness, the belief that a new house, job, or anything external would make me happy. At the age of thirty-three, when I finally gave up that carrot and understood that happy had to come from inside of me, I started chasing another carrot. I have enough of XX to finally relax, breathe, let go. For me that looked like beliefs—many subconscious, some not—like, “If I got XX book sales, or get on national TV, or have XX amount of money, then finally I wouldn’t feel this massive pressure to strive, drive, and make my life, my dreams, and my intentions happen.
But the truth is that just like my happiness, the day that I will finally feel like I can relax, let go, breathe, and trust that I am indeed taken care of will never come from an external measure like money, time, or achievements. It has to come from inside of me first. If I believe somewhere inside of me that I have to drive and strive to survive, I will continue to push myself until I fall over in exhaustion (which I have.)
We all have these self-sabotaging patterns, beliefs, and habits that drive us, that take us away from what our hearts and souls truly want, the problem is that most of us have no idea that they are the one fueling that motor that never seems to shut off. The way I found this striving/driving carrot-chasing pattern—and the way I find most of my patterns is through one of my forty-day self-love practices, this one called the Summer of Self-Love, designed to teach women, including me, how to release the self-sabotaging pattern and pressure off of having to do, be, and have it all … and replace it with the self-loving habit of receiving.
Here is how it happened.
On day seven of our receiving practice, my power boat hit a brick wall. I awoke with an excruciating pain on my left side. I never get sick, but on this day my body said different. I sat up, ouch! I got out of bed and couldn’t stand straight … I crawled back into bed, totally confused.
I looked over to my partner Noah’s nightstand and his deck of Doreen Virtue’s Angel oracle cards lit up as if to get my attention (oracle cards are decks of cards in which each card contains a message, piece of wisdom, or inspiration.) Now, I never use his Angel cards. But then again, I was having a never kind of day, so I reached over (ouch), opened the box, held the Angels in my hand, and asked, “Angels, what do I need to ‘do’ to receive today?” The card I pulled was, no kidding, “CLEAR YOURSELF … ask the angels to absorb any toxic energies you have absorbed.” Hmmm. That made sense! I clearly had some toxins stuck in my kidneys making the left one hurt like heck.
Over the following two days, I visited my acupuncturist, drank weird herbs, slept, got angry that I was sick, blamed myself for being sick (yes, I get mad at myself for being sick), and the evening of third day, at the urging of my girlfriend to just let myself be sick, I finally surrendered and gave myself permission to enjoy being sick, in bed. Within twenty-four hours, I realized three things:
- I had been getting the message to slow down since we started the receiving practice, but I couldn’t find the throttle to turn off the motor. I didn’t know how to slow down to the speed the universe was asking me to, so I smashed myself into a brick wall (aka, ouch side pain.)
- I have had a pattern for my entire lifetime that I no longer need, and that I am finally ready to release. My pattern, tied to my basic survival, was that if I wasn’t striving or driving then I was not surviving. I released that pattern and in its place, I installed the belief that I am a finely tuned instrument in the universe’s orchestra, and I know that as such I am always taken care of. I will play my best, take care of myself so I can play with the most power possible, and that is very different energy than striving.
- I love floating. I remember as a kid, that I had a hard time learning how to float, I always sank. I think I had a hard time trusting that I could float on my own. So one of my favorite things to do at our summer cottage became to get on one of those big plastic floats, float in the lake in the sun, knowing that I was held by the float and it by the water. Only then could I relax. I was only seven—patterns start early!
We all have patterns that keep us from receiving; that keep our striving, driving, surviving, motor running.
I invite you to ask yourself these two questions to uncover and transform your patterns so that you too can learn a deeper level of trust and open yourself up to receive.
- What is the underlying motivation, fear, or belief that keeps you driving, pushing, striving, always doing, or trying to make it happen? Think back through your life and look at the circumstances and experiences. You will find you answer there. Pick one pattern and make the choice to shift it. Once you bring it to awareness, the universe will meet you to help you make the shift.
- Can you float? And do you? Do you spend ample time floating, and do you trust the universe to hold you up when you do? What beliefs and patterns can you shift or embrace to give you more floating time and more access to the universe fueling your tank?
I will leave you with this thought. A wise, happy, and wealthy man once told me that the key to success was to spend your energy getting to a stream that was already running and then allow that stream to carry you. People who work way harder than they have to, and put too much pressure on themselves, he said, those are the people who spend all their energy trying to create their own stream.
So this summer, I invite us all to paddle over the stream that is running fully with the energy of the divine feminine and masculine, and let them be the fuel that powers us as we play as finely tuned instruments in their symphony of life. I’m here on my float, trusting. Paddle on over!